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Mastering Nutrition

Hi, I'm Chris Masterjohn and I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. I am an entrepreneur in all things fitness, health, and nutrition. In this show I combine my scientific expertise with my out-of-the-box thinking to translate complex science into new, practical ideas that you can use to help yourself on your journey to vibrant health. This show will allow you to master the science of nutrition and apply it to your own life like a pro.
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Now displaying: November, 2019
Nov 29, 2019

Question: "Why would a male be low in calcium?"

 

You either have something wrong with parathyroid hormone governing your calcium levels, in which case you would want to see a doctor about that, or you have a long-going deficiency of related nutrients. 

 

Not enough calcium and not enough vitamin D should not cause low serum calcium unless the deficiency has been going on for a very long time and is very bad.

 

Then again, I don't know what measurement you're referring to. So, maybe the calcium was a tiny bit low, and you remeasure it, and it's not low anymore; it was a fluke. 

 

But if you're talking about confirmed low serum calcium, then nutritionally, I would look at long-standing severe deficiencies of calcium and vitamin D. I'd follow it up with measurements of PTH and calcitriol to better assess the situation.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a






Nov 28, 2019

Question: "I keep waking up in the middle of the night and stay awake for hours. Would low carb make it worse?"

 

It definitely could. 

 

Your brain will consume 120 grams of carbohydrate every day, just your brain. There's got to be another 30 grams or so that would be used no matter what obligately by red blood cells, certain cells in the testes, the kidney, and the lens of the eye. Then the rest of your body if you're eating not a ketogenic diet, the rest of your body is not really trying to burn fat, so it's going to burn through carbohydrate.

 

Your liver stores about 90 grams of carbohydrate to be able to stabilize your blood sugar between meals, and overnight is the biggest time where it has to do that because overnight is the longest period of time that you go without meals.

 

If you add that up, you're looking at like 250 grams of carbohydrate a day — and remember we haven't gotten to high-intensity exercise yet.

 

Now, if you go on a ketogenic diet, what happens? 

 

Well, your brain glucose consumption goes down from 120 grams a day to like 30 or 35 grams a day. You cannot and will not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever go to zero. That's one thing. You still have another 20, 30 grams of carbohydrate that you're burning through by cells that cannot burn anything else. You still have a minimum probably 60 or 70 grams of carbs per day that you need even when you're maximally keto-adapted. I'm not saying you need to eat those carbs. You'll make them through gluconeogenesis if you don't eat them.

 

But the rest of the body where the needs were flexible, has mostly shifted to burning fat for fuel on a long-term ketogenic diet. So, the real big problem is if you're not low-carb enough to be keto, but you're way under 200, 250 grams of carbs a day. Like, probably 100 grams of carbs a day is like, if it works for you, great, but if you have symptoms of low blood sugar at night, you shouldn't be spending a lot of time guessing why, because you're in this gray area where you are not keto-adapted, your brain is still burning through 120 grams a day, your liver still stores 90 grams a day, and the rest of your body still probably is preferentially burning carbs for energy instead of storing them for the most part because the carbs are there. So, your body is not deliberately, intensively reorganizing to conserve the carbohydrate in that gray area.

 

==If you are eating 50 or 100 grams of carbs, and you are in this place, then you absolutely should connect the two and see if increasing your carbs helps.

 

Low-carb is not the best solution to high fasting glucose. There's a lot of people on low-carb who have high fasting glucose. There's a ton of people who go low-carb and develop high fasting glucose. That’s because a low carb diet alters the hormonal environment in two main ways:

 

1.) Increases the morning glucagon response. 

 

2.) Increases adrenal hormones. 

 

Both of these are early and late-stage adaptations to low glucose supply. 

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 27, 2019

Question: "Which brand and dosage of no-carb electrolytes would you take at night to optimize sleep, especially after sauna use?"

 

I would drink a bottle of Gerolsteiner, and I would add to it 100 milligrams of any kind of magnesium: citrate, glycinate, malate, those three are fine. And I would add to it 400 milligrams of potassium citrate, or bicarbonate if it's an empty stomach.

 

You say no-carb. Because of the potassium, I personally would take maybe like a teaspoon of honey with this. I would also take some salt. Let's say a half a teaspoon, to a teaspoon of salt with it. The caveat being if you’re sodium sensitive you should be mindful not to overdo it. If you know you don't have a problem with salt and blood pressure, then I would recommend adding the sodium to the mix. 

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 26, 2019

Question: "Vitamin K2, MK-4 and MK-7, might have caused prolonged heart palpitations. Upon stopping it, symptoms mostly resolved after a week or so. Does that mean that the body is better off without it? Might increasing calcium intake mitigate this?" 

 

I would say, the calcium is really interesting. I genuinely hadn't thought of that until you mentioned it. Even though I've heard other people ask this question, I haven't had time to look into it, but you raise a good point.

 

So, it is conceivable, for example, that your bone density has been very low because you have not had the K2 you needed to get the minerals into the bone. So when you get the K2, you start loading the calcium into the bone, but maybe because your whole body is programmed to assume things were the way they were before you started taking the K2, then it doesn't adapt fast enough to normalize your blood calcium, which, by the way, how do you normalize your blood calcium? You take calcium out of the bone.

 

MK-4 has been studied in high-milligram doses as an osteoporosis drug because it inhibits bone resorption. If you inhibit bone resorption, you will definitely interfere with your ability to maintain normal serum calcium levels because bone resorption is how you do that.

 

So, either you're giving the nutrients needed to get the calcium into the bone and the body is just prioritizing that because it's been missing them for so long, and your serum calcium drops — or you're actually creating signaling stopping bone resorption, and so your blood calcium drops because of that.

 

Either way; taking calcium might impact that, and I would love to have some anecdotal data on that because there's no studies on K2and heart palpitations. So, I would love it if we have some anecdotes of people saying whether the calcium helps, especially since so much of the K2 stuff is so skeptical of calcium. 

 

Kate Rheaume-Bleue's book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, I think it's a great book. Basically, what that book is, is an enormous elaboration of my 2007 article on Activator X and Weston Price. 

 

If I had written that book, I would have done things a little bit differently. The whole idea of the calcium paradox that's in the title, I think it has merit. There is some data indicating that calcium supplements might worsen the risk of heart disease, but I think that the conclusions are way too anti-calcium, and I think there's too many people out there taking K2 who have it in their heads that calcium supplements are bad. 

 

Calcium supplements are bad compared to getting enough calcium from food. A huge portion of those people are not getting enough calcium from food, and getting calcium is more important than where it comes from.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 25, 2019

Question, part 1: "Bovine colostrum from New Zealand cows. Yea or nay for those with dairy sensitivities? If nay, what would you recommend instead?"

 

What is your goal? If you have a dairy sensitivity, your problem could be with casein, with the whey proteins, or with something more specific like certain antibodies. It's very complicated. You're less likely to tolerate colostrum if you have a known dairy sensitivity, but you can't really know without testing the colostrum.

 

Question, part 2: "to settle a client's overactive immune system down."

 

What, specifically, about the overactive immune system are we looking at? I would think maybe this is chronic inflammation that's not resolving, and then I'm thinking more about arachidonic acid and DHA.

 

Question, part 3: "She can take a supplement one time and then the next time it throws her over. Same with food."

 

Okay, that sounds to me like an oral tolerance issue. When you put something in your mouth, it goes to your gut, and then your immune system decides whether it's safe or whether it's not safe. Your immune system doesn't know anything when you're born; it is more or less a blank slate. You do have predispositions because you have genetics that impact categories of protein fragments that you have the potential to make a decision about, but you are never born having a tolerance or intolerance to something. You are born with very broad genetics that say, “I will make decisions about this category, I can't recognize this category, I will make decisions about this category.”

 

So, you eat food or take supplements, you put something in your mouth, you swallow it. In your gut, your immune system says, “This might be something important, I'm going to take it back to my home base and decide what to do about it.” That home base is called the gut-associated lymphoid tissue, or GALT. Your immune system is deliberately taking things into that lymph tissue, purposefully taking fragments that are not completely digested for the purpose of making decisions about it.

 

In the gut, how does it make that decision? Overwhelmingly, there are two pro-tolerance factors. They are prostaglandin E2, which is made from arachidonic acid, the omega-6 fatty acid that's found most abundantly in egg yolks and liver, and that is the direct target of anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, high doses of EPA from fish oil, and probably a lot of herbal anti-inflammatories. They will lower prostaglandin E2, and prostaglandin E2 is critical for oral tolerance in the gut.

 

So, any potential anti-inflammatory is a potential contributor to this. You need prostaglandin E2, made from COX-2 from arachidonic acid, made from everything that everyone believes is inflammatory. All the anti-inflammatory drugs, the Zone diet, almost everything written about inflammation says prostaglandin E2 is inflammatory. It is one of the two central causes of oral tolerance, of the immune system recognizing that something is safe.

 

The other is retinoic acid made from vitamin A. So, to create a pro-tolerance environment, you want no COX inhibitors being taken, you want sufficient arachidonic acid in the diet, and you want sufficient vitamin A in the diet.

 

Then what are the factors that tell the immune system, this is not safe, and that is tissue damage. So, the immune system is basically saying, "I will make a decision about this. To make this decision, I need data." So, what are the data that things are okay? Retinoic acid, prostaglandin E2. What are the data that say this is not okay? All the factors released during tissue damage because tissue damage is the number one sign that something is harmful.

 

So, if the thing comes in and they're fine, then the next time they take it, they don't tolerate it. That sounds like they are programmed to decide that everything that comes in is a threat. And so they take it, and it gets into their system and it doesn't do anything, but meanwhile the immune system took a piece of that into gut-associated lymphoid tissue, and said, "We need to program to make an army against this threat," and so it's the second time that they took it that they have the reaction.

 

And so that means, again, get the arachidonic acid, get rid of the anti-inflammatories, get the retinoic acid from the vitamin A, and thoroughly investigate any possible sources of tissue damage in the gut. I don't know if it's necessarily the gut. It could be tissue damage somewhere else that then the things circulate into the gut, but it's probably the gut because that's what's closest to the situation. So, those are the things that I would be looking at.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 24, 2019

In part 2 of The Carnivore Debate, we cover the philosophy of the carnivore diet and the potential pitfalls of carnivore and keto.

The research that Dr. Saladino and I discussed with each other before this debate is listed in the show notes -- there are five pages of references!

Here’s what we debated:

  • What exactly is a carnivore diet? Is a 90% meat diet a carnivore diet, a carnivore diet you cheat on, a carnivore-ish diet, or just a meat-heavy omnivorous diet? And why definitions absolutely matter.
  •  Is the carnivore diet ancestral? What can we learn from present-day hunter-gatherers, the archeological record, and our evolutionary history as revealed by our genes? 
  • Who is the carnivore diet for? 
  • To what extent do carnivore and keto overlap?
  • What are the benefits of keto and how broadly applicable are they?
  • What are the potential harms of keto? In particular:
    • acid-base balance
    • thyroid, stress, and sex hormones
    • oxidative stress and glycation
    • sports performance
  • We agree we need to cycle between the fed state and the fasting state. Can the keto diet, designed to mimic fasting-state physiology, provide adequate fed-state signals to keep our body feeling well nourished?
  • Inuit CPT-1a deficiency redux: did a genetic impairment in the ability to make ketones sweep through the Arctic to protect the Inuit from acidosis, or to help them stay warm?

Dr. Saladino completed residency in psychiatry at the University of Washington and is a certified functional medicine practitioner through the Institute for Functional Medicine. He attended medical school at the University of Arizona where he worked with Dr. Andrew Weil focusing on integrative medicine and nutritional biochemistry. Prior to this, Dr. Saladino worked as a physician assistant in Cardiology. It was during this time that he saw first hand the shortcomings of mainstream western medicine with its symptom focused, pharmaceutical based paradigm. He decided to return to medical school with the hope of better understanding the true roots of chronic disease and illness, and how to correct these. He now maintains a private practice in San Diego, California, sees clients from all over the world virtually, and has used the carnivore with hundreds of patients to reverse autoimmunity, chronic inflammation, and mental health issues. When he is not researching connections between nutritional biochemistry and chronic disease, he can be found in the ocean searching for the perfect wave, cultivating mindfulness, or spending time with friends and family. 

Find more of Dr. Paul Saladino on the Fundamental Health podcast and at https://carnivoremd.com

Get my free 9-page guide to optimizing vitamins and minerals on the carnivore diet at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/carnivore 

This episode is brought to you by Ancestral Supplements' "Living" Collagen. Our Native American ancestors believed that eating the organs from a healthy animal would support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual. Ancestral Supplements has a nose-to-tail product line of grass-fed liver, organs, "living" collagen, bone marrow and more... in the convenience of a capsule. For more information or to buy any of their products, go to https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/ancestral 

This episode is brought to you by Ample. Ample is a meal-in-a-bottle that takes a total of two minutes to prepare, consume, and clean up. It provides the right balance of nutrients needed for a single meal, all from a blend of natural ingredients. Ample is available in original, vegan, and keto versions, portioned as either 400 or 600 calories per meal. I'm an advisor to Ample, and I use it to save time when I'm working on major projects on a tight schedule. Head to https://amplemeal.com and enter the promo code “CHRIS15” at checkout for a 15% discount off your first order.”

In this episode, you will find all of the following and more:

Masterjohn and Saladino Show Notes

00:42 Cliff Notes

05:18 Introductions

05:28 What is a carnivore diet?

18:15 Is the ancestral human diet carnivore or omnivore?

50:40 Who is a carnivore diet for?

01:08:03 To what extent do carnivore and keto overlap?

01:10:34 Who is a keto diet for?

01:18:50 Ketogenic diets are only a partial mimic of fasting physiology

01:23:46 Ketones effect on the NAD/NADH ratio 

01:27:31 Ketogenesis has opposite effects in the liver as in the ketone-utilizing tissue.

01:29:31 Ketogenic diets and oxidative stress

01:40:18 Longevity: why you want to cycle between the fasting state and the fed state

01:45:04 Can the ketogenic diet provide a sufficiently robust fed-state signal?

01:53:11 The keto diet and thyroid, stress, and sex hormones

02:10:05 Keto and sports performance

02:18:05 Why do the Inuit have a genetic impairment in making ketones, to protect against acidosis, or to stay warm?

02:35:48 Wrapping up

 

Nov 23, 2019

Dr. Paul Saladino, Carnivore MD, and I sit down to talk about the carnivore diet. In part 1, we focus on whether you can get all the vitamins and minerals you need on a carnivore diet, and how to best design a carnivore diet to maximize the nutrition you get.

We discuss what I consider high-risk nutrients:

  • Vitamin C
  • Folate

And what I consider conditional-risk nutrients:

  • Manganese​ 
  • Magnesium​
  • Vitamin K​ 
  • Potassium​ 
  • Molybdenum​ 

We also chat about some other things:

  • Dioxins in animal foods: a reason for vegetarianism? 
  • The methionine-to-glycine ratio: balancing meat with bones and skin.
  • Did paleo people get nutritional deficiencies?
  • Bioindividuality: why we all have different needs and our needs evolve over time.
  • Diversify to manage risk: does this mean eat plants, or just eat all the parts of an animal?
  • Ketogenic diets and oxidative stress.
  • Do carbohydrates give you more intracellular insulin signaling?
  • Should carnivores eat dextrose powder for carbs?
  • Are today’s hunter-gatherers representative of those from 80,000 years ago?
  • Did the Maasai really mostly eat meat and milk?
  • My open-door helicopter ride in Hawaii.

Dr. Saladino completed residency in psychiatry at the University of Washington and is a certified functional medicine practitioner through the Institute for Functional Medicine. He attended medical school at the University of Arizona where he worked with Dr. Andrew Weil focusing on integrative medicine and nutritional biochemistry. Prior to this, Dr. Saladino worked as a physician assistant in Cardiology. It was during this time that he saw first hand the shortcomings of mainstream western medicine with its symptom focused, pharmaceutical based paradigm. He decided to return to medical school with the hope of better understanding the true roots of chronic disease and illness, and how to correct these. He now maintains a private practice in San Diego, California, sees clients from all over the world virtually, and has used the carnivore with hundreds of patients to reverse autoimmunity, chronic inflammation, and mental health issues. When he is not researching connections between nutritional biochemistry and chronic disease, he can be found in the ocean searching for the perfect wave, cultivating mindfulness, or spending time with friends and family. 

Find more of Dr. Paul Saladino on the Fundamental Health podcast and at https://carnivoremd.com

Get my free 9-page guide to optimizing vitamins and minerals on the carnivore diet at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/carnivore 

This episode is brought to you by Ample. Ample is a meal-in-a-bottle that takes a total of two minutes to prepare, consume, and clean up. It provides the right balance of nutrients needed for a single meal, all from a blend of natural ingredients. Ample is available in original, vegan, and keto versions, portioned as either 400 or 600 calories per meal. I'm an advisor to Ample, and I use it to save time when I'm working on major projects on a tight schedule. Head to https://amplemeal.com and enter the promo code “CHRIS15” at checkout for a 15% discount off your first order.”

This episode is brought to you by Ancestral Supplements' "Living" Collagen. Our Native American ancestors believed that eating the organs from a healthy animal would support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual. Ancestral Supplements has a nose-to-tail product line of grass-fed liver, organs, "living" collagen, bone marrow and more... in the convenience of a capsule. For more information or to buy any of their products, go to https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/ancestral

In this episode, you will find all of the following and more:

Masterjohn and Saladino Show Notes

2:11 Introductions

6:36 Dioxins in food. 

14:33 Methionine to Glycine ratio.

23:08 Nutritional deficiencies in paleolithic people.

27:09 Bio individuality/diversity

36:07 Deficiencies that arise from eating only muscle meat.

37:26 Vitamin C

44:22 Weston A. Price’s documentation of whale stomach lining and moose adrenal as a source of vitamin C in Arctic diets.

56:03 Ketogenic diets, oxidative stress, and vitamin c. 

58:36 Insulin

1:05:46 Antioxidant status.

1:22:44 Folate.

1:26:05 Riboflavin.

1:30:23 Manganese.

1:32:28 Dextrose powder.

1:37:31 Potassium/sodium.

1:52:37 Hunter gatherer diets now vs. 80 000 years ago.

2:03:05 The Maasai.

2:09:00 Vitamin K

2:19:00 The most radical thing I’ve done recently. 

Nov 22, 2019

Question: If your cholesterol is high, how do you avoid having a large burden of oxidized LDL?

 

First, normalize your cholesterol. 

 

And no, I’m not saying that high cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. It's not, but oxidized LDL is, and the number one cause of both high cholesterol and oxidized LDL is not clearing LDL particles from the blood. So, I would never skip over the question of what I can do to get cholesterol in the normal range.

 

I think the boundaries of the normal range are a little exaggerated. 

 

If you look at traditional cultures that eat a traditional diet, live a traditional lifestyle they're not modernized, and they don't have heart disease you do see cholesterol levels that go higher than ours. 

 

So, for a man, maybe going up to 220 mg/dL in total cholesterol is pretty normal. For a woman in her 40s and 50s, up to 250 maybe.

 

I'm not looking to change those numbers if lifestyle and diet are ancestral. If everything else about the data make it look like that person's very healthy especially if direct measures of plaque development like carotid IMT, intima-media thickness, and coronary calcium score are normal. I wouldn't be thinking about fixing the cholesterol at that point.

 

But, for someone whose cholesterol is like 300 mg/dL, you don't even see that in Tokelau, where the saturated fat content and the traditional cholesterol levels are the highest ever recorded in an ancestral population. So, when they're that high, you have to fix it as your first line of defense.

 

That means improving LDL receptor activity. 

 

The big things to look at are body composition, inflammation, fiber intake (higher fiber is generally better), and thyroid.

 

Let's say you haven't brought the cholesterol down, what do you do to protect it?

 

Well, that largely comes down to a few things. Imagine the lipoprotein leaves the liver, some as LDL, some as VLDL, both of which wind up being LDL at some point. It leaves the liver packaged with antioxidants. Those include vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, but it isn’t limited to those two. They are just the most important in this situation.

 

When LDL is circulating in the blood, it gets behind the arterial wall, and that's the main site of oxidation. So, the question is, how oxidizing of an environment is that? Also, it gets stuck behind the arterial wall, so the question is, how sticky of an environment it is? 

 

Because if it gets stuck in the oxidizing environment behind the arterial wall, then that's the very powerful regulator of whether it's going to oxidize.

 

So, the stickiness. Probably the dietary approach that best regulates the stickiness is manganese. Manganese is found mostly in plant foods and vegetarians have the highest intakes. People with plant-rich diets that also eat animal foods are in the middle. And people who eat a lot of animal foods and no plants are at the bottom. So, eat a lot of plant foods is one thing. There are some animal experiments specifically with blueberries as a source of manganese showing in animals that it makes the arterial wall less sticky, so there's that.

 

Then there’s the oxidizing environment. A big part of that is systemic inflammation because if inflammation causes oxidative stress. You should have been looking at inflammation for high cholesterol in the first place. Assume you have that covered. And then antioxidants in general. 

 

You're looking at protein, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin E, glycine… you're looking at so many things in there, so you really got to figure out what the weakest link is in that person and focus on that weakest link. There may be many.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 21, 2019

Question: "I'm curious about the role of the lymphatic system in fat metabolism, specifically in high-fat, low-carb diets. Is there a biochemical explanation for why improving lymphatic circulation would improve fat metabolism?"

 

Well, I wouldn't call it biochemical, I'd call it physiological, but yes. 

 

Fat goes from your gut through your lymphatic system to your blood. If your lymphatic circulation is not good, neither is the delivery of your fat to any part of your body. It's as simple as that. 

 

If your lymphatic system is slow, so is your delivery of fat to every organ in your body.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 20, 2019

Question: "Lp(a) and genetic component with relation to cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease."

 

First, I'm going to be able to give better answers to questions if they're more specific.

 

But to the question: Everyone seems to think that Lp(a) causes heart disease. I don't believe it.

 

I don't believe it because the function of Lp(a) is to clean up oxidized LDL particles. It might have other roles, but that's one of the primary ones.

 

So, we have two possible explanations for the correlation between Lp(a) and heart disease. Either Lp(a) causes heart disease and people with genetically elevated levels have a higher risk of heart disease, or it is correlated simply because people with more oxidized LDL particles (which does cause heart disease) have more Lp(a) to clean them up.

 

I’ll be recording with Peter Attia on this topic, so I’ll brush up on Lp(a) data beforehand and may change my viewpoint, but this is my view right now. If anyone wants to send me data to look at to revise my view, I'll happily take a look.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 19, 2019

"Can magnesium hydroxide be absorbed via skin?"

 

I don't know. I genuinely don't know.

 

"I've been applying milk of magnesia as a deodorant alternative in spray form for a few years now, and it works well, but I'm concerned about I might be hypermagnesemic, as I'm having low pulse, low blood pressure, and frequent bowel movements."

 

You might be hypermagnesemic. You should measure your magnesium status, for sure.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 18, 2019

Concerns about long-term bicarbonate supplementation and other suggestions for raising pH

 

Helen Donnell says, "Your post on urine pH and exercise tolerance was a game-changer for me, but anytime I miss a dose of bicarb, I'm right back to 5. Any long-term concerns with taking bicarb two to three times a day, any suggestions for other ways to get my system pH up?"

 

Well, I will say in my case that I stopped taking the bicarbonate when I figured out that I had a zinc deficiency. So, for people who don't know the backstory here, Google "Masterjohn urine pH" and you'll probably get that blog post to come up. It's called "How Normalizing My Urine pH Helped Me Love Working Out Again". 

 

The backstory in brief is, when I was going through the mold and barium toxicity crisis of turn of 2016 into 2017. I got to the point where it would take several days to recover from one workout. I couldn’t afford to be laid out like this

 

I realized while looking at some lab tests —  a Genova ION Panel — had some findings that suggested pH imbalance problems. The only thing abnormal in my ION Profile was that my glutamine-to-glutamate ratio. The glutamate was really high, and the glutamine was really low. 

 

First thought; sounds like a pH issue. I was talking with a friend of mine that led down the same rabbit hole, maybe the reason the workout is tanking me is because my system can't handle the lactic acid.

 

So, I started measuring my urine pH, and my urine pH was very, very low. Less than 5. 

I just kept taking bicarbonate at ¼ teaspoon increments. It just wasn't going anywhere until at some point, all the sudden I shot up out of bed, and I was like I want to work. I felt amazing. I went and measured my urine pH, and it was 6. 

 

It was like it just went nowhere until I got enough bicarbonate in. Once that happened it crossed the threshold getting into 6, and all the sudden I felt amazing. That was the first big clue. Then I replicated things over time, and found that it was a consistent effect.

 

What turned things around for me was when I realized that my zinc was low. That was because bicarbonate allowed me to work out consistently and gain more muscle mass. Gaining muscle made me get patches of dry skin. 

 

Well, what do patches of dry skin mean?

 

It’s the earliest sign of zinc deficiency. Resistance training increases muscle mass and that requires more zinc to sustain the new tissue. 

 

What does zinc have to do with pH balance? Well, zinc is a cofactor for carbonic anhydrase, which is one of the main enzymes in regulating pH. 

 

I started supplementing zinc and tested my plasma zinc. Even though I had been taking zinc for three days, my plasma zinc was at the level I associate with a deficiency — which is around 70. Once I started supplementing zinc, the pH problems went away. 

 

So, zinc is definitely something I would look into. If zinc isn’t your issue, I would keep going down the rabbit hole and do a comprehensive analysis like I do with Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. 

 

Harms of bicarbonate: alkalinizing the stomach is the main one. To avoid complications you want to take it as far away from food as possible. I do think that excessive chronic use and alkalizing the stomach could lead to a lower ability to kill pathogens in the stomach and lead to overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach or small intestine. I would feel more comfortable about using it as a bridge to get from point A to point B and fixing the underlying regulatory problems as the destination.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 15, 2019

Should you be more concerned about overall fat intake or saturated fat intake with familial hypercholesterolemia?

 

Question: "I have familial hypercholesterolemia, as well as a mutation in my Lp(a). I listened to your 2016 podcast regarding FH and have implemented a low-fat diet and am in the process of fixing thyroid issues. My question is, can you please further explain whether I should be more concerned about overall fat or saturated fat intake?"

 

To be clear, I am not treating anyone here. I am not a medical practitioner, so I am not treating the disease of familial hypercholesterolemia and this is just educational in nature. 

 

As a general principle, if I'm thinking about familial hypercholesterolemia —  I would be thinking more about saturated fat, with that said, I would be testing it.

 

First it depends on the specific saturated fatty acid, but saturated fat relative to other fats raises cholesterol levels. There are people that dispute that, but the data is super clear. This does not mean that everyone should lower their saturated fat intake because most people can probably accommodate that, right? Most people have a working system to regulate their cholesterol levels.

 

The thing is with the familial hypercholesterolemia, that system is broken, so you become hypersensitive to all the things that do have some effect. You will be hypersensitive to the fact that saturated fat raises cholesterol levels more so than other fats do — but I think it's more to the root of the problem, based on how these things regulate LDL receptor activity, which is what clears cholesterol from your blood and which is what is broken in familial hypercholesterolemia. 

 

I think a lower-fat, higher-carbohydrate diet is more relevant to the root mechanism. 

 

How do you test this? So, standard lipid panels are dirt cheap, and it is not hard to convince your doctor to order them. You don't need to get fancy. You don't need the NMR and all that other stuff. I'm not saying it doesn't have its place, but if you want to do dietary tests to see what are the big factors affecting you, you just run these standard tests every couple of months and you pick a diet to go on and stay on it for 4-8 weeks and then see what the results are.

 

So, you do the low-fat diet where most of your fat comes from coconut, which is the Kitavan diet, where they don't have heart disease. You can try that for 4 or 8 weeks, and then look at your cholesterol levels. Next you do the low-fat diet where most of your fat comes from olive oil, which is a more of a Mediterranean approach. You can try that and see what that does to your cholesterol levels.

 

You tailor your diet to your own response —  because I can predict what will generally happen, but the individual person is going to have so many different genetic and other factors, that influence what they're responsive to that they just need to test it out.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 14, 2019

How would you address normal TSH, but low T4? 

 

Well, the first thing I'd do is I'd look at your T3. For those of you who aren't familiar with thyroid hormones, TSH tells your thyroid to make thyroid hormone. T4 is the precursor. T3 is the active hormone. 

 

If your TSH is normal, that means that your pituitary is receiving the proper messages from your thyroid gland.

 

But if your T4 is low I would ask; is your T3 normal or high? If your T3 is high, then you're probably just converting it very rapidly. If your T3 is low —  then even though your pituitary appears to be receiving the right signals, you're not making enough thyroid hormone.

 

In fact, it would become unclear whether your pituitary is actually making the right signal because if your T4 and your T3 are low, your TSH should be high because your pituitary should be saying, "wait a second, T4 and T3 are low, so I need to make more of the message, TSH, to tell the thyroid gland to kick into gear."

 

If T4 and T3 are both on the lowish side and the TSH is normal. I would then look to the pituitary.

 

In terms of nutritional issues, I think the big things that you're looking at are calories, carbohydrate, and body fat — because the pituitary is overwhelmingly asking the question, do I have enough energy in the short term and the long term to engage in the health-promoting, long-term investments that thyroid hormone governs? 

 

Those are many, like all the biological peacocking, like making nice hair, and making nice skin, and making things look nice. It’s also protecting your tissues from damage. Then the big, thing is if you're in the right age bracket, is fertility.

 

So, if your pituitary is not making as much TSH as it should, then that's basically saying your brain perceives that you don't have enough energy on hand, and that means either your body fat's too low, your calories are too low, or your carbs are too low —  because those are the big signals that your brain is going to use.

 

As mentioned int the Nutrition in Neuroscience series that I did all of these releasing hormones that govern the endocrine system require copper, vitamin C, zinc, and glycine. 

 

So bottom line is; look at is body fat, calories, and carbs. But the next layer to peel back would be; vitamin C and copper especially, and zinc and glycine in the background.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 13, 2019

"What do you think is the best clinical way to monitor COMT function if you have already tested for SNPs?"

 

One way you can look at it is through the DUTCH test — which is at dutchtest.com — it's a dried urine hormone testing platform, they have a methylation index that is based on the methylation of estrogen. For example; the main significance of COMT, is related to long-term risk of estrogen-related cancers.  

 

Acute symptoms are primarily going to manifest in the brain in the relation between COMT and dopamine. 

 

The higher your COMT activity, the more flexible your brain. 

 

The lower your COMT activity, the more rigid your brain. 

 

If your nutrition is straight and you don't have a psychological disorder, that's just a personality trait.

 

They call this the worrier/warrior, phenotype. 

 

High COMT activity; you don't worry as much, like a warrior who picks his battles, wins, and repeats. There is nothing to worry about, the only concern is victory.

 

If you are a low COMT activity; you're not a warrior, you're a worrier. You think about all the possible ways something could go wrong. Instead of moving forward with an image of invincibility, you struggle to move at all, like a deer in the headlights. 

 

But that's the extremes. Within most of the population, it's just a personality trait. 

 

So, you really look at, how is your mind operating? If your mind is getting stuck on stuff, low COMT. If your mind is racing around to different things, high COMT. If that's just your personality, don't worry about it. But if it’s starting to interfere with your life, then that’s where it matters. 

 

Low COMT, focus on methyl donors: B12, folate, choline, betaine, some of the other assisting B vitamins. 

 

High COMT, focus on  methyl buffers: Glycine. 

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 12, 2019

Supplements that may increase deep sleep.

So, deep sleep is, primarily what's going on in deep sleep is that all of your biogenic amines, which are most of the neurotransmitters that you make from protein with the possible except — like depending on how you classify it, you could say ultimately you make melatonin from protein, but it's not a biogenic amine.

Biogenic amines, which are the catecholamines — all are basically shut off. They're probably not zero, zero, but they're almost zero during sleep. Acetylcholine is also shut down during deep sleep, but it pops up during REM sleep.

I really don't think this is a supplement issue. 

First of all, you definitely don't want to be taking anything that has acetylcholinesterase inhibitors at night. 

Non-organic foods have pesticides that are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. I don't know if that's relevant here dose-wise.

Things that improve cognitive function are often acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. So, gingko biloba is one. I wouldn't take that at night. There are drugs that treat neurological problems, especially Alzheimer's, that are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors; I wouldn't take those at night. 

I'm on the fence about whether you should take choline at night. I think it's most likely fine to eat eggs at night. If you're taking something like alpha-GPC; I'm not sure. You might want to avoid that at night if you find, particularly if you find that when you're tracking your sleep with an Oura ring your REM is higher than normal and your deep sleep is lower than normal. 

But other than that — I would say that methylation support is very important to help lower some of the important biogenic amines. Histamine, for example, is primarily gotten rid of with methylation in the brain and if your histamine levels are high during the day, it might cause anxiety during the night and that could interfere with your deep sleep.

Electrolytes are also super important. Calcium, magnesium, salt and potassium. All these things you need to get straight in order for your sleep cycle to be working right.

If your cortisol is high at night or other factors of anxiety are high at night you might want a targeted supplement there, like phosphatidylserine — the evidence is conflicting, but has been used to lower the stress response. 

I don't think it's a blanket answer to that question. I think it's like figuring out what's the cause of the low deep sleep and working from there.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 11, 2019

Supplements that may lower anxiety at night and improve heart rate variability during sleep

 

I don't know enough about the HRV, the heart rate variability, to comment on improving that specifically. Heart rate variability is largely related to recovery from stress. So, I know the Oura ring tracks heart rate variability during sleep. 

 

The main application that I'm familiar with HRV for is recovery from stress, especially from exercise. So anything that supports recovery mainly is rest, is going to support that. Getting enough carbohydrates to support your high-intensity exercise is going to be another thing.

 

In general, nutrient density across the board is going to be supportive of recovery, and enough calories. 

 

Now, lower anxiety at night before or during sleep I think is a whole different story. 

 

You might have anxiety because you have not recovered well from your exercise. 

 

Maybe your cortisol is running high. 

 

But it could be for totally different reasons, and that's a giant can of worms that I don't think really can be unpacked in an umbrella answer. I think that's kind of something that needs to be very individualized because it requires 10, or 15, or 20 follow-up questions.

 

But some of the first things that I would think about would be what are you doing to psychologically wind down? The fact is that this is not all about nutrition. It's not all about light hygiene. It's also about psychology. So, is your anxiety at night driven by overthinking? If so, what are you overthinking about? You may need to start a psychological wind down routine if this is your issue. 

 

And then, there are so many other potential causes of anxiety that you really have to address it on a case-by-case basis, but those are the top things that I think about.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



Nov 4, 2019

Nutritional causes of low white blood cells and possible solutions?

 

The absolute first thing that I would always think of when I see low white blood cells is copper. 

 

So, generally copper deficiency at its most sensitive is going to cause neutropenia; which is low neutrophils, but it can cause low white blood cells across the board. I'm not saying there aren't other things, but that's going to be the number one thing that I jump to first when looking for low white blood cells.

 

Solutions, well, I'm not going to assuming it's copper. What I'm going to say is, do we have copper here? So, the first thing is testing serum copper, or serum ceruloplasmin. Which are the two most important markers of copper status. 

 

Is the individual eating copper-rich foods? 

 

Top Tier: Liver, oysters, shitake mushrooms, spirulina, and cocoa powder.

 

Second Tier: All other organ meats other than liver, all other mushrooms besides shitake, all other shellfish besides oysters. 

 

Third Tier: Legumes, and potatoes. 

 

First I want to know if they are eating any of the top two tier copper-rich foods. If the answer is no, then I'm not going to wait on the serum copper and serum ceruloplasmin.

 

I would suggest increasing the copper-rich foods because there is absolutely no harm in modifying the foods you eat to ensure you’re getting some in there. 

 

You don't really need the testing to do that. But I would definitely get the testing before I would start doing any bigger interventions than that. For example, I'm not going to start that person on a copper supplement if I don't have good data backing up copper deficiency.

 

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/

 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a



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