Hey all, hopefully some of you can give me advice about a problem I'm facing. I'm a 20 year old college student, and I've been doing paleo for about a year. Last semester I started doing IF too--it was pretty effective, and I lost about 15 pounds (to 110) pretty easily. However, my periods also stopped during this time. I thought it was because I had too little body fat, but even after I made an effort to gain that weight back, it's still not happening. Basically my version of IF is just to eat breakfast and lunch and simply skip dinner. Does anyone else have a similar problem? Advice? I don't want to stop IF--it's convenient for me and I feel terrific. However, I'm wondering if I'm jeopardizing my long term reproductive health.
As for what I eat on a day-to-day basis: copious amounts of coconut, almonds, vegetables, chicken, fish, and occasionally fruit (kiwis or berries). I do eat at least 1700 calories per day...sometimes upwards 2500 if I eat too many nuts.
The cure appears to be getting enough leptin to signal food availability to the hypothalamus. How to do that is to consistently eat a high calorie diet that spikes insulin several times a day, or leptin therapy works too. If you have been communicating a "food is short, we are starving" message to your hypothalamus, it is going to make you stop your period because getting pregnant when you have barely enough food to feed yourself isn't going to work and is incredibly wasteful in the gene propagation process, so genes that shut down menstration when food is short were selected for, that's evolution in action.
Leptin is an effective treatment for hypothalamic amenorrhea http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/03/28/1015674108
Leptin for fertility http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404151343.htm
Food or an injection. I wouldn't IF. 3 square meals per day, but that's just me talking. Maybe Dr. K or someone will chime in on the best protocol.
From what you posted as your daily food intake, I'm wondering if perhaps you don't eat enough fat? I see lower fat animal foods listed, and only coconuts and almonds being relatively higher fat foods. Is there a reason you don't eat red meat? That would be my very first suggestion~eat a lot more more fat in the form of animal foods, and see if you start menstruating again soon.
I'll only add in that most probably shouldn't IF more than twice a week, not more than 20-24 hours at a time. Occasional, isolated weeks of "every other day" fasts are probably alright too - emphasis on occasional rather than typical.
More and more I subscribe to the theory that variability is incredibly important.
Oh, and if I could give Stabb's answer a +2 instead of +1, I would. Stabby, I will personally kick your ass if you don't end up an MD or doing something seriously important in science - PhD or no...
what stabby said, as usual... i dont have any insight b/c i am still without a period but i gave up IF and eat big meals and eat starch....leptin is a hormone...it needs and insulin response to work. easiest way to do that is carbohydrates, rest, sleep, sun
Also having this same issue. My last period was in December 2010, spotted a little in January and have had nothing since. I've always been a pretty healthy/low carb eater but around January I started reading a lot of the paleo blogs and went on a bit of a health bender; started juicing, stopped drinking altogether and did some experimenting with intermittent fasting (mostly skipping breakfast and eating my first meal at noon). Sort of eased back into my normal eating patterns as the months progressed and even derailed a bit this summer (strangely started craving dairy and sweets, which I've never experienced before). Finally went to my gyno last week and had some blood work done to check my hormone levels and everything came back normal. She prescribed 10 days of Provera but I'm nervous to take it after reading all the negative side effects and many woman reported that their cycles did not return to normal after the initial menses that the medicine induces (plus I feel like it could screw me up even more)!
I feel like there should definitely be a caveat about all this to any woman looking into intermittent fasting; and I sometimes wonder if low carbing can have a negative effect on insulin resistance over more prolonged periods of time...
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