By Matt Stone
A friend of mine was feeling a little bummed last night. Some underweight, hypothyroid guy she had been dating was acting all crazy on her – loving her one minute, then wanting to break up the next. He loved to cuddle, but didn’t like kissing. And all he wanted to do, she said, was binge on junk food. And so, to help console her, I went through all my notes from Ancel Keys’s The Biology of Human Starvation to show her that these were well-understood characteristics of poorly nourished hpometabolic males. I sent her stuff about his balls being small, for example, and she was like, “yeah, his balls are really small.”
“The majority of investigators have agreed that the testes are reduced in size in semi-starvation, the average percentage change being rather similar to that of the body as a whole.”
But hey, as much as I would like this post to be about balls, it is more about some of the quotes found in Ancel Keys’s low metabolism Bible that pertains to recent conversations about frequent urination (polyuria), night urination (nocturia), excessive thirst/dry mouth, etc. I took note of such quotes when reading the book – enough to jot down those quotes, but now with the hyperawareness we’ve placed on the harmful effects of excessive fluid consumption – water, coffee, tea, diet drinks, and alcohol in particular – these quotes become something that are very worth sharing and discussing…
“Polyuria and nocturia have been reported by practically every observer of starvation conditions.”
“Along with the increased water consumption, starving persons tend to have a marked salt hunger and will consume several times the normal quota of salt if it is available.”
“Satisfaction was also obtained from consumption of coffee and tea, both of which were used in large quantities, presumably for their pharmacological as well as their filling and warming effects. It was generally reported that coffee and tea provide a ‘lift.’ Because some of the men increased their consumption to 15 or more cups daily, it became necessary to limit all subjects to a maximum of 9 cups per day…
“In any list of the cardinal signs and symptoms of severe undernutrition there will be several items which pertain directly or indirectly to the heart and circulation. These include bradycardia, hypotension, a lowering of the skin temperature, and frequently vertigo and slight cyanosis.”
“The dry and scaly skin was probably an expression of an altered skin metabolism as a result of a decreased blood flow through the skin. There was indirect evidence that the blood flow through the skin had been decreased during semi-starvation.”
I included the last couple of quotes because I have personally noticed a dramatic increase in skin moisture since decreasing my fluid intake while increasing my salt intake. In fact, instead of hitting the sweets so hard (eating a 3-pound papaya an hour ago made my feet get instantly cold) I have been having things like saltine crackers in between meals when I feel a slight decrease in the warmth of hands and feet. Staying nice and salted all day does remarkable things for keeping the peripheral circulation rocking – which includes greater vascularity, warmer hands and feet, and better nourishment and hydration to the skin. Dry skin seems to commonly be paired with dry mouth, overdrinking, and peeing clear all day.
More on salt soon. I’m continuing to think that salt in conjunction with the proper fluid intake could really be one of the primary missing pieces in metabolic recovery, including improving conditions like hypertension and pre-eclampsia!