Labs and Many Variables

I haven’t written much because it’s been a rough week.  I definitely have ups and downs, more so now that I’m following Peat because I didn’t used to have many “ups”. Unfortunately I don’t always know the cause of the mood/fatigue roller coaster, because I haven’t done a good job of controlling variables.  That’s going to change.

To summarize, my depression returned and stuck around for a week.  I’d recently started resistance training, so I took a week off (mostly because I didn’t have the energy – not because I was scientifically eliminating variables…but the result is the same.).  That didn’t help…so I conclude that exercise probably wasn’t the cause.  I had some mild food poisoning from a seafood stew I made last weekend – maybe the intestinal irritation released a bunch of serotonin into my system?  Well, maybe…but the depression lasted till Friday.  Seems things would have returned to normal before that.  I forgot to take my pregnenolone supplement 2 weeks ago, so I took it last Tuesday.  Nope…still had 2-3 more days of depression, and I’m sure it would have kicked in before that.  I also “forgot” to eat liver for 2 full weeks (forgot = avoided).  So I ate liver on Friday, and seriously within 2 hours my depression was gone and has stayed gone since then.  Maybe I was low on Vitamin L. (<–“liver”).  Seriously though, maybe I was low in B vitamins – liver is my main source of these.  So no more skipping Liver Night.  In fact, I’ve taken a pound of grass-fed beef liver and cut it into 16 1-oz pieces and then froze them individually in an ice cube tray.  I’m going to thaw and eat an ounce of raw liver most days (5-7oz/week) in an effort to stabilize my intake and make it more routine.

This whole thing has made me very aware that I keep changing multiple things at once without taking time to evaluate the results before introducing another change.  Not very scientific.  So I’m going to go about this more methodically from now on.  One change at a time, with at least a 2 week period of time between interventions.  So here’s what I’m doing now that seems to be working well for me so far, and contributing to my health:


  • Progest E – 6 drops per day
  • Niacinamide – 250mg 1x/day
  • Vitamin D – 5000mg/day
  • Magnesium Glycinate – 100mg/day
  • Cynoplus – ¼ tab/day
  • Pregnenolone – 500mg/week
  • Aspirin – 325mg 1-2x/day
  • Vitamin K – 1mg/day


  • Liver – 5-7oz/week
  • Wild-caught shellfish – 1x a week
  • Dairy
  • Salting food to taste (which for me is a lot)
  • Orange juice/honey
  • Raw carrots daily
  • Coconut oil
  • Eggs
  • Very low starches – some days none, but some days one serving
  • Avoidance of PUFAs – 4g or less most days.  I’m very strict about this.
  • Grass fed beef, occasional low-fat chicken breast or ham
  • Bone broths
  • Coffee – about 24 oz per day of a weak brew


  • Lights – 2-3x/week for 30 minutes
  • Resistance training – 2-3x/week for 1 hour

The things I continue to struggle with:

  • Unstable mood (but that seems to be resolved when I follow the above supplements/foods or habits and don’t “forget”).
  • Weight loss (as in, there is none and I’d like there to be some)
  • High blood sugar (fasting blood sugar currently averaging around 130 – lower when I avoid starches consistently and stick to simple sugars instead).
  • High blood pressure – still averaging around 148/94.

Interventions I want to try (singularly, and with an appropriate evaluation period following):

  • More Cynoplus (T3/T4 hormone) – for better thyroid function, increased metabolism = weight loss
  • Epsom salt/baking soda baths – for blood pressure reduction and overall health – increased CO2 in blood
  • Bag breathing – for blood pressure reduction and overall health – increased CO2 in blood
  • More gelatin/less meat – ok, “some” gelatin – I haven’t been loving the gelatin – for overall health (less phosphate from meat = less inflammation).
  • Sugar at night and again when I wake up in the middle of the night – for blood sugar management, and cortisol/adrenaline reduction, ultimately resulting in weight loss
  • Lowering dietary fat – for blood glucose control and weight loss
  • Cascara Segrada – for intestinal health, lowered serotonin
  • B vitamin supplements – specifically B1 for cognitive benefits and B6 for estrogen management and libido.
  • Complete avoidance of starches (low isn’t low enough).

Hm…where to start.  I really should start with low-fat.  That seems to directly affect weight loss and blood-sugar.  All right.  2 week trial of low-fat Peat eating starts tomorrow.  I’ve tried sporadically to do this but haven’t committed to it.  I’ll committ to it.

Ok, next on the agenda – Peat-inspired labs that I had done recently.  Here are the results:

Parathyroid Hormone: 22 (range 15-65)
Prolactin 5.4 (range 4.8-23.3)
Serotonin 155 (range 11-204)
hs-CRP: 8.08 (range 0-3.0) HIGH

My preliminary interpretation:

  • Inflammation (hs-CRP) is still high but is down from my last result of 13.58 6 months ago.
  • Serotonin is solidly in the top half of the range.  On the day my blood was drawn I felt really good – I was in a happy zone.  I can only imagine what that level looks like on a bad day.  I was tempted to go back and test again this past week, but can’t really afford to do that.
  • Prolactin is on the low end, which may suggest estrogen is being well-managed with my current dose of progesterone (estrogen and prolactin tend to increase one another, if I remember correctly).
  • Parathyroid hormone is also toward the low end – not sure what this means really.  More research is in order. I think parathyroid hormone is released to liberate calcium from the bones when calcium intake is low or when the calcium/phosphate ratio (ideally around 1:1) is low.  So maybe I’m getting enough calcium now.

I posted my lab results on my Ray Peat Facebook group and got lots of great Peat quotes, references and advice from folks who I’ve come to respect a lot.  Here are some of the quotes/references offered in the comments:

“The hypo-osmolar blood of hypothyroidism, increasing the excitability of vascular endothelium and smooth muscle, is probably a mechanism contributing to the high blood pressure of hypothyroidism. The swelling produced in vascular endothelium by hypo-osmotic plasma causes these cells to take up fats, contributing to the development of atherosclerosis. The generalized leakiness affects all cells (see “Leakiness” newsletter), and can contribute to reduced blood volume, and problems such as orthostatic hypotension. The swollen endothelium is stickier, and this is suspected to support the metastasis of cancer cells. Inflammation-related proteins, including CRP, are increased by the hypothyroid hyperhydration. The heart muscle itself can swell, leading to congestive heart failure.” – RP, from Water: swelling, tension, pain, fatigue, aging.

“Honey has been used therapeutically for thousands of years, and recently there has been some research documenting a variety of uses, including treatment of ulcers and colitis, and other inflammatory conditions. Obesity increases mediators of inflammation, including the C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine. Honey, which contains free fructose and free glucose, lowers CRP and homocysteine, as well as triglycerides, glucose, and cholesterol, while it increased insulin more than sucrose did (AI-Waili, 2004).” -RP, from Sugar Issues.

J Med Food. 2004 Spring;7(1):100-7.
Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose.
Al-Waili NS.

“Bacteria thrive on starches that aren’t quickly digested, and the bacteria convert the energy into bulk, and stimulate the intestine. (But at the same time, they are making the toxins that affect the hormones.)” –RP

“One of the major “acute phase proteins,” C-reactive protein, is defensive against bacteria and parasites, but it is suspected to contribute to tissue degeneration. When its presence is the result of exercise, estrogen, or malnutrition, then its association with asthma is likely to be causal, rather than coincidental.” -RP

“Systemic metabolic problems make local problems worse, and if a local injury is serious, it can cause the liver to produce stress-related proteins called “acute phase proteins,” including fibrinogen and serum amyloids A and P, C-reactive protein, and other inflammation-related proteins. These proteins are a primitive sort of immune system, that can directly bind to some harmful substances. Endotoxin absorbed from bowel bacteria is probably the commonest reason for increased production of these proteins.” -RP

“The liver is the major source of the acute phase proteins, and it is constantly burdened by toxins absorbed from the bowel; disinfection of the bowel is known to accelerate recovery from stress.” -RP

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Apr;33(4):549-55. Anaerobic exercise induces moderate acute phase response. Meyer T, Gabriel HH, Rätz M, Müller HJ, Kindermann W.

Other recommendations were Cyproheptadine for reduction of Serotonin, cascara for intestinal happiness, spending less awake time in the (stressful) dark, and engaging in more things that lead to general happiness and fun.

Love that group!

Anyway, please help me hack my labs – any and all info is greatly appreciated!

7 thoughts on “Labs and Many Variables

  1. Finally some Peat inspired labs! PTH could be lower. Add some egg shell calcium or something similar. Prolactin looks great. Your serotonin is higher than mine. Damn. If that was on a good day it likely runs higher than that. I am sure its joining hands with its evil twin estrogen to make a mess of your emotional state and probably explains your HSCRP.

    Focus on the serotonin lowering posts on the forum. I would try not to use drugs because they could have their own issues further down the line. I didnt see Vit E on the list. That could help lower serotonin. Probably need higher doses.

    Increase gelatin(a lot) and BCAA intake to lower tryptophan as much as possible. Peat likes niacinamide but I do wonder if that would interfere with FFA burning. Without burning all the fat stored how are we supposed to lose weight anyway?

    Staying on the Peat plan with using carrots as the only fiber and orange juice instead of starches will stabilise your mood. Any deviation is usually followed by mucho pain….

  2. I forgot to respond to your comment – I guess I only responded in my head. I’ll take a look at the serotonin lowering posts in the forum – I really should use that forum more but I forget it’s there. I do take Vitamin E in my Progest E. I think I have a really sensitive intestine or something – any irritation or starch messes with my mood for days. I’m on day 3 of no starches (again) but this time I really see how important it is to my mood. You’re absolutely right about using gelatin in place of meat – It’s hard cuz I love meat, and I’m trying to go low-fat now too. Pretty soon I’ll just be sipping sweet drinks all day long – and I don’t particularly like sweet drinks. I’m working on it though! Thanks for the link. Lots to do, lots to study. Are the BCAA helping you at all?

  3. Thats what I was trying to tell you about food choices and serotonin. Without these labs you just get emotional and cant figure out whats going on. I was sure your serotonin was up but now you have solid proof. Find some low fat cheese. Thats something chewy. That hlpes reduce the meat intake. Chicken breast grilled in coconut oil or leanest cuts of beef you can get should be fine. Just add some calcium to balance the phosphorous in the meat. Adding gelatin is just a way I lower the tryptophan level. it helps quite a bit. BCAA so far nothing major to report but I am only taking a couple grams a day. Definitely running a bit warmer than last year. Baby steps.

  4. I’ll look for low-fat cheese. I’m not sure they make it without weird fillers, but if it’s out there I’ll find it! Thanks for the tips. I’m really interested to see if low-fat will affect my blood sugar.

  5. Hi. I like reading your blog once in a while. First, i have a question about food. You posted your weekly diet outline and i don’t really see any vegetables. I’m not saying raw but like steamed or boiled as a side dish? You get your carbs just from milk, juice and sugar in coffee? Potato once in several days? Or when people post their diet plans they ommit vegatables or rice or potatoes? I’m not arguing that people must eat tons vegetables to be healthy, I just can’t find anything to eat besides meat and then carbs from juice, fruit, sugar and milk.
    You also mentioned that you still want to try sugary drinks next to your bed at night strategy. What are you waiting for?))) It’s been a great strategy in my experience. I’m a 30 yo male but my hormones feel like of a menapausal woman. I had night sweats for 4 months, terrible nights. First time i had OJ next to my bed, i could immediately fall asleep after waking up and stop the sweating so i quit sleeping in a puddle of sweat thanks to that. It stops that stress responce and you get a better sleep, hence better stress management during the day, better glucose oxidation and on and on. It costs nothing to try it. I highly recommend.
    I love the facebook Ray Peat group too. Some great people out there.

  6. Hi Al –

    Regarding vegetables: I do eat greens (spinach mostly) sometimes, but I don’t particularly like vegetables, and it’s easy to get the nutrients they contain by other means. Is there another reason to eat them? Some people say we need their fiber, but I haven’t found that to be the case for me. My digestion/elimination is good. I don’t eat starches because they irritate me and make me depressed. I hope to fix this at some point but for now I’m content to just avoid them. (Plus, they make me gain weight. Fast.)

    Regarding putting sweet stuff by the bed – I’m not opposed to this at all, but I actually sleep really well, occasionally waking around 3 or 4 to pee, but I fall asleep again easily. If I feel hungry when I get up, I eat. I may look at this more in the future, but right now I would have to actually wake myself up to eat, which I’m not excited about.

    Thanks for stopping by! Questions/comments are always welcome. 🙂

  7. Al – It occurs to me (as I recall my pre-low fat days) that I DO like vegetables…as long as they’re slathered in butter or cheese. Plain…no. These days I’m avoiding fat to measure the effect on my blood sugar, so no butter, no extra cheese. If I do end up increasing my fat consumption again I’ll probably eat more veggies again.

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