Female Masculinity, PCOS, Hirsutism

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I’ve been fascinated with female masculinization, particularly facial hair growth or what is called hirsutism, ever since I heard about Diana Schwarzbein’s bout with a syndrome known as Stein Leventhal (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS basically). Okay, it started back before that, when Rebecca Romijn was the bearded lady in the movie Dirty Work, but that’s unrelated.

Recently this issue has been popping up again and again. For starters, last spring I had a female roommate who:

1) Was not menstruating
2) Had freakishly hairy arms that hadn’t always been like that
3) Was super thin but stored fat in the lower back area only (male pattern fat storage)

Of course, this person was a misguided health fanatic that hadn’t always had these problems. Although I purposefully didn’t get into it with her knowing that there wasn’t the slightest chance I could transmit real knowledge into her gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, low-calorie, alcoholic brain (I once heard her say that having a tooth abscess during a bout of the Master Cleanse was a sign of just how detoxifying the cleanse was, and that she was thinking of trying it again!), there is no doubt that she could have improved if not completely overcome her issue in a month by eating the food (ETF). It would have worked something like this:

1) ETF-ing raises thyroid output

2) Thyroid hormones flip the switch to decrease estrogen production and begin synthesizing more progesterone out of LDL

3) This decreases the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) produced – (LH triggers the production of androgens – male hormones) while increasing free circulating progesterone which triggers a greater production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) – which in turn triggers ovulation and menstruation down the road

Voila – less androgen production, menstruation restored, and let’s hope it would increase some blood circulation to her brain as well.

This scenario was very similar to what you might see with someone with an eating disorder. Although some of the excess hair growth with anorexia is more like a peach fuzz, male-pattern hair on the chest and face as well as male-pattern baldness is very common.

But as any 180 junkie knows, there are many parallels between a person who is actually starving and a person who is overweight – and the key underlying commonality is a low metabolism/hypothyroidism.

So in those with insulin resistance with excess body fat you see the same kind of patterns emerging. Correspondence with a woman named Carla (not her real name) on Facebook recently may be of interest to you…

Carla noted that prior to her pregnancy she was always a warm 98.6 degree F kind of gal. Then she had a kid and suddenly noticed that her body temperature had plummeted to 97.2. Coinciding with this was of course, post-pregnancy weight gain of, I think she said 30-40 pounds without noticing much of a change in her normal diet and lifestyle patterns, and the development of thick, black facial hair. This is pretty classic PCOS/Stein-Leventhal kind of pathology. What fascinated me and is something that is NOT part of the known mainstream medical diagnostic portrait (anything of relevance rarely is) is that she noticed a coinciding drop in body temperature going along with all of this.

I can only assume that her body exhausted its capacity to produce progesterone during pregnancy, and when that faucet shut off she was left with a lot of metabolically-suppressive, androgen-stimulating, unopposed estrogen. But there are many other theories one could dream up, including perhaps her body’s unloading of her metabolically-stimulating short and medium chain saturated fats into breast milk while leaving nothing but linoleic acid (omega 6) in her body to stimulate estrogen.

This happens to a lot of women. Many women gain weight or can’t lose it after pregnancy, as well as enter into a mental state indicative of progesterone shortage (not totally unlike that experienced during PMS – presumably caused at least in part by insufficient progesterone levels at a time when they should be high). Anyway, she should get some relief if she can get her body temperature up. Not sure if she will pursue it or not. An excess of calories from coconut and dairy fat as well as carbohydrates would definitely help though.

Then we have ol’ Sheila.  Sheila is a natural big testosterone producer for a woman, which led her to being coerced into female bodybuilding due to her hormonal profile for it. Bodybuilding led her to becoming very muscular, very lean, very cold, and very infertile. While she’s not out of the woods yet, she has at least brought her temperature up somewhat, had her period return after a very long vacation, and noticed an improvement in her overly-masculine voice and muscularity (if I’m not mistaken, I’m pretty sure she said that or something like it).

Last but not least for your interest, and to better help us all understand the hormonal and metabolic peculiarities of female masculinity, is a woman that I met recently. She contacted me after bringing her body temperature up 3.0 degrees F in 30 days following my overfeeding program. Prior to this she was a low-carb oriented Weston A. Price Foundation devotee and has been for years. She told me she has always been on the masculine side with excessive facial and chest hair.

And, not surprisingly, she has had her hormone levels tested and testosterone is off the charts, estrogen is moderate to high, and progesterone is about as low as can be. As a general rule I think it’s safe to say that testosterone is the default hormone for women to produce (they do so in the adrenal glands) when progesterone cannot be manufactured properly (due to stress, low metabolism typically). This high ratio of estrogen to progesterone by the way is very typical of a woman with breast cancer, and well, she’s definitely got breast cancer (bringing her body temperature up via RRARF didn’t help in the limited time she was able to try it by the way – and probably isn’t the best approach in late stage cancer despite its theoretical ability to increase cancer-obliterating cellular respiration).

Anyway, this female masculinity and PCOS stuff is interesting. If you are a woman and lean – having done a bunch of restricted diets, battled with eating disorders, engaged in hardcore competitive athletics – particularly endurance exercise, and stopped having your period and had some other complications develop… eat and eat some more.

On the topic of PCOS, which is more commonly something overweight women experience, beware of the approaches that just flat out tell you that PCOS is from “insulin resistance” and that you should cut out all carbohydrates. While this may seem like a miracle cure at first as you medicate your impaired glucose metabolism and temporarily bring your insulin levels down within normal ranges, eventually you will have to face the root cause of your impaired glucose metabolism instead of just avoiding it. Carbohydrate restriction, because it increases your exposure to stress hormones and “tends to shut down thyroid function” as Dr. Atkins put it, usually takes you to a dead end in a few years or less – with a myriad of new health problems like mood disorders, constipation, adrenal fatigue, mineral imbalances, and who knows what else.

The root cause, like most things, is probably a quintuple combination of excessive polyunsaturated fat accumulation in your tissues (which is estrogenic), excessive consumption of xenoestogens (toxic chemical pollutants) and phytoestrogens – soy being the worst offender, oral contraceptive use, excessive stress and inflammation, and repeated attempts at weight loss through any of the popular approaches ranging from doing lots of “cardio” to calorie restriction.

In other words, as usual, many of these health problems are caused by a “healthy low-calorie vegetarian diet with lots of healthy fats and healthy soy products and a healthy exercise program and healthy lifestyle” as we commonly define them in the 21st century. Eating and living in 180-Degree opposition to that should help tremendously. If all else fails, try natural, non-synthetic thyroid and progesterone supplementation.

If that fails too, join the circus. If you are anything like me, you’ll find hanging out with midgets a lot more fun than trying to eat a very low carbohydrate diet. And, you may find romance with an incredibly sexy, well-dressed man – just don’t be surprised when his fiancé shows up and throws egg salad sandwiches at you.

How to RAISE YOUR METABOLISM.

84 Comments

  1. Matt, this is a great post.

    I wanted to bring something up, which is somewhat related. Maybe.

    Well, my wife and I have been "experimenting" with displacing some starch with sugar — at times good old table sugar.

    We have noticed a few things with the addition of this sugar. One is an increase in energy. Not like the cracked out low carb "adrenal energy", but a calm clarity type of energy. An increase in body weight with a constant waistline for me, and a decrease in waistline for her — she does not weigh her self. And finally, which is somewhat related to this post (no I don't what to hear any comments about how bearded women are related to my libido) is a very noticeable increase in libido for both of us, and stabilization of menstruation for my wife.

    We have both been RRARFin', HEDin', a.ka. Eatin' the Food for a little over a year now and of course have a 5 month old son — which did of course cause a negative impact on the libido for a period.

    Anecdotal? Perhaps. Just wondering what people's thoughts and experiences are on adding sugar back.

    Yes I did plow through a half a bag of gummy worms the other day…what don't judge.

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  2. Yes I know its the classic sugar, starch argument, which is like 180's chicken or egg. I had my opinions of course, which are being challenged.

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  3. I think I'm with you Nathan, which is going to make RRARF a lot easier, more fun, more realistic, more sustainable, more healing when it comes to issues with eating, and ultimately provide more resilience and greater dietary freedom which is what RRARF is all about. Ditto on every aspect you just mentioned, partly due to the ease of upping calories and partly because I really think sugar is an amazing adrenal relaxer in the right context, and may facilitate faster displacement of omega 6 in tissues.

    But of course, this all remains to be seen. I have my hunches though.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/joshrubineastwest

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  4. Actually found Josh's videos a few weeks ago. Not really what made me consider adding "more" sugar to my diet, but it did make me think.

    Now I do think he just regurgitates a lot of Ray Peats' "theories". But I do like his argument.

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  5. Hi,

    I've been trying out Matt's theories for about a month or so. My husband and I were on WAPF-friendly Atkins for about a year from 10/09 to 10/10. In 2/10, I started having low thyroid symptoms, but, as the title of the book says, my labs were normal!

    Before that, I feel like I had been doing RRARF. I remember at one point in 11/07 I was tracking my food with FitDay, and I was consuming something like 4000 calories a day (I am a 5'4" woman) without gaining weight. Then, I went on a trip to FL to visit with my in-laws, started gaining weight, and by 10/09 was up 30 pounds. I was eating a lot of unrefined sugars, and very little vegetable oil. I remember feeling very hungry on my trip there. My female inlaws are very concerned with not eating too much.

    Anyway, flash forward to the Atkins time — right around the time my thyroid symptoms got crankin' (probably pituitary/adrenal, and I've probably been having the pituitary issues the whole time, now that I look at my labs back to 2004) my daughter's arms grew really dark hair on them. She's only six. I didn't have my kids on Atkins, per se — but they probably weren't eating more than 100g carbs per day.

    Anyway, I noticed she doesn't have that dark hair on her arms anymore. I don't know when it went away. But thanks for completing some more of my mental puzzle.

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  6. What film is the long kiss from?

    Are you saying you now think sugar is okay?

    P.S. Will you be getting a forum anytime soon? Proboards forums are free. :)

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  7. I agree with Nathan in that the Josh guy just seems to be parroting a bunch of the stuff that Peat talks about in his articles.

    So what is your stance on sugar Matt? Is this pertaining to the white powder, or fructose, or fruit or basically anything including high fructose corn syrup?

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  8. This is a very interesting post! Now, do you have any answers as to what causes those long chin hairs on women as they get older? You know those ones that grow 2 inches a day so you have to search 'n' pluck each and every morning?

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  9. Lynn – Big Top Pee Wee… Still the record for longest on screen kiss. Yay Pee Wee!!!

    Rosenfelt-

    As you know, I think consuming a lot of white powder, even if the short-term results seem to be good, is a bad long-term strategy due to the nutrient deficit incurred. So you won't likely see me championing any white powders and certainly not any high-fructose corn syrups or other non-nutritive commercial sweetener.

    I am also not "sure" what I believe, and know from past experiences that the more sure I was about something the more wrong I usually turned out to be (you can only be really sure of something if you are looking at it in an overly simplified and short-sighted manner).

    But I wouldn't kick JT's mom out of bed for eating something sugary :)

    Many people confuse things that I'm willing to "intellectually consider" and turn it around by saying, "Matt says it's okay to eat this now." This happened most recently when I did the post on Ski Chilton's work on inflammation. One commenter was like, "oh boy, I'm going to go eat a bunch of nuts now!"

    But it's more likely that humans don't convert as much linoleic acid to AA as rats because we are already saturated (no pun intended) with linoleic acid! Adding more water to a full glass doesn't change the amount of water in the glass.

    Anyway, what were your experiences in Peatardism and browsing through the various Peat regurgitators out there?

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  10. Tierney -

    Probably a drop in progesterone in relation to estrogen that occurs with age. In men you are more likely to see the effects of a drop in testosterone in relation to estrogen with age and the loss of leg hair, arm hair, and stuff like that.

    Amy-

    I'm very fascinated by what you just wrote about your weight gain. Please give us more details if you could.

    Are you saying that during the trip you were very hungry from not eating enough?

    I think eating insufficient calories on a sugary diet could be even more harmful, as sugar tends to increase hunger dramatically.

    And kids generally do very poorly on low-carb diets. With adults that is true too, but in kids they really just start to go flat from what a lot of people have told me.

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  11. Matt, Nathan, rosenfeltc,

    My experiences with sugar (banana chips, Haagen Daz Five) have been mostly negative. Although I don't get fat, I break out (Matt, I think you said your girlfriend had the same problem). I doubt it's the other ingredients because I always eat cheese, cream, milk, eggs. Bananas are less troublesome, but it's definitely not optimal with me.

    I think there is too much controlled evidence comparing starch and sugar to be pro-Peat in that regard, with sucrose leading to higher fasting insulin and liver triglycerides. Even with low PUFA, a high sucrose diet still produces considerable liver fat in mice. Maybe this would change with more choline or vitamin A or whatever, but it would take more than a couple studies showing non-significant weight gain for me to change my mind.

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  12. Matt you said

    "I think consuming a lot of white powder, even if the short-term results seem to be good, is a bad long-term strategy due to the nutrient deficit incurred."

    that is my current relationship with the whitestuff…
    also I could not agree more with being "100 % sure"

    in regards to the guy Re-peat-ing listenin to josh makes me want to read what ray has written.Only now did I notice you can read his stuff online lol ( i sorta took a quick glance at his page last time did not notice the links.

    one thing josh said about sugar not getting into the cells ( if it is a ray peat thing IDK) caught my attention because I have been saying something similar calling the phenomenon energy deficit on cellular level.. idk if there is some medical term for it or not i'd love to know to not sound so Rez'd out. although sugar is one of the things i "avoid " I break my own rules often and do not see any short term bad effects.

    with your recent comment about taking in 7000 calories i think the "matt/chief proof pic " is long over due.
    just one more little contract and florida and georgia is on my mind …need some sun grr

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  13. CHIEF,

    "one thing josh said about sugar not getting into the cells ( if it is a ray peat thing IDK) caught my attention because I have been saying something similar calling the phenomenon energy deficit on cellular level.."

    Yes, Peat often talks/writes about glucose availability & oxidation. It's pretty much the underlying/overall goal of his diet recommendations.

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  14. I never had a clue just how dangerous low carb was. Now I know. What a bummer cause it was one of the most difficult things to do, to cut out all carbs….

    Anyways, I've lost about 10-15 pounds now, but my temps have also gone down a bit to around 97.7 instead of 98.0 but for me that's going to have to due cause I can't cope with the belly fat any longer. But I'm loosing the weight slowly and I eat to fullness, I just don't overeat part from one day per week when I have a RRARF party. lol.

    Also, I have endometriosis and that's one other disease that had low progesterone as one of the problems. We are often recommended to use natural progesterone cream. I never tried it though cause I don't like to mess with my hormones at all.

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  15. thanks john ,

    ill have to read some of his stuff, I don't see it being any different with starch though per se ..

    I think it all depends on what it is combined with and what the over all conditions are with the person that is eating sucrose.

    say for instance a diet of only fruit and lemonade made with sugar I doubt it will cause any weight gain in anyone. As long as factor in accidental forcefeeding with it being hard for the body to track calories fast enough to keep up with the rate one can ingest sugar in liquid form.
    At the same time I have seen full blown alkies drink enough calories in beer to rival competitive eaters while eating very little solid food and remain skinny as a rail.

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  16. John-

    I have always tended to agree, and there's no question that in the short-term sugar is more fattening for me as it makes me ravenous. But I think this sudden surge in calorie intake can account for this effect, but we'll see.

    Chief-

    I think the genius part of Peat's work is congruent with my own studies – that the metabolic rate (and cellular energy production that drives metabolic rate, cellular respiration, etc.) is the primary flaw in the health of modern man.

    How best to achieve that is where he and I often differ – I tout the calorie, think insulin is beneficial in getting sugar into the cells and therefore prefer high glycemic starches, believe that fiber and resistant starches, because they trigger the production of short chain fats in the gut (they are coconut oil on steroids basically) have a tremendous metabolic advantage (while also generally inhibiting estrogen uptake), and don't feel like the diet needs to be so limited and weird and out of synch with traditional diets like say, the traditional Polynesian diet which in my view is the ultimate human diet if there is such a thing.

    Anyway, there's no question that improving glucose storage into the cells is one of the primary objectives in any attempt to combat the hypometabolic and hyperinsulinemic tidal wave. Improved glycogen deposition is of course associated with higher metabolism, better athletic performance, greater muscle mass, lower body fat…

    You will also like that one of Peat's primary tenets is getting plenty of sunlight, which has been quite abundant in Florida of late.

    Lisa-

    I think you'll find your metabolism is pretty resilient to weight loss, and can be brought back up in a day with a calorie spike. RRARF party! Intermittent feasting!

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  17. Intermittent feasting sounds strangely attractive (could never have imagined myself saying that?!)

    Thank you for posting about this: I think I told you I recently had a test confirming this circumstance in my body.

    To the lady who 'doesn't want to mess with her hormones:'–I've been using 'progon' (a sublingual progesterone) and 'ostaderm' (a transdermal cream) for about nine months now and have to say that it's made a huge difference in my general well-being (I had been anorexic for many years, didn't menstruate all through my 20's and it's still whacked, etc). This time last year, I couldn't have intercourse with my husband at all–too painful. And lots of other sucky things.

    Now it's all better, and since I've cut out omega-6's (and mostly PUFAs in general) and experimented with adding starches, my digestion is better and I think my libido is too. I'm a person who used to refuse to take any supplementation at all, and now has to rely on several kinds. This approach is offering me some hope that I won't need to take thyroid, progesterone, etc, forever.

    Matt–I'm curious for more about sugar helping to displace omega-6. I also wonder, though, about the appetite-stimulating effects of sugar, that are so clear, and how they interact with that whole PCAT discussion: it seems to me that the more concentrated the taste, the more likely it is to make that dopamine hit: can it do so (a detrimental thing) and displace linoleic acid at the same time?

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  18. Great post Matt!
    I was diagnosed with PCOS 10 years ago due to symptoms of irregular cycles, weight gain,and excess prolactin levels, i also strate4d developing some facial hair. The background to that is that i started dieting when i was 15 – which included periods of eat as little as possible. Since then i have been on a weight gain and weight loss roller coaster. I have joined so many gyms, seen so many dietitians and equal number if doctors.My periods regularized in the past few years but the weight problems continued.I've tried RRARF and did gain a lot..im at my highest body weight right now.LAst month i started taking BSM and i feel a reduction in the yucky hair around my chin plus skin looks really good. My question is that as far as exercise what would you recommend? I was thinking of a mix of yoga, walking,dance a the elliptical recommendation that you made. I'm eating reduced PUFA except I can't macadamias any more- i got sick of them :-) I'm lacto vegetarian so there is lots of milk,yogurt and lentils.

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  19. My experiences are very similar to John's, except that cheese also makes me breakout so the only dairy I eat is some butter and the only fruit I eat is one banana a day cause anymore dairy or fruit makes me breakout and my tongue thrush worse.

    It sucks that in a way my diet is restricted since at 180 we're all about achieving the adrenal type that can eat everything but until you (Matt) come up with a post on a solution to acne, thrush, candida/fungal infections etc… then my diet will be restricted in terms of food types. At least I don't restrict calories at all lol

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  20. matt ,
    don't rub the sun thing in ya bastard. dietarily, how weird are we talking peatard style ?

    lisa glad to hear you doing a little better :)

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  21. I had a similar experience to you, Nathan. I've had deep inner peace, silence, calm, and clarity since I increased my sugar intake sometime in early September. I ate a lot of fruit juices, iced coffee a couple times a week, rich ice cream a few days a week, raw & unheated honey, 70% dark chocolate, smoothies, and butter cookies. I ate starches too like organic white sushi rice, and potatoes. (Unbleached & unenriched flour if possible.) I feel free of diet dogma, like I can now take or leave any food. I don't believe in all of Ray Peat's theories, but he shows the value of saturated fat & the toxicity of PUFAs. And he goes against popular ideas on carbs and sugar and fructose.

    Psychiatric drugs ruined my health and mood for a year from like June 2009 to May 2010. I don't know why I took them. I had avoided doctors and drugs for a decade. Somehow, I was put in a situation where drugs were handed to me and I took them. It took a year to quit drugs, even though I knew they were harming my body and my mind. I gained weight, got depressed, constipated, no sex drive, poor memory, apathy, tingly feeling, etc. In Spring 2010 I got off the drugs. After withdrawal, I felt I was improving but it took a long time and I didn't get free of depression until September after a variety of experiments (I took the geodon briefly at a half dose and became so paranoid and delusional, I was afraid to go outside, except late at night.

    Neuroleptic drugs damage your body and brain (they cause diabetes and metabolic syndrome, apathy, memory loss, tardive dyskinesia, emotion blunting, loss of sex drive, etc. The known side effects are of all major drugs are enough to make any sane person view their production and use as a form of insanity. The school and work-place shooters you hear about in the news were mostly taking Prozac or anti-depressants, even during their rampages. But we should just ignore the known toxic side effects of such drugs include depression, suicide, violence, and psychosis. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. LOL.

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  22. "but until you (Matt) come up with a post on a solution to acne, thrush, candida/fungal infections etc… then my diet will be restricted in terms of food types."

    Hi Rosenfeltc
    actually I suspect the above ties in with the previous post about 'pleasure centres': ie the alcohol effects of so-called candida fermentation produce a neuro-chemical response in the brain, which drives subsequent food choice.
    Not speaking of the symptoms such as thrush, etc but rather the neuro-chemical 'high' that influences food choice.

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  23. This is really interesting. After the birth of both of my children, I lost the baby weight very quickly, and then started gaining. With my son, I gained 15 pounds and with my daughter, only 5. I was eating more whole foods with my daughter, though. The weight comes on all on my belly, along with some unwanted facial hair. This also included excessive fatigue and excessive hair loss. Things seem to go back to normal pretty quickly when I stop breastfeeding, though. I was looking at an ultrasound report during my last pregnancy that mentioned some ovarian cysts, but PCOS has never been brought up to me.

    Also, slightly off topic . . . I have had the experience infrequently in the past, but it has happened to me, the past two days. I have been really busy, and haven't been able to eat when hunger strikes like I usually do. This has resulted in very severe stomach cramps. I can hardly sit up, and any food I do eat, I have to force down and kind of makes me nauseous. Any ideas why this happens and what can be done about it?

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  24. Oops. I just read the post over at 180M and realized i should have posted my comment over there.

    Sorry for jackin' your harry man-woman post Matt!

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  25. Regarding that trip to FL to see my in-laws…

    I don't feel like I changed how I was eating very much, except maybe I did eat more chocolate. My MIL cooks very healthy foods, but sometimes has to cook for a lot of people. When we were together, it was like she and I were doing all the shopping/cooking, and there were so many mouths to feed. I felt guilty eating too much, and like I said, the womenfolk (her, my SIL, and her vegetarian triathlete step-sister) eat very small portions. I never felt like I got enough protein. Also, during that trip, I took a side trip to Miami for a wedding with my husband, leaving my nursing child behind.

    There's definitely some sort of hormonal aspect to it. My hair was falling out at the time and my eyebrows had disappeared, now that you have me recall it. My MIL and husband were really worried about me. I said I'd go to the doctor when I got back home.

    I did go to the doctor, and he ran a thyroid panel on me, the results of which, at the time, we considered normal. However, now that I've read _Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms_ I've gone back through my lab results back to 9/04, and in ALL of them, my TSH is below 1.09, which according to Kharrazian is indicative of a pituitary issue, aggravated by adrenal issues.

    This makes a lot of sense for me, for a number of reasons. First, I've always been a person who has had, generally speaking, a pretty great life. There have been some pretty traumatic things that happened, but they were pretty isolated. I cannot handle much stress at all. It wears me out. So, this trip to FL, which was really a lot of fun, put me out of my element, and definitely stressed me out, because I was reaching for chocolate like nobody's business, just on the RV trip down there. Perhaps 'twas the cortisol. I had some major anxiety about that trip, as it was made with two small kids and my husband flew down there to meet us later.

    I haven't read all of Peat's writings, but I do have a theory about this whole refined carb/sugar thing. I was actually planning to write a series of blog posts about my experience — but a shortened version would be that I used up my quota (which I'll graphically detail on my blog). If I supplement with a B-complex, Mg, K and Cr for a while (plus a couple other trace minerals), I can eat sugar to my heart's content and not have symptoms. But a while after stopping those supplements, I get extremely sensitive to caffeine and sugar simple puts me right into the hurt locker.

    I don't know the circumstances surrounding the nut binge, but I would be tempted to say that the rule "everything in moderation" really has some truth to it. I plan to touch on this in my next blog posts. Coming as soon as I recover from the GF Cake and Puppy Chow I ate a birthday party on Saturday. (Wow, a handful of chocolate/peanut butter covered corn cereal really wrecked me!). And then the "not exercising" I did today. Moving huge furniture is not exercising, right? RRARF!

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  26. Uh, last key bit of information: the men eat a TON. Especially my thin BIL, who can and does eat anything. So, there's hardly any leftovers.

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  27. Intresting

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  28. About cellular respiration

    Could this be on a deeper fundamental level than dieting and eating? By cellular respiration I mean breathing, deeply. I did some research: found that when there is plenty of oxygen available our cells produce the full 36 ATP of energy and without enough oxygen we only get 2 ATP. Lack of oxygen causes anabolic respiration/ fermentation.

    This brings up my point, just a hypothesis, that deeper breathing alone should increase the metabolism. This makes sense to me, since so many religions advocate deep breathing and meditation type exercises for spirituality and health. This also seems to go along with high intensity training increasing lung capacity and cellular respiration, which increases air intake.

    So could people get these results just by consciously breathing deeper throughout the day? It's pretty hard since you have to keep thinking about it, but overtime it should become a habit.

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  29. Maya-

    A "mix" is good. The particulars don't matter too much.

    Thanks Amy. All fascinating stuff.

    Narendra- Perhaps. I do think that idea of expanding lung capacity is very promising for that very reason.

    April-
    I don't know why that happens, but that isn't uncommon.

    Rosenfelt and John-
    A couple of years ago I would have issued you guys a virtual hi-5 for those comments. But small changes can often make a big difference.

    A few years ago, after eating low-carb for a year or so, I ate a Snickers bar one time – the first sugar I had had in months, and the next day my forehead was completely covered with zits. But now I could sit down and eat 6 Snickers bars without a single blemish, much less the worst acne outbreak of my life (which that was). Of course, at that time in my life I had convinced myself sugar was man's greatest threat, so that was very re-affirming.

    I can also make starch cause acne breakouts. It's easy. I just eat it without fat and protein – likewise I could probably cause protein and fat to give me breakouts by eating a low-fat vegan diet for a while. I think everything depends on the context in which it is consumed.

    Which gets back to some of our original conversations Rosenfelt – that just about anyone can have clear skin eating a fruitarian or all-meat diet, but the trick is how can you eat anything and everything without having skin breakouts? That's the bigger question.

    I will also flat out say that those with the most severe candida issues that I've known and dealt with personally were those that had spent years on a low-carb diet, and two of those were you Rosenfelt and your zero-carb buddy Martin – who has cleared up his candida issues by eating a very high-carbohydrate diet.

    Anyway, all very interesting stuff. All the more reason to stay open-minded and realize that how you respond to certain foods may not have anything to do with that food directly – but many other factors.

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  30. This seems like the right post to add this self-disclosing, TMI comment. To wit:

    I have (self-diagnosed) luteal phase defect, i.e. faulty/low progesterone at the end of the cycle which causes pre-menstrual spotting and also horrid pms. The thing Clomid is often used to "treat"for infertility purposes. Pain in the neck for those not caring about pregnancy.

    The only times (twice in the last 8 years) I have had normal, no-spotting and pms-free periods are after I did short bouts of low-carb. The stints were less than a week and probably more a starvation level of eating than getting adequate calories. But the carbs were counted! If I remember correctly, the stints were also at some point after ovulation. I returned to pretty much standard SAD afterwards.

    So, I've been wracking my brain to think WHY this happened. I obviously ate less PUFA (though I ate a small handful of almonds daily). Maybe the low-PUFA combined with the glycogen clearance from the liver? This is just too puzzling.

    Can a normal carb, low-Pufa way of eating get me there eventually?

    Reply
  31. "I think there is too much controlled evidence comparing starch and sugar to be pro-Peat in that regard, with sucrose leading to higher fasting insulin and liver triglycerides. Even with low PUFA, a high sucrose diet still produces considerable liver fat in mice. Maybe this would change with more choline or vitamin A or whatever, but it would take more than a couple studies showing non-significant weight gain for me to change my mind."

    Hmmm… I have to disagree: The primary problem with the whole sugar vs. starch debate is there is *not* enough controlled evidence comparing the two. Most of the studies that allege to demonstrate how fructose causes this or that problem are very poorly controlled indeed. In fact, I use the word "allege" precisely because these studies are making claims that are not backed by actual evidence; instead, the researchers that have conducted these studies have engaged in dubious practises, such as feeding rats and mice ungodly unnatural amounts of fructose (60% of the diet, an example of poor design and control) and then claiming that this somehow "proves" how oh-so-terrible fructose consumption is. How does feeding an animal an unnatural amount of any nutrient, macro or otherwise, prove anything about its influence on health when consumed in natural, reasonable amounts by species/animals suited for said consumption? I'm going to leave that as a rhetorical question; the answer should be obvious to anybody with even a glimmering of intellegence.

    Really, these reaserchers should be ashamed of themselves, it is obvious that they have a bias to confirm, otherwise they would publish results that compare the influence fructose has on lab animals at different percentages of the diet. But that would require honesty and creativity on their part; they are too busy demonizing the new devil, fructose. Yes, fructose is the new saturated fat.

    I've worked in labs before, private and academic, and a lot of misinformation, data manipulation (improper statistical analysis), and outright lies are put out by alleged scientists. The "peer-review" process is supposed to prevent this, but it, too, is broken –essentially ran by special interest groups and "old boys clubs"– and needs to be fixed. For that reason alone I really don't care what research papers say, unless certain criteria are met, which I am not going to go into for now.

    In addition, I find it very telling that when an appropiately designed study that has proper statistical analysis done on it is published –very rare and hard to find, indeed!– there is very little evidence, if any, found that can be used to damn sucrose and fructose.

    "Fatty liver and weight gain in mice" my ass. How about "fatty-brain" on the part of researchers who won't or don't know how to conduct a valid study?

    Reply
  32. narenda, one of my former running buddies was also a yoga instructor. My breathing used to drive her crazy, it was so shallow and rapid. She coached on my changing my breathing pattern consciously and it really, really helped improve my running times. It was really hard at first, especially while running, I'd get a feeling of panic that I wasn't getting enough air. But once I'd retrained myself outside of running it was easier.

    I'm sure deep breathing is an often overlooked element in athletic performance.

    Reply
  33. Interesting

    I have 3 children
    after all of them i lose all the baby weight except 10 pounds, with in days. Then after that i steadily pack on weight. I Breast feed each of them for a year. For this last one, i decided not to care, RRARF, and ETF…..and Not weigh in. Well I'm at my highest weight ever!! Gained 18 lbs. My temps were pretty high though 97.7 pre ovulation. I'm also on Thyroid replacement, and HC…maybe that could have had something to do with the gain. Just found out i'm pregnant again……and lost about 11 pounds mostly because i'm nausous, and also just not that into food right now. I get full really easy……Do you think it could be the HCG levels??

    Reply
  34. @ Amy Lewark

    "If I supplement with a B-complex, Mg, K and Cr for a while (plus a couple other trace minerals), I can eat sugar to my heart's content and not have symptoms."

    In which form do you supplement Cr? Isn't that kind of dangerous? Would it be possible to just take brewer's yeast instead? I just checked the packaging and it contains all those minerals. Question is if the quantity is high enough.

    Reply
  35. Brewer's Yeast rules, LOL!!!! Amen Hans, amen!

    Reply
  36. I have to second the vote for brewers yeast. Thanks to Will I started taking it regularly a few months back, along with nutritional yeast. Blood sugar is far better as is general wellbeing….

    Besides I am not a believer in synthetic vitamins and minerals, better off getting a small amount of the real deal than a megadose of synthetic crap.

    Reply
  37. @Hans, et al. – I have not had a lot of luck with the Brewer's Yeast, but I haven't given it a really long-term try. I am certain it doesn't have as much as a synthetic B-complex. I also wonder if I have some sort of inborn or toxic metabolic issue with B-vitamins in particular. I take all coenzymated B-vitamins, and the regular stuff doesn't seem to do the trick, either. What *really* seems to work best for me is LIVER. When I feel well, I am usually doing a good job getting my organ meat in once a week.

    Part of this experiment is reducing my reliance on synthetic crap. I am a recovering supplorexic (to borrow Matt's term). So, I haven't been taking synthetic vitamins for this whole month, and my sensitivity to caffeine and sugar is way off the chart (as far as causing a rush and then fatigue the next day). I don't think that taking organs is cheating, though I am afraid of taking thyroid without a doctor's guidance. I started taking liver and adrenal earlier this week.

    Does anyone know if kidney would contain any adrenal tissue? Does thymus contain any thyroid? Seems like it would be a challenge to dissect the latter away in the butchering process. Anyway, it would be nice to actually eat the stuff rather than take it in pill form.

    Anyway, I have sort of wondered, in all my supplement-taking over the last 5 years or so, if I have created/worsened this deficiency through a feedback inhibition process (increasing my metabolic needs). Really, there's no way to get 5000% of one's daily allowance of B-vitamins other than taking a synthetic supplement, as you all point out.

    Going cold turkey is a little rough. Especially when you're everybody else's go-to person, and those folks expect you to have a never-ending reservoir of energy. I'm afriad RRARF is never going to look the same for a mother as it does for folks without kids.

    Reply
  38. Oh, and after all that, what I meant to ask was, what are your favorite ways to take Brewer's Yeast? I do like the stuff… it just doesn't work in the time frame I need it. :) Or did need it. I'm totally willing to try it again!

    Reply
  39. @Amy

    One thing to consider: just because your blood glucose improves with supplements doesn't mean your deficient in those nutrients.

    They could be acting to negate some other underlying physiological issue.

    P.S. I don't know anything about your health and I don't mean to be presumptuous, I just wanted to balance out discussion a bit.

    Reply
  40. @Greensmu – That's okay! I appreciate the food for thought. I have actually been evaluated for hyperprolactinemia, but that was back in 1998 (related to underlying pathophysiology). I do have one screwed up (small) kidney — about an inch smaller than normal, with scarring, likely from an infection back in 1994. I don't know if that could have caused a problem with one of my adrenal glands?

    And if that were the case, are 'band-aid' remedies are something I may have to rely on for comfort for the rest of my life? I wonder. And I hope not.

    Reply
  41. Which is better the yeast or nutri flakes?

    Reply
  42. Should mention, I do use both, and have for about 1yr. Also liver weekly.

    Only other supp I take occasionally is a vitD (5000iu in olive oil).

    I stop all other supps about 3months ago, "recovering supplorexic" here as well!

    Reply
  43. @ Lisa E – Personally going on progesterone was one of the best health decisions of my life. Cleared up my menstrual cramping, which used to be so bad I'd lie in bed for four days and puke.

    Your hormones are already messed up. Geez. Doing a three-month trial of bioidentical progesterone cream is unlikely to do anything but make them less messed up.

    I'm not saying do it. I'm just saying think about it one more time.

    I wish soooooo badly I'd been able to get on it sooner than I did. Probably would've prevented me from going trying so many stupid diets.

    Reply
  44. Finally! Good reading.
    Thanks for the shout out, Matt (said with the most try-hard feminine voice) ;-P

    Yes, I have had good improvements on RRARF, my period returned pretty quick and it continues to improve every month, First it came every 1,5 month to now every month! I started supplementing with natural progesterone cream 2 months ago and last month my period came sooner than expected on the 26-27th day instead of day 32-33. Not sure if it is because of the progesterone cream and or if it's a good thing or a bad thing? Only thing I do know is that it came as a totally surprise, absolutely no discomfort or swelling leading up to it. It only lasted for 3 days as well, which is new.
    I don't have swollen and sore fun bags (as Debbie would put it) anymore, that's another improvement! My resting pulse have increased with an additional 20 bpm!
    My voice still fluctuates. Some days it can be very feminine and light (my family notice too) especially around my period. Sometimes it still gets a bit deep, which tells me my hormones aren't a 100% in check.
    I started Tabata training at the ending of last month (been doing it for about a month) and have put on another 2kg. GEEEZZZ! I know it's muscle mass but it has come with no loss in fat tissue :-( I've done it twice a week and only burpees. Most men would be stoked but I don't really wish to build anymore muscle, only to loose fat, which seems to be impossible for me at this point. I guess if I could shed the fat, the muscles wouldn't bother me so much.

    Even though my temps have improved some, I still am not able to maintain them. I still get get icy cold hands and feet, even after introducing fructose. I can still get dizzy from standing up from a sitting or lying position or just dizzy in general from walking around, if I pass meal time. My hair still hasn't improved.
    I still have constipation 80% of the time.
    I still have fluid retention (deep marks from clothing) Mostly on my stomach, thighs and butt. Puffy face in the mornings.
    My temperature is highest first thing in the morning but then decreases as soon as I get up? Why is that? Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
    As I am not planning on joining the circus anytime soon, out of desperation, I have ordered some natural thyroid, coming organic grass fed cows of New Zealand. With that and the natural progesterone cream I will try to correct any possible estrogen dominance or thyroid insufficiency. Maybe that will correct my issues or maybe not.

    Another thing. I've always had trouble with night time urination. It has been disrupting my sleep for as long as I can remember. I can wake up anywhere from 1-3 times pr. night. Recently I have been experimenting with going to bed around 2.am and waking up around 12 "noon" (my lifestyle allows me that at the moment) and I have slept like a baby the whole night through! I sleep for 10 hours with no waking up to pee!?
    It seems like my bladder wants to empty itself just pass midnight and staying awake until it does, makes me have totally uninterrupted sleep for 10 hours! Wtf?
    For obvious reasons I can't continue this sleep pattern forever but for now, it's "helping" me sleep. Good or bad, I have no clue.

    Reply
  45. Man, this health stuff is so interesting sometimes. Thanks for the comment Sheila. So interesting.

    The early and short period with no forewarning is definitely a sign of adequate progesterone. It's not a surprise that supplementing it had that effect.

    That's so interesting that the femininity of your voice fluctuates depending on your cycle. That's unfortunate that you don't plan to join the circus. You are circus material for sure!!!

    I have seen the high morning temperature fall throughout the day (or fall after eating) in people who still have low metabolism symptoms, presumably because the adrenals are propping up the metabolism and as soon as one eats the metabolism plummets. This would be a very normal pattern for someone with an eating disorder. In fact, crashing after a carb heavy meal is probably a great indicator of weak thyroid/overstimulated adrenals.

    I too could probably have a higher morning pulse and temperature doing intermittent fasting or carb cycling, but that all reverses itself the moment I eat anything after going for a long period without food or carbs.

    Anyway, we were sort of discussing this on the 180M blog recently – the idea that many people have negative symptoms with eating sugar because it is the ultimate adrenal relaxer – revealing the true weakness that exists in the production and utilization of thyroid hormones.

    And I now openly admit that when I go absolutely ZERO sugar I have a whole host of adrenal-tweakage symptoms (irritability, no appetite, shorter sleep, etc.). Many report sleep problems on a no-sugar diet. Some do fine.

    The nightime urination is probably from disturbance in cortisol rhythms. Not needing to pee is synonymous with low cortisol and urinary urgency is associated with high cortisol (and in a metabolically healthy person waking up and needing to pee first thing is probably a good overall indicator – but being energized, clear-headed, not puffy, etc. is more important).

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback. We'll keep chipping away at it.

    Reply
  46. @Amy, my wife has issues with Brewer's Yeast. When she takes it, she has all of these wonderful things happen like she her mood is like she is Prozac, she is calm, vision is clear, headaches are gone, etc., etc. BUT, her scalp starts to itch and her hair starts to fall out. She is very pretty and has long dark hair, so losing hair trumps all good things, LOL! Don't know why that happens.

    Reply
  47. @undertow, because of my wife's issues with Brewer's Yeast, we tried the Nutritional Yeast Flakes and although she didn't have any of the negative symptoms, she said that it didn't do anything for her either. Keep in mind, sample size N=1. YMMV.

    I'm glad to see folks are using Brewer's Yeast and Liver. B'sY has all the B vitamins EXCEPT for B12, and liver is high in B12, so that completes the B Complex. B12 is also a requirement to produce stomach acid so it may also be helpful for people having digestive issues…but that's just me speculating.

    Reply
  48. Matt, you really put out some good info, especially while interacting on the comments. I wish I could remember just a fraction of it. My memory has been going down the tubes for quite a while now, so personally, I'm hoping you write something up some day on memory. Bless you Sensei.

    Reply
  49. Regarding the hormones, I was extremely regular on Atkins. Every 29 days like clockwork, synched with the moon. AROOOOO! Anyway, there is something weird about February and August, because I always have a re-set at that point (either short or long cycle) and if I've been starting my cycle at the full moon, it then starts at the new moon.

    Anyway, I had one of those last cycle. Since starting RRARF, I've gained 6 pounds, most of it in the last week. I'm also out-of-synch with the moon — I'm starting my cycles with quarter moons for the first time in several years.

    My last couple cycles on Atkins last fall, before starting RRARF were 25 days long, except I had the one long cycle.

    I developed a vitamin B6 deficiency last February on Atkins (right around the time my low thyroid symptoms like hair loss, eyebrow loss, fatigue, etc.) started up again. Along with that, I had some wicked horrible symptoms around ovulation (sore fun-sacks, fatigue, crankiness, bloating). Much of that went away with B6 supplementation (300mg P-5-P per day until I had some neuropathy in my feet and then I went cold turkey for a couple weeks) and as well, I experimented a lot with trying to balance fish oil before ovulation and borage after ovulation. That went along swimmingly for quite some time, and then I started bruising, so I stopped them both.

    So, I guess I will just have to go buy some new pants and put up with this stuff while I try to detox.

    All in all, I'd say this month of womanly issues has been worse since starting RRARF rather than better. But I am a pretty serious canary — if I eat one meal out at a restaurant and have vegetable oil, my skin has a strange sticky/greasy feeling to it.

    Reply
  50. Amy, and also Veiled glory…

    I think Broda Barnes understood it best, saying that a low-carb/high-protein diet was great at medicating many symptoms of poor glucose metabolism and hypothyroidism…

    But over time caused both of the core disorders to worsen and new problems to develop…

    I would think the high demand for methylation on a high meat diet would frequently yield B6, B12, and/or folic acid deficiency.

    RRARF can definitely trigger negative symptoms – it's designed to stress all of the digestive and metabolic systems and encourage them to adapt in a sense.

    But the early stages can be rough. Again, you have to think back to the purpose of it, which is not finding the optimal diet or finding the diet that eliminates symptoms – when you have core disorders there will always be problems of one kind or another…

    But to get your body able to eat a normal diet that doesn't lead to long-term consequences (other than the normal progression of aging and what not) and digest and metabolize it correctly. Beyond the reach of some I'm sure, but it's hard to see it through until body temp. rises and at least not see some major fundamental improvements.

    Reply
  51. Well, said, Matt.

    So, in the event of having nice solid temps in the 97.8 – 98.5 range over the last four weeks, what am I seeking?

    Clearly, it's possible to have good morning temps, but still be a wreck.

    Reply
  52. Out of curiosity Amy, what is your resting pulse rate? high or low? And what temperature and pulse rate changes do you experience after eating a full meal? Up or down?

    Reply
  53. MATT-

    Hey if I ever join the circus, at least I can charge for being weird!

    Hmm.. So it seems supplementing with progesterone and natural thyroid is not such a bad idea..
    Hey, I don't have an eating disorder, I have eating ORDER! ;-P -but apparently I still have symptoms of it?
    Yeah, I get knocked out from eating sugar. Immediately after I get an instant energy rush, have trouble falling asleep, get really foamy urine, which also smells kinda sweet (no I am not doing weird things with my urine) But the day after I feel really tired and have crazy water retention.

    Yeah I kinda guessed my night time urination had something to do with my cortisol rhythm. How do I fix it though? Forcing myself to bed earlier (when I am not tired) and then waking up later in the night -I dislike that too.

    Reply
  54. @Real Will and Chris,

    What brand of Brewer's Yeast do you use? I've wanted to try it instead of nutritional yeast but have no clue which ones are good.

    Amy

    Reply
  55. I use the cheap Puritan's Pride brand, which sometimes comes in a Vitamin World bottle when we order it. There is a LONG story about some health problems that my wife had, went through a cardiologist, a neurologist, a battery of tests and exams, meds, etc., and she was "cured" by simple Brewer's Yeast. We actually started her with the stuff from WalMart because it was close to us and cheap but eventually found Puritan's Pride even cheaper.

    Reply
  56. Right now I am just using the Solgar Brewers yeast. Although in the past I have used cheaper versions with good results. The stuff is so cheap anyway its worth a try for anyone, saying this a few women I know who have tried it have experienced some negative side effects (itchy scalp, acne)? maybe this is to do with the yeast side of things and women being more prone to yeast infections than men.

    Sheila: Interesting reading your post above, many of the symptoms are similar to mine. Do you think your problem is directly Thyroid related or more Adrenal causing a knock on effect to your thyroid – thats what it looks like to me anyway….

    Reply
  57. As long as we're on the topic of natural supplements, I might as well mention nigari flakes.

    I got a 1lb bag online for $7 (including shipping) and it's enough to last a very long time.

    Nigari flakes are basically magnesium chloride. I've seen Magnesium Chloride Flakes on Swanson Vitamins, and also some ionic trace mineral drops that I was thinking of trying sometime.

    I'm not sure how all of these compare but I think it's worth trying out. It's pretty inexpensive and as far as the nigari flakes go it's basically like stirring a fish flake into a glass of water before you drink it (you really don't have to use much; on the site I bought the nigari from, the recipe for "nigarisui" was just 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon in a liter of water).

    Sometimes I'll use more and sometimes I'll use less depending on how 'strong' I want it. I remember on some website that was selling some liquid nigari mineral dropper that it "tastes like fresh buko (coconut water)."

    And I have to say it is somewhat similar. Just a bit, but enough to be an interesting comparison.

    That's my rant for now XD I used to be obsessed with supplements but then went to the opposite extreme and completely forgot about them and just focused on diet. I think there might be a happy medium by using natural things like nigari/brewer's yeast, although I still am curious if regular supplements are harmful or not. It's a big difference between being neutral and not helping you and somehow stressing your body.

    Reply
  58. CHRIS-

    I am leaning more and more towards thyroid problems as I still get icy hands and feet (adrenal reaction to low blood sugar) Hair is still thin and brittle, I still have have a temperature around 36 degrees but with fluctuations (which normally indicates adrenal issues)
    I am not totally convinced of anything but I am willing to give natural thyroid a try. If I can't keep my temperatures stable on that, I assume I still have adrenal issues. It's kinda the egg/chicken situation here, gotta start somewhere.
    What issues are you battling?

    Reply
  59. @Matt, it was 60 last night, 70 this morning after sitting still for like 15 minutes. I had a glass of milk with some whey protein this morning just before.

    What should I be looking for?

    My hands are less cold between meals than they were a couple weeks ago. Mostly warm between meals, and then just cold at night (when I should probably be in bed — I've had a couple late nights lately).

    A lot of the hand temperature does seem to depend on if I've had enough coconut oil or dairy fat (like with every meal). I eat a TON of dairy fat. My guilty pleasure (okay, not really, except that it is a ton of calories no matter how you slice it) is a decaf breve latte, which, at Starbucks or whatever, is usually made with quite a bit of half and half.

    Reply
  60. @ Sheila: Where to start? well I have now dropped the initial weight gain from the RRARF period and although I still eat a mixed wholefoods diet and a lot of food I seem to keep pretty lean and burn through food quick. My temps are way up from when I started (coming from chronic dieting and paleo background) and I feel far better. But I still have issues:

    Core temp can be high but often drops between meals or when I go too long without eating (cold hands/feet and other hypo symps) I wake up every-night bursting to go to the toilet. energy isn't great and tolerance to all stressors is not what it once was (exercise or emotional stress). I get occasional palpitations and can feel cold and anxious from time to time. Bowel movements are temperamental but far far better than they once were. I also get brain fog and often feel spaced out, with this comes feeling somewhat lightheaded.

    Saying this it isn't as bad as things seem. I live a good life and I can tell I am on a road to recovery – it took me years to f-myself up so I figure it could take years to get back to feeling like I used to in my late teens before any of the dieting and overexercising came into play.

    Any tips you are willing to share fire away. All the best!

    Reply
  61. it is hard to know if problems are adrenal or thyroid with things compensating for each other. i can feel cold, eat a huge meal, 2k+ calories, 75g+ coconut oil and loads of potatoes etc and still feel cold after. i can have almost 99f temp and have icy extremities. feel nice and warm and be 97.5f. generally i have good basal temp, low in morning, good in afternoon and low at night. ice cream seems to make me feel warmest if i eat a ton of it

    Reply
  62. Sheila-

    I will say that my experiences with sugar so far is that it gets better as you go along.

    The first sugar hit came with a massive headache and a weird high feeling and trouble falling asleep.

    The next day I had an itchy tingling nose and schlong (sounds like candida).

    Then my urine started smelling horrible – like rotten apple juice and was dark in color.

    I had trouble falling asleep and would wake up in the middle of the night wired (like 4am).

    I also woke up initially with puffy eyes and a hangover-like feeling.

    I just had my first great night's sleep, have no itching or tingling or headaches or sugar rush feeling, no more puffy eyes, no more urine odor, and have noticed some dramatic changes like massive increase in vasodilation, decrease in body odor, and decline in bronchoconstriction (my nasal passages are also more clear and moist – although the weather has been warmer so that may be unrelated).

    Anyway, if you give it a shot again I would recommend eating most of your sugar in the first half of the day, waking up to orange juice and fruit and stuff like that with maybe a little cheese to offset the high potassium content of fruit until you're ready to eat something more substantial.

    Then just eat maybe 1 piece of fruit with your lunch and dinner. That might go a lot better for you. Sugar absorption seems to be maximal early in the day, and consuming sugar by itself late at night can make you wake up starving 3 hours later.

    As for sleep, your 2-12 regimen sounds much better. Consistency and quality of sleep trumps trying to set yourself on some circadian clock by a long shot.

    Amy-
    Yeah, just focus on eating to keep the hands and toes toasty. Saturated fat plays a key role but so does carbohydrate. Pay attention to when you are feeling cold hands and feet in relation to what you've eaten and how many hours have passed since you ate it.

    Reply
  63. Terpol-

    That's what I'm most intrigued by at the moment. I've never had a low body temperature (except after months of endurance exercise) but have had all kinds of health problems – really bad from age 16-26. My temp. was high during that time but my resting pulse was around 40 beats per minute.

    It's more like 60 now.

    Ice cream raises my pulse rate more than anything else, but I've lost a taste for it after overdoing it a week ago. I've moo-ved onto milk now.

    Anyway, it seems to me like fruit sugar as well as the potassium in it really lowers adrenal activity acutely – which would cause negative sugar symptoms in the short term, potentially even a drop in body temperature, a much larger appetite due to absense of adrenaline appetite suppression… but also keep hands and feet warm and be healing and restorative in a sense. It's certainly possible.

    I noticed after going a week without any sugar and upping protein that my appetite fell and I started to get slightly leaner, but so did many indicators of health (all clearly adrenaline-related such as irritability, body odor, light sleep) and muscle mass was declinining as well. That's what finally made me want to try more sugar again, but intelligently with plenty of saturated fat and protein to protect from inflammation and whipping the adrenals from the other end.

    Reply
  64. So, do you think ice cream is okay?

    We eat it several times a week, at least. I almost always have some in the freezer. Sometimes we eat it for a meal if I'm feeling too lazy to cook or we've been too busy. Naturally, my kids love this. We were sad to find out that our ice cream store closes at noon during the week. :)

    My resting pulse was 60 this morning after eating cream-cheese stuffed french toast in an egg batter with sour cream and fried in coconut oil. Topped with a small amount of maple syrup, of course. I also had a banana and a cup of dandy blend with raw cream and coconut oil.

    Hmm. Now I am hungry again.

    Reply
  65. I've just read this post again, including all the comments. It is really interesting.
    I've started a herb supplementation (achillea millefolium) since I try to conter uterine fibroids. the fact is, achillea is a herbal progestative. I immediately noticed a bigger appetite, so far no weight gain (10 days). I jut went through the period with notcieably fewer cramps.

    I have the idea that my liver doesn't work well since the liver
    - turns T4 into T3 (–>thyroïd)
    - destroys excess oestrogen (–> fibroids).
    From what I read here I will eat liver more often (currently once a month). Maybe add BY when I'm done with the achillea. I don't want to get supplorexic !

    Reply
  66. Matt,

    I want to give you a deeply heartfelt thank you for writing about this. My world started spinning when I got to the part about 'Carla' and her issues. I felt like you could have described me. I've never really looked at PCOS or knew anything about it, because the main symptom you hear about is infertility. Weeelllll, I am fertile myrtle, so, I never paid attention to anything about PCOS.

    But after I read this post I did a search on it. Come to find out I have had pretty much all of the symptoms besides the fertile part, and have a lot more of them now, than I ever have. After my first child, I put on weight that wouldn't come off, started getting coarse black hairs on my chin/neck, which have only gotten worse with time and subsequent pregnancies, the body temp is low, I have a very high libido (probably why we were able to get pregnant easy??? :))

    So, stay with me here. I have an 8 year old daughter that was born with trisomy 9. I was 20 when I had her and never had any testing done since I was so young and healthy.Well, 6 months prior to her conception, I had started a 70% raw mostly vegetarian diet. I ate animal products 2-3 times a week. Well, I did lose weight and had lots of other health improvements in the beginning, but I realize now that I was starving. I remember being so hungry, and just loading up on water and raw carrots to fill the void. So, I am guessing that my body was totally depleted of all those necessary things we get from fat and meat and when I did conceive (took a few months of trying) that combined with apparent PCOS, my body didn't have what it needed for a growing baby. I kept eating lots fruit and veggies and not a lot of eggs or meat or even milk through the pregnancy. The baby wasn't growing well and it was a difficult pregnancy.

    It has been 8 years of not understanding how that could happen- I was young and healthy, I was super healthy because of my awesome perfectly right diet, how could she have a genetic disorder? I have searched and searched, and all the pieces fit together today, just by reading this one post which led me to all the other things I found.

    Looking back I can trace a lot of odd symptoms to PCOS and the effects of eating a mostly plant based diet. After the birth of that baby, I got pregnant again soon after and I restricted nothing. That baby was perfect and she is very smart. After she was born my body was a mess. An awful awful mess, which I can now attribute to the so called pure diet I put myself on combined with a hormonal mess. We're talking IBS, panic attacks, postpartum depression, awful hair, fainting spells and so on, while taking care of a special needs 1 year old and a newborn.

    I started reading your blog a year ago, and answers began unfolding about so many things and I have learned a lot. thanks for being so open minded and willing to NOT have THE answer, but to keep looking for the truth.

    I am still rather floored that I got the answers I've been searching for today. I so wasn't expecting it :) I called my husband and we were both crying- glad we had some answers but sad that it could have been a better outcome had we known what we know now. I know it's not my fault, because I was doing the best I could with what I knew, but it's still hard to accept.

    Keep up the good work!

    THanks,
    Jessica

    Reply
  67. Hey Sheila,

    Where did you source the thyroid in Oz?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  68. Thanks, Chris and Real will. Nice to know the cheap stuff works well.
    -Amy

    Reply
  69. @Amy

    "Does anyone know if kidney would contain any adrenal tissue?"

    Kidney doesn't contain the adrenals. The adrenals are in the suet that surrounds the kidney. If you get that suet, the adrenals might be still in there. Maybe you can ask your butcher to get the fat with the adrenals still in them. I have bought lamb suet that had the adrenal glands (grey little balls), but they are tiny. Didn't feel any effect from them. I have read about people getting high from chewing on cow adrenals, though… but those are impossible to get for me.

    Btw. I take the brewer's yeast in the form of pressed tablets.

    Reply
  70. MATT-

    Ohh.. I love it when you geek out on me with your vasodilation and bronchoconstrictiona if you can't speak danish, at least speak some english ;-P
    Nahh.. I get it.. ;-)
    Today I had more fruit with my breakfast. My temperature is now 35,4 :-(
    This is actually the temperature I started out with, way back!? Why is it dropping?? Argh.. damn you body!

    CHRIS-

    Sounds to me like your dealing with adrenal issues. The palpitations and anxious felling could be a sign of adrenaline. How long did you rrarf AND rest? Are you exercising?

    MELISSA-

    I got it from Thyro-Gold

    http://www.thyroidscience.us/products/thyro.gold/intro.thyro.gold.htm

    You don't need a script. It's a little bit more expensive than other brands but I rather pay a little more for organic and grass fed cows than thyroid coming from pigs who have been fed God-knows-what.
    You might not need much of it, which actually makes it really cheap. It all depends on the person and how much you need.

    Reply
  71. i have tried thyro-gold, 2 capsules per day. after a few days i felt extremely depressed, agitated etc. tried again recently and same result. took over a week to feel normal again after stopping it. the second time i tried it i went full ray peat style, tons of coconut oil and gelatin, sugar etc.

    i wonder what the t4-t3 ratio of it is. maybe just t3 is worth a try.

    Reply
  72. TERPOL-

    It could be your adrenals instead of your thyroid? What are your temperature?

    I once tried pure T3 a little over a year ago and it didn't do squat to me other than give me palpitations and big starring eyes. My dose was pretty high too, even my doctor was surprised. Now, I think it was because I had burnt out my adrenals and before I healed them, I wouldn't get any effect from thyroid medication.
    After RRARFing and giving my adrenals a rest, I am willing to try natural thyroid once more. Hopefully it will have an effect this time.

    Reply
  73. as i said a few posts above my temperature is all over the place. i have similar issues to Chris. pulse always 70-80. also extremely low body oxygenation (buteyko CP 5seconds). can't sweat either. aside from that never so much as a sniffle or itch, feel pretty much the same every day.

    from what i can find out i've been like this since i was born. its frustrating that not only nothing improves but nothing makes me worse either. my body is just stuck in this state haha ;(

    Reply
  74. Your pulse seem good. Mine was 55 yesterday.
    Fluctuations in temperature normally indicates adrenal problems but who am I to say, I'm a circus freak myself ;-P

    Funny thing, I'm never sick either. Always been like that -aside from my starvation stunt in mid 2008 (I got a staphylococcus infection twice in a month)

    Reply
  75. i'm trying to understand what exactly adrenal problem means. low cortisol?. i tried isocort with no effect. low aldosterone? i fail the flashlight pupil test immediately, my pupil is constantly moving all the time anyway, but ray peat said that is a sign of overactive sympathetic nervous system, hypothyroid sign…

    actually last summer i was taking a few grams of b5, my temp was stable and i had that pleasant warmth all the time, and i could sweat. tried again in the winter, no effect even with much more. maybe it was a combination of that and lazying around in the sun. i wish i could be somewhere with sun instead of fucking ireland :(

    Reply
  76. terpol, Sheila is correct in that fluctuating morning temps are a sign of adrenal problems. When I started working with my chiro, I started with Thytrophin (a thyroid supplement from Standard Process) and it did nothing. But when I started Drenamin (an adrenal supplement from Standard Process) and my crazy heartbeats stopped pretty quickly.

    Reply
  77. Jessica:
    My heart goes out to you and your family. I know first hand what happens when mothers are malnourished and in my stepkids case, take drugs and use alcohol.
    My stepkid had a myriad of troubles that continue today at almost 20 years old. Her mother did the following and probably still does (we raised her thank god, only took $30k in lawyers bills)
    1. drank a lot, daily
    2. chain smoked
    3. snorted coke and took drugs of who knows what type too
    4. 'partied and went out dancing" aka no sleep
    5. eats at 7-11, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut you get the picture
    6. Has soda at all times including a 'thirsty two ouncer' all day and all night with her, always.

    My step kids has fetal alcohol affects, learning issues, teeth issues, facial deformation (slight indent, malformed jaw) and in a family where no one is under 5 ft 6' tall is barely five feet tall. She guzzles soda, eats enough for two men at every meal, does not sleep, struggles with suicidal thoughts.. need I go on? And she 'gets a cold' about twice a month, to the point of being bed ridden.. wonder why????

    Being a mom is serious business, starting from conception. I wish we all had to have a lisence to do it or some training, we would all benefit from the help with nutrition and sleep etc.

    Sorry for going off on this, it is a sore subject indeed for me.
    I hope you and your kids can turn some of it around using Matt's ideas. At least you are aware of what happened and what to do. My stepkids mom went ahead and gave birth again.. and yeah, he is way sicker than even my stepkid was.

    xo
    deb

    Reply
  78. Wow, thanks Deb. I can't imagine someone knowingly destroying themselves and their unborn babies. I am shocked the babies' were even able to live! And that was what would tick me off sometimes, I was doing everything "right" and someone who knew nothing and smoked and drank had perfectly fine babies.

    My daughter Leiah, is greatly fortunate that I am a researcher as well, and continue searching for answers. She has improved so much and she has always been healthy- boy does that girl love to eat! And she is LEAN :) Her favorite food is potatoes, wonder if her body just needs them.

    I hope Matt gets a chance to read what I wrote- I want him to know that he helped me a lot.

    Glad you are in the right place too, to help your children hopefully reverse a lot of their health issues.

    Blessings,
    Jessica

    Reply
  79. Yep, it really is something that you can be 'healthy' and others who are total waste cases just pop out kids. Are they healthy in the long run? I doubt it.
    deb

    Reply
  80. Excessive urination, particularly night time urination, is a sign of low cortisol and salt wasting, not high cortisol.

    Reply
  81. @ narendra said…

    "I did some research: found that when there is plenty of oxygen available our cells produce the full 36 ATP of energy and without enough oxygen we only get 2 ATP. Lack of oxygen causes anabolic respiration/ fermentation."

    Could you point me to where you found that research? That would mean that humans need a lot less calories if they breathe correctly, wouldn't it?

    Reply
  82. I did read it Jessica, thanks. Read it right after you wrote it but never had the chance to stop by and thank you. It's been great having you all this time!! Can't wait to see where this wacky 180 health caper ends up!

    Reply
  83. By the way the woman I make fun of in the first segment of this post for being a hardcore orthorexic/anorexic (I once heard her say wine is probably healthier than "all that food" anyway)…

    Is now officially referring to herself as a "nutritional consultant" on Facebook. Classic.

    Reply
  84. I’m new to your website and trying to wrap my mind around the concept of eating starches and sugar to get better. I’m hoping to purchase one of your books soon.

    I’ve yoyo-diet quite a bit, but never counted calories. I’ve read about the Western Price or Nourished Traditions, and that makes a lot of sense to me. I liked the Anne Louise diets, the cranberry water/juice helped w/ inflammation and w/ decreasing hunger or cravings. I’ve done a fruit only diet (oranges and apples) for 2 weeks, I also went raw for a few weeks without even oil and fruits… so basically cashews and lots of veggies, salads. I lost 20 lbs that way, but gained about 7 lbs back.

    I may have PCOS. I’ve had many of the symptoms, and have been trying to get better w/ low carb diets.
    I always felt, looked better when I went low carb/ gluten free, sugar free. I get a lot of inflammation from gluten & sugar. I’ve also had Candida issues. I went on the candida diet, and felt great, but it was very hard to stay on it long term. Vitamin C really seemed to help. I’ve read that candida may be linked w/ PCOS, and also with Mercury toxicity. The candida eats up toxins/ mercury in the body as a defense mechanism. (Oh, and I’m currently nursing my child.)

    I’ve been cold all my life and always had the diabetic symptoms/ hypoglycemia. I’ve had chronic constipation for as long as I can remember, and cannot live w/out magnesium. I get tingling in my hands and arms at night. I wake up 2-4 times at night to the restroom. If I wake up after 6 hrs, I have a hard time falling asleeping again. I’ve been extremely fatigued for the past couple of years, to the point where I feel like I can’t function.

    I usually take some vitamin C and some Vitamin B, and my body starts to warm up (I’m no longer cold or freezing) and my energy level kicks up. I took my temp for the first time in the morning before getting out of bed, and it was 94.9.

    I’ve been reading up on PCOS, and don’t think I’ve found anyone cured of PCOS. Most women were able to get pregnant, but the symptoms were still present, and they had to take a ton of vitamins, go low carb, and workout like crazy to get better, but not healed.

    Does everyone actually have to gain weight first doing the program. I hate to gain more weight when I think I need to loose another 20 lbs. Won’t supplements (like cortisol manager) help the body deal with the excess cotisol, so that we don’t gain it all back?

    What about candida? How do you eat sweets and starches when that usually triggers a candida reaction?

    Reply

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