Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Insulin, NOT SODIUM, and hypertension

Insulin rather than salt is the major driver of hypertension, according to an analysis of data from a prospective study of 23 patients with confirmed atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

In the study, obese patients consuming a high saturated fat, low starch diet increased daily sodium intake from less than 2 grams a day to more than 20 grams a day. But they also lost an average of 5.5 kg-or about 5% of their total body weight-in six weeks.

"At the same time there were dramatic and significant reductions in fasting insulin and in mean arterial pressure, researchers said. The finding strongly suggests that "we need to stop paying so much attention to sodium and pay much more attention to fasting insulin." Insulin rises in response to a high carbohydrate, high calorie diet.

"It all comes back to obesity." Asked whether a similar weight loss achieved with a restricted calorie diet or a low fat diet could produce the same results, they agreed that it could.

"We are testing that hypothesis with a new study that will begin enrollment this summer," authors said. "We will be comparing the high fat, no-calorie-restriction diet, to a low fat diet plus Xenical (orlistat)."

And, insulin resistance has now been linked to Alzheimer's.

More on insulin resistance.

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