Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension), Sodium/Salt, and Sleep.

(edit: this is now out of date. I now believe that intravascular albumin may be exponentially more important than sodium, as sodium does not posses intravascular specificity. Salt also has other negative properties. Also, this post is slightly out of context regarding DSPS, but I will likely write more about DSPS at a later date)
Here is a post a made on facebook. It seems my blog is a good place to paste it as well.

TLDR: Unless you have high blood pressure, try salt for sleep or apparent Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS).

Hey guys. At a recent doctors appointment, I noticed my blood pressure was on the low side (90/54). A couple of months ago, my blood pressure was normal (110/90). In retrospect, I have had symptoms of hypotension (e.g. vision darkening when standing up) even though my blood pressure was measured as normal. I noted such things on the sleep questionnaire, but the doctors didn't catch it, being useless as they are. The only reason I caught it is because I was lucky enough to take note of my slightly low blood pressure.

Looking up the relationship between hypotension and insomnia, I was only able to find one study. In patients with insomnia, 1/3 had hypotension. This hypotension was associated with symptoms I recognized in myself and from this group. In particular, the paradoxical "long-lasting increased excitability" was of interest.

Additionally, sleep deprivation may raise blood pressure, perhaps masking the diagnosis. Thus, even if your blood pressure is normal during doctor visits, you may have night-time hypotension.

I was able to find an article about a study regarding sodium intake and sleep, though I can't find the original research paper. A very low sodium diet (500mg) led to night-time awakenings and less sleep, whereas this was not a problem on a 2000mg diet. What's interesting is that during high sodium diet (5000mg) there was even fewer night-time awakenings and even more sleep.

For this reason, I started adding salt to my diet a couple of days ago (about 5g iodized salt, or 2000mg sodium). This is in addition to the sodium I was already consuming, so I might be getting 3000-4000mg total. I consume potassium above the 98th percentile, which is around the RDA of 4700mg. I probably consume 5000-6000mg potassium daily. This probably exacerbated the problem, but likely isn't a problem for anyone reading this. I've had sleep problems long before upping my potassium intake, though I don't know what my sodium intake was back then. I also had regular darkening/blackened vision upon standing, thus suggesting this may have been a long term issue.

So far, though it's too soon to say for sure, I'd say It's helping. It's only my third day taking salt. Please leave a comment if any of this sounds familiar, as there appears to be little scientific data available.

I suspect many people with DSPS attempt eating healthy in hopes that it will help. This, in turn, may lower blood pressure and actually make things worse, at least for 1/3 of us. Most people consume too much sodium and not enough potassium, but that's likely not as much the case for those of us trying to compensate for chronic problems with a good diet. If any of this sounds like you, try adding salt to your diet and see if it helps.




(Edit: This data, in sleep-disordered breathing patients, with a larger sample size than the other srudy, may put the number of insomniacs with hypotension at a lower estimate, though they don't appear to measure sleeping blood pressure as the other one did. Due to the disease criteria used, it may be entirely irreverent to insomniacs (though still worth noting), or it may be that the country it was done in has higher blood pressures in general.

My Experience With Vegan Ketosis AKA "Eco Atkins"


Since my last post, I had maintained a vegan ketogenic diet for a period of months. I stopped sometime in April. Since I didn't keep any record, this will be a subjective retrospective report. I used some ketone urinalysis sticks, so I do know I was in ketosis. Sometimes I was reading a deep purple (I.E. high level of ketones).

I still have interest in keto, but intend to experiment with daily cyclic keto or MCTs as an alternative to chronic ketosis. Veganism is an uncompromisable must, and appears to be healthier anyway. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-atkins-diet/

Reading so many positive reports about ketosis, I wanted to give it a try. Since ketogenic diets are used to treat epilepsy, I knew it had powerful effect on the brain. It was these effects that I was after. Some of this activity may may be due to the structural similarities of BHB to GHB. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17011713. That abstract only mentions GHB's effect on GABA(B) receptors. Perhaps this is because they were simply unaware of the GHB receptor itself, and it's contribution the the euphoric effects of GHB.

Confounding Factors


Most of my time in ketosis, I was eating <50g carbs. For a period I was eating <20g carbs. I exercised occasionally, but irregularly. Exercise can help dispose glucose, which is why I mention it here.


Since I had to wake up earlier than normal to get to class, the conclusions I can draw are limited. I learned sometime during my ketogenic diet that ketosis may help with delayed sleep phase syndrome by shortening the free running circadian period, as seen in mice. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/29/10/1571.long. Additionally, ketogenic diets may improve sleep quality. both acute and chronic.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17241208 3 month study in epileptic children.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681982 Acute effects in healthy men.
Nevertheless, I had sleep problems before, during, and after my ketogenic diet.

This link has some interesting speculations regarding diet and sleep.
Since thermogenesis was noted as a potential sleep enhancer in the link above, it's possible that deep ketosis provides benefits, while light ketosis does not. I need to do more research about thermogenesis in ketosis, but it is my current understanding that ketone metabolism is directly correlated with plasma ketone levels.


I often experienced tachycardia (accelerated heart rate) during my time in ketosis. I also experienced this after stopping ketosis, so it appears that ketosis itself was not at fault. The doctor I visited said that sleep deprivation can lead to tachycardia, so I assume that's what it was. Hypomagnesia probably also played a role. I downloaded an app on my phone and casually (I.E. in a non-scientific manner) measured my heart rate. The app was accurate if used properly. Based on loose observations, the tachycardia was agevated by acute sleep deprivation. However, my blood work showed I was deficient in magnesium, which ketosis probably played a role in causing. This hypomagnesia probably played a part in my tachycardia. Most people consume bellow the RDA for magnesium anyway. Supplementing magnesium seemed to help with both sleep and tachycardia. Sleep is still a major issue, however.

Coinciding experiments

During my time in ketosis, I was experimenting with several supplements. I was playing with the CILTEP stack (cAMP promoter), vanadium (insulin receptor agonist), chlorogenic acid (carb absorption inhibitor, plus other machanisms), and African dream root. All of these could have effected my experience with ketosis.


Why I wanted to try ketosis

There are many positive things said about ketosis online. However, the online reports are bound to be biased, since those who don't have a positive experience are unlikely to voice their opinion. Nevertheless, on review of the scientific literature, ketosis seemed to have desirable properties.

However, being underweight at the time, I didn't want to lose weight, so I made an effort to make my diet hyper-caloric.

Why vegan?


What I ate on VeganKeto

My diet changed as I experimented. Mostly, I ate lots of nuts, tofu, veggies, mushrooms, black soy beans (a keto suatable bean), seeds, avocados, mock meats, etc. I made crunchy cookies from flax seed flour/meal, rhubarb pie/jelly, tofu scramble, veggie soup with nuts, etc. I also made some low carb foods that were not quite keto, but acceptable in small portions. I also made a couple attempts at vegan keto coconut ice-cream, but it would solidify if put in the freezer. If eaten right away, it was decent ice-cream.

Difficulty level

It was probably not much more difficult than regular keto. I just replaced meat with nuts. The only thing that would have been helpful is eggs for baking. Soon that will probably not be an issue, once Hampton Creek Foods finally releases their egg scramble, or some other product suitable for baking. Their "Just mayo" was useful, tasting indistinguishable from regular mayo.

Finding out about black soy beans was helpful. They are not my favorite beans, but it went well with a tofu and veggie scramble. I was also experimenting with lupin flour, but had little success to date. I made some lupin humus, which was good. I had to put the raw lupin flour in the toaster to cook out the strange taste it has. I also made some chips using lupin dough flattened and deep fried in coconut oil. This was too time consuming to use regularly, unless I come up with a better method. I would like to experiment more with lupin flour in the future.

All in all, it was somewhat challenging to do vegan keto, but probably not much more than regular keto would have been for me. However, since I was able to get creative, it was probably easier for me than an average person doing the standard animal based keto diet.

Effects noted

  • I generally had reduced hunger. Hunger took longer to set in, and was less intense.
  • Not surprisingly, my exercise capacity was limited. Intense exercise is possible in ketosis, but it is dependent on several factors. Daily activities, such as rushing to get to class on time, would leave me more tired than I would expect otherwise.
  • Metallic taste, strong smelling urine, and sweet breath were all experienced, as expected.
  • Effects on cognition were unclear and hard to measure. If I were to speculate, I would say it enhanced cognition that was otherwise compromised by sleep deprivation.
  • Effects on mood were unclear, largely due to the confounding sleep deprivation. All in all, I think it may have had a positive effect.
  • Effects on sleep were unclear, since my sleep schedule was forced to be different from usual.

In The Midst Of Transition.

Currently I am beginning my attempts at a ketogenic diet, as well as taking my dreaming herbs every morning (300mg silene capensis and 300mg synaptolepis kirkii).

I have ordered chlorogenic acid (green coffee bean extract), which theoretically will assist in ketogenisis, at least when occasional carbohydrates are desired. Chlorogenic acid is typically used as a weight loss supplement, though I have no interest in losing weight. In fact, I wouldn't mind gaining a few pounds.

Speaking of weight, I realize I should post my weight, as this is highly relevant to dose. I will perhaps make an "about" page where I will offer this information. For now, note that it is on the low end for a 20 year old male.

After taking my dreaming mix, I try to wait at least one hour before eating, but have not been avoiding protein, as is commonly recommended. Occasionally I will snack before the hour is up, until I remember I'm not supposed to. I'm aware this could result in vomiting if I dosed higher or ate more.

The ketogenic diet, in particular, will be effecting my experiments with GHB biosynthesis. As such, I am putting GHB on the back burner 'till I'm on more stable ground. Incidentally, my goals for GHB use have changed. I will go into more detail later.

African Dream Root: Silene Capensis Plus Synaptolepis Kirkii

Today I am beginning a three month process. After which, I expect to be waking up with vivid recall of my previous night's dreams forevermore. Silene capensis, if taken daily for three months, will have permanent effects on dreams, dream content, and dream recall.

African dream root (silene capensis) is used by the Xhosa people to induce vivid "prophetic" dreams. The only information I have been able to find about it comes mostly from forum posts and blog posts. If not a stimulant, then it is at least stimulant like. Some people report difficulty sleeping if they take it before bed, some report better sleep. Thus, I will be taking my dosing in the morning, with an optional smaller dose before bed. This post mentions a sedative like effect at low doses, and a stimulant like effect at higher doses. This could explain some of the varying reports. It's effects on dreams don't typically appear for at least a few days. After a week or two of daily use, the effects become very powerful. After three months, the effects become permanent, only to be temporally displaced by taking certain drugs.

Traditionally, silene capensis is mixed with water and then stirred with a stick until foam gathers on top. The foam is what is consumed. I will not be taking it like this, as it uses larger quantities and is harder to calculate relative dose. I will however, use this to test the quality of my purchase. If it foams well, I presume that means it is high quality.

Synaptolepis kirkii appears to be subjectively similar to silene capensis. However, I've seen several reports saying that they prefer the effects that synaptolepis kirkii has on their dream content and feel. There is not as much information on synaptolepis kirkii as there is on silene capensis. I'm sorry I can't be more informative on synaptolepis kirkii at this date.

I will be taking synaptolepis kirkii and silene capensis in equal quantities. They both arrived in powdered form. I might, make tea, capsules, or just chew and swallow. Silene capensis tastes sweet, a bit similar to liquorice.

Kava Kava: A Drug Worth Noting.

Here is some info on a very promising depressant, kava kava (or simply kava). It's promise largely derives from the fact that it does not appear promote tolerance/dependence. Such an attribute is rare and very valuable when chronic use is desired.

Kava Kava

Class: Depressant/Depressant Like


  • The psychoactive chemicals in this plant don't appear to cause tolerance/dependence, and thus can be used chronically. Anecdotal reports even suggest reverse tolerance. However, the half life is 9 hours, so the reported reverse tolerance might simply be due to dose stacking on following days.
  • Many people have successfully treated their anxiety with kava.
  • Kava kava also has potential as a sleep aid.
It is a local anaesthetic as well, so if consumed the traditional way (as tea), then your mouth will go numb for a few minutes.


  • The active chemical in kava kava can collect in the skin if used excessively. This can result in a dry/scaly rash (similar to that of b3 deficiency, but b3 supplementation does not solve this issue with kava). This will go away after ceasing kava consumption.
  • hepatotoxicity. The leaves of the plant contain a chemical that is hepatotoxic (damaging to the liver), so the roots should be consumed rather than the leaves. However, it is best to be safe and supplement with some milk thistle extract or one of the many other substances which can protect and repair the liver.

Popular Use

Kava, in western cultures, is sometimes used as an anxiolytic (anti anxiety). Elsewhere, it is often used in a similar manner to alcohol at special gatherings.

The Cure For Physical Adiction.

I have many substances and neurosystems queued up to write about. This one, however, seemed particularly important to note. The substance is called ibogaine. It may have more than one mechanism of action. However, the most important one is KOR (Kappa Opioid Receptor) agonism. KOR is very different from the μ (Greek letter mu) opioid receptor which people get addicted to. From my current understanding, the KOR and μ (mu) receptors play a balancing act with eachother. I will write a page going into more detail later. For now, here is a documentary.

Ibogaine - Rite of Passage, A Cure for All Addictions

Legal Status

In the U.S.A., ibogaine is a schedule I (1) substance. However, cross the border either direction to find unregulated ibogaine. There are ibogaine clinics all over the world.

There is a "medical subculture" regarding Ibogaine, so it can be obtained illegal.


There is an alternative, but it doesn't have much going for it in the way of addiction. It is a clean KOR agonist called salvia. It does have good potential for treating depression and, perhaps, aid with sleep if not taken too close to bed time. On the plus side, it is legal in some states in the U.S. On the down side(for addiction curing) , it only lasts 3-15 minutes. One thing though, salvia extracts can be powerful, be careful and do your research. I will also be writing about salvia in detail at a later date.