Stabilize Your Blood Pressure Using Biofeedback – Mackay Rippey with Dave Asprey – #853

A simple, hand-held device helps you train your own body to change your blood pressure using isometric exercise.

Let’s not sugarcoat it; both low blood pressure and high blood pressure are bad for you. With either, you can experience an inability to focus, dizziness, heart disease, and other health problems. You want to find a way to stabilize your blood pressure in the Goldilocks zone–just right.

Controlling blood pressure is especially important when it comes to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. There used to be a significant gap between men and women in the incidence of heart disease, but that gap has closed over the past few decades and now women die of heart disease as frequently as men.

In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, I brought on an expert to talk about Zona Plus. Mackay Rippey serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Zona Health. He explains how the biofeedback device helps you train your own body to change your blood pressure, using isometric exercise. In this kind of muscle contraction, the muscle is tensed and working, but not actively shortening or lengthening. The Zona Plus looks like a joystick from a fighter airplane with a little digital screen on top. That screen gives you immediate feedback.

Let’s jump right into some of the biochemistry that I found with Zona, Mackay says:

“I started with the hand grip. So, 30% is the magic Goldilocks percentage for your grip. So, you need to calculate what your grip strength is in the morning. It can vary from day to day and the optimal is 30%. Now, if you think you can calculate 30% just by knowing what you’re feeling, you’re sadly mistaken. That’s why it helps to have a biofeedback device that tells you, “You’re at 30%. Oh, and, by the way, you have to hold it for two minutes.” So, if you think you can do that for two minutes, you need a feedback device. It just makes your life a lot easier.”

We discuss the effects of pre-hypertension and hypertension on your health, how to manage your blood pressure and how to keep your cardiovascular system functioning properly. We also get into nitric oxide, endothelial cells and red blood cells.

Eighty percent of Zona Plus users lower their blood pressure back to normal because Zona makes biofeedback so accessible. It leads to greater cognitive function, clears toxins from your body and more. Consider this hand-held device your cardio biohack. We also talk about the additional supplements you can take to pair with the Zona for faster and better results.

And for those of you who may think it’s too early in your life for Zona Plus, that you’ll use it when you’re older, Mackay says to remember this: “Now’s the time to start ‘exercising,’ your endothelial cells so that they continue to function well as you increase your age so you’re not only living longer, but you’re living well as well.”

Mackay sees the impact of blood pressure across many areas of health:

  • He co-founded Beyond Protocols, an education accelerator for Functional Medicine practitioners.
  • He formulates supplements for cardiovascular health that reduce blood pressure.
  • He’s operated Mackay Rippey Acupuncture for more than 30 years.
  • He hosts Lyme Ninja Radio, a podcast focused on the challenges and treatment of Lyme disease.
  • And, he’s got a passion for nutrigenomic research.

Join us for this important conversation on heart disease, healthy hearts, the blood pressure rollercoaster and some key elements to creating a long healthy life.

Note for listeners: I previously interviewed Zona’s CEO, Mark Young. Learn more about Zona’s company history and how the device was developed in episode #601: Get a Grip on Your Blood Pressure

Enjoy! And get more resources at Dave.Asprey/podcasts.

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Follow Along with the Transcript

Stabilize Your Blood Pressure Using Biofeedback – Mackay Rippey with Dave Asprey – #853



Key Notes

  • You’re actually trained in acupuncture and you’re talking about cardiovascular fitness. What’s the connection there? – 2:30
  • For those who aren’t really up to speed on it, Lyme disease was an invisible disease. If you got it and you found the community of people, it was like, “Oh, my god. How come we don’t all know about this?”  – 3:20
  • Cardiovascular disease is something that kills more people every single year than even our most popular viruses and it’s something that is treatable.  – 5:26
  • When fighter pilots need to control their blood pressure when they’re about to pass out, they squeeze really hard.” “Oh, does squeezing change blood pressure? So, what would happen if we could play with it?”  – 8:36
  • Submaximal hand grip, if you look through the literature, that’s the official name for what Zona does. We just like to say it’s isometric exercise. It’s easier to understand.  – 9:36
  • What we’ve discovered is that the contraction of the muscles open up potassium channels.  – 12:07
  • One of the main functions of this endothelial cell, one of the ways it senses the need to increase relaxation, vasodilation, but more blood through or oxygen into the tissue is through shear stress.  – 15:21
  • What percentage of people lower their blood pressure back to normal by using Zona?  – 18:37
  • Take them off blood pressure medications, they get oxygen in their brain and they don’t have dementia.  – 20″05
  • There’s three kinds of nitric oxide. I tend to make the bad inflammatory kind instead of the endothelial kind and do you know is there a genetic thing that says whether Zona’s going to work better or work less on a nitric oxide system?  – 22:55
  • So, talk about blood pressure, nitric oxide, Zona, health, and orthostatic hypertension. What’s your take on that?  – 25:56
  • The biggest side effect for all the blood pressure medications are lightheadedness and passing out. Gee. Why is that happening? Hmm. That’s because your brain doesn’t have enough oxygen.  – 28:47
  • Now’s the time to start “Exercising,” quote, unquote, your endothelial cells so that they continue to function well as you increase your age so you’re not only living longer, but you’re living well as well.  – 32:00
  • As your mitochondria get further damaged, you have less energy. As you have less energy, you less energy to do things. And it’s just this downward cycle into despair. – 35:58
  • Pseudohypoxia is when you have enough blood oxygen but your tissues are hypoxic.  – 38:31
  • It’s eight minutes of looking at a little thing and squeezing. It’s not particularly difficult.  – 43:19
  • There’s a great study that has microscopic pictures of the endothelial cells, that shows them flat and then, after potassium, plumped up. It’s so cool..  – 44:54
  • The more you can do to bring your inflammation down, so that the redox status in the cells are in decent shape, then you’re probably going to be producing nitric oxide instead of superoxide. – 50:07
  • So, do you switch hands, stand up, sit down? What are the best ways or the optimum ways to get results and where do you find people making mistakes that we would want to pay attention to if we’re going to start this routine?  – 58:05

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