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Quest for Life of Happiness #DocMuscles #KetonianKing #BaconBoy

Keto Happy – Do You Live A Life of Happiness?

Founded by the Secret Society of Happy People in 1999, August 8th was officially named the National Day of Happiness.  It was a day created to recognize and express happiness.  (I personally think it should involve the sharing of bacon, but some may disagree.)  Most people, whether they admit it or not, are searching for happiness.  (Most people are searching for bacon, too, . . . but that is for another article.)  We hope for happiness, we aim for happiness,  and we wish happiness upon our family, friends and neighbors at holidays and birthdays.  It appears to be a desired condition of the soul.

In medical school, we learn that the body is almost 80% water.  One of my professors intelligently quipped, “if you’re unhappy all day, that means you are essentially a cucumber with anxiety.”  For many people, happiness is really hard to find.  Money is hard to find . . . but, that’s because it gets wasted by people trying to find happiness

What exactly is happiness?  It is a transient condition or state of cheerfulness, contentment, satisfaction or pleasure.  Many people mistake meaningfulness as happiness.  Meaningfulness to one’s life is more enduring.  For example, suddenly having a wind-fall of cash may make you happy for the short term.  However, what you actually do with that cash over the next few days, months and years is what brings degrees of meaning to your life.

Basics of Happiness

Happiness is based upon your emotional & spiritual vision, and how living your life aligns with the principles you hold most valuable.  You can’t control all of the circumstances of your life. Things both good and challenging will happen to you that you never expected. However, you have control of your own happiness. You and I are the architects of it.

In working with a majority of patients who are over 65 years old, I have found that the older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness. We determine our happiness.

How do we increase our level of happiness?  There are 10 Simple Steps to Happiness:

1. Improving Health

As a doctor, I’m a huge advocate of improving your health which plays a dramatic role in happiness.  Losing as little as 10 lbs has been shown to improve energy, decrease your risk for major disease, improve sleep, improve sex life, and decrease inflammation.  Improvements in any of those areas will reduce stress and anxiety and increase happiness so you can imagine while improvements in ALL of these areas could dramatically change your life.

As an advocate of the ketogenic lifestyle, I’ve found that the majority of my patients are able to lose 5-15 lbs each month for the first three months using this approach.  They average 2-5 lbs pf weight reduction each month there-after while following a ketogenic approach over the long term.  Understanding that this is one of the long term keys to success in happiness I want to make sure you know that I’ve developed some custom strategies to help with this and will share them with you below.  This lifestyle decreases risk for diabetes by 75%, improves mental clarity, and slows the aging process. (Who wouldn’t want those side effects while eating bacon?)

2. Savor Daily Experience

BaconWrappedJalapeno #DocMuscles #KetonianKing
Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

First, savor the daily experiences.  We live our lives at such a high speed, we often neglect to take time to enjoy the experiences around us.  A recent trip in down town Amarillo, Texas, brought me to the front doors of a restaurant that served cream-cheese & sausage stuffed, bacon wrapped, jalapenos (try saying that 5 times fast).  I had a bit of time and decided to try them.  It was the first time in 3-4 days that I actually had the chance to slow down and savor the place around me, the flavors of the food, and the atmosphere of the restaurant.

BaconWrappedJalapeno #DocMuscles #KetonianKing
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno’s & Happiness

Just taking a bit of time to savor these things made this experience a very memorable and happy experience that I probably won’t soon forget.

Take 3-5 minutes today to just think about where you are.  Savor the smell of a rose, the color of the sky, the shape of the clouds or the sight of a bird. These sensory images can, and will, leave indelible memories and release dopamine and serotonin naturally in the brain.  Savoring the daily experiences of life can be part of the process of meditation we will talk about below.

3. Volunteer

Volunteer #DocMuscles #KetonianKing HappinessGet involved and volunteer in meaningful activities around your neighborhood, church & community.  Research shows that voluntarily giving of time increases happiness in the giver.  It also allows one to see, participate with and help those around you who may be less fortunate.  Volunteering your time and energy regularly increases your gratitude we will discuss further below.

4. Express Gratitude

Expressing gratitude daily has been shown to dramatically increase your sense of well-being and happiness.  Expressing gratitude requires awareness.  It requires you to take inventory of everything around you (something you will already be doing if you are savoring your daily experiences).  Gratitude can be expressed in a journal, through prayer & meditation, or directly to those around you.  However, expressing gratitude requires effort.Christ Leper #DocMuscles #KetonianKing

In the Judaeo-Christian view, expressing gratitude is actually a method of expressing faith.  The 17th chapter of Luke holds a biblical example of this concept. When the leper returned to express his thanks to Jesus Christ for being healed, he wasn’t told “Your gratitude made you whole.”  Christ told him, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.”  He implied that the act of expressing gratitude is a demonstration of faith, a necessary and essential process in human development.

5. Recognition of Personal Value

I’m not talking about your bank statement or personal financial statement.  I’m talking about recognizing the value of your soul.  The only successful non-medication based program to help people overcome addiction is the 12-Step Program through Alcoholics Anonymous.  The essential second step of the twelve is recognition that a power greater than ours is involved in our lives.  Whether, you believe in God or a greater universal power, recognition of your value is an essential perspective to gaining happiness.  This has been demonstrated thousands of times through the 12-Step Programs.

Often, the feeling we have of our personal worth is based on the love and interest we receive from those around us. Yet, this love is sometimes lacking. The love of men is often imperfect, incomplete, or selfish. What if you looked at yourself with the same benevolence, love, and confidence that God does? Imagine the impact it would have on your life to understand your eternal potential as God understands it. If you could view yourself through His eyes, what influence would that have on your life?  Recognition of this principle is essential to making any lasting change.

6. Become Who You Are

The celebrated Greek poet, Pindar, said, “Become who you are.”  Isn’t this a paradox?  How does one become who they already are?

Many of my and the younger generations grew up to the sounds and images of The Lion King. You probably remember the scene where Simba receives a visit from his father, Mufasa, the deceased king. After his father died, Simba fled from the kingdom because the guilt he felt about his father’s death. He wanted to escape his responsibility as heir to the throne.

Lion King #DocMuscles #KetonianKingHis father appears to him and warns him: “You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life.” Then this invitation is repeated several times: “Remember who you are. … Remember who you are.

Simba, completely shaken by this experience, decides to accept his destiny. He confides in his friend, the shaman monkey, that it “looks like the winds are changing.”

The monkey replies, “Change is good.”

And Simba says: “But it’s not easy. I know what I have to do. But going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.”

“Where are you going?” the monkey asks him.

“I’m going back!” cries Simba.

(This is also a great movie because of the “bacon references:”)

Admit it. You smiled didn’t you!

7. Meditation

Meditation Grand Canyon #DocMuscles #KetonianKingMeditation and prayer have been shown to actually change areas of the brain that relate to stress management and mood regulation.  People who meditate regularly over long periods of time have better ability to find and maintain positive states like joy and compassion. Richard Davidson and his colleagues found that meditation increases brain activity in areas related to happiness as well.

8. Relationships

Happiness has been linked to quality relationships as well.  Robert Wallinger, psychiatrist at Harvard University, conducted a 75 year multi-generational study on happiness.  He found that the quality of the relationships was powerfully connected to happiness. Lonely people were less happy and had poorer health.  People with higher-quality relationship or social ties were the happiest.

However, it wasn’t just having a relationship, but having one with a stable and consistently caring person that made the difference. Having lots of acquaintances or being in a relationship with an unreliable or abusive partner did not make people happier.  Amazingly, listening (savoring shared experiences) and complimenting (expressing gratitude) improve the quality of relationships.  (Sharing your bacon improves relationships as well.)

9. Food

A number of studies have demonstrated that a ketogenic diet increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a key neuro-hormone signaling satiety and pleasure, in the brain.  GABA increases sensations of happiness and euphoria.  (Yes, this is why eating bacon makes you and I happier.  It’s probably why the thought of bacon in the video above made you smile.)  Shifting into a ketogenic state at least periodically has the effect of increasing your sense of happiness throughout the day.   It is actually the ketone that does this.  Whether you get into ketosis through diet alone, or through the use of exogenous ketones, both methods are effective in aiding you in your quest for happiness.

10. Allow Others to Help

I know you are probably familiar with the term it is better to give than receive but did you know there is evidence to support the reverse is true too?  That happiness also comes from allowing others to help? Think about it. When you are helping others, especially when they appreciate it, you feel happiness or joy. Others experience those same feelings when they are able to help you. Think of a child that wants to make you a meal. No matter what it looks like when it gets to you, you smile and feel happy at the effort, the child smiles back proud at their success. There is happiness in giving and receiving. 

 

So today’s your chance to receive.  As a doctor, I find myself shying away from sharing this information with you directly because I never want anyone to feel like my efforts are about me. I’ve spent years learning and understanding the benefits of a Ketogenic lifestyle and spent additional years researching products that work and my local patients are experiencing tremendous results! A friend told me that not sharing this information with people directly was actually being selfish. (Ouch!) “When you know someone has a problem that you can solve, shouldn’t you share it and let them make their own decisions?”

Although that was painful to hear, it helped me commit to being more direct about how I can help all of you to feel better. If you are ready to change the way you feel and want to live a happier, healthier life, the time is NOW.  Put these 10 steps in action and enjoy the benefits of a KetoLifestyle. If you want to know more about what I do, keep reading my blog, join my weekly newsletter and watch me Live Stream every week on Facebook Live & Periscope giving you free tips and tricks to stay healthier. If you know you are ready for a change, and you want to see how I can help, check out the variety of Ketogenic programs I offer to help you find the Happiness inside You! Because we all love gifts and they make us Happy, in honor of #NationalHappinessDay, you should see a pop up here for something special!  ] Be sure to click here to go to the Keto Kart and cash in on better health!

However you decide to approach your day today, choose to be happy.  It really is up to you.

Fat Lock Box #DocMuscles #KetonianKing

Ketones – One of the Keys to the Fat Lock-Box

Do you have the keys to your “fat lock-box?”

Lock-boxes have always fascinated me.  Lock-boxes with special keys are even more fascinating.  The more I’ve learned about fat cells (adipocytes), the more I think about them as special fuel depositories or fat lock-boxes.  Before the invention of refrigerators, fast-food, Bisquick and beer, our bodies preserved and reserved fat as a precious commodity.

The body, when given fat with carbohydrates or excess protein, quickly places the fat into a lock-box for safe keeping.  It does this for two reasons. First, the body can store fat very efficiently. Second, hormone signals stimulate fat storage when other fuel sources (carbohydrate & protein) are present in excess. The body can access this stored fuel only when the right presentation of hormonal keys are present.  Fascinatingly, we now know from recent research, there are actually three types of lock-boxes for fat in the human body (white adipose tissue, brown adipose tissue, and tan adipose tissue).

The greatest challenge for the obesity doctor is getting into the fat lock-box.  Some people’s boxes are like the “Jack-in-the-Box” you had as a child – just add a little exercise spinning the handle and the box pops open (These are those people that say, “Oh, just eat less and exercise and you’ll lose weight.”)  For the majority of the people I see, it’s more like the lock above with a four or five part key required to turn the gears just right.  (And, that key often only seems available on a quarter moon at midnight when the temperature is 72 degrees.)  Fat cells, called adipocytes, require four, and possibly more, keys to open them up and access the fuel inside.  Exercise is only one of those keys.  However, exercise alone often fails.

Over the last 18 months, I have been surprisingly impressed with the results patients have by the addition of both medium chain triglycerides and exogenous ketones.   A number of people have asked me, “Why do you encourage the addition of exogenous ketones to a person already following a ketogenic diet?”

Others just accuse me of self promotion, saying, “You’re just trying to sell a product!”

Or they exclaim, “Giving more ketones is just a waste of time and money.”

A few of the uneducated holler from across cyberspace, “You’re just going to cause ketoacidosis!”

Believe me, I’ve heard it all.  And, the skepticism is understandable.  I work with people every day, looking closely at weight gain/loss, metabolism, cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, etc.  With any “low-carb” or “ketogenic product,” I test it out on myself and my family, before I offer it to my patients or even consider encouraging its use in my practice.  I have this desire to understand “the how” and “the why” before I prescribe the who and when.

The Fat Lock-Box Keys

First , let’s talk about the adipocyte as a fat lock-box – and where you find the keys. Then, we’ll discuss how products may or may not help.

Insulin

There is only one door INTO the adipocyte for the fat, and the key to that door is insulin.   Insulin stimulates an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase that essentially pulls the fat from the cholesterol molecule into the fat cell.  Without insulin, fat doesn’t enter the fat cell.  As a result, type I diabetics (those that make absolutely no insulin) look anorexic if they don’t take their needed insulin.   Insulin is also the first key to the back door on the adipocyte.  Actually, if there is too much insulin in the system, fat enters easily through the front door but cannot exit the back door (Picture 1). Insulin seals up the back door so that fat cannot exit very effectively.

That’s why insulin is the master hormone when it comes to obesity.  You’ve got to lower the over-all insulin load to get the adipocyte slowing fat entry and increasing fat exit.  If you don’t do that, I don’t care how much you exercise, 85% of the population will struggle with weight loss.  Hmmm, seems kind a familiar to the last 50 years of our obesity epidemic, No?

Stimulation Lipolysis #DocMuscles #KetonianKing
Picture 1 – Four Key Pathways to Adipocyte Stimulation of Lipolysis

Catecholamines

The second key to the back door of the fat cells are the catecholamines.  These are adrenaline (epinephrine), norepinephrine, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and even serotonin.  These hormones are produced in the adrenal glands through exercise, fear and even recollection of powerful memories. Medications can also stimulate production of these hormones.  The catecholamines stimulate cAMP.  cAMP opens the fat cell, releasing fatty acids for fuel.

#WhereIsBaconBoy #DocMuscles #KetonianKing

The thyroid hormone conversion of T4 to T3 also plays a role in uptake of the catecholamines by adnylyl cyclase (AC).  Low levels of T3 (like those seen in hypothyroidism or in cases of thyroiditis) also inhibit unlocking of the fat lock-box.  Conversion of T4 to T3 is driven by the presence of bile salts in the gut.  Increase fat intake increases the presence of the bile salts which naturally leads to better T3 conversion.  Hence my constant references to eating more fat and bacon. .

Inflammation & Medications

The third key is an inhibitory effect on adenylyl cyclase (AC) activity by alpha and beta adrenoreceptors, adenosine, prostaglandins, neuropeptide Y, peptide YY, HM74-R & nicotinic acid.  These inhibitory and inflammatory hormones produced in the brain, gut and other areas decrease cAMP activity in the fat cell and slow fat loss.  The fancy long names are all hormones causing inflammation.  Of note, many are also stimulated by medications including blood pressure lowering drugs. Check with your doctor if the medications you are taking may be causing weight gain, or halting your weight loss.

Please note that the first three keys have effect on the cAMP pathway for release of fat from the adipocyte.  These three keys turn on or off effective function of cAMP leading release of fatty acids from the fat cell.

Naturitic Peptides

The fourth key follows a separate pathway.  This is why I’ve clinically seen patients experience weight loss even in the presence of higher insulin, inflammatory disease or hypothyroidism. This key activates release of the naturitic peptides (ANP, BNP).  These hormones are released from the heart when it squeezes more powerfully.  As the cardiac muscle contracts, it releases ANP & BNP hormones.  These hormones stimulate the cGMP pathway in the adipocyte.   It then activates hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) and perilipin to release free fatty acids.  Again, this pathway is separate from the pathway by which the first three keys released fat.   Exercise increases heart contractility, but is inhibited by high insulin levels.  However, ketones themselves also stimulate this increased contractile effect.

Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal (HPG) Axis & Testosterone

There actually is a fifth key not referenced above.  The fifth key to the fat lock-box amplifies testosterone’s presence through the HPG axis.  Insulin resistance and leptin resistance lower testosterone in men and raise it in women, causing poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).   Normalizing insulin levels (with a ketogenic diet) while at the same time increasing ketones as the primary fuel powerfully resets the HPG axis through a complex series of hormonal reactions.  Growth hormone is balanced and testosterone returns to a normal range.

Clinically, 60% of the people I see in the office have abnormal testosterone due to insulin resistance. This leads to hypogonadism in men and PCOS (abnormal periods, facial hair growth and/or infertility) in women.  Restricting carbohydrates and maintaining nutritional ketosis by diet and/or addition of exogenous ketones has a powerful corrective factor in these people.

Testosterone influences the up-regulation of the alpha & beta adrenergic receptors (the 2nd & 3rd key above).  Hence, if your testosterone is low, it has a suppression on the way that the catecholamines influence fatty acid release from the fat cells.  If your testosterone and growth hormone are normal, muscle development and adrenaline stimulus from exercise helps amplify the use and mobilization of fat from the fat cell.  In people with insulin resistance and leptin resistance, exercise and the catecholamines don’t have the same fat burning effect.

What Does This Actually Mean?

Yes, I have greatly simplified a series of very complex hormonal pathways in the explanation of the keys above.  Why do you think understanding obesity has been so difficult?  Think of your adipocytes as a fat lock-box.

What’s even more important is the knowledge that the fat cell DOES NOT open or close because of calories.  There is no dogmatic calorie-meter on the wall of the fat cell.  There is no calorie key to the fat lock-box.  Really, . . . in the 50 years of studying fat, researchers haven’t found one.  (Prove me wrong when you show me an electron micro-graph of a calorie-meter in the wall of a cell).  Science has demonstrated multiple times that the lack of food from starvation or excessive fasting suppresses thyroid function (an inhibitory effect on key #3).  Restricting calories actually inhibits fat loss in many people.

The fat lock-box keys I refer to above are hormone responses to the presence of macro-nutrients (food).  That means, first reduce your carbohydrate intake by eating real food from good sources. You can learn how to get started by registering for my FREE six part weight loss mini-course.  Second, be as active as you can. Third, reduce stress and medications that have inhibitory effect on catacholamines. Fourth, balance your thyroid. And, fifth, get into ketosis and consider adding exogenous ketones to your dietary regimen.  It really is that simple.

References

(For those of you that still believe there is a calorie key – or just need something to do while in the bathroom):

  1. Lafontan et al. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005
  2. Lenard NR, Obesity, 2008
  3. Li XF et al, Endo (April 2004) Vol 145
  4. Liu YY& Brent GA, Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Mar; 21(3): 166–173
  5. Max Lafontan et al. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005;25:2032-2042
  6. Skorupskaite K et al, Hum Rep Update, Mar 2014, vol 20
Bacon Grease DocMuscles #KetonianKing

Bacon Grease – The Healthy Essential Oil

Bacon Grease Is the Healthy Oil

Is bacon grease really healthy? People in my office stress out about getting all the healthy fats and the right amino acids.  I am asked all the time, which protein powder they should be taking?  Do I prefer fish oil or krill oil?  My answer to this is simple.

“Bacon grease.”

Disbelief Bacon DocMuscles

I know, I can see it on your face now. . . the blank stare of disbelief.

Yes, I said “bacon grease.”

If you are following a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, bacon grease is your essential oil. Let me explain why:

Bacon Contains All The Essential Amino Acids

Bacon, and the grease it creates, contains all the essential amino acids.  Yes, even the coveted branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).  Go ahead, have 3-5 slices for breakfast, but keep the grease and re-use it to cook with.  Because your saving yourself from having to buy expensive protein powders and less tasty versions of these essential muscle building blocks.

Bacon Is A Great Source of Choline

Bacon grease is a great source of choline, an essential nutrient for stabilizing cell membranes and making the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine is one of the neurotransmitters absent in memory disorders and muscle disease.  Fascinatingly, choline helps in the prevention of fatty liver disease, a disease caused by the standard American diet that often progresses to non-alcoholic liver disease.

Choline has also been shown in a number of studies to help ward off Alzheimer’s Disease.

Bacon Grease Contains All The B-Vitamins

Bacon fat is a superb source of all of the necessary B vitamins.  It is also a superb source of Vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.  In fact all of the fat soluble vitamins – any vitamin that sounds like a letter of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, etc.- are found in animal fat.

Veggies Bacon Superpower DocMuscles

Bacon Grease Suppresses Appetite

Long-Chain fatty acids are satiating.  Bacon grease is a great source of the longer chain fatty acids and has a wonderful effect on suppressing your appetite.  That’s why Dr. Nally talks about it so often.  Bacon is the duct tape of the culinary world, and acts to suppress the cravings for the pie that might arise 30-60 minutes later.

Bacon Brings Happiness

When have you ever felt a frown after eating bacon?  That’s my point . . . you just smiled when that thought crossed your mind.  Seriously, don’t deny it . . .

Put a piece of bacon in your mouth, and it doesn’t really matter who the president is, what Kim Kardashian recently posted, or that you’re late for work . . . seriously.  Bacon in your mouth reminds you how good life really is.  If I die while eating a plate of bacon, my life will be complete.

My wife fries eggs in bacon grease for breakfast when she cooks.  I tell you . . . it’s edible love.

Bacon Stimulates the Heart

Bacon grease also contains a significant amount of medium chain triglycerides (caproic, caprylic, capric, and lauric acids).  These medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are all the rage in helping to maintain a ketogenic diet.  MCTs convert rapidly into ketones after absorption into the liver from the gut.  Rapid conversion of fat into ketones stimulate more effective contraction of the heart.  When the heart contracts more effectively, it releases atrial-naturitic peptide (ANP), that opens the “back door” in the fat cell allowing for more efficient fat burning and maintenance of ketosis.

Bacon Smells So Good

Many people us essential oils for the aromatic effect they produce on mood and anxiety.  Next time you cook bacon, check your mood.  Never has there been an aroma that is so inviting and calming.  Very few other aromas actually bring people to a dinner table.  And for you men out there, bacon grease improves your manhood.  Increased presence of ketones, and the appetite suppressing effect of bacon grease helps to stabilize testosterone and leucine.  This improves muscle development, enhances libedo, and prevents the progressive decline in testosterone leading to the “girly-man” status that occurs with so many men eating the standard American diet.

Let me leave you with one last question.  When is the last time you saw left-over bacon?

Exactly – the same time you saw leprechauns riding unicorns down your street after a rain storm.

So, cook that bacon . . . and save the grease.  Use it to cook your eggs or bake with it.  You’ll thank me later.

Why Be In Ketosis? Part XIII: How Ketones Modulate Pain

DocMuscles in Downtown Denver

I traveled to downtown Denver, Colorado, this week.  It gave me the opportunity to talk to a number of really great people.  A number of those people that I chatted with were searching for relief from pain and other aliments.  Not surprisingly, being in the mile-high city, many of those were using derivatives of marijuana (pun not intended).  I was actually surprised at the number of people who spontaneously admitted to using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabinol (CBD).  They use it in various forms to treat their pain or other complaints.  Only a handful of those that I had the pleasure of talking to had ever heard of nutritional ketosis as an approach to pain control. This got me thinking about my patients and their pain control.  Many of them have had significant improvement in pain using a ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones.

Nutritional Ketosis as a Method of Pain Treatment

I started using nutritional ketosis as an adjunctive treatment to disease twelve years ago. Quite a few of my patients reported improvements in their overall pain using this approach.  I started to see 50-60% improvement in the inflammatory types of pain, and 40-50% improvement in neuropathic pain.

Ketosis and Forms of Pain

There are a number of forms of pain: thermal, inflammatory, and neuropathic. Looking over the scientific literature, there is no strong data showing that ketogenic diets reduce thermal pain, however, there is data showing improvement in inflammatory pain.  Within two days of dietary changes, inflammatory pain and secondary swelling, as well as plasma extravasation (excess fluid accumulation around the area of swelling) show measured improvement.

Watch my four minute vlog below about pain control being one of the twenty-five reasons to use nutritional ketosis (This video has a mic problem, so turn your sound all the way up):

Even though the published science has not caught up to fully clarified what we are seeing clinically, evidence demonstrates that ketones improve nerve pain. When ketones are present in increased amounts in the blood stream, the current evidence points to a number of poorly understood mechanisms.  Ketones compete with chloride ions in the peripheral nerve cells.  When ketones bind instead of chloride, there is a decrease in glutamate production, a key amino acid necessary in the signaling of pain fibers.  The lower glutamate level causes a rise in gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA). . . leading to decreased sensation of pain.

This is the same pathway that stops intractable seizures and may play a very significant role in dietary treatment of autism.

Denver is ranked No. 3 by Zagat on the list of “Foodie Capitals” of America. And, the downtown scene is absolutely beautiful, but I walked by eight different restaurants specializing in “carbage” while walking just two blocks.  Encouraging cities to eat less bread may be a challenge.   But, hey, you get to eat more bacon!  And, bacon is the duct tape of the culinary world.

Bacon Boy loves to travel. Click Here to take him on your next photo opportunity.

Why Be In Ketosis – Part XII (Thyroid)

There is a pattern that I’ve noticed on every live-stream that I’ve appeared on talking about ketosis that someone always asks the question: “What about the thyroid?”  That’s literally how it’s asked. . . someone I am unfamiliar with keys in the question, “What about the thyroid?”

The blunt sarcastic response in my head is usually, “Well, what about it?”

Buried within the vague periscope or twitter question above is the real question that is on the minds of thousands of people,  “Does ketosis effect the thyroid . . . ?”

There’s loads of information about the thyroid on the internet.  Much of it is garbage.   Seriously.  Ask Google about “thyroid,” and you’ll see thousands of articles, posts and comments on WebMD, Women’s Health, and Wikipedia all across the “interwebby.”  Everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to have a “thyroid opinion.”  Much of the “wikopinion” out there is here-say, conjecture and anecdotal. It doesn’t really give people any foundational understanding of what their thyroid is doing, or more importantly for that matter – what their thyroid isn’t doing.

Of late, the Paleo and Vegetarian thought leaders seem to decry nutritional ketosis because they claim that this dietary approach suppresses thyroid function. This wiki-theory (yes, it is just a theory) was extrapolated from a single study where the T4 level dropped in the first few weeks after ketosis was entered.  But just because T4 drops, doesn’t mean the diet suppresses the thyroid.  Using T4 as a screening test alone for assessment of thyroid function is 1987 thinking (1987 brought us the Kia Concord and the Subaru Justy just so you get the mental picture).  T4 fluctuates with a number of binding proteins and following this number alone is really bad medicine.  Taking thyroid advise from the Paleo people is like asking your Fed Ex driver about the correct lift on your 4×4 truck.  Really?

Excessive insulin, the hormone produced when you eat sugar, starch and some proteins, actually stimulates thyroid peroxidase antibodies and can cause exacerbation of thyroiditis (causing over-production or under-production of thyroid hormone).  Because 85% of the people I see in my office over-produce insulin (this is referred to as insulin-resistance), in response to starches, there is a significant flux in thyroid function due to  this pre-diabetes state (insulin over-production) on high carbohydrate based diets.

Leptin, the hormone produced by fats cells when they are “full,” actually stimulates the conversion of T4 to T3.  At least 40% of my obese, insulin-resistant patients are also leptin-resistant, meaning they over-produce leptin as well.  This has a suppression effect on T4 (by converting it to T3) and is the usual cause of the T4 levels being lower when initially staring a ketogenic diet.  It is also the reason that some people feel anxious or “activated” when changing to nutritional ketosis.  Leptin-resistance is driven by a high level of fructose in the diet and the presence of high triglycerides, inhibiting the leptin signal from crossing the blood-brain barrier.  As a person follows a ketogenic diet and lifestyle, leptin returns to normal over 3-6 months and T4 levels normalize.  The Paleo and Vegetarian nay-sayers never mention that . . . do they?  What they won’t tell you is that calorie restriction, which is a must for weight loss, on the DASH, Mediterranean, Paleo or Vegetarian diet causes suppression of testosterone, leucine, and thyroid function, causing worsening T4 suppression over time.  Hmmm . . .  put that in your low-fat green vegetarian taco, and smoke it.

Wait . . . I don’t advocate smoking so, ignore that.

The point is, a ketogenic lifestyle stabilizes thyroid function and improves auto-immune thyroiditis. I’ve seen it happen clinically for over 12 years.  It, also, dramatically helps stabilize the other 30 hormones involved with the diseases of civilization including obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.

Watch my live-stream recording below to find out more about the thyroid.