Ray Peat quotes

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    Matt Stone

    Ray PeatRay Peat’s books are difficult to obtain and often very expensive. Here are some of my favorite quotes from his books. The cliff notes if you will…

    Ray Peat
    Peat, Ray. Progesterone in Orthomolecular Medicine. Raymond Peat: Eugene, OR, 1993.
    Peat, Ray. Generative Energy. Raymond Peat: Eugene, OR, 1994.
    p. 11
    “The main features of aging can be produced directly by administering excessive amounts of cortisol. These features include atrophy of skin, arteries, muscle, bone, immune system, and parts of the brain, loss of pigment (melanin), deposition of fat in certain areas, and slowed conduction velocity of nerves. The physiology of aging (especially reproductive aging) overlaps the physiology of stress.”
    p. 14
    “ACTH, of course, stimulates the secretion of cortisol. The removal of the pituitary obviously isn’t a practical way to delay senescence, but protection against the ‘death hormones’ can be achieved to some extent by altering the diet to minimize the effects of estrogen and cortisol.”
    pp. 16-17
    “Sugars, proteins, and the saturated fats produced by warm organisms can be eaten by warm-blooded animals with no particular side-effects. Organisms that live at low temperatures, however, contain unsaturated fats. The consumption of large amounts of unsaturated fats lowers the metabolic rate, and accumulated unsaturated fats are susceptible to a spontaneous and toxic form of oxidation. (The toxic effects include damage to the respiratory apparatus and to the circulatory and immune systems, increased rate of aging, and cancer).
    These ‘low energy’ foods in effect counteract the evolutionary achievement of a high metabolic rate. Several studies show that decreased consumption of unsaturated fats can delay puberty. Other studies show that an excess of unsaturated oil in the mother’s diet can damage the development of the fetus’s brain. The choice of foods which have less unsaturated fat tends to reinforce the achievements of evolution.”
    p. 47
    “Once we accept that knowledge is tentative, and that we are probably going to improve our knowledge in important ways when we learn more about the world, we are less likely to reject new information that conflicts with our present ideas. The attitude of expectancy will allow us to apply insights gained at one level of generality to other levels. No particular kind of knowledge will have such authority that it will automatically exclude certain possibilities in another field of knowledge.”
    p. 72
    “Measuring the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood isn’t a good way to evaluate adequacy of thyroid function, since the response of tissues to the hormone can be suppressed (for example, by unsaturated fats).
    In the 1930’s accurate diagnosis was made by evaluating a variety of indications, including basal oxygen consumption, serum cholesterol level, pulse rate, temperature, carotenemia, bowel function, and quality of hair and skin. A good estimate can be made using only the temperature and pulse rate.”
    p. 75
    “Besides fasting, or chronic protein deficiency, the common causes of hypothyroidism are excessive stress or ‘aerobic’ (i.e. anaerobic) exercise, and diets containing beans, lentils, nuts, unsaturated fats (including carotene), and undercooked broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or mustard greens. Many health conscious people become hypothyroid with a synergistic program of undercooked vegetables, legumes instead of animal proteins, oils instead of butter, carotene instead of vitamin A, and breathless exercise instead of a stimulating life.”
    pp. 90-91
    “Selye’s work with the diseases of stress, and the anti-stress hormones of the adrenal cortex, helped many scientists to think more clearly about the interaction of the organisms with its environment, but it has led others to focus too narrowly on hormones of the adrenal cortex (such as cortisol and cortisone), and to forget the older knowledge about natural resistance. There are probably only a few physicians now practicing who would remember to check for hypothyroidism in an arthritis patient, or in other stress-related conditions. Hypothyroidism is a common cause of adrenal insufficiency, but it also has some direct effects on joint tissues. In chronic hypothyroidism (myxedema and cretinism), knees and elbows are often bent abnormally.
    By the 1930’s, it was well established that the resistance of the organism depended on the energy produced by respiration under the influence of the thyroid gland, as well as on the adrenal hormones, and that the hormones of pregnancy (especially progesterone) could substitute for the adrenal hormones. In a sense, the thyroid hormone is the basic anti-stress hormone, since it is required for the production of the adrenal and pregnancy hormones.”
    p. 92
    “While hypothyroidism makes the body require more cortisone to sustain blood sugar and energy production, it also limits the ability to produce cortisone, so in some cases stress produces symptoms resulting from a deficiency of cortisone, including various forms of arthritis and more generalized types of chronic inflammation.”
    pp. 112-113
    “There are now many people who argue that low metabolic rate, a low body temperature and slow heart beat indicate that you should live a long time: ‘your heart can beat only so many times.’ Most of these people also advocate ‘conditioning exercise,’ and they point out that trained runners tend to have a slow heart rate. (Incidentally, running elevates adrenalin, which causes increased clumping of platelets and accelerated blood clotting. Hypothyroidism – whether pre-existing or induced by running – slows the heart, raises the production of adrenalin, and is strongly associated with heart disease, as well as with high cholesterol.)
    p. 131
    “A person’s vitality is drawn forward by meaningful work, that is, we grow to meet the demands of an important opportunity.”
    p. 132
    “One of my recurring objects of thought has been the slowness with which raw knowledge is assimilated. For example, I have been thinking about Broda Barnes’s work on the prevention of heart disease with thyroid extract. He did solve much of ‘the riddle of heart attacks,’ but recent statements by the Heart Association show that the dominant forces in the health business haven’t learned anything at all from his work, which he began 50 years ago. His work is clearly presented, not hard to understand, and it is scientifically so sound that no one challenges it, at least not on the scientific level. It is ignored, rejected by people who choose not to be bothered to read it. How many people have died from heart disease, since his work first became available? (And how many more from cancer, tuberculosis, and other diseases he showed occur mainly among hypothyroid people?)”
    p. 143 – Keith Jarrett
    “People expect beautiful melodies. But I already know the melodies. So does everybody else. Rather than look for more beautiful melodies, everyone’s purpose should be to find blind spots.”
    p. 143
    “Our present lives are usually divided between routine work and entertainment. The entertainment is supposed to enliven us, to help us recover from the deadening effects of routine work. Some people put great energy and concentration into their hobbies, because they find the activity intrinsically interesting. Such intrinsic value and interest is what should be demanded of our work. But for many people, free time is routinized too. To them, Jarrett’s suggestion sounds like nothing but hard work. This is where the whole person has been affected by a certain approach to work, and work is seen as something to avoid – the idle rich seem to have found the only satisfactory life.”
    Peat, Ray. Nutrition for Women. Raymond Peat: Eugene, OR, 1993.
    p. iii
    Other researchers at that time observed that the rats became hypermetabolic on the fat-free diet, as though they were taking thyroid hormone; it was later discovered that the unsaturated fats inhibit the secretion and transport of thyroid hormones, and block the ability of tissues to respond to them.”
    p. 1
    “The ideas in this book have been described by some as the physiological side of women’s liberation, but of course there are political implications here too: why should we give privileged status to a profession which commits millions of unnecessary hysterectomies or which waits until the last quarter of the twentieth century to determine whether surgery is the best treatment for acute appendicitis (it isn’t), or to the drug companies which fabricate their ‘safety and effectiveness studies’ out of thin air, and then hire academic shills to promote their products, or to the food industry which adulterates and degrades our foods with the false excuse that this is required for economical mass distribution? Instead of giving them a privileged status, their criminal acts should be recognized and treated as such.”
    Read Zamenhof and A.E. Needham – transgenerational effects of diet and environment
    p. 6
    Since the rats can be ‘immunized’ against becoming helpless during restraint, by previously experiencing success, it seems that something more is involved than Selye’s pre-conditioning. It seems to be the meaning of the particular experience of restraint that affects the animals’ capacity to struggle. The perception of possibility, of a vista that extends convincingly toward a better future life, seems to modify the metabolic apparatus. Drowning rats, it happens, will drown before they discover the liberating possibilities. Successful struggle takes a little while to get organized. I suspect that life in a rat-box was an essential factor in those experiments, and that a life of reasonable opportunity would prevent such learning of helplessness.”
    p. 16
    “Thyroid hormone is necessary for respiration on the cellular level, and makes possible all higher biological functions. Without the metabolic efficiency which is promoted by thyroid hormone, life couldn’t get much beyond the single-cell stage. Without adequate thyroid, we become sluggish, clumsy, cold, anemic, and subject to infections, heart disease, headaches, cancer, and many other diseases, and seem to be prematurely aged, because none of our tissues can function normally. Besides providing the respiratory energy which is essential to life, thyroid hormones seem to stimulate and direct protein synthesis.
    In hypothyroidism there is little stomach acid, and other digestive juices (and even intestinal movement) are inadequate, so gas and constipation are common. Foods aren’t assimilated well, so even on a seemingly adequate diet there is ‘internal malnutrition.’ Magnesium is poorly absorbed, and a magnesium deficiency can lead to irritability, blood clots, vascular spasms and angina pectoris, and many other problems. Heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, and both high and low blood pressure can be caused by hypothyroidism.”
    p. 17
    “Cysteine, an amino acid which is abundant in muscle and liver, happens to block synthesis of the thyroid hormone. When we are starving or under stress, cortisone causes these protein-rich tissues to be consumed. If metabolism continued at a normal rate, stress or hunger would quickly destroy us. The cysteine which is released from muscle though, inhibits the thyroid, so metabolism is slowed.”
    p. 19
    “Hypoglycemia (which can result from any respiratory defect) can produce malfunction of any tissue, but brain dysfunction and immune dysfunction are very common effects. Adamkiewics has shown that allergic reactions to a given substance will decrease from 100 percent to zero, when the blood glucose increases from, for example, 50 mg % to 150 mg% or more. Progesterone (and thyroid) will help in most allergic diseases, including the autoimmune and ‘collagen diseases,’ because it helps to maintain blood sugar (promoting respiration and improving use of fat, sparing glucose) and also because it stabilizes lysosomes.”
    p. 23
    “Dark cloudy winters in England or the Pacific Northwest are powerful stressors, and cause lower progesterone in women and testosterone in men. Toxins, such as copper and lead, can produce similar symptoms.”
    p. 37
    “Stress inhibits the thyroid, and can lower progesterone (and/or testosterone) while raising estrogen. Recent work by Siiteri and his group shows a hormonal involvement in various ‘autoimmune’ diseases.”
    pp. 48-49
    “Vegetarians often notice temporary exhilaration when they stop eating meat, probably because their thyroid has been suppressed. But a more serious hypothyroid state often follows, from a low protein inadequate vegetarian diet. Low protein diets definitely interfere with the liver’s ability to detoxify estrogen and other stressors.”
    p. 55
    “Plants evolved special toxins to protect their seeds from animals, so ‘seed poisoning’ is probably a more accurate description than ‘allergy to grains, nuts, legumes, seeds.’ Low thyroid function leads to poor digestion and to hypoglycemia, both of which make an allergic reaction more likely.”
    p. 81
    “If we added up all of the special ‘avoidance’ diets, no one could eat anything. Many people are ruining their health by avoiding too many foods.”
    p. 86
    “…the metabolism shifts toward fat mobilization at an early stage of cancerization.”
    p. 96
    “A few years ago, most of the nutritional problems that I saw were caused by physicians, by refined convenience foods, and by poverty. Recently, most of the problems seem to be caused by badly designed vegetarian diets, or by acceptance of the idea that 40 grams of protein per day is sufficient. The liver and other organs deteriorate rapidly on low-protein diets. Observe the faces of the wheat-grass promoters, the millet-eaters, and the ‘anti-mucus’ dieters, and other low-protein people. Do they look old for their age?”
    p. 102
    “When you start looking for ulterior motives, you might conclude that your physician is greedy, that your chemistry professor has a contract with the rubber company that makes ice cream, and that food producers are so pleased with their profits that they don’t care about the increasing numbers of deformed and mentally retarded babies, or the increasing rate of cancer and diabetes. If you do this, then you are probably involved in a demystification of the world. Eating good food can alter your consciousness; so can thinking about how we’re going to get it.”

    Peat, Ray. Mind and Tissue. Raymond Peat: Eugene, OR, 1993.
    Peat, Ray. From PMS to Menopause. Raymond Peat: Eugene, OR, 1993.
    p. 1
    “Occasionally, someone complains that they ‘don’t want to read a lot of technical stuff.’ (These people prefer to do what ‘the authorities’ tell them. Where would the authorities be without them? I wouldn’t want to interfere in their relationships with the authorities, except that the system they sustain is tending to kill everyone)… Generally, physicians have found my writing to be more challenging than the average woman does, because my purpose is at odds with the medical culture, and women are realizing that much of the medical culture is at odds with them.”
    p. 2
    “A scientific attitude is of great importance, but we must recognize that science has absolutely nothing to do with the ‘consensus of the authorities.’ You are less likely to do the wrong thing if you believe that ‘the authorities are always wrong,’ because then you will begin to question their assumptions, evaluate their evidence, and examine their reasoning.”
    p. 5
    “By stimulating the adrenal glands, estrogen can increase the production of the ‘male’ hormones that are associated with whiskers and chest hair. This usually happens when progesterone deficiency is combined with an excess of estrogen, as in the polycystic ovary syndrome and sometimes at menopause. In animals, polycystic ovaries are caused by a deficiency of the thyroid hormone, and the same regulatory mechanisms seem to operate in women.”
    p. 47
    “The reduction of cellular energy is probably estrogen’s central action, and in Warburg’s scheme, this would be the way to turn on cell division and growth. In the absence of oxygen, cells take up water, and when water-logged (even from being placed in a hypotonic fluid), they begin to divide.”
    p. 61
    “…autoimmune disease is probably nothing very special, and estrogen is now known to be responsible for many forms of it…”
    p. 69
    “The active fraction of the thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine, or liothyronine (T3), is essential for the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone, as is the retinol form of vitamin A. Butyric acid is known to facilitate the entry of T3 into the mitochondrion.”
    p. 71
    “In experiments, progesterone was found to be the basic hormone of adaptation and of resistance to stress. The adrenal glands use it to produce their anti-stress hormones, and when there is enough progesterone, they don’t have to produce the potentially harmful cortisone. In a progesterone deficiency, we produce too much cortisone, and excessive cortisone causes osteoporosis, aging of the skin, damage to brain cells, and the accumulation of fat, especially on the back and abdomen.”
    p. 114
    “One of the thyroid hormone’s important functions is to improve digestion and bowel health.”
    p. 145 Q: Doesn’t exposure to sun age you?
    “This effect is variable, and depends on our hormones and diet. The unsaturated oils have been identified as a major factor in skin aging. For example, two groups of rabbits were fed diets containing either corn oil or coconut oil, and their backs were shaved, so sunlight could fall directly onto their skin. The animals that ate corn oil developed prematurely wrinkled skin, while the animals that ate coconut oil didn’t show any harm from the sun exposure. In a study at the University of California, photographs of two groups of people were selected, pairing people of the same age, one who had eaten an unsaturated fat rich diet, the other who had eaten a diet low in unsaturated fats. A panel of judges was asked to sort them by their apparent ages, and the subjects who consumed larger amounts of the unsaturated oils were consistently judged to be older than those who ate less, showing the same age-accelerating effects of the unsaturated oils that were demonstrated by the rabbit experiments.”
    p. 153
    “Unsaturated oils, especially polyunsaturates, weaken the immune system’s function in ways that are similar to the damage caused by radiation, hormone imbalance, cancer, aging, or viral infections. The media discuss sexually transmitted and drug-induced immunodeficiency, but it isn’t yet considered polite to discuss vegetable oil-induced immunodeficiency.”
    p. 154
    “Chemically, the material that makes these oils very toxic is the polyunsaturated fat itself. These unsaturated oils are found in very high concentrations in many seeds, and in the fats of animals that have eaten a diet containing them. The fresh oils, whether cold pressed or consumed as part of the living plant material, are intrinsically toxic, and it is not any special industrial treatment that makes them toxic.”



    I’m sometimes fascinated by how methodical a man’s brain is.



    A lot of it still confuses me.
    He says carotene instead of Vit.A is detrimental yet all the fruits he recommends,actually all fruits in general,contain beta-carotene.
    Also a diet high in protein is thyroid lowering yet too low protein also?

    So,what is the minimal amount of proteine needed?and does that include protein from fruits too and are fruitproteins differently used by the body than animalprotein?And does this also count for calcium from fruits/sugars vs dairycalcium? Just like for instance it is said that non-heme iron is less optimal then heme iron?



    What is the main difference in the 180 philosophy and Ray Peat’s philosophy?


    Dan Wich

    This quote isn’t from his books, but I really like it:
    “So, when a researcher who wants to show estrogen’s “bone protective” effect of lowering TNF adds a lethal dose of estrogen to his cell culture, he can conclude that “estrogen inhibits TNF production.” But the result is no more interesting than the observation that a large dose of cyanide inhibits breathing.” — Estrogen and Osteoporosis

    Jen, maybe Matt will give you a definitive answer, but I think of Ray and Matt as sharing the same goal of raising metabolism, with Ray approaching it in a detail-oriented, all-encompassing way, and Matt wanting to achieve it in the least-neurotic/biggest-bang-for-the-buck way.



    @Jen- Ray Peat’s dietary philosophy tends to be more restrictive than what Matt encourages. He advocates lots more liquid calories than hypometabolic folks typically can handle. Matt’s personal experience with extreme PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acid) restriction didn’t result in any miraculous health improvements, and was more a social and culinary liability.

    180 ideas share an emphasis on metabolism as foundationally important with Ray, though, and the recognition that PUFA is metabolically suppressive. Bothe mphasize saturated fats as preferable. Both recognize the value of salt and carbohydrates, especially sugar, in supporting the metabolism.

    Those are what come to mind initially.



    @matt – Thanks for sharing those quotes. I’ve recently emailed Ray asking if his books are still available from him. I’ve yet to receive a response. Otherwise, used copies on amazon.com are very pricey.

    My favorite (at the moment) of the quotes listed is:
    “Besides fasting, or chronic protein deficiency, the common causes of hypothyroidism are excessive stress or ‘aerobic’ (i.e. anaerobic) exercise, and diets containing beans, lentils, nuts, unsaturated fats (including carotene), and undercooked broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or mustard greens. Many health conscious people become hypothyroid with a synergistic program of undercooked vegetables, legumes instead of animal proteins, oils instead of butter, carotene instead of vitamin A, and breathless exercise instead of a stimulating life.”

    That pretty much sums up the transition from relative health to ED and a decades-long journey through sickness in my own life. I was pretty healthy when I ate large amounts of carbohydrates, meats, dairy, and some cooked vegetables. But when I started following the popular “health” advice and ate beans and raw vegetables that is when things went downhill rapidly.



    @j-lo i like that quote too,but as i already mentioned above the carotene part really confuses me.


    Dan Wich

    @dutchie, I can answer a couple of your questions.

    I think fruits have comparatively less carotene than you’d think. If my numbers are right, here’s the carotenoid content of a few foods:
    Oranges: 0.82mcg/g
    Grapes: 0.40mcg/g
    Sweet potatoes: 310mcg/g
    Carrots: 117mcg/g

    Regarding protein, Peat wants a decent amount of total protein (maybe 80g+ if I remember right), but without letting the amounts of some amino acids (methionine, tryptophan, cysteine) get too high. At the same time he wants high levels of other amino acids like glycine. Basically, if it were legal for him to marry a can of gelatin, he’d do it.



    OMG surgery is not the best treatment for acute appendicitis?
    Then what is?
    What was?
    Maybe this isn’t the place to ask this, but in February 2013 I got an appendectomy and EVERYTHING in my body went downhill from there.
    My digestion sucks, my immune system is a joke and I don’t feel good in general.
    I hope you guys can understand that this is terrible for me to read. What was I supposed to do with the pain and the infection on my poor appendix?
    Also, I’m afraid because I’d been eating the food since November 2012, and just when everything was feeling heavenly in my body, BAM, the appendicitis came, so I’m afraid eating the food somehow caused it.
    If someone knows what could I do now, please tell me.
    I’m rather desperate.



    @fab, why don’t you start a new thread regarding appendicitis? I think your question deserves its own thread.



    Good idea, @thomasseay. Thank you. It’s here, in case someone cares: http://180degreehealth.com/180forums/topic/appendicitis-post-appendectomy-issues


    mighty m

    This and the other quote about work and hobbies are really interesting! I mean it’s all interesting, but the work bit is more philosophical than I expected. Does he say any more on that subject?

    p. 131
    “A person’s vitality is drawn forward by meaningful work, that is, we grow to meet the demands of an important opportunity.”



    ““ACTH, of course, stimulates the secretion of cortisol. The removal of the pituitary obviously isn’t a practical way to delay senescence, but protection against the ‘death hormones’ can be achieved to some extent by altering the diet to minimize the effects of estrogen and cortisol.”

    This reminded me that I got my ACTH levels back last week. (and female hormones, which were dectiable this time!). But my ACTH was still not dectiable :(. I am now on 5mg of hydrocortisone a day, and most people’s ACTH starts to kick in around that level.

    How does this affect my metabolism raising if Im constantly low cortisol? My thyroid labs were low normal, TSH low normal.



    Matt, a belated thank you for the RP quotes. So great to have them cherrypicked, and so much food for thought there. I made notes!

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