The article I read today by Dr. Ray Peat is entitled Vitamin E: Estrogen antagonist, energy promoter, and anti-inflammatory. Here’s my paraphrasing of the article:
Vitamin E prevents inflammation and oxidation. It functions as an antioxidant in many environments. Government and industry have been “hiding, destroying, or ignoring” information about vit E for a long time. Industry controls the journals and funding for research, and in the 1940s vitamin E research was having a negative effect on the synthetic estrogen industry.
In 1933 physician R. J. Shute was studying preeclampsia (a circulatory problem in pregnancy). Vitamin E had been found to improve fertility, whereas estrogen was causing problems (infertility, miscarriage, excessive blood clotting). Shute and his sons considered vitamin E to be antiestrogen and prevented clotting diseases. The Shutes started giving vitamin E to treat circulatory diseases in general – hypertension, heart disease, diabetes – all did well with large doses of vitamin E.
The estrogen industry wasn’t happy. They started marketing estrogen as “The Female Hormone”. Lies were told.
Not much vitamin E research was allowed to be published. To accomplish this, vitamin E was called dangerous and worthless. JAMA published an article about the toxic nature of vitamin E. The journal also sported cigarette ads. And estrogen ads. (OMG…Really!?!?)
Estrogen makes implantation of an embryo difficult (This is interesting because this, in part, is why I couldn’t conceive without medical assistance. They gave me large doses of progesterone to make my uterus “sticky”. It worked.)
In the 1940s vitamin E came to be defined as an antioxidant, preventing the oxidation of unsaturated oils. The medical establishment said animal studies weren’t relevant to humans and so discounted vitamin E’s significant benefits.
The estrogen industry started promoting themselves for preventing miscarriages. The meat industry started using PUFAs for fattening livestock. Ironically, at the same time, vegetable oils were marketed for humans as being “heart healthy.”
Big Food discouraged anti-PUFA research.
PUFAs and estrogens are additive in their damaging effects, and are antagonized by saturated fats, progesterone, thyroid hormone, vitamin E, and aspirin. There are enzymes that would be helping us moderate our stress response, but because we’re eating PUFAs these enzymes actually promote inflammation. Progesterone helps counter this.
Inflammation is increased by estrogen, and decreased by vitamin E. Estrogen causes leaky capillaries and blood clotting. Vitamin E does the opposite. Clotting leads to fibrosis, Vitamin E prevents/cures this. More examples are given, but in general, estrogen does lots of icky things and vitamin E has the opposite effect. PUFAs magnify estrogen’s effects.
Vitamin E lowers concentration of free fatty acids (FFAs) in the bloodstream, many of which are PUFAs. Vitamin E destroys linolenic and linoleic acid, which would otherwise go on to become problematic. The requirement for vitamin E decreases as PUFAs in the diet decrease.
Tocopherols (vitamin E) have been marketed in different ways over the years – changes in mixtures, impurities. One study found a mixed tocopherol preparation to be superior to others.
It’s better to avoid PUFAs than to try to take tons of supplements that counter their effects, considering the inconsistency of what’s on the market. PUFAs cause cancer. Studies indicate that restricting calories extends lifespan. This may be because doing so prevents the lipids in the organs from becoming more unsaturated over time. Cells that are “deficient” (lacking PUFAs) are resistant to injury.
Excess insulin or prolactin or not enough vitamin E increases enzymes that produce unsaturated fatty acids in the body. Excess insulin and prolactin are involved in many degenerative diseases.
Supplementing vitamin E is not as effective as avoiding PUFAs (He said it more than once so I’m guessing this is important!)
Liver is a good source of vitamins A, E, and K. Makers of synthetic vitamin A campaigned in the 70s to get people to stop eating liver, saying that natural vitamin A was toxic. Actually their stupid supplements were toxic. (Ok, I added the word “stupid”).
The takeaway message: Vitamin E mitigates some of the damage caused by estrogen and PUFAs. Still, it’s better to avoid vegetable oils altogether because vitamin E can’t undo all the damage. Eat liver.
Dan Wich came up with this awesome Vitamin E reference page, so you can see what you’re getting if you choose to supplement. A lot of folks in the know seem to like A.C. Grace’s Unique E. I think I may order some immediately.
So let’s talk about how things are going so far with my Peat-inspired lifestyle:
- Eating a lot of sugar does not seem to affect my blood sugar. Amazing! It’s contrary to everything I’ve ever heard about sugar! Don’t get me wrong, I still pre-diabetic, but I expected things to get worse and they’ve gotten slightly better. Last night I ate about a cup of Haggen Dazs vanilla ice cream about a half hour before bed in an effort to prevent stress hormones from kicking in overnight. My fasting blood sugar this morning was 109. Two days ago I ate some gluten-free pizza (with crust made with brown rice flour) and my FBG the next day was 128. Hm…Eat fructose or table sugar = lower blood glucose. Eat starches = high blood glucose. I don’t claim to know why this is the case…just that it is. Maybe I’ll read/summarize Peat’s article on diabetes tomorrow.
- My body has no problem with orange juice now. I guess it just took some getting used to after 2 years of being afraid to eat fruit. Even store-bought juice is ok.
- Some acne started showing up on my face yesterday – Peat says this is a common consequence of increased metabolism, as the body goes through nutrients faster. I was curious to see if eating liver (high in Vitamin A) would have an effect. Today, the acne is less inflamed looking and smaller. It seems to be going away – just like he said it would with adequate Vitamin A. Cool!
- The folks who follow Peat are largely scientific-minded, curious, and generous with their knowledge. I feel like I’m among really great people.
- I’m really not sure what to eat. I miss hot food. OJ and milk are delightful and all…but it’s freaking snowing out. I don’t want a cold glass of milk. I want toast! I want macaroni and cheese! I’ll figure it out. At least coffee is encouraged. I think it’ll help to make bone broth.
- I wish Peat was a little more thorough with his referencing in his articles. He does have extensive references at the end of each article. However, in my opinion, a well-referenced article includes little numbers placed appropriately throughout the article so it’s clear which reference applies to which bit of information. He just lists all of them at the end. At some point I’ll go through them, but it could have been a little easier. Currently it’s not clear how much he’s referenced from other sources and how much he’s pulling out of his memory…or even out of thin air. Still, his articles are referenced, which is more than I can say for SOME PEOPLE on the interwebs making diet and lifestyle recommendations.
More to say tomorrow.