SHBG or Sex Hormone Binding Globulin can be limiting your training, your gains and your health, click below for more details...
For the Wolverine Diet, what’s important isn’t only what types of food he eats, but also when he eats, click below for more details...
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that provides several health benefits, click below for more details...
Avoid GMOs at all costs, click below for more info...
Know your environment, it may be messing up your hormones, click below for more info...
Liver: nature’s most potent superfood, click below for more details...
We have testosterone which is bound to two different proteins, albumin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This bound up testosterone is unavailable to be used by our androgen receptors and it’s basically like a “reserve” of our male hormones.
Then we have “free testosterone”, which isn’t bound to glycoproteins. It floats around the bloodstream and is constantly ready to bind into the androgen receptors, creating masculinizing effects
Free testosterone only accounts 1-2% of our total testosterone but experts agree that it’s the most important kind as it’s the one that is actually bio-available.
Now if you’re smart, you’re probably thinking…
“How could I get more of this free testosterone then?”
That’s what this article is about. You see, science has shown that we can naturally reduce these binding proteins from our bloodstream, resulting in more free testosterone.
That’s why this article is about how to lower SHBG, which is the protein that binds most of your total testosterone making it unavailable for the receptors. By simply learning how to lower SHBG count in your body, you will free up testosterone and make it more powerful.
NOTE: Albumin, which is the other binding protein, is much weaker and less abundant than SHBG, thus I don’t feel the need to focus on it as much as we should on sex hormone binding globulin.
1. Boron for Free Testosterone
It’s present in our natural soil due to the fact that it comes to earth from cosmic ray spallation. Given that we don’t eat foods grown in nutrient rich soils anymore (because of the processed revolution), we’re depleted in multiple important minerals.
And one of them is boron, which has a valuable role in our endocrine system:
a) This human study found out that 10 mg’s of boron taken daily for a week was enough to increase free testosterone levels by 28%. SHBG count in serum also decreased significantly which probably explains the increase in free T.
b) In this human study the researchers gave their subjects 6 mg’s of boron daily for 60 days. The results showed a similar 29.5% increase in free testosterone, which was again caused by a significant drop in SHBG count.
I’m personally supplementing with this boron everyday (affiliate link).
2. How to Lower SHBG: Eat Plenty of Carbs
Many guys like to think that low-carb dieting would be the best way to go when boosting testosterone.
It makes some sense as insulin (a hormone that increases when we eat carbs) and sugar (which is a carb) are both claimed to lower testosterone (neither of them actually does).
And actually there was a point in my life when I also believed that a low-carb diet would be the way to go.
However that’s not true, studies constantly show that low-carb diets decrease testosterone levels, whereas high-carb diets significantly increase the big T while they simultaneously decrease estrogen, cortisol, and SHBG.
Therefore eating a diet moderately high in carbohydrates would be a good way to lower SHBG count (and increase testosterone).
3. Take Vitamin D to Lower SHBG Count
Vitamin D is one hell of an awesome vitamin.
Most commonly it’s associated with cardiovascular health, bone health, and immune function.
And while vitamin D is called a “vitamin”, it’s not. It’s really a steroid hormone that regulates more than 1,000 bodily functions, mistakenly named a vitamin.
…And this study found out that 3332 IU’s of vitamin D3 was enough to significantly reduce sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) count.
Therefore if you want to increase testosterone (both total and free), and reduce SHBG count, start supplementing with high quality vitamin D3 supplement (affiliate link), be out in the sun, and eat plenty of fish.
4. Fiber is Not Really that Important
It’s a common mantra from the governmental health panel that we need to eat huge amounts of dietary fiber in order to be “healthy."
However there’s no reason for that. There’s absolutely no scientific evidence that we would need so much fiber daily.
Kellogg’s and other cereal giants are just paying millions of dollars to various influential organizations (such as the AND) in order to get their message of “healthy breakfast with plenty of fiber” out there, which will then only increase their revenue, not our health.
I’m personally sticking to 30g or less fiber because:
High fiber diets are known for their testosterone lowering effects. They also increase SHBG which binds up testosterone making it unable to bind to the receptors, and they increase endotoxin release from the gut lining, which raises serotonin, suppresses dopamine, and also slightly reduces testosterone production.
5. Certain Prescription Drugs can Skyrocket SHBG
…Then I followed up with a post about Finasteride and other hair loss drugs which were shown to be even more harmful for your testosterone levels.
Quite many of those meds in the list also increased SHBG levels, resulting in lowered free T.
6. Natural Hormone Optimization in General
Testosterone in itself will reduce SHBG count. It’s not exactly clear why, but men with higher testosterone levels usually have lower SHBG levels.
Estrogen also impacts SHBG, as lower levels of the female hormone will lower SHBG, which is an awesome thing.
This means that simply following the teachings of this blog (which in all of its simplicity is to boost testosterone and reduce estrogen), could significantly lower your SHBG levels as your hormonal health improves.
7. Magnesium Increases Free Testosterone
Magnesium is one of the most important elements for the human body.
It’s essential for our survival and regulates hundreds of enzymes in the body. We’re also somewhat deficient in the mineral due to the fact that most of us eat shitty diets. However we shouldn’t be as magnesium has shown to be pretty awesome in regards of free testosterone and SHBG:
a) This study found out that magnesium makes testosterone more bio-available via decreasing SHBG.
b) This study found out that a gram of magnesium a day in combination with exercise is enough to raise free testosterone levels by 24%.
c) This study examined several health parameters of 400 men. The researchers found out that the men who had highest serum magnesium levels, also had lowest SHBG and highest testosterone and IGF-1 (growth hormone) levels.
I highly recommend this pure magnesium oil (affiliate link) which is applied transmedally to the skin. It has much higher bio-availibility than oral supplements.
8. Zinc for Everything
Zinc is literally the master mineral of the endocrine system…
Several studies show that it increases testosterone, reduces estrogen, increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and improves sperm parameters (source).
9. Don’t Go Overboard With Alcohol
Binge drinking has its downsides…
Such as the fact that it significantly reduces testosterone levels, testicular weight, and sperm parameters (source).
It also skyrockets the female hormone estrogen and the stress hormone cortisol.
And that’s not even all, as binge drinking impairs the P45 enzyme system of the liver which skyrockets SHBG.
In other words, binge drinking is pretty damaging for your endocrine system.
Conclusion on How to Lower SHBG Count
There you go, 9 scientifically proven ways on how to lower SHBG levels and increase your free testosterone levels.
However do remember that when decreasing SHBG, you’re not only freeing bound up testosterone, but also bound up estrogen.
For most men this isn’t a big problem, especially if you know something about hormone optimization and are already lowering your estrogen levels…
…But the guys who have overblown estrogen levels, it might be wise not to go too low with SHBG, at least first get the estrogen in check.
The Estrogen Flush Protocol: A Three Step Formula For Estrogen Removal
Estrogen as you probably know already, is the principal female hormone in the human body…
…It causes feminizing effects inside the male body and down regulates testosterone production.
In other words: High estrogen often correlates with low testosterone levels.
And while most men think that they don’t have to worry about the female hormone because they’re men, are horribly wrong. That’s because with the modern day diet, sedentary lifestyle, and toxic chemicals, most of the modern day males are walking estrogen powerhouses.
A Three Step Formula For Estrogen Removal
Estrogen as you probably know already, is the principal female hormone in the human body…
…It causes feminizing effects inside the male body and down regulates testosterone production.
In other words: High estrogen often correlates with low testosterone levels.
And while most men think that they don’t have to worry about the female hormone because they’re men, are horribly wrong. That’s because with the modern day diet, sedentary lifestyle, and toxic chemicals, most of the modern day males are walking estrogen powerhouses.
Thus, why few years ago I came up with a protocol that I like to call “The 3 Step Estrogen Flush”. It combines 3 natural compounds in a stack fashion, and their synergistic effect is extremely effective at lowering male estrogen levels.
Without further rambles, let’s take a look at the protocol step-by-step:
Step 1: IC3
The protocol starts with a natural compound called indole-3-carbinol (IC3).
It’s a naturally occurring substance that can be found in cruciferous vegetables such as: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, etc.
IC3 can also be taken as a supplement (affiliate link), which provides you with a much stronger dose than the one you could potentially get by eating a bunch of cruciferous vegetables.
But why IC3?
And it comes not as a surprise that in this study, DIM supplementation effectively halved estrogen levels in healthy human subjects.
Step 2: Methylator
The protocol continues with betaine and/or choline, which are both strong methylators in the human body.
Basically the step 2 means that you’re either eating a ton of beets (which is a source of betaine) or a ton of raw eggs (which is a source of choline)…
…And just like in the step 1, you can also supplement with choline and/or betaine to get a stronger effect.
Before you ask, here’s why the second step involves a methylator:
By design your estrogen molecules are all missing one methyl group, and this means that your liver can’t chelate them out of the body. In other words they’re stuck inside of you…
…And this is where methylators get involved. Because when you consume a methylator (choline or betaine) you introduce those missing methyl groups into the body. The methyl groups will then “complete” the empty spots in the estrogen molecules, which makes it possible for your liver to chelate them out of the body.
And that’s simply why step 2 means that you’re either eating plenty of raw eggs and beets, or supplementing with either choline or betaine.
My recommended supplement would be the well-absorbing and highly bioavailable CDP choline from Jarrow Formulas (affiliate link).
To keep you on the map, here’s what we’ve done so far:
Firstly you took some IC3, which helped your liver to metabolize estrogen and convert it into less potent forms. Then you consumed a methylator which furthermore improved the detoxification of estrogens due to improved chelation.
Step 3: Calcium-D-Glucarate
Now that you’ve gotten that estrogen moving out, you need to make sure that it gets out of the body quickly, so that it doesn’t get reabsorbed back to the body through the intestinal walls.
And that’s where the compound number three comes into play…
…It’s a naturally occuring fiber called Calcium-D-Glucarate, which can be found in the jelly portion of the skin of dark berries.
In other words: Step 3 means that you’re either going to eat a bunch of dark berries, or you’re going to supplement with some strong Calcium-D-Glucarate (affiliate link).
But why the Calcium-D-Glucarate?
Calcium-D-Glucarate works by binding into those already exiting estrogen molecules. It makes it easier for the molecules to exit the body, so that they won’t get reabsorbed back into the body via the intestines.
And to put you back on the map again, here’s a quick walkthrough:
You started with DIM which metabolized estrogen and converted it into less potent derivates. Then you continued with a methylator which furthermore improved the estrogen chelation process. And to finish off the protocol you took some Calcium-D-Glucarate which helped your body to completely remove the estrogen molecules via your intestines.
So that was the 3 step estrogen flush protocol. A simple three step formula that can be done with either supplements, or with simple everyday foods.
Since I published this protocol few months ago, I’ve also gotten a lot of questions about the timing. And here’s one example on how you could do the 3 step flush:
Take DIM or eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables
– Wait 10 minutes
– Take choline and/or betaine or eat plenty of raw eggs and/or beets
– Wait 10 minutes – Take some Calcium-D-Glucarate or eat plenty of dark berries to finish of the protocol.
Part I: Diet
The essential guide to nutrition on the Wolverine Diet
For Hugh Jackman to gain his ridiculous amount in size in two short years, he had to consume a TON of food. As discussed in a recent interview, Jackman roughly takes in over 4,000 calories in a single day. For Jackman’s latest role playing Wolverine in 2013, he claims to be eating an incredible 5,000 calories each day.
For the Wolverine Diet, what’s important isn’t only what types of food he eats, but also when he eats. How the heck could a person like Jackman consume that many calories without putting on hardly ANY fat? In recent interviews, Jackman claims that he implements a “16-8″ dietary routine. What this essentially means is that Jackman fasts for 16 hours and eats during an 8 hour period.
The Wolverine Diet that Hugh Jackman is on utilizes the concept of intermittent fasting. As described above, you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8 hour period. What are the benefits of this type of eating schedule compared to a traditional diet approach?
- Better Mental State
Dieting is hard work. By only eating during an 8 hour period, you can focus on other tasks without having to worry about food. For Hugh, he eats during 10 am and 6 pm. This means that after his early morning workout, he can focus on his shoot for a few hours before having his first meal. If his shoot goes into the late hours of the night, he can simply sleep when he is done.
- Increased Growth Hormone
Hugh is 44 years old and to develop a muscular physique at that age is astounding. As many studies have shown, it is harder to improve your physique as you get older because your metabolism slows down and less growth hormone is produced. In this case, this is why you see many older guys taking steriods (*cough* Sylvester Stallone *cough*). In Hugh’s case, he chose to utilize intermittent fasting for the growth hormone benefits. According to a study by the University of Virginia, growth hormone secretion increases significantly by fasting.
- Burn More Fat/Increase Muscle Size
Take a breather for a second. This isn’t some hokey pokey infomercial diet craze. Intermittent fasting has actually been shown to allow individuals to burn excess fat and pack on more muscle. However, you must be training in a fasted state, just like Hugh does in the early morning hours. According to a study by the Research Center for Exercise & Health out of Belgium,less glycogen is burnt during fasted training with higher amounts of fat being burned off.Because you are left with more glycogen, you have more energy while reducing your body fat percentage.
According to another study by the Department of Biomedical Kinesiology,your body receives a larger anabolic spike with your post-workout meal following fasted training. This means that your muscles may grow more quickly in a shorter period of time, but you’ll see better performance in the gym.
Nutrition on the Wolverine Diet
Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine Diet to get shredded for his part as Wolverine was nothing different when compared to the typical foods that you hear are essential to a diet. According to Hugh,his food was normally bland. “It’s chicken breast, but steamed and no salt, and steamed spinach.”
In order to lean out while putting on pounds of muscle, Hugh’s nutritionist had him on a high-calorie diet that was moderate in carbs and low in fat. The important thing to keep in mind is that fact that the majority of Hugh’s carbohydrates during meals came
from vegetables. If you can imagine, that is a ton of veggies. He was only allowed brown rice with his meals every once in awhile.
*An example of Hugh’s second meal of the day that he Tweeted while on the Wolverine Diet*
Sample Day Of Eating For Hugh Jackman
How to Calculate Your Macronutrients on the Wolverine Diet
If you are thinking of starting the Wolverine Diet in order to increase your lean mass, you need to determine what your macronutrients are. You often hear bodybuilders talking about “counting their macros” and this simply means determining the percentage of protein, carbs and fat that you need throughout the day. Keep in mind that EVERYONE’s macros are different.
You need to customize a plan that works well for you. While Hugh consumes nearly 5,000 calories with his diet on a daily basis, chances are you will need much less. Keep in mind that Hugh’s trainer has him exercising for up to 3 hours multiple days a week.
This is not a cutting diet. There will be no calorie restrictions. In order to grow your muscles and get big following a workout, you need to be eating big and putting in the necessary work.
A handy tool that is perfect to determine your macros can be found here.
This is a sample picture of the typical Wolverine Diet macros for a 6’1 175 lb male who works out three times a week. This is calculated using the tool mentioned above.
After determining your macros and starting the eating routine, pay attention to how your body responds. The goal is to gain muscle while putting on the least amount of fat possible. If you feel as if you are gaining fat too quickly, cut down your daily intake by a few hundred calories. This diet is all about constantly adjusting.
Important Tip: Carb Cycling
Carb cycling is an essential way for you to cut down on your bodyfat while maintaining optimal muscle mass. Keep in mind that carb cycling should not be done until you feel that you have put on enough muscle. Carb cycling is just how it sounds. You eat a large amount of carbs on the days that you are in the gym. On your rest days when you are not exercising, your goal is to keep your carb intake below 100 grams. This is a great way to cut fat quickly after you have bulked up. Just remember that because you are on a lower carb intake at this point, many of your lifts in the gym may stall and you may find yourself losing strength. This is completely normal.
While it is important to have proper nutrition during your implementation of the Wolverine Diet, it seems nearly impossible for many of us to consistently hit our macronutrients each day by eating food ALONE. Let’s face it. Besides it being extremely hard to eat 4,000-5,000 calories at a time like Hugh Jackman did with his diet, most healthy food is expensive to purchase week after week.Along with the healthy food you eat, use supplementation to help you hit your macros. These are a few of the best that you can purchase online or at your local vitamin store (Pro Tip: Buying online is almost always cheaper).
Here are a few questions that you may be wondering about concerning supplementation on this diet:
On Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine Diet, did he use supplements or eat strictly clean food?
According to most interviews, Hugh regularly drank protein shakes before and after his workouts. Outside of a protein supplement, all of his other nutrients came from natural foods. He most likely took additional supplements not directly tied to gaining size such as a multivitamin and fish oil pill. In fact, a study from the Department of Health Sciences at Getty College has shown that individuals who consume a routine fish oil supplement end up with higher amounts of fat free mass over the course of a few months.
Why is protein powder recommended as part of a regimen similar to Hugh Jackman’s diet plan?
If you have heard anything from Hugh Jackman during his training for the Wolverine, he has claimed that eating so much chicken and fish literally makes him feel sick. On certain days, it’s often hard for him to completely finish his food. Protein powder will help you to consistently consume the necessary protein requirements on this diet each day.
Pro tip: Aim to consume at least 1 gram per pound of your body weight every day. Protein should stay the same on workout and rest days.
Are there specific supplements that can help you gain size on this diet?
To gain the most size on this diet while alongside the Wolverine Workout, you need to EAT! This is the key factor to gaining size. As they say: “Eat big to get big.” Does that mean that supplements are out of the question to help you gain size? Not at all.
One of the best supplements to help you gain size on this diet is creatine monohydrate. Several studies have shown that consuming creatine regularly enhances muscle growth and size. Creatine has also been shown to increase lean body mass.
Keep in mind: Creatine will make you hold additional water. This has been proven by the fitness community time and time again. If you ever feel bloated while taking creatine or see your weight shoot up dramatically, this is the likely cause.
If you are considering using creatine, take between 3 and 5 grams a day. Many of the supplements will recommend you to take as much as 20 grams, but this is to get you to buy more of their products. 5 grams has been shown to increase anaerobic work capacity and is all that is needed.
What’s the deal with glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid that is found in your muscles. Research has shown that after an intense workout, the glutamine levels in your body can drop by as much as 50%. Glutamine is also essential to keep your immune system functioning properly. As we all know, a poor immune system can leave you feeling weak and sick. According to a study by Trinity and All Saints University College, a routine supplementation of glutamine post-workout can help lessen the change of injury, improve immune function and help you recover faster after over training. 2 grams of L-glutamine daily is all that you need.
What is the recommended dosing of supplements for this diet?
Protein: At least 1 gram per pound of body weight
- Naked Whey Protein
Creatine: At least 5 grams per day before a workout
- German Grade Creatine Monohydrate
Glutamine 2 grams with a post-workout shake
- No Suggestion as of yet
Part II: Hugh Jackman's 16:8 Diet
Practiced by celebrities and proven to boost brainpower, Elite JKD was hungry for the truth
Intermittent fasting is the health trend that just won't die. Practiced by everyone from Terry Crews to Hugh Jackman, new research claims regular fasts make you smarter in addition to torching fat and boosting metabolism, upping your brain's cognitive funcitons.
If the thought of a regimented eating plan and "time-restricted feeding" makes your stomach churn (or if you want to enjoy your food, no matter what time of day), then you may not want to read on.
A study presented at the aptly-named Obesity Society’s annual meeting has found that having your dinner before 2pm can reduce hunger cravings for the rest of the day, while boosting your fat-burning reserves. While it may up the chances of a midnight salvage for scran, it means that you're likely to be cramming in all of your meals in a six-hour window in the name of a better body.
But is it really healthy? The research documented that the plan worked well on animals, but what happened when it came to humans? One of its earliest - and most famous - adopters is cover star Hugh Jackman.
The Wolverine physique was powered by an eating regime called 16:8 – a form of intermittent fasting (IF) where you eat nothing for 16 hours a day, then cram all your calories into the other eight. The 16:8 diet clearly worked for Hugh.
Some quick research shows there is more to the diet than mutant pecs. IF has been found to reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease (American Society of Clinical Nutrition) and extend your lifespan (Medical Hypotheses) “Fasting also turns on several very cool biochemical processes,” says nutritional scientist Ben Coomber. “One is apoptosis or autophagy, which is the process of cell death. This means you clean out dead cells and dispose of them, clearing up toxins.” This all sounds rather good.
It doesn’t feel that bad, either. I skip breakfast (cups of coffee are fine) and then tear into half a rotisserie chicken at 11am, with baby spinach and a wholegrain roll. That weighs in at about 800kcal with more than 50g of protein (almost 90% of my RDA). I go to the gym at 1pm, when I would normally eat lunch. I eat again around 3pm: high-street sushi or a sandwich. Dinner is down by 7pm and then the 16-hour stopwatch begins again.
Contrary to most fears, you don’t go hungry on 16:8. Odds are you sleep through five to eight hours of the fasting period anyway. Not eating breakfast at my desk means I just get on with my work in the morning, and I’m less ravenous than I thought I’d be by 11am.
Counter to the ‘six or seven small meals a day’ theory, research by Purdue University concluded that larger, infrequent meals actually increase satiety, particularly when high in protein. You feel fuller for longer, despite fasting for two thirds of every 24 hours.
As with so many things in life – haircuts, holidays, pregnancies – 16:8’s success comes down to careful scheduling. If you’re an A-list action hero, your job depends on you staying in shape, and you can afford to work out at midday, every day. This makes the absolute most of the hormonal effect of your fasting period: “When you don’t eat, your muscle cells become more sensitive to insulin,” says Coomber. “So, when you do take on food, the muscle cell is as receptive as possible and you get a much greater anabolic response when you exercise.”
If you want to lose a bit of excess weight without mucking around, 16:8 is a scientifically sound and simple eating plan to grasp. But if you want to train hard during the week, socialise at the weekend and if you value eating meals with family and friends more than looking like Hugh, you should see it as short-term solution only. IF will kick start your physique – but if you want to build true Wolverine size, you’ll need to make intermittent fasting a regular thing.
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that provides several health benefits.
During ketosis, your body converts fat into compounds known as ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy.
That being said, achieving a state of ketosis can take some work and planning. It's not just as simple as cutting carbs.
Here are 7 effective tips to get into ketosis.
1. Minimize Your Carb Consumption
Eating a very low-carb diet is by far the most important factor in achieving ketosis.
Normally, your cells use glucose, or sugar, as their main source of fuel. However, most of your cells can also use other fuel sources. This includes fatty acids, as well as ketones, which are also known as ketone bodies.
Your body stores glucose in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.
When carb intake is very low, glycogen stores are reduced and levels of the hormone insulin decline. This allows fatty acids to be released from fat stores in your body.
The level of carb restriction needed to induce ketosis is somewhat individualized. Some people need to limit net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) to 20 grams per day, while others can achieve ketosis while eating twice this amount or more.
For this reason, the Atkins diet specifies that carbs be restricted to 20 or fewer grams per day for two weeks to guarantee that ketosis is achieved.
After this point, small amounts of carbs can be added back to your diet very gradually, as long as ketosis is maintained.
In a one-week study, overweight people with type 2 diabetes who limited carb intake to 21 or fewer grams per day experienced daily urinary ketone excretion levels that were 27 times higher than their baseline levels (7).
In another study, adults with type 2 diabetes were allowed 20–50 grams of digestible carbs per day, depending on the number of grams that allowed them to maintain blood ketone levels within a target range of 0.5–3.0 mmol/L (8).
These carb and ketone ranges are advised for people who want to get into ketosis to promote weight loss, control blood sugar levels or reduce heart disease risk factors.
In contrast, therapeutic ketogenic diets used for epilepsy or as experimental cancer therapy often restrict carbs to fewer than 5% of calories or fewer than 15 grams per day to further drive up ketone levels (9, 10).
However, anyone using the diet for therapeutic purposes should only do so under the supervision of a medical professional.
BOTTOM LINE:Limiting your carb intake to 20–50 net grams per day lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to the release of stored fatty acids that your liver converts into ketones.
2. Include Coconut Oil in Your Diet
Eating coconut oil can help you get into ketosis.
It contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Unlike most fats, MCTs are rapidly absorbed and taken directly to the liver, where they can be used immediately for energy or converted into ketones.
In fact, it's been suggested that consuming coconut oil may be one of the best ways to increase ketone levels in people with Alzheimer's disease and other nervous system disorders (11).
Although coconut oil contains four types of MCTs, 50% of its fat comes from the kind known as lauric acid.
Some research suggests that fat sources with a higher percentage of lauric acid may produce a more sustained level of ketosis. This is because it's metabolized more gradually than other MCTs (12, 13).
MCTs have been used to induce ketosis in epileptic children without restricting carbs as drastically as the classic ketogenic diet.
In fact, several studies have found that a high-MCT diet containing 20% of calories from carbs produces effects similar to the classic ketogenic diet, which provides fewer than 5% of calories from carbs (14, 15, 16).
When adding coconut oil to your diet, it's a good idea to do so slowly to minimize digestive side effects like stomach cramping or diarrhea.
Start with one teaspoon per day and work up to two to three tablespoons daily over the course of a week.
BOTTOM LINE:Consuming coconut oil provides your body with MCTs, which are quickly absorbed and converted into ketone bodies by your liver.
3. Ramp up Your Physical Activity
In addition, being more active can help you get into ketosis.
When you exercise, you deplete your body of its glycogen stores. Normally, these are replenished when you eat carbs, which are broken down into glucose and then converted to glycogen.
However, if carb intake is minimized, glycogen stores remain low. In response, your liver increases its production of ketones, which can be used as an alternate fuel source for your muscles.
One study found that at low blood ketone concentrations, exercise increases the rate at which ketones are produced. However, when blood ketones are already elevated, they do not rise with exercise and may actually decrease for a short period (21).
In a small study, nine older women exercised either before or after a meal. Their blood ketone levels were 137–314% higher when they exercised before a meal than when they exercised after a meal (23).
Keep in mind that although exercise increases ketone production, it may take one to four weeks for your body to adapt to using ketones and fatty acids as primary fuels. During this time, physical performance may be reduced temporarily (20).
BOTTOM LINE: Engaging in physical activity can increase ketone levels during carb restriction. This effect may be enhanced by working out in a fasted state.
4. Increase Your Healthy Fat Intake
Consuming plenty of healthy fat can boost your ketone levels and help you reach ketosis.
Indeed, a very low-carb ketogenic diet not only minimizes carbs, but is also high in fat.
Ketogenic diets for weight loss, metabolic health and exercise performance usually provide between 60–80% of calories from fat.
The classic ketogenic diet used for epilepsy is even higher in fat, with typically 85–90% of calories from fat (24).
However, extremely high fat intake doesn't necessarily translate into higher ketone levels.
A three-week study of 11 healthy people compared the effects of fasting with different amounts of fat intake on breath ketone levels.
Overall, ketone levels were found to be similar in people consuming 79% or 90% of calories from fat (25).
Furthermore, because fat makes up such a large percentage of a ketogenic diet, it's important to choose high-quality sources.
Good fats include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, lard and tallow. In addition, there are many healthy, high-fat foods that are also very low in carbs.
However, if your goal is weight loss, it's important to make sure you're not consuming too many calories in total, as this can cause your weight loss to stall.
BOTTOM LINE: Consuming at least 60% of calories from fat will help boost your ketone levels. Choose a variety of healthy fats from both plant and animal sources.
5. Try a Short Fast or a Fat Fast
Another way to get into ketosis is to go without eating for several hours.
In fact, many people go into mild ketosis between dinner and breakfast.
Moreover, "fat fasting" is another ketone-boosting approach that mimics the effects of fasting.
It involves consuming about 1,000 calories per day, 85–90% of which come from fat. This combination of low calorie and very high fat intake may help you achieve ketosis quickly.
A 1965 study reported significant fat loss in overweight patients who followed a fat fast. However, other researchers have pointed out that these results appear to have been highly exaggerated (30).
Because a fat fast is so low in protein and calories, it should be followed for a maximum of three to five days to prevent an excessive loss of muscle mass. It may also be difficult to adhere to for more than a couple of days.
Here are some tips and ideas for doing a fat fast to get into ketosis.
BOTTOM LINE: Fasting, intermittent fasting and a "fat fast" can all help you get into ketosis relatively quickly.
6. Maintain Adequate Protein Intake
Achieving ketosis requires a protein intake that is adequate but not excessive.
The classic ketogenic diet used in epilepsy patients is restricted in both carbs and protein to maximize ketone levels.
However, for most people, cutting back on protein to increase ketone production isn't a healthy practice.
First, it's important to consume enough protein to supply the liver with amino acids that can be used for gluconeogenesis, which translates to "making new glucose."
In this process, your liver provides glucose for the few cells and organs in your body that can't use ketones as fuel, such as your red blood cells and portions of the kidneys and brain.
Second, protein intake should be high enough to maintain muscle mass when carb intake is low, especially during weight loss.
Several studies have shown that the preservation of muscle mass and physical performance is maximized when protein intake is in the range of 0.55–0.77 grams per pound (1.2–1.7 grams per kilogram) of lean mass (20).
In one study of 17 obese men, following a ketogenic diet providing 30% of calories from protein for four weeks led to blood ketone levels of 1.52 mmol/L, on average. This is well within the 0.5–3.0 mmol/L range of nutritional ketosis (34).
To calculate your protein needs on a ketogenic diet, multiply your ideal body weight in pounds by 0.55 to 0.77 (1.2 to 1.7 in kilograms). For example, if your ideal body weight is 130 pounds (59 kg), your protein intake should be 71–100 grams.
BOTTOM LINE: Consuming too little protein can lead to muscle mass loss, whereas excessive protein intake may suppress ketone production.
7. Test Ketone Levels and Adjust Your Diet as Needed
Like many things in nutrition, achieving and maintaining a state of ketosis is highly individualized.
Therefore, it can be helpful to test your ketone levels to ensure you're achieving your goals.
The three types of ketones — acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate — can be measured in your breath, blood or urine.
The Ketonix meter measures acetone in breath. After breathing into the meter, a color flashes to indicate whether you are in ketosis and how high your levels are.
Ketones can also be measured with a blood ketone meter. Similar to the way a glucose meter works, a small drop of blood is placed on a strip that's inserted into the meter.
It measures the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate in your blood, and it has also been found to be a valid indicator of ketosis levels (37).
The disadvantage of measuring blood ketones is that the strips are very expensive.
Lastly, the ketone measured in urine is acetoacetate. Ketone urine strips are dipped into urine and turn various shades of pink or purple depending on the level of ketones present. A darker color reflects higher ketone levels.
Ketone urine strips are easy to use and fairly inexpensive. Although their accuracy in long-term use has been questioned, they should initially provide confirmation that you are in ketosis.
A recent study found that urinary ketones tend to be highest in the early morning and after dinner on a ketogenic diet (38).
Using one or more of these methods to test ketones can help you determine whether you need to make any adjustments to get into ketosis.
In GMO plants, epigenetic changes become dangerously unstable and unpredictable.
In a related article in today’s newsletter, we told you about the amazing new science of epigenetics. This science teaches us that the way genes are expressed are affected by a variety of factors. In human populations, our genes can even be affected by what our grandparents ate!
GMO foods and crops can be genetically engineered via insertional mutagenesis, the process of inserting foreign genetic materials into normal genes. An example of this is the tomato that was injected with antifreeze genes from Arctic fish (this particular GMO never made it to market). The supposed “safety” of this technique is based on the notion that a gene taken from one organism will play the same role in another (for instance, an antifreeze gene in a fish will make the tomato freeze-proof).
Epigenetics questions the wisdom of this, suggesting that genes can express themselves differently based on their environment. This means no matter how well-tested Big Biotech claims GMO crops are (and these are tests paid for by the biotech company, with the outcomes revealed only if they are favorable), there are simply too many biological and environmental factors at play to know what a foreign gene will do in a different organism.
According to Marcello Buiatti, professor of genetics at the University of Florence, there is evidence thatgenes resulting from insertional mutagenesis may be less stable than normal genes, and that the current ways in which Big Biotech and regulatory bodies assess the safety of GMO is, in his words, “far below the level of sufficiency to be able to predict any toxicity or any unintended effect of a plant.”
Let’s apply this concept to GMO crops, which are tested in limited, homogenous environmental conditions. Epigenetics implies that a gene that expresses itself safely in a test field in Washington State might have dangerous effects when planted in Illinois.
What is known about GMOs is very little compared to what is unknown. GMO producers have so far not only blocked independent research on their product; they have blocked labeling of GMO foods. Imagine: they are so proud of their product, they do not even want you to know you are buying it! But labeling is coming, whether they want it or not, and you can help.
Action Alerts! Despite reassurances by Big Biotech and Big Farma, we still don’t fully understand the long-term risks or potential outcomes of GMO foods. What we do know is alarming. If you are a resident of any of the following states, please write to your legislators immediately and ask them to support GMO labeling—there is legislation in your state right now that is critical for making sure these dangerous substances get labeled. We have a right to know what’s in the food we eat—our families’ health is at stake!
Research study on Cats with GMO.
These manmade and naturally occurring compounds can make you less of a man. Really. Here's where they're hiding.
These are chemicals in the environment that mimic estrogen. These chemicals, mainly heavy metals, synthetic chemicals like DES and DDT, and industrial chemicals like phthalates, grow in number, and accumulate in more tissues with each passing year.
These chemicals are found in foods, adhesives, fire retardants, detergents, drinking water, perfumes, waxes, household cleaning products, lubricants... virtually everywhere.
Although we don't know the exact scope of damage caused by these chemicals, we have seen widespread reports of biological anomalies in both animals and humans in the last couple of decades (mutations, indeterminate sex organs, lessened fertility, more people listening to light jazz, etc.).
Case in point, in 1992 a team of reproductive specialists from Copenhagen announced that the sperm counts in the industrialized world had dropped 50% since 1938. (That means, in one way, you're likely half the man your grandfather was.)
Furthermore, there's plenty of evidence that these chemicals are a part of all of us. Researchers found that 75% of the samples taken from 400 adults contained significant levels of industrial xenoestrogens, whereas 98.3 percent of samples contained DHT and its derivatives. To make matters even more troubling, different xenoestrogens appear to act synergistically so that their effects are magnified.
To avoid these nasty chemicals, do the following:
· Shop organic when you can
· Store your food in glass (not plastic) containers
· Don't let plastic wrap touch your food when microwaving
· Use "all-natural" laundry detergents and household cleaners
· Use "all-natural" skin care and personal care products
· Avoid most plastics when possible, and don't drink from bottled water that's been exposed to the sun for any length of time.
While xenoestrogens are man-made monstrosities, phytoestrogens occur in plants. Xenoestrogens accumulate in adipose tissue, while phytoestrogens are metabolized and booted out of the body relatively fast. As such, they're not nearly the problem that xenoestrogens are.
Still, you generally don't want too many of them around as they resemble estrogen molecularly and can act like the real deal. Phytoestrogens are also found in various foods, but most notably in soy and soy protein. Avoid them.
We are constantly assaulted by estrogens in our environment—from the food we eat to the chemicals we use or are exposed to. Estrogen in the form of chemicals (xenoestrogens), or foods and plants (phytoestrogens), mimic the action of estrogen produced in cells and can alter hormonal activity.
It's important for all of us to be aware of the effects of estrogens in our environment. It should be of particular interest for anyone dealing with an estrogen dominancecondition such as uterine fibroid tumors, fibrocystic breasts, glandular dysfunction, hair loss, weight gain, or depression.
Current evidence suggest that xenoestrogens and other hormone-mimicking substances may be contributing to a wide range of human and wildlife health problems.
Problems caused by Environmental Estrogens may include:
· imbalance in women's hormones known as estrogen dominance
· girls and boys beginning puberty too early, which can lead to health problems later in life
· abnormal growth of mammary tissues in men known as "man boobs"
· other health issues in men including hair loss, atherosclerosis, prostate problems, lowered libido, and impotency
Xeno literally means foreign, therefore xenoestrogens means "foreign estrogens". Some of the 70,000 registered chemicals for use in the United States have hormonal effects in addition to toxic effects. The synergistic effects of exposure to many xenoestrogens are well documented, but largely unknown. These substances can increase the estrogen load in the body over time, and are difficult to detoxify through the liver. This further compounds the problem of estrogen dominance.
The NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have undergone various research projects to determine the impact of environmental estrogens on humans. See a list of the latest research HERE.
Byproducts of the plastic and pesticide industries – called organochlorines – are one of the largest sources of xenoestrogens. These compounds - used in dry cleaning, the bleaching of feminine hygiene products, and during the manufacture of plastics ranging from yogurt containers to baby bottles - have been shown to exert hormone-disrupting effects.
What's more, organochlorines are known to accumulate in fatty human tissue and fluid such as breasts and breast milk. Caution dictates that women should try to eliminate these external estrogen sources through diet, supplements and lifestyle changes.
Plastics also expose us to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a breakdown product of polycarbonate, widely used in many plastics. Bisphenol A, found in the lining of many food cans and juice containers, escapes when polycarbonate is subjected to high temperatures. The estrogenic effects of bisphenol A became clear when men working in the plastics industry developed breasts after chronically inhaling the chemical through dust.
Many companies are now producing plastic products that are BPA-free. However, reducing the use of all types of plastics is recommended when possible.
Other bad news from scientists have suggested that environmental estrogens might be reducing sperm counts in men and causing breast cancer, fibroids and other reproductive diseases in women. Xenoestrogens can be found in many of our meats and dairy products in the form of chemicals and growth hormones that are given to the animals. These can be quite powerful, and should be avoided where possible.
Suggestions for avoiding substances and products that contain xenoestrogens:
· all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides (wash your food well with a biodegradable non-toxic solution if not organic)
· plastic goods (they leach xenoestrogens into the environment)
· creams and cosmetics that have toxic chemicals and estrogenic ingredients such as parabens and stearalkonium chloride (cheap brands tend to include more toxic ingredients)
· nail polish and nail polish removers
· surfactants found in many condoms and diaphragm gels
· new carpet (it can give off noxious fumes)
· leaving plastic containers, especially your drinking water, in the sun (if a plastic water container has heated up significantly, throw it away and do not drink)
· fabric softeners (they contain petrochemicals that are absorbed by the skin)
· microwaving food in plastic containers - especially avoid the use of plastic wrap to cover food for microwaving
· noxious gas such from copiers and printers, carpets, fiberboards, etc.
· computer monitors, tvs, etc. that emit high levels of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)
Increase these practices that minimize xenoestrogen exposure:
· a high-quality water filter in your home
· organically grown whole foods
· hormone-free meats and dairy products
· glass or ceramics for storing food
· a simple laundry and dish detergent with less chemicals
· organic soaps and toothpastes
· naturally-based perfumes (most perfumes are petrochemically based)
Phytoestrogens (phyto meaning plant) are naturally occurring estrogenic compounds that are found in a variety of plant foods such as beans, seeds, and grains. Their chemical structure resembles estrogen. Phytoestrogens acting as estrogen may affect the production and/or the breakdown of estrogen by the body, as well as the levels of estrogen carried in the bloodstream.
These mimics can either have the same effects as estrogen or block estrogen's effects. These compounds are generally weak estrogens, in comparison to real estrogen, synthetic estrogen (HRT), and xenoestrogens.
Anyone who is experiencing estrogen dominance problems will likely want to avoid phytoestrogens as they will only contribute to the problem.
Women who do not have estrogen dominance issues and desire to supplement with estrogen due to lowered levels from menopause or hysterectomy may find consuming some phytoestrogens to be beneficial.
Which foods contain phytoestrogens?
More than 300 foods have been shown to contain phytoestrogens. Most food phytoestrogens are from one of three chemical classes:
Isoflavonoids - Isoflavonoid phytoestrogens are found in beans from the legume family. Soybeans and soy products are the major dietary source of this type of phytoestrogens. The isoflavone extracts from soy are known as genistein, daidzein, and glycitein.
Lignans - Lignan phytoestrogens are found in high fiber foods such as cereal brans and beans. Flaxseed contain large amounts of lignans, but some studies suggest that it can have a positive effect on estrogen dominance.
Coumestans - Coumestan phytoestrogens are found in various beans such as split peas, pinto beans, and lima beans. Alfalfa and clover sprouts are the foods with the highest amounts of coumestans.
Following are some of the strongest phytoestrogen containing substances:
What are the benefits of consuming phytoestrogens?
Women needing estrogen supplementation may benefit from the many specially designed phytoestrogen supplements available. One popular supplement is a progesterone cream that contains phytoestrogens. The transdermal delivery system is reliable, and the combination of phytoestrogens with progesterone is helpful for women with lowered levels of both.
We offer Progesta-Care Plus cream.
Can taking phytoestrogen supplements or eating large amounts of foods with phytoestrogens be harmful?
Foods made from soybeans have some of the highest levels of phytoestrogens. Scientists concede that the result of increased phytoestrogen intake is unpredictable, partly due to a lack of research that explains the mechanisms of phytoestrogens.
Over time, high concentrations of isoflavones in the body can have a significant cumulative estrogenic effect, especially when they are exposed to organs that have sensitive estrogen receptors sites such as the breast, uterus, and thyroid. Exposure to the estrogenic effect from soy, though weak, should be avoided in those who suspect or have confirmed estrogen dominance. It is suggested that those with estrogen dominance or a history of thyroid imbalance should consume a minimum amount of phytoestrogens.
While phytoestrogen may relieve symptoms, the long term effect is probably undesirable because estrogen receptor sites are still occupied, although by the less potent phytoestrogen. It is far more beneficial to rid the body of the estrogen from the receptor sites and replace them with progesterone. Estrogen load will therefore reduce significantly, and the risk of estrogenic diseases such as breast cancer will decrease.*
Furthermore, phytoestrogens have been shown to inhibit the conversion of T4 to the active T3 thyroid hormone, and can trigger hypothyroidism.
Many, including the rapidly growing soy agricultural groups, are touting the beneficial effects of soy. Others, particularly alternative health professionals, feel soy should not be consumed. Despite the conflicting views, as with anything, moderation is likely the key. Consuming small amounts of soy is probably not harmful, while consuming large amounts may still be beneficial for certain people depending on various factors.
NOTE: Because of the estrogen-like behavior of isoflavones, there's some concern that isoflavone supplements could cause cancer. If you have had breast cancer, talk to your doctor before supplementing your diet with isoflavone pills or red clover.
Studies Contradict Benefits of Dietary Soy Intake
Most previous studies examining the role of dietary phytoestrogens in breast cancer have focused on soy. Soy researcher Dr. Mark Cline, Wake Forest School of Medicine, explains that the evidence to date remains more than a little contradictory.
The studies that got people excited about soy compared American women's soy intake to Asian women's intake, then drew conclusions that breast cancer risks were six times higher for Americans. There are a lot of other factors, in addition to diet, that can explain this difference. Asian women typically consume fewer calories overall, they begin to menstruate later in life, they exercise more, eat more vegetables and are thinner than women living in the West, says Dr. Cline.
Epidemiologist Regina G. Ziegler, PhD, says it is understandable that women are confused about soy and other plant-derived foods that have compounds that act similar to estrogen. In an editorial published with a Dutch study, the National Cancer Institute researcher concluded that the research, to date, does not support the need for women in the U.S. to increase their dietary phytoestrogen intake to the level consumed by women in Asia.
Conventional dietary wisdom holds that the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements) we need from foods are most highly concentrated in fruits and vegetables. While it’s true that fresh fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and minerals, their micronutrient content doesn’t always hold up to what is found in meats and organ meats – especially liver.
The chart below lists the micronutrient content of apples, carrots, red meat and beef liver. Note that every nutrient in red meat except for vitamin C surpasses those in apples and carrots, and every nutrient—including vitamin C—in beef liver occurs in exceedingly higher levels in beef liver compared to apple and carrots. In general, organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats. (That said, fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients like flavonoids and polyphenols that aren’t found in high concentrations in meats and organ meats, so fresh produce should always be a significant part of your diet.)
In fact, you might be surprised to learn that in some traditional cultures, only the organ meats were consumed. The lean muscle meats, which are what we mostly eat in the U.S. today, were discarded or perhaps given to the dogs.
A popular objection to eating liver is the belief that the liver is a storage organ for toxins in the body. While it is true that one of the liver’s role is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons), it does not store these toxins. Toxins the body cannot eliminate are likely to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems. On the other hand, the liver is a is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.
Remember that it is essential to eat meat and organ meats from animals that have been raised on fresh pasture without hormones, antibiotics or commercial feed. Pasture-raised animal products are much higher in nutrients than animal products that come from commercial feedlots. For example, meat from pasture-raised animals has 2-4 times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from commercially-raised animals. And pasture-raised eggs have been shown to contain up to 19 times more omega-3 fatty acids than supermarket eggs! In addition to these nutritional advantages, pasture-raised animal products benefit farmers, local communities and the environment.
For more information on the incredible nutritional benefits of liver and some suggestions for how to prepare it, click here.
BEEF LIVER (100 g) Calcium 11.0 mg Phosphorus 476.0 mg Magnesium 18.0 mg Potassium 380.0 mg Iron 8.8 mg Zinc 4.0 mg Copper 12.0 mg Vitamin A 53,400 IU Vitamin D 19 IU Vitamin E .63 mg Vitamin C 27.0 mg Thiamin .26 mg Riboflavin 4.19 mg Niacin 16.5 mg Pantothenic Acid 8.8 mg Vitamin B6 .73 mg Folate 145.0 mcg Biotin 96.0 mcg Vitamin B12 111.3 mcg
Liver’s as-yet-unidentified anti-fatigue factor makes it a favorite with athletes and bodybuilders. The factor was described by Benjamin K. Ershoff, PhD, in a July 1951 article published in the Proceedings for the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.
Ershoff divided laboratory rats into three groups. The first ate a basic diet, fortified with 11 vitamins. The second ate the same diet, along with an additional supply of vitamin B complex. The third ate the original diet, … (with) 10 percent of rations as powdered liver.
A 1975 article published in Prevention magazine described the experiment as follows: “After several weeks, the animals were placed one by one into a drum of cold water from which they could not climb out. They literally were forced to sink or swim. Rats in the first group swam for an average 13.3 minutes before giving up. The second group … swam for an average of 13.4 minutes.
Of the last group of rats, the ones receiving liver, three swam for 63, 83 and 87 minutes. The other nine rats in this group were still swimming vigorously at the end of two hours when the test was terminated.
Something in the liver had prevented them from becoming exhausted.