As we continue to explore the potential role that omega 6 fatty acid overload plays in the creation of the most major modern disease epidemics – such as asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, it’s an appropriate time to closely examine one of Russ Farris’s Cortisol Schematics.
Farris has been led to believe that the hormone cortisol, released in response to inflammation, is an important step in the chain of events leading to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic disease states. I am more or less in full agreement, having entitled a chapter in my latest eBook on reversing type 2 diabetes “Cortisol is All.”
The inflammation connection was strengthened even more yesterday after I googled “inflammation causes leptin resistance” yesterday only to discover that an entire book has been written about how inflammation causes leptin resistance – the bread and butter hormonal connection between low body temperature, decreased lipolysis (fat burning), increased lipogenesis (fat storage), increased appetite, decreased energy levels, and all of the endless array of health problems that stem from this physical state (Mark Starr’s chapter on symptoms of low body temperature for example, is 83 pages long – to give you an idea of how much can go wrong in this state).
Anyway, give this a looksie. I hope to include this schematic in an upcoming guest post at the Fat Head blog, showing the low-carbers that insulin resistance isn’t something caused by carbohydrate consumption, but by factors totally outside the number of grams of glucose in your diet.
Note very closely that Russ’s first step is infection, which he believes is the root of disease (although many other factors can trigger inflammatory reactions, such as environmental toxins, allergens, and so on). He therefore believes that the cause of inflammation is the cause of disease, and that it comes from outside factors… i.e. infections.
Looking at the progression of chronic disease in the 20th century however, and being familiar with the work of countless scholars during that time period, it seems far more likely that the root cause is related to diet and lifestyle somehow. The two biggest changes in diet in the 20th century were the massive rise in the consumption of refined sweeteners, and an even more substantial rise, on a percentage basis, of omega 6-rich vegetable oils in brand new techno foods such as margarine, shortening, and solvent-extracted corn and soy oils. If this indeed accumulates in our tissues, and is the precursor to the “Inflammatory Cytokines” in the diagram below – the substances that do the most cellular damage and invoke the greatest outpouring of cortisol, then the veggie oil connection to chronic disease is VERY POWERFUL.
For more on Russ Farris’s work or that of Mark Starr mentioned above, grab a copy of their books in my Amazon shop.
Click on the image below to see it REAL BIG.
I'm sure you are familiar with Brian Peskin and his assertion that we do not get enough omega 6 because what we get is mostly adulterated and useless. Jimmy Moore interviewed him recently and promptly got an avalanche of comments in response (131!)- as he was VERY controversial.
Do you have any comments on Mr. Peskin's book and/or assertion about omega 6?
I am not worried about omega 6 myself as I don't eat much of the foods that contain it, and never have.
Dr. Perricone writes a lot about inflammation (and antioxidants). He's heavy into wild-caught salmon, low-glycemic fruits (bluberries, acai, strawberries). The book I liked the most was "The Perricone Promise".
I find Peskin's beliefs to be extremely hard to believe. Sounds like another fish oil argument – "Don't take out what is killing you, just supplement with this and you'll live happily ever after!"
I seriously doubt that heart disease and cancer emerged out of relative obscurity because we are now getting insufficient amounts of EFA's. If anything, with the new beliefs about what constitutes as "healthy fats," the awareness about omega 3's, and the massive amounts in the typical person's diet, his theory sounds like some serious hogwash to me.
But I never write things off so easily and quickly. I'll certainly read his book later this year. As of now, I've only watched his video series on Youtube.
Hi, Matt. I blog about cellulite, so how could I not join "Fat Club." And I promise to abide by the first rule of fat club. Sadly, a lot of women try to fast their cellulite away, and this often makes it worse. Thanks for providing all this great info about fat!
Thanks Melissa and welcome. Love to see where your investigation takes you! Keep us posted.
Peskin has many marks of a crank:
* Inflated titles.
* Ridiculous endorsements.
* Persecution complexes.
* Comparison with other lone geniuses of the past.
* "Ignorance is strength" arguments; i.e., being an outsider let's me see things specialists cannot see.
* Motor mouthing like a maniac.
None of this disproves what he has to say. Sometimes misunderstood geniuses are correct. But the idea of EFA shortage stretches the imagination.
But what if damaged EFA offsets undamaged EFA? What if the offset is greater than 1:1? Then, supplementation via pill or diet change of undamaged EFA could be useful, especially while cutting back on the damaged EFA.
So I'm throwing in a few fresh raw nuts and seeds, and quitting the mayo, and see what happens, if anything. I may even buy his book(s) one day.
I will say this in Peskin's favor: fish oil pills don't make me feel better overall. Then again, neither do omega-3 pre-EFAs.
I know you've made a few comments about looking into possible ways of speeding up the metabolic heeling process and perhaps heading off some of the interim weight gain. Obviously, one person's experience is hardly conclusive of anything, but I just want share my experiences over the past 6 months or so regarding things I've been doing to achieve more optimal health.
I read you blow, and also Stephan's and Peter's. I've also read NAPD and Nourishing Traditions. All of these sources have shaped my thinking. I got started in this because I needed to learn how to cook. I finally have a place with a decent kitchen. i don't remember exactly how I found NT of all possible cookbooks, but I'm really glad I did. (I'm also very fond of a thrift store find–Julia's Child's The Way to Cook.)
I started out with okay health, a little overweight, but still probably smaller than average–average is such a strange thing these days. I didn't think of myself as unhealthy. Like some other people on this blog, I did ultra low-fat and lots of cardio for years when I was younger. It never got me what i was hoping for. I had just sort of resigned myself to not being one of those "glowing good health" sorts of people. Then I found your site. I discovered my temp was about ~97 F on a good day. This was after eating WAPF-style for a few months.
As of today, I've lost ~10 lbs overall, lost fat, gained a little muscle, temp is almost exactly 98 F or 99F consistently (lower in first half of the month, then shoots up), skin is better, teeth are better, mood is better, BMs are better, sleep is better…
What I did:
1) Ate the Food
I ate as little Omega 6 as feasible for me. I find it convenient to eat from a fairly small list of my favorite meals, so I can tell you exactly what my diet consisted of. From most to least consumed by volume:
– Home-brewed kefir from raw milk (at least a quart everyday)
– Steak (grass-fed, with sauce of pan juices, red wine, and creme fraiche)
– Lindt 85% dark chocolate
– Avocados (organic, eaten plain, yum)
– Eggs (no-soy feed)
– Shrimp (wild-caught, with thyme, oregano, butter, lemon)
– Clams with lemon
– Beef jerky and bison jerky for when I'm lazy (grass-fed, no nitrites, no MSG)
– Roasted chicken (whole bird, no-soy feed, with skin)
– Chicken stock (made from leftovers from above)
– Real pickle before almost every meal
– Broccoli, carrots, or asparagus as a side, when i feel like it
– Basic cooking stuff: butter, coconut oil, salt, pepper
(continued in next post)
(continued from previous post)
– High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil (I chose to go with the fermented kind), ~1 Tbsp daily
– Butter Oil, 3-4 capsules daily
– Coconut Oil, ~1 Tbsp daily, only if I'm not cooking with it that day
– Mineral Supplement (magnesium, selenium, etc., including iodine)
For a while I used Lugol's, but I stopped. Still, I mention it because that might have contributed to my good results.
– Pro-biotic supplement
– Kava (for possible effects of adrenal support. I'm still a little skeptical, but i like how I feel when I take it. ;)
3) The third factor, and the reason why I'm writing: One meal per day M-F and absolutely no snacking between meals. This started because I forgot my lunch a few days and didn't want to eat crap fast-food near the office, but I noticed good effects almost immediately. You don't seem to be a big fan of "intermittent fasting," but I think you should consider this as a way to heal the metabolism with plenty of good food without causing a lot of initial weight gain. My experience may be a fluke, but maybe not. My thought process (or possibly rationalization) came from Peter's blog. He talks a lot about metabolic disorder as a symptom of liver disease, which is caused by excess Omega 6 and fructose. The way I envision it (which may be totally wrong) is that skipping breakfast and lunch forces the liver to let loose of some of its crap before it's called on to handle the next meal. But leptin levels are maintained by eating lots of good, nutritionally-dense food until completely satisfied once per day.
Just some food for thought. Thanks so much for your blog.
Obviously, I meant "blog," not "blow." And I should have mentioned coffee in my diet. About 1-2 cups per day. I've tried to give it up before, but I eventually decided that I could either give up coffee or keep my job, but not both. I'm just not as sharp without it.
Not to make it all about me me me, but I'm looking at that chart in the context of my latest adrenal test, which was bad — not too much cortisol, but way too little.
Does that mean I've already blown through what's going on in the chart, and I and others with adrenal fatigue have even more inflammation because there's not enough cortisol to quench it? (or to get out of bed for that matter…)
Looking forward to the Feb eZine!
Yes, I would like to know what your thoughts are on cortisol that's too LOW. Two years ago mine was measured at about half of normal in the morning and nearly zero by 10 pm (low average in between). I could hardly get out of bed… I'm hoping that eating this way will support my adrenals and balance them out in the opposite direction (along with natural thyroid meds to support my low thyroid.)
@Lacey: Very interesting stuff! Thanks for sharing! First of all, yay for kefir! Consume it daily, but probably less than a cup per day and plan to increase the amount. Do you think that kefir was/is an important part of your diet? Also your diet seems very very low-carb to me. Am I correct there or did you just leave out some stuff?
Also I have to agree with you and disagree with Matt on the point of intermittent fasting. At the moment I still agree that intermittent fasting is nonsense for someone who tries to heal his metabolism, even though I'm not 100% sure about that either, but I don't wanna risk anything.
I know it may sound like starvation, but the way you have to think about it, is in terms of temporal over- and underfeeding. And overfeeding certainly does raise the metabolism. (The question is whether chronic or temporal overfeeding is the better choice, after all, if your body gets used to overfeeding, is it still overfeeding?). Have you heard of the Warrioir Diet btw, Matt? Only heard a bit of it and I'm not yet sure what to make of it.
Whatever, my point is that when you look at things like this or also at websites like leangains where people are putting on tremendous amounts of muscle thanks to intermittent fasting it seems really hard to argue for me that intermittent fasting (as long as you still consume enough calories, which is the greatest risk coming with intermittent fasting imo. Apart from the chronic stress it induces, which might be beneficial to a healthy person, but certainly is detrimental to anyone who tries to heal/de-stress) is anything like chronic starvation.
Oh and also, that whole cortisol thing is very interesting to me. As I have a really hard time getting out of bed as well. I'm guessing this is because my adrenals are still too shot to regulate my cotrisol levels in a decent way.
Interesting feedback everyone. As for low cortisol, that's just a symptom of adrenal fatigue, which also probably plays a key role in having a low body temp. There's no question that raising adrenal output will raise the body temperature. The only question is, is this an authentic and healthful raise of the body temperature, or is it doomed to burnout? I believe that the use of stimulants is not the way to achieve a healthy body temperature or metabolism in general. I believe intermittent fasting probably has some of the same effects, but am not sure. I am very skeptical.
This brings up a great point though, in that we should all be detectives of what increases body temperature and overall health. Only problem is, some things can be very misleading. Low-carb seemed to do that for me, and then ended in catastrophic backfire after a few years – probably due to some adrenal burnout, as evidenced by heightened allergenicity and dark coloration under my eyes.
Then again, maybe it all stemmed from the fact that my high fat diet was very high in omega 6 – even without the veggie oils.
I have not read the Warrior Diet, but I am familiar with it somewhat.
I'm certainly keeping an open mind about how we can achieve true, fundamental metabolic healing. Pretty steady overfeeding without any exercise over the past few months has brought my body temp. up 1.4 degrees F. None of it can be linked in any way to adrenal stimulation from exercise, stimulants, or otherwise.
Much to be sorted out in the years to come.
Then again, maybe a high basal temperature isn't the be-all end-all of health? I mean, my morning temps have been 98.2+ for over a month now. My metabolism is clearly running on all cylinders, or close it, since I haven't gained any weight at all in six weeks at 4000 kcal/day while doing no exercise but a few miles of walking a day,(compared to when I first began the HED and gained almost 30 pounds in three weeks)
But I do still have some health issues:
– High blood pressure (142/92 at my last reading)
– High fasting glucose (95 last I checked)
– Sleep problems
– Face bloat (comes and goes, but has been worse the past week)
– Failing the adrenal pupil test
– Very high appetite for someone my size
– Occasionally cold feet
– Past few weeks I've had very dry and cracked lips, it went away a few days ago though, this struck me as odd since my skin has been fine otherwise
I am seeing signs of improvement, my stomach is usually calmer between meals now, I can manage to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep more often than not, and I may be getting better at the pupil test. Just saying it seems, at least in my case, that getting the basal temperature up was just the first step in the healing process. And despite indications that being overweight may not be unhealthy, I still carry way more excess fat than I'd like to. I mean, my shinbones frequently start to ache after less than a mile of walking, which I can't imagine should happen at ones optimal weight.
Yes. The basal metabolism is certainly not a panacea for all things. The likelihood that a person will feel and perform better at that temp. is MUCH higher though. Eventually I see much of that weight coming off of you. There's just no way that you'll be able to continue eating that much food indefinitely, and any drop back down to normal caloric intake will probably trigger serious weight loss.
But there are no 'definites.' Thanks for your input. All good to know and take into consideration.
I guess my diet is pretty low-carb, but not on purpose. I just eat what I like. When I want something "sweet," that is when I drink my kefir. I make it on the less sour side, so there are still some carbs. And I culture a half-gallon a day (every Sunday I get a delivery of 4 gallons). Very little goes to waste, so i know I drink a LOT. Love the stuff. Also, there are two things I notice now that I left out before: (1) onions–I often saute an onion to go with my steak and (2) maki (sushi rolls) when I have to do a work dinner or lunch, so that includes some white rice.
Also, I don't necessarily recommend so much CLO. I had Bitot's Spots, which I learned were a clear sign of Vitamin A deficiency. Thus the megadosing. The spots seem to be gone now, so I will cut way back soon.
Thanks for the recommendation about the Warrior Diet. I will look into it.
Thanks for the update
What was your initial basal temp? How long til you got to +98.2 every morning.
I am skeptical of this but I have read that for every year you consider yourself damaged, it takes about 1 month the erase that year.
So example would be; 12yrs of crappy eating and whatever symptoms accumulated, it takes 1yrs of repair and rebuilding.
I suspect with my slow rising temps and long list of things I would like to heal, that I will be healing for sometime.
But am on this path for good…
@Lacey: Actually that Warrioir Diet thing was directed to Matt. Your eating style seems to be very similiar to that already anyways, so I don't think there's much of a need for you to look into it that much.
Matt,have you heard about Jorge Cruise "the belly fat cure" book.He has you cut sugar to a max of 5gms per meal and allows 40gms starch per meal.Then he advises to use full fat cheeses,meats(bacon)and heavy cream.I just was reading up on it and found it very close to your ideals.
Browsed through Jorge's 3-hour diet. Not the worst thing ever, but pretty lame. His new recommendations sound pretty decent. Like the original 180 Metabolism. I'll check it out.
I've bought and read all of your ebooks, Matt, and have learned much from them. I am super appreciative of those works and also this forum. I'm still processing the Brian Peskin videos. Aside from his personal presentation issues, the substance seemed very compelling to me, but I'm not in a position to evaluate the science. Can you share what the errors are that you mentioned in one of your recent comments? Also, I am wondering about eating high omega 6 whole foods, such as pastured poultry, etc. My understanding is he would say those are fine–it's the damaged omega 6 oils that are the problem–is that right? Whereas you are saying that all omega 6, even undamaged and from otherwise wholesome foods, may be a problem if the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is already unbalanced in your tissues–correct? Thanks for your help clarifying this–it seems really crucial.
Lame is the word I was searching for, thanks Matt.
In a way it's like 180 for dummies.
However, I do think his approach is an effective way to reach the ignorant masses.
And cutting out sugar is going to be adequate for most people.
I'm going to find it interesting to see over my lifetime how the food industry responds to growing awareness in this area. Hmmm
Yes, the most amazing health turnarounds I've ever seen were always achieved with one piece of advice and one piece of advice only – "Don't eat any sugar/sweets including natural sugars."
The only problem is, most people cut sugars out, have miraculous health turnarounds, get upregulated, and then have some sweets. Then they become more addicted than they ever were before. But still, great healing can be achieved just in a matter of weeks. For my own father, 2-months sugar free had health benefits that lasted for several years.
My temp was at 96.5 when I started. Took me about 5 weeks before it changed significantly, and another 7 weeks or so until it rose consistently to 98.2+
Thanks for sharing Colld?n, that was a quick temp change!
I'm at four months on HED with temp running at 97.2 in the morning, up from 96.8. Rising about .1 per month it seems. Only 10lbs weight gain for me so far.