Thyroid Deficiency & Common Health Problems

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By Matt Stone

Danny Roddy, frequent guest author at 180D with articles like THIS, THIS, and THIS – turned me on to a great interview with Dr. Ray Peat from 1996.  It’s always really cool to see that Ray had put so many pieces of the puzzle together so long ago.  Although Ray is difficult to follow along with at times as he doesn’t speak laypersonese (prompted many times to do it in this interview by Gary Null but Sugar Ray don’t speak no jive), overall it is an excellent sermon on metabolism’s role in proper function.  Most medical doctors unfortunately are very unaware of thyroid deficiency and common health problems that ensue when the body’s cells aren’t producing energy at normal levels.  Peat gives some background on when and how the medical industry got off track on this issue many decades ago.

In the interview Ray discusses things like…

  • The role of low thyroid in PCOS
  • Low thyroid in glaucoma
  • Why so few people with hypothyroidism are diagnosed as such
  • Why iodine doesn’t necessarily raise metabolism and may actually lower it
  • Why having a low metabolism causes sleep problems
  • Why you shouldn’t take melatonin for sleep, even if it does help you sleep
  • Why hypothyroid people are often very hyper and manic – not always slothlike
  • The role of thyroid in cholesterol levels
  • Thyroid hormones and their role in the proper production of youth-associated hormones like pregnenolone, progesterone, and DHEA
  • Metabolism’s role in joint disorders

The interview starts at about the 6-minute mark and officially starts at around the 9-minute mark.  You can listen to it HERE.

The timeless and indestructible humanitarian by the name of “Jib” has blessed us all with a written transcript of the interview for those who don’t have the time to listen or the patience for Peat’s voice…

NULL: Nice to have you with us, Dr. Peat.

PEAT: Thanks.  Could I comment on intermittent claudication and how it relates to thyroid?

NULL: Sure.

PEAT:  It’s very common for pre-puberty people to have leg pains that they call growing pains, and those people are typically a little bit low thyroid, and the textbooks used to show little kids with horribly swollen calf muscles that looked like they were muscle bound; but it was the accumulation of muco-polysaccharides swelling the muscle up causing great pain, cramping and so on, and in old people who are hypothyroid, something very similar happens, but it includes degeneration of the blood vessels to some extent, and you mentioned the chelation plus magnesium.

When you take thyroid, it energizes your cells to make ATP, and it happens that ATP binds magnesium, so you don’t really take up magnesium into the cell very efficiently unless you have adequate thyroid.  And when you are low in thyroid, you tend to lose magnesium during stress, and chronically that leads to a crampy, inefficient condition where you waste oxygen, producing your energy, but you can’t retain it because of the lack of magnesium.

So in many situations, magnesium imitates thyroid function, but the two together really are simply energizing the tissue; and you can go from crampy legs, or many old people get “jumpy legs” — a funny sensation that makes their legs kick when they try to go to sleep — you can go from that hyperactivity of the legs to many other conditions including heart rhythm problems, insomnia, muscle pains in general, many states that are considered degenerative diseases, but are simply low thyroid/low magnesium states that prevent efficient energy production.

NULL: Good.  Dr. Peat, why don’t we begin by you telling us about how we have a correlation between an underactive or a low thyroid function and the aging process, and then maybe include information, in lay language, about insomnia and arthritis, and cholesterol, all these things that we don’t assume are associated with the thyroid gland, but indeed are?

PEAT: Okay. When a person is under stress, the thyroid adaptively goes down.  It’s like a hibernation process.  That’s one adaptation that works if an animal is starving, for example, in the winter. If its metabolism slows down, its heart rate slows, and its body temperature drops, it can last through the winter without eating up its fat too fast.  Or if it’s in a famine situation or a migration, if the thyroid slows down during starvation or prolonged activity as in migrating, you can go farther on a given amount of stored energy.

When people go on extreme diets trying to lose weight, they lose maybe a pound or so the first day, but then they stop losing weight if they’re eating much less than 1,000 Calories.  Or on a total fast, they will lose nothing but muscle after the first day.  That’s because after about 12 to 24 hours, your liver has depleted its sugar stores, and at that point it starts turning your muscles and other tissues to sugar, and that would destroy your body very quickly.

So the thyroid adapts down under stress, and so the worse the stress is, or the more prolonged, the lower your thyroid gets.  And that means that with aging, you tend to have accumulated so many stresses that your thyroid gets chronically depressed, and unless you give it the right signals to bring it back, it just stays there and gets lower and lower.

When your thyroid is low, you don’t store sugar efficiently, and so you are very efficient about burning up your body slowly, but you aren’t efficient at repairing it.  And all you’re doing is decaying at a slower rate when your thyroid is down.  So what you want to do is stop the decay process and begin the repair process.

People have looked at patients in hospitals, and they have found that the ones with the same diseases but with a low body temperature are the ones who are less likely to survive and go home, and it’s because the low thyroid, which is an adaptation to many stresses and sicknesses — at a certain point, the low thyroid stops being protective and starts interfering with the healing process.

And when you have been in that low thyroid state too long, you are living on adrenaline and cortisone, which are destroying all of your essential tissues.  I’ve seen many low thyroid people who, in a day, produced 30 or 40 times more adrenaline than normal; and adrenaline tends to lead immediately to cortisone production, depending on how efficient your adrenals are.

And this high adrenaline state creates a terrible amount of confusion among doctors and patients both, because as an adaptation, it makes people feel like they’re on speed sometimes, to have this adaptive, extreme overproduction of adrenaline.  And at night, it’s normal for adrenaline and cortisone to rise, even in young people, because it’s a sort of a fasting state, and they’re not eating, and so they maintain these sugar producing hormones during the night.

But in old age, these are higher, in general, because of the low thyroid.  So that if your thyroid is low, or you’re old and have low thyroid (that’s a more or less natural thing), nighttime, with the rising adrenaline and cortisone, becomes more and more stressful, and insomnia becomes more and more common.  It’s very usual for people in their 70′s and 80′s to wake up after 5 or 6 hours of sleep and just get up early because they know they aren’t going to be able to get back to sleep.

But this also happens in very young people who have low thyroid.  And when it gets to an extreme, it can lead to a hyperactive state, with a loss of attention or extreme irritability and depression, and a lot of strange symptoms that, if you can get your cortisone and adrenaline under control by normalizing your thyroid and blood sugar, these strange symptoms of high tension just disappear.

One of the common stereotypes about low thyroid people is that they are just lethargic and sluggish.  But a very large group of low thyroid people become hyperactive because of this very high adrenaline compensating for the low blood sugar.

Broda Barnes, who was one of the best thyroid researchers in the ’30s and ’40s wrote a book called “Hypoglycemia: It’s Your Liver, not Your Mind,” because he found that almost all hypoglycemics were low thyroid, and that the liver simply wasn’t able to store enough glycogen to keep their blood sugar steady.

The high cholesterol that develops in most people as they age is another thing that, in the ’30s and ’40s, many researchers recognized that high cholesterol was nothing but an indicator of low thyroid, the same way low blood sugar was mostly an indicator of low thyroid.  There were published studies in the middle 1930′s which showed that when you took out someone’s thyroid gland, immediately the cholesterol went up, and when you gave them a thyroid supplement, immediately the cholesterol goes down.

That’s because thyroid is needed to produce products that the cholesterol turns into, such as bile acids, progesterone and pregnenolone, which are youth associated hormones.  Vitamin A and cholesterol are used up by thyroid in producing these essential hormones and bile materials.

I’ve seen people, just like the published studies 60 years ago, I’ve seen people consistently — in one case, the cholesterol went down almost 100 points a day with very frequent big doses of quick acting thyroid.  But usually you can see it go down 50 points a week with very careful thyroid supplementation.

The things that are happening to the national diet are mostly creating worse problems for cholesterol metabolism and thyroid function.  A couple weeks ago in the news, there was a story about hypothyroidism in China.  At least 100,000,000 Chinese are hypothyroid, and 25,000,000 are retarded and, actually, have cretinism from congenital low thyroid.

It’s been known most of this century that in areas where they eat beans as a staple of the diet, such as in China, many types of beans, including soybeans, but in the Andes region, just ordinary beans are the major cause of hypothyroidism, because of various anti-thyroid factors in beans, lentils, and certain nuts — peanuts, for example.

In eastern Europe, the cabbage and turnip staple diets were major causes of cretinism and chronic goiter and myxedema.  Myxedema is the name for one type of hypothyroidism that develops in adults, in which mucousy material forms in the tissues, makes the tongue thicken, the skin gets coarse and inelastic — but variations of myxedema can cause a lot of strange diseases that are put down to genetic causes more often than hypothyroidism, but you can cure them, in sometimes a week or two, with the right dose of thyroid.

For example, certain types of mitral valve prolapses are just from an accumulation of a mucous-like material in the valve, making it thick and inefficient.  Glaucoma in low thyroid involves a swelling and overproduction and increased thickness of the fluids in the eyeball.  Some types of Graves’ disease, which most doctors think of as hyperthyroidism — but hypothyroidism, which causes the pituitary to become overactive — hypothyroidism very predictably tends to cause bulging eyes, because the thyroid stimulating hormone from the pituitary causes a mucousy material to form in the area behind the eyeball, causing a protrusion of the eyeball.

The mucousy materials that are overproduced can also cause blood vessel inefficiency and rigidity, and contributes to things like varicose veins.  When this material gets in the joints, it causes cartilage deformities.  The old textbooks used to show teenagers with deformed joints that caused the same deviation of the bones — at the elbow joint especially, and the knee joint especially, with knock knees for example — but in old people you see the fingers deviating to one side, because the cartilage is getting deformed.

The right balance of thyroid and the youth associated hormones — progesterone and pregnenolone, and to some extent, DHEA — will rebalance the production of these mucous-like molecules — the glycoproteins and mucopolysaccharides, they’re called — and in just a week or two, you can often correct the deformity in a permanent way, so that the joint functions without pain or distortion.

All of the chronic diseases, to the extent that they involve this false adaptation, in which the thyroid tries to put you into a sort of hibernation state — all of the chronic diseases tend to benefit from the right supplement of these youth associated hormones.  And the history of medical thyroid treatment is necessary before a person can understand what the doctor is doing with the tests.  Typically, a doctor will diagnose normal thyroid function on the basis of a test of the thyroxine in the blood, and sometimes backs that up with a normal range TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone.

The TSH usually is somewhere in the range between .5 and 6 units, and a person will be called normal when it’s anywhere in that range.  But when it’s above 1 unit, in other words when it’s just anywhere above the lowest normal range, the TSH is already causing excess production of the mucopolysaccharides that tend to load up the various tissues.  But still a person will be considered normal in terms of the blood thyroid tests, because the thyroxine is defined as the thyroid hormone itself on the basis of some studies that were done 50 years ago.

The thyroxine is said to be normal in a range of, for example, from 4 to 12 units.  If you took any other biological indicator and gave it such a wide range — 4 to 12 in the case of thyroxine, or .5 to 6.0 in the case of TSH — you would have, for example, blood sugar ranging from the level at which it causes convulsions and death up into the low diabetic range, and you would call all of those normal.  Or cholesterol ranging from the range of the low cholesterol that is associated with cancer and strokes, up into the very high, like 3-or-4-hundred milligrams of cholesterol.  So it’s a very strange thing that thyroid is given such a definition that makes almost everything get called normal.

What happened was in the 1940′s, 40% of the American population was known to benefit from thyroid supplement, and they had a low oxygen consumption. But a drug company came out with a blood test that was called the protein-bound iodine test, and it seemed like a rational scientific thing to say that if a person had plenty of protein-bound iodine in their blood, their thyroid would be okay, because people knew that an iodine deficiency caused hypothyroidism at that time.

So the blood test found that 95% of Americans had plenty of protein-bound iodine.  And when I was in school, all of my fat friends with the traditional symptoms of low thyroid had been taught to say , “No, I don’t have a glandular problem.  I’m just lazy and gluttonous.”  That was passed through the whole culture in the late 1940′s and early ’50s.  Then in the ’60s it turned out that the protein-bound iodine test had essentially no relationship to thyroid function, and now it’s a standard textbook point that high doses of iodine can be used to suppress a highly active thyroid.

When it turned out that the protein-bound iodine test was proven invalid — it goes up when your estrogen is high, for example, knocking out your thyroid function — new tests were brought to the market actually measuring thyroxine, and what happened was they kept the standard idea that only 5% of the population was hypothyroid, even though the test used to establish that concept was proven completely meaningless.  So what we have kept is this doctrine that 95% of the population don’t need thyroid, and no matter what kind of test we use, we have to stretch the test to fit the doctrine that only 5% can get thyroid.

NULL: Dr. Peat, we’re coming up to our halfway mark in this segment of our program…when we return, let’s get into some of the other conditions a low thyroid can affect — our cholesterol level, arthritis-like symptoms, has melatonin been found to inhibit progesterone and stimulate estradol secretion, and how do we help the thyroid?

…in this segment of our program, we’re going to be continuing with a discussion in part about our thyroid.  And I’ve invited a very articulate — he’s soft-spoken, you can see the professor in him, and the educator, because he’s being very methodical; he’s giving us the larger context, he’s giving us the cause and effect, and so we’re learning an enormous amount about conditions that we didn’t know were related to the thyroid gland in all ages and all body types.  So let’s continue with Dr. Ray Peat…

PEAT:  Okay, you mentioned the hormones estrogen and how it relates to melatonin.  With increasing age, people have made a big thing of the fact that melatonin, which peaks about 3AM in everyone, that this peak is a little bit smaller in old age.  But it happens that…with aging, as the thyroid decreases, the melatonin decreases, because when thyroid is active, your melatonin comes up as an antioxidant defense against that the high metabolic rate that thyroid can stimulate.  So when your thyroid is low, the melatonin is low, when your thyroid is high, the melatonin is high, in a logical adaptation — because it is an antioxidant.

But the function of melatonin all by itself, when it isn’t surrounded by the appropriate other conditions, melatonin, in studies done in pig tissue, by a man named (Sirotkin?), pigs are relatively close to humans in having daytime habits, nighttime sleep and so on, which is very important for melatonin because it’s a nighttime dominant hormone — in pigs, he found that melatonin suppresses progesterone and raises estrogen, and this happens to be the same thing that low thyroid does.

So if the melatonin rises in proportion to your thyroid, it doesn’t matter that it is having these pro-estrogen, anti-progesterone effects, because the thyroid is doing exactly the opposite to those hormones and is taking care of the situation, because thyroid gets rid of the excess estrogen while…being totally responsible for producing progesterone.  But if you take melatonin out of context, as he did in the pig study, you’re going to get an exactly anti-thyroid effect, deranging those hormones in the direction of stress and aging.

Some of the current publicity that is used to promote the fact that melatonin is used to make you go to sleep, it happens to be also a thing that goes up during hibernation, and its function is to lower the body temperature, and remember the hospitalized patients — the ones who had the lowest temperatures were the least likely to survive, because as the thyroid goes down and your body temperature falls, you lose a lot of your immune functions and tissue repair capacity.  So lowering your body temperature does make you hibernate and it does make you sleep, but you don’t want to use something out of context to force that.

The studies that have been used to advocate melatonin’s possibly anti-aging effect were done on mice and rats, and it turns out that they are very opposite to human beings and pigs, because they work at night in general and sleep in the daytime, and so melatonin for them has exactly the opposite meaning that it does for people and pigs.  And for example, in humans and rats, melatonin raises prolactin, but in humans, prolactin knocks out progesterone production and causes infertility and stress and osteoperosis for example.

But in rats, it happens, and mice, it happens…prolactin raises their progesterone, and progesterone has the pro-life, anti-aging effect.  So melatonin has been confused by a lot of this rodent based research which is opposite in many ways to what it does in people and pigs.

The effect of thyroid on the liver is to not only make it store energy to keep up the blood sugar and prevent the stress, cortisone and adrenaline reactions, but…to activate the liver so it can destroy 100% of the estrogen arriving at the liver.  The liver, when it has adequate protein and thyroid, is just absolutely efficient at getting rid of the estrogen.  So when you lower the thyroid function, you raise the estrogen that is allowed to circulate in the organism.  That happens not only from low thyroid or high melatonin, but from malnutrition, especially protein deficiency, doesn’t let the liver have this detoxifying function.  So low protein amounts to low thyroid in many ways, and leads to excess estrogen, abnormal risk of blood clotting, stroke and heart disease, and so on.

If you look at the ovaries, when, in a dog or a cow, for example, they have removed the animal’s thyroid, the ovaries develop a polycistic condition, instead of just one dominant egg follicle preparing for ovulation, the ovaries fill up with a lot of these fluid filled chambers, and ovulation is abnormal, and they develop the tendency to produce an excess of estrogen.  So at many levels low thyroid leads to excess influence, persistence and overproduction of estrogen.

And it’s interesting that the accumulation of fluid — it’s one of these mucopolysaccharides again — that swells up, fills up these many cystic follicles in the ovaries — it’s the same sort of material that fills up the eyeball in glaucoma, which is also promoted by low thyroid and high pituitary hormones.

There are these integrating factors that, in some ways [is] like an all or nothing function for the body, the direction of estrogen dominance, or the direction of thyroid and progesterone dominance.  And low protein used to be just sort of a laboratory experiment, but in the last 3 or 4 years, books have come out advocating almost a protein-free diet, so I’ve had the chance to see many people who have absolutely low thyroid symptoms with high estrogen simply because they’re not eating adequate protein.  It probably should be something like at least 50 grams of the highest quality protein available.

One thing that happens in the vegetable diet, heavily based on [the] cabbage family, or beans, lentils and nuts, these proteins, in quality, rank about 15 times lower than the highest quality protein.  And so even though a person might think they’re eating nothing but protein rich foods, beans and nuts, their quality is so low that their liver simply can’t respond to the thyroid.  Besides that, the beans and nuts have many anti-thyroid factors.  Some of these are being promoted for different effects that they achieve.  Bioflavinoids, the so-called essential fatty acids or the unsaturated fats, these are, among other things, pro-estrogen and anti-thyroid.  So it’s a combination of low protein and a whole lot of thyroid inhibiting chemicals the population is being exposed to that is increasing the incidence of a lot of these degenerative diseases.

The unsaturated fats show up first in animals after weaning.  In some experiments, when the pregnant animal is given a certain amount of these bean oils, soybean oil for example, or corn oil, the mother’s body protects the fetus from absorbing these, and the little bit that gets into the fetus tends to be expelled into the fetus’ intestine, showing that the developing embryo and fetus act as if they don’t want to absorb unsaturated fats.  The nursing baby also is highly protected so that if you look at the respiratory enzymes in their mitochondria, in all of their organs, especially the brain, during embryonic and fetal development, and even during nursing, these are extremely deficient in unsaturated fatty acids that are called essential fatty acids.

And in some experiments, they found that the brain didn’t develop properly if the developing fetus didn’t have saturated fats in sufficient quantity, and if an extreme amount of unsaturated fats were fed to the pregnant animals, the baby’s brain was inhibited.  And this is being reviewed in the last few months.  People are pointing again that an excess or even high normal amount of the unsaturated fats causes retarded brain growth in late fetal development or during the nursing stage.

Even though the fetus in the mother’s body, or receiving only maternal milk, even though it is protected against the unsaturated fats, at some point, the young animal begins eating food from the environment, and when you analyze the mitochondrial oxygen using enzymes, you see at this point they start absorbing the unsaturated so called essential fatty acids, and as they absorb the unsaturated fats such as linoleic acid, their activity declines; the respiratory enzymes themselves begin to act more slowly. And when you look at the whole chain involved in oxygen consumption, which is essential for the high metabolic activity of young animals, the whole chain, from the respiratory oxygen using enzyme, all the way back to the production of thyroid hormone, and the transport of the thyroid hormone, at every stage conceivable, the unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic — and it’s worse in proportion to the number of double bonds, so that linolenic is about half as inhibiting as linoleic acid to the thyroid and to the respiratory enzymes — so the newborn or newly weaned animal has an extremely high respiratory rate and its brain is growing at a very fast rate, but as it absorbs these environmental vegetable synthesized fats, its metabolic rate slows down, its thyroid function slows down, and you get a curve of slowing activity from weaning, bending sharply at puberty and leveling off in the 20′s and then going downhill, this curve is very closely similar to the curve of loading up of the tissues with the unsaturated fatty acids, and you can restore the activity of the respiratory enzymes simply by changing the dietary fats.

But a complete change, since the fat layers, the adipose tissue, since it stores what the animal has been eating, it takes typically 4 years for a complete exchange of fat, even after you’ve made a complete change in your diet.  But momentarily, if you, for example, take 1/2 an ounce of coconut oil, you get a burst of thyroid-like activity, and your cells respire more intensely for about an hour until that fat is burned up.  But after about 2 years of a changed diet, you’ve burned up roughly half of your stored, inhibiting unsaturated fats, and your metabolism stabilizes at a much higher level.

So to correct the age-associated decline of thyroid function and respiratory energy production, you could take a thyroid supplement, or you could simply change your diet away from the inhibitors — the fatty acids are one type of metabolic inhibitor, there are a few others — for example the age pigment is something that is constructed inside our cells every time we’re under stress and don’t get enough oxygen.  In effect, iron is released from storage, put into an activated state in which it can attack the unsaturated fats that happen to be in the cell at the time, and the combination of the unsaturated fat and the iron and the stress turns these unsaturated fats into age pigment or lipofuscin, which accumulates in all of the tissues.  It’s found as the main material in cataracts in the lens of the eye, in the atheroma in the wall of blood vessels that are deteriorating from age and stress, in the heart that is aging and susceptible to all kinds of malfunction, in the Alzheimer’s brain and so on — the age pigment accumulates, and it in itself gets an enzyme function which bypasses the good energy producing system.

So after a certain point, even changing your diet away from the toxic, inhibiting fats won’t do the job of restoring your thyroid function if you have accumulated so much of this age pigment, because it is going to waste any oxygen that your cells can receive.  At this point, a whole system of degenerative conditions sets in, in which the mucoproteins increase because of the stress conditions, which are basically the same as the low thyroid conditions — all of these lead to accumulating mucoid materials accumulating — the blood vessels are lined with this material, the red blood cells can’t pick up oxygen as efficiently because of this mucopolysaccharide layer, the lung sacs get expanded and thickened so that the air doesn’t diffuse through them efficiently, and that increases the susceptibility of the aging animal to stress.  A smaller stress makes them more acutely oxygen deficient, and that produces the age pigment at an even higher rate.

Several people are working on ways to remove the age pigment.  You can take brain cells in culture, which have age pigment in them, and one experimenter added vitamin E to the cultured brain cells, and found that in just 2 weeks the age pigment had been consumed or eliminated from the cells.  But in that experiment, they administered the vitamin E dissolved in ethyl alcohol, and they had to do a control experiment giving just that amount of ethyl alcohol, and it turned out to be almost as effective as the vitamin E.  So it’s been known to be a free radical quencher — it breaks the chain of lipid peroxide production.  So that suggests that there are probably many antioxidants that would help to eliminate age pigment.  But the first problem is simply to slow or stop the production of it by avoiding overloading on the things which are known to produce it such as soy oil, corn oil, excess iron, and so on.

Even chronic heavy meat eating tends to make American men overload their tissues with iron, and it happens that the immune system works better in people who, by national standards, are deficient in iron.  In other words, their standards seem to be too high on what they recommend for adequate iron.  It would be a little bit better to eat less iron.

NULL: Dr. Peat, we only have about 6 minutes to go in our program.  I think it’d be good if you took that 6 minutes to explain how to build up a healthy thyroid gland to help overcome these conditions.

PEAT:  Okay.  The first thing is to make sure you’re eating adequate protein, such as milk, cheese, eggs — I’m naming them in order of declining iron content.  Milk is designed to allow the newborn baby to escape or grow into the overcharge of iron it’s born with.  So milk is a way of helping to unload the body from iron — milk and cheese are actually deficient in iron.  And then eggs and shellfish, ocean grown fish, and particularly shellfish are beneficial, because shellfish use copper as their blood instead of iron, where ordinary fish use iron.  So you can avoid iron by occasionally substituting oysters, lobster, shrimp or crab for fish, chicken or meat.

Vegetables are, in general, moderate to high sources of iron, but bread and pasta products have iron supplemented in this country, and that in itself is reason to totally give up bread and pasta, because you are actually seeing a serious increase in iron overload diseases in this country.

After assuring that you have a good high protein intake, then getting your calories in a safe and non toxic way is the next thing.  And since the unsaturated fats are produced according to the coldness at which the organism grows, because our bodies live at 98 or 99 degrees Fahrenheit, their fats — any organism that lives at that temperature, such as palm trees in the tropics, these fats have to be stable at high temperatures.  But at refrigerator temperature they harden.  And so organisms like fish that live in cold water, or soybeans or grains that live in cold climates, have to have unsaturated oils in proportion to the coldness of the environment, otherwise the cells couldn’t metabolize — the oils would harden.

And in those cold temperatures, the unsaturated oils don’t get rancid very quickly.  As soon as you eat an oil from a cold living organism it starts turning to peroxide varnish structure —

NULL: Remember, don’t get too technical.  We only have 2 minutes to go, and you gotta summarize.

PEAT:  Okay.  The ideal calorie source, I think, is tropical fruits, and tropical oils, especially coconut oil, and any tropical fruit that lives at a high temperature — papayas, the custard apple family, pineapples, anything that is full of carbohydrates, is likely to be reasonably low in iron and high in all of the other vitamins and reasonable for minerals.  And they are important as a source of magnesium.  Meat and shellfish and fish and so on give you quite a bit of magnesium, but the fruits are a major source of magnesium without overloading us on iron and the toxic substances.  Because fruits in general, from the tropics, have small amounts of the thyroid inhibiting substances.

Seeds in general have the thyroid inhibiting substances for a variety of reasons, namely the worst of them is that plants evolve poisons to prevent their seeds being eaten, because they wouldn’t have a next generation if animals found the seeds palatable and safe to eat — so the worst poisons plants have are put in the seeds, and they turn out to be metabolic inhibitors — enzyme inhibitors.

But the fruit, generally, is evolved to serve to distribute the seeds, so it’s evolved to be safe to the animals.  Potatoes are the only vegetable protein which is of quality equal to egg yolk.  It’s actually a little higher in quality because it contains precursors to the essential amino acids; it has more protein in effect than it actually has in substance.  And people misjudge potatoes because they are given as 2 to 4%, because wet potatoes are measured, where beans are measured in the dry state and have 40% protein, but…you have to divide the bean protein by 10 to make it equivalent to potatoes.

NULL: So you’re saying potatoes are good.  Dr. Peat, we’re out of time.  I want to thank you very much for being with us.  Very informed guest, very educational.

178 Comments

  1. Primero!

    Reply
  2. Hey there, I can’t seem to find an email address to send this to, so I’ll just post what I have to say here (it is somewhat related)

    Here in Britain, there is a new fad about – destroying your health via stress and starvation. Yes in other words fasting has become in vogue (mainly with the middle classes) It’s in a lot of the newspapers and there are a ton of new books on the subject.

    Here’s a typical article:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/may/05/diet-feasts-fast-days

    A sad turn of events for ol’ Blighty I reckon :-(

    Reply
    • Fasting isn’t a fad – it’s been around just about forever. And Matt even recommended intermittent fasting to me.

      Reply
      • Depends on who you ask now isn’t it. And I’m willing to bet Matt didn’t recommend you do it indefinitely – because 9 times out of 10, fasting is needlessly harmful.

        Reply
        • Could you site your sources, please?

          Reply
          • I’m just messin’ with ya. I don’t really need sources. For every one you have, there will be countess that are contradictory. They’re all potentially fad “diets.” Much as I respect and admire Matt, his too is still a work in progress.

          • I can go along with that. May I ask though why you were recommended fasting ?

          • I’m not necessarily recommending fasting – nor am I dismissing it. People have been fasting for a long, long time, whether they were forced to due to lack of food, or for religious reasons. Ergo: it’s not a fad.

            I’m not sure extended fasting is a good idea (nor am I qualified to assess any program except by my own personal experience). However, the 5:2 program (because I loathe the word ‘diet’) doesn’t sound all that bad. Eat normally most of the time, and fast a day or two a week? People have been doing that to cleanse their bodies for a long time.

          • By the way I know it’s totally obnoxious to use the word “ergo,” but I just can’t help myself. I dig words.

          • Fasting is a very powerful and therefore potentially dangerous method. But if done correctly, the benefits are immense.
            My personal experience: I went through a juice fast of 21 days (under medical supervision). I benefitted from it in several ways, my health improved a lot (as evidenced by medical examinations). Also, the changes were enduring.

  3. I hear there is also a pretty strong relationship between the thyroid gland and Vitamin D. Have you found that to be true?

    Reply
    • Yeah I assume since vitamin D is synthesized in a similar way to pregnenolone, progesterone, etc. – I would think metabolism drives the rate of conversion in a similar way.

      Reply
  4. Thyroid deficiency isn’t just about being overweight- it’s the master gland. When doctors just diagnose you just by a blood test and tell you that you are “normal” they can be giving you a death sentence. There is a high correlation between heart attacks and untreated hypothyroid.
    It’s so important to learn this information for yourself, so when your doctor refuses to treat you, don’t give up, and find ANOTHER who sees you as a person, not just your blood results!
    And Eat For Heat to get yourself started on supporting your thyroid!

    Reply
    • I don’t doubt that hypothyroidism may not be diagnosed in many cases, but where do you get this information that there is a high correlation between heart attacks and untreated hypothyroid? This seems like an almost paradoxical statement.

      As for your second paragraph, I see a new type of problem for everybody. There is a burgeoning class of doctors (especially prevalent in California) who will treat you for whatever you want. You say that you’ve got “Chronic Lyme”, there’s a doctor for you. You say you got Candida, there’s a doctor for you. You’ve got mercury poisoning. Sure you do. There’s a doctor for that. You say that you’ve got an alien civilization living up your ass, there’s a doctor for you. There are doctors out there who will agree with ANY SILLY-ASS DIAGNOSIS you come up with and ride that mother to the bank. Rather than find a doctor to match your diagnosis, I would be looking for a doctor who is willing to entertain different ideas, possibly experiment with them and explain why he agrees or disagrees. In all spheres science is being trodden on by that supposed cure-all for everything “THE FREE MARKET” and this is quite noticeable in the world of Alternative Medicine which is over-run by quacks who FOR A PRICE will agree with your brilliant self-diagnosis.

      Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that there aren’t a lot of people who have hypothyroidism that hasn’t been diagnosed. I am just saying, be careful. Not everybody is hypothyroid. Ray Peat seems to blame just about everything on low thyroid and there are people who get really screwed up on T3. I am certainly not asserting that he is profiting like the one’s I describe above, but he seems to swing the same sledge-hammer at every type of nail.

      Reply
      • I think part of the problem is not necessarily accurate diagnosis, but the fact that the question “why” is never asked. Someone born with Cretinism or missing a thyroid gland will be handed the same prescription as someone who has lost 40 pounds and hasn’t eaten a carb in 2 years, or slept more than 6 hours a night for a half decade. Clearly one is correctable by changing the diet and lifestyle, and if one never addresses the factors that led to the development of the problem in the first place, T3 is weak sauce to throw at it.

        Reply
        • Matt,
          Totally see that addressing the initial factors is necessary.

          But aren’t there cases — many even — where a person has sluggish, congenital thyroid function? Low T3, in the absence of dieting or adrenal fatigue? Where eating and sleeping sufficiently simply isn’t going to address the lack of circulating active thyroid?

          In these cases, it seems to make sense to also supplement with T3 – or do you or others know of reasons not to do this?

          Reply
          • Eating and sleeping still can address hereditary deficiency, but of course there are cases where this is insufficient and thyroid meds are needed as a supplement. But that is the 2nd, not the 1st thing a person should reach for – unlike what happens when you see a medical professional with a low metabolism. Medication first. Always.

          • Got it. And yes, medication first, and usually the wrong one.

            If I’d listened to the doctor this fall, I’d be on prozac right now for migraine, first I’d ever had, it lasted 3 weeks. Now I see the connection with metabolism, estrogen dominance, weak adrenals and sluggish thyroid (it’s been a long, very stressful few years.) But yes, when the stuff they were throwing at me wasn’t working, the doc suggested, over the phone no less, that he call in some prozac for me. Thanks, no, dude.

          • Some migraines can be associated with our hormones. Mine are. I find that they respond to zinc. I just suck on a zinc lozenge (because sometimes I’m nauseous so no eating.) and that does help. Its not a cure-all for all kinds of migraines but it helps with my menstrual/pre-menstrual ones. Btw, I’m estrogen dominant too.

          • Alisha, I’ll have to try this. Long time migraine sufferer hers. Never tried this. I’ve changed my diet, so I do have less from 12-14 a month to 1-4. But never tried zinc lozenges. Thanks!

          • This is how all doctors operate in all situations. Medication first. People need to realize this. You could have high blood pressure from a high stress job – meds will be recommended as 1st-line treatment instead of a stress reduction program. You could be depressed because you’re in a horrible relationship – prozac will be prescribed, rather than seeing a therapist and/or getting yourself into a healthier situation. For back pain, pain killers or even steroids will be prescribed rather than sessions with a PT that could help strengthen your back. I could keep going.

            Meds will remove the symptoms short-term, yes, but which would be better for you in the long-run?

          • I think Matt has written before that he’s not opposed to other supplemental interventions, but it might worth exhausting diet and lifestyle interventions before going that route. If you have, and haven’t resolved your issues, by all means, consider glandular extracts and the like.

            In any event, eating in a way that helps optimize the metabolism is going to behoove you even if you do need other support to get all the way there.

          • Right. I’ve seen significant improvements with lifestyle changes, mostly eating more, drinking MUCH less throughout the day (such a “little” thing, but allowed me to sleep well finally.) Giving up gluten was huge too. (yes I’m one of those who has tried and tried, but gluten hates me.)

            Yet, intense stress-induced adrenal fatigue aside, I’ve come to think I was born with weak thyroid. And I wasn’t sure if it was safe to seek NDT supplementary support, or if this was just the cure-all du jour.

        • I agree, T2 is much stronger sauce. And supposedly has no negatives. At least that’s what the bodybuilder bros say.

          Any thoughts on T2, Matt?

          Reply
      • Thomas. this was the whole work of Bronda Barnes – among many other problems, what he mostly investigated and proved is the relation between low thyroid and heart attacks or illnesses. Matt has written on Barnes before, the link is well established.

        Reply
      • Just as an aside, THE FREE MARKET is ruining nothing, as 1) It doesn’t exist, regulations abound worldwide, and 2) A palliative solution (ie. regulation) will not fix the fact that some people are simply misinformed or uneducated.

        Reply
    • ‘Master gland’ seems a little simplistic. I think adrenal deficiency strikes first, for most people. Boosting DHEA and pregnenolone can go a long way towards ameliorating stress.

      Reply
      • Gabriel, I’m intrigued with that. Any articles you can share about it? Or maybe even personal experience?

        Reply
  5. I will post this here too, I sent you this Facebook message:

    Hey Matt, I have something to ask and tell you that you may be quite interested to hear. Can you maybe name a time when you have 10 minutes on Skype, because I keep missing you.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  6. OK, I’m a little confused. I’m trying to raise my metabolism through eating and resting more (will try full-on RRARF when my boys are out of school for the summer and I can SLEEP IN) but in the meantime have been seeing some encouraging results from eating the food. Temps are up to high 97s-low 98s … up nearly a degree. However, I had also recently come across a few books on the importance of iodine (“The Iodine Crisis” and Dr. Brownstein’s book) and was mulling over the addition of some iodine supplementation. But iodine LOWERS metabolism? Apparently, I have a lot more reading to do on the subject … since Peat didn’t want to dumb things down for the lay person, could you perhaps simplify why iodine lowers metabolism? Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Yes, I second this question/request re: iodine!

      Reply
      • Context is important. Maybe we should look at the big picture of the type of iodine taken, the amount, etc. Maybe a little iodine is good, but a lot is bad, depending on the context, the person, their health, etc.

        It might be kind of like how T3 is helpful in certain contexts, but damaging if over used.

        I haven’t listened to the recording yet though…

        Reply
      • I’ve posted this here before, but it’s one of the areas I believe Ray is wrong on. He’s going off some studies that showed iodine causing thyroid problems. From what I’ve seen, read and experienced iodine is very safe when used in correct proportion to selenium (200mcg/d) — along with magnesium and C.

        Reply
        • Have you had a personal experience of success with this then?

          Reply
    • The only thing I can think of is if your body starts creating more T4 and relying on it instead of converting to T3 which is 8 times more effective. I’d love to see some data on what increases T4, and what increases T3. I’ve had a lot of trouble finding much on either. And I’ve also heard that iodine reduces T4 which I have no idea how that would happen considering it is supposedly the main fuel for the thyroid gland itself. I’ve used dulse, kelp, bladderwrakc and irish moss and seem to have decent results. I’m about 5’11 185 eating 5000 cals a day of mostly carbs.

      Reply
      • 5,000 cals a day of mostly carbs? Wow, that’s impressive. Can you post up an “average day” of what you eat?

        Reply
      • 5000 cals mostly carbs? How long you’ve been doing that? How do you feel? Whats your morning temp? Please write some more, this is exiting. Finally a person who actually follows Matts advice not just reads. :D BTW, Matt, do you know the ratio of the people who actually follow your advice? My guess is that most people are still afraid of trying something new like this.

        Reply
        • I follow and have been for months. I eat 3000 a day at least of mostly carbs as well. 5’6 female, 120 pounds and no regular exercise. 400-450 carbs a day.

          Reply
          • Jealous here. I’m 5’5 and want to get back to 120, but I’m still working on my metabolism. I have hopes of being able to wear the clothes in my closet again.

  7. Peat believes that beta carotene ‘oxidizes like a PUFA’ and is anti-thyroid. What does he base this on? One study of isolated cells reaction to isolated carotene. he really cherry picks his information. Seems rather anti vegetables in general. Sheez, if I was eating as much animal fat as I used to I would puke. yet there goes Peat, espousing retinol over carotene.

    Reply
    • I think he bases it on the fact that the beta carotene molecule has double bonds, which can be oxidized like the double bonds in PUFA. And since PUFA suppress thyroid function then beta carotene probably does the same.

      But the reason to choose retinol over beta carotene is that many people cannot convert beta carotene to retinol. People with thyroid problems usually cannot convert beta carotene to vitamin A. Also, the conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A is inefficient and independent of vitamin A status. It is not a one-to-one conversion. So 5000 iu of beta carotene from a carrot will not convert to 5000 iu of vitamin A inside the body. Some studies have shown that it takes 20 units or more of beta carotene to convert to one unit of retinol in some individuals.

      Reply
      • And what of the other effects of beta carotene? I’m not just talking about conversion to retinol. Why were the Polynesians, who ate lots of sweet potato, healthier than the Inuit, who ate lots of animal fat?

        These terms like ‘double bond’ mean little to me, as do studies done in a petrie dish. Show me populations who eat lots of beta carotene and have low thyroids. Show me populations who eat little and have wonderful thyroid function.

        Next Peat will cay vitamin c causes low adrenal function… who knows.

        Reply
        • I doubt that you will find entire populations that have low thyroid function because of beta carotene intake any more than you will find entire populations who are allergic to wheat or shellfish or who get lung cancer from smoking. There are individual genetic differences and other factors which create health problems.

          One explanation as to why some people cannot convert carotene to vitamin A is genetic changes. When people in certain populations started to eat more animals, which contain retinol, over time their descendents lost the ability to convert beta carotene to vitamin A. It should not be surprising that the Polynesians have no trouble with beta carotene. Their ancestors have been eating beta carotene foods for thousands of years and they probably never had to rely on animal sources of vitamin A.

          But Inuits would probably have many members of their population who cannot convert beta carotene to vitamin A because they have been relying on animal sources of vitamin A for thousands of years. And the Inuits are not unhealthy because of retinol. There are lots of things that may make the Inuits less healthy than certain populations. For one thing, they eat a diet that is very high in PUFA. They also don’t get a lot of sun.

          Over on RayPeatForum, a contributor mentioned that he is Okinawan and can eat a lot of sweet potatoes without turning orange. But his wife is Norwegian and she cannot eat sweet potatoes without turning orange.

          Reply
          • I don’t need medical studies to confirm what I am certain of. That people who eat more colorful veggies will experience better health on average than people who don’t. Colorful veggies also to happen to have the most beta carotene. Genes don’t mean much. There’s more genetic diversity between two neighboring tribes of chimps than any two humans on earth. However I believe the gut conditions itself somewhat. Adaptive changes happen depending on diet. If carotene makes someone orange, maybe it won’t if they keep eating it regularly.

      • I was thinking about this Vitamin A issue. When I was 26 (about a year after I had had a total thyroidectomy), I started breaking out in small pimples on my chin. No insurance, but I paid to go to a dermatologist. He immediately prescribed Accutane. I asked him whether it was necessary for (relatively) mild acne and he said something to the effect of ‘ you need a big dose of A’. He had to have been about 80 years old. I was young and like, whatevs; if Dr. Geriatric says I need it…. Anyway, I had some of the usual side effects (cracking lips, etc…) but my skin was glorious. Beyond the little pimples being gone, I had glowing, dewey skin. My hair was super soft and I lost about 10 pounds that had been plaguing me without effort. I never refilled it after the first 3 months, because the potential side effects scared me too much but I really looked great and the effects lasted for quite a while– smaller pores, no blackheads or acne for at least a couple of years. I would never go on Accutane just for glowing skin , but I’ve been wondering lately if I could possibly have an issue with Vit A that’s related to thyroid problems. Maybe the old doctor was on to something?

        Reply
        • Vitamin A encourages differentiation of cells.

          The problem with accutane is that it only provides a very limited amount of the benefits actual vitamin A gives.

          Reply
    • Ray Peat definitely cherry picks, but that does not bother me because everyone does. In the end, we have to decide what works for us.
      I do not consider Ray Peat infallible, as many of his followers seem to. For example, Ray now recommends 100 grams of protein per day, whereas before he used to recommend 50 grams of protein per day. So he does change his mind, which means he is not perfect.

      Reply
      • I don’t think it means he’s not perfect. I view it as he’s flexible. Willing to consider new information and change his recommendations accordingly. Beats the guys who refuse to let go of their beloved theories in the face of contrary empirical evidence. I’ve learned not to take anything as gospel now though.

        Reply
        • Agreed. I like that he is flexible.

          But my point is that people should not be afraid to question Ray Peat’s
          advice or reject what is not working for them. They should not wait for Ray Peat to change his mind if something he advises is not working for them.

          Reply
          • Agreed :) I made the mistake of not listening to my own body and I’m struggling back from anxiety/insomnia.

  8. Iodine LOWERS metabolism?? EEKK!! I’ve been supplementing with iodine for a year now due to being deficient after prolonged stupid starvation diets wrecked my metabolism….it really improved my health and I believed that supplementing would assist me in losing weight as I’ve been unable to lose a pound without starving myself for over 2 years now…..have I been unwittingly self-sabotaging :-( ???

    Reply
  9. 150 mcg of iodine per day is still safe according to Peat.

    Reply
  10. Yep, I would like to know about the iodine thing too-
    I have been taking a bit of iodine, with selenium and tyrosine,
    in the hopes of improving thyroid function.

    Anyone got a full synopsis??

    Reply
  11. Hahahaha “So your saying potatoes are good. And were out of time.” I love how he told Peat to summarize and he summarized frantically for a good 10 seconds, forgot he was summarizing, and started explaining in excruciating detail again. Still a great talk, and by far the least rambling I’ve heard from him. What’s crazy is, I started eating coconut oil for the first time in a long time this morning, and my hands and feet got warm INSTANTLY, like way faster than they have from any other food, and I started sweating like crazy. Then he mentions in the podcast how coconut oil causes a temporary surge in thyroid-like activity for about an hour until it burns up.

    Matt, what are your thoughts on the validity of avoiding the PUFAs? Kind of depressing to think abstaining from them will show no real benefit for about 2 years, and even then won’t help too much if you’ve accumulated too much age pigment. Despite the skepticism I’ve built up over the last few years about evil foods, Peat definitely explains things in greater detail and seems to have more knowledge than any other health guru I’ve heard.

    Reply
  12. The interview link isn’t working: “Error (509): This account’s public links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!”

    Might want to host it directly on here, Matt.

    Reply
    • Yeah I wouldn’t even know where to begin to fix that one.

      Reply
      • I think we blew up the site- sorry servers. Reckon it’ll come back online within a day or two. We’re just too popular, it seems.

        Reply
        • rob can you email me the file instead? :P

          Reply
          • All fixed now.

          • thank you!

  13. Matt, I would very grateful if you wrote an article on “Metabolism’s role in joint disorders”.

    Reply
    • I think the connection between hypothyroidism and arthritis as well as an array of joint disorders is well documented statistically. The writing on this website has so far focused on the inflammatory development of the condition. The connection between the inflammation of muscle tissue/ fascia, and the development of trigger points which then cause muscle imbalances and joint dysfunction has not been elucidated however. Its a really interesting topic, as I think deep tissue massage, chiropractic and acupuncture all work to address this symptom of metabolic dysfunction.

      Reply
  14. Matt, I’ve a weird problem. I get about the same health problems from being in the sun as I get after eating certain foods like wheat and dairy. The problems I get is chest pain, mucus and fatigue. Do you have any idea why I get these symptoms ?

    Reply
    • If your tissue is full of pufa the light from the sun can cause pufa to go bad(literally everything makes pufa go bad apparently).

      That’s at least one idea.

      Reply
  15. Hi

    Hi

    That link doesn’t work

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/48941/NPRraypeatinterview1996.mp3

    I get this

    ========================

    Error (509)
    This account’s public links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!

    ========================================

    Is that interview available at any other web link? Thanks

    Reply
    • Javed Alam,

      See Rob’s comment above, there is too much trafiic hitting that link today.

      Reply
    • We’re working on it. That was hosted on Danny’s dropbox account. But they like, totally shut down his account. We’ll find a solution later today I hope.

      Reply
  16. I like the dropbox error logo. It’s super cute.

    Reply
    • Good call. I put that link in the post and she’s working now.

      Reply
  17. Darn. It looks like the file is no longer available.

    Reply
    • Thanks! Got it.

      Reply
  18. Thanks for this awesome interview!! Ray mentioned beans of all kinds contributing to low thyroid. I’m a vegetarian living in India – could you PLEASE say more about this. I’d be most grateful. Thanks

    Reply
    • I think he is referring to the estrogenic compounds in beans and legumes having a thyroid suppressing effect.

      Reply
      • Matt, thanks but I understood that. I’m trying to figure out what to eat. Dal (beans in all forms) is really prevalent here. Not surprisingly then, many of my friends have (mostly women) have thyroid issues. We do get tofu and cheese; But I’m hoping you could say more or write a post about this. I can’t be the only vegetarian following you! I got 2 of your books on Amazon Kindle – luv ‘em but still trying to work things out diet wise. Any help would be great

        Reply
        • The Vegan Solution was supposed to come out yesterday. But we had to postpone it to June 5th because Chris Randall (who wrote a few chapters for it) had a complete computer meltdown over in Thailand. It’s a 2-3 week repair. That book will answer all your questions, and in the future we’ll probably have a whole vegetarian wing to the site.

          Reply
          • Dude. I need to know this about beans as well. They are one of my favorite foods.

            I eat them every day. Mostly black beans and pinto beans, but now I find out they are going to give me moobs?

            WTF?

          • Speaking of which, Matt, I know a lot of your advice has been doled out to big boneded womens, but how about an article on man boobs? The worst thing about being fat for me is man boobs.

            Seriously, it’s damn embarrassing.

          • Beans are definitely fine in moderation. Here’s something from a project I’ve been working on…

            “Anti-Metabolism Foods
            As a last tidbit in this chapter because it doesn’t really fit anywhere else or deserve its own chapter, there are some foods that you shouldn’t consume in excess because they contain some anti-thyroid compounds. Notice I didn’t say you should fear them or create a list of bad foods to eat. The reason I bring them up is because many health fanatics are misguidedly consuming these foods in excess, especially if they’ve been reading very popular authors like Tim Ferriss or Joel Fuhrman.
            And those foods are beans and legumes, as well as cruciferous vegetables, which include kale and kale juice, collard greens, arugula, watercress, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Cooking helps to reduce the thyroid-interfering properties of cruciferous vegetables, but health nerds are often making the mistake of eating or consuming the juice of many crucifers raw with a “the more the better” approach.
            Eat some of these types of foods when you desire them, sure, but in reasonable amounts – and don’t base your whole diet around beans, lentils, soy, etc.”

          • OK, so I need to stop eating beans daily and probably limit them to a couple of times per week.

            Thanks for that!

          • Cody,

            Look into the products you use. Phytoestrogens are in
            everything. Lotions, shampoos, laundry detergent etc…

            When a guy eats phytoestrogens his liver will take care of
            the stuff. Assuming all things are working properly. But,
            if you absorbs these phytoestrogens through your skin it
            by passes the liver.

            I have a book that says lavender causes man boobs. Due
            to phytoestrogens and, people using it soaking in baths to
            relax.

          • This is great! I almost started Tim’s Slow Carb diet because i wished to deal with my belly fat. but then i noticed its a lot of beans – especially for vegetarians. Thanks Matt.

          • Can’t wait, Matt. Really appreciate your help!

          • I have a friend who is embarking on a low-carb vegan adventure, which I think is a euphemism for starvation. Still hoping that one day I can get her to take this site seriously.

          • That low-carb vegan adventure will make her take this site a lot more seriously. Patience Nira.

    • Beans…. what more to say… Beans, Beans the Musical Fruit, the more you eat the more you toot…the more you toot the better you feel… so eat your beans for every meal.

      Reply
  19. Quick Question: Is hydrogenated palm oil a PUFA or a saturated fat? I’ve been slurping starburst like a kid on halloween — they taste so good, and usually are the key ingredient to warming me up. But is that ingredient potentially harmful?

    Reply
      • How much should I worry about this then?

        Reply
        • Hydrogenation makes the oil more saturated by converting the unsaturated double bonds to saturated single bonds. This means the oil is even safer because it has less PUFA.

          In one of Ray Peat’s books, he advices fully hydrogenated vegetable oils over partially hydrogenated oils because partial hydrogenation does not get rid of all the PUFA. It is the PUFA, not the hydrogenation, that is the problem.

          Reply
          • I think most would agree the PUFA and the hydrogenation are both problems.

          • But seeing how small of a percentage the hydrogenated palm oil is trans fat, are starburst still a good short-term, re-feeding stage vessel for sugar and gelatin and warmth? I’m chewing down roughly two to three packs a day. Too much? (I don’t mean to be obsessive here, but I don’t wanna be eating something that’s an essential shot in my own foot, if you catch my drift)

          • Trans fats are produced by partial hydrogenation. Full hydrogenation does not produce trans fat, it produces a purely saturated fat. All of the problems associated with hydrogenation of oils have been related to partial hydrogenation.

  20. Thank you very much for this, it was very informative.

    Reply
  21. I live in Eugene. I keep hoping some day I’ll bump into Ray in the grocery store and have the opportunity to make a complete fool of myself.

    Reply
  22. Matt, I have got a question for which I couldn´t find a sufficient answer…I have an autoimmune thyroid condition and I am on medication since I am 11 years old (I am 34 years old now). According to my doctor I have no thyroid function left and my medication fully replaces T4. I have never had weight issues which usually seems to be a common problem with low thyroid. My menstrual cycle has always been irregular but I have birthed and successfully breastfed two babies. My fingernails and hair grow nicely; what I want to say is that I have no typical signs for a low metabolism, except for my body temperature that is pretty low at 36.2 degree Celsius the whole day. So my question is: Even if I am fully replaced with synthetic T4 hormones is there anything that my thyroid is still usefull for and that I could try to manipulate? Is my low body temperature that I always had (no history of dieting) of concern and could be rised even if my thyroid doesn´t really work anymore? Thank you!

    Reply
    • My question is similar. My 10 yr old daughter was just diagnosed with low thyroid. There is no history of dieting in our household, but her appetite is sometimes quite low. We have a huge family history of celiac disease and her ped says the thyroid and celiac are related. Is there a way to possibly get her off meds, or will she probably be on them for life?
      There is a possibility that her thyroid is being destroyed, as Iris has experienced, but that’s our next step of investigation.

      Reply
      • There are so many things that can mess with thyroid.

        Excess estrogens for instance. And these can come from beans, soy, bpa (plastic used in soda bottles, lining cans used for canned foods, etc.), from pesticides, etc.

        Also, PUFAs. Excessive vegetable oils, fish oils, etc. etc.

        Matt has written quite a bit on PUFAs.

        If I were you, I’d read everything on this site you can find on Thyroid, then check out Danny Roddy’s stuff, and Ray Peat’s stuff.

        It can be confusing, but the synopsis is PUFA, excess estrogen == bad news for your thyroid.

        Lack of sodium and other minerals can be bad too.

        Seriously, this is a whole can of worms that can take Sherlock Holmes to figure out at times.

        Reply
  23. Thanks for posting this link. I’ve only recently become aware of Ray Peat. I was hoping he would go into more detail on what to eat to support good thyroid function. I spent a year doing vlc and ended up with pretty severe anxiety/insomnia. I’ve been following Paul Jaminet’s advice and added starch (particularly potatoes) and some fruit. It seems that Jaminet and Peat are very similar except for thoughts on fructose. Peat seems to favor the tropical fruits and Paul prefers options like bananas and berries.

    Reply
    • Paul is a starch guy whereas Ray is a fruit lover. Ray’s reasoning is that the starch can be bad and fattening due to endotoxin release and increased production of serotonin. However, it may only be a problem for certain individuals.

      Reply
      • Thanks Hulda, I realized that after I posted this. In this interview Ray says potatoes are good food so I guess I thought he was on the same page as Paul.

        Reply
        • Ray Peat doesn’t mind well cooked starches, but I get the vibe he wants you to use it as a supplementary source, not main source, of calories and carbs.

          I’ve noticed for myself that I do great on fruit and a little starch rather than the other way around.

          Reply
  24. This site is what turned me from the dark side (low-carb diet) to RRARF-ing. It is also where I learned of http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com which opened my eyes to my hypothyroid problems. Been eating the food for about 4 months now and along with my naturally desicated thyroid, I’ve gotten my temps up from 95-6 to about normal. Still getting used being warm. Been cold as long as I can remember. Hope to eventually wean off the thyroid. Thanks to Matt, Danny, Ray, and Janie (stopthethyroidmadness.com).

    PS my new favorite treat, Dreamcicle shakes: fill a cup with vanilla ice cream and add orange juice. Eat like a rootbeer float or blend to a shake/smoothie.

    Reply
    • Everybody in my family loves those cream cicles/shakes for breakfast.

      Reply
  25. FYI: Starbursts use Palm KERNEL, not Palm, Oil. Palm KERNEL is basically identical to coconut oil, and is VERY different from Palm oil.

    Reply
  26. My thyroid feels huge lately from RRARFing

    Reply
    • Ray Peat also says that progesterone will allow the thyroid to release hormone that has been stored up inside. Perhaps this could be of some help?

      Reply
  27. written summary please…can not listen.

    Reply
    • anita graham,

      I don’t think a written summary is feasible…it is Ray Peat afterall LOL!! That’s like asking for a written transcript of one of Alan Greenspan’s (former Federal Reserve Chairman) testimonies before the Senate Finance Committee…in other words, good luck with that ;)

      Reply
    • This is going to be a pisser of a comment. Please excuse any typos. I don’t have Word or any spell-checking programs — only Notepad. And it’s past my bedtime and I’ve gotta get going before I can proofread any of this here. I thought the interview was really interesting and worth transcribing.

      —————————————————————————————————

      NULL: Nice to have you with us, Dr. Peat.

      PEAT: Thanks. Could I comment on intermittent claudication and how it relates to thyroid?

      NULL: Sure.

      PEAT: It’s very common for pre-puberty people to have leg pains that they call growing pains, and those people are typically a little bit low thyroid, and the textbooks used to show little kids with horribly swollen calf muscles that looked like they were muscle bound; but it was the accumulation of muco-polysaccharides swelling the muscle up causing great pain, cramping and so on, and in old people who are hypothyroid, something very similar happens, but it includes degeneration of the blood vessels to some extent, and you mentioned the chelation plus magnesium.

      When you take thyroid, it energizes your cells to make ATP, and it happens that ATP binds magnesium, so you don’t really take up magnesium into the cell very efficiently unless you have adequate thyroid. And when you are low in thyroid, you tend to lose magnesium during stress, and chronically that leads to a crampy, inefficient condition where you waste oxygen, producing your energy, but you can’t retain it because of the lack of magnesium.

      So in many situations, magnesium imitates thyroid function, but the two together really are simply energizing the tissue; and you can go from crampy legs, or many old people get “jumpy legs” — a funny sensation that makes their legs kick when they try to go to sleep — you can go from that hyperactivity of the legs to many other conditions including heart rhythm problems, insomnia, muscle pains in general, many states that are considered degenerative diseases, but are simply low thyroid/low magnesium states that prevent efficient energy production.

      NULL: Good. Dr. Peat, why don’t we begin by you telling us about how we have a correlation between an underactive or a low thyroid function and the aging process, and then maybe include information, in lay language, about insomnia and arthritis, and cholesterol, all these things that we don’t assume are associated with the thyroid gland, but indeed are?

      PEAT: Okay. When a person is under stress, the thyroid adaptively goes down. It’s like a hibernation process. That’s one adaptation that works if an animal is starving, for example, in the winter. If its metabolism slows down, its heart rate slows, and its body temperature drops, it can last through the winter without eating up its fat too fast. Or if it’s in a famine situation or a migration, if the thyroid slows down during starvation or prolonged activity as in migrating, you can go farther on a given amount of stored energy.

      When people go on extreme diets trying to lose weight, they lose maybe a pound or so the first day, but then they stop losing weight if they’re eating much less than 1,000 Calories. Or on a total fast, they will lose nothing but muscle after the first day. That’s because after about 12 to 24 hours, your liver has depleted its sugar stores, and at that point it starts turning your muscles and other tissues to sugar, and that would destroy your body very quickly.

      So the thyroid adapts down under stress, and so the worse the stress is, or the more prolonged, the lower your thyroid gets. And that means that with aging, you tend to have accumulated so many stresses that your thyroid gets chronically depressed, and unless you give it the right signals to bring it back, it just stays there and gets lower and lower.

      When your thyroid is low, you don’t store sugar efficiently, and so you are very efficient about burning up your body slowly, but you aren’t efficient at repairing it. And all you’re doing is decaying at a slower rate when your thyroid is down. So what you want to do is stop the decay process and begin the repair process.

      People have looked at patients in hospitals, and they have found that the ones with the same diseases but with a low body temperature are the ones who are less likely to survive and go home, and it’s because the low thyroid, which is an adaptation to many stresses and sicknesses — at a certain point, the low thyroid stops being protective and starts interfering with the healing process.

      And when you have been in that low thyroid state too long, you are living on adrenaline and cortisone, which are destroying all of your essential tissues. I’ve seen many low thyroid people who, in a day, produced 30 or 40 times more adrenaline than normal; and adrenaline tends to lead immediately to cortisone production, depending on how efficient your adrenals are.

      And this high adrenaline state creates a terrible amount of confusion among doctors and patients both, because as an adaptation, it makes people feel like they’re on speed sometimes, to have this adaptive, extreme overproduction of adrenaline. And at night, it’s normal for adrenaline and cortisone to rise, even in young people, because it’s a sort of a fasting state, and they’re not eating, and so they maintain these sugar producing hormones during the night.

      But in old age, these are higher, in general, because of the low thyroid. So that if your thyroid is low, or you’re old and have low thyroid (that’s a more or less natural thing), nighttime, with the rising adrenaline and cortisone, becomes more and more stressful, and insomnia becomes more and more common. It’s very usual for people in their 70’s and 80’s to wake up after 5 or 6 hours of sleep and just get up early because they know they aren’t going to be able to get back to sleep.

      But this also happens in very young people who have low thyroid. And when it gets to an extreme, it can lead to a hyperactive state, with a loss of attention or extreme irritability and depression, and a lot of strange symptoms that, if you can get your cortisone and adrenaline under control by normalizing your thyroid and blood sugar, these strange symptoms of high tension just disappear.

      One of the common stereotypes about low thyroid people is that they are just lethargic and sluggish. But a very large group of low thyroid people become hyperactive because of this very high adrenaline compensating for the low blood sugar.

      Broda Barnes, who was one of the best thyroid researchers in the ’30s and ’40s wrote a book called “Hypoglycemia: It’s Your Liver, not Your Mind,” because he found that almost all hypoglycemics were low thyroid, and that the liver simply wasn’t able to store enough glycogen to keep their blood sugar steady.

      The high cholesterol that develops in most people as they age is another thing that, in the ’30s and ’40s, many researchers recognized that high cholesterol was nothing but an indicator of low thyroid, the same way low blood sugar was mostly an indicator of low thyroid. There were published studies in the middle 1930’s which showed that when you took out someone’s thyroid gland, immediately the cholesterol went up, and when you gave them a thyroid supplement, immediately the cholesterol goes down.

      That’s because thyroid is needed to produce products that the cholesterol turns into, such as bile acids, progesterone and pregnenolone, which are youth associated hormones. Vitamin A and cholesterol are used up by thyroid in producing these essential hormones and bile materials.

      I’ve seen people, just like the published studies 60 years ago, I’ve seen people consistently — in one case, the cholesterol went down almost 100 points a day with very frequent big doses of quick acting thyroid. But usually you can see it go down 50 points a week with very careful thyroid supplementation.

      The things that are happening to the national diet are mostly creating worse problems for cholesterol metabolism and thyroid function. A couple weeks ago in the news, there was a story about hypothyroidism in China. At least 100,000,000 Chinese are hypothyroid, and 25,000,000 are retarded and, actually, have cretinism from congenital low thyroid.

      It’s been known most of this century that in areas where they eat beans as a staple of the diet, such as in China, many types of beans, including soybeans, but in the Andes region, just ordinary beans are the major cause of hypothyroidism, because of various anti-thyroid factors in beans, lentils, and certain nuts — peanuts, for example.

      In eastern Europe, the cabbage and turnip staple diets were major causes of cretinism and chronic goiter and myxedema. Myxedema is the name for one type of hypothyroidism that develops in adults, in which mucousy material forms in the tissues, makes the tongue thicken, the skin gets coarse and inelastic — but variations of myxedema can cause a lot of strange diseases that are put down to genetic causes more often than hypothyroidism, but you can cure them, in sometimes a week or two, with the right dose of thyroid.

      For example, certain types of mitral valve prolapses are just from an accumulation of a mucous-like material in the valve, making it thick and inefficient. Glaucoma in low thyroid involves a swelling and overproduction and increased thickness of the fluids in the eyeball. Some types of Graves’ disease, which most doctors think of as hyperthyroidism — but hypothyroidism, which causes the pituitary to become overactive — hypothyroidism very predictably tends to cause bulging eyes, because the thyroid stimulating hormone from the pituitary causes a mucousy material to form in the area behind the eyeball, causing a protrusion of the eyeball.

      The mucousy materials that are overproduced can also cause blood vessel inefficiency and rigidity, and contributes to things like varicose veins. When this material gets in the joints, it causes cartilage deformities. The old textbooks used to show teenagers with deformed joints that caused the same deviation of the bones — at the elbow joint especially, and the knee joint especially, with knock knees for example — but in old people you see the fingers deviating to one side, because the cartilage is getting deformed.

      The right balance of thyroid and the youth associated hormones — progesterone and pregnenolone, and to some extent, DHEA — will rebalance the production of these mucous-like molecules — the glycoproteins and mucopolysaccharides, they’re called — and in just a week or two, you can often correct the deformity in a permanent way, so that the joint functions without pain or distortion.

      All of the chronic diseases, to the extent that they involve this false adaptation, in which the thyroid tries to put you into a sort of hibernation state — all of the chronic diseases tend to benefit from the right supplement of these youth associated hormones. And the history of medical thyroid treatment is necessary before a person can understand what the doctor is doing with the tests. Typically, a doctor will diagnose normal thyroid function on the basis of a test of the thyroxine in the blood, and sometimes backs that up with a normal range TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone.

      The TSH usually is somewhere in the range between .5 and 6 units, and a person will be called normal when it’s anywhere in that range. But when it’s above 1 unit, in other words when it’s just anywhere above the lowest normal range, the TSH is already causing excess production of the mucopolysaccharides that tend to load up the various tissues. But still a person will be considered normal in terms of the blood thyroid tests, because the thyroxine is defined as the thyroid hormone itself on the basis of some studies that were done 50 years ago.

      The thyroxine is said to be normal in a range of, for example, from 4 to 12 units. If you took any other biological indicator and gave it such a wide range — 4 to 12 in the case of thyroxine, or .5 to 6.0 in the case of TSH — you would have, for example, blood sugar ranging from the level at which it causes convulsions and death up into the low diabetic range, and you would call all of those normal. Or cholesterol ranging from the range of the low cholesterol that is associated with cancer and strokes, up into the very high, like 3-or-4-hundred milligrams of cholesterol. So it’s a very strange thing that thyroid is given such a definition that makes almost everything get called normal.

      What happened was in the 1940’s, 40% of the American population was known to benefit from thyroid supplement, and they had a low oxygen consumption. But a drug company came out with a blood test that was called the protein-bound iodine test, and it seemed like a rational scientific thing to say that if a person had plenty of protein-bound iodine in their blood, their thyroid would be okay, because people knew that an iodine deficiency caused hypothyroidism at that time.

      So the blood test found that 95% of Americans had plenty of protein-bound iodine. And when I was in school, all of my fat friends with the traditional symptoms of low thyroid had been taught to say
      , “No, I don’t have a glandular problem. I’m just lazy and gluttonous.” That was passed through the whole culture in the late 1940’s and early ’50s. Then in the ’60s it turned out that the protein-bound iodine test had essentially no relationship to thyroid function, and now it’s a standard textbook point that high doses of iodine can be used to suppress a highly active thyroid.

      When it turned out that the protein-bound iodine test was proven invalid — it goes up when your estrogen is high, for example, knocking out your thyroid function — new tests were brought to the market actually measuring thyroxine, and what happened was they kept the standard idea that only 5% of the population was hypothyroid, even though the test used to establish that concept was proven completely meaningless. So what we have kept is this doctrine that 95% of the population don’t need thyroid, and no matter what kind of test we use, we have to stretch the test to fit the doctrine that only 5% can get thyroid.

      NULL: Dr. Peat, we’re coming up to our halfway mark in this segment of our program…when we return, let’s get into some of the other conditions a low thyroid can affect — our cholesterol level, arthritis-like symptoms, has melatonin been found to inhibit progesterone and stimulate estradol secretion, and how do we help the thyroid?

      …in this segment of our program, we’re going to be continuing with a discussion in part about our thyroid. And I’ve invited a very articulate — he’s soft-spoken, you can see the professor in him, and the educator, because he’s being very methodical; he’s giving us the larger context, he’s giving us the cause and effect, and so we’re learning an enormous amount about conditions that we didn’t know were related to the thyroid gland in all ages and all body types. So let’s continue with Dr. Ray Peat…

      PEAT: Okay, you mentioned the hormones estrogen and how it relates to melatonin. With increasing age, people have made a big thing of the fact that melatonin, which peaks about 3AM in everyone, that this peak is a little bit smaller in old age. But it happens that…with aging, as the thyroid decreases, the melatonin decreases, because when thyroid is active, your melatonin comes up as an antioxidant defense against that the high metabolic rate that thyroid can stimulate. So when your thyroid is low, the melatonin is low, when your thyroid is high, the melatonin is high, in a logical adaptation — because it is an antioxidant.

      But the function of melatonin all by itself, when it isn’t surrounded by the appropriate other conditions, melatonin, in studies done in pig tissue, by a man named (Sirotkin?), pigs are relatively close to humans in having daytime habits, nighttime sleep and so on, which is very important for melatonin because it’s a nighttime dominant hormone — in pigs, he found that melatonin suppresses progesterone and raises estrogen, and this happens to be the same thing that low thyroid does.

      So if the melatonin rises in proportion to your thyroid, it doesn’t matter that it is having these pro-estrogen, anti-progesterone effects, because the thyroid is doing exactly the opposite to those hormones and is taking care of the situation, because thyroid gets rid of the excess estrogen while…being totally responsible for producing progesterone. But if you take melatonin out of context, as he did in the pig study, you’re going to get an exactly anti-thyroid effect, deranging those hormones in the direction of stress and aging.

      Some of the current publicity that is used to promote the fact that melatonin is used to make you go to sleep, it happens to be also a thing that goes up during hibernation, and its function is to lower the body temperature, and remember the hospitalized patients — the ones who had the lowest temperatures were the least likely to survive, because as the thyroid goes down and your body temperature falls, you lose a lot of your immune functions and tissue repair capacity. So lowering your body temperature does make you hibernate and it does make you sleep, but you don’t want to use something out of context to force that.

      The studies that have been used to advocate melatonin’s possibly anti-aging effect were done on mice and rats, and it turns out that they are very opposite to human beings and pigs, because they work at night in general and sleep in the daytime, and so melatonin for them has exactly the opposite meaning that it does for people and pigs. And for example, in humans and rats, melatonin raises prolactin, but in humans, prolactin knocks out progesterone production and causes infertility and stress and osteoperosis for example.

      But in rats, it happens, and mice, it happens…prolactin raises their progesterone, and progesterone has the pro-life, anti-aging effect. So melatonin has been confused by a lot of this rodent based research which is opposite in many ways to what it does in people and pigs.

      The effect of thyroid on the liver is to not only make it store energy to keep up the blood sugar and prevent the stress, cortisone and adrenaline reactions, but…to activate the liver so it can destroy 100% of the estrogen arriving at the liver. The liver, when it has adequate protein and thyroid, is just absolutely efficient at getting rid of the estrogen. So when you lower the thyroid function, you raise the estrogen that is allowed to circulate in the organism. That happens not only from low thyroid or high melatonin, but from malnutrition, especially protein deficiency, doesn’t let the liver have this detoxifying function. So low protein amounts to low thyroid in many ways, and leads to excess estrogen, abnormal risk of blood clotting, stroke and heart disease, and so on.

      If you look at the ovaries, when, in a dog or a cow, for example, they have removed the animal’s thyroid, the ovaries develop a polycistic condition, instead of just one dominant egg follicle preparing for ovulation, the ovaries fill up with a lot of these fluid filled chambers, and ovulation is abnormal, and they develop the tendency to produce an excess of estrogen. So at many levels low thyroid leads to excess influence, persistence and overproduction of estrogen.

      And it’s interesting that the accumulation of fluid — it’s one of these mucopolysaccharides again — that swells up, fills up these many cystic follicles in the ovaries — it’s the same sort of material that fills up the eyeball in glaucoma, which is also promoted by low thyroid and high pituitary hormones.

      There are these integrating factors that, in some ways [is] like an all or nothing function for the body, the direction of estrogen dominance, or the direction of thyroid and progesterone dominance. And low protein used to be just sort of a laboratory experiment, but in the last 3 or 4 years, books have come out advocating almost a protein-free diet, so I’ve had the chance to see many people who have absolutely low thyroid symptoms with high estrogen simply because they’re not eating adequate protein. It probably should be something like at least 50 grams of the highest quality protein available.

      One thing that happens in the vegetable diet, heavily based on [the] cabbage family, or beans, lentils and nuts, these proteins, in quality, rank about 15 times lower than the highest quality protein. And so even though a person might think they’re eating nothing but protein rich foods, beans and nuts, their quality is so low that their liver simply can’t respond to the thyroid. Besides that, the beans and nuts have many anti-thyroid factors. Some of these are being promoted for different effects that they achieve. Bioflavinoids, the so-called essential fatty acids or the unsaturated fats, these are, among other things, pro-estrogen and anti-thyroid. So it’s a combination of low protein and a whole lot of thyroid inhibiting chemicals the population is being exposed to that is increasing the incidence of a lot of these degenerative diseases.

      The unsaturated fats show up first in animals after weaning. In some experiments, when the pregnant animal is given a certain amount of these bean oils, soybean oil for example, or corn oil, the mother’s body protects the fetus from absorbing these, and the little bit that gets into the fetus tends to be expelled into the fetus’ intestine, showing that the developing embryo and fetus act as if they don’t want to absorb unsaturated fats. The nursing baby also is highly protected so that if you look at the respiratory enzymes in their mitochondria, in all of their organs, especially the brain, during embryonic and fetal development, and even during nursing, these are extremely deficient in unsaturated fatty acids that are called essential fatty acids.

      And in some experiments, they found that the brain didn’t develop properly if the developing fetus didn’t have saturated fats in sufficient quantity, and if an extreme amount of unsaturated fats were fed to the pregnant animals, the baby’s brain was inhibited. And this is being reviewed in the last few months. People are pointing again that an excess or even high normal amount of the unsaturated fats causes retarded brain growth in late fetal development or during the nursing stage.

      Even though the fetus in the mother’s body, or receiving only maternal milk, even though it is protected against the unsaturated fats, at some point, the young animal begins eating food from the environment, and when you analyze the mitochondrial oxygen using enzymes, you see at this point they start absorbing the unsaturated so called essential fatty acids, and as they absorb the unsaturated fats such as linoleic acid, their activity declines; the respiratory enzymes themselves begin to act more slowly.
      And when you look at the whole chain involved in oxygen consumption, which is essential for the high metabolic activity of young animals, the whole chain, from the respiratory oxygen using enzyme, all the way back to the production of thyroid hormone, and the transport of the thyroid hormone, at every stage conceivable, the unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic — and it’s worse in proportion to the number of double bonds, so that linolenic is about half as inhibiting as linoleic acid to the thyroid and to the respiratory enzymes — so the newborn or newly weaned animal has an extremely high respiratory rate and its brain is growing at a very fast rate, but as it absorbs these environmental vegetable synthesized fats, its metabolic rate slows down, its thyroid function slows down, and you get a curve of slowing activity from weaning, bending sharply at puberty and leveling off in the 20’s and then going downhill, this curve is very closely similar to the curve of loading up of the tissues with the unsaturated fatty acids, and you can restore the activity of the respiratory enzymes simply by changing the dietary fats.

      But a complete change, since the fat layers, the adipose tissue, since it stores what the animal has been eating, it takes typically 4 years for a complete exchange of fat, even after you’ve made a complete change in your diet. But momentarily, if you, for example, take 1/2 an ounce of coconut oil, you get a burst of thyroid-like activity, and your cells respire more intensely for about an hour until that fat is burned up. But after about 2 years of a changed diet, you’ve burned up roughly half of your stored, inhibiting unsaturated fats, and your metabolism stabilizes at a much higher level.

      So to correct the age-associated decline of thyroid function and respiratory energy production, you could take a thyroid supplement, or you could simply change your diet away from the inhibitors — the fatty acids are one type of metabolic inhibitor, there are a few others — for example the age pigment is something that is constructed inside our cells every time we’re under stress and don’t get enough oxygen. In effect, iron is released from storage, put into an activated state in which it can attack the unsaturated fats that happen to be in the cell at the time, and the combination of the unsaturated fat and the iron and the stress turns these unsaturated fats into age pigment or lipofuscin, which accumulates in all of the tissues. It’s found as the main material in cataracts in the lens of the eye, in the atheroma in the wall of blood vessels that are deteriorating from age and stress, in the heart that is aging and susceptible to all kinds of malfunction, in the Alzheimer’s brain and so on — the age pigment accumulates, and it in itself gets an enzyme function which bypasses the good energy producing system.

      So after a certain point, even changing your diet away from the toxic, inhibiting fats won’t do the job of restoring your thyroid function if you have accumulated so much of this age pigment, because it is going to waste any oxygen that your cells can receive. At this point, a whole system of degenerative conditions sets in, in which the mucoproteins increase because of the stress conditions, which are basically the same as the low thyroid conditions — all of these lead to accumulating mucoid materials accumulating — the blood vessels are lined with this material, the red blood cells can’t pick up oxygen as efficiently because of this mucopolysaccharide layer, the lung sacs get expanded and thickened so that the air doesn’t diffuse through them efficiently, and that increases the susceptibility of the aging animal to stress. A smaller stress makes them more acutely oxygen deficient, and that produces the age pigment at an even higher rate.

      Several people are working on ways to remove the age pigment. You can take brain cells in culture, which have age pigment in them, and one experimenter added vitamin E to the cultured brain cells, and found that in just 2 weeks the age pigment had been consumed or eliminated from the cells. But in that experiment, they administered the vitamin E dissolved in ethyl alcohol, and they had to do a control experiment giving just that amount of ethyl alcohol, and it turned out to be almost as effective as the vitamin E. So it’s been known to be a free radical quencher — it breaks the chain of lipid peroxide production. So that suggests that there are probably many antioxidants that would help to eliminate age pigment. But the first problem is simply to slow or stop the production of it by avoiding overloading on the things which are known to produce it such as soy oil, corn oil, excess iron, and so on.

      Even chronic heavy meat eating tends to make American men overload their tissues with iron, and it happens that the immune system works better in people who, by national standards, are deficient in iron. In other words, their standards seem to be too high on what they recommend for adequate iron. It would be a little bit better to eat less iron.

      NULL: Dr. Peat, we only have about 6 minutes to go in our program. I think it’d be good if you took that 6 minutes to explain how to build up a healthy thyroid gland to help overcome these conditions.

      PEAT: Okay. The first thing is to make sure you’re eating adequate protein, such as milk, cheese, eggs — I’m naming them in order of declining iron content. Milk is designed to allow the newborn baby to escape or grow into the overcharge of iron it’s born with. So milk is a way of helping to unload the body from iron — milk and cheese are actually deficient in iron. And then eggs and shellfish, ocean grown fish, and particularly shellfish are beneficial, because shellfish use copper as their blood instead of iron, where ordinary fish use iron. So you can avoid iron by occasionally substituting oysters, lobster, shrimp or crab for fish, chicken or meat.

      Vegetables are, in general, moderate to high sources of iron, but bread and pasta products have iron supplemented in this country, and that in itself is reason to totally give up bread and pasta, because you are actually seeing a serious increase in iron overload diseases in this country.

      After assuring that you have a good high protein intake, then getting your calories in a safe and non toxic way is the next thing. And since the unsaturated fats are produced according to the coldness at which the organism grows, because our bodies live at 98 or 99 degrees Fahrenheit, their fats — any organism that lives at that temperature, such as palm trees in the tropics, these fats have to be stable at high temperatures. But at refrigerator temperature they harden. And so organisms like fish that live in cold water, or soybeans or grains that live in cold climates, have to have unsaturated oils in proportion to the coldness of the environment, otherwise the cells couldn’t metabolize — the oils would harden.

      And in those cold temperatures, the unsaturated oils don’t get rancid very quickly. As soon as you eat an oil from a cold living organism it starts turning to peroxide varnish structure —

      NULL: Remember, don’t get too technical. We only have 2 minutes to go, and you gotta summarize.

      PEAT: Okay. The ideal calorie source, I think, is tropical fruits, and tropical oils, especially coconut oil, and any tropical fruit that lives at a high temperature — papayas, the custard apple family, pineapples, anything that is full of carbohydrates, is likely to be reasonably low in iron and high in all of the other vitamins and reasonable for minerals. And they are important as a source of magnesium. Meat and shellfish and fish and so on give you quite a bit of magnesium, but the fruits are a major source of magnesium without overloading us on iron and the toxic substances. Because fruits in general, from the tropics, have small amounts of the thyroid inhibiting substances.

      Seeds in general have the thyroid inhibiting substances for a variety of reasons, namely the worst of them is that plants evolve poisons to prevent their seeds being eaten, because they wouldn’t have a next generation if animals found the seeds palatable and safe to eat — so the worst poisons plants have are put in the seeds, and they turn out to be metabolic inhibitors — enzyme inhibitors.

      But the fruit, generally, is evolved to serve to distribute the seeds, so it’s evolved to be safe to the animals. Potatoes are the only vegetable protein which is of quality equal to egg yolk. It’s actually a little higher in quality because it contains precursors to the essential amino acids; it has more protein in effect than it actually has in substance. And people misjudge potatoes because they are given as 2 to 4%, because wet potatoes are measured, where beans are measured in the dry state and have 40% protein, but…you have to divide the bean protein by 10 to make it equivalent to potatoes.

      NULL: So you’re saying potatoes are good. Dr. Peat, we’re out of time. I want to thank you very much for being with us. Very informed guest, very educational.

      Reply
      • Thanks Jib! =)

        Reply
      • Holy crap Jib! You’re an animal!

        I’m going to put this in the post.

        Reply
      • Nice jib! This helps a lot

        Reply
      • Fantastic, Jib. You da man.

        Reply
        • Thanks, Jib!! I wouldn’t have had time to listen to this, so this transcript of yours has totally made my day! Hope you’re doing well!

          Reply
      • Thanks Jib for this and thanks Matt for putting it in the post….very interesting!

        Reply
      • You’re welcome everyone — thanks for the thanks XD Glad to be of service.

        Reply
        • You’re a lifesaver, I can’t listen to Ray without falling asleep! Thanks very much!

          Reply
      • Thanks Jib, you are a gem. So much easier to read the transcript.

        Reply
  28. Wow. Thanks for the transcript. I have three loud kids, making listening to an audio clip ver-y hard. Okay, impossible. Made much more sense to read it. Great info. Thanks for the link.

    Reply
    • Exactly how much bacon does this woman eat daily?
      The text did not say and I saw four strips of bacon on her plate in the video. Four strips of bacon is not a lot of PUFA, especially since frying removes a lot of the PUFA and bacon fat is about 35 % PUFA if the pigs ate corn or soy. And what else does she eat, which they don’t mention, which may have protective effects?

      According to the article, she worked a life of physical labor and still dances

      Peat has said that a healthy metabolism and exercise can burn off PUFA and not cause problems since they won’t be stored.

      Also there are people who live a long time smoking cigarettes and abusing alcohol. Are cigarettes and excess alcohol the keys to longevity? I know a few people who lived into their nineties but drank lots of alcohol and smoked heavily. There are factors other than diet, like genetics and emotional health, that contribute to longevity.

      Ray Peat cannot stop anyone from eating bacon. Whatever makes your life happy, do it, even if Ray Peat does not approve.

      Reply
  29. Thank you so much for the transcript!! I started to halfway listen, but it was so good I decided to go back when I could focus on it. This will make it even easier!

    Reply
  30. So my TSH levels at 1.5 are actually abnormal. This explains a LOT about the problems I’ve had, namely insomnia, overweight, fibromyalgia, the “tired but wired” feeling… been RRARFing for about 2 1/2 months now and while I still need to lose at least 50-60 pounds (that would put me 20-30 pounds still over “normal” but I’m tall, big boned and muscular) I have more energy than I’ve had in forever and my moods have calmed right down… it’s amazing how eating more of the S’s has really improved how I feel. Scary that the PUFAs hang around for 4 years in your body! I’ve got a lifetime (raised on crisco!!) of shit in my body to get rid of… :(

    Reply
  31. >In eastern Europe, the cabbage and turnip staple diets were major causes of cretinism and >chronic goiter and myxedema

    This is sheer nonsense. Turnip and cabbage were never staple diets. Turnip is used in meat stock, but not much else. Cabbage is widely eaten in Germany and Austria, but no so much in eastern Europe. Goiter used to be quite common, but the underlying cause was the lack of iodine in water and salt. With the addition of iodine in table salt goiter almost disappearead.
    (I live in Eastern-Central Europe and have an MA in history).
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Or on a total fast, they will lose nothing but muscle after the first day. That’s because after >about 12 to 24 hours, your liver has depleted its sugar stores, and at that point it starts turning your muscles and other tissues to sugar, and that would destroy your body very quickly.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Again, this is nonsense. The loss of muscle is minimal, the body will be using fat for fuel as long as there are fat deposits. Juice fasting (although not water fasting) can actually improve athletic performance. The body will first use up what is harmful (hence the healing effect), then the surplus, and then vital tissue. Normally, you would have to fast for at least 30 days before you body starts eating up vital tissue.

    Otherwise thanks for the transcript, it is really great and the content is valuable.

    Reply
    • Centurion, interesting point you make about cabbage not making up such a large amount of the diet of eastern europeans.

      If eating lots of cabbage were a cause of cretinism, etc. then one population you might expect to find above average levels of cretinism would be those Chinese who were children in the People’s Republic of China from around the Great Leap Forward (1958) through the end of the Cultural Revolution (1976). China was pretty much in famine-mode during that entire time. Meat was severely rationed and cabbage was eaten a lot, a whole lot, especially in cities, as were other greens that Peat informs us are so bad for our health. We might expect this population to have a higher rate of hypothyroidism than other groups. I honestly don’t know if that is the case or not. But that is where I would look for proof to corroborate or dismiss Peat’s theories in this regard.

      Probably not worth much, but according to this article, hypothyroidism is on the rise in China. Of course, I am not sure how accurate that is in relation to the time period I mentioned, because I’m not sure how well health statistics were recorded during the Maoist period: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-09/03/c_13476357.htm

      Reply
      • For all I know the staple diet in this region in the 19th century was more like wheat, buckwheat, potato, onion, a little dairy and eggs.
        And how about the Germans eating Sauerkraut all the time? (Or perhaps, fermentation makes a difference, I’m not sure of that). I don’t know much about the Chinese, so I can’t comment on that one.

        Reply
        • Fermenting makes a difference. It clears out all the anti-nutrients and increases probiotics, vitamins, etc. I also ferment potatoes which predigests the starches. I cook the potatoes, let them cool to room temperature and mash them; than add yogurt or kefir or whey (all home made); cover with a cloth and let it sit on the counter for 2 days. When done I season them to taste or fry them in a pan with onions. So delicious.
          http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-fermented-potatoes/

          Reply
          • Are you sure that fermenting makes a big difference in the amount of goitrogens or is this just another internet myth floating out there? I don’t care what “Sally” says, I would like to see some “science”.

    • Saying “nothing but muscle” is definitely sheer nonsense. With you on that one 100%. The body loses both fat and lean tissue in a calorie deficit with a steadily increasing rate of calories coming from muscle tissue as weight is lost – in congruence with a falling metabolic rate seen with weight loss.

      Reply
      • Matt, I’m not sure if Brad Pilon is a trusted authority on this matter, but here’s what he has to say on caloric deficit and metabolism (with citation) in Eat Stop Eat:
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
        The research on metabolic rate and calorie intake is remarkably conclusive. I was easily able to find the following research studies that measured metabolic rate in people that were either fasting, or on very low calorie diets:
        In a study conducted at the University of Nottingham (Nottingham, England),
        researchers found that when they made 29 men and women fast for 3 days, their metabolic rate did not change12. This is 72 hours without food. So much for needing to eat every three hours!

        In another study performed at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, men and women who fasted every other day for a period of 22 days experienced no decrease in their resting metabolic rate.

        Reply
      • But. And this is an important but. If the person is obese or overweight, they will burn mostly fat for quite some time. Maybe a week or longer.

        Brad Pilon shares a lot of the science on fasting on his Facebook…

        Reply
        • A great deal of the research I’ve come across suggests that most obese people, when fasting, will get a higher percentage of their deficit calories from carbohydrate stores and lean tissue than fat compared a leaner person, who oxidize more fat during fasting. The difference is small from what I understand, but has been observed.

          Reply
  32. So…what’s the deal with iron? I’ve just read Peat’s article on it, and it didn’t really clear up my confusion. Because of course we need some.

    I have always been low iron in some way (i don’t understand, or am just beginning to understand) the different ways this is measured.) Currently “low” in ferritin, but within range, and “low” in saturation, but within range.

    But maybe this might be a good thing? I’m sure my ND will want me to go on iron — anyone have info that argues against this? Either because of toxicity or b/c dealing with the thyroid itself may resolve the issue, if there is one… Oh, I wish I could find a good doctor…

    Reply
    • Slightly low levels is probably good. If there is an issue, resolving metabolic issues usually eliminates it. Very few people are failing to consume adequate levels of iron in the modern world, regardless of blood levels.

      Reply
      • There is an adaptation in men of European descent that causes them to retain iron. Its common because this trait was more common with Plague survivors, and the Plague swept through Europe a few times.

        What’s your take on that health issue, Matt? Should we break out the leeches?

        Reply
        • Breaking out the leeches seems a little overly paranoid. But it’s probably best not to overdo the iron. I do, in real life, eat more low-iron dairy over meat, and low-iron fruits over vegetables.

          Reply
      • Look at this article and website. I’m not so sure this is true especially for certain groups such as menstruating women and children especially during growth spurts. Google RDA for women too low and you should find a study published in the journal of hemotology? Can’t remember for sure what the name was. It found that 90 percent of menstruating women were not in iron balance from dietary iron intake and had insufficient iron stores which results in various metabolic dysfunctions as iron is required for many aspects of metabolism. The website is I thyroid. com. The site is no longer maintained and the links are broken which is ashamed because it contains much good info and clues. He has much study data pointing to various mineral deficiencies including iron as factors in hypothyroidism. Interestingly more women have hypo than men and they lose much more blood and are typically very low iron compared to men. It is much more rare to find men with low hemoglobin or iron stores and far fewer are hypo. I don’t agree with peats blanket iron phobia. The body does not just soak up iron like a sponge but has very sophisticated controls and lowers absorption if iron starts getting high. Except in those with hemochromatosis. Most women can particularly menstruating can use more iron than they are getting and it can make a huge difference in their warmth metabolism and energy level. I tend to get anemic and can tell when I need to crank up the iron intake because I get tired and cold. I can take a liquid high absorption iron and feel warmth in my hands feet in a minute or two.

        Reply
        • Sorry I meant google rda iron for women too low

          Reply
    • @Annie A couple of weeks ago I also had a bloodtest done and it came back saying I had very low levels of Iron and Ferritin too. It’s not necessarily gluten,but I recently got told that all grains (aso rice and masa harina) have an abillity to bind minerals to/rob them,one of them being iron&zinc…….So,I’ve now been laying off the riceporridge for a while.
      Last couple of days again,I dont know what to do eat etc. anymore to feel that awesome buzzing sensation,also has a lot to do with this swelling/hydration/dehydration, I used to have for a while.

      My digestion still isn’t really frequent and I think that’s a major part why many people experience ED bc food stays too long in the gut. I think it’s a very complicated issue,sometimes seems like I need much of iron (probably why I’m craving raw canesugar nowadays since I dont feel like eating meat much anymore and laid off the massive amounts of using Him.Salt bc everything started to taste too salty.) but not sure bc it also seems about the rigth balance between sodium/potassium,fluids,salt/simple sugar/pure sucrose balance not even a bit higher fructose/satfats/proteine,mineral balance…….and I’m still confused about fiber in regards to myself.It also seems that the type of sat.fat/fatty acid composition is of importance in my case…

      I get the feeling that sat.fat sources with more MCT’s are important. I even avoid egg(yolks) for a while now. Today I had a bar of chocolate and it did heat me up a little as I think it contained quite some raw cane sugar,fullfat cowmilk powder and the cacaobutter should contain some sat.fats,but my dinner of overripe banana sprinkled with Peccorino(sheepcheese) heated me up way more. I tolerate cowdairy,but sheep&goat dairy makes me warmer….now I heard the latter are both in fatty acid composition the same as mothers milk and higher in MCT’s whereas cowdairy should consist more of Longchain fatty acids….so I’ve heard.

      I also still wonder about how much proteine and why then you actually need lots of carbs&satfats anyway….what it is all used for in the body.One is probably a building block,another energy supplier?

      Anyway,yesterday I had to throw away a batch of maple syrup gelatin gummies that were in my fridge for a while and I probably stored incorrectly……(dont know how long it can be stored). Anyway a couple of them were still good,so I ate them and I noticed they instantly made me warm&feel good. I feel like I could live of Maple Syrup,drinking an entire bottle. From what I understood it has a good deal of iron in it,together with other minerals and I also think the rigth sodium/potassium balance as I feel quite hydrated/not thirsty.

      So,you migth want to try that for your iron levels?
      You can make the gummies (I ligthly grease a tray with CO to prevent sticking,I use 4 cups of water, about 2TBLsp.Gelatin,I just eyeball the amount of Map.Syrup and you can additionally add some vanilla to taste). The addition of a Vit.C source for absorption isn’t necessary bc the gelatin already aids in digestion and the amino acds are prothyroid.
      If you don’t feel like making gummies/jello……you can drink a bit but then I would suggest adding some lemonjuice or maybe some palmsugar to it,I just don’t know the rigth ratio…..

      I’ve heard gelatin isnt really a proteine,but proteine sparing,so I wonder how much less proteine you need to what amount of gelatin?…..as I’ve now also became too scared of proteine bc most cheeses I like are already quite high in proteine per 100gram,which isn’t an exceptionally large piece.

      So yeah,basically I need to experiment with a ‘diet’ consisting of coconut oil&products,Goat&sheep dairy/gelatin,other proteine(I think very lowfat source of cow buttermilk isnt a problem bc it virtually contains no fat) and simple sugars/pure sucrose Maple Syrup,Raw Cane Sugar,Palm Sugar balance which doesn’t leave much fruit apart from overripe banana,lemon(anyone know if there other fruits?any dried fruits?…..but a small amount is already massively high in sugar and do I need to subtract the Fiber?)

      And I have no idea what to make of this mealwise as I don’t really like drinking all my calories such as entirely drinking milk………Any expert here who can offer some nice/fun suggestions?

      Reply
      • Blackstrap molasses is very good. Matt talks about taking Half asses, molasses and half and half. From what I understand calcium inhibits iron absorption so taking it with dairy might not be the best. I have had good luck with floradix and enzymatic therapy ultimate iron for raising ferritin and metabolism/body temps. The study I mentioned about the rda for iron for women being too low held a ferritin of 100 as being replete iron storage wise. At this level adrenal and thyroid hormones can work normally. You also learn about ferritin and its importance for this at the stopthethyroidmadness.com site run by Janie Bowthorpe.

        One poster mentioned supplemental iron being bad because it is oxidative and can irritate stomach and intestines and it being better to just get heme iron from food. My answer to that is that yes heme iron is ideal, but for some at least for a time and for some on a more regular basis that might not be enough. There are iron supplements that are much more gentle and well tolerated like the ones I suggested as opposed to ferrous sultphate the cheap kind. Also, supplementing with vitamin e an antioxidant can counteract adverse iron effects. I had some irritation intestinally when I had ibs and had to take iron because it was so low even though I took the gentle kinds, but vitamin e cleared that right up. It just protects the tissues from damage from oxidant, irritating substances. I have used it for other things too. One time I accidentally inhaled some lye fumes and my lungs hurt. Scared the crap out of me. I took like 1200-1600 units of vitamin e for several days. My lungs felt fine within a few minutes of taking the first dose. Same thing when I used to have intestinal inflammation. Within a few minutes no more pain.

        Reply
        • I know about the molasses,but it makes me so nauseas. even smelling it tepels me.th
          ats why i probably love the maple syrup gummies i made and youre rigth the iron in it heats me up,probably bc the gelatin provides the absorption so theres no need. to add a vitamin c source.

          Reply
  33. Regarding iron: I once did a search of 180DH for iron overload and did not find much. I found out that an excess of iron can damage the organs where it ends up, especially the liver and is associated with diabetes. Given that some of us were eating lots of red meat and if female, losing periods, I wondered if this was something to be concerned about.

    Iron is also added to wheat flour in some countries and I wondered if this could be another reason people have trouble digesting wheat.

    Reply
    • I think iron from plant sources, supplements, and “fortification” is more damaging than the iron (heme) found in animal products. It is more corrosive on the gut lining, and creates free radicals, since it is highly oxidative.

      They think they’re doing us a favor by forcing food manufacturers to “enrich” processed flour with iron (usually ferrous sulfate), but it does more damage in the end.

      Reply
      • I read something interesting in a Joel Wallachs interview a while back. Joel Wallach was the veterinary pathologist for the U of Missouri who was the man who identified diseases in livestock and the deficiencies behind them. Later he took this knowledge and applied to humans becoming a naturopathic doctor. He also started an mlm co which I don’t like but never the less there is a lot to learn from old Joel. In this interview I heard he talked about a study on centenarians done by U of Colorado. They looked for things that these people had in common that might be a factor in their longevity. The biggest factor they had in common was high red meat intake. They almost all ate red meat daily. I wish I could link you right to the interview but I’d have to go looking for it. I don’t know how easy it would be to corroborate by finding the u of c study. But honestly I wouldn’t be surprised. I think most often the opposite of mainstream dogma turns out to be true.

        Reply
        • Actually I misspoke. I read the interview.

          Reply
        • That is complete non-sense.
          Read the NY Times article “The Island Where People Forget to Die”, one of the “Blue zones” of this planet. (Blue Zones are areas withn a abnormally high amount of centenarians)
          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

          Centenarians have been studied to an extreme. For example, the Centenarians on Ikaria have “diet, like that of others around the Mediterranean, was rich in olive oil and vegetables, low in dairy (except goat’s milk) and meat products, and also included moderate amounts of alcohol. It emphasized homegrown potatoes, beans (garbanzo, black-eyed peas and lentils), wild greens and locally produced goat milk and honey.”

          The Ikarian diet completely debunks the whole red meat diet nonsense.

          Reply
  34. Estrogen dominance — seems most people blame low thyroid on ED, but sounds like Peat is saying it’s the other way around, that the liver can’t detox the E.

    Which makes more sense to me. Given the drastic prevalence of ED, I couldn’t reconcile it as a diagnosis of normal agin, when it starts SO young in some (like me — I’m 36), and when progesterone replacement is pretty much considered requisite for all or most women.

    BS. My body isn’t broken by virtue of being a woman. Lots of other reasons it may be all broke, but not because of that. I’ve never been on the pill, I don’t sniff heated tupperware, I eat meat from the farm, drink milk from the farm, and filter my water.

    Reply
    • Which is to say, if it’s not b/c I’m a woman, and not b/c of overwhelming environmental toxins, then perhaps something else LIKE THYROID is wrong.

      (A little tender still that multiple blood tests that I now know show I’m hypo were read as normal… by my alternative health guru no less.)

      Reply
  35. Any thoughts on how to find a Doctor who will actually subscribe thyroid if your levels are “normal”? I have many of the symptoms and when I took thyroid meds in my early 20’s, the symptoms disappeared. Felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. I had energy. I could poop. Brain fog lifted. Etc.

    Reply
      • BTW, tell him I sent you. If I refer 5 people, I get a toy.

        Reply
        • No Toys for you Thomas Seay

          Reply
          • Looks that way Debbie. Have I become such a scourge that others won’t even take my recommendation of Doctors?

    • If you join the Natural Thyroid Hormones yahoo group, they have a list of “good docs” by state.

      Reply
  36. Thanks so much! I gobbled a bunch of potatoes fried in coconut oil today, and plan to continue eating this regularly now. I guess if I add an egg and cheese, it becomes a perfect meal.

    Reply
  37. POTATOES FTW
    love the hag

    Reply
  38. Wow, so these symptoms I had as a kid were low thyroid! Leg pains, fatigue, hypoglycemia, symptoms of PCOS. So I have been living with this for 20 years and dieting that whole time, making things worse. No wonder it is taking a long time to get my temps up out of the 96s.

    Reply
  39. Hmmm, but what about someone with all of these issues, but is thin? I have all the symptoms of a messed up metabolism, adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues, but I am thin, and always have been, no matter what I eat. In fact, I eat A LOT, and get hungry very quickly after eating large meals. What the heck? It’s like I have adrenal fatigue and completely messed up hormones but I metabolize my food real fast. Doesn’t make sense.

    Reply
  40. Matt: So, my TSH level was recently tested to be 2.7. Is he saying that this is bad?

    Reply
    • He believes the lower the better. 2.7 is pretty good though.

      Reply
    • Many would say the cutoff should be 1.5, or so I’m learning, including Christianne Northrup and the Stop the Thyroid Madness folks. So that 2.7 would be considered too high. But there’s a lot to learn about which labs to get and what values are meaningful.

      Reply
  41. So he says when thyroid is low melatonin is low but when it is high melatonin is high right? Why would bumping up melatonin a bit in low people cause a problem? Unless the dose of melatonin was high and not physiologic, and given to people already high in it, this doesn’t make sense to me.

    Reply
  42. In reply to the person above who thinks that because she eats grass fed, and organic and filters her water she has eliminated environmental toxins, I doubt it. I have read info about how scientists find these even in remote places such as the north and south poles. They get distributed through the evaporation cycle in rain, snow etc. it is not possible even by the means you describe to eliminate all perchlorate, pcbs, sodium fluoride, and on and on. You could MAYBE reduce it some, MAYBE. Some toxins are taken out of rain from the distillation process, but some are not and then it contaminates everything it touches. What is left in the water unevaporated is concentrated and then that is used to water your organic veggies and beef.

    There are so many screwed up factors involved in low thyroid and messed up hormones like not enough calories or macronutrients as Matt largely focuses on, then there are micronutrient deficiencies, then environmental toxins, stress, pufas, genes in some people make them more susceptible, and probably more.

    I think our livers are overloaded in many people. And yes, I do think these other factors come first a lot, in other words in this chicken and egg scenario I think these factors very often precede and cause the thyroid and other hormone problems not the other way round.

    I have been reading lately about the great success rate that many women have with using DIM supplements for improving their livers processing of estrogen and estrogen like substances and I would assume other toxins as well. For many their hypo symptoms go away like being cold tired not sleeping well pms and they lose weight. To me this points to there being things that are adversely affecting liver function and that in many the thyroid problem is coming from that not causing that.

    Reply
    • Thanks, I will look into DIM.

      And you’re right. There are other factors I was forgetting in my mini-rant. Like high cortisol, then no cortisol, due to incredible chronic stress; and Domperidone to increase pro-lactin which I took for 12 months to keep pumping breast milk for my son. Since prolactin inhibits progesterone, maybe the estrogen was allowed to increase in that time.

      I do still bristle at the idea that all women need to fix their hormones for most of our lives. But this is a broken world, so who knows.

      Reply
  43. I find it very amusing when people think that everything Ray Peat says is actually correct.
    The guy is just cherry picking studies (some of them very old and probably obsolete) and putting them together to demonize vegetables and vegetarian protein.
    Once i read his recommendation for eating milk, eggs and meat, i was very suspicious, so i did a little research and found out a few “interviews” of Mr. Peat on the website of the Weston A Price Foundation, which are basically a front that produced “research” for the lobby for the meat and dairy industry. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is getting some “research grants” from them.
    The whole idea that eating animal protein is protecting your thyroid while at the same time wrecking your kidneys and increasing your chances of most cancers, is nonsense.
    The link between animal fat, animal protein and heart disease has been proven time and time again. If you have any doubts, Check out T Colin Campbell”s The China Study, or the documentary Forks Over Knives. Seeing real-life heart diseased patients live and longer more healthy life on a vegetarian diet is a lot more convincing that some of the non-sense propaganda in Ray Peat’s “interview”

    Reply
    • @GD

      The Weston A. Price Foundation does not lobby for the “dairy industry”. They antagonize them. They support local dairies that produce unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk.

      “The main sources of support are the dues and contributions of its members. The Foundation does not receive funding from the government or the food processing and agribusiness industries. It does accept sponsorships, exhibitors and advertising from small companies by invitation, whose products are in line with WAPF principles. Sponsors include grass-fed meat and wild fish producers, as well as health product companies.”

      This is a far-cry from a front for the meat and dairy industries. Strong accusations need to be backed up.

      You also made an implication that Ray Peat possibly receives research grants from WAPF. Are you serious? Do you realize they are at odds, especially concerning the benefits of the “essential” fatty acids, which Ray Peat rejects as essential. Mary Enig, from WAPF, even mocked him for this.

      Hardly a cozy relationship. Judge the merits of the contents; of the arguments; of the science; of the logic. Don’t waste time with groups, associations, credentials, et al.

      Reply
      • I wouldn’t waste to much time on this Theo. It’s just some T. Colin Campbell turd sniffer. The only reason he even says that the WAPF is a lobby for the meat and dairy industry is because Campbell was stupid enough to say this at a Veg Source conference as his defense against the findings of Weston A. Price. That defense was about as strong as Campbell’s 8-inch quadriceps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxb7XPm_SxU

        Reply
  44. thank you very much for this matt and jib.

    8-inch quadriceps. you kill me.

    a little anecdote… my pufa “hit” has been less than most. i’ve been intolerant of many pufa foods my whole life. cheap fats in general send me into “everything must go” mode. at 12 years old i learned to avoid these foods. i could get away with manufactured potato chips or a bit of trans fats in crackers and cookies, but nothing deep-fried from any restaurant (cheap or expensive) EVER. fake cheese pizza would just come right back up. most of my life i’ve insisted on real butter. eventually i became a wapfer at about 10 years ago and added coconut oil to my diet.

    i think my pufa “hit” has been less than most. although i have had some minor hormonal issues, i’ve enjoyed wonderful fertility. now, i’m a 50 year old who isn’t struggling as hard as many of her friends with thyroid and hormonal problems.

    Reply
  45. Very interesting info. I have an inability to lose weight and I am always, always hot (this has been going on 20 years so it can’t just be perimenopause) but all my blood tests come back showing normal thyroid function so the doctors refuse to do further testing b/c insurance won’t cover it. My doctor in Washington State thought maybe my slow weight loss is a result of my mom having me on diets all the time as a child and restricting my caloric intake, thus putting me into a permanent starvation mode. Because of this, I have a tendency not to eat very much b/c I was trained not to. My cholesterol was 163, my blood sugars are fine, but my doc wants me to lose like 60 lbs. Easier said than done. Years ago I was working out 30-40 minutes a day, cardio and weights, while eating super healthy. I went up 2 sizes. Frustrated I quit the gym and have never gone back. I still eat pretty healthy and small portions but the weight stays on.

    Reply
    • I can relate to this. It’s so incredibly frustrating to not be able to loose weight. I eat to fullness and go to yoga class – vinyassa flow – 4 times per week, but my excess weight won’t come off….

      Reply
  46. OMG, he sounds like a genius….This interview makes me feel hopeful. I might be able to turn this train around. I am sure I must have low thyroid, I’m cold etc. I will start by quitting all bad fats and eating more dairy products and less grains. However, I wonder if I could eat grains after soaking them to get rid of those thyroid inhibiting toxins?

    Does anyone know if it might be that simple? Homemade bread?

    Reply

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