Ray Peat

PODCAST | Ray Peat

Aug 01, 2008 | Herb Doctors: Thyroid, Metabolism And Coconut Oilnew


: Welcome to this month’s Ask Your Herb Doctor. My name is Andrew Murray.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: My name is Sarah Johannesen Murray.

ANDREW MURRAY: For those of you who perhaps have never listened to our shows, which run every third Friday of the month from 7 till 8 PM, we’re both licensed medical herbalists who trained in England and graduated there with a degree in herbal medicine. We run a clinic in Garberville where we consult with clients about a wide range of conditions and we manufacture all our own certified organic herbal extracts, which are either grown on our CCOF -certified herb farm or which are sourced from other certified organic suppliers. You’re listening to Ask Your Herb Doctor on KMUD Garberville 91.1 FM.

And from 7: 30 until the end of the show at 8 o’clock, you’re invited to call in with any questions either related or unrelated to this month’s continuing topic on thyroid, its role in health, and the use of coconut oil as a means of weight loss and improved thyroid function. The number here, if you live in the area, is 923-3911.Or if you live outside the area, the toll-free number is 1-800- KMUD-RAD, which is 568- 3723.So we can also be reached toll-free on 1888-WBM-HERB for further questions during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. So to carry on from last month’s exposé on the polyunsaturated versus saturated fat controversy that’s raging right now, I wanted to mention right from the get go that some of this material has been copied from Dr. Ray Peat and that this material is not something that we have produced, although in between the other excerpts, the material is ours. So I wanted to carry on, like I said, from last month and just carry on this exposé of a fairly startling turnaround for some people, at least, in a belief that polyunsaturated fats are good and that saturated fats are bad. And actually, it’s seemingly very much the other way around and that our ancestors and our grandparents had it right the first time around, eating lots of saturated fat, animal fats, eating butter, milk, cream, dairy products and were very healthy and actually had very, very low incidences of cancer, diabetes and obesity, things which have shot up since the 1920s. So a lot of the things that we’re going to say, for some people, will be cheeringly applauded by those people perhaps that are in their 50s and 60s or a little older even. They used to eat just the same kind of things that we’re going to be covering and talking about. And to another group of people, it might be very shocking. So I don’t mean to shock people, but I just want to make these other viewpoints known, so that those people who do find some thread of truth in it can actually hold onto it and find out more. Most of this information is freely available on the Web and the Web is increasing in popularity as time goes on as a source of material for all different viewpoints. And the truth is out there if you just want to search for it. You will find it. So I wanted to carry on, the whole end of the war, the Second World War, essentially then the seed oil industry was in a crisis point. And the traditional use of seed oils, such as flax seed oil in paints and plastics was being displaced by new compounds made from petroleum. And the industry itself needed new markets. It was discovered that ways to convince the public that seed oils were better than animal fats were introduced and they called their seed oils heart protective. Now, even though human studies soon showed the same results that the animal studies had, namely that they were toxic to the heart and increased the incidence of cancer. Now, this all came about from the 1920s and 1930s experiments with animals on feedlot that were basically put there for the last six or eight weeks of their life to increase their weight, become more salable and more valuable by having an increased portion of fat on their bodies. And that, essentially, they started using – coconut oil was basically a fairly cheap, imported tropical oil that was a saturated fat that they believed would be a pretty good feed source for cattle and other ruminant animals to increase their weight gain prior to slaughter and that that would help the industry and it would help the farmers and everyone would get more money and that the product will be appreciated. So they started feeding these animals coconut oil, with saturated fat. And lo and behold, rather than gaining weight, the animals actually lost weight. Anyway, so they soon changed their plans there. From coconut oil, they suddenly switched to corn oil and soy oil. Now, when they did that,lo and behold, the animals started gaining weight. So they suddenly thought,‘Okay, well, this was a good idea. Soy and corn did the trick; put lots of weight on animals, even though these animals would never be eating it unlike – like coconut oil, they’d never be eaten either. But as a food stuff, it was certainly a hit in terms of gaining weight on the animals. But, essentially, the long- term effects of these fats and oils were pretty toxic. And the animal themselves were certainly unable to continue eating this for more than seven or eight weeks before they started getting very serious inflammatory disorders that were eventually life threatening and would kill them. So eight weeks was about as much as they could feed these animals before they started dying of gastrointestinal disorders from eating these products, so they should never be eating in the first place. So it doesn’t surprise anybody. So, ultimately, the coconut oil was thrown out and this huge campaign was started to alert the American public that these cheap tropical imported oils were not very good for you, they were toxic and actually that they should be kicked out and that the alternatives would be USA grown corn and soy. And lo and behold, with the chemical and pharmaceutical industry behind this, fairly big players in the pharmaceutical production, was that the corn and the soy were there again. Other very important crops to be genetically engineered and the seeds to be owned, so that they were a product that could be sold and owned independently rather than a wild product or wild seed that no one had to rights to and that people could get freely. So soy and corn soon became rapidly too very big US crops. And rapidly, the information was disseminated that soy and corn were very good for you. They were polyunsaturated. They were good for your heart. They were good for cholesterol. They were good for lots of things and everyone should be eating lots of it. And the propaganda was promoted by a lot of money. And soon it became very commonplace that these oils were good for you and that everyone should be eating it. And so, obviously, the natural production of these two crops rapidly increased, as did the awareness, the false awareness that these things were good for you. So getting onto the point that the animals were fed these things and they gained weight, despite the widespread acceptance and that the lipid hypothesis, which we’ll cover,has never really been proven. An oil researcher, Mary Enig, PhD, and Sally Fallon, Founder and Director of the Weston A. Price Foundation, point out in their article called the ‘Secrets of the Edible Oil Industry’ that the lipid theory was first proposed by David Kritchevsky, a Russian Researcher, who, in 1954, published a x paper describing the effects of feeding cholesterol to rabbits. Now, by showing that polyunsaturated oils from vegetable sources lowered serum cholesterol at least temporarily in humans, says Enig, Kritchevsky appeared to show that the findings from the animal trials were relevant to the coronary heart disease problem that the lipid hypothesis was a valid explanation for the new epidemic of heart disease, and that by reducing animal products in their diets, Americans could avoid heart disease. So, soon, the United States was on anti-cholesterol campaign. In 1956, an American Heart Association fundraiser was shown on all three major TV networks . Panelists presented the lipid hypothesis as a cause for America’s heart disease epidemic and recommended a prudent diet in which corn oil, margarine and chicken replaced butter, lard, beef and eggs.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: But the panel was not unanimous. Dudley White, MD – Dr. Dudley White disagreed with his AHA colleagues by noting that heart disease, in the form of myocardial infarction (MI), was nonexistent in 1900 when egg consumption was three times what it was in 1956 and when corn oil was completely unavailable. I mean, who would have ever thought of making oil from corn anyways. How much corn would you have to squeeze or process or do what to get a teaspoon of oil. When pressed to support the prudent diet, Dr. White replied,‘ See here, I began my practice as a cardiologist at 1921 and I never saw an MI patient until 1928.’ Back in the MI- free days before 1920, the fats were butter and lard. And I think we would all benefit from the kind of diet we had at that time when no one had ever heard the words corn oil. But, unfortunately, his observations fell on deaf ears and ads in the Journal of the American Medical Association described Wesson Oil – I am sure a lot of people have heard of Wesson Oil, it’s a famous corn oil manufacturer. So the AMA described Wesson Oil as a cholesterol depressant. Mazola, another large corn oil company, advertisements claimed that “science finds corn oil important to your health” and medical journal ads recommended Fleischmann's unsalted margarine for patients with high blood pressure. Dr. Frederic Stare,Head of Harvard University’s Nutrition Department, wrote a syndicated column in which he encouraged the consumption of up to a cup of corn oil per day. Great. Meanwhile experimenters found that feeding a diet that totallyx lacked the essentially fatty acids produced animals with remarkable properties. They consumed oxygen and calories at a very high rate says, Dr. Ray Peat. The mitochondria were unusually tough and stable. Their tissues could be transplanted into other animals without provoking immunological rejection and they were very hard to kill by trauma and a wide variety of toxins that easily provoke lethal shock in animals on the usual polyunsaturated oil diet. As German researchers had seen in 1927, they had a low susceptibility to cancer and new studies showed that they weren’t susceptible to various fibrotic conditions, including alcoholic liver cirrhosis. Dr. Mary Enig points out that other researchers conducted population studies that showed that the animal model used by Kritchevsky, especially one that used vegetarian animals, was not a valid approach to the problem of heart disease in human omnivores. She cites studies conducted in the 1950s showing that the presence of arterial plaque, which is considered a symptom of heart disease, is a natural process that has nothing to do with diet. American soldiers killed during the Korean War had severe – I mean, similar amounts of severity of plaques, 75%, as Japanese natives whose diet was lower in animal products, at 65%, and the largely vegetarian Bantu in South Africa had just as much occlusions or plaque buildup in their arteries as other races in South Africa who ate more meat. In 1957, Dr. Norman Jolliffe, Director of the Nutritional Bureau of the New York Health Department, launched an anti-coronary club for businessmen, aged 40 to 59. All were placed on the previously mentioned prudent diet and results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1966. Those on the prudent diet of corn oil, margarine, fish, chicken and cold cereal had an average serum cholesterol 30 points lower than the meat and potatoes control group. But the more important statistics were the heart disease deaths of eight prudent diet followers, while none of those who ate meat three times a day died. Julie himself died in 1961 from a vascular thrombosis, although his obituaries listed the cause of death as complications from diabetes. Larger follow-up studies produced the same results and an ambitious million-man diet heart study was abandoned for reasons of cost when its chairman died of a heart attack. In the 1960s, interest in organ transplantation led to the discovery that polyunsaturated fats prolonged graft survival by suppressing immune system. Immunosuppression was considered to have a role in the carcinogenicity of the essential fatty acids, says Dr. Peat.

ANDREW MURRAY: So just to reiterate that, the polyunsaturated fatty acids suppress immune system, that’s the crux of the last sentences.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Yeah. So in the 1960s, they found that if people who had just recently had an organ transplant, if they were taking in a lot of polyunsaturated fats in their diet, their immune system was suppressed and they didn't reject the transplant. At around the same time, there was studies showing that unsaturated fats retarded brain development and produced obesity. In addition, the age -related glycation products that are usually blamed on sugar are largely the result of peroxidation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids.

x ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. That’s one of the other important things about the polyunsaturated fatty acids is, because they are polyunsaturated, they are very susceptible to lipid peroxidation, which is oxidation of the molecule because they are not stable, unlike saturated fats that are completely saturated, their bonds are saturated and they are very stable oils.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And they don’t go rancid very quickly.

ANDREW MURRAY: Rancid, yeah.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I mean, coconut oil has a very long shelf life. Through the 1970s, information about the harmful effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids was slowly being assimilated; and by 1980, it looked as though reasonable researchers would see the promotion of cancer, heart disease, mitochondrial damage, hypothyroidism and immune suppression caused by these polyunsaturated fats as their most important feature and they would see that there had never been a basis for believing that these were essential fats. But then, without acknowledging that there had ever been a problem with the doctrine of essentiality, fat researchers just started changing the subject, shifting public discourse to safer, more profitable topics. As a result, the old discredited theories about polyunsaturated fats are alive and well for the past 68 years, and so are the inaccurate health claims that replace them. Most of us are so used to hearing that saturated fats harm health, while polyunsaturated fats improve it that the recommendations of experts like Dr. Mary Enig, Dr. Ray Peat, and Dr. Bruce Fyfe require mental adjustments. Get acquainted with pasture -fed butter, lard and tallow products and other traditionally saturated fats like coconut oil. Throw away the canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, sesame, soy. Stay away from anything that contains polyunsaturated fats. Kiss tofu goodbye and forget soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy protein and soy lecithin. For good measure, says Dr. Peat, stay away from commercially raised chicken. Animals that eat polyunsaturated fats don't produce saturated fat. Dr. Peat explains, when you eat their meat, you’re eating polyunsaturated fat with all of the adverse effects of soy and corn oil. Because polyunsaturated fats are perceived x as healthful, the meat, milk and egg industries are working on ways to promote these products, which are incredibly harmful, as desired. The beef industry is doing so, he says, by treating soy oil, so that it won't be broken down in the cattle's rumen. I think that's a factor in causing scrapie and mad cow disease, he says, since it was already established that the equivalent disease in chickens, called Crazy Chick Syndrome, is caused by too much polyunsaturated fat in the diet. Chickens don't have a rumen, so they are much more susceptible to these oils than cows and sheep.


It’s 7: 18 now. You’rex listening to Ask Your Herb Doctor on KMUD 91.1.

And from x 7: 30, until the end of the show at 8 o’clock , you’re invited to call in with any questions either related or unrelated to this month’s topic, which is a continuation on the thyroid gland, its role in the health and maintenance of the human body, and coconut oil as a means to lose weight and improve your thyroid function. Okay. So, in 1995, researchers studied 25,862 participants at the Colorado Statewide Health Fair. They discovered that among patients not taking thyroid medication, 9% were hypothyroid – they had an underactive thyroid – and 1% were hyperthyroid, with an overactive thyroid. Now, this indicates that 10%, clearly, of the population had a thyroid problem that had most likely gone unrecognized. Now, these figures suggest that, nationally, there may be as many as 13 million Americans with an undiagnosed thyroid problem.

In her book, Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You That You Need to Know, Mary Shomon quotes Endocrinologist Kenneth Blanchard, M.D. of Lower Newton Falls, Massachusetts as saying, the key thing is doctors are always told that thyroid stimulating hormone is a test that gives us a yes or no answer and, in fact, I think that’s fundamentally wrong.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: That’s commonly called TSH.

ANDREW MURRAY: Right, the TSH test. Okay, so what they were saying, it’s commonly wrong. Now, in fact, I think that's wrong very much so. The pituitary TSH is controlled not just by how much T4 and T3 is in circulation, but T4 is getting converted to T3 at the pituitary level. Now,excess T3 generated at the pituitary level can falsely suppress TSH. Hence, many people who have simply tested for TSH are found to be within normal – in parenthesis, normal range – they are in fact suffering from thyroid problems that are going undetected. Now, consequently, Ridha Arem, M.D.,Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Bayor College of Medicine agrees. He says that hypothyroidism may exist despite normal TSH levels. In his book, The Thyroid Solution, he says, many people may be suffering from minute imbalances that have not yet resulted in abnormal blood tests. If we included people with low-grade hypothyroidism whose blood tests are normal, the frequency of hypothyroidism would no doubt exceed 10% of the population. Now, what is of special concern, though, is that many people whose test results are dismissed as normal could continue to have symptoms of an underactive thyroid. Their mood, emotion and overall well-being are affected by this imbalance, yet they're not receiving the care they need to get to the root of their problems. Even if the TSH level is in the lower segment of normal, a person may still be suffering from low-grade hypothyroidism. Thus, if we were to include those who may be suffering from low-grade hypothyroidism, the number could well be double the 13 million estimate from the Colorado study. Now, while more research needs to be done, it is generally accepted that diet plays a major role in thyroid health. For decades, we've known that low iodine intake leads to low thyroid function and eventually to goiter. The goiter is the large swelling around the thyroid cartilage as the thyroid swells in response to a decrease in thyroxin and other thyroid hormones. Now, iodized salt was intended to solve this problem. But it’s not been the answer. There are a number of foods known as goitrogens that block iodine. Two goitrogens are quite prevalent in the American diet, one is peanuts and peanut butter and soya beans used most often in prepared foods as textured vegetable protein, known as TDP, which is a refined soy food and soybean oil. Now, we mention the –the widespread growing of soy and corn in the 1930s and the subsequent GMO control of this by big multinational companies. The rise of industrialization, corporate farming and mass production of food has drastically changed our food supply from what our ancestors ate. Many studies now show that detrimental effects of refined sugars and grains on our health. These foods are very taxing on the thyroid gland and we consume them in large quantities. Environmental stress such as chemical pollutants, pesticides, mercury and fluoride are also tough on the thyroid. A growing body of evidence suggests that fluoride, which is prevalent in toothpaste and water treatment, may inhibit the functioning of the thyroid gland. Additionally,mercury may diminish thyroid function because it displaces the trace minerals, selenium. And selenium is involved in the conversion of thyroid hormones, T4 to T3. Okay. So that's certainly food for thought in terms of the effects of modern farming and modern industrialization. And how these things have certainly become the norm and how the prevalence of the diseases – obesity, cancer and diabetes – have shot through the roof, as it were, and pretty much so connected to the ingestion of these food groups as these food groups are very specifically thyroid or thyrotoxic, in many ways, that they slow the thyroid function down or stop it altogether, in some cases. x I think it's true enough to say that people that have fairly – what we’d call – normal thyroid function tests that are on the border of being hypothyroid, there are several different things that can be done even in your home without any complicated chemical analysis that pretty much confirm the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. So there’s – Sarah, perhaps you want to talk about some of the things perhaps that would be useful for people. They can try it themselves. And if any of the signs or symptoms are present, then these people may well do themselves a lot of good to find out more information on the Internet or from other sources to see, in fact, whether a thyroid replacement, either a glandular or a prescription, will be useful for them.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I think the best place to start is always with your diet. And everyone could benefit from taking coconut oil. It will help – from eating coconut oil internally, it will help your skin externally. From applying it externally, it will help your skin externally. It helps your thyroid gland, helps improve your metabolism, is very beneficial for everybody to eat coconut oil.

ANDREW MURRAY: What are some of the main benefits of coconut oil?

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I just mentioned a few of them that it can help as an emollient for your skin. It helps improve your metabolism. All of our body is – has – well, we store a lot of saturated fat in our body and that helps to maintain a healthy level of fat. I think a very low-fat diet can be very detrimental. You won't gain weight eating coconut oil. But there’s something you could do in your home to assess your thyroid function would be to take your temperature. People should have a fairly normal body temperature from 98 to 98.6. That’s normal. You can buy a thermometer. Especially useful is a basal body thermometer from any pharmacy. And you can take your temperature before and after you eat breakfast and before and after you eat lunch. And as well as your pulse, your pulse should be around normal, which is 70 to 85. And those are some things that you can assess with low thyroid. It's not definitive. So don't think that just because you might have a slightly lower temperature or slightly lowered pulse that that’s it,you’re hypothyroid. It’s, of course, always best to work with a practitioner in assessing your symptoms and your – read your temperature and your pulse to come up with what – come up with a proper diagnosis of exactly what's going on with your system.

ANDREW MURRAY: Can I just quickly read out a couple of sample questions that people maybe would be able to answer. These would all be things that – for the greater number of yes to these questions, there would be more of a basis for wanting to find out more information about your own self in terms of your thyroid health. So some of these questions would be things like, have you experienced infertility or miscarriage, especially this is for women? Are you feeling like you're getting every infection that goes around or is it taking longer for you to recuperate from infections? Do you regularly eat significant amounts of uncooked goitrogenic foods such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rutabaga, turnips, radishes, cauliflower and millet? Okay. And cabbage and kale again are two other goitrogenic foods. And then are you experiencing changes in your menstrual cycle, as in the cycle is too short or long, or you appear to become very heavy or very light? Now, there is actually – I think it’s a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio in gender of female to male, but certainly more females seem to get hypothyroidism than males.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And that's because females have higher estrogen levels and estrogen is a very powerful thyroid suppressant. But in a healthy woman, your estrogen should be in balance with your progesterone, which is a powerful thyroid stimulant and supportive to your thyroid. I just want to mention one thing there, Andrew, about the goitrogenic foods. Plants in the Brassica family – Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage – those arex all meant to be cooked. Everybody knows if they eat these vegetables raw, they have terrible gas, terrible indigestion. But if you cook them till they're soft and they don't cause any gas, then you've taken away the potential for them to cause a goiter and to suppress your thyroid. So the person who wrote these questions out isn’t suggesting that you don't eat them. They just said to not eat them raw.

ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. Did you want just carry on?

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Did you want – do you have any more questions you want to?

ANDREW MURRAY: Well, there’s lot of questions here, but they were some of the more obvious ones.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So many of these dietary unsaturated fatty acids, dietary polyunsaturated oils can negatively affect the thyroid health. We cook them almost every day and they’re plentiful in commercially prepared foods. Expeller-pressed or solvent extracted oils only became a major part of the American diet in the last century. It is possible they are among the worst offenders when it comes to the thyroid. They are known as vegetable oils or polyunsaturated oils. The most common source of these oils, using commercially prepared foods, is the soybean. And I don't mean that you have to eat a lot of these oils in order to suppress your thyroid. Yes, the more you eat, the more suppressed it will be. But it can even be as much as one teaspoon a day. That’s quite a scary thought. Large-scale cultivation of soybeans in the United States began after World War II and quickly increased to 140 billion pounds per year. Most of the crops are produced for animal feed and soy oil for hydrogenated fats, such as margarine and shortening. Very poor quality fats, very cheap, inexpensive fats are produced, Roundup Ready corn and Roundup Ready soy. When we traveled across the Midwest, we saw so many fields of Roundup Ready corn and Roundup Ready soy. And these are…

ANDREW MURRAY: Food staple of America.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: This is what’s being made into oil. And, of course, we all know that the oils of animals and plants suppress – it’s contained the toxic compounds of whatever has been applied to them, the pesticides, the herbicides, it's in the oil. And here, most of America is eating corn and soy oil in products and those two plants are grown with huge amount of chemicals.

ANDREW MURRAY: Michael Moore's exposé on the burger diet, he was just – had ax 30-day – he was just eating McDonald's and he was just eating – he was getting – always encouraged to get the supersized version and how he was suddenly gone, his blood pressure was going through the roof, his pulse was going up, he gained all this weight, and I think his doctor was trying to pull him off it because he was worried that he was going to…

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I don’t think that was a Michael Moore though.

ANDREW MURRAY: No, I thought it was Michael Moore.


ANDREW MURRAY: Well, you know the one I'm talking about, supersize me, I think…


ANDREW MURRAY: And then there was the other thing, the other exposé on the corn. The high fructose corn syrup that’s prevalent in the populations of America.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Almost every processed food…

ANDREW MURRAY: Almost everything that you see on the store, if you pick up the package and look at it, has high fructose corn syrup and it has become the common sweeter. No longer is sugar or honey used because, of course, it’s too expensive, but high fructose corn syrup is readily available and they grow at massive, widespread, thousands of hectares, Roundup Ready. Okay, great. Okay, I think there’s a caller on the line.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: That’s why I make a distinction in my life and have started talking to people about it. There’s a difference between food and food by products.



Caller: And when I'm out and about with people, I just do those little bits of education, steering away from the food byproducts.

ANDREW MURRAY: This education is what it’s all about. We need to – people need to be educated as to what’s happening because most of it is a common misconception that,‘ oh, this is okay or this is acceptable because it’s on sale,’ it doesn’t mean that at all.

CALLER: Yes. And also, especially when they ask me if I want ketchup or jam at a restaurant, I say,‘ do you know that stuff has high fructose corn syrup and that has E. coli in it,’ so just those little spots of education here and there. Thank you.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well done. Thank you. Keep up the good work. It’s unfortunate.

ANDREW MURRAY: There is one more caller, I think, on the line SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY

: Hello.


: Hello. You’re on the air.

CALLER: Okay. You guys have neglected to discuss the issue regarding the omega-6 and omega-3 fats and their ratios, and I want to recommend a book called the Omega Diet. It’s written – it’s a long Greek name. It is Artemis P. Simopoulous and Jo Robinson. And I wanted your feedback on that. As I understand it, there is actually mountains of evidence coming out now that show that they’re having a higher ratio – I think it’s the omega-6 fats, makes a big difference for health issues of many variety. And the most affordable oil that’s high in omega-6 is canola, but also I think flax and walnut oil are the other ones, I think. I think that is right. Anyway, I want your feedback on that because you haven’t discussed that at all on this show or the last show. Thanks a lot.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Okay, thank you. So question and answer, what about essential fatty acids? Aren’t some polyunsaturated fatty acids essentialas we all believe they have been and we’re taught? During the last 30 years, Dr. Ray Peat has asked prominent oil researchers for evidence that there is such a thing as an essential fatty acid. One professor cited a single publication about a single patient who recovered from an illness after taking unsaturated fat. If he had known of any better evidence, wouldn’t he have mentioned it, asks Dr. Peat. The others, if they had answered at all, cited Burr and Burr, 1929, a study that tested rats. The surprising thing about that question is that these people would consider any research from 1929 to be definitive. That’s like quoting the 1929 opinion of a physicist regarding the procedure for making a hydrogen bomb. What was known about nutrition in 1929? Most of the B vitamins weren’t suspected to exist. Burr had no way of understanding what deficiencies or toxicities were present in his experimental diet. Two years before Burr’s experiment, says Dr. Peat, German researchers found that a fat-free diet prevented almost all spontaneous cancers in rats. Later work showed that polyunsaturated fats both promote and initiate cancer. With that knowledge, he says the people who kept claiming that linoleic, linolenic and maybe arachidonic acid are essential fatty acids should have devoted some effort to finding out about how much of that essential nutrient was enough, so that people could minimize their consumption of the carcinogenic stuff. And the way I’d like to logically look at this situation with polyunsaturated fats is that how did we get to where we are today, what did our ancestors eat, did they eat bottles of essential fatty acids, canola oil, did they make oil from canola, from sunflowers, they might have eaten sunflowers, but they wouldn’t have made oil from sunflowers necessarily because it was much easier to make oil from olives and coconut and butter.

ANDREW MURRAY: And how much fish were they eating? Probably not that much fish.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, it depends where they live. I mean, of course, some people ate fish.

ANDREW MURRAY: Or deep sea fish, what were they doing?

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Right. They wouldn’t have eaten as much tuna and only salmon when they could catch it from the shore or close to the shore. They wouldn’t have traveled 40 miles out in the ocean. Maybe in some areas where the ocean is calmer, but not in Pacific Ocean where this could be very scary, 40 miles out in a paddle boat. That’s how I logically like to look at it. Let’s get back to basics and say, what is it that we used to eat, how did we get to where we are today.

ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. There’s a caller on the line. Hello?

CALLER: Hello.

ANDREW MURRAY: Hi. You’re on the air.

CALLER: Yes. Thanks for your show. It’s been really interesting for me because I have heard all my life how good polyunsaturated oils are.

ANDREW MURRAY: Most of us have, yeah. Hello. I'm sorry we had a little bit of interruption between the last 20 seconds or so. So just reiterate what you were saying.

CALLER: Okay. I have a basal temperature of 96.8 consistently in the morning and then I eat and it stays the same.


CALLER: I have a number of symptoms, like three or four symptoms of hypothyroidism.

ANDREW MURRAY: Right, okay.

CALLER: And [inaudible] iodine and it disappeared within 12 hours. So, I am wondering, do you think I should get a prescription for the Armor Thyroid or what do you think?

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, the best thing to do would be to go talk to a doctor who is open-minded and knows a lot about thyroid. One of those doctors was Connie Basch. Unfortunately, she has moved to San Francisco. Another doctor is Beverly Copeland and she is also open to alternative methods for testing thyroid, alternative being taking your temperature and having symptoms that match the hypothyroidism picture. Alternatively, you can buy glandular thyroid extracts from health food stores and online. Most of them are bovine, but I think there are some porcine available. But I always recommend it’s better for people to see a practitioner and work with a practitioner because you don’t want to take too much thyroid. It’s definitely not safe. And besides that, something like – the diet would be the first place to start.

ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah. And not eating those thyroid suppressive foods that we mentioned.

CALLER: Which I have eaten in the past and I'll avoid the polyunsaturated oils. And possibly, I am thinking eating the seaweed for the thyroid.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: The thing with iodine is, yes, you can have a deficiency of iodine and that can lead to hypothyroidism, but also too much iodine can lead to hypothyroidism. So it’s a really delicate balance and maybe you just want to eat some very occasionally.

CALLER: Okay. Thanks for your help.


ANDREW MURRAY: There is one more caller. Hello, you are on the line.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Oh, good. Hi. Thanks for this show. I got a call from my sister yesterday. Her cholesterol is 280.


CALLER: And [inaudible] I love getting this call, what can I do naturally. So the first thing I said to her is you have to start eating the right oils. And I wondered if you could distill some more advice for her, some steps she can take towards lowering the cholesterol.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, cholesterols often raise because of too much sugar and carbohydrates in the diet. So when you say good oils, if heart attacks, myocardial infarctions were unknown before 1920, what were the oils – what were people eating? How did we get to where we are? Well, they ate coconut if they lived in tropical climates. If they lived in Europe, they ate butter and lard, animal fat. And the animal fat, in this day and age, is not something you want to be eating because the animals are fed so many horrible things, and given so many antibiotics, but butter, organic butter, organic coconut oil, a small amount of olive oil, those are some good oils to start. And decrease grains and sugars would be a healthy place to start in her diet, in my opinion.

CALLER: Yeah. This is the first I heard that corn oil and polyunsaturates, in general, could be so harmful because I don’t know if they are directly related to cholesterol. The high fructose corn syrup is something I presume should avoid.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And there’s– just instead of eating so many carbohydrates and sugar foods that get converted to fat and cholesterol, to eat instead more protein and, even for vegetarians, fruit has a lot of protein in it. Potatoes have a very good quality protein and that would be one carbohydrate she could eat. I don’t know if she is vegetarian or not. If she was…

CALLER: Do you think sugars gets converted into cholesterol?

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Sugars get converted into fat, yes, and they can also raise your cholesterol levels.

CALLER: [inaudible] possible, you have to start with some kind of lipid structure to make…

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, the cholesterol – your body makes cholesterol on its own. People can have a fat-free diet, they can still have cholesterol levels off the chart. But the other thing I want to say about cholesterol is that, a recent research that was – it was either a Harvard or Stanford came out saying that people who had a cholesterol of around 230 over the age of 50 were less likely to die of heart attacks, cancer and degenerative diseases than those who had a cholesterol below 200. And we all know that – well, maybe we don’t all X know, the average number that they say you should have your cholesterol under is under 200.

CALLER: Right.

SARAH JOHANNESSEN MURRAY: And now they’re coming out with these results saying, well, look, the study of these people was a 10-year study, these people that were in their 70s versus people that had high and lower cholesterol, the people that had a higher cholesterol live long because cholesterol is a protective function in the body, it’s a natural protective function. Every one of our cells in the body – in our body has a cholesterol membrane. And it can also…

CALLER: So what about [inaudible] in the arteries. That’s what’s supposed to be the big concern with it.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, that’s what they are saying is a lot more contributed – coming from an increase of sugars in the diet and also these polyunsaturated oils because they’re trans-fatty acids and they’re an odd- shaped molecule. Just think before the Industrial Revolution, we would have never tried to make oil from corn, who would think of it? Yeah, maybe we’d eat corn and eating corn in small amounts. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, especially the way traditionally it’s used is like masa harina. It’s fermented and soaked and much more digestible. But corn in large quantities in the form of oil has been shown to suppress the immune system. There is lots of information on the Internet. All you need to do is just Google it.

CALLER: Yeah. I wonder – Michael Pollan’s book is about corn. It was called corn-fed and stuff. Way too corny. Alright. Well, thanks a lot.

ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, very welcome. Thank you.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Thanks for your call.

ANDREW MURRAY: So, Sarah, did you – I think, you were – okay, you’re going to carry on, alright.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So large scale cultivation of soybeans in the United States began after World War II and quickly increased to 140 billion pounds per year. So that’s mid 1940s. Most of the crops are produced for animal feed and soy oil for hydrogenated fat, such as margarine and shortening. Today, it is nearly impossible, absolutely impossible to eat at restaurants or buy packaged foods that don’t have soy oil in the ingredients. Often labels simply state vegetable oil. That reminds me of the caller who called in and said food and food- like products. Most Americans eat food-like products. Even bread has dough conditioners in it, iodine bromate, yeast – bread made with yeast, which is highly indigestible. Iodine bromate is enough – if Americans eating bread every day has enough iodine bromate and it will suppress your thyroid.

ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. I think there is another caller or two on the line.

CALLER: Yeah. Hi there. Am I with you?

ANDREW MURRAY: Yes, you are on the air.

CALLER: Yeah. I have two kids and I am pretty careful about what I buy. And I don’t buy any high fructose corn syrup or anything like that. And I was hearing you guys say that soy milk and tofu and all of those products also have polyunsaturated fat in them. So I was wondering if you could maybe clarify about the other soy products, other than just the oil factor.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, the soy has a goitrogenic effect. It’s the soy flavonoid in there, but it’s also thyroid suppressive. And that’s why you don’t want to eat soy products. They might not have a lot of soil oil in them, but they have a lot of goitrogenic effect. And it has been shown that 11 ounces – a study that was done a couple years ago, 11 ounces of soy milk a day in a healthy individual, not someone who already has disease and isn’t healthy, is enough to suppress thyroid function.

CALLER: Okay. Wow. This has just been a really enlightening show. You guys have – I have heard so many things I have never heard before. So I really appreciate you guys being on the air.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, you are very welcome. And the best advice I have to feed your children is the least processed foods.

CALLER: I give them tons of chocolate soy milk because he eats so much dairy, cottage cheese and butter and everything else, so I was just trying to balance out his diet a bit, so that he’s not eating quite so much the dairy products. And he just loves the chocolate soy milk.

So I give them quite a bit of that CALLER: every single day.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Maybe you just want replace it with – make your chocolate milk and…

CALLER: Yeah, I have Dutch cocoa and we still have milk in our house too, so I could totally do that.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And just make sure to include plenty of fruits. Children need lots of fruit, soft fruits are the best, soft ripe fruits, bananas if they are very ripe. Otherwise, they can have a latex-like allergy, banana allergy.

CALLER: Yeah. I found that my two-year -old actually really prefers eating stuff straight from my garden too, like food that he won’t eat necessarily if I buy it at the store. He loves picking out right off of the vine and he will eat it like that for some reason.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: That's exactly the same…

CALLER: I find it amazing. It’s wonderful.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: It’s wonderful. That’s the same as with my four-year -old niece. She loves everything out of the garden.

CALLER: Yeah. It’s been really amazing since we had the garden, how much his diet has improved, just because he is so much more open to the new experience of taking it himself and just eating it right there.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, that’s how it supposed to be. That’s the way it always used to be.

CALLER: Yeah, I really appreciate your show. This has just been really great. It’s been awesome information.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Thank you for your call.

CALLER: Have a good one.


ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, I think there is another caller on the line.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Listen, thank you so much for the program. And I did not catch your show last week and don’t want take up a lot of your time because you have a lot of valuable information you are getting out. I am actually someone who was diagnosed four weeks ago with hypothyroid and just started the medication three weeks ago.

ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, are you on…?

CALLER: I am on a very small dose, 25 mg of Levoxyl. And I eat a really clean diet. I'm blessed, I live in Aracada, so I can go to the farmers’ market and I – it’s – 95% of my diet is home-cooked fresh food from the farmers’ market. But what I am wanting is additional information about dietary dos and don'ts. I read up on the soy and used to take a lot of soy until I realized that it's not good because I have breast cancer happening with a sibling, a year older than I am, and lots of cancer in the family. So I try to stay away from the soy. But I do drink a lot of almond milk and I like peanut butter and I like almond butter.

ANDREW MURRAY: So, bad, bad, bad.

CALLER: Bad, bad, bad. All bad?

ANDREW MURRAY: Sorry, you should cut it out of your diet now.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: If you want, you can take our toll free number and call us and give us your email and I can email you a do and don’t diet sheet for your thyroid.

CALLER: Exactly what I would like.

ANDREW MURRAY: That’s the best thing you can do. Call us on our toll free number and we’ll email you the diet sheet.

CALLER: Okay. What’s your toll free number?




CALLER: Thank you so much.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And I just have one more thing I want to tell you. And that is whoever your prescribing doctor is – since you called in, I want to tell you my advice and that is to switch to Armor Thyroid or Nature-Throid or Westhroid, one of the natural glandulars because it has both T3 and T4 whereas Levoxyl is just T4 and then that relies on your liver to do the conversion into the active form, which is T3. And it is much better alternative for people than taking Synthroid.

CALLER: Okay. So Armour Thyroid and what were the other two?

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: They are all the same. They are porcine raw glandular, a thyroid glandular. So it is Armor Thyroid, Nature- Throidor Westhroid.

CALLER: Thank you.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: You are very welcome.

CALLER: Okay, bye-bye.

ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, have a goodnight. Okay, there is another caller.

CALLER: Hello.

ANDREW MURRAY: Hi. You’re on the air.

CALLER: I have a question concerning soy products. What do you think of [inaudible] product, do you think it’s as just harmful as other soy products?

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I don’t think it’s as harmful. I think if grains and beans were eaten in a little bit more traditional way, they’re a little bit better. But for someone who is hypothyroid or has some hypothyroid symptoms, my advice is do not eat anything that could possibly suppress your thyroid.

CALLER: Okay. And also, I’d like to make a comment that sort of eating coconut oil, probably about three or four years ago, and I lost about 20 pounds after I started eating it. So it’s very good for weight loss.

ANDREW MURRAY: Absolutely, yeah.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: It is very good for weight loss.

ANDREW MURRAY: That’s what they call a thermogenic product. So it increases – it increases your body's metabolism and your oxygen consumption. It improves the function of your thyroid and your thyroid governs every metabolic process in your body. So that involves heat production, muscle activity, sympathetic drive. So, yeah, that’s what we said in the beginning, the whole coconut thing is essentially a very good saturated fat that supports your thyroid, feeds it and allows you to lose fat while waiting fat.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And in the 1940s when they were experimenting with animals, they found they lost weight. I don’t know if you heard that part earlier in the show.

CALLER: I did, but just about when I turned it on.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: But the thing is, is that they didn’t want – the American Soy Association, at that time, did not want all these imported corn oil – coconut oils to come in. They wanted to sell their soy and corn oil, and so they boycotted all these coconut oils. And that’s why we have, until just recently, say in the last 10 years, heard all this research that was done in the 1940s. For crying out loud, it’s 2008. What haven’t we heard this? Why is it only just coming out in the past 5 to 10 years?

CALLER: All I know is I lost weight on it and I am sure others could too. And also, it tastes good and I like it. So that’s all I have and thanks a lot for the show.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Thank you for your call.

ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. So do you want to carry on, yeah.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, we have a couple of more minutes here.

ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah, we’ve got six minutes.

SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So, today, it is nearly impossible to eat at restaurants or buy packaged foods that don't have soy oil and the ingredients, often labels simply state vegetable oil. Dr. Ray Peat, PhD, physiologist, who has worked with progesterone and related hormones since 1968 – I think he’s in his 70s now – says that the sudden surge of polyunsaturated oils into the food chain post World War II has caused many changes in hormones . He writes they’re– the polyunsaturated oils’ best understood effect is the interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system and the response of tissue to the hormone. When the thyroid hormone is deficient, the body is generally exposed to increased levels of estrogen. And I know the small point I want to make is sometimes people might be a perfect thyroid promoting diet, which is very rare, because there’s so much corn and soy in our diet and our meat that we eat our vegetables, but there is environmental toxins Andrew mentioned earlier, high levels of mercury suppress thyroid; pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, a lot of these chemicals interfere with estrogen and further suppress the thyroid. The thyroid hormone is essential for making the protective hormones, progesterone and pregnenolone. So these hormones are lowered when anything interferes with the function of the thyroid. The thyroid hormone is required for using and eliminating cholesterol. So cholesterol is likely to be excessively raised by anything which blocks the thyroid function. There is a growing body of research concerning soy’s detrimental effect on the thyroid gland. Much of this research centers on the phytoestrogens, the phyto means plant that are found in soy. In the 1960s, when soy was introduced into infant formulas, it was shown that soy was goitrogenic, caused goiters, and the babies started developing goiters. When iodine was supplemented, the incident of goiter dramatically reduced. However, a retrospective epidemiological study by Fort et al showed that teenage children with a diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease were significantly more likely to have received soy formula as infants, 18 out of 59 children, 31%, when compared to their healthy siblings, which was only at nine out of 76, 12% or a control group which was 7 out of 54, 13%.So it was 31% of the children who developed – teenage children who developed autoimmune thyroid disease had received soy formula as an infant. When healthy individuals, without any previous thyroid disease, were fed 30 g of pickled soy beans per day for one month,[inaudible] et al reported goiter and elevated individual thyroid stimulating hormone levels, although still within the normal range in 37 healthy iodine-sufficient adults. One month after stopping soy bean consumption, individual TSH values decreased to the original levels and goiters were reduced in size. And as I stated earlier, 11 ounces, which is a cup and a half of soy milk, is enough to suppress some one’s thyroid. Traditionally, polyunsaturated oils such as soybean oil have been used for livestock feed because they cause animals to gain weight. These oils are made up of what is known as long-chain fatty acids, the kind of fatty acids that promote weight gain. In the North Carolina State University's Extension Swine Husbandry, 1998 to 2000 departmental report, for example, was a study entitled, effect of dietary fat source, level and feeding interval on pork fatty acid composition. Ironically, since the market and its low-fat dogma of recent years is demanding leaner meats, this study showed that one could produce leaner meat and reduce the weight on pigs by reducing their intake of soy oil and instead substituting it with saturated animal fat. According to Dr. Ray Peat, the fattening effect of these polyunsaturated oils, primarily soy and corn, is due to the presence of the “essential fatty acids,” linoleic and linolenic long-chain fatty acids, which have an anti-thyroid effect. Dr. Peat says linoleic and linolenic acids, the essential fatty acids, and other polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are now fed to pigs to fatten them in the form of corn and soybeans, cause the animal’s fat to be chemically equivalent to the vegetable oil. In the late 1940s, chemical toxins were used to suppress the thyroid function of pigs to make them get fatter, while consuming less food. When that was found to be carcinogenic, it was then found that corn and soybeans had the same anti-thyroid effect, causing the animals to be fattened at low cost. The animal’s fat becomes chemically similar to the fats in their food causing it to be equally toxic and equally fattening.

ANDREW MURRAY: So there you go.

Well, it’s 7: 58. So we’re going to begin to wrap it up now. But I think next month we will continue, although there is not too much left. I think there’s certainly more information that we can find to help make people aware of the changes that are in the winds. So you’ve been listening to Ask Your Herb Doctor on KMUD 91.1. My name is Andrew Murray.

SARAH JOHANNESSEN MURRAY: My name is Sarah Johannesen Murray. Thank you for listening.

ANDREW MURRAY: And until the same time, the third Friday from 7 till 8 PM in September, we will see then. Take care.