I wrote to Ray Peat tonight. I’ve hesitated bothering him with my health problems, but who knows – maybe he likes to be bothered. I took a chance.
What’s been on my mind is that I felt really good earlier this year when I was eating fruit/juice/sugar throughout the day, as well as following the other Peat-recommendations. I knew what it was like to feel happy for the first time in my life…or at least since I was a little kid. I’ve seen Peat quoted as saying,
The production of euphoria has been mentioned as a side effect, but I think euphoria is simply an indication of a good physiological state.
At the time a few months ago I didn’t think of it in those terms….I just knew that’s what happiness felt like. No depression. No anxiety. No body image insecurity. No negative self talk. I would be driving in my car, and just be enjoying the day. It was great.
Well, I got freaked out by my labs at the end of April, including triglycerides over 500, and cholesterol over 300, certainly related to consuming sugar. I started looking for alternatives. I tried the Perfect Health Diet, I’ve tried eating only protein/fat/vegetables/dairy, I’ve recently added starches back in my diet…my labs have improved and I feel fine I guess…but I still don’t have that HAPPY feeling. So I wrote to Peat tonight to tell him about my problem with triglycerides and cholesterol, because I’m motivated to eat fruit/juice/sugar again – I think that’s what made the difference last Spring. Thankfully, he wrote back already. Here’s his answer:
High cholesterol compensates for low thyroid, keeping your pregnenolone, progesterone, and DHEA up. Sugar allows you to dispose of free fatty acids by turning them into triglycerides for storage. Free fatty acids activate stress hormones, which in turn cause the synthesis of fatty acids, even from the breakdown of amino acids, derived from protein by the action of cortisol. When cholesterol is that high, it’s almost always because of low thyroid activity, and stored PUFA are probably the commonest cause of that. I think free fatty acids, and their degree of unsaturation, would be the most meaningful blood lipids to test, but it’s easier to test for cholesterol and triglycerides.
Sounds like I’m an unsaturated mess. I think what he’s saying is that I’ve probably got so much stored unsaturated fat from years of eating CRAP, and when these free fatty acids are released they activate stress hormones, which then causes more fatty acids to be released in a vicious cycle. Sugar stops this cycle by increasing triglycerides. So the fact that trigs are high is a sign there’s something wrong – my body is literally swimming in PUFAs – but the trigs are high because they’re trying to protect me from them. The happy feeling then might be the lowering of stress hormones. Of course, thyroid function is also impaired by the sea of PUFAs inside me, which doesn’t help.
So I definitely had some intestinal dysbiosis, causing inflammation which was probably increasing cortisol…also due to a CRAP diet for so many years – I mean, how many decades did I eat pasta 328 times a week?? – and all of my stored PUFAs are also causing stress hormones to be released…that’s a lot of stress hormones.
Maybe how I feel right now – this sort of neutral, unemotional, functional-but-not-particularly-happy feeling I’ve had for the last 2 weeks – is how it feels when depression is gone but stress hormones are still high. It’s better than depression…but I want the HAPPY back. I guess I’m getting greedy.
I’m going to give niacinamide and aspirin another go. Last time I tried them I got discouraged because the day I started taking them I started also having hot flashes. Completely unrelated, I now realize. Given what Peat says about FFAs causing my high triglycerides, it makes sense to use them.
If what Peat says is true, I’m likely to have FUBAR labs for the next 4 years or so, as long as it takes to detoxify all the stored PUFA in my body, while maintaining a low PUFA diet. I should probably stop trying to treat lab results, and just trust the process a little. I’m not going to go crazy with sugar. Just enough, to start…maybe I’ll try to focus on having distinct meals that are well balanced with protein/fat/carb, rather than winging it and grazing all day, chasing my blood sugar through ups and downs. After a couple weeks of niacinamide/aspirin I may try to supplement thyroid hormone again.