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Can intermittent fasting cause or worsen adrenal fatigue?

by (1037)
Updated about 2 hours ago
Created October 30, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Recently I have been researching adrenal fatigue, and although I haven't done a salivary cortisol test yet, I suspect I have it, because I have almost every one of the main symptoms except weight gain, and have had these symptoms for many years now (although I am only 25). So far every single paleo or alternative health website I have visited states that intermittent fasting, or fasting for any length of time, often contributes to adrenal fatigue, and always worsens the condition once it has developed. For example, the respected paleo neurosurgeon Dr. Kruse recommends for anyone with suspected or diagnosed adrenal fatigue to never skip breakfast and to eat within 30 minutes of rising: http://jackkruse.com/what-might-casey-anthony-and-oj-have-in-common/

From what I understand, the mechanism (or at least one mechanism) of how intermittent fasting contributes to adrenal fatigue is the following: lack of protein or carbs during the time of the intermittent fast signals the liver to produce glucose via gluconeogenesis, and this requires cortisol and the catecholamines. These adrenal hormones become depleted eventually if one intermittent fasts often enough chronically, in combination with genetically weak adrenals and/or excess stress of any type (psychological/dietary/chemical/environmental).

So I am wondering: can anyone with suspected or diagnosed adrenal fatigue intermittent fast, and if so, how often and for how long each time? I want to continue intermittent fasting because of the health benefits associated with it, but at the same time I don't want to worsen my suspected adrenal fatigue. Can anyone think of a dietary, supplemental, or lifestyle compromise that would allow me to continue intermittent fasting at least occasionally while not weakening my adrenal functioning?

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25 · May 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM

150 lbs should read

F95867bb112c9a5248f420465d50d33e
25 · May 04, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Just for extra information I am 6" 2" and weigh about 150kg.

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78422 · March 19, 2012 at 5:01 AM

Clarify Quit???

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
25467 · February 07, 2012 at 1:15 PM

if you have low levels of alpha MSH at the time you're IFing (includes LR) the answer is yes. Otherwise Ifing is awesome

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8979 · November 29, 2011 at 6:16 PM

I don't agree with others that things have to be too terribly bad for things to go badly. That is the meme that younger people, especially men, say about how it is for everyone. Once you are past menopause, it is pretty easy to have things out of whack, even with proper eating through the years. This is what young people do not understand yet.

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8979 · November 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

I gained on Schwarzbein, too. JUST IGNORE that part about using chocolate during the transition.....

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Haven't had time to read the entire MDA thread or catch the updates. My thoughts are like some of the hacks here in that if paleo and/or leptin reset doesn't 'take', someone has much deeper issues underlayed like hormone dysregulation, blocked *something*, or toxin overload (PCBs, plastics, metals, GMO, pesticides, lectins, etc). I've read these can depress protein folding, inhibit enzyme pathways and worse cause intestinal permeability. Reset just won't cut it for many and a full tox screen and GAPS type of 'GI reset' is required.

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 8:06 AM

Jon, From my experiences women are built for endurance -- long foraging, long gathering, tedius washing, *groan* hours in the kitchen and hauling water, kids, etc. IIMHO, the requirement for glycolytic lifting, fighting and metcons definitely short-listed compared to pre-civilization men (outside of Amazonian, matriarchical societies). Also except for during times of incredibly scarce resources, while foraging, females could probably snack and therefore avoid IF'ing. But I read the Jungle Diet by a UCSF doc and she stated that the Okinawan women in their 70s-90s had fantastic adrenals.

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Have you heard of estrogen dominance? A lot of men has this and they tend to over eat at night... phenotypically they are like grrrrls. It's the white adipose spewing out E2 and E1. Girls who have PCOS spew out T (testosterone) and I think they are a mirrow image of LR. The gender divide definitely exists!

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Schwarzbein put 7 lbs on me but I was using it as an excuse to be in 'vacay' mode and enjoy treats I haven't had for years. They could learn a lot from each other because there is overlap, as you have noticed. I like your thinking. You look at the failure. I like Rosedale but unfortunately I disagree with a great majority of what he projects (mTOR, saturated animal fats, carb ceilings). Minimeals would work. I am trying it out and trying to cap the feeding window betw 5:30 am to 5pm. I think the 4-5 hr fast prior to bedtime is key but to get there the cravings have to be controlled.

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18671 · October 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I agree, Jon, we don't have that knowledge right now, and seasonal eating makes sense.

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78422 · October 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM

You are welcome grace

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78422 · October 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Amb, I agree, I need detailed look into this, but I know there are papers describing the variability of effect depending on other macronutrients.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 7:11 AM

Perhaps the answer to this question is that it may be optimal to have a ketogenic diet for a few weeks at a time several times throughout the year or just to cycle between a ketogenic diet and a moderate carb diet to keep the benefits of both diets. This strategy would also seem to best approximate the dietary habits of our Paleolithic ancestors, i.e. seasonal eating.

6cca02352c216b4ca8325fda7d83832c
1037 · October 31, 2011 at 7:06 AM

I agree with you that that is what appears to have happened in this study, however, my question which I have not found an irrefutable answer to yet, is "would the ketogenic diet continue to improve adrenal functioning beyond 4 weeks?" From my reading, most people on a ketogenic diet do not develop adrenal fatigue or related conditions until well beyond 4 weeks, so I would need to see a study that lasts several months to be convinced that a ketogenic diet improves or at least does not worsen adrenal functioning long term.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 6:19 AM

I am more inclined to think that it is due to a different hormonal balance, since the sex hormones are distributed differently. Women also have many more issues with fluctuating hormones during many periods of their lives. Women don't need strength? I think you underestimate childbirth.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 6:05 AM

The Loon, I agree with you that there seems to be a gender difference regarding effects of IF, with men benefiting more than women from what I have read. Perhaps men simply have stronger adrenals than women in general, because pre-civilization, the men would have required much stronger adrenal function than women for hunting, war, fighting for women, etc. This is just my theory.

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18671 · October 31, 2011 at 5:54 AM

Wait, Jon, you say "The HF-LC diet increased cortisol levels in the obese men, but that doesn't equate to improved cortisol regulation." This happened in the ad libitum study, but not the isocaloric study. What happened in the isocaloric study is that "there were no effects of diet on salivary cortisol or its diurnal variation": the same levels of cortisol were able to be maintained without as much work from the adrenals. In other words, the ketogenic diet, within one week, started taking stress *off* the adrenals, by allowing more regeneration and less clearance.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 5:50 AM

I would love for them to have a long conference together, and be in the audience for that one. I think that what will eventually happen is that there will be different reset plans for men and women. There CERTAINLY seems to be a gender difference with IF success. I don't know any men who have had nighttime eating disorder either.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 5:50 AM

I would love for them to have a long conference together, and be in the audience for that one. I think that what will eventually happen is that there will be a different reset plans for men and women. There CERTAINLY seems to be a gender difference with IF success. I don't know any men who have had nighttime eating disorder either.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 5:46 AM

Thanks Grace! I think they would both agree that traditional dieting is absurd. I also think that they can probably learn a few things from each other. My body did not agree with all the carbs on Schwarzbein's plan. But, Dr.K needs to heed some folks on MDA who are having adrenal, sleep and depression issues. Is there a way to do a leptin reset with mini-meals? Rosedale thinks so.

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18671 · October 31, 2011 at 5:29 AM

Jon, it looks to me like at the start their cortisol was too low, and it was taking a lot of production to get what cortisol they had, whereas at the end their cortisol was normal, and it was not taking as much production to get there, because it was being manufactured and maintained outside of the adrenals. The adrenals had to work harder at the beginning, and cortisol was low. That sounds like adrenal fatigue to me. And the ketogenic diet took the stress *off* the adrenals.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:55 AM

I think martin has fantastic adrenals. I searched his site for 'adrenal' or 'cortisol' but came up nilch. Perhaps he doesn't address IF and subsequent downstream effects on cortisol for those with marginal adrenals?

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:40 AM

Jåbekk et al 2009, the blogger's research. For obese folks with lots of endocrine disruptioni and inflammatory WAT (white adipose tissue) and likely gut permeability, I would wager a big % don't have the adrenal adeptness/flexibility after years of neolethal damage for the fat loss that normally LC and ketosis can produce.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:37 AM

Jon, Here is a study you might enjoy. LC and it produced weight gain in some, weight/fat loss in some. It shows hormones or SOMETHING make a diff and LC works great for some but not everyone (those with disrupted cortisol? leptin?). http://ramblingsofacarnivore.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-is-best-exercise-for-fat-loss-part_20.html

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:30 AM

Jon, I haven't had time to read Stone but I think he has some merit for those with shoddy adrenal function which are a ton out there (incl me): http://www.drbriffa.com/2011/02/10/long-term-behavioural-problems-in-adolescents-linked-with-low-stress-hormone-levels-why/

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:29 AM

Ambi, Thanks for linking that article from your mental archives! I'm kinda divided. Do you think there are those adrenally-adept/flexible who can do VLC/ketosis for a long time? I do, plenty of examples. Agree, not for everybody. Adrenal fitness may be the litmus IMHO. After the last glacial maximum up til 10 kya, I think access to carbs was severely limited, incl starchy tubers, cat-tails, and fruits/berries/nuts in the northern hemisphere. The descendants of these folks in the North, Inuit, and those with aboriginal/Amerindian genes might be the most genetically inclined.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:17 AM

Ambi, I like your deductive explanations. I don't agree that glucagon works alone. With hypoglycemia, the whole slew of counter-regulatory (and redundant) messages cascade to 'address' the stress of the moment, e.g. sabertooth prey or hominid predatory hunt for meat and fat or defense of tribe. From my reading glucagon, cortisol, growth hormone and catecholamines all work together and even in redundant fashion. BG is not just the end goal. It's the reaction to the 'next' life-threatening stressor whether it's anticipated 12hrs later or 12 days later.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34
3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:11 AM

The Loon. Y-O-U are a hormonal stud. You are a rare voice of clarity and sense at PH. Thanks for all of your excellent thoughts... I love Schwarbein. Unfortunately I discovered her AFTER I burnt my #$*(&% adrenals out. I think she is more carb leptin reset and Kruse is fat/protein leptin resent. Waddaya thunk?

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34
3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:09 AM

omg. Aaaahhhh...~~! Finally. Your hard-drive for adrenals and vitaminC! Thanks for the link MAJ. Great thoughts and insights!!

6cca02352c216b4ca8325fda7d83832c
1037 · October 31, 2011 at 1:55 AM

To me, this study actually provides evidence in favor of the argument that a ketogenic diet increases cortisol levels, which may be detrimental to one's health if continued long term if one is disposed to weak adrenal functioning genetically and/or environmentally. What I really want to find is a study that measures adrenal functioning of subjects on a ketogenic diet and/or who IF regularly for a long time (months instead of weeks). If anyone knows of such a study, please do share.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 1:49 AM

imply improved cortisol regulation. The HF-LC diet increased cortisol levels in the obese men, but that doesn't equate to improved cortisol regulation. The understanding I gained from the study was that the obese men likely became obese from eating a HC and/or SAD diet, which caused their cortisol dysregulation, leading to chronically lowered cortisol levels. However, it doesn't follow that reversing the macronutrient ratios of their diet 180 degrees to a HF-LC diet will correct their cortisol dysregulation.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 1:31 AM

After reading the above study, I reached a different conclusion about the results than you did. The study's conclusion was: "Conclusions: A low-carbohydrate diet alters cortisol metabolism independently of weight loss. In obese men, this enhances cortisol regeneration by 11β-HSD1 and reduces cortisol inactivation by A-ring reductases in liver without affecting sc adipose 11β-HSD1. Alterations in cortisol metabolism may be a consequence of macronutrient dietary content and may mediate effects of diet on metabolic health." Correct me if I am wrong, but these metabolic changes don't necessarily

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 11:11 PM

My opinion on Matt Stone is that he spreads misinformation.

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 11:03 PM

In this paper it is shown that the obese men at baseline had too much clearance, and too little regeneration of cortisol, which caused them to have to produce more in compensation. After 4 weeks on an ad libitum, high fat low carb diet, they had higher levels of circulating cortisol, because regeneration was enhanced and breakdown and clearance was reduced. In short, the ketogenic diet reversed the cortisol dysregulation in the obese men.

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Jon, now that you mention Travis Culp, it reminds me that he brought my attention to an even more persuasive argument against the ketosis and stress meme. It's this paper: "Dietary Macronutrient Content Alters Cortisol Metabolism Independently of Body Weight Changes in Obese Men" http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/92/11/4480.full

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Those are interesting-looking studies. Note that neither of these were looking at low carb diets, though, it was strictly a matter of protein level. In the second one, the "high protein" group was at 30% protein, which most people here would consider "adequate", not high.

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1037 · October 30, 2011 at 8:05 PM

and gathering (mostly carbs like berries) is usually much safer and easier than hunting. Notwithstanding the anthropological evidence for or against ketosis/IF, I wish I could find some clinical studies on this subject, because both you and Travis make valid arguments. Lastly, what is your opinion on this article by Matt Stone, wherein he claims that ketosis/IF is not healthy for anyone long term? http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2010/06/catecholamine-honeymoon.html

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1037 · October 30, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Thanks for providing some biochem information I neglected to mention in my interpretation of the effects of IF on cortisol levels. After reading your question and answer on ketosis and stress, I am torn between the information you provide showing that glucagon is the primary regulator of low blood sugar (instead of adrenal hormones), and Travis Culp's answer. Specifically, as Travis mentions, I highly doubt our Paleolithic ancestors were in a state of ketosis 24/7 all year. The savannahs of Africa are not devoid of carb sources for long periods of time...

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78422 · October 30, 2011 at 7:53 PM

That's solid dose. For how long are you supplementing ? If you already take it divided doses, just up the dose.

6cca02352c216b4ca8325fda7d83832c
1037 · October 30, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Thanks for the resources majkinetor. I have been familiar with the benefits of vitamin C for adrenal health for a while now, and have been supplementing with 3-5 grams per day in divided doses. I want to take more, but I don't have the time to be taking it every hour or two.

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1037 · October 30, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Thanks for your advice Briana. I read that article by Cheeseslave, and the more testimonials I read about IF, the more I am getting the idea that IF seems to be better for men than women in general, although just like any other behavior the effects of IF vary depending on one's unique gene/environment combination. I could be wrong, but that is the impression I am getting.

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78422 · October 30, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I am not sure how that reflects systemic stress, nor I looked more into it.

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78422 · October 30, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Ambi, there are some tests showing that salivary cortisol spikes after protein meal http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/002604958190055X http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/61/2/214.full

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 3:18 PM

BTW, I've seen it claimed that you need to fix adrenals before you can fix thyroid, but I'm skeptical. I suspect that treating either will help the other. For example, T3 is an ingredient in the cortisol precursor pregnenolone. So getting enough T3 probably helps adrenal function.

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Yes! As some may have noticed, it really bothers me that people claim that you need cortisol for gluconeogenesis (just because cortisol increases gluconeogenesis), and that therefore ketogenic diets are "stressful". Glucagon is the responsible hormone when BG gets low. Thank you for the reference on this, I hadn't seen that one.

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78422 · October 30, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Check out this collection of papers from my library: http://goo.gl/YUA0d. If you have any success with it, let us know, I am particularly interested in C + adrenal connection.

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78422 · October 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM

I don't know what is common, but from 4 - 12 g per day in 4 doses should be enough, or lower if it causes diarrhea [for as long as it takes].

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c
10265 · October 30, 2011 at 12:50 PM

@majkinetor, what is the common dosing for vitamin C in treatment of adrenal fatigue?

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c
10265 · October 30, 2011 at 12:49 PM

@majkinetor, what is the common dosing for vitamin in treatment of adrenal fatigue?

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77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
4
78422 · October 30, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Yes, that is correct explanation. Your adrenal fatigue will become worst via the mechanism you addressed and malnutrition. It doesn't have to be that way, adrenals are plan B, first glucagon kicks in. If there is something wrong with glucagon secration [i.e. alpha cell damage or something else], adrenals kick in. See "Insulin, glucagon, and catecholamines in prevention of hypoglycemia during fasting"

The most important thing is to use vitamin C. Its role in adrenal function is well known. Its used by sportsmen to reduce cortisol levels after exercise among other things. Other then that, I suggest you multivitamin for body builders.

Other than that, you should probably avoid coffee, Camelia sinesis teas and cocoa for the time being.

Adrenal problems are frequently accompanied by thyroid problems so you need to check this too and use appropriate supplements, most notably selenium and iodine.

== EDIT ==

See my collection of adrenal and vitamin C related studies: http://goo.gl/YUA0d

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · October 30, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Ambi, there are some tests showing that salivary cortisol spikes after protein meal http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/002604958190055X http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/61/2/214.full

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · October 30, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I am not sure how that reflects systemic stress, nor I looked more into it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · October 30, 2011 at 7:53 PM

That's solid dose. For how long are you supplementing ? If you already take it divided doses, just up the dose.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c
10265 · October 30, 2011 at 12:49 PM

@majkinetor, what is the common dosing for vitamin in treatment of adrenal fatigue?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · October 30, 2011 at 3:18 PM

BTW, I've seen it claimed that you need to fix adrenals before you can fix thyroid, but I'm skeptical. I suspect that treating either will help the other. For example, T3 is an ingredient in the cortisol precursor pregnenolone. So getting enough T3 probably helps adrenal function.

6cca02352c216b4ca8325fda7d83832c
1037 · October 30, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Thanks for the resources majkinetor. I have been familiar with the benefits of vitamin C for adrenal health for a while now, and have been supplementing with 3-5 grams per day in divided doses. I want to take more, but I don't have the time to be taking it every hour or two.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · October 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM

I don't know what is common, but from 4 - 12 g per day in 4 doses should be enough, or lower if it causes diarrhea [for as long as it takes].

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · October 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM

You are welcome grace

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c
10265 · October 30, 2011 at 12:50 PM

@majkinetor, what is the common dosing for vitamin C in treatment of adrenal fatigue?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · October 30, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Yes! As some may have noticed, it really bothers me that people claim that you need cortisol for gluconeogenesis (just because cortisol increases gluconeogenesis), and that therefore ketogenic diets are "stressful". Glucagon is the responsible hormone when BG gets low. Thank you for the reference on this, I hadn't seen that one.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34
3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:09 AM

omg. Aaaahhhh...~~! Finally. Your hard-drive for adrenals and vitaminC! Thanks for the link MAJ. Great thoughts and insights!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · October 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Amb, I agree, I need detailed look into this, but I know there are papers describing the variability of effect depending on other macronutrients.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · October 30, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Those are interesting-looking studies. Note that neither of these were looking at low carb diets, though, it was strictly a matter of protein level. In the second one, the "high protein" group was at 30% protein, which most people here would consider "adequate", not high.

279493cd0b85ed78595dec94b93d1d31
4
155 · October 30, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I too believe that I have adrenal fatigue. After reading this article by Cheeseslave, I decided that IF was not for me at this point in my journey. ( http://www.cheeseslave.com/2011/10/17/how-intermittent-fasting-caused-my-insomnia-and-belly-fat/ ) I highly recommend that you get your adrenals healed before considering IF anymore. But I am no doctor and it is your body. Why stress the body more when it seems it is already had enough? I am currently taking this supplement to help heal my adrenals ( http://www.vitacost.com/Natural-Sources-Raw-Adrenal ). I don't think there would be any benefit in supplementing fatigued adrenals just to stress them out. =/ Good Luck!

6cca02352c216b4ca8325fda7d83832c
1037 · October 30, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Thanks for your advice Briana. I read that article by Cheeseslave, and the more testimonials I read about IF, the more I am getting the idea that IF seems to be better for men than women in general, although just like any other behavior the effects of IF vary depending on one's unique gene/environment combination. I could be wrong, but that is the impression I am getting.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
3
8979 · October 30, 2011 at 3:50 PM

"Feeling better" at least initially, is not a good indicator of long-term adrenal health because of other hormonal factors. People feel good because they also release adrenalin. Eating or fasting at certain times of the day disrupts the normal hormonal pattern through the day. The typical pattern is to eat when you are up and about and awake, fast when you are sleeping. IF strategies that limit eating during the day and make up for it in the evening disrupt the normal pattern long after the IF. People need to read Dr. Schwarzbein before they attempt IF. I think for most people it is dangerous and hormonally disruptive. Adrenal hormone depletion is actually the last step in a whole cascade of wonkiness that fasting can cause. You don't need adrenal insufficiency to mess up the secretion pattern.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 6:19 AM

I am more inclined to think that it is due to a different hormonal balance, since the sex hormones are distributed differently. Women also have many more issues with fluctuating hormones during many periods of their lives. Women don't need strength? I think you underestimate childbirth.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 5:50 AM

I would love for them to have a long conference together, and be in the audience for that one. I think that what will eventually happen is that there will be different reset plans for men and women. There CERTAINLY seems to be a gender difference with IF success. I don't know any men who have had nighttime eating disorder either.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 5:50 AM

I would love for them to have a long conference together, and be in the audience for that one. I think that what will eventually happen is that there will be a different reset plans for men and women. There CERTAINLY seems to be a gender difference with IF success. I don't know any men who have had nighttime eating disorder either.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34
3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:11 AM

The Loon. Y-O-U are a hormonal stud. You are a rare voice of clarity and sense at PH. Thanks for all of your excellent thoughts... I love Schwarbein. Unfortunately I discovered her AFTER I burnt my #$*(&% adrenals out. I think she is more carb leptin reset and Kruse is fat/protein leptin resent. Waddaya thunk?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b
8979 · October 31, 2011 at 5:46 AM

Thanks Grace! I think they would both agree that traditional dieting is absurd. I also think that they can probably learn a few things from each other. My body did not agree with all the carbs on Schwarzbein's plan. But, Dr.K needs to heed some folks on MDA who are having adrenal, sleep and depression issues. Is there a way to do a leptin reset with mini-meals? Rosedale thinks so.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 6:05 AM

The Loon, I agree with you that there seems to be a gender difference regarding effects of IF, with men benefiting more than women from what I have read. Perhaps men simply have stronger adrenals than women in general, because pre-civilization, the men would have required much stronger adrenal function than women for hunting, war, fighting for women, etc. This is just my theory.

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Haven't had time to read the entire MDA thread or catch the updates. My thoughts are like some of the hacks here in that if paleo and/or leptin reset doesn't 'take', someone has much deeper issues underlayed like hormone dysregulation, blocked *something*, or toxin overload (PCBs, plastics, metals, GMO, pesticides, lectins, etc). I've read these can depress protein folding, inhibit enzyme pathways and worse cause intestinal permeability. Reset just won't cut it for many and a full tox screen and GAPS type of 'GI reset' is required.

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Have you heard of estrogen dominance? A lot of men has this and they tend to over eat at night... phenotypically they are like grrrrls. It's the white adipose spewing out E2 and E1. Girls who have PCOS spew out T (testosterone) and I think they are a mirrow image of LR. The gender divide definitely exists!

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 8:06 AM

Jon, From my experiences women are built for endurance -- long foraging, long gathering, tedius washing, *groan* hours in the kitchen and hauling water, kids, etc. IIMHO, the requirement for glycolytic lifting, fighting and metcons definitely short-listed compared to pre-civilization men (outside of Amazonian, matriarchical societies). Also except for during times of incredibly scarce resources, while foraging, females could probably snack and therefore avoid IF'ing. But I read the Jungle Diet by a UCSF doc and she stated that the Okinawan women in their 70s-90s had fantastic adrenals.

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3703 · November 02, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Schwarzbein put 7 lbs on me but I was using it as an excuse to be in 'vacay' mode and enjoy treats I haven't had for years. They could learn a lot from each other because there is overlap, as you have noticed. I like your thinking. You look at the failure. I like Rosedale but unfortunately I disagree with a great majority of what he projects (mTOR, saturated animal fats, carb ceilings). Minimeals would work. I am trying it out and trying to cap the feeding window betw 5:30 am to 5pm. I think the 4-5 hr fast prior to bedtime is key but to get there the cravings have to be controlled.

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8979 · November 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

I gained on Schwarzbein, too. JUST IGNORE that part about using chocolate during the transition.....

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8979 · November 29, 2011 at 6:16 PM

I don't agree with others that things have to be too terribly bad for things to go badly. That is the meme that younger people, especially men, say about how it is for everyone. Once you are past menopause, it is pretty easy to have things out of whack, even with proper eating through the years. This is what young people do not understand yet.

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 3:38 PM

"From what I understand, the mechanism (or at least one mechanism) of how intermittent fasting contributes to adrenal fatigue is the following: lack of protein or carbs during the time of the intermittent fast signals the liver to produce glucose via gluconeogenesis, and this requires cortisol and the catecholamines. These adrenal hormones become depleted eventually if one intermittent fasts often enough chronically, in combination with genetically weak adrenals and/or excess stress of any type (psychological/dietary/chemical/environmental)."

I disagree with this interpretation. Low blood sugar is responded to by glucagon to initiate gluconeogenesis, not cortisol. See my question and answer on ketosis and stress.

Also, oddly, majkinetor's answer provides more evidence of this, even though he says he agrees with your mechanism. I think maybe he is saying that fasting in combination with some kind of glucagon disorder would necessitate cortisol intervention. That, I agree with.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:40 AM

Jåbekk et al 2009, the blogger's research. For obese folks with lots of endocrine disruptioni and inflammatory WAT (white adipose tissue) and likely gut permeability, I would wager a big % don't have the adrenal adeptness/flexibility after years of neolethal damage for the fat loss that normally LC and ketosis can produce.

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1037 · October 30, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Thanks for providing some biochem information I neglected to mention in my interpretation of the effects of IF on cortisol levels. After reading your question and answer on ketosis and stress, I am torn between the information you provide showing that glucagon is the primary regulator of low blood sugar (instead of adrenal hormones), and Travis Culp's answer. Specifically, as Travis mentions, I highly doubt our Paleolithic ancestors were in a state of ketosis 24/7 all year. The savannahs of Africa are not devoid of carb sources for long periods of time...

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 1:55 AM

To me, this study actually provides evidence in favor of the argument that a ketogenic diet increases cortisol levels, which may be detrimental to one's health if continued long term if one is disposed to weak adrenal functioning genetically and/or environmentally. What I really want to find is a study that measures adrenal functioning of subjects on a ketogenic diet and/or who IF regularly for a long time (months instead of weeks). If anyone knows of such a study, please do share.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:29 AM

Ambi, Thanks for linking that article from your mental archives! I'm kinda divided. Do you think there are those adrenally-adept/flexible who can do VLC/ketosis for a long time? I do, plenty of examples. Agree, not for everybody. Adrenal fitness may be the litmus IMHO. After the last glacial maximum up til 10 kya, I think access to carbs was severely limited, incl starchy tubers, cat-tails, and fruits/berries/nuts in the northern hemisphere. The descendants of these folks in the North, Inuit, and those with aboriginal/Amerindian genes might be the most genetically inclined.

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1037 · October 30, 2011 at 8:05 PM

and gathering (mostly carbs like berries) is usually much safer and easier than hunting. Notwithstanding the anthropological evidence for or against ketosis/IF, I wish I could find some clinical studies on this subject, because both you and Travis make valid arguments. Lastly, what is your opinion on this article by Matt Stone, wherein he claims that ketosis/IF is not healthy for anyone long term? http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2010/06/catecholamine-honeymoon.html

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 11:11 PM

My opinion on Matt Stone is that he spreads misinformation.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:37 AM

Jon, Here is a study you might enjoy. LC and it produced weight gain in some, weight/fat loss in some. It shows hormones or SOMETHING make a diff and LC works great for some but not everyone (those with disrupted cortisol? leptin?). http://ramblingsofacarnivore.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-is-best-exercise-for-fat-loss-part_20.html

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18671 · October 31, 2011 at 5:54 AM

Wait, Jon, you say "The HF-LC diet increased cortisol levels in the obese men, but that doesn't equate to improved cortisol regulation." This happened in the ad libitum study, but not the isocaloric study. What happened in the isocaloric study is that "there were no effects of diet on salivary cortisol or its diurnal variation": the same levels of cortisol were able to be maintained without as much work from the adrenals. In other words, the ketogenic diet, within one week, started taking stress *off* the adrenals, by allowing more regeneration and less clearance.

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18671 · October 31, 2011 at 5:29 AM

Jon, it looks to me like at the start their cortisol was too low, and it was taking a lot of production to get what cortisol they had, whereas at the end their cortisol was normal, and it was not taking as much production to get there, because it was being manufactured and maintained outside of the adrenals. The adrenals had to work harder at the beginning, and cortisol was low. That sounds like adrenal fatigue to me. And the ketogenic diet took the stress *off* the adrenals.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 7:06 AM

I agree with you that that is what appears to have happened in this study, however, my question which I have not found an irrefutable answer to yet, is "would the ketogenic diet continue to improve adrenal functioning beyond 4 weeks?" From my reading, most people on a ketogenic diet do not develop adrenal fatigue or related conditions until well beyond 4 weeks, so I would need to see a study that lasts several months to be convinced that a ketogenic diet improves or at least does not worsen adrenal functioning long term.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:30 AM

Jon, I haven't had time to read Stone but I think he has some merit for those with shoddy adrenal function which are a ton out there (incl me): http://www.drbriffa.com/2011/02/10/long-term-behavioural-problems-in-adolescents-linked-with-low-stress-hormone-levels-why/

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Jon, now that you mention Travis Culp, it reminds me that he brought my attention to an even more persuasive argument against the ketosis and stress meme. It's this paper: "Dietary Macronutrient Content Alters Cortisol Metabolism Independently of Body Weight Changes in Obese Men" http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/92/11/4480.full

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:17 AM

Ambi, I like your deductive explanations. I don't agree that glucagon works alone. With hypoglycemia, the whole slew of counter-regulatory (and redundant) messages cascade to 'address' the stress of the moment, e.g. sabertooth prey or hominid predatory hunt for meat and fat or defense of tribe. From my reading glucagon, cortisol, growth hormone and catecholamines all work together and even in redundant fashion. BG is not just the end goal. It's the reaction to the 'next' life-threatening stressor whether it's anticipated 12hrs later or 12 days later.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 1:31 AM

After reading the above study, I reached a different conclusion about the results than you did. The study's conclusion was: "Conclusions: A low-carbohydrate diet alters cortisol metabolism independently of weight loss. In obese men, this enhances cortisol regeneration by 11β-HSD1 and reduces cortisol inactivation by A-ring reductases in liver without affecting sc adipose 11β-HSD1. Alterations in cortisol metabolism may be a consequence of macronutrient dietary content and may mediate effects of diet on metabolic health." Correct me if I am wrong, but these metabolic changes don't necessarily

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18671 · October 30, 2011 at 11:03 PM

In this paper it is shown that the obese men at baseline had too much clearance, and too little regeneration of cortisol, which caused them to have to produce more in compensation. After 4 weeks on an ad libitum, high fat low carb diet, they had higher levels of circulating cortisol, because regeneration was enhanced and breakdown and clearance was reduced. In short, the ketogenic diet reversed the cortisol dysregulation in the obese men.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 1:49 AM

imply improved cortisol regulation. The HF-LC diet increased cortisol levels in the obese men, but that doesn't equate to improved cortisol regulation. The understanding I gained from the study was that the obese men likely became obese from eating a HC and/or SAD diet, which caused their cortisol dysregulation, leading to chronically lowered cortisol levels. However, it doesn't follow that reversing the macronutrient ratios of their diet 180 degrees to a HF-LC diet will correct their cortisol dysregulation.

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1037 · October 31, 2011 at 7:11 AM

Perhaps the answer to this question is that it may be optimal to have a ketogenic diet for a few weeks at a time several times throughout the year or just to cycle between a ketogenic diet and a moderate carb diet to keep the benefits of both diets. This strategy would also seem to best approximate the dietary habits of our Paleolithic ancestors, i.e. seasonal eating.

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18671 · October 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I agree, Jon, we don't have that knowledge right now, and seasonal eating makes sense.

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367 · February 07, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Martin Berkhan does point to a study about increased norepinephrin (or noradrenaline, as it's called elsewhere in the world) during fasting. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837292

I suspect that during a period in which I ate only fat during the day precipitated the food hypersensitivities and other adrenal problems I seem to have now. Maybe having adrenaline go through the roof primes your system to connect the food you're eating with the fight-or-flight state as causative rather than coincidental. I'm not sure.

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25 · May 04, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Hi, I have found that the paleo diet has improved my adrenal fatigue. I have been struggling with it for a few years even though I followed the advice of whole grains and legumes suggested by practitioners (Wilson/Lam). I ate a lot of lentils and brown bread. I I am 28 now and have been struggling with it since my early teens. I didn't know 'officially' what was wrong with me until I had a salivary test in early 2010, the level of cortisol was low throughout the day.I wasn't getting any better on this diet at all. I fast from about 6pm to 9 or 10 the next morning. Not every day but 4 times a week roughly. I think it helps because I have a tendency to overeat because I feel like I have low sugar/ low hormone, so this restriction helps.
I am so glad I have found this diet; I think my life would have been horrible had I not.

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25 · May 04, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Just for extra information I am 6" 2" and weigh about 150kg.

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25 · May 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM

150 lbs should read

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10 · May 04, 2012 at 6:22 PM

A few anecdotes.

I've been doing LeanGains for quite awhile now and IF longer. LG started say a year and a half ago. I started practicing various forms of IF maybe four years back. I don't suspect I have adrenal fatigue; however, I am a heavy coffee drinker.

Here are some random observations:

  • Martin is a big coffee drinker/advocate of coffee
  • he's also a big advocate of BCAAs pre-workout (perhaps reduces negative effects gluconeogenesis from lean protein? No clue -- there are studies indicating faster recovery thanks to BCAAs supplemented pre-workout)
  • he's also a huge berry eater -- like a pound a day. Vitamin C?
  • LG obviously tries to counteract the negative effects of caloric restriction on the down-days (between workouts) by having carb refeeds on workout days (and slight caloric excess)

Another big IFer has to be Dave Asprey (bulletproofexec.com).

  • Another advocate of coffee
  • Has reco'ed BCAAs if you're doing his turbo fat loss protocol (can't remember what he calls it but it would strike anyone as "extreme" IF supplemented with butter coffee)
  • doesn't do the berry thing so much, but ...
  • does seems to be an advocate of Vitamin C and iodine (and collagen, which ties to Vit. C -- not sure if that's relevant)

And well my own n=1 is that I find I'm supplementing with Vit. C, iodine, and have a pretty hard to skip a night craving for at least 10 oz of strawberries. Tack on maybe another cup of berries on workout days. Seriously, this berry thing is very routine for me at this point. I just can't help but wonder if it's tied to my body telling me how to balance out the effects of IF/coffee.

Anyway, not sure this will help anyone out but I wanted to chime in.

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17422 · October 30, 2011 at 2:35 PM

This is not meant to be evidence one way or another, and might not be even related, but I've noticed on those IF days where I don't feel hunger past the 16 hours, and don't get to eat until dinner, that I feel a rapid heart rate and a slight sense of anxiousness and feel slightly out of breath.

I think what happens is that cortisol or adrenals gets squirted in order to get some fat converted into ketones, and muscle protein into glycogen to feed the brain, red blood cells, and part of the side effect of this is the rapid heart rate.

I usually IF only on days I work out, so this is only 3x a week, and I only fall into this pattern of going past 16 hours of IF rarely, maybe less than 1x/month, and that's mostly by accident or lack of hunger.

It's interesting to notice this at a high level and ask "Why the anxiousness?" and then figure out, oh right, I skipped both lunch and breakfast, and it's dinner time, best to eat something immediately. I didn't notice fatigue, or brainfog, so it was unexpected effect.

Now as per leangains, I do take about 10g of Branched Chain Aminos in the mornings that I IF, but of course, at the point to where it gets past 16 hours, I've not taken more than just in the morning. Mostly what allows me to get to that point is having coffee (some of them decaf) with coconut oil.

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3703 · October 31, 2011 at 3:55 AM

I think martin has fantastic adrenals. I searched his site for 'adrenal' or 'cortisol' but came up nilch. Perhaps he doesn't address IF and subsequent downstream effects on cortisol for those with marginal adrenals?

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10265 · October 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM

i was recently diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and i was about two months into IF. i doubt the IF caused it because at the time i was feeling better than i had in the past six months. i do shift work and 18 months ago i was over doing everything in my life.

the ND had me change to 3 meals made up of half veggies, 2 snack, one fruit a day and starchy carbs after my workout. i also take a supplement call Withania Complex.

two weeks in i feel crappy again and have no idea which of the above changes is the cause. so i will be going back to that which felt good and work from there.

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78422 · October 30, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Check out this collection of papers from my library: http://goo.gl/YUA0d. If you have any success with it, let us know, I am particularly interested in C + adrenal connection.

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