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Ep. 91 - What is "water weight" anyway? Fasting to lower blood pressure and reduce swelling, water retention | Do low sodium diets work? | Free Intermittent Fasting Plan for OMAD

Uncategorized Sep 21, 2021

Dr. Scott and Tommy discuss the often misunderstood aspects of insulin, "water weight," blood pressure, and how they are affected by fasting. These are complex systems in the body, and fasting directly impacts each of them. They reference several articles that lay out the science, as well as personal experiences and feedback related to common fasting experiences.

 

References for this episode:

https://journals.physiology.org/doi/pdf/10.1152/jappl.1954.6.8.509

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF00252649.pdf

https://www.nature.com/articles/nrcardio.2010.123

https://www.nature.com/articles/hr201377

 

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Show Transcript: www.thefastingforlife.com/blog

 

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Fasting For Life Ep. 91

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:01] Hello. I'm Dr. Scott Watier

Tommy Welling: [00:00:03] And I'm Tommy Welling, and you're listening to the Fasting for Life podcast.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:08] This podcast is about using fasting as a tool to regain your health. Achieve ultimate wellness and live the life you truly deserve.

Tommy Welling: [00:00:15] Each episode is a short conversation on a single topic with immediate, actionable steps. We cover everything from fat loss and health and wellness to the science

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:23] Of lifestyle design. We started fasting for life because of how fasting has transformed our lives, and we hope to share the tools that we have learned

[00:00:30] Along the way.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:40] Hey, everyone, welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast. My name is Dr. Scott Watier and I'm here as always with my good friend and colleague Tommy Welling. Good afternoon to you, sir. Hey, Scott, how are you doing? Great, my friend going to be a good conversation today? And I think we're going to have some good aha moments that are going to come out of today's conversation and some of the nuances and hopefully give you guys some real life, actionable things as we always embark to do when we have these conversations on the podcast. So shout out to all of you listeners that have been with us on this journey for a while, if you guys are new to the podcast, you can go back and listen to the first few episodes and learn more about who we are and our journey and why it is that we're in the nineties now in terms of amount of episodes that we've put out and how we continue to find and redefine how we apply the fasting for life, lifestyle, how we get fasting and work fasting into our day to day lives. And this is really all based around losing the weight, regaining your health and living that life to your fullest optimum potential and what that looks like for you as the individual listener. So yeah, today's topic is going to hopefully simplify a lot of complex, different conversations and potential health related issues. And we're going to talk about blood pressure and kidneys and heart, cardiovascular risk, disease and and all of the different layers in between. And we're also going to talk about why you pee so much when you start fasting and what's actually happening. And Tom, he's laughing. Like, Did you just say that? Yeah, TMI. But why? Why are you running to the bathroom and what you should do about it? And is that normal and what you can expect to see in terms of changes related to blood pressure and blood volume as you start to adopt the fasting lifestyle?

Tommy Welling: [00:02:27] Yeah. And I think it was interesting how this conversation kind of came about because going through the challenges and and Q and A's and things like that, and one of the most common questions that we get is like, I don't I just started fasting. I. Is this normal? You know, I'm feeling like a little bit of blood pressure changes. Like you said, I'm having to run to the bathroom a lot. Is that normal? Is that is that part of the process? And just kind of there's there's some issues that can can come up like right at the beginning when you start fasting and as you kind of make the adjustment as your insulin rebalances and just a lot of processes that go along.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:03:06] Yeah, it's it's really going to start from OK. What are we see, what are we here? What are the questions we get? And one of the biggest benefits to fasting is the fact that it helps get to the underlying cause of things like weight loss resistance, insulin resistance in things in that light. So never mind does the scale come down, but you also see these health benefits as well. And if you've been on the calorie counting, macro tracking, work more, work out more, eat less kind of low and slow plan, then you've probably ran into some of these sticking points along the way. You've come to fasting for weight loss in most in most cases, just like you and I had Tommy. But what are the things that you're going to encounter and then what are the things that we can expect to see in terms of changes in some of these health metrics? And that's why I kind of jokingly said, Well, you're going to run to the bathroom a lot. So why what is happening there and the fact that when you start fasting? You're going to experience this thing called diuresis, which is your body is excreting water through the kidneys and it's all hormone controlled, just like fat storage or fat burning from where insulin is that that on off switch? But why is that happening and then what are those small changes you can expect to see? And then more importantly, how that affects those cardiovascular related issues, kidney related issues, blood pressure related issues, et cetera?

Tommy Welling: [00:04:38] Yeah, it's it's crazy because it all starts with that, with what you just said that diuresis and and that goes along with those first few pounds that you can lose if you started any weight loss plan that's been effective like right at the beginning, especially when you if you came off of just really kind of unintentional eating right, like like poor food choices or, you know, over overindulgence and things like that processed carbohydrates. And if you lost those first few pounds, you may have noticed, depending on how quickly it happened, that that you were peeing a lot and that goes along with the diuresis and that diarrhea is actually caused by insulin levels coming down. So if you've been going throughout your day to day life and insulin levels have been high, you've been holding on to more salt and more water. And then when you go into a any weight loss plan, that's actually effective. But if you start fasting, especially, you can see these effects very quickly. Insulin can come down very quickly. You have a quick diuretic effect and that can be multiple pounds that that drops off. That can be the water weight. And that's actually some of the glycogen stores that you have leaving the body or being being burned and then the water and salt leaving the body. Through the kidney being excreted through the kidney.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:05:54] So one of the things here is that it's OK, so it's like, what are we here? What are the questions we get and the bathroom questions? One The water questions one. Why am I so thirsty? Yeah, why am I so we encourage to increase your water and electrolytes, things like Himalayan sea salt, Himalayan salt. So a good a good quality. Sea salt like a Redman's or a trace mineral. Something that's going to help balance out those electrolytes. And we're going to explain just briefly from a science perspective, what's happening. But the one of the studies that we first referenced to kind of have the, you know, start to unpack the conversation of how do we connect the dots and why is it important? You know, this was back in the 1950s, 1953 and the title was A. Diuresis associated with the administration of insulin. So in the study, they started administering insulin to patients. And what they found was that the body would retain so be the opposite of diuresis diuretic, which is the flushing, right? The opposite happened when insulin levels raised. What was the mechanism? Well, there's a hormone that controls the reabsorption of sodium, which then comes with the water portion, right that pulls the water back into the body. Yeah, and that's aldosterone. So that is a hormone that is created by your adrenal glands, which we'll get back to here in a minute. So when you start fasting, Tommy, the insulin crashes, right? Because you're not having three meals a day plus snacks plus flavored waters plus, you know, sodas, juices, sodas, juices, all the stuff, plus the the the half eaten Applegate maple turkey sausage off your child's plate as anything. Everything? Yeah, yeah. The third meal that you've made them, that they haven't eaten that day. I know it's just us. No other kids do that. But no. So it's it's you don't have that high level of instant. So insulin actually will drop, which then drops. Aldosterone and aldosterone again is a is a messenger that is created by your adrenal. So we're going to touch on the adrenal and the stress component of this too in just a minute.

Tommy Welling: [00:08:02] Yeah, because it's all interrelated. And that's why we we started off by saying, you know, we're going to hopefully land the plane and simplify a few, you know, overarching kind of themes. And there's a lot of there's a lot of arrows pointing in a lot of different directions. When you look at any schematics on this, this stuff like in a physiology textbook and we're trying to make it a little bit more actionable here. And the reason why is because when you first start off with fasting, you can experience some of those things where you're you're losing a lot of water all of a sudden. And now I'm more thirsty and I've dropped a few pounds, and I think it might be water weight. So why is it so when when we start looking at the next level of this and we start talking about the hormonal component? It's interesting too, because you just mentioned aldosterone and the fat cells that we're already holding onto are also. Uh, playing a role on the aldosterone system and our fat cells are actually sending out more messenger signals to further increase the aldosterone, so further increasing the sodium and water retention, leading to more of that, that swelling I'm holding on to water, my blood pressure is is is raised because of it. And so the fat cells that we're already holding onto are making that problem worse, right?

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:09:18] Yes. How can we get the weight off quickly and effectively and safely as well, not to have the rebound or the regain as as a lot of us have have dealt with over the years or people that are coming to fasting and intermittent fasting type of lifestyle. You mentioned something there about blood pressure. That was really interesting to me because what we're finding is that salt has been demonized, right? So when we talk about increasing your salt intake using Himalayan salt trace, trace minerals or electrolytes, you, you're really wanting to balance that effect of that negative effect of aldosterone on the kidney, which is, you know, long term can have high long term chronic blood pressure can lead to oxidative stress damage to the DNA. It can affect congestive heart failure. You can have flutters and tribulations and fibrosis of the heart and the different ventricles. You can have cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular diseases or strokes. You can have plaque in the arteries. So having that long term high blood pressure is something that, you know, the reduction of sodium has been one of the core competencies or core things that's recommended to counteract your rising blood pressure. And if you look at the different medications that are out there and this is not medical advice, so don't go to your doctor and say, Hey, listen to this podcast! And they said to stop taking my blood pressure medication because it's not fixing the problem.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:10:42] My encouragement is to, you know, think through this and then have the conversation. Am I addressing the underlying issue? So there's two things here to help regulate aldosterone. If the goal is to decrease the fat, which is sending the signals, creating putting more stress on the adrenals, which is causing the adrenals to stimulate more aldosterone, which is then telling the kidneys to retain water and increase the swelling and the blood volume that you have on your body, right? The water weight weight in general. And then it has all those effects on all of those different organ tissues, heart, brain, kidneys, blood vessels that we just talked about, right? How do you counteract that? Well, it's contrary to the standard status quo. Watch your sodium intake. And what I mean by that is. Do little sodium, not too much, is the stressor that causes the adrenals to produce more of the hormone that causes your body to retain water? Yeah, which then allows more glycogen storage, which then allows all of that swelling and stuff we talk about. That's number one. And number two is the ways to decrease. This would be to manage your insulin levels. And the studies show that insulin acts directly on the adrenal gland, bumping up the production of those adrenal steroids, which is the aldosterone. So you've got like a trifecta of issues here. And this is where fasting comes into play. You're truly.

Tommy Welling: [00:12:11] Yeah. Because when when insulin levels rise to to the level of of an overweight to an obese person, not necessarily somebody who's a diabetic person. When insulin levels rise to those levels, we have a 50 percent reduction in salt and water clearance through the kidney. That means that you're clearing out that stuff in. It takes you twice as long to clear out the same amount of water and sodium. So that leads to overall water retention much, much bigger swings in things that you could actually see on a day to day basis, like the swelling in different parts of the body and things like that. And you know, the the aldosterone issue itself is is just being perpetuated by the adipose tissue. So like you said, you work on getting the fat off and bringing the insulin level down and then you start, you start. You can have a really powerful effect on all of these, these issues in a very short order of time.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:13:07] You know, there's a lot of arrows here, right, so you've got the fat cells that are producing, you know, resistant and leptin resistance, which is telling your body that you're not full and it's increasing your insulin resistance or decreasing the effectiveness of the insulin. So you need more, which can lead to prediabetes and diabetes chronic inflammation. Based on a low level activation of the immune system, aldosterone also mimics some of those same things and leads to the retention of water. So we've been told for decades that watch your salt content, watch yourself. Now I'm not talking about like the Marines table salt, like I'm talking or like the pre-packaged foods that have the sodium in it. I'm talking about like real salt. So removing those and putting in real sources of of salt. So a good Celtic sea salt, a Redman's, a a good trace mineral that concentrates company that you and I use and we love the Himalayan salt that is actually going to have the exact opposite effect. And this is why when we see these results inside of our challenges and our coaching and whatnot when we're doing, the one on one is that people be like, Hey, I'm feeling kind of weird. Like, I got a little fuzzy. I'm kind of not lightheaded, but I'm just kind of like, I feel a little fatigued and I'm like, OK, well, are you still fresh? Yeah, yeah. A little off, right? Yeah. Well, you're feeling these transitions. And I remember my dad who was here visiting, and he did.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:14:37] He was he was like 40 pounds down off, like 10 meds, and he had a couple left. He had a couple of blood pressure he had. I want to talk about diuretics. In a second, he had a diuretic and an antihypertensive, and I remember him like just getting super tired. And I was like, I was I was out, came home. My mom was like, Dad, that's just not feeling good. I'm like, Here is three teaspoons of Himalayan salt have been shuttered, and within 20 minutes he was back up. We tested his blood pressure and it was back within normal range, but his pulse was still really low. So I started doing some research and I looked up the last few remaining medications that he was on and one of them actually caused your pulse and your heart rate to dip. So he called his doctor. Doctor took him off two medications just based off of his most recent changes in the quick weight loss. And he's never gone back on them because he maintains the fasting lifestyle, he's able to keep the blood volume balance by using good sources of salt and sodium. And the fasting window is keeping the insulin down, which is keeping the stress off of the adrenals, which is producing the aldosterone, which is pretty much the crux of the problem compared to the medical system, which is here's a medication to lower it in your body says, Well, no, I want it to be high for a reason, and it keeps pushing against it.

Tommy Welling: [00:16:02] All right. It's crazy. And you know, even even that one thing the the watch, your salt intake, the problem there that you that you alluded to was that the aldosterone levels actually come up as our as our sodium intake goes down. But the reason it does that is because it's it's a protective mechanism within the body so that it can hold on to what little salt is coming into the system because our body has to have salt in order to create the right osmotic balance between ourselves. So we have to we have to have that salt so we can hold on to the water that we need to stay hydrated. So when we lower our sodium intake, the body starts waving red flags all around.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:16:40] Then it's interesting because a lot of the common practices out there, you know, using diuretics or angiotensin two receptor blockers or calcium channel blockers or ACE inhibitors or beta blockers or renin blockers or alpha blockers or alpha beta blockers or central. I mean the vasodilators. But but there is one called aldosterone antagonist. It's the opposite of aldosterone. It's literally trying to tell your body, let this fluid go so I can lower the blood pressure and take the stress off of the arteries, the kidneys, the brain, vessels, blood vessels. Yeah, and all of the heart structures. So it's that chronic stressor, right? Long term. And that's what I love about fasting, because even within just a week, you can see 10 20 point drops in blood pressure. Yeah, and it's not that your blood, your blood sugar is dropping. If you're, let's say you're a pre-diabetic or you think you have some insulin resistance or your blood sugar numbers are elevated, or maybe you are diabetic and your insulin. You insert in most situations, unless there's a rare tumor in the pancreas and insulin coma, then the the danger air quotes danger as this is an audio medium of use of your blood sugar. Going to low is extremely rare. It's it's darn near impossible. So it's not that your blood sugar is dropping, it's that there are medications that are pushing it down right and your body is trying to respond. So it's like we're taking care of the end result. Like we're putting just a piece of tape over the check engine light that comes on in your car, like you're going to end up broken down on the side of the road eventually, right? So what I love about fasting in then insulin coming down, aldosterone, coming down, all of those other factors coming down, you losing the weight, getting the fat off of your body, your body actually has the ability to heal and get to the upstream cause of the issue and not just the effect.

Tommy Welling: [00:18:29] Yeah, the crazy part is like we can go years and years and even decades with some extra body fat, right? And some some higher than than we should. Insulin winter is coming. Yeah, winter is coming, right? We're storing it away. But you know, over time, you know, even even just a few extra pounds starts to take a toll on the smallest capillary beds, like the smallest blood vessels, the smallest arteries, the smallest nerves. And that's why, you know, over time, like tingling in the fingers and all kinds of like little things start to happen, right? But but as as we can kind of balance these systems out like the human body wasn't really designed to have all this extra weight on it with all this extra blood volume and blood pressure going through it, and it circulates all day, all every second of the day. And and the effects are cumulative over time, especially over years and decades.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:19:25] This would be a weird analogy, but we here in Houston, over the last couple of years, we've had some, some really cold weather and I've learned through not knowing how to winterize a sprinkler system that there has been a couple of back flow issues over the years. So you do everything right and you're set and then we get like three nights of below freezing temperature and you guys that live in Canada or like the mountains or thinking like, Oh, wow, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, boo-hoo. It gets negative 58 in Minnesota, right? Well, things aren't built here for that, right? So yeah, my point is everything backs up to the point where something pops, right? So if you have this chronic, high level, low level inflammation, high high blood pressure, yes, in the short term, it does make sense to try to decrease it. But is it truly getting to the underlying cause? No, it's not so looking, you know, just to kind of put a bow on it. There was one other article that you and I were kind of going back and forth about, and this was published much more recently in August of 2010 and its salt aldosterone and insulin resistance impact on the cardiovascular system. So a lot of those connections and this was in people that were obese air quotes, healthy obese young men and women. And then there are also the categories that looked at the groups of people that had cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, et cetera. And we know that through all of the connections, the simplest way the simplest answer is right in front of us, and that is sticking with a consistent fasting schedule and you don't need all of the other stuff.

Tommy Welling: [00:21:01] Yeah, it's it's amazing how how far fasting will take you, like a little bit of fasting goes a long way. And and as far as just seeing the decrease in the insulin and I mean, just jumping into your first like your first 18 hour fast, if you've never done any sort of timed eating is going to help bring down some insulin levels, right? And then and if you're already fasting, taking it a little bit longer means that you have that many more hours for the insulin to come down, for the blood sugar to come down. And you don't need to to keep pumping out as much insulin to to, you know, shuttle all the fuel into the cells and which means the water levels have a chance to come down. Water weight comes off and things start to balance like, you know, almost immediately, like, it's going to take some time, right? But but but the first couple of of steps can happen very quickly.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:21:55] And if you're new or if you're wondering what insulin resistance is or if you have it, there are some blood tests that you can ask your doctor order. They're not commonly ordered the fasting insulin test, but the insulin resistance assessment that we have on the website under the Resources tab. Some of the things that you might be experiencing if you have insulin resistance would be Do you feel hungry immediately after eating? Do you feel irritable or fatigued or hangry? Do you seem to retain water after eating salty foods? Now, we're not talking about the Himalayan salt in the the trace minerals, but we're talking like the sodium filled foods. I should say Surya. Do you get tired after a meal? Do you crave? Do you have cravings tired in the afternoon? Do you gain weight easily, like if you overeat carbohydrates? These are all things that are indicating that the insulin is high, aldosterone is high and you're on a path towards blood sugar problems, prediabetes, then diabetes and all the other heart and systemic related problems. So if you have not taken the insulin insulin resistance assessment, that's a mouthful. You can have the website WW Fasting for Life, and Tommy has words of encouragement for someone that is new or someone that's struggling with the. Diuretic blood pressure can't seem to just get traction. Having having trouble like wrapping their brain around it, like how do we take someone from there to the AHA moment of, Oh my gosh, this is working?

Tommy Welling: [00:23:29] Yeah, I'm I'm thinking back 10 12 years ago when my blood pressure started to creep up just a little bit and I wasn't quite sure. And then I'd have the I was 30. Yeah, right?

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:23:39] And I'm like, What am I doing wrong? I work out six days a week like, right, I've got 20 inch biceps. I can bench press a Buick. I'm like, What? What am I do? I could run five miles. I can run a five game like, what am I doing wrong?

Tommy Welling: [00:23:51] Right? What am I doing wrong? And it just seems to be creeping up. But it's kind of unpredictable. Like, what about the swelling or the fluid retention every once in a while? Like, I can't quite seem to get a to get a handle on it, you know, but put that together with the volatility on the scale, and I would see the water weight come and go. And it turns out it was carbohydrate and insulin dependent. Right. But I didn't realize it at the time. So words of encouragement would be if you haven't fasted before, if you haven't really done like deliberate timed eating windows and fasting windows, then then start there. And if you have and you're still like, Man, I'm still battling with some of this stuff a little bit, then then push for your fasting window just a little bit longer. Give your body a little longer chance to rebalance some of these insulin levels, aldosterone and watch things start to kind of fall back into place a little bit better.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:24:42] Yeah. And if you've been, that's a good point. If you've been doing. If as we kind of put a bow on today, intermittent fasting like a 16 or 18 hour window or you've even been doing something up to like a one meal a day, right? And you still haven't seen that drop, then yeah, you're going to want to push from eighteen to twenty two or twenty four. Easy way to do that is have an easy and early dinner one night and then a later dinner. The next night will get you past that. Twenty two to twenty four hour mark. Yeah, if you want to go past that, you can do a lunch to the following day dinner, which is a 30 hour fast. You got a nice, good sleep in there. You wake up the next morning. You're typically not hungry. You got some black coffee to get you through the early afternoon hours. You're going to do the salt or Himalayan salt a couple of times throughout that process, and you should notice just this pun intended this weight. This fluffiness, this fuzziness just come off of you. So encouragement, if you haven't seen it yet or you haven't broken through that yet, it is right there. It is right around the corner and we want to encourage you to again go to the website. You can download the fast start guide at six steps to putting in one meal a day, fasting into your life, into your lifestyle or the insulin resistance assessment. If you've been following us for a while and you want to get a little bit more clarity, and maybe while you're not seeing the results that you've been looking for, or if you've hit a plateau or if you just want to get a little bit more granular with your health journey, so Tommy. I think we got it, man, what do you think?

Tommy Welling: [00:26:07] Yeah, yeah, I think it's good. I think it's good.

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:26:11] All right. Thank you, Sarah, as always for the conversation. I appreciate you guys listening. If you want to drop us a review, we prefer the five star, kind of course, that tells us that tells the people in charge at Apple and Spotify and all the places that you listen to your podcast that we are doing good work and that people want to listen. So appreciate you guys as listeners keep up the great work. Tommy, thank you, sir, and we will talk soon. Thank you. Bye.

Tommy Welling: [00:26:39] So you've heard today's episode, and you may be wondering, where do I start? Head on over to the fasting for links and sign up for our newsletter, where you'll receive fasting tips and strategies to maximize results and fit fasting into your day to day life

Dr. Scott Watier: [00:26:53] While you're there. Download your free fast start guide to get started today. Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Make sure to leave us a five star review, and we'll be back next week with another episode of Fasting for Life.

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