A Scandinavian 180D reader recently wrote in with a series of questions. I thought I would take the time to publicly answer those questions so that it would satisfy everyone’s curiosities as to my responses. Please excuse the errors. English isn’t her first language…
Hi! I wich you would write something more about whole grain and legumes, regarding linoleic acid. Are really such big amounts of linoleic acid in these? I know the percentage is high, but the total amount? And compared to legumes (that I cant eat anyway since they seams to get stuck in my stomach like a stone)?
The total quantity of linoleic acid in grains, and legumes especially,?is fairly small, usually far below 5% of total calories as was reported on the omega 6 chart I posted many years ago HERE. And you’re right that total quantity matters more than anything?else. Generally-speaking, however, whole grains offer?relatively few health advantages over refined grains, especially in the context of an otherwise fairly nutritious diet. These points were made well in Anthony Colpo’s Whole Grains, Empty Promises, which I?narrated myself. Plus,?people typically enjoy refined grains and often digest them much better–and these contain no PUFA at all. While the total content may be fairly low in whole grains, this is a pretty easy place to lower your total PUFA intake. It requires?no willpower.
I also wonder if you think of PUFAs in general as something bad, if one should limit omega 3 intake also, in the way Ray Peat or Dany Roddy thinks. I live in an area where people ate mackerel and herring quite often (Swedish west coast) and it is colder than in Africa of course. Maybe larger intake of these fishes suits here. We ate herring, mackerel and trouts as long as people lived here. The book traditional nutrition about Price and blue zones, made me notice that fatty fishes where eaten where they was easy to catch, and, the colder climate, the more of those fishes are living in the sea. It’s also colder for the people. For now, I eat 1-2 portions per week, skipping all fish oils or cod liver oils since some months.
Theoretically-speaking, I do think all PUFA can generally be regarded as?not ideal by virtue of the?fact that they are highly unstable and lead to faster aging via the production of lipid peroxides. Lipid peroxides?play a direct role in many degenerative ailments and?play?a central role in aging in general. You can?be perfectly healthy, well-fed, and have wonderful teeth eating lots of nutritious, cold-water fish as a dietary staple, but that still doesn’t make it ideal. Plus,?who knows now that our oceans have been polluted and fish contain much higher levels of known carcinogenic compounds.I’m not saying that?fish was healthy then and isn’t now, but it’s?certainly possible, and we shouldn’t?be blinded to such a possibility.
However, before we put a nail in the coffin of PUFA, including omega 3, context matters tremendously.The cells, tissues, organs, and breast milk of modern humans have outrageously large quantities of omega 6 polyunsaturated fat. Omega 3 polyunsaturated fat, such as that found in?cold water fish, is known to counteract many of the negatives of excess omega 6 tissue accumulation. While it may seem like fighting fire with fire, if?a person is not planning on eating a long-term super low-omega?6 diet (not easy in the modern world when omega 6 oils are pervasive to our entire food supply), supplementing with omega 3 might be the better option. I’m not adamantly against it by any means, I just don’t advocate taking large quantities of fish oil with a clear conscience knowing that it is an alternative that is not ideal, and could have?long-term side effects.
It’s also important to remember that PUFA content of a food is only one aspect of the food in isolation. Wild-caught fish contains many things beneficial to health, such as high quantities of selenium and Vitamin D, among other things. The same could be said of nuts and seeds, rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, which keep the nuts and seeds from going rancid. Perhaps the nutrients in these foods could counteract many of the negative aspects of consuming large quantities of vegetable oil and Arachidonic Acid, and may be why the research?on the consumption of nuts and seeds definitely shows universal health improvements in the general population (still doesn’t make them “optimal foods,” it’s just the context has given them faux health properties).
Lastly, don’t get too enamored with long-lived peoples. The greatest known longevity factor ever discovered is being small in size. If you’re a normal-sized human or bigger, you can probably forget about living past 100, even if you go and live with?a bunch of dwarf-Japanese people (Okinawans).
And lastly (for real this time), don’t get too?enamored with ancestral or traditional diets?either. While clearly mankind?has taken?agriculture, food, and’the human lifestyle in some?unhealthy new directions,?dealing with mediocre health in the present moment is not as’simple as?returning to a utopian health?environment, even if it was feasible (it’s a pointless conversation really, because it’s not). If it was I could have wrapped up this health investigation of mine after six months.
I hope you could come with some input about linoleic acid in grains and legumes, and PUFAs with DHA/EPA included.
Not to get a new hard diet, but because it is interesting, and since I am so happy with eating the same all the time, that I ALLWAYS are at risk for problems due to little variation.
It is interesting, but I suggest you take interest in gourmet food instead of health and nutrition information, and seek out a wide variety of yummy things for pure hedonic pleasure. It does a body good! And tastes way better than cod liver oil.
About the Author
Matt Stone is an independent health researcher, author of more than 15 books, and founder of 180DegreeHealth. He is best known for his research on metabolic rate and its central role in many health conditions as well as his criticisms of extreme dieting. You can read more of his work in over 500 free articles on the site or in his books HERE.
Excellent as usual. I’ve been reading your site for some time now and maybe you already have and I just missed, but have you ever done a review of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration? I would love to hear your thoughts on it as a single work, as it’s one of those books that no matter how far I’ve moved away from the Paleo/Ancestral health thing I still seem to get sucked in by it. I re-read it like once a year for seemingly no reason. Does his research hold up? Is there more of it available online that can be parsed through or fact checked?
Anyway I’d love an article like that, and I wouldn’t trust another writer but you to do it.
I’ve written a little bit. I did a whole newsletter on it back in 2009. Don’t know where that is now, lol. It certainly should be taken into account in any belief system, and is part of the bigger picture, but it’s not the whole story nor does it provide all the answers to the modern health dilemma if you know what I mean.
Hope you have time to comment here with a link to that newsletter if you find it :)
And I think almost all of us 180DH-followers learnt, often the hard way, that one single supplement or food is NOT the answer, as is not restricting very much on something either. Or that one diet would suit all (how could it, if one got sick from lowcarb and the other from lowfat? And there are billions of other ways to get sick)
As I am not 23 years old anymore, I have seen some hypes come and go. Lowfat, fear of eggs, fear or the opposite of dairy, meat, carbs (there was some hype where people thought they could skip all but carbs and not gain weight, leading to binge eating on carbs since the whole thing became som unbalanced – I mean, just tell some binge eating overweight they can eat all the potatoes and bread they want – the outcome was very different from the outcome from what we here are trying, when we KNOW not to feel bad, compensate or get stressed when eating) and now it is a hype for “drink, no BATHE in fish oil and fats” (where some are promoting whatever fat, and the lowcarb paleo community talks about skipping industry fats). I also seen some hypoes in the dog world, but Lott recently made me realize that dogs has up to 22 genes for break down carbs, while wolves has 4. I am glad now that I did not really dare take all the carbs away from my dogs. There for sure are a lot of modern foods with animal parts only, for dogs. Good parts, but no carbs at all. And a lot of modern hype superherbs in there too that I guess not suits every dog. (Ok, one carb there.) And not to forgot, unrefined super oils with LA. Wolves ate flaxseed oil? I guess not.
I don’t really believe in those hypes anymore, but still have to work through how to think about linoleic acid and how I will handle since I am that kind of person that easily can get too little even from that, and of course, get obsessed.
Sorry to drift away from Nick’s topic so much. Hope it’s ok.
I’ve always been baffled by the outright contradictory beliefs held by the health-nerd community (PUFA very bad) and the medical establishment (PUFA very good)
To be honest I’ve never bought into this PUFAs = Voldemort shtick. For starters the Ray Peat explanation sounds silly: cold water animals would be stiff if they ate saturated fat, so they eat PUFA and that’s ok, but humans are too warm for PUFAs, blah blah. Err, what about Eskimos (darlings of low carbers)? Why aren’t they stiff as a board eating all that sat. fat in the cold? Hell, what about Canadians and Russians?
Also, isn’t oxidation the process by which you break down food in order to get its micros and calories? And everything oxidizes by the way. If you chop up a salad in the morning for you dinner, by the time you eat it it’s oxidized and lost 40% of it’s micros.
Finally, the vegans make a good point by saying that the fact that sat. fat is so stable is actually the reason why it’s so bad: your body can’t get rid of it, and it sits there in your arteries.
P.S. Gut bacteria are a hot topic now, and the research has clearly shown that high amounts of sat. fat harm your (good) gut bacteria.
In the end i agree with Matt: fat should just be a condiment to your starch. (Sorry for the long reply).
But eskimos are not cold blooded animals in cold water but warm blooded animals in clothes, and they eat a lot of Omega 3 I think (the fish, and all the animals feeding on cold water animal life). i also heard such people had more bleeding related problems, but did not see any study on it.
But I also wonder if one REALLY should limit ALL PUFAs as much as I think (if i understood correctly) Peat recommends.
I also THINK different oxidation is more or less bad. Maybe Stone knows more. I mean, the difference between an oxidized apple and oxidized oil. Rancid oil should be worse than oxidized apple. There are also oxidized magnesium that people eat in large amounts to get the gut going.
I think the best is to not jump on diet hypes. There was never any good coming from avoiding this or that totally, or eat ONLY this or that (for more than a few, either healthy enough, or so sick they MUST avoid). And eating “like our ancestors” is hard due to a long row of things. It can go so wrong. We have to somewhat combine “just eating” with some facts that can make us navigate a little without getting obsessed or make faults that will cost us.
I remember my smug self telling somebody that you should keep this certain oil in the fridge otherwise it will oxidize and become bad for you… And they said “But when I grill my fish I still get my omega-3, right?” and I was just like “Ummm” (Doh!)
skeptic, it is appropriate that you quoted the vegans, because like them you are an idiot.
Thank you for a great answer. I am the Scandinavian that should read through her text to find errors before sending. I clearly see that LOL
I appreciate your sound thinking about these things.
There is a lot written about PUFAs, but sometimes a text stated as a text about PUFAs really just is about linoleic acid, but it’s not stated very clear. Stuff like “minimize as much as you can” can then be confusing.
What you have written is somewhat how I think myself (even though I am not as experienced and so on, so I have not advanced as much) and I am glad you took the time to write this.
I really am about to minimize LA to try what happens (I will get the amounts needed since I take some borago that helps so much I do not stop it). I stopped Green pastures cod liver oil, and Eskimo3 fish oil, but keep eating wild caught Alaskan pink salmon, mackerel and some herring from as good waters as possible (in my country we are well informed about poison in fatty fishes). Maybe eat some extra if I have to eat “too much” LA.
After reading Danny Roddy and Ray Peat, i started wondering very much about ALL PUFAs, not just LA, and I am really glad to read what you had to say about it. Roddy and Peat, do recommend to minimize both due to oxidation, if I got it correctly (if I am wrong here, please correct me).
Of course, people must always been eaten both fish and nuts. But today – people can get too much since one can buy at any time – as much as wanted. I actually lost 10 kg (20 something pounds) some year ago, just from stopping eating peanuts and cashews! That was a lot of nuts (and I was not near overweight, got underweight from stopping eating those nuts). That would differ from how we are meant to eat nuts, I think. When someone says nuts has factors that make them good or “not bad” people tend to bake A LOT from nuts, and drink nut and seed oils for some small amounts of some factor.
Both Chris Kresser, and “food department/authorities” in Sweden, recommends about 300 grams fatty fish a week. Kresser recommends the double if eating more LA. I will follow that 300 grams (approx.) for now. Sorry, I have to plan, otherwise I would eat fish like “not today, tomorrow” – or – every day. :P
Sadly enough for my length of life: i am 6 feet tall and woman. On the other hand, my ancestors was tall and almost 100 so I keep trying then :D
At last: thanks for your work. It really helps me and others. It is hard to feel like “the only one thinking like this” and believe in what one are doing. With others thinking the same, one can work on proceeding instead of arguing with others that believes in GAPS/LCHF/Paleo lowcarb/vegan for everyone.
(yes, my blog says GAPS and others, but I haven’t figured how to change it yet, but did change in mind and posts)
matt! groupie moment! i love your blog, i love your writing, i love your attitude and i love that you have steered me towards sanity every time my anorexia past/orthorexia issues flare up in my life! i love tot refer to your writing and ethos on food! thank god i found your blog all of those years ago! thanks again!
Yes Lucy! I need more groupies, lol.
This is off topic but just want to let you know, Matt, that your advice has lead me to a 99.7 body temp after eating a bowl of homemade tomato soup. TOMATO SOUP Matt (with tortilla strips fried in coconut oil and a little gelatin)! I was like WHY AM I SO HOT so I checked my temp out of curiousity. What does one do at this point, move to an arctic climate? I live in California and I’m melting! I also need a new job cuz I can’t sit still!!! Lol, thanks for all you do Matt and sending virtual hugs. Watching pufas is the -Tara
YES!! I would love to see an answer to this. I am hot all day long. Everyone else around me may be bothered/annoyed by a hot day, but I’m sitting in front of fans trying to cool myself down from the time I get up.
I love this fact during the winter because I hardly need my heater any more, but once May rolls around here in So Cal, I am miserable for months. I add more liquids and liquidy-type foods, but to no avail. People tell me it’s probably menopause, but this isn’t a hot “flash,” it’s a “hot-all-day-long”!!
Help us, Matt!!
Sorry, meant to say “watching pufas is the ONLY health rule I follow now since reading your info btw.” -Tara
Well, the problem with almost all dietary approaches can be broken down to this maxim: If a lot of a food is bad for you, then even a little is bad for you, so don’t eat it at all. If some of a given food is good for you, then a lot will be even better.”
Hate to say it, but I think Matt’s “Eat For Heat” has even made the above mistake. “If carbs and sugar are good for you, then a lot of them are even better.” This has made a lot of people fat and miserable. I don’t care how many degrees over 98.5 F they reach.
My approach now is to eat a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing…and don’t expect miracles even then.
Echo what Thomas says… What I’ve found over the years is to simply stop listening to people on the internet who espouse some kind of “gonzo” lifestyle/diet/exercise plan. There are many things in all of the current trending diets that eating a lot of is probably not that good for you. A lot of meat, a lot of whole grains, a lot of 6 carbon molecule sweeteners, a lot of omega 3 etc. Same with exercise. Plus how do we know that the people saying that they do all that are really doing it? It is the internet after all;) If someone tells me to eat a lot of anything I am skeptical now. Same goes with saying to eliminate all of one food group or nutrient like carbs or PUFA.
Eating a lot is intended advice for those suffering various signs that are common when an insufficient amount of food is ingested. Once metabolic rate returns to normalcy, as it typically but not always does during a brief period of refeeding, the idea is to transition to an instinctual, relaxed approach that is governed by internal cues–as it pertains to what to eat, how much, and also how much to exercise for the most part. This is made abundantly clear at every turn on this site and in my materials, and has been made clear since the beginning. There have been instances where I’ve felt necessary additional encouragement has been needed, and overly enthusiastic sentiments about sugar or saturated fat might have been put on display. But I clarify this and put it into the proper context whenever I’m given the opportunity to do so.
This is off topic, but I am a relative newcomer and I have a question. I am 73 years old with numerous health issues. My temperature averages about 96.5. Is there anyone else who fits that description? Can I hope to get that number up, or am I just stuck with feeling tired and lousy?
Carolyn, My temps used to be mid-95 to mid-96 range. Now I’m mid-97 since not being so restrictive. My hands, feet, and nose are no longer frigid. I’m still working on improving my health overall, but progress is being made.
BTW, I’m 60 yrs old.
Thank you for this Matt. I was just wondering about it the other day.
I think it’s unfortunate that all PUFA’s get lumped together, when it is really the linoleic acid (all omega-6 fatty acids really, with LA being the principle one found in seed and legume oils) that does the damage by amplifying the inflammatory signals (after LA is turned into arachidonic acid in the body) that are often inappropriate to begin with, owing to glycine deficiency. Outside of the seed and legume oils (BTW, peanuts are legumes; not really nuts.), nut oils–especially walnut oil–has a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6, and I think they’re healthy, providing of course, that they are not rancid (oxidized). Arteries are not blocked simply by fatty deposits accumulating from the wrong kinds of fat, but rather, by the cumulative effect of chronic inflammation, inappropriately triggered after normal micro-injuries that occur from normal turbulence at arterial branch points. Only in a glycine-deficient state does cellular injury provoke an inflammatory response to begin with. I’ll have more molecular metabolic specifics regarding how glycine figures into the nutritional amino acid balance in my next post on this blog.
I think chinese medicine hit the nail on the head when they say – anything not digested properly turns to phlegm. If all our digestive systems worked perfectly where would the problem be ? the good would be retained and the dross properly discarded. My digestion may not be as strong as others; I would never feel like a salad or ice cream in winter, so I just don’t eat it. For my son , who was born with congenital difficulties – glutamate, and glycine – as a brain glutamate receptor excitotoxin are a big problem. It’s horses for courses, so whilst good information is most useful and I love Matt Stone, paying attention and being aware of our individual responses to various foods has to be the place to start.
True, there are idiosyncratic responses and intolerances toward many nutrients, including those whose metabolism does not properly clear glycine (as I have noted in earlier comments on this blog.) But I still maintain that the vast majority of people are glycine deficient, by virtue of eliminating the main sources of glycine from high-protein foods, while consuming an over-abundance of methionine. I will explain in detail in due course.
displacing / counteracting AA isnt the only benefit of fish oil. DHA is an important building block in the brain and eating fish 3 times or more per week will supply the optimum level of PUFAS.DHA is also important for sperm and erythrocytes (red blood cells). In the often blinding eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), RP patients compared to normals had far lower DHA in blood and sperm. The RP patients had fewer and lower quality sperm. Since DHA is found in many tissues, the abnormalities in one tissue may share a similar biochemical cause as in other tissues. PUFAS dont need to be eliminated, just kept at evolutionarily consistent levels of intake (which is actually a pretty small % of total calories).
I agree. When I was a kid (1950’s), my parents used to make us eat fish, telling us it was “brain food”. Many years later, some clinicians working on elderly patients with dementia determined the ideal omega 3/omega 6 ratio for brain health was about 1:4, which I found was the same as in walnuts (which also have lots of omega 9 and saturated fat.) They also have about 10% of low-methionine protein, 10% fiber, an appreciable amount of salicylic acid and loads of great anti-oxidants. So walnuts seem to me an almost perfect and complete food, which I have some of every day, and have for over 20 years. Back then my students even used to call me “Professor Walnut” for a while! (Now they sometimes call me “Professor Glycine”.) BTW, walnuts do go rancid pretty easily. A good thing about Diamond walnuts is that they are packed with some BHT, a synthetic antioxidant that works quite well. Of course, when you crack open a walnut, what do you find? Looks like brains to me! (Just sayin’).
There’s definitely another side to that story Marcus. http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fats-functions-malfunctions.shtml
Hi Matt first of all wanted to thank you for pointing out the error of my ways. I was seduced by low carb paleo going zero carb. Luckily for me I used to live the way you recommend i.e eating a lot and very lazy weights training lots of naps and sleep low stress life etc and I was definitely the better for it thus what you teach made a lot of sense to me. I seem to wake up with 97.8-98.1 type temperatures then crash a little in the morning after breakfast to 97.4 ish i’m eating things like porridge with whole milk salt and butter and buckwheat pancakes with butter and maple syrup and ice cream. I was wondering if you have any tips or ideas why this might be my temperature does seem to climb back up again by the end of the day though the highest I ever seem to get is around 98.0 mark the with the very occassional 98.4 or 98.6.
well, i am different eating a lot of fear foods (that was pretty much everything)
I don’t know what what to make of this info in context for my current food problems. To get over some of these stupid fears , I have been relying on lots of processed food that has sauces, cheeses, fat etc. This way I am not faced with putting the stuff together at meals and continue to revert back to safe McDougall food in massive volumes. I have been ignoring the PUFA in these prepared foods and the HGC.
I think my extremely low weight will kill me before the PUFA
As I am going through podcasts I realized that my mind likes the more clean foods , whole foods of all food groups (ie. Stephan G.)
BUT then i listened to your conversation with Caroline Haagen. I it was like a kick in the ?.. I have been fixing my health for decades (I am one of those stupid suckers in their mid 50’s) and am more dead than alive .
I have to stop thinking of this as an immediate intervention to be endured for a season. Then I can eat healthy again. (because it worked so well the last time)
On an upbeat, my social life life has improved because I am not an A..hole about my Healthy DIET. .
I loved Caroline’s attitude and yes a healthy mind is much better than perfect physical health (that is not even achievable w/o a healthy mind)
I really am starting to feel that way even though my days I don’t have to be on dialysis are numbered.
Thanks so much – it was great to hear that you really do practice the stuff you encourage us to do.
sorry this is so long. I think I just had to own it out loud.
How pleasant is to check on 180? health to discover that it
finally has came back to digestible form.
12 years ago when I moved from warm Southern California to freezing Seattle, Washington I developed such unanswerable and debilitating food intolerances that I could not. get. out. of. bed. for days, months, years….
After trying the GAPS diet I had such terrible reactions to bone broth (which I figured out later was due to the gelatin) that I ended up in the ER because I couldn’t breathe. I finally figured out that the only food I could eat without a reaction was fish, interestingly enough. So I ate all kinds of wild salmon, shellfish and some fresh water fish and cooked it in all kinds of ways (or not at all).
After a few months I grew incredibly sick of fish but I have to say that it not only kept me alive but I started to feel healthier, get some energy back and my digestion started to improve as well. In fact I finally started to be able to eat more foods again. I can eat pretty much anything now.
I started to get intense cravings for nuts (especially pecans) I’m assuming to balance out my Omega’s. I also had unbearable cravings for mass amounts of raw milk.
After following Matt Stone’s helpful advice to recover my metabolism, I recently transitioned over to the Jaminet’s “Perfect Health Diet” since I seem to fare much better on Asian-based foods, at least here in Seattle where the sun don’t shine. I’m also concentrating on nutrient-dense foods with the least amount of toxicity. I’m still eating a lot of fish and whole fish broth and drinking raw milk each day along with sea kelp, garlic, ginger, root vegetables, cabbage, bok choy, etc as well as white rice, sweet potatoes and other safe starches, etc as well as taking high amounts of a D3 supplement. I’m not out of the woods yet (still dealing with inflammation and some energy crashes) but I’m just happy that I’m a semi-normal person again that can eat food.
So I’m not sure what the explanation is but I thought I’d throw in that piece about PUFA’s saving my life.
Elisabethe, I’m guessing the biggest change in your move was a drop in Vitamin D: Moving from a more southern, sunny climate to a northern, cloudy one. The fish certainly supplies a good bit of if, not to mention the Vitamin D Supplements. And even though you had a bad reaction to gelatin, you might just give a try to supplementing with some glycine, to get rid of the inflammation.
Joel, I’m curious to know your opinion on excitatory transmitters. Some people claim that glycine can cause problems when people have a glutamate imbalance. For example, this article here:
“Glycine can be inhibitory or excitatory, and in people who tend to lean towards excess glutamate it typically becomes excitatory, so it may need to be avoided.”
That’s interesting considering all of the negative reactions to gelatin I’ve heard over the years.
That’s quite a long–but interesting and basically accurate–article by Cynthia Perkins you linked to re: these various neurotransmitters, Ellisabethe. It certainly underscores the interconnectedness of all the key amino acids, like the fact that GABA is made directly from glutamate; the two having opposing effects on neurons in the brain. That’s why such a linear review of the literature re: the effects of these substances does not really give a clear picture of how the diet might actually maintain or disrupt their balance. For example, in your own case you noted your earlier intolerance to gelatin in bone broth, but that you are now enjoying whole fish broth. The implication is that something more fundamental than amino acid intake had changed, and I would still guess that would be Vitamin D more than anything else.
Now back to these neuroactive amino acids, it’s clear that a healthy body can tolerate quite a wide variety of intake of these nutrients without ill effect. Witness, for example, the enormous amount of glutamate intake–via seasoning with MSG–in Asian diets. (Of course, the existence of so-called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” represents a fairly common glutamate intolerance among Westerners.) The ability to buffer these concentrations is really due to the fact that their concentrations in body fluids are normally quite high (in addition to their interconversions). When they operate as neurotransmitters, the levels are actually much higher (transiently, of course, in the synapses in which they operate).
Glycine seems to be particularly fundamental among amino acids (It’s also the simplest of all the amino acids), generally maintaining the electrochemical integrity of cell membranes of all kinds, and being a key metabolic intermediate in so many biochemical pathways. Among neurons, glycine is both a co-activator of excitatory NMDA receptors as well as being inhibitory via glycine receptors, so it’s effects tend to be self-balancing. Of course there are people who may be glycine-intolerant, but this is a matter of degree: Everyone needs to have high concentrations of glycine in their blood and other body fluids at all times. Intolerances may be due to inborn metabolic abnoralities (genetic variants), or to a particular state of nutrition and health that results from other causes (like maybe a vitamin D deficiency).
In my next post I’ll be detailing the nature and importance of the balance between glycine and methionine. These days, with the typical Western diet, that tends to be generally so far out of whack that many of the conditions that make people sick and die may be attributed to the imbalance (though it is easily fixed).
Thank you for your replies.
Glutamate toxicity (imbalance) is the last allergy issue that I’m dealing with but it’s also the most severe (which is why I landed in the ER for anaphylaxis after taking gelatin).
This is a massive issue for quite a few people from what I can tell, especially those who with anxiety, chronic fatigue, migraines, epilepsy or autism. From my research and experiences it seems to be a complex topic. I’m not sure if it’s an actual glutamate, free or bound glutamate… problem or something else as the ultimate cause, but keeping my glutamate levels (all forms) with food and supplements (including no gelatin fillers) as low as possible definitely helps as others will also attest to.
I’m suspecting that my glutathione production is low so that’s another reason I’m considering a glycine supplement but as someone dealing with severe reactions I’m a little concerned about it. I’m also wondering about foods that might be high in glycine but low in glutamine, such as lamb.
I don’t believe it is possible to be actually allergic to glutamate, as there is always plenty of it in your body, of necessity. However, allergy to gelatin–specifically to bovine or porcine collagen is not rare, becoming quite common, for example, with the introduction of injectable collagen for correction of facial defects such as acne scarring. I would be wary of taking glycine of any animal origin. (However, the glycine I sell is not of animal origin.)
you may also want to look into tyrosine / tyramine intolerance. i hope i spelt those correctly. some people have terrible reactions to these amino acids in the same way as histidine / glutamates. it may not be though…especially if you are able to eat other foods containing tyrosine / tyramine (found in fermented foods: pickles, miso, soy, etc, dairy products: aged cheeses and kefit, dried fruits, fruits and vegetables).
Joel, in response to your comment below about allergies to animal collagen, that’s interesting and helpful. I hope you talk more about that in your posts on inflammation as well as cautions for highly sensitive persons or people who might be in the process of healing some chronic conditions. It’s interesting that this group is left out of so many articles on health especially since those are usually the people who are the most interested in it.
Another theory for a glutamate reaction is that glutamic acid can turn to MSG in high-temp processing. Or we could be reacting to the chemicals in that processing.
Glutamic acid and MSG are interchangeable even at ordinary temperature. In fact, glutamic acid exists mostly as glutamate ion in water solution at neutral pH. Hence, I’m not exactly sure what you are referring to. Maybe you have a link to a relevant reference?
Has anyone delineated between the impact of low metabolic rate, pufa intake and exposure to hormone dysruptors during development? An interesting article came out this past month that falsely attributes the signs of poor hormonal health to plastic exposure. Some aspects, such as puberty at age 12 as opposed to age 17 would seem to be from PUFA exposure primarily. The drop in sperm count, to my understanding, is indicative of chemical exposure and a lowered metabolism. The 2 cm drop in penis size in the last 2 generations however seems to me to be a direct result of a reduced metabolism during puberty, not based on the concentration of PUFA in the body.
(Here’s the article if anyone is interested: https://medium.com/matter/the-terrifying-true-story-of-the-garbage-that-could-kill-the-whole-human-race-b17eebd6d54)
Ray Peat attributed the increased height of modern man to a reduced metabolic rate from PUFA exposure, if I remember correctly. This is really interesting when you realize that an increase in size essentially lowers your metabolic rate and cuts your expected lifespan. Anyway, I can’t be the only one pondering where the line between the different factors that interfere with human development.
There are a lot of theories about abnormalities in kids born in the past century compared to past generations, but only something that could disrupt metabolic rate is really capable of those broad-sweeping changes. I suspect that plastics could indeed cause problems, but the bigger problem is right under people’s noses.
I’m willing to accept that the interference in developmental processes regulated by hormones, are primarily driven by a comprimised metabolism. Identifying the root cause of the interference is important before making a sweeping generalization about comprimised development however. Facial development (and tooth arrangement) is primarliy driven by structural relationships, many of which are interrupted a decade before the damage is visible to a layman. The comment about having good teeth on a diet which contain PUFAs is accurate, but it doesn’t help your audience understand the primary cause of this interruption.
i remember when the raw food diet became really popular in the same way paleo is now. it seemed the diet to end all health problems with some people claiming to have cured chronic long term health problems in three days, etc.
anyway, i believe diet is so important for development. i have a dear friend who was teliing me that one of her male friends was raised raw fruitarian / raw for the first six years of his life (this is the most important time in a child’s life for their development as well as setting their health up for the future). anyway, he didn’t develop properly. while he is an adult now and relatively healthy and well, my friend said he has some irreversible physical development problems as well as a few other developmental problems. i think there are so many variables at play when it comes to hormonal health and development.
Yes, Nira, endocrine disruptors–especially xenoestrogens–have been popular suspects in troubling trends in males, such as decreased testosterone levels. The most commonly blamed pollutant is BPA (from plastic bottles), which is also the most abundant. However, BPA, when ingested orally is completely destroyed by the liver, so it’s really an unlikely suspect. As far as PUFAs are concerned, there is gamma linolenic acid, an omega-6 PUFA (abundant in evening primrose and certain other seed oils) which has known anti-androgenic activity.
Thanks Joel, good to have another line of research. One thing I struggle with is retifying my environmental research (which I do for my job) with the metabolism research (just fun!). What I would like to see is some back-up on what toxins are absorbed in the human body correlated with metabolic function. The Human Toxome Project strikes me as far more useful then the Human Genome Project, but this vital link between metabolic functioning goes unstated.
I think all these “-omics” projects are very useful, so long as we keep in mind that they are all sophisticated forms of data mining, rather than scientific disciplines in themselves. Re: the Human Toxome Project, it certainly boasts a consortium of very erudite and accomplished scientists, such as James Yager. His research on estrogen-mediated carcinogenesis is classic. It also illustrates some very key caveats in understanding the roles of various environmental toxins. For one thing, we should not disregard what–as Matt says “is right under people’s noses.” For example, the most potent estrogenic endocrine disruptor in the environment just happens to be a substance specifically designed to be a potent estrogenic endocrine disruptor (i.e., a contraceptive), ethinyl estradiol, or EE (and it’s encouraging to see Yager, an expert on its toxic effects, on the Toxome Project.) Then there is what you said earlier re: “compromised metabolism” causing interference in hormonally regulated developmental processes. It brings to mind the case of dioxins, the class of synthetic chemical pollutants that were once believed to be
“the most carcinogenic chemicals known to man”. That turned out to be true only for certain laboratory rodents. In our species, dioxins actually confer a degree of protection against breast cancer, for example, by altering estrogen metabolism in such a way as to help it avoid carcinogenic by-products (Although it is healthier to eat broccoli, cabbage and kale!) So, Nira, there are lots of ways to have fun with the interaction between metabolism and environmental research:-)