Systolic/diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate were obtained for a number of individuals over a three year period. One of the individuals was a 58 year old male diagnosed with essential hypertension. Initially, his average systolic/diastolic blood pressure was approximately 176/104 mm Hg with episodes exceeding 210/118 mm Hg during periods of stress. Peak-to-peak systolic/diastolic blood pressure variations throughout the day of 60/18 mm Hg were fairly common. An echocardiogram revealed hypertrophy of the left ventricle. Records indicate that this person had an untreated high blood pressure problem for almost 16 years.
After recording blood pressure data for nine months, this individual accepted medication for his condition, initially involving a 5 mg/day dose of Vasotecยช and ultimately a 20 mg/day dose of Zestrilยช (ACE inhibitors). After taking the initial Vasotecยช prescription for 8 days, his average blood pressure dropped to approximately 152/90 mm Hg with peak-to-peak variations decreasing to 30/10 mm Hg. Although further intervention was discussed, the hypertense individual would not accept an increase in ACE inhibitor dosage and would not accept any other form of medication (ยง-blockers, calcium channel blockers or diuretics). This person preferred to try other means of blood pressure reduction through diet, stress control, exercise and nutritional supplementation.
There is some controversy concerning blood pressure variability and the impact of various kinds of activities and stress on blood pressure data. Part of this three year study involved recording blood pressure variations that can occur with stress (job related and family), eating, exercise, leisure time activities, relaxation, and sexual activity for an individual who has hypertension.
The blood pressure-pulse rate data for the 58 year old male with hypertension was compared with data obtained for a 48 year old female, who was in good health, and a 17 year old high school student who was in very good shape (actively engaged in swimming and bicycling). The systolic and diastolic blood pressures vs. pulse rate data for these individuals was plotted graphically to detect any nonlinearities in their cardiovascular characteristics and identify significant differences in the slopes of the individual blood pressure vs. pulse rate characteristics.
From an orthomolecular medicine standpoint, the effect of various nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, soy products, herbs) on blood pressure and blood pressure variations is of significant interest. One very interesting feature concerning the various methods that lower blood pressure involves their combined (cumulative) affect. Information on the ability of the various methods to lower blood pressure in a coherent additive manner or a non-coherent additive manner is very important from a treatment expectations standpoint.
Finally, one topic that must be addressed involves the mechanisms that might be associated with essential hypertension. This condition may have a variety of causes.4 However, conventional physiological and biochemical models have not been able to provide enough information to clearly define a cause for this disease. Hypertension problems are often attributed to some form of malfunction in the renal system. In some cases, aberrations in kidney function can produce inappropriate levels of renin secretion, higher levels of angiotenson II production and increased aldosterone secretion. Essential hypertension is often responsive to treatment with angiotension converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. If this is the case, one might ask; "ร’Are there other medical paradigms that might be considered so that an ร’obvious cause, associated with the renal system, can be provided for some cases of essential hypertension?"
A possible link to one of the mechanisms of essential hypertension could be associated with Dr. Bjรถrn Nordenstrรถmโ€s theory of Biologically Closed Electric Circuits (BCEC) and his description of Vascular-Interstitial Closed Electric Circuits (VICC).5,6 Charge transport can occur over VICC pathways because blood vessels can function as relatively insulated cables providing a pathway for tissue fluids and moving charges to reach the capillaries.7 After years of careful experimentation and analysis, Dr. Nordenstrรถm developed a theory involving continuous energy circulation and a corresponding electric/magnetic/electromagnetic field circulation in living systems. Field circulation is accompanied by the co-transport of charged species (ions and electrons) forming continuous electric currents in the human body. These currents are maintained within various BCEC pathways in the body involving blood, interstial fluid, blood vessels, tissue, organs and neuromuscular units. Dr. Nordenstrรถm realized that by augmenting various healing processes normally associated with BCEC systems in the human body, electrotherapeutic techniques could be developed to treat a variety of diseases including cancer, neuromuscular disorders and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Bjรถrn Nordenstrรถm essentially "closed the loop" with respect to electrical activity in living systems. He described a closed system of adaptive electrical circulatory systems that maintain and regulate various functions and promote healing processes.8
In his booklet, Hypertension Report,9 Dr. Julian Whitaker makes a statement, regarding the treatment of hypertension with diuretics, that blends quite well with Nordenstrรถmโ€s BCEC theory. In the booklet, he states: "Water alone is the best diuretic, so for goodness sake, do your best to increase daily water consumption. This approach increases urine production and replaces the need for medication. Water allows the body to function at maximum efficiency and supports the hydroelectric mineral salts that convey electrical currents throughout the body."
From the standpoint of "convey[ing] electrical currents throughout the body," Nordenstrรถm has measured endogenous electrical potential differences and electric currents between tissues and vascular components of the stomach, vena cava, aorta and left/right ureters of an anesthetized pig.7 Current flow between organs was observed for potential differences below 10 mV. Potential differences between the ureters and veins were in the range of -106 mV to +112 mV with VICC current levels of 1 ยตA to 15 ยตA.
Nordenstrรถmโ€s results indicate that VICC systems can respond to very small changes in energy state and they can be activated at very low electric potentials. Therefore, in the absence of any physical damage or biochemical aberrations, a hydroelectric imbalance in the renal system could activate a number of mechanisms that promote hypertension. For instance, changes in electric potential can produce electric field variations that can have an effect on the porosity of capillaries, the pH of various body fluids, the movement of electrolytes and immune response.5 Capillary porosity and electrolyte movement can be affected by changes in localized electric fields. Therefore, the filtration process provided by the glomerular capillaries of the kidney, along with mechanisms associated with various renal clearance rates, could be affected by the 10 mV to 100 mV variations in potentials that occur between organs and various components of the renal system. In this case, BCEC theory and the VICC model could be the basis of a new medical paradigm that will help to explain some of the causes and mechanisms associated with essential hypertension.
George D. Oโ€Clock, Ph.D. (EE), P.E