Question: All the concern seems to be around high blood pressure, but I have low blood pressure and have fainted several times because of it, so I am wondering if there are ways to increase my blood pressure?
Answer: Low blood pressure can be a reason for feeling unwell and can include symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, weakness and visual disturbances. It can be a major health hazard if you faint and your body fails to bring the pressure up, or serious injury can result depending on where and when you faint.
I will assume you are not being over-medicated for high blood pressure, as that is commonly a cause for low blood pressure.
Hypothyroidism and/or adrenal insufficiency are two common reasons for chronically low blood pressure. Low body temperature is reason enough to investigate thyroid and adrenal function. Most people are iodine deficient, which is needed for thyroid function perhaps explaining the prevalence of hypothyroidism.
The adrenal cortex makes several hormones from cholesterol, including aldosterone which helps retain normal levels of sodium in the blood, which attracts water and helps maintain normal blood volume. Adrenal hormone production can decrease because of prolonged stress, inadequate nutrients or too much
caffeine resulting in low blood pressure.
To increase adrenal output of these hormones, licorice root extract is adrenocorticotropic or stimulates ACTH the brain hormone that, in turn, stimulates the adrenal glands. LDL cholesterol that is below 2.5 because of cholesterol meds, inadequate body fat or a diet too low in fat can impair hormone production. Also, adequate adrenal nutrients, including vitamin C, B5, B6, magnesium and zinc are needed to convert LDL cholesterol into hormones. Drinking water with a one quarter tsp of iodized sea salt in the morning can also help increase blood pressure while you address the cause.
Other factors that can exacerbate low blood pressure include low blood sugar, low iron levels, low sodium intake, dehydration and pregnancy.
Question: I have started taking strontium for my bones because I have osteopaenia, but then I heard it was radioactive. Is this true?
Answer: No, strontium in its natural form is not radioactive and is great for bone density.
There are radioactive isotopes of strontium that were used in nuclear weapons that were found in bones and teeth of children with cancer who were in the vicinity of nuclear weapons testing.
Strontium is similar in structure to calcium but is harder and so it makes bones denser. Strontium also stimulates osteoblasts, bone building cells, unlike bisphosphonate drugs which only inhibit bone destruction. Many studies have confirmed dramatic increases in new bone formation in people with osteoporosis and with breast and prostate cancer that has metastasized to bone.
Strontium is ingested in small amounts from food and water up to 5 mg per day.
However, in order to have this type of therapeutic effect 300 to 700 mg of elemental strontium is needed per day as a single supplement and must be taken one hour before or three hours after food and away from thyroid medication. It also is believed to protect against cavities.
Kali Simmonds, ND is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practises in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of a health-care professional. Please consult with a health-care provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3, or by email at email@example.com.