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Dr. Overberg's High Blood Pressure Insights - Third of three parts

Here is the newsletter that I was getting ready to send out last week, and then poof it disappeared.

High Blood Pressure – Part 3of 3 by Jim McAfee, CCN. He graciously shared his excellent article. He is a30+ years friend and nutrition colleague of mine.


Hypertensionor high blood pres­sure is a common condition in which excessive pressurebuilds up in the circulatory system. Blood pressure is measured by two numbers.A higher number, called the systolic, is placed over a lower number, thediastolic. The unit of measure is millimeters of mercury.

A normalblood pressure is less than 120/80. Elevated is120-129/80. Stage 1 hypertensionis 130-139/80- 89. Stage 2 hypertension is over 140/90. A hypertension crisisis con­sidered to be a measurement greater than 180/120.

There aretwo types of high blood pressure. Essential is a term used when the cause isnot clear. This term is used to describe over 90% of all cases of hypertension.Secondary hypertension is a term used when the cause of the elevated bloodpressure is identified. The most common causes of secondary hypertension arekid­ney disease, pregnancy, and effects of medications and birth control pills.

Part three of three


Salt and sugar tend to increase ap­petite Paula Geisselmandiscovered long ago that both of these substanc­es caused rabbits to eat muchmore food. Not only do these foods make us eat more, but they also have theability to increase blood pressure and may even have synergistic effects.

Excessive intake of glucose tends to lead to insulin resistancewhich is associated with higher blood pressure.

The role of fructose is a bit more complex. Excessive consumptionof fructose sweetened beverages (60-200 grams a day) can cause a rapid increasein blood pressure. High-fruc­tose diets have been used for decades to generatemodels of hypertension and insulin resistance in animals.

Fructose increases salt absorp­tion so a combination of the two isparticularly detrimental. The com­bination of salt and fructose is worse thaneither separately. Fructose may also inhibit the excretion of salt.

High levels of fructose can also damage the lining of the bloodvessels. Sugars attach to the inner lining of the blood vessels decreasingflexibility. When glucose is involved, this is called glycosylation. Fructosecauses similar damage called fructosylation.

Fructose also stimulates the sym­pathetic nervous system whichtends to make blood vessels contract rather than relax. This is the last thingone wants to happen when blood pressure is high.

Nitric oxide is an important pro­moter of dilation of the bloodves­sels. The combination of high levels of insulin with fructose can dramati­callyreduce nitric oxide produc­tion increasing blood pressure.

Fructose also metabolizes to uric acid which can increase bloodpressure on its own. Glucose does not metabo­lize to uric acid and is not amajor risk factor in increasing uric acid levels, but it can contribute toinsulin resistance.

Other dietary factors can con­tribute to elevated uric acid. Alco­holconsumption, including beer, and red meats can play a role in increasing uricacid in the body.

Allopurinol, a medication used to reducelevels of uric acid can mini­mize uric acid induced hypertension. The good newsis that researchers have discovered that vitamin C can lower uric acid levelspossibly reduc­ing the risk of gout. In a similar man­ner, it should reduce therisk of high blood pressure caused by bad dietary habits which increase uricacid levels. Vitamin C has been recommended as an agent forlowering blood pressure. Flavonoids and polyphenols which are associated withvitamin C in na­ture have also been suggested as ad­juncts for lowering bloodpressure.


Kiat, Hosen, etal., The mechanisms underlying fructose-induced hypertension: a review, JHyper­tens., 2015 May; 33(5): 912–920.

Choi, H.K., et al.,Vitamin C intake and the risk of gout in men: a prospective study,” ArchIntern Med, 2009; 169(5): 502-7.

Sato K, et al,Effects of ascorbic acid on am­bulatory blood pressure in elderly patients withrefractory hypertension, Arzneimittelforschung., 2006; 56(7): 535-40.

Erlund I, et al,Favorable effects of berry con­sumption on platelet function, blood pressure,and HDL cholesterol, Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 87(2): 323-31.

Other Factors


Anumber of other nutrients may also be effective in prevent­ing high bloodpressure. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a powerful agent in lowering blood pressure.Re­searchers suggest that this nutrient reduces oxidative stress in the bloodvessels and promotes vasodilation. The blood level of the nutrient had toexceed 2 mcg/ml in the blood to be effective and different levels ofsupplementation were required to achieve this level in different patients.



Inflammationin the circulatory system contributes to elevated blood pressure. It should notbe surprising that fish oils have been shown to re­duce blood pressure. It is agood idea to supplement with vitamin E and/or carotenoids with fish oils asthis will prevent the fish oils from oxidizing within the human body whichcould negate the beneficial anti-inflamma­tory effects of omega-3 fats. In onestudy, long term supplementation of patients with high triglycerides re­sultedin significant declines in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.



Astudy published in the Brit­ish medical journal Lancet in 1979 reported thatfood sensitivities were associated with elevated blood pres­sure. Theresearchers were attempt­ing to treat migraine but 25% of the patients whoremoved foods from the diet to which they were sensitive experienced drops inblood pressure.


Rosenfeldt FL, et al, Coenzyme Q10in the treat­ment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials, Journalof Human Hypertension, 2007; 21(4): 297-306.

Cicero AF, et al, Omega 3polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation and blood pressure levels in hypertriglyceridemic patients with untreated normal-high blood pressure and with or without metabolic syndrome: a retrospective study, Clin ExpHypertens, 2010; 32(2): 137-44.

Grant ECG, Food allergies and migraine, Lancet,May 5, 1979;966-969.

Web Resource

Disclaimer (This is purposely included, please read it.)

This publication contains the opinions and ideas of its author. It is intended to pro­vide helpful and informative material on the subjects addressed in the publication.It is provided with the understanding that the au­thor and publisher are not engaged in render­ing medical, health, or any other kind of per­sonal professional services in this newsletter. The reader should consult his or her medical, health or other competent professional before adopting any of the suggestions in this news­letter or drawing inferences from it.

The author and publisher specifically dis­claim all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is in­curred asa consequence, directly or indirectly, of use and application of any of the contents of this newsletter.


Drron note:

There is a verygood book, I don’t think I have shared it in my newsletters, that goes alongwith these hypertension and nitric oxide notes from Jim McAfee. The best andeasiest to understand book ($10.00) that I use to explain about what foods,supplements and diets will provide NO building blocks is: “Nitric Oxide (NO)solution by Nathan S. Bryan, PhD and Janet Zand, OMD”. Start at page 44, Thewhole book is good, but I like to start at the nitty gritty. I listen toNathan’s lectures and had great discussion with him (and so did Jim) at ournutrition conferences. He is the real thing. One major benefit from this book: Itgives recipes and ideas on how to incorporate more foods in your diet to helpyou produce more nitric oxide (NO)! Interestingly today, I learned that one ofmy friends with a low blood pressure (100/60) and an irregular heart beat startedusing UPBEET once daily, and to his surprise, normalized his blood pressure andheart rhythm. We always expect NO to facilitate blood flow and reduce blood pressure(by the enzyme eNOS). In this case I think the low blood pressure was the causedby his irregular heartbeat (including skipped beats). Here another enzyme (nNOSNeural Nitric Oxide synthase) that produces NO, corrected the irregularheartbeat and that in-turn normalized his blood pressure. NO has its finger inmany pots!

Enjoy poetry byJoan Walsh Anglund.
This one may me laugh. How true, I am guilty of that. Is that why I write?   


sits in the backseat,

   and directs all our travels.

How is drron? I finished diving in Florida with a bang. I ended up in the decompression chamber, at St.Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, for two and half hours. That was because I had incredible pain in my stomach after surfacing from the third dive of the day and ninth in 3 days of diving in Jupiter, Florida. We had great shark dives, Goliath grouper on the reef, and around several ship wreck dives. Everything I wanted to see. Between my belly button and rib cage, I was hugely swollen. I am too good of a diver (50 years of diving) to come up with the Bends. This is an illness that arises from the rapid release of nitrogen gas from the bloodstream and is caused by bubbles forming in the blood and other tissues when a diver ascends to the surface of the ocean too rapidly.  The physician on staff called it atypical Bends. What I think that happened I fermented food (made gas) in my intestine when I was at depth and when I went up that volume will double or triple stretching the heck out of my intestine. Plus, swimming up, made all the gas in the large intestine collect in the transverse colon (right under the rib cage and next to the diaphragm). This would give me the localized swelling in my belly. I had a milder version of this pain at the end of the previous two days of diving. Which I blamed on eating too much at lunch on the boat. In retrospect I think the free breakfast at the motel did me in. We were in a hurry to get the boarding site to get a good parking spot. I had yogurt, not one but two, for breakfast. This Dutchman loves cow’s dairy in all forms and shapes. The yogurt was fat-free! That means they take out all the fat, and add sugar to make up the calories. Go look at the labels next time you are in the store. I ate a load of sugar and my bacteria loved it, and started multiplying.By day three I had enough bacteria that they attempted to take over and kill me.

A second factor was that we had 3 dives in short order because we used Nitrox for the dives. Nitrox is to use the added oxygen to push out some of the nitrogen in the atmospheric air. By lowering the amount of nitrogen in the mix, and through that, the amount of nitrogen our tissues absorb during the dive, the risk of decompression sickness is decreased. Our Oxygen was 36 percent of the breathing mixture, which reduced the nitrogen by 15 percent and decreasing the risk of the Bends. Ambient air is 21% oxygen. No more fat free-food for me!

The second day the current was stronger than the first or third day. We saw beautiful stacking of the Goliath groupers around any object (wrecks and sunken pier to deal with the current. In front of the bow of one wreck, they were in a magnificent triangle formation, five groupers wide at the bottom and five high. I could not get a picture. To get them all in, I needed to back up so far that the murkiness obscured the sight for the camera. The Goliath groupers are spectacular. They all gather together up to September’s full moon (the eleventh), then over the next 2 weeks they release their eggs and swim back home. They live as solitary fish, very seldom you see 2 together at any other time of the year. They are huge! My camera has auto-focus, so when it finally is in focus the fish have swam on.

The shark dives are like what we saw in June. But this time I had my camera with me to catch some of their antics!  They followed us to the surface and were swimming among us, as we were climbing out of the water into the dive boat. Yes, we had the dorsal fins cutting the water surface as they swam among us. What a feeling,what a sight, what an experience. They told me that around December 16th we could expect as many as twenty-six lemon sharks swarming around us at one time. Maybe next year. This year I must go bow hunting.

Then this October 5th through October 26th, I will be visiting my nieces in Europe, one in Netherland and the other in Gibraltar. Chris and I had intended to visit them in 2020.

How is Beau? Happy because food is on time. Ross is feeding him at five pm, when I run late.

I make appointments with existing clients or their referrals, on Monday, Wednesday afternoon, and Friday. Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons I am at the Environmental Health Center. When you send me an email, follow up, call and text me that you have an email in the cue, you will get a quicker response! and 972-816-5892. I welcome reminders.

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