Salt, Tea and Blood Pressure in Pastoral Nomads from Phala Tibet

These are a few quotes, resources I used in my research relating to the Tibetan Pastoral Nomads and their diet.

Title: Anthropological Fieldwork in Tibet Studying Nomadic Pastoralists on the Changtang
By: Melvyn C. Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall (Case Western Reserve University)

Quote:

For example, the nomad diet is exclusively animal products and grain, i.e., they consume no vegetables or fruits, yet they show no obvious signs of vitamin or mineral deficiency. And despite the fact that they consume large Quantities of fat and salt from the Tibetan tea (made with butter and salt) they drink throughout the day and from their heavy consumption of meat, cheese and yogurt, they also have low blood pressure–we found no cases of hypertension.

Read the full paper free here: http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1148&context=himalaya

Another quote, this one is from findarticles.com

The high consumption of salt and animal fat does nottranslate into high blood pressure, at least among Tibetan nomads studied last summer by anthropologist Cynthia M. Beall of Case Western Reserve University. Beall, who is working with Goldstein in Tibet, found no cases of hypertension among more than 120 Phala nomads. The average blood pressure of those measured so far is below reported averages for men and women in the United States. The nomads’ diet consists of meat, dairy products, barley flour and tea flavored with salt and butter; fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce at the 3-mile-high elevation. Beall now plans to measure the amount of salt consumed by nomads. Several factors, including extreme altitude, may help to depress blood pressure, she suggests.

Beall uncovered another surprising finding after takingblood samples from 110 Phala men and women and calculating their hemoglobin concentration–a measure that usually increases at high altitudes. Hemoglobin concentration was greater for Phala nomads than for sea-level populations or for Tibetans living at 12,000 feet above sea level, but residents of Chile’s Andes Mountains have the highest known hemoglobin rates at elevations several thousand feet lower than the Tibetan plateau. A larger sample of Phala nomads will be studied for hemoglobin concentration as well as for other measures of oxygen delivery in the body, says Beall.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_v131/ai_4970912/

PubMed study:

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-::- Note: The below is published here for archival purposes -::-

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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1987 Aug;73(4):433-8.

Hemoglobin concentration of pastoral nomads permanently resident at 4,850-5,450 meters in Tibet.

Beall CM, Goldstein MC. Department of Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.

Abstract

This paper presents data on the hemoglobin concentration of a sample of 103 pastoral nomads who are lifelong residents of Phala, at 4,850-5,450 m, on the northern plateau of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the Peoples’ Republic of China. This native population resides at the highest altitude of which we are aware and is thus exposed to the most extreme chronic hypoxic stress. However, they do not exhibit the most pronounced physiological adaptations, i.e., hemoglobin concentrations exceeding those found in all other high-altitude populations. Adult male and female mean hemoglobin concentrations of 18.2 and 16.7 gm/dl, respectively, were found. These data, in conjunction with earlier studies of ethnic Tibetans living at 3,400 m, demonstrate a pattern of increasing hemoglobin concentration (erythrocytosis) at increasing altitude of residence in the Himalayas and Tibet. At the same time, however, the hemoglobin concentration is lower than that found among Andean highlanders. These new data raise the possibility of quantitative population differences in hematological adaptation to high altitude hypoxia.

PMID: 3661681 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Source URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3661681






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