(image thanks to acupuncture.com)
Although not a major focus at our clinic, one of more interesting connections to the identification and removal of food allergies from their diet has been for some patients a significant and relatively quick drop in their blood pressure.
This has not necessarily been related to a drop in their weight, although that is often another positive side effect of the treatment program.
These make for interesting stories, but it also turns out that there are some published reports on the subject of food allergies and intolerances and the incidence of hypertension. In fact, one of these studies is quite large. In 2004 a report of 3,740 gluten intolerant adults on a gluten free diet found that they had on average significantly lower blood pressure than the general population. (1)
This study did not measure their blood pressure before and after the change in their diet, but other smaller studies have. A case of a gluten intolerant patient with well monitored blood pressure that hovered in the 150s/mid 90s prior to diagnosis showed improvement within 6 months after going gluten free, and was completely normal 128/80 within 15 months. (2)
But more dramatic results have been reported in larger studies involving more food reactions. A study of 15 people with hypertension were found to be reactive to a different combinations of foods such as wheat, egg, dairy, orange, beef, corn, cane sugar, and yeast. In each case their blood pressure reverted to normal after removing the appropriate food(s) from their diet. And as an added bonus, everyone with migraine headaches also saw those disappear (which, believe it or not, are commonly triggered by food allergens). (3)
(1.) West J, et al. Risk of vascular disease in adults with diagnosed coeliac disease: a population-based study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Jul 1;20(1):73-9.
(2.) Lim PO, et al. Reversible hypertension following coeliac disease treatment: the role of moderate hyperhomocysteinaemia and vascular endothelial dysfunction. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2002 Jun;16(6):411-5.
(3.) Grant EC. Food allergies and Migraine. Lancet. 1979 May 5;1(8123):966-9.
Image thanks to acupuncture.com
Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker on IBS. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio. He was recently named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.