Protein & Alzheimer’s, Question Regarding Vegetarians, Sex Hormones Change as You Age, Healthy Lifestyle with Low Testosterone and Anemic, Fueling Early Workouts
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News topic du jour:
1. Protein & Alzheimer’s [6:43]
How are you? I hope you and Nikkie are doing well. I just recently have entered the world of Alzheimer’s via my cousin who is in her 60s. It is unbelievable to not ‘find’ my real cousin in there anymore – she is literally vacant, with tiny glimmers of her former self popping up randomly and then being instantly gone. I will soon be helping the family take care of her in some way. I started to google Alzheimer’s research and found this.
With so many turning carnivore, and me potentially wanting to toy with my cousins diet to try to help, can I do harm by encouraging more protein consumption? What do you think?
Alzheimer’s Disease affects millions
More than 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, which is the primary cause of dementia and sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. That population is predicted to reach 14 million by the year 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The relationship between Alzheimer’s (and subsequent brain atrophy) and amyloid plaques — the hard accumulations of beta amyloid proteins that clump together between the nerve cells (neurons) in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients — has been well-established among researchers.
Less understood is precisely how that amyloid-beta actually leads to plaque formation — and where this new work appears to have broken new ground, Wang said.
Further, while there has been much research into what genes might influence whether or not someone gets Alzheimer’s, there is less understanding of genes that might be linked to the progression of the disease, meaning the formation of plaque and subsequent atrophy in the brain.
The role of ‘aggregatin’ protein
In the new work, the researchers began by correlating roughly a million genetic markers (called single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs) with brain images. They were able to identify a specific SNP in the FAM222, a gene linked to different patterns of regional brain atrophy.
Further experiments then suggested that the protein encoded by gene FAM222A is not only associated with AD patient-related beta-amyloid plaques and regional brain atrophy, but that “aggregatin” attaches to amyloid beta peptide — the major component of plaque and facilitates the plaque formation.
So when researchers injected mouse models with the “aggregatin” protein (made from the FAM222A gene), plaque (amyloid deposits) formation accelerated in the brain, resulting in more neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction. This happened, they report, because the protein was found to bind directly the amyloid beta peptide, thus facilitating the aggregation and placque formation, Wang said.
Conversely, when they suppressed the protein, the plaques were reduced and neuroinflammation and cognitive impairment alleviated.
Their findings indicate that reducing levels of this protein and inhibition of its interaction with amyloid beta peptide could potentially be therapeutic — not necessarily to prevent Alzheimer’s but to slow its progression.
Thanks Robb, I await your take on this. Best,
Here is a neat map. Don’t know how they get their numbers though.
and here is the last one from me today… you likely have already read all this stuff. Poland has a low Alzheimer’s death rate, and this study seems to have Polish origins.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356942/
2. Question Regarding Vegetarians [16:46]
I’m an omnivore, leaning more towards paleo, but my Indian husband comes from a strictly vegetarian Hindu family, and has never eaten any meat or eggs, and neither has his parents or grandparents, and likely a long line of vegetarians before that. They do eat dairy products.
My husband is in great health—with perfect vision, straight white teeth, good muscle mass and never gets sick, not even with common colds. He is highly educated and has a sharp mind. His parents are also in good health.
I’ve been following your page for a while and I’ve seen a lot of information saying that animal products provide the best and most bioavailable nutrition to human bodies, for example with vitamin A being hard to get from veggies, and thus best obtained from liver.
I’m genuinely interested to know what you would have to say about people who truly have been vegetarian all their lives (and then parents have too), and are in great health. I know there are also Buddhist groups who are vegetarians/vegans, and that has been a long-standing tradition for them. Have these people groups been studied for their diet and health and longevity, like Weston A. Price studied mange indigenous people groups’ diets?
I’d love an answer and maybe some resources on this subject.
3. Stuff No One Talks About: Sex Hormones Change as You Age [23:47]
Hey you two. I have a question (or more like a topic) I’d love you to address on your podcast. Sex hormones change as you age. However, it seems like no matter what I add or eliminate from my diet it doesn’t help balance my sex hormones. Ive been Paleo, keto, carnivore and nothing helps. High fat at the moment with 75% fat 20% protein – pure carnivore. My estrogen and testoreetrone are barely detectable. Why? I lift weights 3-4 times a week. I am not in a calorie deficiency. Can you make any suggestions? I hear other women are losing their menstrual cycles these days way too early. Some say it’s a low carb thing but I just don’t buy into that. I had these issues eating carbs in my past. Have at it and give us your thoughts. How do you correct sex hormones with diet?
4. Healthy Lifestyle with Low Testosterone and Anemic [27:00]
I know you have gotten a lot of questions from men with low testosterone. But, I think my situation is unique.
I am a 38 year-old male. I lift weights 6x/week (2 days each of squats, weighted chin-ups and dips). I walk about 2 miles/day. My diet is paleo-ish, consisting only of chicken, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, water and coffee. Though, I am probably eat more protein than is recommended (about 1/2 a chicken and 12 eggs each day). My job is not stressful. I get about 9 hours of sleep every night.
Despite all of this, I still have low levels of testosterone and am anemic. My most recent lab results are as follows (normal range in parenthesis)
RBC 3.9 x 10^6/uL (4.14 – 5.8)
Hemoglobin 11.6 g/dL (12.6 – 17.7)
Hematocrit 35.8 % (37.5 – 51.0)
Serum Testosterone 339 ng/dL (348 – 1197)
Estradiol <5.0 pg/mL (7.6 – 42.6)
Serum Sex Horm. Bind Glob 50.1 nmol/L (16.5 – 55.9)
Free Testosterone 5.16 ng/dL (no reference range given on my report).
There are some other results that I didn’t include. I could scan and them them to you if helpful.
Overall, I feel pretty healthy. I am not tired during the day. And I maintain a low body-fat percentage (abs and veins are visible). So, if the labs weren’t abnormal, I wouldn’t really be worried about my health. But, the labs indicate that I could potentially feel better if some of my blood work improved (I have been anemic my whole life, so I really do not know what “normal” would feel like).
Anyway, it seems that I am following the exercise, diet, and sleep recommendations you regularly promote on your podcast and in your book (though, as mentioned, I probably eat more protein and drink more caffeine than I should). Any other recommendations you have as to how I could raise my natural testosterone levels and/or address my anemia issues would be greatly appreciated.
5. Fueling Early Workouts [33:02]
Hi. I’m trying to figure out how to get in an early Gymnastic Bodies style workout – 30-40 minutes – and maintain a 12 hour fasting period. I start work at 7 am and would like to get in a couple of 5:15 am workouts a week. Dinner with the family usually wraps up around 6:30 pm. Should I be fuelling before this workout, doing it and maintaining my fast, or just scrap this plan and move my workout to the afternoon/ evening? I’m a pretty skinny 6’2″, 170 lb guy and would like to maximize any increase in lean muscle mass.
Thanks for your time,
This episode from The Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by our friends at Paleovalley. They make the cleanest, gut-friendly protein snack you can get your hands on. Their 100% grass fed beef sticks are sourced from American farmers practicing regenerative agriculture without any harmful chemicals or additives you’ll find in most meat snacks. Plus, they are naturally fermented so they contain gut-friendly probiotics for healthy digestion, a boost in nutrient absorption and a strong, supported immune system! Check them out at https://paleovalley.com/thrrsnacks and use code THRR10 for 10% off your order today!
Nicki: It’s time to make your health an act of rebellion. We’re tackling personalized nutrition, metabolic flexibility, resilient aging, and answering your diet and lifestyle questions. This is the only show with the bold aim to help one million people liberate themselves from the Sick Care System. You’re listening to The Healthy Rebellion Radio.
Nicki: The contents of this show are for entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be considered medical advice. Please consult your licensed and credentialed functional medicine practitioner before embarking on any health, dietary, or fitness change. Warning, when Robb gets passionate, he’s been known to use the occasional expletive. If foul language is not your thing, if it gets your britches in a bunch, well, there’s always Disney+.
Nicki: Welcome back everyone to another episode of The Healthy Rebellion Radio.
Robb: Look at you jumping in there and grabbing the bull by the short hairs!
Nicki: I guess bulls do have short hairs. This is my literalness coming out again. Depends on the breed of the bull. I think some of them might have quite long hairs hubs.
Robb: Well, all I’m saying is that you’re grabbing them by the short hairs of which they have. Typically, reference to testicular stuff, which if you grab the testicular hair of any mammal, you’re probably going to catch its attention pretty rapidly.
Nicki: Yeah. I don’t know that I would go there on a bull. My life might end rather quickly.
Robb: I’m sure that everybody’s regretting coming here for the podcast.
Nicki: What kind of news do we have this week?
Robb: Are we already at the news topic du jour or are you wanting-
Nicki: No, just general-
Robb: Oh, different news.
Nicki: Any announcements? Oh, our Reset’s coming up.
Robb: Reset’s coming up.
Nicki: We do need to share that. I know we’ve been mentioning it every week, but it is getting closer and closer. And if you want to get in on that, be sure to join The Healthy Rebellion. We’re kicking off on September 11th with the kickoff call, followed by the 7 Day Carb Test followed by the 30 Day Reset.
Nicki: And then this time following our Rebel Reset, our 30 Day Reset, we will be doing a separate 30 Day Gut Reset with Dr. Michael Ruscio inside The Healthy Rebellion. So another reason to join if you’re not in there already.
Robb: Indeed, should we mention the potentiality of a John Frankl sighting in the hill country in October?
Nicki: I don’t know that anything has been firmed up, but we can definitely mention… I mean, it’s almost a guarantee, but we just don’t know the dates and the specifics.
Robb: So just keep, if you’re interested in jujitsu and hanging out with John Frankl and going to be some other people from the SPG inner circle potentially heading down to-
Nicki: SPG, Texas.
Robb: Here in New Braunfels. So we’ll update on that.
Nicki: Once we have firm dates and details, we will pass those along.
Robb: Date’s as firm as your backside.
Nicki: Wow. This, this whole episode, it’s a hoot.
Robb: It’s something, man.
Nicki: All right. What do we have for our news topic today?
Robb: I went pretty pedestrian today. Insulin, too much of a good thing is bad. But I don’t want to make light of it. It’s actually an outstanding review of the multifaceted problem that is insulin resistance. The war still continues about what exactly causes insulin resistance. I’m largely in the camp that overeating broadly is the input there.
Robb: There’s still good amounts of pissing matches around is it saturated fat, which is what the vegans will say. Is it carbohydrates, which is what the low carb jihadis will say. Or is it PUFAs, which are what some elements of say carnivore land these days will say. I think that all of those things are remarkably well-placed when working in synergy to screw this whole situation up. But again, solid review, so we have a link to that in the show notes. If you ever want to understand both the mechanisms of insulin resistance and kind of the downstream health effects, it’s a fantastic paper.
Nicki: Awesome. Let’s see, our t-shirt review winner for this week goes to Scott, Miami Vice. He says, “Holy cats, our sacred cow. Listened from the Paleo Solution Podcast number one, and I’m always the most interested when Robb says that he’s going to scare off his last six listeners. I love the change from paleo to rebellion. There are so many things that are said that often make me smile, how do I unpack this? And none of that even touches on the content. Things I’ve learned from Robb have changed my life for the better. I’ve lost body fat, my vitiligo has all but disappeared, and I’m entertained.”
Nicki: Yeah, that’s awesome. Scott, Miami Vice, thank you so much. Send us an email to [email protected] with your t-shirt size and your mailing address, and we’ll send you a Healthy Rebellion Radio t-shirt.
Nicki: And this episode of the Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by our friends at Paleovalley. They make the cleanest gut-friendly protein snack that you can get your hands on. They’re 100% Grass Fed Beef Sticks are sourced from American farmers, practicing regenerative agriculture, and they don’t contain any harmful chemicals or additives that you find in most meat snacks. Paleovalley uses old world methods of fermentation, so they are shelf stable without chemicals or other harmful ingredients that you find in most beef sticks.
Nicki: And thanks to this natural fermentation process Paleovalley’s beef sticks include naturally occurring probiotics, making them the perfect gut-friendly protein snack. They have zero grams of sugar. They’re gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and conveniently packaged individually. So you have the cleanest, most delicious protein snack for on the go. And we mentioned this last time, but they are probably our number one snack on the go.
Robb: Kid’s snack, yeah.
Nicki: Yeah, and for us as well. But the kids, they love them.
Robb: It’s kind of funny our family, and I’m sure many families are like this, inevitably three of the four, like any given thing and then there’s always one, but the meat sticks are the one thing that everybody likes them.
Nicki: Everybody likes them, yeah. And they’ve got great flavors, so check them out, go to paleovalley.com forward slash T-H-R-R snacks, that stands for The Healthy Rebellion Radio. So T-H-R-R snacks and use code T-H-R-R 10 for 10% off your order. That’s paleovalley.com slash T-H-R-R snacks.
Nicki: Okay hubs, our first question today is on protein and Alzheimer’s. It’s from Laurel and she says, “Hi, Robb, how are you? I hope you and Nikki are doing well. I just recently have entered the world of Alzheimer’s via my cousin, who is in her sixties. It is unbelievable to not find my real cousin in there anymore. She is literally vacant with tiny glimmers of her former self popping up randomly, and then being instantly gone. I will soon be helping the family take care of her in some way. I started to Google Alzheimer’s research and found this,” and she links to a science daily article. She says, “With so many turning carnivore, and me potentially wanting to toy with my cousin’s diet to try to help, can I do harm by encouraging more protein consumption?”
Robb: So the article is talking about a specific protein. It’s acretin, it’s an aggregating protein that is likely a factor in the whole amyloid plaque development. And so I think what I’m getting from this is that, and what’s her name again?
Robb: Laurel. I think Laurel is hearing there’s a protein expressed, and so she’s concerned that potentially increasing dietary protein is going to be a problem. The long and short story with that is almost no. There might be some wacky something in there, but if we know anything about Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, they definitely have a metabolic origin to them and we have to face facts. If the individual’s far enough down this disease process, significant dietary change may or may not really do much of anything. Is it Mary Newport that did just coconut oil added to her husband’s diet? They had a pretty dramatic improvement and I was kind of horrified the way they did it. They were feeding the guy oatmeal and then adding coconut oil to it, and he got better and there’s actually some trials going on that stuff.
Robb: And so something headed towards a ketogenic-type diet, adequate protein, improving metabolic function, and potentially in this scenario, shifting more towards a ketogenic state makes a ton of sense. But the fact that there’s a protein expressed in the process of Alzheimer’s progression doesn’t mean that it’s tied specifically to the consumption of dietary protein. Although the vegans would love to try to make that case, but it’s just not the way that it’s going to pan out.
Robb: I will really quickly jump up on a bit of a soap box. We’ve been beating drums about the reality that just type two diabesity issues are projected to bankrupt modern societies by 2030, 2035, something like that. Maybe COVID has accelerated that, maybe it’s changed it some way, who knows? We just keep printing money anyway. So who really knows what the true story is on that. But I’ll tell you this, it is easy to manage things like diabetes. Even as gnarly as it is, say like a kidney dysfunction with dialysis and whatnot, you can plug someone into a machine. In the case of dialysis, you can give people different pharmaceuticals in the case of type two diabetes.
Robb: When the tsunami of neurodegenerative disease hits us, we are going to be fully and truly screwed. It generally requires 24/7 nursing care. Maybe this falls back on the family. Maybe this is a turning point for our society because we actually have to take care of one another again in a multi generational family scenario because literally nobody else will be able to do it. But when you project out the costs of this stuff, it is staggering. And this is the shit that the kind of evidence based medicine, nutrition, people that are real geeked out on getting already lean fitness competitors a little bit leaner, and then they just shit talk everything else in this space.
Robb: I’m like, what the fuck are you guys worrying about? Or are you just so head in the sand dealing with your one little thing here that is basically facilitating adults doing children’s games, that’s great, be good at that. And then pop your head up and look at the bigger pictures that we face. But yeah, it’s a big deal. It is a stool loosening potentiality that is heading our way, and if we don’t affect some significant diet and lifestyle changes, it’s going to jump on top of all of us. So yeah, just starting off as a shiny ray of hope with my cup of diminishing freedoms. But do you have any thoughts on that or you just want the pain to end and move on to the next question?
Nicki: I do not have anything else to add.
Robb: But hopefully Laurel, I think a shift towards an adequate protein ketogenic diet, if there’s any potential of some recovery or refractory element to this, I think there’s good science for that. Using some exogenous ketones, or MCT oil, coconut oil, I think that that’s all completely reasonable. And again, there’s some good science that supports the efficacy there, but I wouldn’t be worried about dietary protein influencing the expression of this aggregating protein. Particularly because that thing is part of an inflammatory response to aggregating protein.
Nicki: Do you think the general public could be more excited about making dietary changes to avoid things like Alzheimer’s and Dementia versus for just losing body fat? Or do you think the aesthetics of body fat is a more compelling thing? I’m wondering if enough people start having experiences with family members or people losing, like what Laurel’s experiencing, if that can be a big enough driver for people to significantly change what they’re eating. Versus oh, healthy at any weight, it doesn’t matter if I’m 20 pounds overweight, I’m still healthy and I love my body and that kind of thing. But if the end result for many is going to be loss of…
Robb: Their marbles?
Nicki: Their marbles. Or is that too far in the future and people are like, eh, that’s not going to happen to me or it’s unknown if it’s going to happen to me, so…
Robb: I don’t know. It’s a really good question. So even for myself, we just got some blood work back and my lipoproteins look good, cholesterol looks good, I’m going to do an update on that. But I’ve been of the opinion that unless there was some really specific situation, I’m probably not going to do a statin because of the potential of losing your marbles. One of the primary things that seems to happen with… There’s a ton of different responses but just in the back of my head I’m like, okay, my luck it’s going to be horrible muscle wasting and also neurodegeneration. I have used Clomid in the past kind to help boost my testosterone levels. And there’s a half a percent of people that use Clomid get alterations in their vision.
Robb: I got the alterations in my vision. And when I think about, do I want to slowly lose my mind, that is me. All kinds of horrible things could happen to you, but if you still have your mind, you still have you. If you lose your mind, that’s it you’re done. And so I’m kind of in this spot where I’m like, if I die from a heart attack, then I would prefer that over this really long, slow cognitive decline. To say nothing of the impact it would have on you and the girls and all that jive. So ironically, I do still think aesthetics kind of win the day. We still have, what’d we call it, real estate agent terror where the person was really overweight but would still spend 500 bucks every two weeks on the most amazing hair and nails and all the rest of that, because it’s kind of a cushy and you get to kind of feel good in the moment doing all that stuff. And it doesn’t really force you to change.
Robb: But I think a lot of people are… Cancer is definitely scary, that’s something that people are not super fired up about, and that will kind of scare people. But the specter of losing your mind, I think is a whole other level because you get to actually watch yourself disappear in some way. And I think that that’s potentially pretty terrifying. Whether or not it’ll be enough to actually light a fire under folks and motivate them to do something, yeah I don’t know. Laurel did post a link to a study out of Poland that has remarkably low rates of Alzheimer’s.
Robb: With westernization, with loss of traditional food systems, and that being replaced by the products of globalization and the industrial row crop food system, this is where things go. So this is again, even on kind of the regenerative ag and sustainability and food sovereignty side, this is where all this shit dovetails together and why it’s all super important to understand it all and advocate for it all. And it’s a lot to do, but we have examples of places that are effectively first world with regards to infrastructure, but they haven’t altered their food systems yet. And you just don’t see the disease processes that we see in say the United States in particular.
Nicki: Okay, our next question this week is from Carolina and it’s regarding vegetarians. She says, “Hi, I’m an omnivore leaning more towards paleo, but my Indian husband comes from a strictly vegetarian Hindu family and has never eaten any meat or eggs. And neither have his parents or grandparents, and likely a long line of vegetarians before that. They do eat dairy products. My husband is in great health with perfect vision, straight white teeth, good muscle mass, and never gets sick, not even with common colds. He’s highly educated and has a sharp mind. His parents are also in good health.
Nicki: I’ve been following your page for a while, and I’ve seen a lot of information saying that animal products provide the best and most bioavailable nutrition to human bodies. For example, with vitamin A being hard to get from veggies and thus best obtained from liver. I’m genuinely interested to know what you would have to say about people who truly have been vegetarian all their lives, and their parents have too, and are in great health. I know there are also Buddhist groups who are vegetarians and vegans, and that has been a longstanding tradition for them. Have these people, groups, been studied for their diet and health and longevity like Weston A. Price studied indigenous people’s groups’ diets? I’d love an answer and maybe some resources on the subject. Thanks Carolina.”
Robb: Interestingly, Sacred Cow has a lot of resources on this. When we talk about the health benefits of animal product, inclusive diets. And the Indian story is interesting, and Diana did a deep dive on it. She’s actually much better steeped in this, but Carolina mentioned they do eat dairy products. Some of the main nutrients that are difficult to get out of a vegan diet you can obtain there. And I will push back actually there are until very recently there have been no vegan groups of people, Buddhists, what have you. It didn’t exist until we add supplementation and so the history behind this stuff is kind of complex.
Robb: But one, gosh, there’s a couple of different thoughts here. Okay, all these folks are in good health with let’s say the only animal products they’re consuming, being some sort of dairy, which could be ghee and butter and different types of cheese. Would their health be better-
Robb: Yogurt, would their health be better with the inclusion of other animal products? Is there a later stage of life deal where people gain weight or what have you? So that’s one layer to this. Another layer to this is when you really dig into the research, and again Sacred Cow references in the health section, there’s a lot of nutrient deficiencies within these groups. So this cross section of people may be motoring along pretty well but at a population level that doesn’t seem to apply quite the same.
Robb: Interestingly also, and this gets very, very controversial and we’ll probably get canceled off of this, but I’m kind of pushing for that at this point. But again, the research done for the Sacred Cow book, many people… I’ll use the parallel analogy. Lots of people claim to be vegan, and then they’ll go out and get a little bit of alcohol, and then they’ll go get a plate of beef nachos, or whatever, and their excursion food is grabbing some sort of animal products that they otherwise wouldn’t eat.
Robb: This appears to be the case within different segments of Hindu society as well. And there’s some really major cultural delineations going on there where the Hindus are really at odds with the Muslim population that they sometimes co inhabit with. And the Muslims do eat beef and then Hindus clearly do not. And so it’s kind of a Hindu nationalist thing around thou shalt not consume meat, but people do, they just do it offline. I’m not saying her family does, but this is another part of this thing where if they do it once a month, once every two weeks, that may be enough. It’s literally taking a supplement particularly when you’re considering the intake of the dairy products.
Robb: Then we have the potential that just at a local level, people have adapted more or less to this kind of process. But in India, the rates of type two diabetes are absolutely exploding. So you’ve got a traditionally, kind of potentially high-fat plus high carb diet, but from largely whole food sources that is now getting infiltrated with sugar and modifying the refining process of these traditional diets, and it’s a disaster. So, man, I don’t know, there’s just kind of a million different things in this. And it all still ultimately comes down to the individual, which I guess I already said this, but we don’t know if these folks would be healthier if they had more of an omnivore diet like that because they are healthy now, we don’t know if they would look, feel, and perform better with the other stuff.
Robb: And then there’s just kind of individual differences. Some people will motor along quite well on this stuff. Maybe even according to Michael Rose’s work where he makes the case that once you hit about 40, that these folks probably should shift, for this kind of evolutionary biology reason, that they should start shifting more towards a paleo type diet. That is still speculative, but there’s some decent research that suggests that. That these folks may be particularly well suited to this type of diet earlier in life, and it may not suit them as well later in life.
Nicki: I’d be curious to know how muscle mass changes throughout the lifespan in some of these populations. We know that sarcopenia is sort of this inevitable feature of life and the older you get you lose more of your muscle mass and especially if you’re not eating dietary protein…
Robb: I mean they are with the dairy products.
Nicki: Yeah but it would be interesting to see muscle mass comparison across some of these populations.
Robb: Right, and something like that might exist, but I am not in knowitude of those, those things, yeah. They’re really interesting, good question. But as with many of these things, there’s a lot of different ways of looking at and unpacking this stuff. And again, at the end of the day my position has always been, if whatever you’re doing is working great for you, awesome. Don’t read my stuff, don’t listen to the podcast, go do something else. This is largely for folks that are still looking to try to tinker and optimize and improve where they are.
Nicki: Okay we have a question from Hannah on stuff no one talks about. “Hey you two, I have a question, or more like a topic, that I’d love for you to address on your podcast. Sex hormones change as you age. However, it seems like no matter what I add or eliminate from my diet, it doesn’t help balance my sex hormones. I’ve been paleo, keto, carnivore, and nothing helps. High-fat at the moment with 75% fat and 20% protein pure carnivore. My estrogen and testosterone are barely detectable, why? I lift weights three to four times a week. I’m not in a calorie deficiency. Can you make any suggestions? I hear other women are losing their menstrual cycles these days way too early. Some say it’s a low carb thing, but I just don’t buy into that. I had these issues eating carbs in my past. Have at it and give us your thoughts. How do you correct sex hormones with diet?”
Robb: This is the easy one, you may not. Diet doesn’t fix everything. Chris Kresser had a great piece on this. Diet and lifestyle are clearly amazing interventions. We were just talking about Alzheimer’s disease and probably the place to intervene with that is diet and lifestyle. Drug interventions for Alzheimer’s have been terrible, but diet and lifestyle doesn’t fix everything. This is where you’ve got to track someone down like a Gabrielle Lyon or a Jaime Seeman, and they’re a legit expert on female hormones and female hormone replacement and we need to establish a baseline. Maybe they do some Dutch testing, but this is maybe where you need to get in and do some supplementation on this. Did Hannah, she didn’t mention her age, so we don’t even know what her age is, but yeah that’s kind of the long and short of it. I could hash around that a million different ways, but diet doesn’t fix everything. And this is where…
Nicki: Clearly since she’s already dialed in with her diet, and hopefully her sleep is on point, and hopefully she’s getting decent amounts of sun. So maybe she has the baseline covered from all of those angles, and then maybe some smart supplementation would be the next place to go.
Robb: Yeah but again, I’m as big a fan of diet mod- Diet can be a beneficial factor in a host of situations, but it’s not going to fix everything. This is where having a relationship with a good doctor can be quite valuable.
Nicki: Okay, it’s time for the Healthy Rebellion Radio trivia. Our episode sponsor Paleovalley is giving their Immunity Bundle, which includes their Essential C Complex, Turmeric Complex, and Grass Fed Beef Sticks to three lucky winners selected at random who answer the following question correctly.
Nicki: Robb, what’s your favorite Paleovalley beef stick flavor?
Robb: I have to go with jalapeno.
Nicki: That’s my favorite too. That is the answer folks, jalapeno. To play, go to robbwolf.com slash trivia and enter your answer. We’ll randomly select three people with the correct answer to win Paleovalley’s Immunity Bundle. The cutoff to answer this week’s trivia and be eligible to win is Thursday, September 10th at midnight. Winners will be notified via email and we’ll announce the winners on Instagram as well. And this is open to residents of the U S only.
Nicki: Our next question is from Dean. He eats a paleo diet, lifts weights, gets good sleep, has low stress, and still has low testosterone, and he’s anemic. “Hi, Robb. I know you’ve gotten a lot of questions from men with low testosterone, but I think my situation is unique. I’m a 38 year old male. I lift weights six times a week, two days, each of squats, weighted chins, and dips. I walk about two miles per day. My diet is paleo-ish consisting only of chicken, eggs, non starchy vegetables, water and coffee, though I probably eat more protein than is recommended, about half a chicken and 12 eggs each day.” Actually, it’s kind of interesting that he’s sticking only to chicken, chicken-centric.
Robb: Very chicken-centric, yeah.
Nicki: My job is not stressful. I get about nine hours of sleep every night. Despite all this, I still have low levels of testosterone and I’m anemic. My most recent lab results are as follows…
Robb: You don’t have to read all these we can have them in the show notes. I will say he’s 38 years old, he’s definitely on the low end on free and total testosterone. He’s definitely right at the lower end of normal on the iron levels and whatnot.
Nicki: He says, “There are some other results that I didn’t include. I could scan and send them if helpful. Overall, I feel pretty healthy. I’m not tired during the day, and I maintain a low body fat percentage. My abs and veins are visible. So if the labs weren’t abnormal, I wouldn’t really be worried about my health. But the labs indicate that I could potentially feel better if some of my blood work improved. I have been anemic my whole life, so I really do not know what normal would feel like. Anyway, it seems that I am following the exercise, diet, and sleep recommendations you regularly promote on your podcast and in your book, although as mentioned, I probably eat more protein and drink more caffeine than I should. Any other recommendations you have as to how I could raise my natural testosterone levels and/or address my anemia issues would be greatly appreciated.
Robb: Man, so folks do have variability as to where their best operating parameters are. Definitely seems like it’s on the low side of things, but there are folks that do just fine seemingly at kind of lower levels. A couple of interesting things, the estradiol is also low so he’s not even getting much convert. This is where some more testing is necessary when I see the low testosterone and the low estradiol. If he had high estradiol, I would be thinking about the estrogen kind of blocking production, but it’s low enough that he should be getting some signaling out of the brain. So this is where looking at some luteinizing hormone, FSH, things like that. Is the signaling to turn this on working properly?
Robb: So this is just where I think getting in and working with a smart doctor and fortunately unpacking male hormones is much easier than female hormones, they’re much more complex. The other hundred genders, I’m not really too sure how you unpack any of those. I’m still struggling with just getting on top of the two that I’m generally familiar with. So yeah, on the longstanding anemia, that’s perplexing. I would be curious about some gut issues, maybe some gut pathogen stuff. He said he’s paleo-ish but does that mean he still…
Robb: It’s so funny. People say shit like this and then they’re like, well yeah but every Friday I go get a pizza, and I’ve done that for 15 years or whatever. And it’s like, well, you also have celiac disease.
Nicki: I’m also wondering about this only eating chicken. That is a lot of the same type of protein. If it’s day in and day out every single day, at some point you could overdo it.
Robb: Yeah, they don’t really put hormones in meat anymore. There was a time where they were giving hormone-laden chicken, particularly in some developing countries, and some kids ended up entering puberty early and stuff like that, some kind of wacky things. But it is kind of perplexing. I wonder if there’s something there with like the chicken and eggs…
Nicki: Now I’m curious, how long has Dean only been having chicken? Did you grow up eating beef or why the shift to only chicken? Or maybe he was previously vegetarian and this is the meat that he felt more comfortable reintroducing.
Robb: And chicken isn’t a great iron source. Beef, lamb, goat, camel all that stuff as far better iron sources. Chicken has some, but the red meat actually has significantly more. So those are all, I don’t know if I’m providing anything valuable on this, but this is where I would go do some additional testing, particularly how is the signaling occurring between the brain and the testicles? What’s going on in that story?
Robb: And again, I don’t know that this is a situation in which diet is going to fix every single thing with this. And this is assuming that we’re not doing goofy things like eating overtly gut damaging foods on a consistent basis, that we’re getting adequate sleep, that we’re getting out in the sun. So there’s some baseline assumptions there that all of those things could be factors in this, and then all of them, even if they are a factor, may not be the driver for the current situation. And this also could just be a scenario where Dean is, this is just kind of where he operates well, and for whatever…
Nicki: He says he feels fine, and he wouldn’t even question it if he didn’t see his lab work.
Robb: But he is I think asking could I feel better?
Nicki: Right, which is a fair question. Alrighty, this one kind of flew by. We’re already on our fifth question for today.
Robb: I’m not super chatty today. I’m just trying not to get in trouble. Just trying to motor through, keep my head down.
Nicki: Okay. Well, this question is from Chris, it’s a question about fueling an early workout. Chris says, “Hi, I’m trying to figure out how to get in an early gymnastics body style, workout 30 to 40 minutes, and maintain a 12 hour fasting period. I start work at 7:00 AM and would like to get in a couple of 5:15 AM workouts per week. Dinner with the family usually wraps up around 6:30 PM. Should I be fueling before this workout, doing it and maintaining my fast, or just scrap this plan and move my workout to the afternoon/evening? I’m a pretty skinny, 6’2″, 170 pound guy, and would like to maximize any increase in lean muscle mass.”
Robb: Chris, I am nearly six inches shorter than you and weigh the same and I’m too goddamn skinny. So the fasting stuff needs to fucking go out the window. Eat some food, eat maybe four times a day. Let’s put some muscle mass on you… Do you want to jump in on this?
Nicki: Okay so the question is, why are you fasting? And maybe he’s thinking that that’s going to be helpful for longevity or…
Robb: And having enough muscle mass so that you don’t have a spiral fracture, sitting down in a chair, of your femur is probably more valuable. So man, work out in the AM or the PM. It doesn’t really matter, but the extended fasting is not doing you any favors. 12 hours, I guess it’s fine. If you want to go a 16/8 or whatever, I guess that’s okay. But shit man, you’ve got to eat some food during that time.
Nicki: You’ve got to eat a lot of food during your eat window.
Nicki: It sounds like he’s doing this every day, right? The fasting is every day, but he wants to do the workout twice a week.
Robb: Yeah, which you probably want a third day of resistance training of some kind. Gymnastics bodies is great, but maybe you stick a full body-
Nicki: Squat workout.
Robb: Yeah like a squat and a deadlift or something in there supplemental to that. But you just got to eat more, eat consistently, get three or four meals a day. Stick 20 or 30 pounds of muscle on that frame and we’ll revisit doing a little bit of time restricted eating or intermittent fasting or something. Did he mention his age?
Nicki: No, he did not.
Robb: Okay, but time’s a ticking. You hit 30 years old and your potentiality for losing muscle mass start increasing and…
Nicki: And it just keeps going downhill every decade from there.
Robb: Yeah it only gets worse. Yeah, we’ve talked about this just a ton. There are sedentary, overweight, desk-bound people, will they benefit from some fasting? Probably. I still would prefer seeing them just lift weights. But some time restricted eating, that’s fine. Those are all good tools and techniques. But people are so enamored with this idea that fasting is the grail and this calorie restriction and everything. And it’s so speculative relative to what we know as being beneficial with some resistance training, getting out in the sun, having some meaningful work, those things really matter. And we can take that to the bank.
Robb: Dr. Anthony J had this thing where he was really taking Valter Longo to task where he made the case, why don’t you spend 75 bucks and get a bunch of meat and then eat at a caloric deficit on that per week, versus the $250 a week for the shitty prolonged meals that Valter Longo is selling. And that’s fucking spot on.
Robb: And what was my point to that as it relates to this?
Nicki: Eat a lot of protein, lift some weights.
Robb: Eat a lot of protein, lift some weights, eat some carbs even, eat some carbs and fat together, just put some muscle mass on and yeah.
Robb: Okay, that one was longer. That was the shortest, easiest question and I rambled around there. But yeah, folks are taking the notion of fasting and a little bit of intermittency to too much of an extreme in my mind.
Nicki: It’s gotten very, very popular, right? And you totally talked about this in your talk this year, Longevity: Are We Trying Too Hard. Yeah, it’s very popular and it’s one of those things that people just gravitate to and oh, if this guy is doing it I should do it, it’s going to be healthy. But it’s all unique to a specific circumstance and a specific goal. And if your goal is to add muscle mass and you’re already super lean…
Robb: That’s not lean that’s waify. I’m lean and I’m six inches shorter than him and, and the same weight so yeah.
Nicki: You’re not 5’8″ you’re 5’9″.
Robb: Oh yeah, I did wrong math.
Nicki: I’m 5’8″.
Robb: You’re 5’7″ on your best day.
Nicki: All right, well folks…
Robb: Enough bullshit for today.
Nicki: Thank you for listening. Remember to grab some Paleovalley 100% Grass Fed Beef Sticks from our show sponsor today. Go to paleovalley.com slash T-H-R-R snacks and use code T-H-R-R 10 for 10% off your order. I hope you join us in the healthy rebellion and get in on this next 30 Day Rebel Reset, which is starting here in about a week.
Robb: All of the not cool kids are doing it.
Nicki: All of them.
Robb: All of them.
Nicki: All right folks, we’ll see you next week.
Robb: Bye everybody.
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