Danny Roddy on Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser’s Paleologix Supplements

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By Danny Roddy, author of The Peat Whisperer

A few weeks ago I received a message from Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser about their new ‘Paleologix’ line of supplements. 

I was immediately stunned, as I never imagined either of these dudes wanted to get into the supplement business, but I was also extremely curious, as I used to be quite the supplement connoisseur.

 Upon whiffing through the marketing material I learned that they had three products for sale, one for digestion, one for “stabilizing energy levels” and one for “liver detoxification.” 

Why is there a need for supplements when livin’ la vida Paleo diet template you ask? 

Well, like every dietary paradigm, not everyone does so hot during the transition. Having expert experience in this realm, Robb and Chris came up with three supplements that could be used for a finite amount of time to help one overcome common obstacles when traversing from the standard American diet. 

Is there anything wrong with that? No. Not at all

Supplements have a place in health and will always have a place in health. Personally, I don’t take as many supplements as I used to (i.e., ~50 pills per meal in my prime), but I still use salt, white sugar, various fat-soluble vitamins, aspirin, and thyroid—which are all contextually useful for increasing the metabolic rate and lowering stress.

 And that’s what supplements are about right? Supporting your context for wellness? 

Context n’ Shit

In my last guest post  I shared that I viewed health problems in the context of a disorder of energy metabolism. While that sounds abstract, simple self-diagnostics (e.g., body warmth, average pulse rate, Achilles tendon reflex, etc.) can be suggestive of one’s current metabolic situation. 

The Paleo diet was born out of the context of something like, ‘the diseases of civilization are largely related to abandonment of the metabolic conditions we evolved under’. ‘The metabolic condition we evolved under’, whatever that may be, was thought to be disturbed by the inclusion of anti-Paleolithic foods like dairy, refined sugar, legumes, and grains.

Post-2007, however, Paleo has lost its unified concept of disease after several of the assumptions that it was based on proved to be false. Paleo became largely “macronutrient agnostic” and even long-standing ideas of the “toxicity” of refined sugar was challenged.

Since then, the community has become directionless, resorting to abstract theories about the gut biome, the role of the hormone leptin, “food reward,” or proclaiming that calories are, and always have been, the true arbiter of health. 

However, I think Chris and Robb’s new line of supplements provides some much-needed context for the community. They seem to be suggesting that for many people, digestion, blood sugar dysregulation, and “sluggish” liver function are common problems that can be trickier to overcome than adhering to an arbitrary diet.

The Hundred Thousand Dollar Bar Question

Chris, Robb, and I share different contexts for wellness. In fact, that is the very reason I parted ways with Chris after helping launch, edit, and co-host his podcast show for free. 

Without addressing the effectiveness of the supplements—maybe they’re great, I will never know—I believe the above issues are contextually mangled without considering the known factors that influence efficient energy production (e.g., carbon dioxide, parathyroid hormone, progesterone, pregnenolone, free fatty acids, phosphate, calcium, estrogen, serotonin, prolactin, etc.). 

Unsurprisingly, I think that digestion, liver function, and the cell’s use of sugar can be best addressed by supporting the metabolic rate (e.g., pulse rate, body temperature) with diet, lifestyle, and supplementation (if necessary). 

Poor Digestion & The Metabolic Rate

In the literature for AdaptaGest, Robb and Chris state that digestion is “by far the most common complaint” when adopting a Paleo diet. AdaptaGest Flex and Adaptagest Core seem to focus on a couple of things: supplying betaine HCl (i.e., stomach acid), digestive enzymes, and increasing the production of bile acids.

As we discussed in the last article , Hans Selye pioneered the concept of stress in 1936, culminating in the identification of the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and numerous other hormones and signaling substances involved in adaptation. His basic idea was that stress (e.g., darkness, low blood sugar, toxic drugs, loud noises, forced exercise, etc.) activated the HPA axis, and if excessive resulted in numerous diseases associated with aging. To be clear, stress, whatever the source, produced characteristic changes in the body that led to a myriad of pathological manifestations. 

Selye noted, through his meticulous experiments, that one of the beginning manifestations of stress involved the digestive system: 

The gastrointestinal tract is particularly sensitive to general stress. Loss of appetite is one of the first symptoms in the great ‘syndrome of just being sick,’ and this may he accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.” — Hans Selye 

Later, (and as Matt discusses at length in 180 Degree Digestion), Broda Barnes found that poor digestion and absorption of nutrients are two symptoms of low thyroid:

“In hypothyroidism [e.g., low pulse, low body temperature], digestion in the stomach and intestines is delayed. The concentration of acid and enzymes involved in digestion may be diminished. Motility of the gut is reduced and food is propelled more slowly along the tract. Absorption through the intestinal wall is slower.” —Dr. Broda Barnes

AdaptaGest Core contains ox bile, but also several ingredients that will stimulate the gallbladder to secrete bile acids, which are necessary for the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. 

Bile acids are synthesized by breaking down cholesterol, which requires active thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (or T3) and vitamin A (i.e., retinol, not beta carotene). 

A deficiency of bile is a common symptom in those with low metabolic rates: 

Finally, a sluggish gall bladder interferes with proper liver detoxification and prevents hormones from being cleared from the body, and hypothyroidism impairs GB function by reducing bile flow.” —Chris Kresser 

Additionally, estrogen, which tends to accumulate in people with low metabolic rates, sluggish bowels, and poor liver function, could also decrease the formation of bile acids: 

 “The general use of synthetic estrogens like DC pointed out that near many skilled collateral effects, some others that are showing with a decrease of bile excretion (cholestasis), reversible with their administration interruption…”—Riv Eur Sci Med Farmacol 1990 Jun;12(3):165-168 [Oral contraceptive and hepatic effects]. Tarantino G, et al.

 Blood Sugar & The Metabolic Rate

 A case can be made that the Paleosphere has somewhat of a reductionist view towards blood sugar. While a wide range of factors affects the cell’s efficient use of glucose, for those that are “glucose intolerant” the primitive idea of modulating carbohydrate intake is almost always at the forefront of the conversation.  

While AdaptaBoost provides some cofactors that support the cell’s ability to completely metabolize glucose, blood sugar dysregulation is a systemic problem that should be thought of in the context of the “whole organism.”

Let’s briefly review the metabolism of glucose along its journey through an efficient and inefficient metabolism.

Glucose is metabolized into pyruvic acid in a process known as glycolysis. If oxygen (and carbon dioxide) is available, pyruvate is converted into acetyl-CoA and fully metabolized in the mitochondria providing energy, one molecule of carbon dioxide for each molecule of pyruvic acid, and water. This is an example of an oxidative metabolism, which by lowering stress (e.g., free fatty acids) allows for a ‘youthful’ metabolism.

However, if oxygen is not present (or cannot be utilized, “The Warburg Effect”), pyruvate will be converted into lactic acid instead of going on to be metabolized in the mitochondria. This is called anaerobic glycolysis, which stifles oxidative metabolism by shunting pyruvate to “lactate dehydrogenase,” instead of “pyruvate dehydrogenase” (a vicious cycle; the only way to overcome this is would be to stop the excessive oxidation of fat).

While it is a commonly held belief that those with poor glucose tolerance cannot use glucose, diabetics often have increased levels of lactate in their blood, which suggests that they are using glucose, but are inefficiently oxidizing it to lactic acid instead of carbon dioxide.

Supplements like niacinamide (not niacin or nicotinic acid) and aspirin both have antidiabetogenic effects. They accomplish this, by inhibiting lipolysis, which liberates free fatty acids into the blood. This is an immediate phenomenon and physiological; it’s only when excessive fat oxidation is chronic (e.g., low carb diet) that pathological insulin resistance develops, with the accumulation of fatty acid oxidation metabolites inside cells.

 Liver Detoxification & The Metabolic Rate

 AdaptaClear claims to protect one from “food toxins” as well as environmental toxins by supporting the different “phases” of liver detoxification. It supposedly accomplishes this by supplying cofactors for methylation and several ingredients that increase and recycle the “master antioxidant” glutathione.

Broda Barnes pointed out that those with low metabolic rates often had sluggish livers and were unable to store glucose (which fructose restores), create bile acids, synthesize sex hormones, or in a vicious cycle, convert thyroxine (T4) into triiodothyronine (T3). 

While the very word “detoxification” and “toxins” has become synonymous with pseudoscience, Hans Selye found that various steroid hormones had a “catatoxic” protective action against a wide range of poisons.

Catatoxic substances increase the destruction and/or excretion of potentially toxic substances.” —Hans Selye

Both pregnenolone and progesterone have catatoxic properties possibly by neutralizing or balancing an excess of estrogen or cortisol. Active thyroid hormone and vitamin A are needed to produce both of these substances and this in turn is dependent on proper regulation of various stress hormones and signaling substances.

Summary

There is no doubt in my mind that for many people, digestion, blood sugar dysregulation, and poor liver function are common problems that can be trickier to overcome than adhering to an arbitrary diet.

But at the same time, I doubt a wild mix of pills is the best way to go about treating these problems. Supporting the known factors that influence energy production would likely be simpler, more straightforward, and most importantly, measurable (e.g., pulse, body temperature, etc.).

 Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

References:

http://www.raypeat.com

http://www.andrewkimblog.com/

http://pranarupa.wordpress.com/

242 Comments

  1. Thanks Danny. Although these concepts may seem complex, it’s only a matter of time before more and more people realize that health is about getting the organism to function properly. The idea of trying to mimic our ancestors or eat any strict diet will become increasingly archaic as more and more people realize how inefficient and imprecise it really is to just eat such and such diet and cross your fingers in hopes that it will all work out.

    Reply
  2. It’s nice to hear from Danny again, since the DRWB has been hibernating lately. *Insert joke about it needing to support oxidative metabolism and lower serotonin*

    Reply
    • I’ve enlisted Danny to do a post the 3rd Saturday of every month all this year. Plenty more where this came from.

      Reply
      • My two favorite health-people joining forces! This makes me happy.

        Reply
        • @Kamran,

          DRWB is definitely hibernating, mostly because I’m rewriting Hair Like a Fox, but also because I’m focusing on content that I feel strongly about.

          Reply
          • Is this content health-related? I.e., is it writing about this type of stuff and not necessarily interpreting Peat’s work?

            Or is it something entirely different? Regardless, it’s nice to see you around again!

          • Still health related and still ‘Peaty’ :)

            I think it means more I’ll be posting twice a month instead of four times a month.

          • Hey Danny,
            I read your blog, so I fully understand it is more focused on keeping one’s Hair and stress levels healthy, but have you thought about writing an eBook that shows how eating “Peaty” style can be used for weight loss?

          • I have a really hard time writing about things that I’m not especially interested in.

            It’s possible, but probably not anytime soon.

          • Thanks for your reply Danny.

        • Yeah, Kamran, I’d pretty much have to vouch for that as well :)

          Reply
  3. “supporting known factors that influence energy production would likely be simpler, more straigh foreword and most importantly measurable…”

    What are the known factors and how do you support them? Does this mean thyroid support and diet with proper carbs etc…?

    I just started taking cytomel for hypothyroidism which I have had for 20 years. I chose cytomel based on what Ray Peat writes about it. (I’ve tried armour thyroid and other bio identicals but they never worked). I have major issues with sluggish liver and I will be thrilled in the thyroid medication helps . Of course I’m also hoping that if my thyroid levels and metabolism finally regulate that I can overcome the last vestiges of chronic Epstein Barr/ CFS

    Reply
    • I think eating enough carbohydrate, salt, calcium, and protein would be a good start.

      If you were already doing those, then some people start experimenting with small amounts of thyroid. T4 can cause issues in some people. Always listening to your body and being aware of/measuring body temperature and pulse is a good idea.

      Reply
      • Thanks. Cytomel is just straight T3. I don’t think I convert t4 into t3 very well.

        I could probably use more protein and Calcium though I try get a lot. I’ve always loved dairy products especially cheese. I know that matt talks about cheese and milk being really good sources of protein. Is there a particular reason why someone (like me) would prefer dairy over meat 9/10 times? Something to do with the calcium and other minerals in the dairy perhaps? I was attempting to sift through article by Ray and I recall him talking about muscle meat raising methionine levels too much without enough glyceine. Or something….

        My temps aren’t up yet but I’ve only been on the cytomel 5 days and at the lowest dose

        Reply
        • I’m interested in the response to this as well. I’ve had a low metablism/low thyroid for years and years now, not sure how long. Maybe my entire life. I’ve brought it up some but struggling to get my body temperature out of the low 96s. I also prefer dairy over meat almost 100% of the time and always have. I’ve always assumed I needed something in the dairy because I just can’t stop eating it. I tried several times back in the day and always got sick until I started eating it again.

          Reply
          • Definitely possible.

  4. “Glucose is metabolized into pyruvic acid in a process known as glycolysis.”

    “However, if oxygen is not present (or cannot be utilized, “The Warburg Effect”), pyruvate will be converted into lactic acid instead of going on to be metabolized in the mitochondria. This is simply called glycolysis…”

    Huh? They’re both called glycolysis?

    Reply
    • Hey Danny, should I change the 2nd glycolysis to anaerobic glycolysis?

      Reply
    • Glycolysis occurs with or without oxygen.

      Reply
  5. On the subject of reducing stress:

    Many of my issues I’ve now realized have been coming from an active stress system for a few months.

    The last week, I’ve thrown caution to the wind with regards to my food choices and kinda binged on pizza and burgers. I witnessed many signs of the stress system shutting down and my body was becoming stronger and more normal feeling again. The low level trembling I experienced all the time had begun stopping.

    However, in the midst of this, I got results from a saliva test I did a while ago that says I’m intolerant to gluten and dairy.

    I was a bit confused because all the pizza and burgers were doing me great for a while. But I’ve seen diminishing returns as far as benefits go. I know I wasn’t going to be eating pizza and burgers all the time forever, but just enough to really get me out of the hole I was in. I was warm all the time, felt incredibly relaxed, could get sleep easy, felt nice and full for the first time in a while, and I also didn’t have this strange feeling like my body was slowly breaking down every moment.

    Now, I don’t really have an urge to eat pizza and burgers and toast all the time like I did initially, but for uninteresting and slightly complex reasons, I’m having to consume lots of bread-y meals at the moment. My bowels have stopped, and my face is breaking out now… On top of that, my low level shaking seems to have come back for the time being.

    Is it possible that the benefits of consuming these high-calorie foods which I was seemingly allergic to (and improving in all areas of health) have begun to backfire because of a very mild allergic response in my body?

    I dunno how much to trust saliva tests on this matter, I want to get retested through a different saliva lab as well as regular blood tests.

    What can be done to mediate this stress for the time being? Also, how much work do you think it would take to stop the shaking from happening all the time? I’ve been shaking ever so slightly for the past 4ish months.

    The past week has been the most normal I’ve felt in forever, and it was soooo easy to accomplish. Lowering stress is the way to go, but I’m at a bit of a fork in the road at the moment.

    Reply
    • @Kamran,

      Interesting. I can’t speak exactly to what’s going on—because I don’t know, but I would take the results of that saliva allergy test with a grain of salt.

      Perhaps just getting the bowels moving again will have some effect?

      Reply
      • Thank you Ann,

        I might just try that.

        Danny,

        I’ve asked on the RP forum about saliva tests and apparently RP doesn’t think they’re reliable. You said to take them with a grain of salt. Why is that? I would love to just ignore it and carry on, but I can’t deny that bread makes me break out in whiteheads and too much cow dairy slows down my bowels.

        I’m on antibiotics right now to get rid of this bad cough so I can be well enough to see an allergist. Could that be creating stress in some way?

        i’m a little worried right now admittedly, so there is that psychological effect, but it’s not too bad. I’ll work on calming down.

        Reply
        • @Kamran,

          I don’t recommend consuming something if you’re having an uncomfortable allergy from it.

          In the case of milk, however, the added vitamins can be allergenic. Also, thyroid, vitamin A, progesterone, and pregnenolone can influence lactose digestion, which is why I think those tests are worthless.

          Reply
    • I have found my breakfast of raw carrots (6 to 10 little prepared ones in bag from Costco) with my coffee (prepared with 2 Tablespoons gelatin, coconut oil, butter and cream) to keep my gut feeling good and regular. Digestion of bread products has been less of/no problem with the gelatin coffee and carrots breakfast.
      I was also experiencing the jittery/shaky feeling and cannot remember what stopped it, except for leaving off low carb diet in October, eating sugar, bread (gained 15 pounds) but started the nutritious coffee and added in the daily raw carrots.
      Gaining weight was from overeating….not necessarily the addition of sugar and grains back into my diet. Still reading Hans Selye’s books on stress…got sidetracked of late.

      Reply
      • I’ve been at such a loss for what to eat for breakfast lately. Thanks for the idea, Ann. I’m going to try this! Though I find I do MUCH better on goat milk than cow milk, and I can get a wonderful local goat milk in my area, so I will put that in the coffee along with the coconut oil and gelatin.

        Reply
    • I was having the “low level shaking” all the time and it turned out to be from low thyroid (though my numbers were on the low end of normal range my Dr. gave me desicated thyroid to see if it would help) and food intolerances.

      Reply
      • Shannon,

        My thyroid numbers are fine, fortunately. I’ve been able to stop the shaking by consuming a lot of calories and reducing my intake of high water content foods and liquids in general. The progress has not been linear, but I have a good feeling that if I were to keep up this trend of lots of calories, less liquids, and more dry sugars, that the low level shaking that’s occurring all the time will disappear. Was just looking for validation in that thinking, haha.

        What’s got me a little flustered is that food intolerance result from the saliva lab. I know all the pizza and burgers was really doing me wonders, but not so much anymore. Perhaps it’s time to readjust my course of action anyway. I know that when I’m craving the calories and the food, it’s probably more beneficial to eat these foods than to outright avoid them all the time. It’s taken a week of binging on these foods for things to start going a little bit downhill, so I’m thinking that maybe if I just eat less at the moment, i’ll end up okay.

        Danny,

        The test was for casein. Apparently I was born with a casein intolerance. I suppose it would explain the bowel troubles i’ve had throughout my childhood…but it does seem to make me feel better to consume milk and cheese when I feel like it.

        I think passed a certain point when I’ve had too much and it backs me up is it detrimental. So weird.

        Does RP say anything about coffee being good for the gut per se? I apologize for pestering you with these little questions, but I really do appreciate the time you take to respond.

        Reply
        • @Kamran,

          I think coffee can create a lot of problems if things aren’t dialed in.

          For instance, it gave me a lot of problems at first (i.e., dropping my blood sugar), but eventually I figured out that I needed more protein and sugar.

          The magnesium, caffeine, and B1 are likely helpful for digestive problems.

          Reply
          • Danny,

            Are you talking about more protein and sugar IN the coffee? ie gelatin and sugar in the coffee? Or more protein and sugar in general in your diet?

          • I think in general, but I usually add those things to my coffee.

  6. Hey Danny

    Awesome article! Have been seeing great results after following advice from you and Matt. You mention taking “thyroid” and I’d like to start experimenting with small doses. What specifically do you recommend (T3, desiccated) and where can I acquire this (without paying a ND a shit ton of money or begging an MD for a prescription)

    Reply
      • Markus is the typical example of the village-idiot who’d sip cool-aid because it was fashionable.

        If we’re going to start taking any supplements, we need to approach it with the mindset of being a scientist, if not an experimenter.

        Reply
        • AMEN!!!

          Reply
  7. Thought provoking post. Whenever anyone – especially a diet guru – gets into the supplement biz, it would appear to me that “profit motive” is probably a major motivator.

    Reply
    • My gut reaction is that they’ve had a whiff of the mortality of the movement. Time to cash in before the public moves on to the next cure all.

      Reply
  8. What you guys (Danny and Matt) say makes sense to me until I ask my self what do I now do. It seems at least Danny says “eat like you used too” lots of sugar, dairy, orange juice”. Yeah, did that and was putting on weight. Don’t want to do it anymore. I did buy Matt’s latest book on Amazon and will give it a shot though. My point is, at least for me, their is little actionable from your articles other than dont eat low carb, which has gotten me lean and strong and I feel good. I do go high carb in the evenings and 1 day a week however.

    Reply
    • As long as your body is in good working order, then you probably aren’t putting unnecessary stress upon your system and are doing fine. As long as you can poop without straining, get and maintain an erection, sleep through the night without waking, have a high body temp and feel good – then whatever you are doing is sufficient. Just be willing to change, as what is a healthy diet at any given point in time is not static, but a moving target.

      Reply
    • I think actionable articles (i.e., do this, that, and this) are usually unhelpful. I try to avoid writing like that to promote self-experimentation and self-diagnostics.

      Reply
  9. Also wondering what the best sources if vitamin A are. I was taking fermented cod liver oil for a while and my vit A levels got so high I stopped getting sunburned. But then I began to have concerns about toxicity of fish oil and the while PUFA thing…. Is there a supplement for vit A you recommend?

    Could you speak to how aspirin combats stress and enhances metabolism?

    Reply
    • Liver is a good source of vitamin A. Sometimes I’ll use the nutrisorb brand of vitamin A.

      By shifting away from the oxidation of fats and towards the oxidation glucose aspirin can increase Co2 and lower estrogen, lactic acid, serotonin, adrenaline, cortisol, etc.

      Vitamin K is important to take with aspirin.

      Peat’s famous article: http://raypeat.com/articles/aging/aspirin-brain-cancer.shtml

      Reply
      • Fascinating. Thank you!

        Reply
      • From my research so far (which, honestly, has just begun), you talk about ratios. Is the tsp of fermented cod liver oil really going to have negative effects, if you are getting enough saturated fats and limiting sources of PUFA’s? I love the benefits that I’ve seen when using the FCLO, but I definitely don’t want to be counter productive.

        Could you also tell me your opinion on beef bone marrow?

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        • I keep my PUFA pretty low so I opt for liver as my vitamin A source.

          I don’t have any personal issues with marrow.

          Reply
    • Take it easy with vitamin A.
      Check out what vitamin D council says about it – it blocks the action of vitamin D.

      Many hypothyroids are also very vit. D deficient, and not everyone seems to be able to improve the blood levels by sunbathing.

      Reply
      • The recent trend towards vitamin D supplementation seems to have marginalized the need for vitamin A. Both are important.

        Reply
  10. Hey Matt & Danny,
    Thanks for the great information as always!

    As a child, I was super thin. So much that my mom was worried and put me on shakes to make me gain. At 12 years old I was 55-60 pounds and I continued to be thin throughout my younger years into my twenties. I had my son when I was 20 and my daughter when I was 24. I kept my figure trim and healthy with little exercise on a SAD. I had some health problems that stemmed from childhood but after I had surgery and that was fixed, it left me super thin and I’m pretty sure my body was crying out for help!

    A couple years later, I tried different diets along with exercise but it wasn’t too extreme until the past few years and then all of the sudden I was at a job I didn’t like, going through a stressful time, and I started gaining weight in my midsection. I’ve gained around 15 lbs since then. I probably weight 125 now which isn’t heavy by any means! Maybe it’s my body’s weight that I never was able to reach before due to trying to control the situation too much instead of listening to my body and doing what it said!

    I’m thankful to Matt and everyone else who writes on this blog. I’ve truly freed myself of all negativity and I eat whatever I want now which is awesome and my family is much happier that mom is eating what they are eating now and we can eat out wherever instead of worrying about where mom can eat! I”m still working on my metabolism and hormones as it won’t be a quick fix but I’m excited to see how things change and my body adapts!

    I don’t desire to lose weight but I would like to get stronger and more toned. I’m just nervous to try working out since my temps have been good for a few months now. I don’t want to mess up my progress! Do I have to eat more when I start exercising? Do I just listen to my body when it’s hungry and eat or is there a particular science to it? I get so confused and I’m sure I’m not alone!

    Right now, I’m having a problem with even wanting to eat. Nothing sounds good and as soon as I start eating I have to force myself to finish because I just feel yucky. Is this part of the process? All of the foods that are good for me turn me off and make me feel nauseous. Any info would be appreciated!

    So, how do I get the metabolism of my 9 yr old son?! What is the procedure? He is muscular and has abs of an olympic athlete and rack my brain as to how it all works and there has got to be a way to make it happen! He eats mostly healthy but we eat out frequently and he eats the usual fare. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Allison. I spend a lot of time on cyberspace. Have you looked into time travel?

      Don’t fear exercise. I don’t mean to scare people away when I talk about the benefits of taking a break for a while. Just keep it easy with a focus on steady progress. Not a race to fitness, but steady and sustainable.

      Reply
    • Why on Earth do you think you could capture the metabolic state of a 9-year-old?

      Reply
  11. Somewhat related to the topic. I found that I can consistently get into the good metabolic groove if (and usually only if) I eat in a relaxed state, no rush, and stay relaxed for a bit afterwards. It doesn’t have to be a ‘Peaty’ or ‘EFH-esque’ meal. Just something satisfying. Then my hands will be nice and toasty, veins popping out on hands and arms, pulse at 80+.
    Still have engrained habits to break though. Many a-meal I’ll be getting ready for work, washing dishes, getting the toddler ready for whatever, etc. while I’m eating, or right after. Generally feeling in a rush. Seems like no matter what I eat then, hands will stay ice cold, unless I stop and just sit down and not do anything. Same if I try to eat at my desk while at work. Same meal, taking my time, eating on a patio at a store/restaurant, will have a complete opposite effect.
    I just I’d add my experience, for what it’s worth. Probably all related to the stress response, as mentioned (though I usually never have any noticeable problems with digestion, even when I’m rushed that day). I remember seeing other peoples’ comments awhile back saying that they’re symptoms went away during vacation, even when eating the ‘offending’ foods. Probably the same thing going on there.

    Reply
    • Interesting, thanks for commenting Derek.

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      • I just experienced a warming up of my hands and feet and generally feeling all around better when I was feeling really calm right before taking a nap after lunch today. Relaxing definitely does help.

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    • I was thinking this might have an effect on me too. I tend to rush a lot, so I’ll have to pay more attention and see if it really makes a difference.

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  12. I like that you two (Danny and Matt) bring some alternative views to the table. I’ve read both of your various ebooks, most recently “Eat for Heat”, and have noticed some positive benefits from following some of your recommendations, specifically eating more salt and drinking less water. So first I’d like to thank you for contributing useful information to this crazy topic we call nutrition. I like having a variety of perspectives to consider.

    However, I must say – I wish you guys wouldn’t resort to bashing the other guys (Wolf and Kresser) in order to make your point. I don’t think these men are trying to “cash in” on the movement before it dies out. In fact, I think they both are quite committed to understanding nutrition science as best they can. They frequently make alterations to their recommendations as new information becomes available. I work with Chris and can attest that he is quite committed to the health of his readers and patients, and is dedicated to thoroughly understanding the science behind his recommendations. And I also think you all have way more in common with each other than you have differences. We’re all trying to figure out what is going wrong in the American diet. So why does there need to be so much derisiveness?

    I say this because I am a nutrition student who is constantly trying to learn more information about what constitutes an ideal diet not only for myself but my future clients, and am struggling to reconcile the various points of views I’ve encountered. It’s hard enough trying to go against the USDA guidelines without having so much arguing going on amongst the more enlightened crowd. It just frustrates me that there is so much polarization between the different internet ‘gurus’. I think you two make some great points about stress and dietary restriction, and I think Wolf and Kresser have some great contributions to our understanding of what dietary components are essential for health. Yes, you disagree on certain ideas, but attacking others’ motives for having particular perspectives is divisive and confusing to readers. I think Wolf and Kresser have helped a LOT of people become healthier. Obviously everyone will have their own experiences with particular diets, but I don’t think these men are trying to con anyone to make a profit.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say this because I think it’s really great to have a variety of opinions, especially because we know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to diet and nutrition. That said, I think it would behoove you to make your points without resorting to insulting the other men’s characters. It makes me disinclined to continue reading your work when it’s so negative against people I respect, whether they’re wrong about certain things or not. It just seems like you’re using the negativity to boost your own popularity among people who haven’t fared as well on the paleo diet.

    So please keep sharing your knowledge and controversial beliefs, since the information is helpful, but try to do so in a way that doesn’t turn off those of us who are looking for objective information that doesn’t have a marketing slant! I like reading your stuff but get really turned off by the negativity towards other bloggers. We shouldn’t have to pick sides!

    Reply
    • Hey Laura, I’m not sure what article you read, but I don’t “attack” Chris or Robb in this article.

      Reply
      • Robb Wolf recently stated that even a broken clock is right twice a day… in reference to me. I thought we’ve both been quite courteous considering the animosity between Paleos and Paleo defectives. The closer the ideology usually the more vicious the quarreling between opposing viewpoints.

        But there’s no doubt that selling supplements degrades the quality of one’s information. Would you watch a news report done by a reporter selling cancer screening equipment on how important it is to get screened for cancer?

        Danny was just taken aback when finding out that guys he never thought would sell supplements were selling supplements. That’s understandable. It’s like finding out the slut from high school became a nun, only in reverse.

        Reply
        • “But there’s no doubt that selling supplements degrades the quality of one’s information.”

          What does this even mean?

          ks

          Reply
          • I mean, I understand your example, but…I don’t hold Ray Peat’s info as less worthy because he talks about progesterone often and has a Progest-E product.

            ks

          • To my understanding, Ray has no ties with Kenogen (the manufacturer of Progest-E) and they are essentially using his name illegally.

          • Robb and CO have touted Paleo as the end all diet and that you will maximize your health and life span by doing so. If that is the case why all of a sudden would you push supplements? Money is the obvious answer. Robb and CO are not altruists, they run a business and the goal of any business is to make money.

        • Matt – I know there’s been back and forth, and I know Robb can be hot-headed in his responses to things. I guess I was just pointing out that the quarreling is a major turn-off to those of us looking for objective information.

          I think the major reason they launched the supplement line is because they have clients that are constantly asking them for recommendations on which supplements to take, and there were no concise formulas that they could recommend. So they thought it would make sense to develop a line of supplements that met the quality standards they were looking for while minimizing the number of pills people might have to take. Danny’s article has a good point, that supplements shouldn’t be necessary if the metabolism is working correctly and the diet is providing the right nutrients. But if these supplements make a major difference to their patients’ health, I don’t really see what the problem is. Everybody’s got to make a living somehow, and these guys give out free info all the time. Plus, Danny recommends taking thyroid hormone, so I think all of us see a role that supplements can play in optimizing a healthy diet, particularly for someone with a screwed up metabolism. And supplements are supposed to be a temporary aid, not a long-term solution.

          As an aside, Chris has written about similar topics to you, Matt, such as our need for adequate salt, the 8-cups-a-day water myth, avoiding overexercise, and the major role that stress plays in a variety of health issues. So I think it would be awesome if you guys could highlight some of the things you agree with rather than constantly pointing out where you think they’re wrong. I think it would be far more useful to those of us trying to learn the truth about nutrition as best we can.

          Like I said, I really appreciate the various points of view. I just think it could be done more civilly.

          Reply
          • Hmm, for me it is particularly helpful to read what Matt thinks others are doing wrong and vice versa, and not to read about what they agree on – that is something i can easily do.

            If he wasn’t so blatantly speaking against low carb, it would have never caught my eye.

          • Speaking blatantly against low-carb is what makes so many other popular bloggers hate me so much. And it’s not really “me” to actually do that. But I sort of forced myself to do it knowing that it is the way to get people’s attention. There are times to be courteous and civil. There are times to speak out and be heard and create controversy. I like to think I maintain a pretty good balance of both.

          • “Danny’s article has a good point, that supplements shouldn’t be necessary if the metabolism is working correctly and the diet is providing the right nutrients”

            —I think that supporting the metabolic rate would accomplish all the things their supplement line sets out to do.

            “Plus, Danny recommends taking thyroid hormone, so I think all of us see a role that supplements can play in optimizing a healthy diet, particularly for someone with a screwed up metabolism.”

            —But my wallet doesn’t care if you take thyroid or not.

            “So I think it would be awesome if you guys could highlight some of the things you agree with rather than constantly pointing out where you think they’re wrong. I think it would be far more useful to those of us trying to learn the truth about nutrition as best we can.”

            —I do not want to live here. Without critics like Matt I would have never formed my own opinions about health.

            “Danny I didn’t mean this article specifically, I meant the comments afterwards. I agree that the main article was objective.”

            “Like I said, I really appreciate the various points of view. I just think it could be done more civilly.”

            —I’m not following Laura, I really don’t think anything said has been uncivil towards Chris or Robb. Did you see the Kruse thread on FTA? That was uncivil.

      • Danny I didn’t mean this article specifically, I meant the comments afterwards. I agree that the main article was objective.

        Reply
        • No offense, but I think we need to be less naive about people’s motives. Do we really *need* another supplement? I am a licensed health care provider and I am inundated with hundreds of specialized supplements on a regular basis. There are so many supplement manufacturers these days that it boggles the mind.

          My point is, Chris and Robb’s supplements are nothing earth shattering. There’s nothing really ground breaking happening there. They could easily tell their clients to take something that is already being manufactured. I am sure that Chris – as a fellow practitioner – does this all the time.

          The point I believe that Danny and Matt are making is that Chris and Robb are now selling their own product, which, as Matt alluded to, is a way of “cashing in” on their perspectives.

          As a licensed healthcare provider, this would then make my information less credible (in regard to recommending a supplement) because I now have a profit motive.

          It’s about professional ethics.

          It’s like, what is your psychiatrist ‘manufactured’ Prozac and then suggested that you might need Prozac.

          get it??

          Reply
          • Someone shut Sean up before he makes too much sense.

          • sean, i appreciate your comment and it makes sense and all, but i guess i just wonder…. what is wrong with cashing in on your perspective?

            i think that matt and danny cash in on their perspective by selling e-books and that is awesome. they make blogs and do interviews promoting their perspective and ebooks, right on!

            matt write blogs attributing most health issues to a lower metabolic rate and then makes a book about optimizing metabolic rate, awesome let’s all eat for heat. i don’t question the quality of the information he provides because he does so. should i? i find value in his perspective and buy the ebook. simple.

            in some way this all reminds me of some indie or punk rock purist attitude about health……”rob and chris used to be so cool. all that free information they provided. once they signed that supplement deal it was all over man. ” hahaha…

            ks

          • Hey Kevin,

            i get your perspective. I don’t totally think it’s a “tremendous evil” what they are doing. It’s a more subtle thing.

            Maybe it seems less jarring for some people these days because everyone is doing it.

            It’s kind of how I felt about Barry Sears once he started selling all his overly-expensive “zone” supplements back in the late 90s. It’s the same thing D’Adamo and his “blood type” supplements. It became absolutely clear that desire to push products and cash in on his bestseller was infringing on his objectivity. Same with the repackaging of his work over and over without adding a whole lot.

            I feel the same way about Mercola these days, and I’ve followed him since he began. After an article about a health topic, surprise surprise, he has a product to pitch for it.

            It’s also a little funny, in that the paleo folks are so high-n-mighty about their philosophy of diet but now they seem to be turning to supplements which to me tells me that their philosophy isn’t quite as effective and all-encompassing as they promote.

            Also, Kresser is an licensed acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, like myself, and one of the most basic tenants of our medicine is to treat the individual. I’ll spend a half an hour formulating a really specific formula for a patient. It’s an art, and it takes good clinical skills to see what kind of results you are getting and have to re-formulate as things change with your patient. Since supplements are use as drugs, essentially – external substances to effect change in the body – it’s both sloppy and potentially dangerous, or – less bad – ineffective – to throw shotgun formulas out to the masses to make a buck.

            When you mass market general supplements for the masses, you make it clear that you are putting personal profit above practicing medicine to best degree that you can.

            Again, this is common these days because medicine is big business, but there was a time when medicine was vocation. Again, it just has to do with the finer ideas of ethics which are totally lost today in the current mainstream and alternative medical environments.

            Maybe I’m old fashioned, but that’s how I roll…

          • It is called conflict of interest. That is the problem with health consultants/educators / practitioners selling products. They then have a strong motive to sell their product and that very well may skew their objectivity in helping you figure out the source of your health problems and the best most cost effective solution.

          • thanks Lisa – I think you summed up my rambling quite succinctly

    • the more input the better. anytime one does something, one is subject to criticism. i for one don’t enjoy milktoast opinions or restrained expression. anything is up for questioning: info, motives, etc. matt didn’t say anything ad hominem. there’s a difference.

      Reply
    • I don’t want to get into a point-by-point argument here. I’m just giving you my opinion about the vibe I get from a lot of these anti-paleo posts. I’m not a die-hard paleo follower by any means, and there’s things that some of the paleo ‘gurus’ say that I don’t necessarily agree with or think should be applied to all people. Like I said, I’m a nutrition student so I’m trying to do my best to learn about all different perspectives. I like the alternative viewpoints you both present, I just don’t want to feel like I have to pick sides. That’s all!

      As far as Kruse and FTA, I don’t read either of those guy’s work because I find them offensive and/or slightly insane, from what I’ve seen in the past.

      Reply
      • “I like the alternative viewpoints you both present, I just don’t want to feel like I have to pick sides. That’s all!”

        —No worries, this isn’t a gang fight.

        Reply
  13. Hello Danny (and Matt!)
    I wonder if you’ve got any insight into raised PTH hormone? I’ve tried – and failed – to get a handle on Peat’s stuff but he is one of the few researchers who even mentioned the parathyroid hormone. Short version – I had a high PTH hormone level test last winter when I was barely scraping back into the normal Vit D range – it was then normal in the summer when my Vit D was 128 ng/ml but too high again last autumn when my Vit D had dropped to 108 ng/ml (am in the UK, not sure what the nmol/l reading is) though this level is well into the normal range of Vit D. My endocrinologist thinks it’s low Vit D related and suggested supplementing and re-testing in spring so I’m taking 2,000-4,000 IU per day plus I take FCLO (though that by itself never took my Vit D level high enough). All this really concerns me because I was diagnosed with osteopenia 8 years ago, then had a test last year that seemed to suggest some parts of my spine had deteriorated into osteoporosis yet weirdly my hip had improved – I’m awaiting the results of a new DEXA scan (my endo didn’t trust the last scan from a different hospital so ordered his own). Hopefully my bones aren’t too bad but I want to make sure they don’t deteriorate as time is running out for me pre-menopause – I’m 40 this year. So……confused as ever, I’m mainly WAPF but wonder if I eat enough carbs as I played with paleo (never that well, felt terrible quitting grains so have always had a slice of sourdough, heavily buttered with eggs for breakfast, eat dark chocolate every day and my afternoon snack is usually prunes or dates). I eat a ton of cheese but don’t drink much milk except in tea, take magnesium 500mg daily plus FCLO/butter oil, K2 and vit C sometimes. I am just over 5’7” and weigh about 130-135 lbs. Exercise-wise I do pilates but no other formal exercise but rarely sit down and walk a lot. Any other anti-osteoporosis, PTH lowering tips? Thanks – Matt, you’re site has been an eye-opener and as an ex-ED sufferer (hello, bad bones!) REALLY has made me recognise paleo in particular (WAPF is pretty liberal I’ve found) for the encroaching orthorexia it really is. Oh, my temps are a bit low – high 97s but just as regularly hit 98.6.

    Reply
      • Thanks, Danny, I’ll look into that – do you think more calcium is the key then? I could try and fit in more dairy if it will help.

        Reply
        • Good thyroid function, which increases carbon dioxide, is probably worth looking into.

          Dietary calcium, magnesium, sodium, vitamin K, vitamin A, copper, and vitamin D all influence PTH.

          Reply
        • A word of caution on making calcium from eggshells. All eggs found in supermarkets, including organic ones, have had their shelves washed with detergents that could then be found in the solution you’d prepare…Do this with eggs from a local farmer that you wash carefully then, if possible.

          Reply
  14. Hey Laura, I’m not sure what article you read, but I don’t “attack” Chris or Robb in this article.

    Reply
  15. Hi Danny
    I haven’t understood everything in your article and it’s been a great while since that happens to me reading Matt blog, so I am not sure how obth of you should take it :-) But great article, still.
    I would love to see you digging more into the thyroid issues. I have personally experimented with Dr Ron dessicated thyroid and adrenals and definitely felt some effects- if people are looking for a more natural brand. But not all effects were great – felt lightheaded and dizzy etc. I have since found that signs it’s difficult to separate what might come from the thyroid or from the adrenals or both. Would love more insight into this and how to supplement more efficiently if diet alone is not enough (like is it counterproductive to take both adrenal and thyroid supplements on the same day? It should be…).
    I am also very curious on what you can share on taking aspirin, and when, as a supplement. Bottomline I would just like for you to share how you supplement for yourself and how you came to those conclusions.
    I think you should also definitely write THE article on how low carbing and avoiding glucose can leads to insulin resistance and diabetes, not the other way around. Maybe by including a chapter on ketogenesis that paleo and some fat lovers in nutrition circle are so in love with. I have often pointed out to some of these people that it seems silly from a metabolic point of view to take a long and more strenuous road to end up with a source of energy for the mitochondria (ketogenesis as opposed to glucogenesis ), so why would you do it of your own volition, put such stress on your body and then hope to be in better health? Apart from epileptic people and special illnesses who benefit from ketogenic diets… It’s probably a very Judeo-Christian view of nutrition taken to the cellular level, “if I suffer it must be good for me then” haha!
    However you seem like the right man to put this more eloquently in words.

    Reply
    • Hey Laurent,

      I think my first article is a good primer for why low-carb diets suppress the metabolic rate:

      http://180degreehealth.com/2012/12/the-peat-whisperer-whispers-paleo

      I take a small amount of aspirin with every meal and rub vitamin k onto my skin after I take a shower in the morning.

      Sometimes enough sugar, protein, calcium, and salt can have a lot of thyroid supplement-like effects. Probably worth experimenting with before taking thyroid/adrenal supplements. Being aware of the temperature of your extremities and measuring your pulse is often helpful.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the fast answer. Damn, I did read your first article – I shall re-read it again then lol
        Aspirin is also making the blood less viscous. I understand that you are not a doctor and can only speak for yourself, but in which case would you say it is good to do as you do, take aspirin after each meal?
        As for calcium, with this magnesium scare nowadays, that we are all deficient blah blah blah is it ok to take a lot of calcium? Does it not lower the Mg too much (I could get this all wrong of course).
        I would say that in temp I am often warm enough now. It’s more in term of wanting to achieve more, feel more energetic and take more muscular mass that I am still looking into toying more with this. But maybe if I can get myself into bed no later than 10pm it would solve all these problems!

        Reply
        • Magnesium is important, but a deficient intake of calcium can cause an increase in hormones that cause the body to lose magnesium (e.g., estrogen).

          A friend of mine just started taking a few aspirin a day and swears by it. I think it has a very broad range of therapeutic actions and is worth exploring—especially when nutrition isn’t perfect.

          Reply
          • Great. I shall look into it as well…Many thanks.

          • Btw daily aspirin, from what I read, might increase the risk of internal bleeding – this is the con to the pro. Do you think the risk is real?

          • Vitamin k is used to prevent bleeding.

          • Laurent I believe that the reason vitamin k has been recommended with the aspirin

          • Aspirin is extremely controversial and one should learn about it and assess the “risks” before using it.

            I’m not too concerned about it.

          • AH! makes sense. I am now reading Ray Peat point of view on it…Will dig more into it. Very interesting. Thanks!

          • Danny,

            Any difference btwn the enteric coated aspirin and regular aspirin in terms of thyroid function/estrogen blocking effects? I’d like to start using aspirin as my family has a genetic history of blood clots and excess estrogen issues.

            Thanks!

          • @Lanie,

            I’m not sure. I use dollar store aspirin. The only extra ingredient is starch.

      • Danny, what vitamin k are you using that can be rubbed into the skin?

        Reply
        • I currently use the Thorne or Life Extension brand.

          Reply
  16. Sleep is likely the ultimate anti-stress activity and yet, to some extent, we utilize free fatty acids while we sleep… how does that fit into this picture?

    ks

    Reply
    • Light is biologically active and supports mitochondrial respiration as well as the production of our “protective” sex hormones.

      Darkness does the exact opposite, and is one of the methods Selye would use the stress animals in his experiments.

      Many people I’ve talked to find that niacinamide (or aspirin) taken before bed, which lower the concentration of FFAs in the blood, can improve sleep,

      Reply
      • Hi Danny,
        how much aspirin?

        Reply
        • I take a few a day along with vitamin K to prevent bleeding.

          Reply
          • Would it be enough vit K if you just ate Edam cheese every day or does it have to be a supplement? If I understand correctly Edam (and other hard cheeses) have a lot of K2 in them.

          • @Nuka,

            When Peat recommends food sources of vitamin K he usually mentions liver or well-cooked kale.

            He’s mentioned in an email that bleeding excessively from a small cut can indicate a vitamin K deficiency.

  17. I just want to give my two fav dudes of Healthiness a big high five!
    Great article by the Rodster and great comments by Mattie and Danny both.
    Did paleo man use pills?
    that is the only question to need to ask.
    love ya
    deb the hag

    Reply
  18. YOU need to ask. sorry

    Reply
  19. What’s the Achilles Tendon reflex? Would this relate to being very sore in the achilles area but with it not being due to tightness?

    Reply
  20. Any advice for those with low cortisol levels?

    Reply
    • I’m not a doctor, I don’t have patients, and I dropped out of community college, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that condition is often misdiagnosed.

      Reply
    • B5 and Licorice did wonders for my wife :)

      Reply
  21. Do you guys think Paleo really is on it’s last legs? I’ve had this feeling that it might be, but it might also be that I don’t really peruse paleo sites anymore.

    I mean, I’ve gone on paleohacks and seen ridiculous topics and wild speculation about what the paleo man “must’ve” eaten…plus there’s the existence of that paleodrama blog that documents paleo gurus and their craziness…

    But it also seems like many people are still really into it.

    I don’t really care all that much anymore. Whatever works for people is great.

    What I find fascinating is all the apparent drama within the movement and some of the dietary fascism that seemed to make the movement implode on itself…or at least seriously rethink what its all about. What signs might indicate that it might be on its way out?

    Reply
    • @Kamran, besides SEO, I’m not sure the term is good for anything.

      Reply
    • The paleo perspective has slid into the delusional.

      One thing they seem to not *get* is that people were not having significant issues with neolithic foods en masse until relatively recently.

      Why is that?

      That’s really the question.

      They blame the food, but this is superficial, surface level thinking, and so “paleo” becomes a superficial approach to gut issues, immunity issue, etc, etc.

      For some people, who just naturally respond well to low carb, high fat diets – a distinct minority – they will have a great time of it, and erroneously think that paleo itself is the reason. this is faulty thinking. It’s just that they have found their metabolic sweet spot accidently. There are many many low carb diets out there and they have more in common than they do differences.

      But, again, the question: Why are “neolithic” foods becoming problematic for people these days, when our entire civilization was based on them?? Is it the food or is it us?

      The answer is: It’s us. We, as a species, are degenerating.

      Part of this is the collective drop in metabolic functioning that we all seem at risk for, due to environmental toxins, denatured PUFA, toxic halogens, and lord knows what else.

      Another part of this is the antibiotic revolution and the destruction of the gut ecosystem, which then gets passed down to the next generation, which becomes for dysfunctional than the last.

      These are the deeper issues and why people are getting some results by going “paleo” but 100 years ago, no one needed to go paleo, and it’s interesting to wonder why, isn’t it??

      So, paleo is probably on its last lags because it is a symptom-based, superficial approach to a much deeper problem. At least with organism-level metabolic perspectives, we are trying to approach these problems systemically, rather than superficially.

      Part of the problem is how we look at the body as separate parts rather than a whole; for example, a doctor might diagnose SIBO, but completely ignore the effect of thyroid or mitochondrial dysfunction on the production of energy. In SIBO, the migratory motor complex does not produce the peristaltic wave regularly or strongly, which just happens to be a major symptom of hypothyroidism. I’ve only seen one study – Japanese- that links hypothyroidism to SIBO, and doctors treat it as a “digestion and elimination problem” – IBS – ignoring the big picture, which is most likely metabolism.

      This is just how American scientists think and it’s this kind of thinking that informs paleo, GAPS, etc, etc. Reductionistic, mechanistic, and seeing the body like you would an automobile.

      Reply
  22. One interesting point was : “This is an example of an oxidative metabolism, which by lowering stress (e.g., free fatty acids) allows for a ‘youthful’ metabolism . . . ” and in the following paragraph, that anaerobic metabolism damages reverses this youthful metabolism. First, why is the oxidative system a youthful metabolism? Second, It would seem this would advocate for low-level cardiovascular exercise such a walking or light jogging depending on the fitness level of the person to increase the ability of the system to use oxygen, however, Matt Stone has blogged in the past about how hiking was negative for his metabolism. Was that because you were over-doing it? I know in some circles, people believe that things like running are a double-edged sword. Light running can be very helpful and not stressful, hard running taxes the body by pushing you too much into the anaerobic system. My guess is its all about the right dose of exercise, but Danny and Matt i’d appreciate your view.

    Reply
    • Well, there’s also the cortisol aspect, right, the hormonal aspect. Jogging for a long time just messes you up hormonally, as any kind of endurance training does. that’s really the problem. I think, if i recall correctly, that Matt was over doing the hiking too much, and probably not eating properly to support that at the time. So, the issue with “cardio” is really the cortisol issue – something that’s not so much a problem with short-term, high intensity training with proper recovery.

      Reply
  23. Danny/Matt Thanks for your comments here guys they are very helpful

    Reply
  24. ‘sluggish gall bladder interferes with proper liver detoxification and prevents hormones from being cleared from the body, and hypothyroidism impairs GB function by reducing bile flow.” —Chris Kresser ‘

    I have borderline high dhea, ‘normal’ t (not on the higher end of range though), and ft3 and ft4 just udner the low point of the ‘normal’ range, TSH at 1.0. Borderline low total wbc for last year or two as well, with lymphoctyes, neurophils below normal number. Despite trying out ‘paleo’ for a year or so (mainly meat and veg, and feeling a lot better than I did (also not getting sick as much etc), I have and have had persistent skin issues in the form of pimple/acne breakouts. These aren’t severe but suggestive that clearly something isn’t optimal… No matter what I have tried, looking at overall lifestyle, stress etc, some nutrition things, havn’t cracked it. Am thinking that bloods are reflective of some level of an adaptation fo a diet that is on the ‘lower carb’ end of the spectrum’. The catalyst for restricting grains and dairy came a while ago when I the satiation issues I was having were becoming too much – I was binging on bread and butter- pretty sure I had some level of Insulin resistance (maybe still do). I’m going back to competitive sport again and daresay slightly more carbs might be useful, at least on a cyclical basis, but am wary of messing with what, apart from skin issues and perhaps things the blood reflect, has worked quite well.

    I’ve been taking a supplement with zinc aligned with b6, a bit of a… Eating liver once of twice a week, stocks/gelatnious meats frequently, an array of veg. Water kefir, kraut sometimes. Taking low dose aspirin Started potassium idodie a few months ago, and have magnesium sometimes. Seeing a couple of ppl. Stiill though skin has been a problem, and suggests obvisouly that things are less than great.

    Can Danny, Matt or anyone make any suggestions/hopefully with explanations? I would appreciate any time/thoughts that could be given on this, am feeling like I need to sort things out that have been pateitnly worked at, but persistently existent for a long time…

    Cheers

    Reply
    • B5/Vitamin A (not beta carotne) are very helpful for skin. I like the 10k A / 400 D from Country Life. Also the KI could be causing breakouts due to Bromine detox through the skin. Check into doing “salt push” to help clear the body of bromides through your urine.

      Reply
      • Thanks, will check it out. Bromine could be contirbuting although the issues sort of predate the supplementation. Incidentally a hair mineral test showed mercury being fairly high. Perhaps this could be a factor… Are heavy metals related to skin issues?

        Reply
    • I hear a lot of people here complaining about acne, but no one ever mentions Retin-A. Well, if you want to stop obsessing about diet minutiae, it seems like addressing a skin problem topically might be the best way to go. Plus it works. 6-8 weeks and you can stop guessing about what is “wrong” with your diet.

      Reply
      • Retin-A made my skin worse a long time ago when I used it

        Reply
        • How long were you on it? It takes a while to get the acne that’s already formed deep down. They say 6-8 weeks but if you have worse acne it will take longer. It takes a year to see results with wrinkles and pores.

          Reply
          • Be careful with Retin-a.

            I used it for over 20 years for chronic acne and it ruined my skin.

            Retin-a keeps the skin in a constant state of inflammation, which ultimately ages the skin and locks the skin in a continuous breakout cycle where there is no end to the breakouts. Short-term it can clear superficial acne, but it will do nothing for deeper lesions.

            Also, as soon as you stop using it, your acne will return, unless your acne was caused by external problems, like makeup or bad skin care products.

            Skin problems are a sign of something being off internally. External application of products is not the answer, although it may help your skin to look better while you work on finding and fixing the ultimate cause of the problem.

            If you have chronic acne, there is too much inflammation in your body and you have metabolic problems as well as a vitamin-A deficiency.

            PUFA, especially omega-6, are a major cause of acne for many people. I think following the dietary advice of Ray Peat, Matt and Danny can make a major difference in the skin. It certainly has for me. I never thought I would have nice skin but now I do thanks to a Peat style diet along with aspirin, niacinamide, vitamin A, vitamin d, progesterone, etc.

            For acne, I think azelaic acid is better than retin-a because azelaic acid is anti-inflammatory.

            Also, glycolic acid peels and copper peptide from skin biology repaired a lot of the damage that retin-a did to my skin. The acid peels can help acne by keeping the pores clear.

      • @Tierney,

        Acne is definitely a deficiency of Retin-A.

        Reply
        • Don’t be an ass. When you can tell me exactly what it IS a deficiency of, and not just so-and-so diet or supplement kinda helped, I will pay more attention to your smart ass comments. Until then I am thankful for modern medicine.

          BTW I am NOT saying that diet can’t be a component. If I eat too much chocolate or beet sugar, I will break out. But chasing dietary minutiae that may or may not work down a long rabbit hole seems a lot more stressful than putting on a cream each night.

          Reply
          • Cant agree more.

          • Acne usually has something to do with thyroid, vitamin A, and zinc.

          • There you go down the rabbit hole.

            “something to do with”

            you really cannot think outside your little box.

            Worse than that I think you are just talking out your ass. After the last thread on your last post here, I can’t really tell that you have anything substantial to offer anyone.

          • While I don’t think anyone really knows the root cause of acne, there is a lot you can do diet-wise and lifestyle-wise to address it. Meanwhile, there are real side effects to the topicals and they make some people worse. (I actually used retin-a for a few years and it did help my acne a bit but it irritated my skin and ultimately didn’t help the acne that much so I went off it eventually). The real downside of a lot of the topicals (and internal meds like accutane) is that they suppress the natural action of the skin, which is to detox and protect. Whether this causes major health issues down the line is obviously debatable but either way it is not great for your skin health. Estheticians will tell you this. A lot of OTC stuff like glycolic acid, AHA, BHA, fruit acids, retinoids are short-term fixes but cause way more skin issues in the long run by thinning the skin, suppressing it’s normal processes, etc. Then to fix it you need to go through a period where your skin looks like crap as it heals and rebuilds. Really gentle stuff is the best, combined with low stress, etc.

          • I totally disagree. I worked for an esthetician, as well as having seen a lot of them. Acid peels/microderm are their bread and butter, and truly significant results can be had with them (esp microderm, if you find a good person who knows what they are doing!)

          • Short-term yes, they have great results, but they ruin the integrity of the skin long-term. Not if you do it once, but done regularly they will. It happened to me (not from microderm, but glycolic acid and other products). Yes, it is their moneymaker so a lot of estheticians do it, but they cause real damage in the long-run.
            It’s not unlike diets actually. You get great short-term results, but the fibers that make up the structure of the skin wear down. The glue-like cement that holds the cells together is dissolved every time an acid or microdermabrasion is applied. Over time, the skin’s integrity is lost. First you create product addiction, but worse because you thin the skin it becomes dehydrated, sensitive and flaky. It’s a huge reason so many women have hyper-sensitive skin these days. The skin loses the ability to protect itself, and ph balance is disrupted. Hyper-pigmented areas of the skin result. Sun damage is much increased.
            It’s much better to use oils on skin that will rebuild and prompt growth, rather than dissolving and damaging. It takes time and patience (and if you’ve been using the harsh products, your skin will rebel and break out at first) but the long-term results are much better. Look at the old ladies that have used nothing but ponds cold cream their whole lives – they just moisturized the skin and maintained its integrity.

          • What oils would you recommend to rebuild and prompt growth?
            I have tried, rosehip, emu oil, coconut oil, (for facial skin- particularly round the eyes),
            and have not really noticed any positive change.
            I am now trying cold-pressed castor oil!
            We will see..

          • Nola, what are your issues? Just the eye wrinkles? Or acne? Tamanu oil is a great rebuilding oil, and great for both acne and wrinkles. That would be my #1 recommendation. Rosehip is good for wrinkles, too, but it takes time. Although some people see results quickly, for the most part they all take time (can be a couple weeks to a couple of months if it’s acne, and can even be longer if it’s wrinkles). Tamanu oil works quicker I think.

          • No acne – just a 44 yr old woman with a normally aging skin and I want to forestall it if possible!

            I did use Rosehip for many months.
            I will look up the Tamanu!
            thanks..

          • The peels should be used sparingly.

            They can thin the skin, but untreated acne can cause permanent scarring so they do have a place. Typically one should do a series of about 5 to six peel about 2 weeks apart and then stop for several weeks or months. But some people do them continuously. I do my own peels so i don’t have to worry about a professional talking me into doing more than i need.

            But the peels and copper peptides turned my skin around by removing a lot of damaged skin and scars. I got no benefit at all from “gentle” products. It is true that there is a healing period, but it is so worth it to come out the other side with nicer looking skin. I have not experienced any permanent thinning of my skin from the peels because the copper peptides help to heal and thicken the skin.

          • Yes, I absolutely agree that peels can be useful used for a short period of time to re-plane the skin that has been scarred. That’s exactly what they should be used for. It’s when people get peels regularly and use acids on the skin for a long time (and glycolic acid did it for me) that problems occur. Same situation as retin-A. Copper peptides build up, rather than break down, totally agree on that. Thanks for sharing.

          • @Tierney,

            Maybe chill out?

            No one is going to be able to provide you with the answers you’re looking for, which is why self-experimentation is important.

          • I wasn’t looking for any answer. I’ve already found it. I was responding to the OP, who has a problem with acne, which can be a very painful problem. People don’t have years of their lives to sit around trying all sorts of silly dietary interventions. It’s just such a dumb (and unoriginal) response, “Well clearly Problem X is a deficiency of Drug Z! har har har.” What was your point? Sometimes Drug Z is just what we have on hand, and the benefits outweigh the risk or the side-effect. Every individual has to make that choice for themselves.

          • @Tierny,

            You know you’re on a “dietary intervention” website right?

          • You seem pissed because you’re overwhelmed by the conflicting info out there and that you can’t find a simple prescription for general well-being.

            I too wish it was as simple as applying a cream and waking up in brilliant health.

            But until we get nanobots swimming in our blood stream to provide real time analysis of our hormones’ response to certain foods, it’s all trial-and-error using things like pulse and temperature.

          • Hey Tierney,

            I used to get deep, painful cystic type acne on my chin and sides of my mouth. Finally, through trial and error, I discovered that nuts were the culprit. I removed them from my diet completely and my breakouts stopped. I know everyone is different, and this may not work for you, but I thought I’d share just in case it was helpful.

          • Yes, nuts were a big problem for me too. Probably because of the high PUFA content, which inflames the skin.

    • @Michael,

      Have you looked into measuring your pulse and/or body temperature?

      Reply
      • Thanks for response. Yes, I’ve done a bit of that, and temps are consistently in the 36s (celcius). Sometimes even at the higher end, touching 37 recently, which is pleasing. That never used to happen. Pulse when I’ve checked it has generally been pretty steady, which may rule out adrenal/cortisol issues. Tend to average ~60-70… Don’t really know where to look tbh. I’ll get it sorted eventually though, there is time enough to do so…

        Reply
  25. I still think we’re all missing something. Being healthy should be easy — our bodies were designed to do it. But in the modern world, it is not easy. We focus so much on what we eat, but maybe that’s just not that important.

    What I’d like to do is get some ideas from people about what they do when they feel their best. Since I don’t believe being healthy should be complicated, ideal ideas are things that a) people enjoy doing, b) native people would naturally do it, c) people in modern societies don’t do it enough.

    Here’s an example: Many people feel better after a vacation to the beach. Ok, why? The simple thought is that is was great to “get away from it all.” But there are tons of things different about your life while you are on vacation at the beach: Getting sun on your bare skin; walking barefoot on the sand or bare-skin contact with the water in the ocean; the continuous social contact with family/friends; the leisurely schedule; the casual exercise from walking around more.

    And yet, we can be happy and healthy without ever visiting a beach. Matt has mentioned in the past that there’s something about camping that’s invigorating. I don’t think we should ignore this kind of thing. Are there things that both beach vacations and camping trips provide that day-to-day life doesn’t? The most obvious is that they involve more time outdoors, and that’s a fine idea (and one I’m experimenting with now), but maybe there’s other parts to it.

    If you’re a happy, healthy person, I’d love to hear details of a typical day. Not the conventional stuff like what you eat; but details about you and how you spend your time (indoors? outdoors? what kind of lighting? Do you wear glasses or sunglasses? Do you keep your windows open at night? How much leisure time is spent watching TV or browsing the internet? Is your house near a powerline?)

    We’ve beat on nutrition and eating (and exercise) long enough IMO with very little results. Time to think about something new.

    Incidentally, Matt’s idea about not drinking excessively was exactly the kind of idea I’m looking for. It’s simple, intuitive (people don’t drink unflavored water unless they’re actually thirsty), and something modern people have gotten away from. If you had a friend who was super-healthy because he didn’t drink too much, neither one of you would have suspected that that was the reason.I loved everything about the idea, except that it hasn’t really worked for me all that well. So I’m looking for more theories along those lines.

    Reply
    • With ya Zogs. Rewriting Diet Recovery from scratch right now (just wrote 5,230 words in 5 hours on a Saturday night – straight playa). Wrote this at about 9pm…

      Think beyond your diet. Health encompasses many things beyond just what we ingest. Even the act of flip-flopping the consumption of questionably healthy food from an anxiety-inducing event filled with fear into one of sensory enjoyment is enough to completely reverse the health outcome of that meal. Most of my research has led me in the direction of stress as the unified root cause of most illness (stress having a very broad definition that extends way beyond just the psychological aspect of stress). And as I often say, guilt and worry about what you’re eating is far more unhealthy than any doughnut I’ve ever eaten.

      Health is a net result of ALL of our thoughts, emotions, social interactions, sleep quantity and quality, hydration levels, and a lot more than just whether the cow you’re eating ate grass or corn. In the grand scheme of things, all that dietary small stuff that the healthosphere seems obsessed with is minutiae. Absolute minutiae. Eating grassfed beef to be healthy is like fighting a forest fire with an eye dropper if you aren’t sleeping well, hate your life, spend most of your time doing mundane and uninspiring work, are financially stressed, never go outdoors, skip meals, and eat an inadequate amount of calories.

      Because constantly spending time trying to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat, and reading health books and blogs for hours a day is such a brain-tangling mindfuck, I like to see people pick other health battles than even think about what they are eating.”

      Reply
      • “Even the act of flip-flopping the consumption of questionably healthy food from an anxiety-inducing event filled with fear into one of sensory enjoyment is enough to completely reverse the health outcome of that meal.”

        I’m wondering if this is what has been happening with me… As i’ve plastered all over your site already, Matt, I was really improving with pizza and burgers for a few days. After visiting the naturopath and getting results for a food allergy test showing that I’m allergic…even that slight chronic worry about my food seemed to be detrimental.

        I’m still eating food that tastes good to me despite the apparent allergy to it, but today I went into a sort of “fuck it” mindset and all the cues for a lowered stress system came up. Clearer face, sleepiness, warm limbs, and cleaner teeth.

        I’m going to try to not stress about this stuff for a little while and see if that is truly why my food doesn’t seem to be doing me as good. It very well might be. And even if it isn’t, not giving a shit is awesome anyway :)

        Reply
        • Kamran,

          A few years ago, I took a saliva test and was found to be gluten intolerant. This was on the eve of my more extreme and persistent low carbing and paleo behavior. The test result catapulted me there into the world of low carb/no grain guru blogs.

          A few months ago, I took a blood test to test for food sensitivities. The test result came back and showed that I have a low intolerance to gluten and dairy. I worried about it and even went gluten free for a few days, but then said, “Screw it!”

          The stress I started to feel anew over potential eating worries wasn’t worth whatever I *could* have been suffering with the intolerance issues.

          My theory is that working towards helping me to be “stress proof” psychologically and physiologically, as well as strengthening my metabolism, could help me to overcome reactions I could be having with some foods. I read somewhere that gliadin or gluten is one of the hardest things to digest and if there’s significant stress, it can be harder.

          It’s all up to you and you have to live with the results of what you decide. But for me, it’s much easier not to worry about having food allergies and thus not having to eliminate any foods.

          Reply
          • If I had any “true” food allergies (the kind that cause a fast adverse reaction to the food), I would most likely avoid those foods, however. I would also avoid wheat, rye, and barley if I had celiac too.

          • Hi Beth,

            This is off topic a bit but I watched a video or yours on Youtube regarding Myxedema which I now have, I recognized your photo. I went to the site you referred but it was not an active link anymore. Could you share any insight on what you did to get rid or the edema?

            Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

          • Hi Beth,

            Thanks a bunch for writing out your experience. I more or less feel a similar way.

            What I’ve learned from my recent experience is the extent of stress my body is under, that I was consuming too much fluid, and that eating pizza and burgers when I genuinely have the urge is the freaking best.

            I’ve been totally binging on the cow dairy and wheat. It’s fine. It’s therapuetic…but I’m not feeling like eating those things so much. I feel like eating a sweet potato instead of toast and some steak instead of burgers.

            So you’re right, the stress fro avoiding these foods is detrimental. I am reacting to these foods on a low level though (whiteheads, constipation) which may mean that continuing to binge is not good, especially if it’s genuinely against my will.

            I’m losing weight (which I definitely don’t need to do) since I’ve binged, which is a positive thing as well as negative…positive because I think my body realizes it doesn’t need to be in starvation mode anymore.

            The naturopath told me that I could probably do well just cutting back on foods than outright cutting them out.

            So things are good, I’m just a tiny bit bummed that I can’t seem to just eat burgers and pizza for an entire month and be back to normal, haha. It’s been quite a learning experience and I’m hoping to keep propelling myself upward.

            In short, yeah, I’m not cutting anything out anymore…but I may cut down consumption. However, if I ever have a craving, I know exactly what to do.

      • That is brilliantly put Matt (and thanks Zags for kicking it off). I couldn’t agree more. I’m completely and utterly obsessed by my weight, health, diet etc. And I am very overweight and unhappy – ha ha what a surprise! I feel like I change how I eat every other week. Talk about doing yourself in. So I have made it my mission this year to catch up with friends more often, go camping and fishing more, and travel overseas (amongst other things) – to basically take the focus off food and more about enjoying life. I have a couple of basic rules now – ie deep fried foods (vegetable oils) and not over doing the liquid, and that’s about it. I can’t wait to see how I feel in a few months.

        Reply
      • I agree that stress is the main factor. It’s seems quite plausible to me that the diseases of civilization are all results of being chronically stressed.

        As you say, there are many causes of stress — some are mental, some are physical (e.g. being cold or hungry). What I’m getting at is that there are maybe some physical ones that we haven’t yet realized, and until you eliminate most of them, it’s hard to dramatically improve. I personally believe that most mental stress is a result of, not a cause of, physical stress.

        Ask yourself this question: Why are kids today less healthy? For the most part, they aren’t worried about their job, the food they eat, or anything like that. So what is it that stresses their bodies?

        I’ll give three examples from books I’ve read recently that are interesting. Let me be very clear that I’m not saying these are “the answers”. In fact, some of these are pretty out there, and will undoubtedly cause some eye rolling.

        – Lack of unfiltered sunlight hitting the eye. Windows, glasses, and contact lens all filter out portions of the sunlight (mainly UV). Light bulbs produce light that is pretty different from what the sun makes. Maybe we need some amount of unfiltered sunlight per day. We do know that our bodies are at least somewhat responsive to certain frequencies.

        – Exposure to consistent EMF. Boy, if there was ever an idea that sounds like quackery, it’s this one. But how do we know magnetic fields aren’t stressors? Many people live, work, and sleep all within the presence of a reasonably strong magnetic field.

        – Lack of grounding to the earth. Apparently, the earth carries a slight negative charge at its surface. Being in direct contact with the earth (not through shoes) changes the electrical characteristics of the body.

        All of these, incidentally, would likely be naturally reduced during a vacation to the beach or while camping.

        Reply
        • @zogby,

          This is something that I’ve tried to wrestle with for a long time. When I was deep in the throes of WAPF then on my primal/paleo panacea for all of your ill’s I was haunted by memories of my grandfather and his contemporaries. Because there was no way that I could reconcile their long healthy lives with any of the nutrition info I just knew was absolutely, 100% correct. Although they may have eaten WAPF style as children, it definitely wasn’t paleo. By the time I came along, homemade cornbread had been replaced by Hungry Jack biscuits. The buttermilk was store bought. The bacon was oscar meyer and full of nitrates. On top of that, they all ate cobbler and Sara Lee pound cake and peppermints. Yet the late 90s and 100s was the normal age of expiration. And the calories… oh, the calories. The last time I saw my 103.5 year old great aunt (she died at 104), she ate sausage and biscuits with sawmill gravy (basically a gluten explosion), coffee with milk and sugar, and she finished my order of french toast (which I had felt guilty about ordering since it was so so carby). This woman broke her hip at age 99 and then rehabilitated herself so that not only did she walk again, but she still wore heels. She maintained her full height, and a full gorgeous head of hair. These people were not without stress, either, death of parent’s at young age, death of spouses, brothers, sisters, children!, and yet they lived and died the way most of us want to. Long, healthy mobile lives, with a very short period of decline leading to death. My great aunt was doing great– gardening, going to her meetings, until she fell ill 5 days before her death.

          Anyway, I’ve come to think that living an orderly life (not OCD) where you have healthful routines and plenty of socialization, regular mealtimes, daily exercise (walks, gardening– nothing stressful) are the keys. Food is important, but I think more so in the sitting down for square meals and not eating in your car on the way home kinda way. All these people were cheerful and energetic and weren’t constantly trying to remake their life with some new diet, exercise regime, get rich quick scheme.

          Reply
          • Thanks for sharing. I agree stress is huge, and we live in a very unnatural environment these days. It’s hard to know the best way to combat it sometimes. I also think the pace of change in the past decade has been somewhat destabilizing (while the internet and social media have been really great for certain things, the rapidly developing technology is changing lives and jobs, and social norms). Personally, I am trying to simplify my life: get into a job better suited to my personality and passions, stick to a regular and healthy routine, eat good food, etc. But sometimes it feels like an uphill battle in this world, and with the pace of technological change I cannot even imagine what the world will look like in 5 years, let alone 10, which makes planning rather challenging. I think this stress is affecting a lot of people, and I would definitely think children are affected. How can they plan careers, college costs are sky high, etc, etc.

      • Nice preview!

        Reply
    • I agree with you!

      I am working really hard to “get back to the beginning” points of some of my adulthood when life was “easier” and I was feeling much better. I’m evaluating exactly what I was doing and trying to implement those things slowly into my present life.

      I always feel good when I’m out hiking and enjoying the outdoors…even if I have my bickering kids with me, ha!

      I’m pretty stressed right now, not getting good sleep, have to start painting and fixing our house so we can sell it (I get to do most of the work because my husband is too busy with school and work), I’m introverted and don’t have as many relationships with other people as much as I’d like, etc.

      At least I’m eating enough food though! :)

      And I’m working on getting enough sleep and figuring out how to manage the other stressors (like hiring a handyman to do some of the house fixing and getting a gym membership so I can talk to other people there and develop relationships).

      I really, truly think that stress affects us so much more adversely than we even realize. And I’m also working so hard to create a more chill, relaxing environment for my kids and my family. My husband is working toward getting into med school and I’m kind of “meh” about it. I would rather him find a modest job somewhere close to our families, and for our family to have more time to spend together, instead of him going into med school and then the med field.

      Life is better for me when it’s simpler, but I suppose I have to relearn how to make it simple and how I can mesh that with what I have now.

      Reply
      • Hi Beth,

        Can you think of anything different in your life between now and then? Did you start to feel worse after moving or taking a different job? Did you stop going outside? Start wearing sun/glasses?

        When I think back to when I first felt anxiety in my life, it was right after my friend across the street went to college (he was one year older than me). It wasn’t stressful in the sense that I had plenty of other good friends, so I don’t think there was any mental impact. But he was the guy I used to play basketball/baseball/etc with outside on pretty much a daily basis. My guess is, though I don’t remember, that I would have started to go outside much less often after he went off.

        That’s all hindsight, though, and I’m biased since I’m currently thinking that chronic indoor living is bad. So I’m curious if other people can sort of identify when they started feeling bad (or good!), and see if we can find patterns.

        Reply
        • Good morning all!

          Thanks for starting this thread on health being more than what you eat/don’t eat. I am so sick to death of reading about health (which really, honestly translates into being thin) that I want to bang my head on my desk.

          Like Tanya, I sometimes flipflop “eating plans” – from more low carb to more vegetarian – even within a week’s time. That is ridiculous and obsessive, and it CANNOT be good for my body, mind and spirit. And I know it is not, as my soul feels like crying sometimes after wasting more precious life hours on the internet reading about “health.”

          Zog, you asked for examples of feeling good and healthy. I already am trim (5’4″ and hover around 112-115 lbs), and I feel good most of the time. Really good. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and I feel bad when I can’t. My best days are when I can go for an early morning run to a nature preserve – jog there, then RUN on the dirt trails….awesome feeling! – where there is a large pond teeming with critters, like geese, ducks, beavers, herons. etc. I even spotted a bald eagle there recently. Doesn’t matter if I had beef stew or veggies and rice for dinner the night before, it is being out there moving that is wonderful. Even just sitting on my patio, sipping coffee and reading a book is one of my favorite things, because I am outside. I also enjoy growing herbs and some veggies on my patio in the warmer months.

          I think you hit on something, Matt and Zog, about reconnecting to the world around us, and the minutiae of macro/micronutrients, hunger, health, etc, dim into the background and will disappear if we just live.

          Reply
        • Hi Zogby,

          Within 6 months (in 2008), I had a baby, got pneumonia/pleurisy, moved to a state I don’t like living in, my husband went through depression and then separated from the military, I had a falling out with a family member (that has been repaired since then), almost drowned in the ocean, and was having intense stress with my husband’s ex wife and my teenage step daughter.

          I had been going through chronic stress before this, but after all of this, my health started to deteriorate. To add to the deterioration, I started doing extreme diets, my husband was out of work for a few years, and we spent a lot of money on Online schemes. Whew! ;)

          Luckily, we have been blessed with good support from family and I have a few wonderful friends who are always diligent about checking in on me and getting together to do things. My husband is working now and making enough to cover our bills too, so that helps.

          Before I got married, I LOVED being in the outdoors. I grew up in Colorado Springs where I would gi hiking every chance I got and then moved to Salt Lake City, where I could ski, snowshoe and ice climb in the winter and hike in the summer. I lost track of that and I really miss being outside. I had to sell some of my outdoor gear when I got married and then sold more of it recently yo help pay bills. Luckily, after I got married, I got to live in Italy for a year, close to the Alps.

          My husband is very active and misses being outside too.

          I think getting more sleep and being outside would help me a lot with my stress. And of course, not doing so many things I don’t like.

          Reply
          • I think it is essential to be closer to the outside world.

            And I think stress is deeply involved with ill health.

            I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago. There are many cases when my stress will trigger flare ups. And many other people with fibro (like my Dad), will experience flare ups during or after stressful events. In fact, many people have been diagnosed with it after going through traumatic stresses or long periods of chronic stress. It’s very interesting how the body reacts to stress.

  26. A question about eggshells calcium:

    I cannot consume any dairy, unfortunately :( It brings back my MS symptoms. How i wish to find a way to overcome this milk protein reaction.

    So, i am always looking for a calcium source, especially when nursing, and for one of my kids that seems to have allergy to milk proteins as well.

    I think that egshell calcium might not be available to a body because it is not easily digested.
    I did a little experiment with very finely ground egshells. I placed some in lemon juice and some in vinegar. It took a lot of time for the powder to dissolve in vinegar, and the one in the lemon juice is stil mostly undissolved.

    So, i am concerned that most of the egshell powder actually ends in toilet.

    So, i thought about cooking bonemeal in little water (to make it more concentrated) and some vinegar, as a source of calcium.

    I am convinced that calcium phosphate is the particular form that is beneficial for bones. I’ve seen how milk transformed my daughter’s teeth.

    Of course, there is the MinCol supplement, but i’d like to try a little cheaper alternatives. Afterall, it provides only about 300mg elemental calcium per three capsules.

    If anyone has some comments, please post. Thanks :)

    Reply
    • bh
      msanjap, i get my calcium from almonds, sesame seeds (halva and/or about a tablespoon seeds a day).

      Reply
    • Sometimes taking calcium with a meal helps.

      Also, if you’re making it at home, it should be ground to a dust.

      Reply
  27. I get the impression that most of the time the taking of a pill, whether it be drug or vitamin just targets symptoms without addressing the causes.

    Would fat digesting enzymes have a similar effect to niacinamide/aspirin, even though they may work a different way?

    Re digestion: I have always thought of this as my first chink when things are not right. I could always endure physical stresses, but emotional distress will always affect my digestion. When I do have digestive issues, the last thing I want to do is eat a lot. Yet this could exacerbate the situation?

    I know that warmth is supposed to be less stressful than cold, but I prefer the cold and get very stressed when it gets too hot. I finally bought a digital thermometer and took my oral temperature, it was 37.5 degrees C ( 99.5 F) but I forgot to take it before I got out of bed. I took my pulse and it was 80 bpm, which surprised me, as I thought I had a slow pulse. Yet still my digestion is sluggish and my bowel movements, while frequent do not move freely. Any feedback on this would be appreciated.

    Also, the article mentioned the parathyroid. Can anyone please direct me to any articles that explain the role of this in health?

    Reply
    • Adrenaline can increase the pulse rate too, it feels a lot different from the increase in pulse from thyroid hormone.

      raypeat.com has info about PTH.

      Reply
  28. To Matt and Zogbys point on enjoying life, I always liked the section of the book Born to Run where one coach says the biggest hindrance to performance is not loving it. I think the same could be said for health. Exercise is a problem for many because it increases the emotional stress load as most people hate it, and doing it just ads to the drudgery of their life. This is where we could learn a lot from kids. It’s also why I hate the show the Biggest Loser as its makes it look like being healthy is synonymous with being miserable both from a food and activity point of view. I know it’s a TV show but . . .

    Reply
    • I watched a documentary this weekend about an 8-year old girl that developed severe anorexia after watching The Biggest Loser regularly. I thought back to when I was a kid and had a desire to be “better,” and really made a conscious effort to eat breakfast cereal that had the most nutrients in it. Not too far off. An overachiever/perfectionist’s mind watching that show could really spark a strong self-punishment relationship with diet and exercise.

      Reply
      • Can u tell me the name of that doc? I also tried to be healthy as a kid by eating Grape-nuts only I didn’t like the taste so I would put a bunch of sugar on it. Now 35 yrs later that’s what I’m eating again to be healthy. Haha.

        Reply
      • Heard a story a week ago about a 25 year old recovering from an eating disorder that was sparked by wanting to look like Ariel (teeny waist) in the Little Mermaid. She saw the movie when she was 5!! Says that’s when the disorder started.

        Reply
        • I have been trying to look like John Rambo for 20 yrs.

          Reply
        • I’m sure these things played a role but most people who develop eating disorders have personal issues that play a larger role in the disease. Usually based in the family. The biggest loser or watching Ariel may have been triggers, but doing those those things would likely not cause eating disorders in people who were happy with themselves and had healthy self-esteem.

          Reply
  29. Any advice for those with low resting heart rates? I’m gradually seeing my temps rise after 30 days of RRARF but my resting pulse is still in the low 50’s.

    Reply
    • Do you have a history as an athlete? I always wonder this because in high school my temp was high and pulse was low due to all the physical training I was involved in. Modern science attributes this primarily to increased stroke volume as an adaptation to vigorous exercise. Obese people typically have the reverse – high resting pulse rates and low temps. So I’m not convinced. But maybe Danny can chime in and we can have a little back and forth about pulse rate as a standalone diagnostic for metabolic rate.

      Reply
      • you got it. I’ve been very active for over 20 years or more. Lots of running mainly. Then went paleo/primal with diet about a year ago and started having problems. Cold hand/feet, numbness, tingling and muscle twitching. I’ve struggled taking of the month of exercise while RRARFing. Now thinking about taking a few more days :-) My temps hover at 97.7 or 97.8 right now. I starting around 97.0 a month ago.

        Reply
  30. Does aspirin deplete glutathione???

    Reply
    • I haven’t heard that before. Masterjohn has done a lot of work on glutathione. Peat has casually mentioned that glutathione makes iron toxic.

      Reply
  31. Hey Danny and Matt.

    This is kind of off the subject, but I think you will be interested. Regarding CO2 and how I cured my chronic sleep apnea by going off Paleo/Low Carb and dramatically increasing my carb/sugar intake along with the respiration co-factors (thiamine, etc) that help increase co2.

    I have been plagued with apnea for the last 5 years. My breathing would completely cease multiple times while sleeping, and I would get so hypoxic that I was literally jolt awake gasping and fall out of bed (scaring the shit out of my girlfriend, as you can imagine). Sometimes I would literally feel my heart and circulation stop, it would be so bad (not a fun feeling). It’s not impossible that I might have suffered mild heart attacks, but eventually I would have certainly died at a very young age from this, undoubtedly.

    I did numerous expensive sleep studies, consulted MD’s, acupuncturists, and naturopaths. To make things worse, I am an acupuncturist, and nothing I had ever studied in any field was helping, until I started to just keep it simple and really look at what was happening clinically.

    My breathing was stopping while I was sleeping. Ok. So “why” would that happen?? Now, I have been reading Peat for a decade, had studied Watson and the metabolic nutrition perspective, and yet I was still hypnotized by the paleo/low carb perspective. After all, the 2000’s were pretty much the “carb is evil” decade, so it was just hard to see that these diets were not serving me well. A normal dinner would be stir fried broccoli and kale (the superfood!) with a bunch of fat and some meat or fish. Salads were common. Skipping breakfast was common. Not good, but it was anti-inflammatory, zero sugar, and low carb. Woo hoo! Keep that insulin low!

    My pulse was in the 40s-60s (barely), body temp in the 96’s, respiration rate was 8-9 breathes per minute (obviously worse at night), breath hold was up to 90 seconds or more.

    I got to thinking: what is all of this telling me?? With a low respiration rate and a high breath hold, this was telling me that I was not making much carbon dioxide. When I re-read Peat, and then starting thinking about the kreb’s cycle, I had a eureka moment, which was: “Oh shit, the reason my breathing is stopping is that I am pretty much flirting with alkalosis. I am not producing enough carbon dioxide because I am not eating carbohydrate, and my breathing is stopping.”

    Essentially, years of low carb-paleo-crap had decimated my metabolism and was practically killing me.

    So, after I found 180degree health, I gave myself permission to just be baaaad. I’ve been doing a ton of ice cream, maple syrup on pancakes, potatoes, rice, mexican cokes, you name it, as well as a basic co-enzymated b-complex (go thiamine), and cutting down fat relative to carbs.

    If I eat a high fat, relatively low carb dinner (pot roast with salad; sausage with veggies) I can send myself back into a very mild apnea episode (probably balanced by carbs eaten earlier) but as long as I carb out at dinner or have a couple of oranges before bed: no apnea.

    I think one of the really interesting areas that hardly gets talked about is biochemical individuality between people. What makes the most sense to me is George Watson’s perspective in Nutrition and Your Mind, in that essentially people have different oxidation tendencies in regard to how they handle carbs and fat. I wish Ray Peat would address Watson’s work, as I would love to hear what he would say about that. Probably paleo and LC works well for – say 25% of the population who tend to oxidize glucose too quickly, and so LC and high fat has a balancing effect. It seems that co2 production, individual tendencies in terms of oxidation of glucose/fatty acids, and venous blood ph, still hasn’t been fully explored yet….

    Reply
    • Really interesting Sean, thanks for commenting.

      Have you tried emailing Peat about Watson?

      Reply
      • I haven’t but then, I don’t have his email contact info. Is it on his site????

        Reply
    • Thanks for commenting Sean, extremely interesting.

      Someone told me a similar story when they went on the “failsafe” diet.

      Reply
    • No doubt we all oxidize glucose differently, but i thought the point of this website is to optimize the oxidation – at least that’s what i’d like to do instead of being arrested under my particular speed of burning.

      Reply
      • Well the idea is to optimize oxidation; however there are some that have a genetic tendency to oxidize glucose too quickly relative to fatty acids and this upsets the balance of energy production via the kreb’s cycle, etc, etc. Watson called these people fast oxidizers. When I read Robb Wolf’s story in The Paleo Solution, his awful experience as a hard-core macrobiotic devotee kind of screamed “fast oxidizer,” so it’s no surprise that he probably does very well on paleo. It’s always been my idea that there is probably 25% of the population that does really really well on Atkins, Paleo, LC, etc because that high fat, low carb kind of diet just happens to be what they need to find optimal balance.

        The problem is, they then go on to write books, become gurus, and advocate that diet as being superior for everyone. I think we all know here – as many of us are recovering from Paleo and other LC diets – is that a lot of us need a substantial amount of carbohydrate to be vital. Almost all diet books tend to fall into the high-fat, low carb OR high/moderate carb, lower fat kind of programs, and I think this is just people stumbling on to this fast/slow oxidation tendency that people have without seeing the bigger picture; kind of like that old sufi story about the blind men touching different parts of the elephant and thinking that they can describe “the elephant.”

        Reply
    • For those who are slow oxydizer , according to Watson, thiamine would be more effective than any thyroid supp’, correct?
      I think that Watson mentionned in his book the example of one lady who needs huge amount of B1 to overcome an hypothyroid state from which any M.D would have probably use thyroid instead of B1.
      So knowing the importance of B1 in the carbs metabolism, it may be wise to start with supplemental B1 and see if temps, pulse are moving in the right direction,no?

      Reply
      • that’s one of the things that I have started recently, along with other nutrients that Watson and Guy Schenker suggest for people with slow oxidation tendencies which I seem to have: b1, niacin, b6, magnesium, potassium, etc, etc.

        Pantothenic acid, as a precursor to acetyl coA has the opposite effect, etc, etc

        Reply
        • What kind of magnesium do you use?
          Having crohn’s, I always had a very bad experience with magnesium ( even with the glycinate form….).
          May be foot soak of magnesium sulphate would do the trick.
          I’m pretty sure too that I fit in the description of slow oxidizer…
          I need huge amount of carbs,sugar to feel well.

          Reply
          • Check out the magnesium chloride – aka “magnesium oil” from Swanson that can be sprayed onto skin or used for a bath. It can burn a little, but not much if it is emulsified with an oil (good one is jojoba oil). I make a cream with it using about equal parts magnesium oil (i make it from MgCl flakes they sell), jojoba oil and some liquid lecithin as an emulsifier. The cream i use for kids since their skin is sensitive, but spraying it straight on skin is fine for adults especially if skin is not too dry.

            I have to say it works better than oral magnesium.

          • Thanks for the info, msanjap.
            I will try the magnesium chloride stuff.
            I really like the idea of transdermal magnesium.

          • Yes, higher doses of supplemental magnesium can be problematic for people with crohn’s and colitis, etc. I use glycinate bound magnesium, when I supplement. Sometimes I use the fizzy citrate versions. I don’t like to over supplement with minerals, but there are some compelling reasons, I think, for some people to consider magnesium.

        • I’m a little confused. If the fast oxidation is genetic, what’s the nature of the slow oxidation then? Aquired? If not, why try to fix it if it’s genetic? Because it’s not optimal? Then, should we try to fix the fast oxidizer with supplements as well?

          I’m just trying to understand. How do you know if you’re fast or slow oxidizer? Is it possible to bring these two closer to some middle range without supplements?

          Reply
          • Well, obviously whole books have been written on this subject, but it is theorized – and it certainly seems obvious – that there is a spectrum that people fall into, of which “fast” and “slow” oxidation tendencies are the extreme poles. We all have the same physiology, but how it works is different in everyone. This has to do with genetics, stage of life, over all health, and probably a gazillion other factors. If you think about it, it’s doubtful that anyone is exactly like “you” and so the idea that one diet could be just lovely for billions of people is kind of silly.

            Likewise, Watson’s concept of fast and slow oxidizers was born out of decades of research with macronutrient ratios, vitamin co factors, and how they effected real-live venous blood ph in his research patients. What I like about his work is that is firmly grounded in hard numbers and the often radical change in people’s health and mental health when they moved those numbers via tweaking macronutrient ratios and supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals that supported those tweaks.

            So, and I am obviously being superficial here, one’s oxidation tendencies, wherever they fall on that spectrum are most likely *mainly* determined by genetics, and people get into trouble and sometimes big trouble, when they fall on the more extreme parts of the spectrum, whether slow or fast, and yet eat a diet that exacerbates the extreme tendencies they already have.

            One example, would be a person with fast oxidation tendencies who decides that it would be cool to join the 30 banana-a-day bozo club. Yikes. Another example is someone with slow oxidation tendencies who goes paleo, or SCD, or GAPS, or Atkins, because “carbs are bad for you”. That would be a disaster but for the opposite reason. It also underscores why diet dogma, whether pork-rind-Atkins style or raw-vegan-banana style can fuck up a lot of people, while others have profoundly positive experiences.

            Again, I am being superficial here, but this all has to do with how people create energy via krebs, glycolysis, etc, etc For our oxidative mechanisms to work well there apparently needs to be a balanced input and what equals balanced is unique to everyone. Fast and slow oxidation represent two relatively common (?) extremes in that balance that have to be tweaked by taking into consideration fuel intake ratios.

            Watson felt that a venous blood ph of 7.46 was ideal and that fast oxidizers had more extreme acidic venous blood readings (due to excessive co2) while slow oxidizers had more extreme alkaline readings (due to not making enough co2). Again, this is a very simplistic summary, but you get the drift. The key, again, is that optimum energy is created when the organism hits its sweet spot metabolically.

            To re-iterate, it’s not the “more the merrier,” with regard to co2, as it appears some into Peat seem to think. Co2 and oxygen have to be in proper balance for metabolism to work optimally. It’s like the taoist yin and yang symbol. Imbalances in either, just like imbalances in the autonomic nervous system, lead to disease and dysfunction.

            The emphasis on paying attention to biofeedback from body temp, pulse, urination, etc, and how you feel, is one of the contributions that Matt has made to this discussion. Too many people, especially the paleo people, are obsessed with studies, biochemical minutiae, and miss the forest for the trees. They ignore metabolism. They ignore the autonomic system. One of the worst things about science these days is the focus on very specific minutiae while missing the big picture; something the greats of the early-mid 20th century had a better grasp of. Like what Peat talks about: Seeing things from the organism level.

            I hate to (well not really) bring up Watson’s work a lot, but I feel biochemical individuality is paramount, and very few people over the last number of decades, given all the dogma we’re exposed to, have managed to figure that part out; We have these two camps that are pretty much built around lo-carb worship (paleo, atkins, zone, SCD, GAPS, protein power, Body Ecology, etc) and those that worship the almighty carb (macro, mcdougal, the vegans and vegetarians). Even Mercola has popularized a kind of diluted, bastardized version of Watson’s so-called “metabolic nutrition” but his questionaire is kind of dubiously accurate for figuring out whether you’re a “carb type” (slow oxidizer) or “protein (fat)” type (fast oxidizer). Mercola basically recommends a low carb diet even while he says he recognizes essentially two different metabolic types.

            Oddly, Gabriel Cousens used (and presumably still uses) venous blood draws, to measure ph based on Watson’s work with the patients that could afford to spend thousands of dollars to work with him in his Arizona compound. A number of his books mention this work specifically, and he feels that one can successfully be a raw food vegan as a fast or slow oxidizer as long as they get the macronutrient ratios correct.

            That said, the standard Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine menu is high fat and very very low carb because he’s one of those dudes that feels that carbs and sugar create unhealthy pleomorphic changes in the blood verified, apparently, by darkfield work with live blood. So, where does that leave someone who needs carbohydrate to function properly?? He doesn’t answer that question, and it’s one of the reasons why many people fail that diet miserably. I would be inclined to think that pleomorphic changes would occur the more someone’s blood ph is more out of balance over time.

            I think one of the reasons why Watson’s work never caught on in a big way (besides the fact that it would be a substantial threat to the psychiatric/pharmaceutical/medical complex), is that it’s not easy nor is it user friendly because people can’t just do their own blood draws and easily measure their blood ph (who knows, you could probably drop a few grand and do it now with some user friendly medical equipment).

            Other people have tried to ascertain oxidation tendencies via potassium/glucose challenges (while using a diabetic blood glucose meter), breath hold/respiration rate ratios, saliva ph, complex questionaires, and so on and so forth, but no one seems to be actually measuring venous blood ph to see how their diet is effecting them. In lieu of technology, ultimately you’ve got to lose your mind and listen to your body. Then do whatever “it” likes and damn the theory. Theory without results is dangerous.

          • What do you think about the B3 test?
            I read somewhere that when you take B3 on an empty stomach people react differently to the vitamin depending to their oxidation rate.
            Do you hear something like that?
            But I can’t remember what kind of B3 to use…

          • Well, i think people have come up with all kinds of “tests” to try and figure this out. It’s just that I think they are all kind of dubious. Rudolf Wiley says that – generally – your response to black coffee can be quite telling; that is those who have more caffeine tolerance tend to be slow oxidizers, whereas those who can’t tolerate caffeine tend to be fast oxidizers. He felt confident enough about this to base his second book on it. He also is the only other practitioner that I am aware of who spent decades following Watson’s script in doing actual blood draws and venous blood ph readings, so maybe that is a decent way of getting a sense of things; however, caffeine also has marked effects on the autonomic nervous system, which is where things get complex, because it would be a sympathetic activator; also, and this is another annoying thing about it, is that caffeine is absolutely a purine, and according to metabolic typing dogma, purines are restricted for slow oxidizers and paramount for fast oxidizers, so where does that leave you? I am having more metabolic issues currently than I ever have, recovering from paleo and GAPS, and it is interesting that I have more caffeine tolerance now than I ever have.

            As for niacin, it falls under the long list of other ways to figure this out, such as glucose/potassium challenges, etc, and I just think they may be very gross generalizations, but that’s just my opinion.

          • Thanks for the quick reply, Sean.
            I’m gonna get the book of Wiley.
            For the black coffee test, I guess that the coffee should be taken without any added sugar and on an empty stomach.

          • Yep. Get Biobalance 2…. that’s the one where he talks about this. I wish his books were more clinically focused, but it’s something to experiment with at least

          • The b3 test, i think, can tell you something about histamine, and that can tell you something about methylation, and that can tell you about…?

            I think it’s called the niacine flush test.

          • Thanks so much Sean for taking time to discuss this.

            I forgot to mention that some time ago i did a hair analysis test with Dr. Wilson of http://www.drlwilson.com/

            He and his associates are really good in doing the interpretation, and can tell from the certain mineral ratios the oxidation state, the status of adrenals and thyroid and such. Usually, they find kids to be fast oxidizers and suggest them not to eat fruit, but how come, kids are naturally drawn to fruit.

            The test is expensive, and you have to go through them just to get the test (which is more expensive than just the test itself), but very useful if one likes to be certain what it is they are missing (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, selenium, phosphorus and more maybe?), and what toxic metals are high.

            They have their own supplements, of course, but some really good ones, targeting specific problems they constantly see.

            Some of their dietary suggestions are not good such as complete avoidance of fruit and encouraging large water consumption.

            It’s quite interesting. He has lots of articles on his site.

            But i wonder…wouldn’t a person intuitively be attracted to the right foods?

            Also, couldn’t we measure the blood pH using the pH strips and few drops of fresh finger blood?

          • msanjap-

            I’ve seen Wilson’s stuff and I am always a little uncomfortable with it. I don’t quite “buy” hair analysis, and I might be wrong, but I feel uncomfortable coming to grand statements of fact based on it.

            Likewise, it would be nice if blood + ph strips was a way of doing that, but I also don’t think it is, or else some very good clinicians would be doing that rather than more complicated things.

            I think people’s intuitive draw to foods is totally messed up based on a variety of issues

            a) the “head” gets in the way
            b) the vast variety of everything from everywhere available all the time
            c) fake foods and products

            If people were drawn to what they actually needed we wouldn’t need this blog and most people would be a lot healthier!

  32. Thought I read on mercola that aspirin is the 14th leading cause of death in this country. Maybe it’s okay to use once in a great while, but daily use seems unwise.

    I’m a 50 yo woman, 5’4″, about 135 lbs and spend most days indoor esp. during Minnesota winters. I feel strong (able to lift heavy wet laundry baskets – and get my outdoor time when the weather’s nice by hanging out laundry), have good stamina (able to shop and cook homemade meals for my family most of the time), enjoyable sex life, good digestion, okay body temps, etc.

    I think the reason I enjoy robust health is that I have always been mindful of my stress levels. Never pushing myself too hard and giving myself permission to take naps, go to bed early, sleep in, stop studying (as a student) before getting overly fatigued, hiring housekeeping when I couldn’t keep up with chores (even if it meant not having money to travel), saying “no” to social events when I wasn’t up for it, etc.

    I’ve avoided antibiotics and even Tylenol as if they were poisons (which, indeed, they are), and instead at the first sign of cold or virus would load up on zinc, echinacea, high dose vitamin C, etc. and rest rest rest. Basically, I’ve treated my body as if it is the Number One Boss of my life, and when it says “stop, I’ve had enough”, I would stop.

    My daughter, on the other hand, pushed herself too hard for too long. Endurance sports, academic overachievement and ended up with a nasty case of rheumatoid arthritis (which is what brings me to this site and WAPF). She’s driven by need to please her teachers, coaches, even her dentist (! Long story…). As she heals, learning to give top priority to the body cues is paramount; letting go of the need to be responsible to other’s expectations (including mine) will be key.

    Reply
    • CCM,

      Did Mercola’s article, regarding Aspirin as the 14th cause of death, also mention if Vitamin K was being taken? When Danny or Peat mentions taking Aspirin it is in the context that Vit K has to be taken that day also, to prevent internal bleeding.

      Reply
      • That’s the problem with all the people who say “such and such is horrible, just look at this study”. They in most instances have removed it from the context in which it is good, e.g, fructose without sufficient phosphatidylcholine, A without sufficient D (or other way around), iodine without sufficient selinium (or other way around), high proteins (without enough gelatin)… the list could go on and on and on and on….

        My point is, next time you see someone say “such and such is bad”, make sure they’ve exhaustively checked to make sure ALL factors/nutrients that interact with it are correct. Mercola is one of the best “health business” marketers around.

        Reply
    • CCM, I think you are right on. The older I get, the better care I take of myself in all these ways. Our culture encourages people to bulldoze through life, but learning to slow down and maneuver gracefully is key to lowering stress.

      Reply
  33. Thank you Danny Roddy (and Matt Stone) for the article. I smiled quite a bit when I saw Kresser and Wolf coming out with a supplement line to fix the problems with Paleo (of which I had plenty), so it was nice to see a post on the topic.

    My GAPS intro crash continued on a moderate carb PHD (and for the six months I consulted with Kresser), and it was Matt Stone and Danny Roddy, and later Josh Rubin, who led me on the right path. Ray Peat style eating and supplementation (thyroid, and later pregnenolone and progesterone) changed everything for the better. Now, after 15 months of experimentation and adjustments, I am feeling pretty good – and very happy with everything I have learned (yes – I got Selye´s Textbook too – hat tip to Danny. So much cool stuff there. Some was mind blowing).

    I think quite a few people have been convinced by their own results (with input from Danny, Matt, Ray Peat´s articles & books, a few good points from Chris Masterjohn etc.). It is still interesting to discuss one approach versus another, but since I think many have followed the types of advice you are advocating for a while. My wish for future posts would be trouble shooting on Ray Peat style eating & supplementation – going beyond the basic recommendations. For my own part, I just cannot figure out how to fix my bloated belly which got worse on Peat style eating (not fat, not gas). Tried cutting starches 100% for two months – no help. Tried cascara 4x (diarrhea every time), tried 5 weeks off (almost) endurance exercise – no change. Even tried to cut milk. Eating no processed food whatsoever. Changed all pans to make sure they passed the Ray Peat magnet test. Tried niacinamide. And many other things. Eating tons of fruit, which I do not want to cut, but afraid they play a role. Anyway, I am not really expecting any advice. I guess I agree that Paleo is a bit boring now, and kind of weird when I think about it. So the more one can explore Peat and related thinking further – in nerdy detail too, the better.

    Reply
    • Thanks for commenting Edle, always a pleasure.

      A couple of things come to mind, but the easiest may be playing with (*digestible*) protein intake.

      Peat often mentions 80-100 grams of protein as a base recommendation, but in an old conversation between him and Lita Lee, he mentioned that 150 grams might be better for some people.

      Reply
      • Hi Danny, Interesting comment about reducing stomach bloat with more protein. Sometimes I find that something easily digestible like white rice (for most people) helps when combined with a small amount of soft animal protein. What digestible proteins would you recommend ?

        Reply
        • @Narain,

          Gelatin seems to be a popular choice for a lot of people.

          Reply
  34. I’m trying to eat more “Ray Peat-like”, but I too noticed that some problems came back, namely an itchy, dandruff-laden scalp and minor acne.

    I had been avoiding sugary drinks, even fruit juices, and my main sources of fluid were water, flavored water, herbal tea, and sometimes unsweetened or semi-sweet iced tea.

    After reading some of Ray Peat’s stuff and Danny Roddy’s web series, I started eating ice cream and drinking orange juice and other juices. My energy doesn’t seem to last as long throughout the day as it used too, even though I don’t feel ill. I still eat coconut oil in the morning and afternoon, because of my positive experiences with it. So I’m not really sure what’s going on.

    I am kind of turned off at the “aspirin and thyroid hormone” plan. Any diet, plan, or concept that puts emphasis on a drug or peculiar supplement is always suspect. This is why I scratch my when plant-based dieters concede that they need B-12 shots or supplements. (B-12 can easily be obtained in food… animal-based food.) As for aspirin, why not curcumin capsules or other safer anti-inflammatory alternatives to NSAIDs? Or why not focus on adding anti-inflammatory foods and spices to your diet in general?

    Then there’s milk, which is an odd recommendation, since many people are lactose-intolerant, including myself. I cannot drink store-bought pasteurized milk. I can only tolerate cultured milk and yogurt and cheese. To acknowledge this caveat more often would be nice.

    Then there’s coffee. I’ve looked around and could find no convincing data that drinking coffee is a good source of magnesium; not to mention the fact that it is a diuretic, which promotes the loss of minerals to begin with, especially potassium, and even magnesium itself!

    Ray Peat, in my opinion, is probably the most honest authority on diet and nutrition, but sometimes I think he lazily writes down his thoughts and slips a few times with the claims he makes.

    Just another example: “Tryptophan is bad, but drink milk and consume dairy.” Dairy is a high source of tryptophan…

    Reply
    • @Natter,

      “I’m trying to eat more “Ray Peat-like”, but I too noticed that some problems came back, namely an itchy, dandruff-laden scalp and minor acne.”

      —Some people need more vitamin A (and sometimes zinc) when they increase their dairy consumption.

      “I am kind of turned off at the “aspirin and thyroid hormone” plan. Any diet, plan, or concept that puts emphasis on a drug or peculiar supplement is always suspect.”

      —I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

      “Then there’s milk, which is an odd recommendation, since many people are lactose-intolerant, including myself. I cannot drink store-bought pasteurized milk. I can only tolerate cultured milk and yogurt and cheese. To acknowledge this caveat more often would be nice.”

      —Peat talks about it in his article on calcium, I’ve written about it on my site several times, and I’ve addressed it in this thread as well.

      “Then there’s coffee. I’ve looked around and could find no convincing data that drinking coffee is a good source of magnesium; not to mention the fact that it is a diuretic, which promotes the loss of minerals to begin with, especially potassium, and even magnesium itself!”

      —Peat wrote a good article on caffeine/coffee. Context is needed to critically evaluate its usefulness.

      http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/caffeine.shtml

      “Just another example: “Tryptophan is bad, but drink milk and consume dairy.” Dairy is a high source of tryptophan…”

      —Tryptophan can be converted into the b-vitamin niacin or serotonin. Calcium can help direct tryptophan metabolism towards niacin.

      Reply
      • @Danny

        “I’m trying to eat more “Ray Peat-like”, but I too noticed that some problems came back, namely an itchy, dandruff-laden scalp and minor acne.”

        —Some people need more vitamin A (and sometimes zinc) when they increase their dairy consumption.

        I doubt I am deficient in vitamin A or zinc, being that I eat beef liver once or twice a week, and regularly eat eggs with organic butter, in addition to everything else. The change wasn’t in my dairy consumption: It was adding fruit juices and using white sugar to sweeten my drinks. Prior to that, I was only getting carbs from fruits and maybe some rice. Even earlier than that, when I used to drink sodas and fruit juices, I had my old, familiar dandruff problem.

        “I am kind of turned off at the “aspirin and thyroid hormone” plan. Any diet, plan, or concept that puts emphasis on a drug or peculiar supplement is always suspect.”

        —I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

        Ray Peat writes about the benefits of using aspirin to which even those on the “Ray Peat forums” try to follow his advice. To some people’s surprise, they wake up with nose bleeds and/or get stomach ulcers. Hence, why not focus on alternatives to NSAIDs that provide similar benefits? To take a drug regularly, with its known (and common) side effects, seems bizarre.

        “Then there’s milk, which is an odd recommendation, since many people are lactose-intolerant, including myself. I cannot drink store-bought pasteurized milk. I can only tolerate cultured milk and yogurt and cheese. To acknowledge this caveat more often would be nice.”

        —Peat talks about it in his article on calcium […]

        I’ve read his article on calcium, and it doesn’t address such a thing, unless you’re referring to an article other than this one: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/calcium.shtml

        “Then there’s coffee. I’ve looked around and could find no convincing data that drinking coffee is a good source of magnesium; not to mention the fact that it is a diuretic, which promotes the loss of minerals to begin with, especially potassium, and even magnesium itself!”

        —Peat wrote a good article on caffeine/coffee. Context is needed to critically evaluate its usefulness.

        http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/caffeine.shtml

        Once again, you’ve only demonstrated my point. Ray can get kind of lazy sometimes. The ONLY statement about magnesium in his article is this: “Coffee provides very significant quantities of magnesium, as well as other nutrients including vitamin B1.”

        He doesn’t bother to mention how much magnesium a cup of coffee has. Upon looking for this information, it appears that an average cup of coffee (8oz) contains around 5mg – 9mg of magnesium. This is insignificant. Besides, coffee has a diuretic effect, which promotes the loss of minerals, including magnesium. So no… coffee does not “contain significant amounts of magnesium”.

        “Just another example: “Tryptophan is bad, but drink milk and consume dairy.” Dairy is a high source of tryptophan…”

        —Tryptophan can be converted into the b-vitamin niacin or serotonin. Calcium can help direct tryptophan metabolism towards niacin.

        His article on tryptophan and serotonin makes no mention of this. Once again, sloppy writing. Such things should be addressed in the same article. I’m not saying he does it on purpose, but he does tend to slip, which only makes it more difficult to draw conclusions from his writings.

        Reply
      • Hi Danny, I’ve seen studies that indicate the “kynurenic tryptophan pathway” being more pronounced in patients with depression. They (the studies) claimed that it is a scientific consensus. This confuses me a bit because that would probably go against what Peat says

        Reply
        • Interesting, I haven’t looked into that.

          Reply
          • I think I understand now, the kynurenic arm has two subpaths, promoted by two different catalyzators. This bit explains it well:

            Normally, the majority of dietary tryptophan (>95%) is oxydatively degraded in the liver through the kynurenine pathway and only a small portion of it is used for the synthesis of serotonin.
            Tryptophan oxidation is catalyzed by tryptophan dioxygenase (TDO), which generates nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) (not shown). Tryptophan oxidation can also occur extrahepatically by the enzyme indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) (see figure). Although tryptophan degradation by IDO is normally negligible, IDO is highly inducible by pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α).

  35. I belong to a yahoo group on traditional foods and the most recent discussion threads focus on the miracles of ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting….so 2011. I’ve mentioned 180 degree health and the danger of crashing metabolism eating low carb, but my warnings fall on deaf ears. So, Paleo is not quite dead yet.

    I wonder what percentage of people can thrive on restrictive diets indefinitely? Do most people eventually plateau and then nosedive? Does Dr. Wheat Belly ever hear from people who have wrecked their thyroids avoiding gluten? It would be nice if these authorities would give people a warning of the downsides so that not everyone has to suffer avoidable consequences.

    Reply
  36. I’d like to do the smallest interventions necessary and avoid anything made by bayer (like aspirin).

    Instead of aspirin, how about a willow bark extract? I’m looking at one brand that is 55mg Salicin. I’m thinking a K1,K4,K7 supp would be a good companion for this.

    And instead of taking t3/t4, how about iodine and maybe parathyroid?

    Reply
    • @Cameron,

      Niacinamide is similar to aspirin if you wanted to supplement with something to lower FFAs.

      Reply
  37. Off-topic: is there a way to have the comment times to show up, instead of just the date? And/or, is there a way to have it highlight unread comments? I’m not sure how sophisticated the comment system used here is.

    Reply
  38. Matt and Danny,

    How much importance do you place on smaller, more frequent meals? Schwarzbein clearly believes that one can ONLY heal a damaged metabolism with small, frequent, perfectly balanced meals, and this is also commonly said in Peat circles (Josh Rubin, for example). I don’t know if Peat himself has ever addressed this directly.

    I hate eating more than two or three times a day, but I will push myself if I have good reason to think that it could make the difference between healing and staying stuck.

    What have you guys found?

    Reply
    • Consistency is very important. If you like two meals that’s fine, but I would eat a few snacks as your biofeedback calls for it (for example, feet get cold in between meals). Snacks don’t have to be “balanced meals” in fact I just recommend a few bites of a dry, carby, salty snack.

      Reply
      • Thanks, Matt. Unfortunately, carby snacks are very problematic for me, as one of the main things I am trying to heal is seriously messed up carbohydrate handling. I am becoming persuaded that more carbs are needed to heal my crazy stress response, but eating more carbs causes a crazy stress response. Catch-22.

        Reply
        • That probably won’t last very long.

          Reply
  39. Reading thru most of the comments, I’ve noticed pro-paleo / anti-paleo / pro-RP / known chronic stressors / unknown chronic stressors (like EMF or not ‘grounding’) as all either being the cause or the solution to our collective health issues.

    And then comes a post about someone’s relatives living long healthy lives into their 90’s and 100’s even tho they ate like “crap” (whatever that may entail) and had major stress throughout their lives; and I’m pretty sure they did not avoid EMF’s or made sure to ‘ground’ themselves regularly…

    Then on top of that someone mentioned a a saliva test showing gluten sensitivity but decided that the stress of not eating gluten was worse than the gluten sensitivity, which is definitely the opposite of my experience (gluten tears my insides up).

    Life has always been stressful (many would argue it used to be worse; “when I was ur age, I would walk to school in July, in 3 feet of snow, and back, both ways uphill”). The great majority of humans have probably never eaten the “ideal diet” (whatever that really is, if it exists) throughout their lives, yet it’s hard to deny the correlation between disease and the ever increasing amounts of industrially prepared foods we consume.

    One thing I haven’t seen (or maybe just missed) is the idea of epigenetics… Perhaps some of the answer to the contradictions above is that many of us are the human version of Pottenger’s Cats, maybe into about the 3rd generation or so?

    Anyone else get that feeling?

    Reply
    • Yes, I think it’s generally understood here that we are all a giant lot of degenerates these days.

      Reply
    • I think that going to school on foot in deep snow is not a stress, but rather contributes to health. I’ve experienced something similar in childhood (i’m from eastern Europe), and those were my happy days going to and back from school with friends on a snowy white, crisp day. Actually breathing the cold air strengthens the body.

      Those were the days when people were satisfied with “accomplishing” only few things during the day: cooking, washing up, and simple stuff. Today, we are rushing to cram in as much as possible, and also are very isolated from each other.

      When i used to live overseas, i never needed a car. Used to go everywhere by foot, and was surrounded by lots of people and kids, and kids loved going to park on foot as they’d experience so much fun on the way to the park.

      The simple change of having mom work outside of home has huge negative consequences (with all respect to working moms).

      Reply
      • I agree on the mom outside the home comment and I’m a woman. I don’t know what the solution is, and it’s not a topic anyone wants to address, but I’ve long thought that it has huge societal implications. Also the whole push to equalize gender is an issue: there seems to be this movement making men and women equivalent. We’re not, and I have no interest in being like a man, nor do I want to be with a man who acts like a woman. I wish we could appreciate the differences more. I think there are huge career pressures on women today, too. We’re supposed to be career women and moms and sexy wives all at once. It’s a huge pressure.

        And lest anyone think I want to return to the ’60s, I actually want a career that I enjoy. The kids thing maybe not so much, I’m still deciding. But I have a huge awareness that doing both would be a huge stress.

        Reply
        • Yes, why is there so much pressure for women to work while kids are small? It’s almost as if women don’t feel valued if they don’t work. Could it also be that feeding babies formula deprives mother of special connection to her baby, which in turn makes it easier for her to go do something else with her life :)

          I guess i was brought up differently. I was breastfed for three years, so it naturally carried over to my own babies.

          I wanted to be university professor, but once my first baby was born, i forgot about research. I didn’t care for it at all. The nursing made me so much in love with baby that i couldn’t imagine someone else taking care of her – no way.

          However, it is important for mom to do something she enjoys. For me, reading and learning satisfied that aspect so i never feld deprived in any way by staying home and taking care of family.

          I can honestly say that i wouldn’t be able to keep everyone calm and satisfied if i were to work outside of home.

          Reply
        • I’m an at-home mom, happy I can do this. But it’s not for everyone.

          One thing that gets me is insurance tied to employment. Because of this system, generally one person in the couple has to work full time to provide insurance. If insurance were NOT tied to employment, maybe a couple could work out a system where each worked part time, so they’d have roughly the same household income as with one working full time, but they could share child care responsibilities.

          Reply
    • Agreed. I wouldn’t say that paleo is a “cause” as much as a somewhat misguided attempt to deal with the degeneration on a symptom-based, superficial level while ignoring that gut problems, food sensitivies, etc are symptoms of “organism-level metabolic dysfunction” usually.

      The problem with Paleo and GAPS and SCD is that they get into the minutiae of gut issues, auto-immunity, and their answer is to “avoid lectins,” “avoid polysaccharies” avoid, avoid, avoid. Restrict, restrict, restrict. Pretty soon, like my ex-girlfriend, you’re living on zucchini and salmon because you’re sensitive to everything and afraid of everything, and yet, you’re never totally better. Never thriving.

      I myself – as a former devotee of this way of thinking – have abandoned ship, because as lovely as the theory was, the results were abyssmal….

      Reply
    • The “elephant in the room” for the paleo theory folks is that why is it that we need paleo now? If this is such a superior diet, why didn’t we need this diet to thrive all along?

      The funny thing is, our entire planetary civilization was based and has been based on neolithic foods, except that now, over the last few decades, they’re suddenly the “cause” of all of our health problems. This makes no sense whatsoever.

      Robb can talk all he wants about lectins and whatnot, but the real question – and the real issue – is systemic degeneration over recent generations, to where these foods become problematic for some or many people. You have to look at the metabolic decline we’re seeing across generations, and this has to do with chemicals in the environment, gut flora imbalances passed on generationally due to the antibiotic revolution, toxin halogen exposure, denaturated PUFA, and a variety of other issues that in total are causing major metabolic issues.

      Paleo deals with shit on a superficial and symptomatic level, by avoiding and restricting, and unless you’re naturally better off on a high fat diet (probably 25% of the population) you’re not going to thrive on Paleo, GAPS, SCD, etc. We need to stop getting bogged down in the minutiae of biochemistry, etc, and start seeing the big picture. The big picture is metabolism.

      Reply
      • sean, i really dig your comments on this thread. i’ve come to many similar conclusions through my own experimentation (paleo, peat, chinese medicine, shamanistic traditions)
        do you have a blog or somewhere i can follow your thoughts? facebook, etc?
        thanks,

        Reply
  40. Belated thank you for your response Danny.

    I am on the high end protein wise already. Have experimented with the 70-150 g range. Am eating gelatinous bone broth five days a week. It should be said though, that the only time in my life my stomach was dead flat for days, was when I was on GAPS induction, basically eating only bone broth, some very well cooked meat on the bone, some overcooked vegetables, and a table spoon or two of honey per day. Am not going back there though. The negative consequences well outweighed the flat belly.

    Reply
  41. I’m confused by this post. I seem to have missed where the conclusions were drawn from. I’m not trying to attack your argument here, I’m trying to figure out either what I’m missing or what the post is missing to make it coherent to me, if you can bear with me.

    As near as I can tell, you point out some potential cases where these supplements will not be enough, although you acknowledge their effectiveness…at least in some cases? From my reading of this I’m actually more convinced these supplements are probably a great idea since they will provide some elements which seem helpful to the vast majority of the intended market, and not harmful if they are not strictly necessary (as long as you don’t OD on the Flex and acid-wash your gut, I take it).

    You call them “a wild mix of pills” even though you point out how beneficial they might be. “A wild mix of pills” would suggest these pills were formulated haphazardly – not designed well, but a random assortment, a shotgun approach, one would have to be lucky to happen to benefit from them. Is that a fair characterization of what you meant? I don’t see that supported in the rest of the post.

    Then you suggest an alternative: “Supporting the known factors that influence energy production would likely be simpler, more straightforward, and most importantly, measurable (e.g., pulse, body temperature, etc.).”

    Can you provide a link to a summary of this? If it’s simpler than supporting with pills, it must be pretty darn simple. :) And why can’t one measure one’s progress using the pills with the same metrics you are suggesting? I admit I don’t have a background in your posts, but I don’t even know where to begin studying this suggestion.

    The conclusion I draw from this post is that these supplements may work well, but they won’t address every case. So I don’t understand why that’s so bad. Can you be more specific as to why they are ineffective, harmful, or more complicated than “supporting known factors”? (How?) I get that they don’t fully handle all cases, but are these not appropriate for the vast majority of cases, and will they be ineffective or harmful in the cases you address?

    Again, I’m not saying I disagree, I’m just failing to comprehend how these conclusions are supported. I should probably mention here that Chris’ posts and podcasts sold me to the point where I am a client of his and I’m making concrete progress under his guidance. I have not yet tried these supplements, although I intend to. I also intend to recommend them to others, which is why I’m interested in understanding your point of view clearly.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • chris & the pealo-pals make a lot of sense… until they don’t. i honestly hope that being a client of his helps you, but i also hope that it doesn’t blind you to a larger reality. if you plan on really learning everything about your own health you will have to fall into the rabbit hole of internet research as many of us have done, THAT is where you will find the conclusions you so wish someone else would give you.

      Reply
  42. Hi everyone,

    Sorry if this came up already, what about taking Swedish bitters. I have been reading ALOT about this and that and coming to the conclusion that having a healthy gut and liver (I think go hand and hand,in a way)is the number one step to helping you health.

    Thank you and have a great day.

    Reply

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