T Nation

I Now Have High Blood Pressure

Well, here is my story. I am now 35, I have worked out pretty seriously since I was 15. There have been some extended breaks here and there, but pretty consistent for the most part. Up until very recently, I was on a pretty big supplement stack.

I was using an MRP (Lean Body), Cell Mass, NIOX, NO-Explode, Muscle Blast (Beta-Alanine), Alpha Male, Plasmavol (only pre-workout), UDO’s Choice (EFA’s), Multi-Vitamin, Xperia (a general health
formula) and a protein powder (Syntha-6). I sometimes used Endo-Rush pre-workout instead of the NO-Explode. I ate pretty well most of the time too, relatively lean protein, whole grain carbs, low saturated fat, a good
amount of fruits an vegetables.

Training-wise, I was doing a good amount of heavy weight training with no cardio. Stupid I know, but I was all about the size and strength recently. I also was training only two days a week. Not a high volume of days, but I trained with high intensity. My chest was over 50 inches, 18 1/2" arms.

Anyway, my problem began when I decided to try this product that GNC has started hawking, Arimatest. I dropped the Alpha Male temporarily to use this since it is a test product. Well, suffice to say, it had a very bad interaction with the pre-workout stack of NIOX, Muscle Blast, NO-Explode and Plasmavol. My heart rate was through the roof and I broke out in a sweat before I even started working out.

Yes I know I should have stopped then and there, but having the mind of an intense trainer, I went ahead anyway. I had a good workout and all, but felt light headed a bit. I tried one more workout later in the week and felt about the same, Endorush instead of NO-Explode.

Going forward from that point, I had sharp pains in my chest. I initially had a pain in my jaw too which freaked the heck out of me. I had a bunch of tests ran for heart trouble, they for the most part came back okay. Chest X-Ray, EKG, blood work (cholesterol a bit high), coronary CTA, halter monitor, Echogram. Apparently, the end result of this is high blood pressure.

My BP has traditionally always been pretty good, in the 120’s over 70’s, even with the stimulant usage
and recent lack of cardio. It now averages in the 140’s over 90ish. I may be mistaken, but all the problems started when I introduced the Arimatest. Yes, it could have been the overall combo too, but this product I think was the catalyst.

Rather than analyzing products all day though, I just want to know what you guys think about the best way to bring this down, I am very depressed :(. Yes I can do a Google search, but you don’t know what is misinformation and what isn’t. I have worked out for the first time this week in about a month. I am obviously weaker, but I seem to get pretty light headed during the weight workouts.

My cardiologist gave me the clear to go to the gym. I am not lifting super heavy, but enough to be somewhat challenging. I can’t lift 5 lbs. 1,000 times! I have loved what I do for so many years. Do you think the weight training is safe at this point? I am still feeling pretty crappy and my vision is sometimes mildly affected which is a side result of the BP I am pretty sure.

I am obviously doing cardio again. I am temporarily off all supps, even vitamins by doctor’s orders. They for now just want to see what exercise and diet without the supps will do and I of course am eating everything I can think of that might help bring down BP (I highly doubt dropping things like vitamins and EFAs will make a difference though).

No meds at this point yet and I hope they never
come into the picture. Most searching I do on the internet seem to indicate my recent blood pressure readings mean I don’t have much time left, but my doctor’s aren’t gravely concerned at this point, it has only been like this for a moth or so.

My weight is still around 260 and my waist is over 40 inches, so yes I could lose some fat too, but I am not like super fat or anything, I have a decent amount of muscle mass which I would hate to lose, but do I need to if it is life and death? Please help, any and all thoughts are appreciated.

Paul

I guess your avatar is not a recent picture since it does not look like you have a 40" waist in that one.
I would say that a 140/90 is pretty average for a guy with 40" waist and 260 lbs.
I used to be 250lbs with 40" and my BP was at 145/95 which made me decide it is time to loose weight. I am now down to 210lbs and my BP is normal again around 128/80.

Loose the weight and I am sure your BP is going to come down too.

How often did you experience chest pain? just once in a while or on steady basis?
This kind of pain could also be caused by Anxiety / Stress or indigestion.

Wish you good health and keep us updated on your progress.

What does your diet consist of. Has your doctor advise you to reduce fats from your diet, especially non plant fats. Using skim milk, non fat yogurt. Eat lots of fruits (lots, smoothies are the best way to consume large amounts of fruit). Veggies the same. Go from beef to chicken for now. With regular cardio things should be back to normal pretty quick.

If you keep up your calorie intake up with a low fat diet, loss of lean muscle mass should not be a problem. Besides you’ll look a lot better as well, nice and lean at thirty five will turn some heads. Best of luck, stay strong, it’s just a bump in the road.

I am/was in the same boat you are. My weight exploded to 335 about a year ago. My BP was 170/100. The doctor put me on a truck load of pills. Even with four different meds per day, my BP would not fall below 160/85. The worst part was that some of the hypertension meds was causing me to gain more weight.

I stopped screwing around and lost about 70 pounds and now my BP is in the 130/70 range. Not great but much better, I still have more work to do. The doctor could not believe that I was able to pull this off and drop off all the meds.

OK enough of that. STOP TAKING whatever it is you have been taking. Everyone is different and react differently to supplements. Pick yourself up one of those wrist BP monitors.

Then start adding one supplement at a time to your routine. Monitor your BP. I would suggest taking at least a week or two before adding anything else. You will see your BP starting to climb if something is hitting you the wrong way. Protein powders do not count in this.

Also, read the labels. Look out for caffeine. You could be taking two or more supplements with caffeine. That does not help the BP. I am old enough to remember the ephedrine days. That shit would peg me to the ceiling. Even old Sudifed would wire me like a chicken on speed.

Eat clean, do more cardio, lay off the beer and booze (if you use it) and keep an eye on your BP. The down side to this is some people are genetically included to high blood pressure. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get a handle on it. You need to think things through, be smart and do your research.

Good luck

[quote]swinada wrote:
I guess your avatar is not a recent picture since it does not look like you have a 40" waist in that one.
I would say that a 140/90 is pretty average for a guy with 40" waist and 260 lbs.
I used to be 250lbs with 40" and my BP was at 145/95 which made me decide it is time to loose weight. I am now down to 210lbs and my BP is normal again around 128/80.

Loose the weight and I am sure your BP is going to come down too.

How often did you experience chest pain? just once in a while or on steady basis?
This kind of pain could also be caused by Anxiety / Stress or indigestion.

Wish you good health and keep us updated on your progress.[/quote]

Thanks Swinda,

Yeah the pic is a few years old LOL, I don’t have too many pics of myself. Although I was probably sucking my gut in for all it was worth too. Remember Arnold and those abdominal vacuums :)?

Glad to hear you got your BP down. My chest pain wasn’t constant, but pretty regularly at first. There have been weird sensations, my heart definitely seems to beat hard and fast, but they have put me through the ringer with the tests and determined there is no immediate threat there. I do stress a lot too to be sure.

It would be great to lose a good ten or twenty pounds of fat and keep the muscle. I guess that is nearly impossible to not sacrafice any muscle though.

[quote]streamline wrote:
What does your diet consist of. Has your doctor advise you to reduce fats from your diet, especially non plant fats. Using skim milk, non fat yogurt. Eat lots of fruits (lots, smoothies are the best way to consume large amounts of fruit). Veggies the same. Go from beef to chicken for now. With regular cardio things should be back to normal pretty quick.

If you keep up your calorie intake up with a low fat diet, loss of lean muscle mass should not be a problem. Besides you’ll look a lot better as well, nice and lean at thirty five will turn some heads. Best of luck, stay strong, it’s just a bump in the road.[/quote]

Thanks for the kind words Streamline. Yeah, I am following most of these recomendations. We will see where the BP is in about a month. I have to admit I miss my supplements, but I think I was overdue to to take a break anyway. I just hope I can still keep the mass and get the waist down! I already have let go of a little stress from the support on here so far…

[quote]dogsoldier wrote:
I am/was in the same boat you are. My weight exploded to 335 about a year ago. My BP was 170/100. The doctor put me on a truck load of pills. Even with four different meds per day, my BP would not fall below 160/85. The worst part was that some of the hypertension meds was causing me to gain more weight. I stopped screwing around and lost about 70 pounds and now my BP is in the 130/70 range. Not great but much better, I still have more work to do. The doctor could not believe that I was able to pull this off and drop off all the meds.

OK enough of that. STOP TAKING whatever it is you have been taking. Everyone is different and react differently to supplements. Pick yourself up one of those wrist BP monitors. Then start adding one supplement at a time to your routine. Monitor your BP. I would suggest taking at least a week or two before adding anything else. You will see your BP starting to climb if something is hitting you the wrong way. Protein powders do not count in this.

Also, read the labels. Look out for caffeine. You could be taking two or more supplements with caffeine. That does not help the BP. I am old enough to remember the ephedrine days. That shit would peg me to the ceiling. Even old Sudifed would wire me like a chicken on speed.

Eat clean, do more cardio, lay off the beer and booze (if you use it) and keep an eye on your BP. The down side to this is some people are genetically included to high blood pressure. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get a handle on it. You need to think things through, be smart and do your research.

Good luck

[/quote]

70 pounds is a huge weight loss. Did you keep most of your muscle? I like your advice for approaching the supp intake. I am not taking anything right now on doctor’s orders, but as I said, I am sure there are some that won’t affect BP at all, but you know how doctor’s are afraid of any and all supplements.

I have to admit I did enjoy the rush of the stimulant stuff I was using, although I agree with you about ephedra, way too strong. There was something about that ariamtest that just seemed to enhance the effects of the stimulants. My mother had high BP, but not until here late 60s.

[quote]paulypaul wrote:

I am obviously doing cardio again. I am temporarily off all supps, even vitamins by doctor’s orders. They for now just want to see what exercise and diet without the supps will do and I of course am eating everything I can think of that might help bring down BP (I highly doubt dropping things like vitamins and EFAs will make a difference though). [/quote]

No supps is the right approach. Then add them back one at a time and monitor. Of course vitamins and EFAs shouldn’t raise your BP; in fact a multi with plenty of magnesium might lower it. But one study which tested a bunch of supplements found drugs in some of them which were not listed on the label and/or not legal. Therefore it is critical to take supplements made by a company you can trust.

However, you might want to supplement with magnesium since there is some evidence that can lower BP. And eat foods rich in magnesium of course.

Nooo. . .one month of high blood pressure doesn’t kill you! Where did you get this idea? It’s YEARS of high blood pressure like this that does cumulative damage unless yours is currently off the charts.

Relax! Lose fat, do some cardio, eat lots of veggies, drop the supps especially any and all forms of stimulants, and do something for stress reduction. Whatever you do, don’t stress about high BP! Stress can CAUSE high BP.

You should not stop a decent vitamin and mineral supplement plan. That should be a baseline.

BP can go up from magnesium deficiency. Diuretics to combat BP will flush away many minerals and will cause a magnesium deficiency, often potassium too. Almost everyone in ‘western’ societies is magnesium deficient. Supplements are needed.

Anyone in this boat may be fighting cholesterol and be on statin drugs. Statins reduce the CoQ10 production in the liver. This lack of CoQ10 compromises muscle [mitochondrial] function. After contraction, the muscles do not relax properly. This affects the mechanics of blood pulses thought the arteries… directly raising blood pressure. Same for the heart. The left side of the heart can then not receive enough blood to allow for enough to be pumped out to the body. This increases back pressure in the lungs and the right hand side of the heart then gets back pressure trying to push blood through the lungs. The venous side is over pressurized. Edema and congestive heart failure are the end points for some. The back pressure in the veins of the gut reduce the absorption of nutrients, making a bad situation worse.

High blood pressure forces lipids past the endothilium [lining of the veins and arteries] leading directly to inflammation, scaring and perhaps a heart attack if something else does not kill you sooner. That process can happen anyways, BP just accelerates it and damage to the arteries increase BP. Testosterone, niacin and some B vitamins improve endothelial function, avoiding endothelial dysfunction.

Statin drugs can create libido losses and mental confusion.

When taking statin drugs, one needs to supplement with CoQ10. 30mg/ED probably will not do, probably need 100mg/ED. If blood pressure is a problem, consider 100 - 200mg/ED for two months and see if things change. If BP is normalized, then try 100mg/ED and see if any gains are lost.

Some supplements will create demands on metabolic pathways in the liver that might reduce CoQ10. Some supplements or drugs can affect how other things are processed in the body. One item can increase the amount of an other item that is active in the body by competing for the limited capacity of a metabolic enzyme/pathway. So one thing can make something else that you are taking become a problem. The new item, if it can be researched, may have no know adverse effects [when taken in isolation].

Example. Wellbutrin increased my TT from 1025 to over 1400. Must have reduced the ability of my liver to clear SHBG bound T. My FT increased, but by a small amount.

see:

and

Noting the implications of clearing steroids, not just drugs.

If you do not see the connection, this sums it up: “In vitro experiments have demonstrated that bupropion is extensively metabolized to the pharmacologically active metabolite hydroxybupropion by the cytochrome P450 enzyme 2B6.” as are many drugs, and in that context, all of these over the counter supplements are drugs, they need to be cleared by the liver.

You are in the clear if you act now to reduce your pressure. I’m an RN and worked cardio/pulmonary for 5 yrs so I have seen the effects of long term neglect - not pretty.
I have it too and it is well controlled with a couple of meds and exercise/diet. Mine came from genetics and a “need for speed” for a lot of years (ephedra, caffine, adderral for ADD, not to mention other not-over-the-counter products when I was younger and dumber). I know this contributed to my HTN. Now I stick to coffee and seem to function just fine.

The other thing to consider is your blood pressure increases significantly during resistance training. So if you went in there already kind of on the high side, I gaurantee it was real high in the gym causing lightheadedness, maybe headaches, and blurred vision.

Besides, you probably never even needed most of those supps in the first place. You’re gonna save a fortune!

How about trying the V-Diet? quick loss of weight and you keep most of your muscle mass if you do it right.
http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=559702

it is working for me, dropped close to 40 lbs since December 10th

[quote]paulypaul wrote:
70 pounds is a huge weight loss. Did you keep most of your muscle? I like your advice for approaching the supp intake. I am not taking anything right now on doctor’s orders, but as I said, I am sure there are some that won’t affect BP at all, but you know how doctor’s are afraid of any and all supplements.

I have to admit I did enjoy the rush of the stimulant stuff I was using, although I agree with you about ephedra, way too strong. There was something about that ariamtest that just seemed to enhance the effects of the stimulants. My mother had high BP, but not until here late 60s.
[/quote]

It took me a little over a year to lose the 70 pounds. It was done primarily by cleaning up mu diet and forgoing lifting for cardio. For about six months, I did very little lifting and hung out with the treadmill bunnies at the gym. Yes, there was some muscle loss initially. But it came back pretty quick when I started hitting the weights again.

Do not let the thought of losing muscle stop you right now. Get your BP down and then you can start lifting again. You are only 35 and have plenty of time to bulk up.

As far as the supplements, you would be very well served by taking EFA’s like Flameout not a pitch for Biotest (just a fact), ZMA and a good multivitamine such as ADAM. L-Arginine can help in lowering BP as it vasodilator.

Some people may recommend things like bilberry or hawthorn to help lower BP. Stay away from these. They escalate your estrogen and prolactin levels creating a whole different set of issues.

To sum it up, eat clean: Lean meats, good carbs and plenty of fruits and veggies. Do a bunch of cardio. Stay calm and take things slow. You can beat this thing and back sling the iron around in no time.

[quote]paulypaul wrote:
Well, here is my story. I am now 35, I have worked out pretty seriously since I was 15. There have been some extended breaks here and there, but pretty consistent for the most part. Up until very recently, I was on a pretty big supplement stack.
No meds at this point yet and I hope they never
come into the picture. Most searching I do on the internet seem to indicate my recent blood pressure readings mean I don’t have much time left, but my doctor’s aren’t gravely concerned at this point, it has only been like this for a moth or so.

My weight is still around 260 and my waist is over 40 inches, so yes I could lose some fat too, but I am not like super fat or anything, I have a decent amount of muscle mass which I would hate to lose, but do I need to if it is life and death? Please help, any and all thoughts are appreciated.

Paul [/quote]

I’ll leave the “advice” on losing weight (so, so helpful, wuzn’t it?), etc…, to others, but I will offer some ideas involving supplements that I believe can really help.

As for “credentials,” I work out consistently and I’m 51 y/o, 5’10.5", 250 lbs. at 17% body fat. My nutritional intake would flat out suck if not for nutritional supplements that I use to make up for the deficiencies, imbalances, and sub-optimal levels in my diet, and I accept this unwillingness to change my eating habits for what it is - unwillingness to change. I had overweight parents with HBP, and diabetes runs on both sides of the family as well.

As an aside, I brought my A1c down from 6.7 two years ago to 5.5 using nutritional supplements (which I also take daily), so make of that what you will.

My BP was 120/82 on Feb. 20, this year, when I had a physical. That’s down from the 140/90 reading I had two years ago when I first decided to use supplementation to address the HBP. Last year during my physical, my BP was 120/80, so I’ve got two years of personal data behind me. Also, there are varying levels of scientific research to support the use of the substances I’m going to suggest, but again, I will leave you to perform your own queries and due diligence.

The three supplements are grape seed extract, celery seed extract standardized for 3nb, and hawthorn berry extract.

My protocol is simple: 5 days/week, I use one capsule of 120 mg grape seed extract (95%) in the morning on an empty stomach, and one capsule of celery seed extract standardized to 63 - 67% 3nb on an empty stomach in the evening. 2 days/week, I use one 565 mg. capsule of hawthorn berry extract on an empty stomach both in the morning and in the evening. That’s it. A two month supply of all three supplements costs me less than $25.

Although I’m an infrequent poster, I’ve been a board peruser/member since around 1999, which was long before the “T-Nation” concept was introduced. My one bit of advice is that regardless of the question, you will always receive tons of advice - some worth its weight in gold, some decent, but quite frankly a lot more that is useless. Learn how to tell the difference, and you will find that the little nuggets you sift from the muck can often make a world of difference to your particular situation.

Finis