Today's Post: Friday, 3-23-2012
Friday, 3-9-2012, our post “Some drugs can keep you fat” listed several kinds of general strategies to drugs that tend to fatten you or keep you fat. For most of them, there is a better drug or a way to improve your condition that avoids using that drug.
Last Friday, 3-16, we covered anti-depressants since some of those can keep you fat. Some don’t including Zyban aka Wellbutrin that helps some people quit smoking.
This post will cover blood pressure lowering drugs.
Blood pressure medicines that can cause weight gain include:
Lopressor (metoprolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Inderal (propranolol), Norvasc (amlodipine) and clonidine (Catapres).
1. Dr Lawrence Cheskin, researcher on drugs that fatten or keep people fat said eating more foods high in fiber and water content and nutrition and eating 4 or more meals a day instead of 2 or 3 really large meals helps prevent that effect.
But he understates the value of this. It means eliminating junk foods and packaged snacks and eating far more nonstarchy vegetables each day. Guess what?
Eating a DASH II diet or a Mediterranean diet with extra vegetables and a bit less salt does this nicely. Both contain no junk foods and packaged snacks or soft drinks.
BUT that’s triple good!
If that reduces the fattening effect of these blood pressure reducing drugs directly as he suggest, that’s great.
But it also has been proven to lower blood pressure as much as one of the drugs within a few weeks of starting to eat this way!
Even better, that’s the same way to eat to lose fat permanently and without excess hunger. Then it gets better still! Particularly if you lose 20 pounds or more too, once you do, your blood pressure will drop again.
So right away after you begin eating right, your blood pressure drugs become less fattening according to Dr Cheskin.
Then, in few weeks, you may be able to reduce the dose of a drug or two of the ones you have been taking or drop one of the drugs and still have your blood pressure be low enough.
Then in a few more months, you may be able to do this again. One man I know gradually gained 60 pounds and had to take drugs for high blood pressure. He then lost the 60 pounds and no longer had high blood pressure and stopped the drugs entirely.
So one of the best ways to counter the fattening effects of all the drugs is to more thoroughly drop soda and junk and packaged desserts and snacks and eat more nonstarchy vegetables AND get regular vigorous exercise and more moderate activity each week as best you can.
That gives you an extra motivation to do what will remove your excess fat without hunger in the first place!
Be SURE to do this one!
2. Lopressor (metoprolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Tenormin (atenolol), & Inderal (propranolol), are all beta blockers.
But beta blockers prevent exercise from benefitting you in several ways – cardio no longer makes you fit, may prevent you from responding as you need to do in a real emergency, and can contribute over time to developing and worsening heart failure.
This may be one of the ways they fatten you as the exercise you do may burn fewer calories each week.
Unless you have a terrible uncontrollable temper or anxiety or are under extreme stress or just had a heart attack & you need to give it rest for a few weeks, these are drugs most people should only take temporarily in my view.
So if none of these reasons fits you, consider asking your doctor to help you withdraw from these drugs or lower the dose ASAP.
An alterative use is to only use them just before you know you will be stressed and then stop after the event.
Some people take them for extreme stage fright if they still get it after good preparation for example.
So some family events or job or legal events that are predictable and very stressful might also be a good use.
That way you get much of the protection and reduced blood pressure but without the negative effects every day of every week
And, there are also two other solutions that have most of the benefits of beta blockers but none of the drawbacks!
If you have high blood pressure, you would do well to use one of them!
If you get and use the breathing pacer, Resparate, and use it 4 to 7 times every week, the average person drops their blood pressure by 12 over 8 or more. In fact, it is FDA approved as a way to lower high blood pressure. For people who are retired and not under time pressure, this can be a decent solution.
Doing Tai Chi regularly for 10 minute sessions 60 to 10 times a week was found to lower blood pressure as much as 17 over 11. And unlike sitting in a chair using the Resparate, doing tai chi for 10 minutes burns as many calories as walking.
The trick is to invest the time with classes until you know reliably how to do it for 10 minutes.
But if you learn it and do it a few weeks, the drop in blood pressure should help you persuade your doctor to have you drop the beta blockers.
A third alternative is to simply take a lower dose. If you are one of the people who stopped having migraines when you started taking your beta blocker, you might want to try that.
Eating right and regular exercise often prevent or lessen migraines. So doing those along with a lower dose of beta blocker may work for you as well as the higher dose was doing.
3. Norvasc (amlodipine) is a calcium channel blocker. Some people don’t have a blood pressure drop at night or they have too much of a blood pressure surge in the morning and this drug is good for such people.
(Both of those things are harmful. Some people get heart attacks in the morning from too much blood pressure surge in the morning for example.)
There are two solutions that work for some people.
High blood pressure specialist Dr Mark Houston notes that taking magnesium as a supplement has a calcium blocker effect. And taking 400 to 800 mg a day of magnesium has other health benefits as long as you don’t take tons of milk of magnesia as a stool looser too! Doing both has caused problems!
It does lower blood pressure a bit in general to take magnesium. But if you don’t have a blood pressure drop at night or they have too much of a blood pressure surge in the morning, a far better solution might well be to do 10 minutes of tai chi before you go to bed and just after you get out of bed in the morning. Taking magnesium may well not quite be enough by itself.
And the third alternative may be to continue the amlodipine but at a lower dose.
“Clonidine is a blood pressure medicine that relaxes the smooth muscle of blood
vessels, causing them to widen, or dilate.” According to Web MD.
In older people or smokers or n people who have had a bad lifestyle for years and years, the plaque build up and/or damage to the inside of their blood vessels, endothelium, this can be a problem that this drug can partially correct.
It can also help people who are always stressed like those who take beta blockers.
Avoiding tobacco smoke totally which helps anyone lower high blood pressure, can help lessen the need for this drug.
Following the eating style and regular exercise that remove fat without hunger also lessens this problem and makes your blood vessels relax once you have done it long enough.
And, tai chi or the Resparate can reduce this problem if too much stress is causing it.
But for older people taking less may be the best you can do.
The good news is that the eating style and regular exercise that remove fat without hunger plus doing tai chi or the Resparate may well allow you to do just that.
4. By the way, doing tai chi or the Resparate also helps lower stress caused cravings for sweets and lowers excess cortisol release.
That gives you better control in avoiding foods that both fatten and make you hungrier. And lower cortisol levels help remove abdominal fat or stop you from gaining it.
So doing that step is also highly recommended.
5. So is eating less omega 6 oils and adding omega 3 oils by taking the purified fish oil supplements and eating wild caught fish high in omega 3. People who do that have more responsive blood vessels, somewhat lower blood pressure, much lower chronic inflammation, and are less irritable which can also lower your stress level.
Omega 6 oils NOT to eat include corn, soy, saffola, and unfortunately, canola oil. Also minimize fat from grain fed animals. That fat contains excessive omega 6 oils from the grain the animals are fed. That’s a major reason why eating low fat dairy, fat trimmed lean beef and skinless poultry is good for you. Using extra virgin olive oil only instead of corn, soy, saffola, and canola oil -- & all margarine and most butter each help do this.
Lastly, eliminate all refined grains and the foods made from them and eat only 100 % whole grain foods and not too much of those.
6. Another strategy is to not take the drugs to lower your blood pressure unless it’s over about 150 over 80. If without drugs it’s 160 over 100 it’s dangerous not to take the drugs.
But particularly if you are just beginning to eat right, exercise, and do the Resparate or Tai chi, and your blood pressure is something like 143 over 78 or even 153 over 83, you may well be able to get to more like 125 over 70 without the drugs.
Similarly, if you take the drugs and add those things, you may get low blood pressure and able to stop taking one or more drugs.