Without Your Health….

…you’ve got nothing.

At the age of 44, my health is now starting to interfere with everything I care about.

This used to be a hobby…something fun and interesting to do in my spare time.  AROUND my other real-life activities like work, family, exercise…

Now my health is making all of that much harder.

I had a really good opportunity to promote my business today.  Things came up and got in the way, as things are prone to do in life.  If my health were good I could have made it work anyway.  It wouldn’t have been easy, but I could have managed it.  I would have needed a lot of energy and focus, neither of which I have right now because of my new blood pressure medication, which is making me foggy, lifeless, and depressed.

I started on one medication on Monday….a calcium channel blocker called Diltiazem.  My ankles started swelling and it did nothing for my blood pressure.  I called the doc to inform her and she told me to stop taking that one and start taking Metoprolol, a beta blocker.  Now I’m 3 days into this one and the side effects are worse – I felt like a zombie last night.  Plus my ankles seem to be swelling again, but I can’t tell if that’s psychosomatic.  And, as if that’s not enough, it doesn’t work.  Blood pressure is unchanged.  I’ve just taken one more dose – if things aren’t somewhat improved in some respect by this afternoon I’ll be calling the doc again.

I wonder how many people lurking and reading this blog are laughing and saying, “Yep…she poo-pooed the EMF boogeyman and now look at her.  She’s so dumb.  And now her health sucks too.”  Yeah, well I still don’t think it’s EMF.  I think it’s serotonin and I think the reason I’m struggling is because my body doesn’t tolerate starches, and they’re in EVERYTHING.  They’re in cocoa powder, supplements, caffeine tablets – even when I’ve avoided starch, I’ve still been consuming starch in these items.  I learned yesterday that bananas and dates contain a lot of serotonin.  Not sure if my catatonia-like depression last night was because of the dates I ate or because of the new medication.

Did you know even confectioner’s sugar contains starch?  That’s right…some sugar contains starch.

I’m beginning to think that ALL of my problems are related to high serotonin, and my high serotonin is related to starch intolerance.  The best I’ve ever felt in my life was when I gave up most starches (didn’t even know about the hidden ones yet) and ate sugar – finally I had energy (carbohydrates) and no starches to pull me down again.  And seriously, aside from followers of Ray Peat, who would try this?  How many people EVER IN ALL THE LAND actually eat a ton of sugar and eat no starches?  First of all, it’s friggen hard to avoid them because they’re in everything processed and even when following a whole food diet, they’re so darn delicious.  Second, EVERYONE IN ALL THE LAND says that sugar is bad.  It’s a foregone conclusion now – people don’t even feel the need to provide citations for this stuff anymore.  “Sugar is bad.”  Everyone in the room nods.  Duh, of course it is.  So I (and other Peatarians) might be the ONLY people IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD to know that starch intolerance is not the same as carbohydrate intolerance.

Here’s what I think most people do (and indeed, it’s what I did): They feel like crap and they’re overweight and showing early signs of chronic illness.  They hear low-carb or Paleo will cure it all – lower blood sugar, less inflammation, weight loss.  What could go wrong?  So they try low carb.  Some people are turned off by the fact that their energy is sapped within 2 days (about how long it takes a healthy person to burn through their glycogen) and give up.  Those of us persistent, determined, or desperate enough persevere, and eventually our body gives up signaling us to eat carbs and we begin living on adrenaline and cortisol.  Feels good at first!  Energy!  Plus, if you have an intolerance to some (or all) carbohydrates because of an enzyme deficiency (or gluten sensitivity/celiac, or whatever) you feel SO MUCH BETTER.  Not because low carb is the way to go but because the offending substance is gone from your diet.  Inflammation drops, Jack Kruse pats you on the back, and you keep going.  Weight’s dropping too – yay!  “Low carb FOREVAH!”  you say.

Until other things start failing.  Your TSH starts climbling, you’re cold all the time and your sleep starts to suffer.  Weight loss plateaus.  You say, “I must be eating too many carbs!  I’ll reduce them again because that’s what worked last time!”  So you cut down from 30g of carbohydrate a day to 20 or 10.  Pretty soon you eliminate vegetables and start eating weird things like animal hearts and fish heads.  You try to convert everyone you know, because you’re sure this is the path to health!  It has to be!  It worked for a while!  I must be doing it wrong now!

You get tired.  People on the interwebs say you have “Adrenal Fatigue.”  No you don’t.  You need carbohydrates.  EAT SOME HONEY ON A SPOON.  GO! DO IT NOW!  You’ll feel better.

Anyway, I did all that.  Did it for years.  Got really hardcore in 2012, eliminated every last shred of carbohydrate except for some veggies.  Got cavities in my teeth from malnutrition – first ones since I was about 8 years old.  Tired, stressed, a mess.  So I found Ray Peat – he said to eat carbs.  I ate them.  Started adding starches, sugar, whatever.  After experimenting I’m learning that for ME, sugar = feel good, starch = feel bad.  Low carb felt good, not because I was doing the right thing for my body but because I was avoiding something I was intolerant to.

I think my starch-eating experiment in May completely raised my serotonin level.  I break down and cry so easily now.  I never feel really happy, even when I avoid all starch (even the hidden ones).  I’ve been drinking black tea and matcha green tea, both of which contain theanine, which lowers serotonin, but I suspect they don’t lower the serotonin produced by the body, just the brain’s ability to receive or recognize it.  I say this because they do lift my mood a bit, but the effect wears off after an hour or two, and then I’m back in the middle of it again.

I think the only thing that will really work for me is to avoid all starches.  My new medication comes as a tablet containing starch.  Check it out:

The tablets contain the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, corn starch, sodium starch glycollate, colloidal silicon dioxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, talc, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol and polysorbate 80. In addition, 50 mg tablet contains D&C Red #30 Aluminium Lake and 100 mg tablet contains FD&C Blue #2 Aluminium Lake as coloring agents.

Seriously?  My white 50mg  tablet contains red dye?

I guess I’ll use one of these enzyme supplements I just got every time I take it.  I’m still considering taking cyproheptadine or some other serotonin antagonist, but I’m not sure it would be any more effective than tea, and it has a long list of adverse side effects.  Probably the best thing to do is just avoid starch, and over time maybe my serotonin will drop as my intestinal tract is given a rest.

I”m so tired of being tired and depressed.

Oh and by the way…I had a dentist appointment a couple days ago.  No new cavities.  After months of sugar and orange juice.  The dental hygienist, right after telling me that sugar and orange juice cause cavities, told me she was “prone to cavities” and had just had one filled.  I told her to try vitamin K.  She sounded excited about it.

Ray Peat, right again.

13 thoughts on “Without Your Health….

  1. ” Feels good at first! Energy!” Was one of the reasons I tried low carb. But that never happned to me. I was low energy going into low carb and that never improved.

    BTW Peat is no fan of EMF. I clearly remember him saying laptops should never be kept on laps. But blaming EMF for everything is ridiculous.

  2. Yeah, I’ve heard him say stuff about EMF too, like saying he doesn’t stand right in front of his microwave while he’s using it, and doesn’t have wifi in his house…but yes, blaming EMF for everything is just wrong. That’s like hearing hoofbeats on the ground and looking for a zebra. (<– cuz It makes a lot more sense to look for a horse).

  3. Oh, you’ll appreciate this N2P – I just came from Labcorp. I decided to get a serotonin blood test done today while feeling generally anxious, depressed, and unhappy. It’ll be interesting to compare. Last time it took about 10 days to get results.

  4. Aah goody. More numbers! I think you have the progesterone to fight the estrogen but nothing to fight serotonin with as yet. Maybe theanine?

  5. EMF probably makes everything worse but the point is all the healthy people around me are also swimming in it…

  6. Yep, using the tea for that. Matcha tea seems to have even more than black tea. I’d like to reduce serotonin blood level though, not just my brain’s response to serotonin. Blood test will help clarify what I’m dealing with. Looking forward to results.

  7. Meeeee too! Actually, I, too, had starch intolerance. It is in everything. I chatted with Paul Jaminet about it, about doing fine on Peat fruits and sugar, but having catecholamine release with mere bites of his safe starches. He insisted that could only be the result of dysbiosis. Since being treated for strongyloides and any yeast overgrowth, and Peating to raise carbs and adding tiny bits of T3 only, I’m now fine with starches. So, who knows? Something will click. I’m disappointed from ‘crashing’ from recent exercise. Went slightly over my limit and experienced three full days of metabolic madness…adrenaline, shakes, cold temps. Boooo hoooo. So, I’m off to the Dr this week, to try and iron out my T3 conversion/adrenal issues. At least my crying has stopped, temporarily! ;’)

  8. Hey Susie – What the heck are strongyloides? And how did you treat for them? It’s possible it’s gut dysbiosis, but I’ve been depressed and anxious most of my life. So I doubt it.

  9. Actually blood pressure pills do usually more bad than good. I know a bit about those pills effects cause I done some reading regarding to my Mitral valve prolapse (which even cardiologist wasn’t sure if its actually mitral valve prolapse or valve was flopping only cause of anxiety) and beta-blockers are sometimes given to calm the nerve system and slow down heartbeat, but side effect of those are even lower blood pressure and I’ve read people feel extremely tired when they take those. More or less same effect is with blood pressure pills, plus those can be hard on your kidneys and liver also. Have you tried consuming more good fats, as example: olives, coconut oil, omega-3, etc. that will also elevate your mood as actually cholesterol is converted to pregnenolone which adrenal gland converts to progesterone and DHEA. For serotonin bananas should help and also black chocolate. Serotonin is actually converted to melatonin at night which helps us with sleeping. Also about diets, a lot of people try ketogenic diet in fact they’re not having true ketogenic diet but only high protein diet with low carbohydrates, ketogenic diet should consist of medium protein intake and actually high fats intake which should not be bad fats like lard and such but should be good fats like butter, olives, olive oil, omega-3, coconut oil.
    Around 23% of protein, 75% fat, 2% carbohydrates is a good blueprint. A lot of insulin spikes from carbohydrates cause inflamations in body which influence on adrenals, heart etc.

  10. Hi Beno – The side effects have evened out and now I seem to feel fine on the beta blockers, plus they’re effectively lowering my blood pressure. As for my kidneys and liver, I hope being on them is not a permanent solution. Regarding fats, I eat only good fats – no PUFAS, and actually very little olive oil, which is about 12% PUFA. My mood is terrible because of starches in my diet. When I avoid starches completely, I feel great. The starches seem to be causing intestinal irritation, which increases the release of serotonin. Serotonin is NOT the good guy that the mainstream thinks it is – it makes my mood suck. Bananas are high in serotonin. Chocolate contains starch. I tried a ketogenic diet – it was unpalatable and I found I needed to eat straight fats (butter, coconut oil) to maintain a 75% fat diet. It was unsatisfying and I had no energy. Our body runs on glucose. You can either eat sugar in your food (and by sugar, I’m including all carbohydrate sources, but specifically simple sugars like glucose and fructose, found in fruit and honey) or you can force your body into a stressful state where it has to turn protein (and/or muscle) into glucose for the body to use. I’ve spent months experimenting with everything you suggested, and for me it appears I need to be on a starch-free diet but I need to eat carbohydrates. When I do this my mood is great. I’m experimenting with this now, and I suspect my health problems will improve as a result. It’s going to take time though, and I’m trying to be patient. 🙂

  11. I’m glad to hear things are getting better for you. Yes starches can be problem, I heard in general human body isn’t exactly made to digest starches well. That’s a good idea that you are consuming butter, coconut oil combined with carbohydrates for source of energy. Hmm, it could be also that you have low endorphin levels, indeed just increasing serotonin doesn’t actually help but can make situation worse cause body sense higher serotonin in the blood and makes less of its own, serotonin receptors sensitivity is important for how will body respond to serotonin.

  12. I think some people handle starches better than others. This video by Chris Masterjohn (h/t to Karin for this) does a nice job of describing how some people and some species are better adapted to eating carbohydrates, as evidenced by the amount of amylase in their saliva:

    So I don’t think a single diet is right for everyone. Some people have more or less of the enzymes necessary to digest specific foods. I suppose it’s possible to test for this, but I haven’t looked into that yet.

    I don’t have any reason to believe my endorphin levels are low. I’m happy when starches are low and when serotonin is lower. It’s possible dopamine is low, as high serotonin can dominate it. I’m hoping a starch-free diet (or as close as I can get to it) will lower serotonin, increase dopamine, and lower inflammation, which in turn should lower all of my problem areas – blood pressure, blood sugar, high trigs, high cholesterol, and extra body fat. That may be too optimistic, but at least I feel better every day now.

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