Vegetarian w/lab results - would Paleo help?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 22, 2011 at 6:36 PM

I am 30 yrs old, male. Got some bloodwork done on my own. Just sick of falling into a severe depression once a week, not sleeping well, etc. I try and lift 2x a week but have never had much luck with putting on decent muscle.

And I'll point out I've been vegetarian for 7 years now but am seriously considering stopping. Been craving fish and meeeeeat for months now. I eat lots of eggs and dairy, try and avoid sugar and grains, but do not always succeed.

Hormone results:

FSH - 2.6

LH - 2.0

Estradiol - 5.7 (ref is 7.6-42.6)

Total Testosterone - 379 (ref is 348-1197)

Did not get SHBG tested though, but albumin is 4.8, so I can't calculate bioavailable t levels from this. Thyroid and Vitamin D levels are fine. 61 HDL and the rest of lipids are fine.

My big concern is the low total T. To me that just seems way too low for a 30yr old who is otherwise healthy (besides the depression/anxiety/sleep)

I'm considering going to an endocrinologist over this, but if you guys think a diet change would address it I'd consider. 7 years as vegetarian is not something I'd like to throw away, but if it's just screwing me up it's not worth it.


on November 22, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Also, are you consuming soy?


on November 22, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Danny Roddy has some good stuff about T http://www.dannyroddy.com/

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5 Answers


on November 22, 2011
at 06:47 PM

I can't hack your lab work, as I'm a supremely unqualified for that

But, I can speak to the vegetarianism making you depressed and unable to gain muscle business.

I was a vegetarian for almost 17 years (since I was 12), and then I started trying to eat more healthfully without eating meat, which meant I cut back the carbs and soy and junk food, which meant I was essentially left with... not a lot of options. Not enough fat, not enough protein. I couldn't gain muscle to save my life.

Then I got very, extremely, suddenly depressed, which I'd never been before. And I started dreaming about eating meat, which I had never, ever done before, in all those many years.

So, I started eating meat. And I felt better. Almost immediately. And now I eat tons of it, all the time. I haven't changed my mind that much about any of the reasons I was a vegetarian, it's just that my cost/benefit analysis changed when I got sick. I also try to be hyper responsible about the meat I eat.

I think it's hard to get enough proper amounts of fat and protein (and thus properly absorb any host of other nutrients) when you're not eating meat. Some people do it just fine. But if you can't, I think you're essentially starving and crazy things can happen to your body and to your brain.



on November 25, 2011
at 08:45 PM

This account of a recovering vegan may help you a lot in converting from a vegan diet over to a healthy brain loving paleo diet with lots of animal protein and fats...from animals and also from butter and coconut oil.


Let us know if you see yourself in Tasha's story.

Be sure you are supplementing with 10000IU Vit D3 for 6 months as most folks are very deficient because they have been brainwashed to be sun phobic. Then back to 5000IU daily to maintain 70 to 100mg/dl.



on November 22, 2011
at 08:28 PM

Consider checking out some of Robb Wolf's work. He used to be a vegetarian.

From a quick search, here's a story of someone (although female) facing a similar situation as you. May be worth perusing: http://robbwolf.com/2011/09/19/i-was-a-vegetarian-for-most-of-my-life-a-life-changing-revelation/

Personally, though, I'd say going with a paleo approach would be great for you. Don't go super low-carb, though. Aim for 150g of safe starches (rice, potato, sweet potato especially) to begin with.

Personally, I'm a fan of The Perfect Health Diet's approach: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/

Best of luck and keep us up to date!


on November 26, 2011
at 02:57 AM

The biggest thing noted in Vegan/Vegetarians is vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Most of these are found in animal products, and (here's the catch) consuming them with animal fat (or some form of saturated fat) helps your body use and retain those vitamins and minerals. Depression has also been linked to lack of fat too, and I'm not sure what kind of dairy you're eating.

All I can say is listen to your body. If you're dreaming about meat, maybe your body is trying to tell you something. I read the link that Dextery posted, and she hits a lot of nails on the head as far as the nutrition of this lifestyle goes.

I know one of the arguments out there is "we always ate vegetables." Well, yes we did. But when the iceage struck, what do you think we were stuck eating? Mostly meat. It was one of the great bottleneck in human genetics, and those that survived best on meat became or ancestors. It's one of the foods our bodies use to the fullest potential. We produce very little waste from it, compared to bulky veggies. Things to think about...



on November 22, 2011
at 08:38 PM

If you eat enough dairy(do you drink milk?) and eggs you should get everything you need assuming the rest of your diet is sufficient.

What does a typical days worth of food look like?

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