Effects of Shilajit on blood pressure

Traditional Indian medicine is full of wonders. Plant-based healing agents and herbo-minerals are being used to heal a variety of diseases since ancient times. Shilajit is one of them, a unique herbo-mineral preparation used for millennia around Asia and Europe. It is extensively used in India, Tibet, and Nepal to this day. In India alone, shilajit was used as a laxative, diuretic, immune booster, anti-hypertensive, analgesic, bronchitis, and anemia. With milk, it was thought to help with diabetes, and with the Commiphora wightii herb, it helped accelerate wound and bone healing. It was also used as an aphrodisiac and was claimed to help with infertility for women.

Hypertension is a common condition affecting a considerable number of the US population. When not treated, it can lead to life-threatening events like heart attack and stroke. Shilajit is claimed to be useful against hypertension. In fact, some companies in Asia have proprietary drugs containing shilajit indicated for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and maintenance of heart health. One other herbo preparations showed to have hypolipidemic effects in rats. Unfortunately, no scientific or clinical study specifically on the subject of hypertension is available. Does shilajit lower blood pressure or would shilajit increase blood pressure? Are there any shilajit benefits for blood pressure? In this article, we will piece together the many studies closely related to the subject to see if indeed, it there is a shed of truth to the claim. But first, a review!

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure is one of the leading conditions that increase the risk of stroke and heart attacks. According to a 2012 study, 1 out of 3 US citizens already have hypertension or at risk of developing it. In 2014 data, hypertension is said to be responsible for over 400,000 deaths in the US alone. What makes this condition dangerous is the lack of any visible signs and symptoms. You will only know you have it when you get your blood pressure checked.

Lifestyle factors contribute the most to its development. Unhealthy diets, sedentary lifestyle, vices, all contribute to the genesis of this disease. Hereditary factors also play a role.

When not known early on, it will slowly damage the heart and the blood vessels as more pressure is being exerted on the arterial walls. Atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, and excess blood sugar all contribute to increased blood pressure. Damage to kidneys, liver, and brain will likely result when not managed properly.

Shilajit

“Mountain Blood,” as the Burmese call, and “Mountain Sweat” for the Arabs, shilajit is a unique herbo-mineral exudate from high altitude rock crevices predominantly found in the Himalayan mountain ranges. It is made of decomposed plant materials and animal metabolites, taking centuries, even thousands of years form. It is revered for its many therapeutic qualities; its use spans many countries throughout Asia and Europe and has been used extensively by Ayurvedic healers to this day. It is mentioned in ancient pharmacology books like the Charaka Samhita, a testament to its importance towards traditional Indian healing. Fulvic acid, dibenzo alpha pyrones, humic substance, and over 80 nutrients and minerals make this healing compound unique and beneficial to the body.

Shilajit and High Blood Pressure

Only one study using Daphnias was made to understand how shilajit affects heart-rate and to serve as a preliminary look towards its effect in high blood pressure. In said study, Daphnia’s were used because they react well to cardioactive drugs and are transparent, so monitoring heart rate is relatively easy. Their results showed a lowering effect on heart rate in low shilajit concentrations, but higher concentrations increased heart rate considerably.. The specific action is not yet understood.

There are no clinical studies that help support the notion that shilajit can lower or increase high blood pressure. Although proprietary drugs like Abana which is well researched and is considered to have shilajit, indicated as a hypotensive supplement, it is uncertain how shilajit plays a role since it also contains a few other herbs all known to help lower blood pressure levels. There are no studies that support it as a blood thinner as well. However, a few studies with relevance to the condition have been carried out and prove instructive in understanding whether or not; shilajit proffer any benefits for high blood pressure. And, so this article will discuss those studies and attempt to piece together their results to get to a conclusion.

Can shilajit cause high blood pressure?

Researchers from the Department of Biochemistry, SMS Medical College, in Jaipur, India, in collaboration with the National Institute of Ayurveda studied the effects of shilajit on blood chemistry. Their research is instructive on the subject.

Thirty students participated in the study, with 20 given 2 grams shilajit per day for 45 days. The rest received a placebo pill. No discernible changes towards blood pressure, pulse rate, and body weight were observed. They also found that it did not alter hematological parameters even at a dose as high as 2 grams per day. However, they noted decreased lipid profiles, indicative of a hypolipidemic and cardio-protective effect which will be discussed later.

Shilajit and high Blood pressure: Is there a lowering effect?

A study comparing Simvastatin and shilajit to see how effective they were for hyperlipidemia is instructive. Albino rats were given hyperlipidemia inducing diets, with different groups receiving shilajit and Simvastatin. Both results showed a reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Simvastatin showed more efficacy in upping HDL levels and lowering LDL. It is unknown how these substances are lowered or the mechanism behind it. The researchers opined that it is possible shilajit’s humic acids may induce an antiatherogenic effect meaning it may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. We will discuss later how these things are correlated.

Obesity and Hyperlipidemia

Another study involving shilajit and its effects on the lipid profile was conducted, but this time, with obese rats. The researchers found that a dose-dependent intake helped decreased the weight of the rats and improved lipid profiles, consistent with other studies.

Diabetes and Hypertension

Diabetes was induced in rats to see how shilajit affected blood glucose levels. Diabetes or elevated blood sugar increases the risk of developing hypertension. In all three doses, used (50, 100, and 200mg per day), a reduction in glucose levels was observed and consistent with the other studies, an improvement in lipid profile was duly noted.

Benefits of Shilajit For Blood Pressure

In all of these studies, one thing is certainly consistent. Shilajit may not decrease high blood pressure or increase it, but it does improve lipid profiles. This is important since elevated blood lipids may be correlated to the development of hypertension. Dyslipidemia is characterized by the elevation cholesterol, triglyceride, and other lipid components in the blood. Cholesterol attaches to the walls and the arteries forming plaque that stiffens and narrows it, and elevates blood pressure, and strains the heart to work harder. With LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides lowered, the risks of developing hypertension may be reduced.

The antioxidant activity of fulvic acid was also found to help maintain vitamin C and E at healthy levels in the blood which can prevent lipid peroxidation. It even increased the levels in the blood. Note: Only processed and purified shilajit contains powerful antioxidative properties.

The study on blood chemistry showed that shilajit does not increase or lower blood pressure, heart rate, and does not alter any blood components. This may suggest that shilajit may not increase blood pressure, nor lower it as well.

Obesity is closely linked to hypertension, as well. A person’s weight can harm the heart and the arteries. The result of the study suggests that shilajit may help weight reduction. Excess weight may increase the risk of developing hypertension, and dyslipidemia is heavily correlated in obesity.

Is Shilajit good for high blood pressure?

Until we have clinical studies supporting the use of shilajit to counter elevated blood pressure or hypertension, we can only deduce, for now at least, that it does not affect it. It has no lowering or increasing impact, and likely it has no effect if levels are normal.

However, it may be able to prevent or even control it by helping the body normalize blood lipid levels. No direct effect to hypertension can be seen but, shilajit may promote a healthy heart and arterial health by lowering lipid levels and improving HDL cholesterol. If these factors are normalized, the likelihood of hypertension and ultimately, stroke and cardiac disease will be lowered.

For now, further research is needed for a complete picture regarding shilajit’s effect against hypertension. Human clinical data is needed for this. And so, In conclusion:

  • No clinical study nor data suggest that shilajit may lower or increase high blood pressure.
  • Animal study and limited blood chemistry studies suggest that shilajit may help improve lipid profile by lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and improving HDL levels.

Is Anxiety Really Genetic or is There Something More at Play?

anxietyPhoto courtesy of Rawpixels.com on Pexels

Some people subscribe to the idea that anxiety is a genetic problem, and in some situations, this can certainly be the case. However, the reality is that anxiety is a much more complex issue that cannot be chalked up to simply one single cause.

Anxiety can emerge as a result of life situations, experiences, and beliefs, and while it’s certainly true that genetics may influence a person’s development of anxiety, it is far from the only cause. This article will touch on how genetics and other factors can influence anxiety.

What Causes Anxiety?

There are a number of things that can cause anxiety, and some things that can make a person more likely to develop an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives. Some of the most common include:

  • Genetics. A complicated issue, genetics may or may not make someone directly develop an
    anxiety disorder. Instead, they may make someone more susceptible to the effects of certain
    situations or traumatic experiences that could trigger latent anxiety.
  • Brain chemistry. A number of things can influence a person’s brain chemistry, ranging from
    addictions to sex, gambling, or drugs, head injuries, or other issues.
  • Traumatic life experiences can make a person develop anxieties, particularly in the case of
    PTSD where they become anxious around situations that remind them of their
    traumatic experiences.
  • Physical conditions, such as thyroid disorders, can also contribute to the development of
    anxiety disorders.
  • Nutritional deficiencies can lead to the development of anxiety, particularly for people who are
    deficient in magnesium or the B vitamins
  • A person’s upbringing. Someone who is raised in an environment where they are unloved may
    develop certain anxieties, whereas people who are raised in environments where they are not
    shown how to properly socialize may develop social anxiety.

It’s important to note that there are many different types of anxiety, and certain triggers may lead to certain forms of anxiety. For example, a person may develop social anxiety if they experience a traumatic situation at the hands of one of their peers during early life.

Genetics and Anxiety

What is interesting about the link between genetics and anxiety is the fact that a solid conclusion cannot yet be drawn. It is understood that there is a link between genetics and anxiety, but more research is required to be certain of that link.

What is certain is that there are a number of things that can contribute to anxiety disorders, most of which fall outside the category of genetics. Environmental influences, social factors, a person’s upbringing, and their physical or mental health can all contribute to anxiety.

However, one should note that having a family history of anxiety may make someone more likely to develop anxiety disorders as a result of any of these conditions. Whether or not anxiety is an issue that can be caused directly by genetics is yet to be understood.

Things to Consider When Considering Recovery Facilities

recovery facilitiesPhoto by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash

When life gets to be too triggering, too overwhelming and too much to handle, there are options to help. From therapists and psychiatry, to treatment and recovery facilities, the options are plentiful with dedicated, kind and skilled professionals that have dedicated their professional lives to helping others. Many have experienced something similar themselves, so are generally operating from a place of deep understanding and sympathy. Whatever your situation, there are some things to consider when choosing your route of therapy or treatment.

Intensity of need

Do you need to talk to someone about something that’s going on, and can work through it with an hour session with a therapist, either once or throughout multiple sessions? Finding a local therapist you trust and feel comfortable with might be your best option in this case. If your need feels more severe, finding a men’s or women’s recovery center might be the best resource for your need. Dedicated professionals work in these recovery facilities and are there round the clock with structured sessions, group sessions and activities in place to help enable your progress and processing of your needs.

Proximity and time available

Do you have a few weeks or months available from your job and responsibilities that you can dedicate to your health and recovery? If you do, going to one might be the best thing you can do for yourself. If not, not to worry, there are a lot of other options available to help you where you are, with the time and resources you have available.

Cost

While some people can self fund theirs, others can utilize insurance, scholarships and sponsorship to facilitate their recovery. Where there’s a need, there’s a solution. If this is something you need for the betterment of your life, making the decision is oftentimes the catalyst for things falling into place.

Whatever your needs and resources, there are a myriad of options available to assist with helping you process through your trauma and experiences.

Food Is Your Friend: How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food

food is your friend

Maintaining your relationship with food can be complicated. On the one hand, we love to treat ourselves and indulge, but on the other hand, this can make us feel bad about ourselves.

It’s all about finding the balance between eating right, enjoying being healthy and letting ourselves indulge in something naughty once in a while.

Here are a few tips on how you can have a healthy relationship with food.

Remember – YOU Are in Control

Temptation is one of the worst hurdles when it comes to nurturing your relationship with food.

If your kitchen is stocked with items that aren’t healthy or that risk derailing your sensible eating plan, the best thing to do is to get rid of them. If you give yourself access to these items, you’ll resent them being there, tempting you.

You are in control. You do the grocery shopping. You can keep sugary items out of your house so that you don’t slip up.

Explore and Experiment with Healthy Foods

Healthy does not have to be boring.

One of the most exciting things about trying out a new healthy regime is the possibilities it can bring with it.

If you’re cutting out certain foods it doesn’t mean you have to just eat plain salads. Do some research and investigate different types of food and recipes so you can experiment in the kitchen and find fun in being healthier.

There are apps and cookery books out there that offer a plethora of ideas for the eager home cook looking to have some fun in the kitchen and discover a whole new world of healthier choices.

This helps to reduce any stigma you might have with adapting to a food routine that’s better for you in the long run.

Don’t go Down the Rabbit Hole

It’s way too easy to become an emotional eater.

If you’re feeling down or stressed, for example, binging on comfort food can be a go-to reaction. Ditching the diet and seeking solace in sweet treats to lift your mood is often a problem many people face.

While it’s okay to indulge in a cheat day every now and then, it can become routine. A day off can turn into a whole week or even a month off. This is emotional eating at its worst.

You’ll find yourself feeling better initially but then you’ll be down a rabbit hole of indulgence which will, ultimately, make you feel worse as time goes on.

Look into going on a stop emotional eating course if it’s a real issue. If things aren’t that bad yet, self-discipline is all you need.

Set a cheat day of the week where you’re allowed to indulge, but stick to it. This means you won’t resent the ‘bad’ foods you let yourself eat now and again, meaning you have a better relationship with it in the long run.

More Tips on Having a Healthier Relationship with Food

There’s plenty more tips and tricks on how to nurture your relationship with food, as well as advice on general wellbeing and health across our entire website.

For a vast array of articles on the topic, check out our health section.

Common Factors That Prevent You From Reaching Your Goals

your goalsPhoto by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Every year you set goals for yourself. You want to be a better person, have the things you want, and live a meaningful life. Yet, more than halfway through the year you find yourself in the same place (or worse). Unfortunately, you’re no closer to accomplishing your goals. Is it an impossible goal to accomplish? Perhaps it’s just not in the cards for you? All you know is in your mind you want to change but your actions aren’t matching.

Achieving your goals involves a lot more than just wanting them to come to fruition. To reach any level of success in your life you have to have both the right mindset and behaviors. You must stop old habits and develop new ones, eliminate unproductive activities and replace them with actionable steps towards your visions.

This can all be hard to accomplish when you have so many distractions in the way. The first step towards achieving your goals is to identify those factors and remove them:

Fear of Failure

Fear is a natural emotion but it can be very crippling to success. The feeling that you’re not going to succeed in your efforts could essentially keep you from trying at all. Why go out for that promotion if it’s just going to get passed to someone else? What if you start a business and it fails?

It’s not uncommon to get trapped in the land of “what if” when going after something you really want but have never accomplished before. There is also the possibility that you won’t succeed. While this could hurt a bit, it’s not the end of the world.

To overcome your fear of failure you have to start looking at it from a different point of view. When you make mistakes or don’t succeed, perhaps there are valuable lessons that you can take away from it all. If these lessons help you to progress in the future, wasn’t the previous failure then worth it? At the end of the day, even if you failed – at least you tried.

Addictions

If you suffer from substance abuse or addiction but are trying to set goals, the chances of reaching them are slim. That is, at least while you’re still abusing substances. Whether it’s prescription drugs, alcohol, illicit street drugs, or gambling an addiction keeps you trapped. Your life becomes consumed with achieving your next high making it difficult to focus on anything else.

If you struggle with substance abuse or addiction get help now. You can get help for prescription drugs, alcohol, or gambling from rehab centers. Once you’ve completely detoxed and gotten the counseling and support you need to remain sober, you can begin setting goals and accomplishing them.

Impatience

It would be really awesome if you could set a goal and accomplish it the next day but most things don’t happen that way. It takes time and patience. Unfortunately, sometimes even more than you anticipated. When it’s not going according to plan it can be easy to throw in the towel, hence, preventing you from reaching your goal.

It’s true, waiting is hard. However, not everything in life happens exactly when and how you want it to. It is, therefore, important to learn how to simply enjoy the journey of getting to the finish line. Be happy with every step that you take towards your goals and before you know it you’ll see them come to fruition.

Dreaming Too Big

There is certainly nothing wrong with having big dreams. However, when trying to reach those dreams you must set realistic goals. Realistically, you can’t expect to earn $1 million in the next 6 months. When you set the bar too high you’re setting yourself up for failure.

In order to make your dreams come true, you have to break them down into smaller steps. Instead of trying to become a millionaire in 6 months you give yourself six years. Then, create a plan for what you’ll do over the next 6 years to make that happen. For instance, you might start a business, reduce your spending habits, increase your savings, or start investing.

Then, break those steps down even smaller to daily tasks like assessing the costs of a startup, collecting receipts and statements to review spending habits, increasing your savings by an increment of $50 each month, or investing $100 a month into stocks of your choosing. As you’re checking each of these tasks off the list it puts you a step closer to your bigger goal.

Setting goals is one thing. Achieving them is another. If you find that year after year you set goals only to end up in the same predicament the following year, perhaps there’s something holding you back. Whether it be the fear of failing, an addiction, impatience, or simply dreaming too big and biting off more than you can chew, you can turn things around. Start by discerning what’s hindering you then make a plan of action such as the advice provided above to overcome it. Once you’ve removed the problem you can begin taking action every day towards making those goals come true.