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Thread: For the ladies: hormone changes when going Primal? page

  1. #1
    Aingealag's Avatar
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    Question For the ladies: hormone changes when going Primal?

    I've had all kinds of hormone issues lately, too many to mention really. Everything from autoimmune thyroiditis to low estrogen & progesterone and all kinds of other issues that are unsolved atm but that I am convinced are related to my lady-hormones...

    Before I say more about my hormone issues, here are my questions to you:
    Have you ladies had a change in hormones when you went Primal? Were the changes good or bad? And how long did it take for change to show up?

    My experience:
    Ever since I went Primal 2 months ago, I haven't had a period (no, I'm not pregnant). I had hoped going Primal would help me with my hormone issues... I am not blaming Primal, I know that my hormones have been a problem for years and my thyroid is a huge factor (it's currently underactive and my GP is still tinkering with my medication), but it's a little eerie to have no proper cycle and all these weird aches and pains.
    Also, since my period was due one month ago, I've been nauseous on and off, have back pain and random hormonal acne. I had an Xray of my abdomen and an ultrasound of my pelvis and everything looks fine.

    It really sucks to try so hard to eat really well and do everything right and not reap the rewards

    Thanks in advance for any hope/advice you can offer.

    Wendy

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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    Hey Wendy, how low carb are you? Just my N=1, but low carb pushed my delicate hormonal infrastructure over the edge. I think fertile women need more carbs.
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    Fat can be the answer. They are really good concerning hormones, and you could try a few days very hight fat.
    That worked great with me.

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    Aingealag's Avatar
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    Yogabare; if I may ask, what happened to your delicate hormonal infrastructure?

    I read about VLC and women. So I did not go VLC, most days my carb intake is about 130 to 150 grams. I get about 55% of my calories from fat. A mix of coconut oil, avocado, nuts, meat, olive oil and fish oil. So all should be good in that area, right? It's just interesting that my hormones were acting up in various ways before going Primal, but at least my body was functioning and I had a cycle... Now I'm Primal, thinking I'm doing the right thing and my hormones are completely haywire and I'm not even able to reproduce if I wanted to and I'm achey and nauseous!

    I haven't been 100% strict, though I do stay clear of gluten and 95% clear of dairy (as advised by my nutritionist). I hardly eat any processed food, plenty of wholefoods, organic eggs, lots of veggies... I had hoped Primal living would at least not make things worse if not help. Maybe at two months is I'm being impatient. I have heard that hormonal issues can take many months to resolve. Maybe my thyroid is the sole culprit, so much so that even a healthy Primal diet can't win the fight. Only time will tell I guess :S

    Any advice is still welcome though!

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    I remember that we chatted on here before, but I can't remember what it was about

    What was your diet prior to going Primal? This is important. Also, you don't supplement fish oils, do you?

    So, I've had a lot of symptoms of hormonal imbalance for most of my life. Severe depression and anxiety, never had a regular period. Into my twenties it started getting worse - developed chronic insomnia, chronic fatigue, and an eating disorder. (Went vegetarian, which definitely didn't help!) Then last year I started eating meat again, and went VLC. Initially it was good - I got two periods in a row, which was unusual. But then I started bleeding every two - three weeks. At the same time, my eating disorder and depression got really severe... to the point where I couldn't get out of bed and completed suicide on an hourly basis. I honestly can't believe I made it out of winter alive.

    I got some tests done but they showed nothing conclusive (apart from low thyroid function and exceptionally high cholesterol). Finally I forked out and got a FULL blood panel, and scan of my uterus. I discovered I had a really severe hormonal imbalance: high oestrogen, low progesterone, high cortisol, and that I was infertile.

    Anyway...! Now I'm on progesterone, and eat a Peat-inspired high carb diet, and I feel better than I have since I was about 15 years old. I'm serious It's like everything has shifted back to that time frame - my appetite, energy etc. Annnd, I'm depression free! For the first time in my life. It's so weird. I'm literally a different person.

    I think Vitamin D is really important in all this too - have you had yours checked?
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    Yes I remember you from my first thread Wow it seems like you went through the works with your issues! My problems are nothing compared to yours! I am not depressed (which surprises my physician because she says with progesterone levels as low as mine she expected me to be doing a lot worse!) My periods have always been alright but then again I've been on the pill for more than 10 years (I'm 32 now) and went off it in January. Hormonal acne and spotting have been issues on and off since 2007. My estrogen is low but barely within 'normal' range and progesterone is really low. I guess I'll have to start progesterone cream, but I kinda believed all would work itself out naturally when I fixed my diet and supplemented where deficient... In a healthy body, shouldn't this fix itself? Or am I thinking too romantically about nature?

    My diet before Primal was actually pretty darn good for many years. I did eat gluten and dairy, but very little processed foods. I cooked healthy, fresh meals with lots of veggies, herbs and spices... 95% whole foods, although I did stick to a vegetarian diet for a while (didn't work too well for me either!).

    My vitamin D was low but I have been supplementing properly for months and levels are good now. I've had most minerals tested and am supplementing where deficient (iron, zinc, selenium, etc). And yes I do take fish oil. Not every day like a good girl but 5ml a few times a week. I also take a probiotic and a good multi. So with all that sorted and a Primal diet I thought I would be doing better by now :s

    Thanks for sharing your story Yogabare, good to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You've come from rock bottom it seems and have landed on top. Good for you!!

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    Yikes! I'm sorry you're going through all this!

    To answer your original question, my hormones got a lot better on a Primal diet. I went from having a cycle that fluctuated between 18 days to 28 days, with 7 days of bleeding, to having one that was consistently 27-28 days with 5 days of bleeding. (I'm currently pregnant, so I can't speak to my period now, but I can say I'm at least fertile!). My cramps progressivlely got better as I slowly cleaned up my diet over the course of a year, to no longer having any cramps. I helped one of my co-workers clean up her diet, and her period started regulating as well.

    I was also drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea for a while, too, and that might have helped (though my period was good before that, too).

    As for what my Primal diet consisted of, I usually came out 1/3 carb, 1/3 protein, and 1/3rd fat, eating about 2,400 calories a day (5'4", 122 pounds, working in a preschool, and fighting to not lose more weight). I ate steak, chicken, salmon, liver, hearts, yogurt, cheese, lots of butter, cooked veggies (usually peas and carrots and onions), raw veggies (spinach, carrots, broccoli), chocolate, raspberries, oranges, apples, and plums. I was gluten and soy free for the most part, and if I ate bread/grains, they were sprouted.

    Are you eating enough? If your body thinks it's not getting enough food, it may go into starvation mode and mess with your hormones more. Try adding more fats and carbs!

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    Haha, I was probably blabbing about eating more carbs then too

    Speaking of which - what were your macros before you shifted to Primal?

    Our issues are a little different cos' your oestrogen is low too. What are you oestrogen levels like compared to your progesterone? Have you had DHEA and cortisol tested too? Also, what are your thyroid numbers?

    A progerestone cream is a good idea, and I also really recommend Vitex. It's natural, and it's totally amazing. A lot of women make positive reports about it.

    Yeah, I had the acne as well... It started when I came off the pill (age 24). It was never really bad until I was 27 and made my first foray into low carb dieting, and it developed into full blown adult acne. Then I went to India and ate nothing but carbs for three months, and my skin cleared up I still got the the monthly outbreak, but since I gave up gluten that went away. And since starting to eat Peat and sup Vit D, my skin looks amazing. Except for the wrinkles I got over winter (accelerated ageing is one of the lovely side effects of oestrogen dominance). But I think acne is one of those things that can be a symptom of anything...

    I'm looking into the iron thing a lot, and I discovered that low progesterone inhibits iron absorption! So even if you're supping iron, it might boost your blood levels, but not your ferritin (storage) levels. I think the ferritin is the important one.

    And thank you! You wouldn't believe how grateful I am... to be happy. I didn't think it was possible!

    PS. I'm against fish oil supping, but I won't rain on your parade

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldergirl View Post
    I was also drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea for a while, too, and that might have helped (though my period was good before that, too).

    As for what my Primal diet consisted of, I usually came out 1/3 carb, 1/3 protein, and 1/3rd fat, eating about 2,400 calories a day (5'4", 122 pounds, working in a preschool, and fighting to not lose more weight). I ate steak, chicken, salmon, liver, hearts, yogurt, cheese, lots of butter, cooked veggies (usually peas and carrots and onions), raw veggies (spinach, carrots, broccoli), chocolate, raspberries, oranges, apples, and plums. I was gluten and soy free for the most part, and if I ate bread/grains, they were sprouted.
    THat's amazing Aldergirl! Congrads on the improvements Sounds like your thyroid is working well, and your diet is very sensible.

    I definitely second the Raspberry leaf tea - it's amazing, and so yummy.
    Last edited by YogaBare; 08-19-2013 at 05:34 AM.
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    THat's amazing Aldergirl! Congrads on the improvements Sounds like your thyroid is working well, and your diet is very sensible.

    I definitely second the Raspberry leaf tea - it's amazing, and so yummy.
    Thanks! Having Knifegill supporting me and inspiring me helped a lot. I really had to think back to what I used to eat before I got pregnant. My diet went down hill with the pregnancy for quite a few months--just the smell of meat made me nauseous! I had to resort to a lot of fruit, dairy and rice pasta for about 3 months. Now I can eat chicken, lamb, and steak, as well as heart again (fish and bacon still make me nauseous, sigh). For the past few weeks, I've had to go back to GAPS, since I'm fighting Group B strep and the doctors want me to go onto antibiotics again (they didn't fix it the first time, so why should I subject Baby and I to that?!). Anyway, I think my thyroid is doing well. The few times I got it tested, it came in the normal range.

    As for iron, I would suggest consuming it from food sources, rather than taking pills. Heart (chicken, beef, etc) actually tastes pretty good--like sausage. It's cheap, too! One cup of heart has 73% of your iron, 71% of your zinc, and 17% of your selenium for the day. It should be far more absorb-able than pills, since it's a whole food, and the iron is heme iron.

    Nettle is also really good for iron, as well as calcium, magnesium and vitamin K. It's often used as a blood builder. I'm seeing some websites saying it's good for hormone balancing, too, but I don't know how much research has been done on that. Nettle is really quite yummy, though. It makes a great tea and tastes good fried in butter, too! Just make sure not to touch the leaves before they're cooked, or you'll get a nasty sting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldergirl View Post
    As for iron, I would suggest consuming it from food sources, rather than taking pills. Heart (chicken, beef, etc) actually tastes pretty good--like sausage. It's cheap, too! One cup of heart has 73% of your iron, 71% of your zinc, and 17% of your selenium for the day. It should be far more absorb-able than pills, since it's a whole food, and the iron is heme iron.

    Nettle is also really good for iron, as well as calcium, magnesium and vitamin K. It's often used as a blood builder. I'm seeing some websites saying it's good for hormone balancing, too, but I don't know how much research has been done on that. Nettle is really quite yummy, though. It makes a great tea and tastes good fried in butter, too! Just make sure not to touch the leaves before they're cooked, or you'll get a nasty sting!
    That's so interesting that your taste buds are changing with the pregnancy... You know, the whole reason I shifted my diet to Peat was because when my progesterone treatment started to kick in, I completely lost my appetite for certain foods. I just started craving dairy and fruit, which happens to be Peat. WHen I realised I was heading that way I started to dial in what I was eating a little, to comply with his suggestions a bit more. The whole process has been really strange!

    The heart is a great suggestion! Since I started my progesterone treatment I can't stomach liver anymore, so it would be good to try out another organ meat.

    That's funny that you mention the nettle. I bought dried nettle to make tea with because I read that it's amazing for circulation. I'm not crazy about the taste, but I'll give it another go
    Last edited by YogaBare; 08-19-2013 at 05:33 AM.
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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