Ray Peat – Epilepsy

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I was going to write about something motherly today, but then I started geeking out major on one of Ray Peat’s articles that I had not read before – Epilepsy and Progesterone. It’s Mother’s Day-related no doubt, as the only mother I’m helping to celebrate the day with in person suffers severely from the condition – to the point where she is not legally able to drive, and has never owned a car. Spending the last couple of months with her has provided crystal clear insights into this disease – and my suspicions, my observations, her past and present experiences, and Peat’s article all match up perfectly in countless ways.

I will cut to the chase, so that any sufferer of epilepsy that arrives at this site will have information that will give them more understanding and assistance with the condition than they have ever received elsewhere – and give them a roadmap for how to keep the condition at bay to the extent where the brain-damaging drugs used to suppress this disease are no longer required.

For starters, seizures are no doubt caused by a great deal of excitation in the brain. Glutamate and aspartate, as Peat points out in his article, are potent excitants. There is no shortage of hits when you do a search for “aspartame and epilepsy” on Google either.  Of course, the modern diet has been totally infiltrated with lots of sources of free glutamate and aspartate. In fact, these names should ring a bell, as in monosodium glutamate or MSG, and aspartame – the prevalent sweetener found in Diet Coke and “the pink sugar,” as subject A calls it.

Not surprisingly, subject A started having seizures at a young age. When I heard this I immediately thought about her Diet Coke habit. In fact, we teased each other initially as I drank, what to her, was an enormous amount of water. In the past two months I’ve seen her consume one glass of water, a half dozen or so coffees sweetened with “the pink sugar” when available, 1 Sprite, and the rest has been Diet Coke. She literally doesn’t drink anything else. 95% of her fluid intake is Diet Coke. I asked her how long she had been drinking it and she said, “literally as long as I can remember.”

Epilepsy treatment #1 – Remove all sources of aspartame and monosodium glutamate (found, for all practical purposes, in salty-tasting food that you don’t make from scratch yourself) from your diet. These are highly addictive substances, so wean yourself off of them slowly. The stress of withdrawals could also trigger an epileptic episode and/or other health problems.

Peat also discusses the inter-relationships between thyroid hormone, unopposed estrogen, and progesterone like he so typically does when it comes to any topic. He does so because there literally isn’t a common health problem that I’m aware of that, in generalization-speak, doesn’t have some relationship with reduced metabolic activity (which affects progesterone and estrogen and vice versa). Before ever coming across Peat’s work, I had come to this conclusion myself through the study of other authors, scientists, and health professionals.

The clearest way to gauge the health and effectiveness of your thyroid and metabolism is simply to take a body temperature reading. Subject A’s body temperature has always been chronically low, hovering in the 95’s and 96’s.

Epilepsy Treatment #2 – Follow this program that describes how to speed up your metabolism with diet and lifestyle manipulation. Body temperature rises in the vast majority of cases, and even feeding subject A food for a couple of weeks before she panicked and went back into another round of dieting was enough to bring her warmth levels up tremendously, with substantial loss of edema/water retention (4 pound weight loss in the first 10 days or so with an estimated tripling of caloric intake) – another one of the hallmarks of seizure-proneness according to Peat…

“Water retention and low sodium increase susceptibility to seizures.”

“Thyroid does many things to protect against seizures. It keeps estrogen and adrenal hormones low, and increases production of progesterone and pregnenolone. It facilitates retention of magnesium and of sodium, and prevents edema in a variety of ways.”
~Ray Peat

Of course, dieting is the ultimate immediate threat upon any metabolism, and she has been losing weight for many months by eating fewer than 1,000 calories per day. While fasting keeps her blood sugar relatively stable during the dieting itself, the most dangerous time for triggering seizures has been, without question, after eating a large meal.

When dieting, or after having lost excessive amounts of weight (she is 100 pounds down from her weight at age 19, and minus 30-ish pounds from late last year when she started this anorexic round), glucose metabolism as well as liver function becomes highly impaired. I have yet to come across a single case of a person who is highly underfed that doesn’t enter into a serious state of hypoglycemia after eating a big carbohydrate load (she was asked to leave work yesterday after eating pancakes for breakfast due to rudeness to customers – after getting home she had a long series of mini seizures). Of course, low blood sugar levels or true hypoglycemia is rare – but the rapid escalation of the catabolic hormones to bring blood sugar levels back up after sugar levels have been driven down is something I classify as “hypoglycemia” regardless of what the sugar levels in the blood may be at any given moment.

“Hypoglycemia, in itself, like oxygen deprivation, is enough to cause convulsions.”
~Ray Peat

Of course, not eating is not an option, but just as the hypoglycemia worsens with prolonged food deprivation – the hypoglycemia continually improves with prolonged food surplus. Eat the food, never allowing yourself to get too hungry or shaky or going more than a few hours without at least a little something to snack on. The standard recommendations for hypoglycemics is to eat low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets. In my experience, this is a good way to medicate the condition in the short-term but stay hypoglycemic forever. You can overcome the condition, but it takes consuming lots of carbohydrates to achieve it, and only happens when the health of the metabolism and liver have been repaired through nutritional superabundance. But be careful to have abundant food supplies on hand to eat immediately when symptoms of hypoglycemia start to emerge. It’s certainly a good idea to overcome hypoglycemia before you even think about weaning yourself off of medication.

To me it has always been obvious that hypoglycemia and impaired glucose metabolism is a frequent trigger of seizures, as one common dietary approach that has been used with success has been the ketogenic diet. Ketones provide an alternate fuel source that evades the perils of riding the blood glucose rollercoaster that comes when someone with impaired glucose metabolism repeatedly ingests large loads of carbohydrates. But that doesn’t mean that the ketogenic diet is the right way or the ultimate way. Walking will indeed get you from Los Angeles to New York, but that doesn’t mean that walking is now the answer for travel and all other traveling methods are to be excluded. In reality, the ketogenic diet as it is prescribed to epileptics (85% of calories from fat) is extremely unhealthy, often leading to other health problems, mineral deficiencies, etc. Plus it sucks.

Epilepsy Treatment #3 – Eat plenty of food. Never diet or make overly drastic restrictions in carbohydrates, fats, and so forth (of course, there is room to tinker with ratios somewhat). Don’t diet, regardless of how much you weigh. Dieting has been proven to be ineffective for long-term weight loss for the majority of people, and repeatedly leads to higher rates of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and “minor” health problems (which would include epilepsy).

Subject A has repeatedly mentioned that stress – whether emotional or from sleep loss or otherwise has been the obvious trigger of most of her seizures throughout the quarter century that she has suffered from the condition. A good friend of hers that had epilepsy died on the track from a grand mal seizure after placing third in a running event.

Ray Peat states…

“Seizures can be caused by lack of glucose, lack of oxygen, vitamin B6 deficiency, and magnesium deficiency. They are more likely to occur during the night, during puberty, premenstrually, during pregnancy, during the first year of life, and can be triggered by hyperventilation, running, strong emotions, or unusual sensory stimulation.”

Epilepsy Treatment #4 – Be wary of stressful situations, and use things that are under your control to mitigate stress – most notably avoiding alcohol and drugs, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding overly strenuous exercise, having a regular bedtime that you adhere to closely, and using food as an anti-stress tool by eating plenty of food, plenty of carbohydrates, and very frequently.

Ray Peat also feels like free radical production plays a role in seizures as well. Of course, any stress (like a hard run) can trigger a free radical cascade. This is compounded by Ray Peat’s primary dietary villain, polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat oxidizes more readily both outside and inside our bodies. Sure enough, some of subject A’s favorite foods have historically been very high in polyunsaturated fat… chips (she said there was always a whole cabinet full of chips – which she was particularly drawn to – probably because of her intuitive liking for salt which would make sense), peanut butter, fatty commercial pork (ribs, sausage and gravy), and she has eaten a great deal of restaurant and processed food in general throughout her life. She hates cooking with a passion.

Epilepsy Treatment #5 – Eat a diet low in polyunsaturated fat and high in saturated fat instead, which Peat strongly feels is protective against free radicals. Coconut oil is the best cooking oil. Butter, cream, and other full fat dairy products are good options for making food rich and palatable. Beef and fish are better choices than pork and poultry. Most nuts and seeds, with the exception of macadamia nuts, are too high in polyunsaturated fat to eat in large quantities – although another Peat paradox emerges here, as nuts and seeds are the highest sources of vitamin E, perhaps the most protective nutrient against free radicals.

Epilepsy Treatment #6 – As Peat suggests, diet and lifestyle manipulation may not be sufficient to raise thyroid and progesterone enough to be protected. You may need to supplement with these hormones if you cannot manage the disease otherwise. But according to Peat, supplementing these can be highly effective.

This all may not sound like rocket science, but do not underestimate the power of keeping the body in a state of balance and optimal functioning – which means a high cellular metabolic rate, low levels of the stress hormones, and the resulting balanced levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, urea, and other elements linked to seizures that are all positively impacted by these important hormonal alterations.

More information on all of these provisions can be found in this  book on how to boost your metabolism.

Oh yeah, and eat plenty of salt. Subject A seems to think that sodium is bad for you and tries to avoid eating it even though she likes salty foods. Oops. I made some homemade fried chicken (polyunsaturated fat OMG! – don’t worry it was fried in coconut oil) last night that was so salty I could barely eat it. She slept like the money and is feeling the best she has in a week or longer today.

And, since it’s Mother’s Day… especially if your mother is epileptic, treat her right…

41 Comments

  1. Matt,

    What's the deal with sodium, anyway? Have you ever written specifically about it (I searched and didn't see anything) or is it not worth a whole post, or what?

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  2. That picture is epic, Matthew, I mean, Matt. #2 is better than #3.

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  3. The Mr. T video…..That's your worst 80's reference yet. I almost had a seizure from boredom.

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  4. Hey, I didn't know Mr. T could, umm, sing! Wait, was that singing? Or was that rapping? Or something else altogether? lol! :-)

    "Mr. T wears short shorts."
    (you have to sing that line lol!)

    He's a bad-ass even in short shorts and singing for the moms :-)

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  5. Hi Matt,

    this is eerie. I know it's probably just coincidence. Yesterday, I talked to my father about my grandfather. Starting in his late 30s, he had epilepsy. The seizures always started a few hours after consuming alcohol (wine). He died at age 64 from a stroke (in his brainstem I believe) when trying to pick up his suitcase to go on vacation with my granny. It came as a huge shock to everybody because in spite of his seizures he seemed to be a pretty healthy man. Just the day before his stroke he done a 100 kilometer bike ride and consumed half a liter of wine when he interrputed that ride at a local pub. Ny father says that my grandfather had a genetic disease that made his veins susceptible to hernia and rupture. After reading your post I am not that sure about it though.

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  6. As to my little sugar experiment: So far I can still see no improvements. I have gained another 4 pounds in the past two weeks. And I haven't had that many inflamed hair follicles on my legs in a long time. I wonder what the reason for that is…

    Stiwa

    PS: Are you going to do an article on sleep, too? Peat has some pretty interesting ideas on this subject I think.

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  7. "although another Peat paradox emerges here, as nuts and seeds are the highest sources of vitamin E, perhaps the most protective nutrient against free radicals."

    Matt,
    Not really. Peat says that the requirement for vitamin E directly corresponds to the amount of PUFA you eat. The less PUFA you consume, the less vitamin E you need. Eating nuts because of the vitamin E is like drinking snake poison together with the antidote.

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  8. Yeah, except that that snake poison might actually prove to be a good source of important minerals.

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  9. Yes, that might be. But this example was just to show the relationship between PUFA and vitamin E.
    But you should always be carful to praise a food just because it contains more minerals than another food.
    Whole grains contain much more minerals than white rice. Yet, a lot of people have good health eating a lot of white rice, while on the other hand many people get serious problems when they eat whole grains, which contain a lot of indigestible material and plant toxins.

    Peat has an interesting study somewhere in his references where they fed dogs either a fat free diet or added cod liver oil to their diet. The fat free dogs where healthy and not a single case of cancer occured. In the cod liver oil group, (cod liver oil is super high in vitamins, but also in PUFA) the dogs where much less healthy and a lof them died prematurely from cancer.

    You always have to weigh the pros and cons of a food. And I haven't seen a food very high in PUFA which benefits outweigh the negative aspects.
    Besides, there are a lot of vitamin and mineral rich foods which come without a big amount of PUFA. All the minerals that are in nuts, you can also find in animal products like butter, liver from beef or warm water fish, and fruits or straches like potatos.

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  10. I don't get why people are all up in arms about Cod Liver Oil's PUFA content. The stuff I have, and use periodically, is the WAPF-approved fermented CLA from Green Pastures, and the dosage is about 2 or 4ml. 2ml is 2g fat, 1g of which is saturated, according to the label. Neither Chris Masterjohn nor the WAPF as a whole recommend Robb Wolf fish-oil quantities of it.

    Now maybe that dog study is legit and you're really better off without it. But the idea that it is dangerously high in PUFAs, based on the given nutritonal info and the modest dosage size, seems off-base.

    And Jannis,
    I get your metaphor about drinking snake poison with the antidote, but one reason to not avoid all those seed foods is for dietary freedom. May not be optimal, but a big thrust around here has been just to ETF and get over a lot of the micro-managing and stressing over iwhether a food is 'good' or 'bad.' Writing off an entire class of foods and emphasizing a handful of things like milk and OJ instead, even if it makes sense on paper, may not be desirable or sustainable from the perspective of palatability and cultivating a healthy relationship with food. Also, maybe I'm imagining this, but a limited diet like that may run into nutritional deficiencies, especially if you don't give yourself permission to have some almonds or bread or whatever if and when you crave it, which in my mind could correct minor imbalances should you heed them.

    Just my thoughts. Interesting post, Matt- thanks for sharing.

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  11. "This all may not sound like rocket science, but do not underestimate the power of keeping the body in a state of balance and optimal functioning"

    That's like saying "this is not rocket science, but don't underestimate the ability to turn base metals into gold." Really, if we knew how to do that, we wouldn't need to be discussing here anymore.

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  12. "I made some homemade fried chicken (polyunsaturated fat OMG!"

    Why OMG? Who ever said it was something to avoid?

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  13. @jannis, I had just one question since you’re more familiar with Ray Peat’s work. This is a bit off topic maybe. But Ray Peat is a big fan of dairy products. He even goes further and claims that suboptimal intake of calcium by eliminating dairy from your could lead to degeneration and dementia on the long term.
    Anyway, it seems that calcium supplementation increases the risk of heart disease. A group of researchers MJ Bolland et al. conducted a randomized clinical trial and found that over five years, older women taking calcium supplements doubled their risk of heart attack compared to women taking a placebo. And a systematic review of calcium supplementation studies later confirmed that calcium supplementation increases risk of heart attack, stroke and even overall death.
    Furthermore, the weird thing is that Ray Peat routinely cites epidemiological studies to support his hypotheses. But it seems that in countries where dairy consumption and thus calcium intake is high, mean BMI is high, but also the incidence of hip fracture and osteoporosis. Maybe you could clarify a bit what your thoughts are on this particular subject. because after reading Ray Peat’s article on estrogen and osteoporosis, which was kind of hard to grasp, I’m confused.

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  14. that is certainly something i don't agree with Peat about. he says dairy for calcium and fruit for magnesium, but you end up with a huge calcium:magnesium ratio. as much as i love dairy i think an ideal ratio would be close to 1:1.

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  15. Anonymous,

    First, dairy is not the same thing as Ca supplementation, which Peat usually discourages. The epidemiology is tricky and scattered, just like the literature on Ca supplementation itself. There are prospective studies showing benefits of full fat dairy.

    terpol,

    Do Ca and Mg act as direct competitors? There are plenty of studies checking one's effect on the other, and again, interpretation is difficult because measuring status is kind of tough (bone, blood, excretion, extra/intracellular). Also, a 1:1 ratio is hard to acheive without lots of cacao (and how is the bioavailability anyway?), especially with a reasonable dairy intake. Some say "traditional" water should make up for what's not in food [for Mg], but I don't know.

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  16. "But it seems that in countries where dairy consumption and thus calcium intake is high, mean BMI is high, but also the incidence of hip fracture and osteoporosis."

    I don't think so. Do you have anything to prove that?

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  17. With regard to PUFA…

    It seems to me, that the existence of the naturally occurring Vitamin E, along with the naturally occurring PUFA, in a natural whole food, is *a* key. That perhaps the two occurring naturally together (among other nutrients, etc.) in a natural whole food means something. That perhaps PUFA, in the context of whole foods, acts very differently in the human body, than unnatural sources of PUFA does.

    And, I could be wrong, but that just tells me that that's *why* we happen to see Vitamin E protecting against the damages of PUFA in other contexts — like PUFA-related animal studies. Although I personally feel that most studies take things more OUT of context than not — which is why I find it difficult to accept those studies as legit evidence that *all* PUFA is bad–even naturally occurring sources.

    I think it would paint a more accurate picture if, in those studies, they actually used whole foods that naturally contain natural PUFA and natural Vitamin E together. For example, using nuts, rather than, say processed/extracted/concentrated PUFA-rich oils and synthetic Vitamin E. I suspect that the findings would be very different — given that everything is on the up and up, that is.

    Interestingly, those PUFA-related animal studies actually only convince me that man-made, processed, extracted, concentrated PUFA-rich oils are bad for you. They do not convince me that natural whole foods that naturally contain PUFA (especially those naturally containing Vitamin E as well) are bad for you.

    Anyway, that concept seems so simple and straight forward to me. That's why I don't understand why it seems to be so hard for some people to grasp — even highly intelligent people like Ray Peat. So, that does leave me wondering, am I missing something? Cause I do realize that that's a possibility :-)

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  18. @john, thanks for reply, Ray Peat himself mentions that fat soluble vitamins are of extreme importance in regulating calcium metabolism. But Ray Peat claims that low calcium intake literally causes degeneration and that calcium deposits in soft tissues are getting worse on a low calcium diet. that is just hard to imagine, given the fact there are so many populations living on a low calcium diet without much of the degenerative diseases he's talking about.

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  19. @Jannis, ok, maybe you're right. like john said, these epidemiological studies are somewhat scattered. And at the end of the day, epidemiology is quite meaningless.

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  20. Regarding what I said here…
    "Interestingly, those PUFA-related animal studies actually only convince me that man-made, processed, extracted, concentrated PUFA-rich oils are bad for you. They do not convince me that natural whole foods that naturally contain PUFA (especially those naturally containing Vitamin E as well) are bad for you."

    I wanted to add…

    Moreover, those studies, for me, actually *confirmed* my belief that natural whole foods that naturally contain PUFA, *especially those naturally containing Vitamin E* as well, are NOT bad for you.

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  21. you will not immediately drop dead from the pufa in whole foods, but that doesn't mean it's optimal. as far as i know, it's almost an established fact that large amounts of Pufa are bad.

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  22. And, personally for me, this statement only further confirms my belief…

    "Peat says that the requirement for vitamin E directly corresponds to the amount of PUFA you eat. The less PUFA you consume, the less vitamin E you need."

    Obviously, Peat recognizes the relationship between the two. And the protective nature of Vitamin E, in relation to PUFA. And the ratios he suggests are guestimates, of course, based on his research and observations of that relationship.

    And, to me it seems, that *nature* knows exactly how much Vitamin E to PUFA is needed. So I trust nature over human speculation. And, therefore, I eat mostly whole foods, don't stress about some natural PUFA or eating some not-so-wholesome foods sometimes, and let my body/nature take care of the rest.

    Seems to be working well for me thus far :-)

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  23. Seems like casein is Peat's favorite form of protein. What about the association of casein and cancer? Does anyone know much about this? Any concerns from the Peatists?

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  24. I was so pumped to see a new Gay Ray May post and then…Epilepsy?….sigh

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  25. I was wondering about that too JT

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  26. john-

    this site has a lot of magnesium info http://www.mgwater.com/bj0198.shtml

    the theme seems to be that the higher the ratio the more problems, and that the ratio is the key thing and not total amounts.

    a 1:1 ratio is easy unless you eat dairy. i love dairy as much as anyone but i wonder how good it is to eat a lot of calcium especially from pasteurised milk, and also since apparently there is much less magnesium the soil now plus fertilsers which reduce its uptake by plants.

    Peat believes that humans evolved eating tropical fruits, saturated fats and plenty of protein. this would give a 1:1 ratio or so of Ca:Mg or even more Mg. i don't see where loads of calcium from milk fits into this, and he does recommend a LOT of calcium.

    i think ideally you'd have a near 1:1 ratio with enough fat soluble vitamins and plenty of sunshine.

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  27. kitavans do have a whole lot of palmitic acid in there lipoproteins due to de novo lipogenesis. But basically, Ray Peat says that we can make our own EFAs, i.e. the Mead acid.

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  28. john: this is what I read from Mary Enig in her reply to ray peat on the whole Efa-issue: "Finally, it should be stressed that certain components of the diet actually reduce (but do not eliminate) our requirements for EFAs. The main one is saturated fatty acids which help us conserve EFAs and put them in the tissues where they belong. studies indicate that vitamin B6 can ameliorate the problems caused by EFA deficiency, possibly by helping us use them more efficiently." So it seems that the diet Ray Peat recommend (high saturated fat) actually lower our EFA-requirement.

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  29. Anonymous,

    I understand that, but my point was that Ray seems incorrect in saying that they are not essential. I already said above that it's not a practical issue because whether they're needed as .5% of calories or 0%, it's not going to change someone's diet.

    terpol,

    Yea, I have that site bookmarked. I've read most of the references, and they [the site] could be totally right. Did those with low Mg status get there because of low intake or hyperglycemia, or, as they seem to imply, too much Ca? I don't know, but I know there are also many studies showing Ca/dairy benefits, so I doubt that high Ca from dairy in the context of a whole foods diet with decent Mg is unhealthy.

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  30. Hi Matt,

    you wrote: "Of course, low blood sugar levels or true hypoglycemia is rare – but the rapid escalation of the catabolic hormones to bring blood sugar levels back up after sugar levels have been driven down is something I classify as “hypoglycemia” regardless of what the sugar levels in the blood may be at any given moment. "

    Can you elaborate on that? Have you measured them yourself? How do you know that a rapid escalation of catabolic hormones happens?

    I am curious because I thought that my response to carbs might be hypoglycemia but then I measured my blood sugar when I got that dizzy, somehow hungry feeling after a huge carb meal and my blood sugar was 137.

    Stiwa

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  31. Matt, this is all very interesting. I have a close familiar with epilepsy, very young.

    BTW, about the effects of dieting, what do you think of it when the body can't tell it is doing it? Recent Stephan Guyenet's posts have been very interesting, and in some ways appear to contradict your recent findings. What's your opinion? Most experts seem to think, anyway, that excess fat in itself is harmful.

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  32. Anyone suffering seizures might want to read http://dogtorj.com

    He is a Veterinarian. He has had
    great success with diet in overcoming seizures in his "patients" (dogs)

    I like his site, and he has testimonials of people who have been helped by his recommendations.

    Navigating his site is a must. However, you can start with (The G.A.R.D.) tab.

    Matt, enjoyed the post.

    Reply
  33. Dogtorj(aka John Symes)work is very interesting in that he attributes many of our health problems to wheat, casein, soy and corn. He likens them to industrial strength glues that clog up our systems and do not allow the nutrients to be absorb properly.
    He is a celiac and has help many people and pets. His work dovetails nicely into many discussions here.

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  34. John and terpol,
    I think it is defenitely the low magnesium or the condition which caused the low magnesium which is responsible. Milk and cheese are associated with good health and I doubt that it will contribute to the conditions which the author links to it.

    Human milk has the same ratio of calcium to magnesium (10:1) as cow's milk. If this ratio was so dangerous, why would nature use it to nourish babies? Of course, babies might need a little more calcium than adults because they grow rapidly, but that ratio can't be so bad, I think.

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  35. I think the people with the increased rate of heart diseases suffered from hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is directly linked to heart disease, and adequate thyroid is needed for cellular retention of magnesium. (Jerry Aikawa)
    So, hypothyroidism will decrease the magnesium levels. Whether the heart disease is caused directly by hypotyhroidism or the magnesium deficiency that is caused by hypothyroidism, I don't know.

    Sorry for the double post, I had forgotten my second point.

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  36. on that site there is a lot about high Ca intake increasing Mg loss. no doubt the healthier the person is the less this matters.

    and i would have thought the reason there is so much calcium in milk is because babies need it and adults do not. in many (most?) other animals Ca intake would drop a lot when they stop drinking milk and Mg intake would increase. plenty of perfectly healthy people around the world without dairy and with low Ca intakes.

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  37. Myleftarmpit-

    Subject A told me that drinking alcohol was a potent stimulator of her seizures. Her dad has bad seizures too that are more or less only triggered by alcohol consumption. Alcohol is one of, if not the most powerful substance for inducing hypoglycemia, but I would imagine a hard bike ride could do it even better when paired with alcohol. I can trigger small seizures in her just by feeding her pancakes for breakfast. She seems to crash hard a couple hours after this. Today I made her a lot more sausage and eggs and only 1 pancake for breakfast and she is the best she has been in weeks. She was even complaining about being hot for the first time in 2 months. Her hands and feet were warm all night after a meaty dinner with a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein (this is a short-term solution for keeping blood glucose stable, but like I mentioned in the post, you don't fix the impaired glucose metabolism).

    On hypoglycemia-

    I noticed this too. "Hypoglycemia" is usually adrenal-induced hyperglycemia. This first occurred to me when I was testing my blood glucose for the first time. If I woke up extra early and was shaky, irritable, cold, and starving hungry – much mmore than usual, I would take a blood sugar reading and the number would be far higher than when I felt calm, warm, with no appetite.

    But the blood is not the best indicator of what is available to the tissues per se. I think it's plausible that sugar levels in the tissues cause the adrenal hormones to kick on and raise blood sugar leves. It feels like "hypoglycemia," which should be distinguished from true hypoglycemia (blood sugar below 65), but is really just a surge of adrenaline.

    AS-

    I think Ray Peat would say…

    Vegetable oils with no vitamin E or supplementation…. WORST

    Vegetable oils with vitamin E and aspirin supplementation…. BAD

    Whole food PUFA consumption… BETTER

    Low total PUFA consumption… BEST

    The bottom line according to Peat is that these type of fats, with or without vitamin E and minerals found in nuts and seeds for example, deteriorate in the body more quickly and have properties that yield higher stress/inflammation and poorer glucose metabolism, lower thyroid activity, and so forth.

    Sure, you can live a long, active life with lots of nuts and seeds in your diet. Adding mineral and vitamin E-rich nuts and seeds to someone on a Western diet almost always proves to be highly beneficial and protective. But in a conversation about best or "ideal," coconut and dairy fat is probably better than walnuts and avocados.

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  38. Kirk-

    Don't be a douche. Think about all the far-reaching connections between epilepsy and other health conditions. Peat links the same fundamental problems with epilepsy…

    1) Low thyroid, and therefore…
    2) Water retention/edema
    3) Inability to store sodium and magnesium (hyponatremia)
    4) Hypoglycemia
    5) Nightmares
    6) Headaches/Migraines
    7) And tons of other things

    This kind of stuff speaks volumes about human physiology in general. Fix hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia and your whole world changes.

    For example, her daughter has many of the early warning signs of developing epilepsy, such as night terrors, night sweats, and bed- wetting/nocturia. These are all clearly linked to exactly what Peat is talking about with the "side effects" of having hypothyroidism.

    Yet, I've been able to shut these down completely (no bed wetting in weeks now – used to be 3-4 nights per week) just by allowing her daughter to eat as much of whatever the heck she wants every night at dinner. She stopped eating her normal dinners and fills up on ice cream now.

    This is powerful evidence of the root problem with not only nightmares, but with epilepsy.

    Likewise, if people with hypothyroidism knew that their bodies have trouble retaining sodium, and when they have inadequate sodium it is highly dangerous (low sodium levels can trigger seizures and even death in epileptics), they could eat tons of salt as a health tonic instead of avoiding it for false fear of hypertension.

    Thus, the post isn't about epilepsy, it's about how the human body works, and there are important things to think about that relate to all humans.

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  39. Very interesting. I think the most fascinating is that you say her daughter's symptoms are often epilepsy harbingers. The idea that that program can be 'turned off' is surely exciting.

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  40. Sorry for double post: I forgot to ask this: during the Great Health Debate, Frederic Patenaude mentioned the use of ketogenic diets for epilepsy as an argument against low-carb for the general population because he claimed that ketogenic eating works for epileptics because it slows the brain function down enough to prevent seizures, and the rest of us don't want slow brains, right?
    I wasn't impressed by the source that he mentioned (basically newspaper article) but do you know if it's even true that that's why they're supposed to work?

    Reply
  41. Matt said "Subject A told me that drinking alcohol was a potent stimulator of her seizures. Her dad has bad seizures too that are more or less only triggered by alcohol consumption. Alcohol is one of, if not the most powerful substance for inducing hypoglycemia, but I would imagine a hard bike ride could do it even better when paired with alcohol. I can trigger small seizures in her just by feeding her pancakes for breakfast."

    The thing that both alcohol consumption and pancakes have in common is that they both result in a B complex deficiency. Go for Brewer's Yeast and some liver. ;-)

    Reply

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