There seems to be a massive debate in the paleo community about whether low carb diets or high carb diets are better for the thyroid.
Paul Jaminet has touched on this: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=4383
As has Danny Roddy http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2011/8/16/why-im-not-a-fan-of-high-fat-diets-part-i.html http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2011/8/22/why-im-not-a-fan-of-high-fat-diets-part-ii.html
Anthony Colpo also has replies that are linked in the Jaminet posts.
There are also several personal anectodes for both high fat and high carb increases libido, thyroid. Many of the carb ones tend to be from those who went low carb for awhile and found these things crashed. Many seem to be from those in the reproductive ages. Danny, myself, and some testimonies from Matt Stone's site ( http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2011/03/natural-testosterone-enhancement.html and here http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2011/06/paleo-fail.html ) Although not too sure how legit these anectodes are
We have anectodes for high fat here on paleo hacks.
So we've got both sides with postives and negatives, but we are still left with alot of questions. What works long term and what is optimal for long term? Does it change for age, genetics, dietary history?
This is what I posted on Paul's blog and explains why I think this topic is very important:
"It would be great if some long term low carbers could get their hormones tested and evaluted agaisnt their diet and activity level. I think that would shed some serious light on this issue. What we have is many younger paleos coming forth with these sex hormone and thyroid issues all of a sudden, and some of them seem to be fixing these with high carb paleo diets. On the other hand, I know much of the consensus of young people at AHS was that we were not impressed by the physiques of some of the older, long term low carb guru???s such as Cordain and Eades physiques. Sure, activity levels play a major role in leaness, but so do sex and thyroid hormones.
Personally, higher carbs seems to improve these things for me like Danny, but I dont have evidence for it yet. Fats also help, I definitely can???t be too low in these. But more fat doesn???t do it for me the way more carbs does.
That said, Jeff pointed out something that I;ve been on to for a while as well??? HDL and Testosterone are always postively correlated. Saturated Fats raise HDL, so higher fat should = higher T. But for some reason this isn???t the case for some? Also, Paul noted in his HDL post that higher potassium excretion was correlated with high HDL, so tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are to my knowledge the highest dietary sources of potassium around, also should help HDL and testosterone and this is certainly true in my case going off of symptoms.
We have all these short term studies but no long ones. We have anectodes from both sides of the board, but what are the variables? Are these folks with good thyroid and sex hormones on high fat doing something different that those whose dropped arent? I think we will continue to have these questions until we really dig digger with the evidence we have in long term long carb dieters."
Not to call anyone out but I would like to add Fred Hahn to the long term low carbers who look like their thyroids might not be optimal... he has even reported a high LDL and hairloss online which is usually seen with hypothyroidism, as well as the red skin that Melissa has pointed out.
asked byBill_13 (330)
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on August 25, 2011
at 11:45 PM
This is an excellent question and something I've been wondering about lately. The increase (to biologically normal levels) of sex hormones as measured directly or indirectly via libido etc. is often attributed to the fat, specifically saturated fat in the diet. I don't believe that this is the case at all and it is my belief that's it's actually the significant increase in dietary cholesterol that makes the biggest difference (assuming the individual doesn't have, for example, marginal Zn/Se/Cu status).
Saturated fat intake could lead to a greater pool of acetyl-CoA, which could become endogenous cholesterol (among many things) but so too could starch. However, dietary cholesterol can obviously become pregnenolone, and later testosterone etc. I'm certain that our bodies favor the most efficient path, and as such, am completely convinced that though we may be able to get by with endogenous cholesterol production, the preference would be for that to go toward maintaining membrane fluidity, myelin sheaths etc. I think that during times of dietary cholesterol scarcity, sex hormones are one of the first things to be reduced because though they are obviously necessary for the persistence of the DNA, it is likely "assumed" that the scarcity is temporary and that reproduction at times of such scarcity is suboptimal anyway.
Those with veg*n diets or "healthy" versions of the SAD would have quite low dietary cholesterol intakes for possibly very long periods of time. This would have a significant impact on many aspects of health, but definitely lipolysis in the case of a reduction in testosterone.
I have no proof of this, but I am nevertheless thoroughly convinced.
on August 26, 2011
at 07:07 AM
I'm a 25 year old female. I've been a fitness instructor for 7 years.. so, i've always lead an active and somewhat healthy nutritional lifestyle. But, since the fall of last year I began having some symptoms of really low progesterone- which caused a mess of health issues (blood pressure, hot flashes, little to no energy, 2 menstrual cycles per month etc) I refused to take synthetic crap and so chose to see a natural-path. I was advised to take natural progesterone supplements, which I did, along with accupuncture and cranial sacral therapy. Things seemed to get better, but I really wanted to tackle the issue with what I was putting into my body... Since switching to a paleo way of eating a couple months ago, my hormones have regulated naturally and I am no longer anemic! yay! I no longer need to take progesterone ... the only supplements I take are B6 and a Calcium-Magnesium.
PTL for Paleo =o)
on August 26, 2011
at 12:31 AM
question of the year...i hope for a big disscussion...
on October 05, 2012
at 02:14 PM
In my opinion, it's ok to eat protein, and veggies/fruits. However, you'd need to adjust your carb intake to your weight and activity level. If you want to weigh less, increase activity and eat lower carb. Fruits and potatoes can really mess with a person who is paleo and on a diet.
VLC is fine for me- I seem to be sensitive to all but sweet potatoes. I'll throw in an apple or a half a banana every now and then after a work out.
I don't have any evidence for this, it just "feels right" for me. I have to eat carbs after a 6 hour kayaking trip, or bike riding for insane amounts of time. It just doesn't feel good without a few. However, I came up for a sensitivity to all grains on a few different tests, aside from quinoa, which isn't even a grain!
on September 23, 2011
at 07:25 PM
From Bill's question...
"HDL and Testosterone are always postively correlated. Saturated Fats raise HDL, so higher fat should = higher T. But for some reason this isn???t the case for some? Also, Paul noted in his HDL post that higher potassium excretion was correlated with high HDL, so tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are to my knowledge the highest dietary sources of potassium around, also should help HDL and testosterone and this is certainly true in my case going off of symptoms."
Looking at this through my lenses (hard for me not to do), there has to be something really screwing things up for me.
I eat loads of sat fats and my HDL is on the ground. I am also being told that my T is low by multiple hackers. If HDL should be higher with high potassium, and I eat potatoes and sweet potatoes (and previously loads of bananas), then what gives. Plus I have 58.8 ng/ML VitD and yet my HDL and T are low??
What if it's something so simple as just poor thyroid function (not that the topic itself is simple, but the diagnoses itself could be simple). If I focused on that, perhaps the majority of what I seeing could be corrected. I can go back in and insist on full thyroid numbers.. as the "thyroid cascade panel" was a joke, which only provided the TSH figure at 1.88 with no other detailed info.
Dr Davis seems to think I fit the bill for ApoE2, which confused me, becaused I thought I might be ApoE4.
Something to note is that when I went from SAD to on low carb high fat I went from 142 trigs to 85. But HDL has never been a champion. Maybe I have suffered from poor thyroid function all my life and it has gone "undiagnosed" all my life.
This is what's wrong with our medical system. That conventional docs in standard care that the vast majority of people rely on are not taught how to fix this stuff.
At any rate, this question sparks a wide path for discussion because so much is connected to it and many people debate the whole carbs vs fat deal.
on September 23, 2011
at 06:56 PM
I think it can't be true because humans never had readily available simple sugars trough history and because liver is constantly keeping sugar in specific range and because low carb diet actually makes fasting BG higher.
I feel my thyroid works better now and my tests confirm I am in good range if that is reliable.