Low blood pressure fasting due to intermittent fasting is quite effective in treating cardiovascular disorders and hypertension. It has also been shown to reduce fat mass while improving other health markets.
Intermittent fasting is a widespread dietary trend that promotes weight loss, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation. This article concentrates on the link between blood pressure and fasting, highlighting the problem between low blood pressure and how you can prevent it while fasting.
What Are the Concerns With Having High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension or high blood pressure has been shown to affect almost half of all adult Americans. The presence of hypertension also raises the risk of various other conditions. These individuals are also at risk of the following conditions:
- Eye disease
- Kidney disease
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
If you have a history of high blood pressure, fasting can be a great way to decrease it and lower your risk. Intermittent fasting in its various formats tends to come with wholesale lifestyle changes. These changes can play a significant part in lowering your blood pressure.
While selecting to consume nutritious food and reducing the amount of processed food and salt you consume can be beneficial, research has also shown that certain intermittent fasting periods can help lower blood pressure as well.
Thinking of going on a diet? Find out if the keto or Mediterranean diet is best for you here.
How Fasting Can Affect Your Blood Pressure
Fasting can reduce body weight
Fasting on alternate days, combined with endurance exercise, can lower triglycerides, body weight, and LDL while raising HDL, all of which can improve cardiovascular disease risk.
Fasting for 40 days has also been proven to reduce inflammatory biomarkers that promote atherosclerosis, such as homocysteine, CRP, and IL-6.
Fasting can enhance hemoglobin and the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity
Just a day of fasting has been shown to improve hemoglobin and the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity, lowering insulin resistance and enhancing metabolic function.
Fasting can reduce insulin production
Additionally, fasting for a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 72 hours has been linked with a 50% reduction in insulin, which causes the body to reduce the amount of water it holds on to, thereby lower blood pressure.
Research has shown insulin to be atherogenic—a compound that promotes the creation of fatty deposits in the arteries—resulting in you retaining water, thereby increasing the chances of congestive heart failure.
Fasting can lower blood pressure
Numerous fasting methods have been linked with lowering blood pressure, so much so that a study has shown a significant decrease of an average of 11 points. At this point, research is ongoing to find a clear correlation between low blood pressure and fasting. Nevertheless, it seems that there are various mechanisms involved in the association.
First, calorie restriction has been linked to a reduction in blood pressure. Generally, fasting is associated with reduced calorie consumption, which increases cell metabolism. This process can be used to explain a few of the benefits and effects.
Furthermore, studies have shown that when you fast, your nervous system becomes relaxed, in a state called the parasympathetic tone. This state contrasts the sympathetic tone or heightened alertness linked with increased blood pressure.
Fasting can also influence blood pressure via the gut microbiome, the bacteria population residing in the digestive system. This can have effects on the immune system and the digestive system. Water loss and weight changes, which tend to happen during fasting, can also lower blood pressure. This is especially true in individuals that observe certain fasting patterns.
For instance, individuals that observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan do not drink or eat during the day. A study has shown that individuals that fasted during the holy month of Ramadan experienced lower blood pressure. This process happened independent of any changes in body water or weight content.
Research has shown that six weeks of weekend fasting can massively lower diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure independent of any alterations in hip circumference, BMI, or body weight.
In another study where over 150 hypertensive patients fasted under medical supervision for 11 days, 90% attained a blood pressure lower than 140/90. The organizers of the study concluded that fasting could help normalize blood pressure while also helping to promote healthy lifestyle changes.
Discover the best fruits for weight loss here.
Are There Any Risks With Fasting?
Since fasting has been proven to considerably lower blood pressure, people with low blood pressure intending to fast should monitor their blood pressure, so it doesn’t drop too low. Hypotension—when your blood pressure drops low—can result in fainting, fatigue, dizziness, and light-headedness.
With that in mind, there are various things you can do to prevent low blood pressure fasting. For the most part, keeping your calorie restriction timeline between 14 to 20 hours can help.
Tips to Prevent Low Blood Pressure While Fasting
Make sure you eat a balanced diet
A lack of pertinent vitamins and nutrients can drop your blood pressure. To avoid this, you need to consume a mix of foods rich in Vitamin B6, folic, and iron. Iron deficiency has been proven to cause anemia, which can result in changes in your blood pressure.
Limit alcohol consumption
When fasting, it is recommended to limit alcohol consumption. This is especially important during your fasting period, and you have low blood pressure. Consuming too much can increase the need to urinate, which has been linked to the loss of sodium. This has also shown that it raises the risk of dehydration. Furthermore, if you are taking any medication, such as antihypertensive drugs, alcohol can interfere with it.
Drinking coffee has been proven to help balance your blood pressure levels. The major compound in coffee, caffeine, has been proven to provide an instant but short surge in blood pressure levels. The important thing is to ensure you don’t overdo it by drinking too much coffee. This is because too much coffee can result in dehydration.
Take longer fasts
Practicing calorie restriction for periods of more than 24 hours can significantly reduce insulin and blood pressure. This can result in you losing weight while staving off high blood pressure. Research has shown that frequent fasts can result in the need for antihypertensive drugs to drop.
Manage your stress levels
When fasting, you should ensure that you do not combine your fasting period with too much work, intense exercise, coffee, mental anxiety, and sleep deprivation. Fasting and calorie restriction can take a significant toll on your body.
Staying hydrated is extremely important at any time, especially when fasting. Dehydration can cause your blood pressure to drop. If you get muscle cramps or are tired, these could be symptoms of dehydration.
You can recognize dehydration by paying attention to the color of your urine. If your urine is yellow, you need to increase the amount of water you consume. However, you should take care not to overdo it.
Consume minerals and some salt during your calorie restriction window
Consuming minerals and salt during your fasting window can help prevent arrhythmias and electrolyte imbalances. Typically, just a dash of sea salt in your water is sufficient; however, you might need to increase your intake depending on the amount of sweat and exercise you undergo.
Daily time-restricted eating
This type of low blood pressure fasting is great for managing your blood sugar, improving your metabolic health, and managing your food intake. Generally, if you have a calorie intake window of 4 to 10 hours, you are bound to see lower blood pressure and blood sugar results.
About the author:
Rob Jones is a father of two who lives in Massachusetts and enjoys cooking and his dog Beau. Rob has spent years studying food and its effects on the body and mind. He believes in moderation and enjoyment.