PODCAST | Ray Peat
Apr 01, 2009 | Herb Doctors: Thyroid, Polyunsaturated Fats And Oilsnew
: Well, welcome to this month's Ask your Herb Doctor. My name is Andrew Murray.
SARAH JOHANNESSEN 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. So you are listening to Ask your Herb Doctor on KMUD Garberville 91.1 FM.
And from about 7: 30 until the end of the show at 8 o'clock, you’re all invited to call in with any questions either related or unrelated to this month's topic. 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- 568-3723. That’s KMUD-RAD. We can also be reached toll-free on 1-888- WBM-HERB for further questions during normal business hours Monday through Friday. So this month, we are again very pleased and fortunate to welcome Dr. Ray Peat back to the show and we will be examining further some common misconceptions surrounding thyroid treatment and the apparently normal thyroid test in clients with obvious manifestations of thyroid imbalance. We have ourselves seen remarkable progress made with clients with many and varied symptoms that improved dramatically with diet and lifestyle changes that promote thyroid health, revealing a prior lowered thyroid function, even in the absence of diagnostic tests that show no obvious problems. So welcome again to this month's show, Dr. Peat.
RAY PEAT: Hello. Thank you.
ANDREW MURRAY: It is very kind of you to join us again. Okay.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I think we should – Dr. Peat has over 40 years’ experience. I want to introduce Dr. Peat’s experience for those of you who haven’t Dr. Peat on our radio show last year. But he has over 40 years’ experience in lecturing, teaching, writing, editing and nutritional counseling. So we’re very happy to have him join our show tonight. And he also has a PhD in biochemistry and he also teaches on physiology and basically functions as an endocrinologist. Does that sound right, Dr. Peat?
RAY PEAT: Yeah. My PhD is in biology, but my work was all in physiology and biochemistry.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So we wanted to talk about thyroid disease because it seems to be such a chronic epidemic. And we thought we just start by introducing what thyroid disease is in case there are listeners that are not aware of what their thyroid is or where it is located. So, Dr. Peat, what would you describe low thyroid disease to be or hypothyroidism?
RAY PEAT: It’s basically a slowing of the oxidative metabolism. And that means your biological efficiency falls drastically because we rely almost entirely on oxidative metabolism. In emergencies, we can use glycolytic non-oxidative metabolism, but then we have to make up for it by re-oxidizing the lactic acid that was produced in the oxygen deprivation or energy over-stressing. And so, everything that is human or mammalian or even a complex organism depends on the thyroid because all cellular activity to be efficient requires oxidative metabolism.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So the thyroid, in a sense, is controlling the oxygen to all the cells in our system, is that correct?
RAY PEAT: And so, one of the effects is that our carbon dioxide production is kept at a fairly high rate in relation to oxygen consumption and that keeps our tendency to produce lactic acid very low. So if a person is low thyroid, even at rest, they can seem metabolically as if they’re doing stressful activity. They can chronically have elevated lactic acid.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And is there is something that involves like chronic fatigue, peoples’ muscles are chronically fatigued even though they not really even doing any exercises that might seem to be using their muscles besides just walking around?
RAY PEAT: Yes. Because when you don’t use oxygen efficiently, you have to make lactic acid to keep the cells alive. And the lactic acid then has to be very re-oxidized in your liver to turn it eventually to carbon dioxide. And so, just sitting passively, for a hypothyroid person, can be the same as running at high speed for a healthy person. And about 60 years ago, it was very well known that a hypothyroid person has trouble relaxing their muscles and nerves. And so, there were publications showing that you can just about invariably diagnose hypothyroidism with a simple thump of the ankle tendon to the gastrocnemius muscle.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: It’s just the calf muscle.
RAY PEAT: Yeah. And when you are kneeling and you thump that, you can see that the relaxation is delayed. That was very well established as a good diagnostic method in the 1930s and 1940s. But the labs and pharmaceutical companies couldn’t sell anything. You can use just a table knife or a wooden hammer handle or anything to thump the tendon and it just takes about 2 minutes to do it. And so, it’s a very uneconomical business for doctors and the pharmaceutical industry to be able to diagnose the condition so simply.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So is this why the blood test came about that test the TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone?
RAY PEAT: Yeah. For the first 20 years or so, doctors were told not to use the Achilles relaxation test or the basal metabolic oxygen consumption test or any of the proven absolute confirmations of hypothyroidism because they had what they called the scientific blood test proven and that was called the protein-bound iodine test and that convinced doctors all over the country that where previously 40% of the population had shown some evidence of being hypothyroid, the new blood tests showed that only 5% were hypothyroid. So, for 20 years, this test was used convincing the whole medical world that very few people are seriously hypothyroid. And then, in the 1960s, it turned out that protein-bound iodine has essentially nothing to do with thyroid hormone functioning.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And what about the TSH that’s used today. Do you think that’s relevant?
RAY PEAT: Yeah. When the protein -bound iodine test was thrown out, they looked for other tests which conveniently proved to be even more expensive than the protein-bound iodine. And that, finally, has settled in on the TSH test as a favored one, and they can measure it very precisely. But it just isn’t – it isn’t clear what it means in many cases because other things can raise it or lower it other than the absence or excess of the thyroid hormone.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So if someone is low thyroid or is not low thyroid, they can have varying levels of this TSH, which the doctors are saying is thyroid stimulating hormone, but which you are suggesting – and other scientists are suggesting – doesn’t really relate specifically to thyroid.
RAY PEAT: That’s true. It has some bad side effects. It promotes inflammation in itself, so low thyroid people not only lack the metabolic energy, but they tend very often to have very high TSH levels and the TSH is causing some tissue damage chronically.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, okay. So what do you think is causing the low thyroid function in a lot of people in the US today?
RAY PEAT: I think well – 70 years ago, it sometimes included an iodine deficiency. But with the iodination of table salt, other factors became far more important. I have only seen the iodine deficiency condition a few times in people from South America or the Mountains of Mexico. And many times, it’s a protein deficiency or an excess of eating certain foods that inhibit the thyroid, such as raw cabbage or even an excess of any of the cabbage family foods.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So that would include kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts.
RAY PEAT: And mustard and watercress. And even if they are cooked, if you eat a huge amount of them, that sometimes can be enough to make you hypothyroid.
ANDREW MURRAY: Does this have anything to do with the sulfur groups, the sulfur…?
RAY PEAT: Yeah, it’s a combination of a carbon that contains an oxygen or a nitrogen and a sulfur group.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
RAY PEAT: They are known medical chemicals that are used to specifically inhibit the thyroid to treat hyperthyroidism.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, right. I know in the previous interviews we’ve done that you’ve very much brought out the polyunsaturated oils as being definite antagonists to thyroid function and, in fact, down right thyroid disruptive in…
RAY PEAT: Yeah. They antagonize the thyroid function at several levels. For example, they inhibit the proteolytic enzyme in the gland itself, which are needed to secrete the hormone, and they bind to the protein in the bloodstream that transports thyroid, preventing the transport to the tissues. And they block several of the active sites in the cell, the points at which thyroid should bind to enliven the cell, polyunsaturated fats.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So they are affecting thyroid health at the production location, the thyroid gland, the transportation through the bloodstream as well as at the tissue level where the tissues and the cells can pick up the thyroid hormone.
RAY PEAT: Yes. And they act on several other parts of the system, including indirectly on the TSH and every other part of the metabolic system.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So these polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in very high levels that are mainly consisting of vegetable oils, corn oil, soy oil, sesame seed oil, safflower, canola – rapeseed and canola are the same – and fish hemp and flax seed oil. So a lot of these oils that are purported to be good for our health are actually quite thyroid toxic and long-term use could lead to conditions that are common in low thyroid and this is detrimental as cancer.
RAY PEAT: Yeah. And there is one which isn’t really a fatty acid, but it’s a highly unsaturated molecule, keratin, which is the precursor to vitamin A. It not only blocks the cellular sites that use vitamin A, but as a polyunsaturated molecule it also blocks the thyroid function every place that the vegetable oils do.
ANDREW MURRAY: So this would be just basically ingesting lots of cooked carrots, that would be the…
RAY PEAT: Yeah.
ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And cooked pumpkin, anything that had high levels of keratin.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. And that’s that yellow pigment or the orange pigment.
RAY PEAT: Yeah. Some of the studies confused people because they knew that vitamin A was protective against cancer, but they saw that some types of cancer increased with supplementation of keratin.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Right. So it’s that the keratin blocks the receptors that your body can’t use the vitamin A that’s in your diet. And so, it sits in the receptor, but it doesn’t stimulate the receptor, it sits somewhere in the cell that doesn’t stimulate the vitamin – they effect the vitamin A, the protective – cancer-protecting effects of vitamin A.
RAY PEAT: And vitamin A and thyroid work so closely together biologically that the protein that transports them is a single protein. It’s called transthyretin for retinol and thyroid transport. And in the 1930s, one of the ways of confirming that a person had died from hypothyroidism was that the steroid-forming tissues turned red because of the accumulated keratin because you can’t use vitamin A if you don’t have thyroid. And so, the keratin accumulates in the steroid-forming tissue. It makes them red.
ANDREW MURRAY: Would this be any reason behind the basis of people with yellow calluses being very apparent on their soles or their palms?
RAY PEAT: Yeah. That’s one of the old ways to diagnose hypothyroidism.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: No, I think you’ve told this out before, Dr. Peat. We are going pause here for a moment.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. You are 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 are invited to call in with any questions related or unrelated to this month's topic of thyroid disorder. And we can hopefully cover iron and a few other subjects. But, again, this month we are very pleased and fortunate to welcome Dr. Raymond Peat back to the show and we are going to be continuing to examine some common misconceptions surrounding the thyroid treatment. Okay. So did you want to carry on with…?
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Yeah. I’ve printed out a long list of symptoms that are common in low thyroid disease. So we’ve been talking about low thyroid disease, which is known as hypothyroidism, and we have talked about what it is, what causes it. But I want to mention some symptoms and signs that accompany the disease because so many people seem to be suffering from these symptoms.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. The list is pretty exhaustive. It may seem a little extreme, but pretty much all of these will be apparent in some people. So the things like the obvious ones, less stamina than others given that the metabolic rate helps us produce energy and gives us kind of – gives us life. Less energy than others. A long recovery period after any activity. This is also the inability to fight infection, sort of low-grade chronic infections. Cold hands and feet are very kind of symptomatic of low thyroid. And then high – usually high or rising cholesterol in low thyroid patients does seem to be fairly common. And then things like dry hair, dry skin, hair loss, dry cracking skin.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Also, the other thing that seems to be contrary to dry skin is that you can have acne on the face, the shoulders, the chest, and the back. Dr. Peat, why would symptoms such as like dry skin and dry hair and acne and oily skin both be symptoms of low thyroid?
RAY PEAT: Partly it’s the close connection between vitamin A and thyroid. The skin needs vitamin A to differentiate properly and mucous membranes require vitamin A too, so that in an extreme deficiency the surface of the eye becomes scaly and like snakeskin. But the lack of both thyroid and vitamin A can cause lots of skin problems, including plugging the pores and allowing infection to set in because the thyroid doesn’t allow the immune cells to function properly. And thinning of the skin just because it isn’t growing fast enough. Estrogen is contrary to vitamin A’s effect. Progesterone and vitamin A are closely connected, so that when you have enough vitamin A and thyroid even your skin can produce progesterone and other steroids. And when they are lacking, then estrogen takes effect and it tends to prematurely harden or keratinize the skin cells. They’re called keratinized because they become horny that the juicy cell collapses and becomes just a bit of leathery scale-like material, like it makes a pore in our hair.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Wow.
RAY PEAT: That’s accelerated by estrogen and retarded and the cells are allowed to stay vital and moist longer when there is enough thyroid, vitamin A, and progesterone.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: All those good things. So did you want to carry on with…?
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. I don’t want to bore people with too many different…
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I know. But there’s quite a lot symptoms here that I think people…
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. So things like exhaustion we had mentioned at the very beginning. Physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, inability to work full-time or work hard or feel that other people just to seem to have that more go than you do and not understanding that, a lack of motivation, a lack of concentration, broken or peeling fingernails, we’ve mentioned dry skin, tinnitus or ringing in the ears is another fairly common symptom. Things like joint pain, fluid retention, almost to the point of congestive heart failure, swollen legs that make it difficult to walk or painful. Blood pressure problems seem to be fairly frequent amongst low thyroid people, as do varicose veins.
RAY PEAT: That’s something that many doctors are completely confused about, is that hypothyroidism typically increases the viscosity of the blood and raises the blood pressure, so that a slightly hypothyroid person might have low blood pressure, but a very high percentage of the people with hypertension are simply hypothyroid. And correcting it with a supplement of thyroid, even to the point of making them hyperthyroid, will lower the blood pressure.
ANDREW MURRAY: Because that’s just – it just seems so counter intuitive to what most people would understand as being hyperthyroid.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Well, it’s contrary to what we were taught in medical school.
ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah. That’s what I am saying.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: We were taught high blood pressure is a sign of a high thyroid function. Low blood pressure is a sign of low thyroid function. So to hear the opposite and to see that in our own clients is astounding, that when they take a thyroid supplement, their blood pressure comes down.
ANDREW MURRAY: And you would think that – before this came about, you think they’re normally – your imagination of thyroid as a stimulating hormone, when actually it really improves your sleep and calms you down and lowers your blood pressure and lowers your resting pulse from a point of maybe 90 or more of an adrenaline, high pulse, it brings it down.
RAY PEAT: I have seen two people who chronically had a pulse around 180 beats per minute. And one of them had had it like that for about 20 years and both of them, within a couple of weeks of taking thyroid, had it down to a normal 90 or 100 beats.
ANDREW MURRAY: Wow. I wonder what they thought.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So that’s another thing, is that a racing pulse, what do you consider to be a healthy, normal thyroid pulse and what do you consider to be a low thyroid pulse? What are those ranges? Because, of course, in medical school, we were taught 70 to 80 beats per minute is normal. If you are higher than 80 beats per minute, you could have a disease. So what is your opinion on this, Dr. Peat?
RAY PEAT: There have been several studies of people of different ages, for example, high school kids, and the ones who were healthy and got the best grades and had the best attention had a resting pulse of averaging 85 beats per minute. And when old people on heart pacemakers were given mental exams with the pacemaker set at the usual 70 beats, they had the usual old person’s memory and reasoning ability. When they cranked the pacemaker up to 85 per minute, every mental function improved.
ANDREW MURRAY: So there you go. Cool.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So that is pretty interesting because that’s again – we’re taught that high thyroid, excess thyroid, hyperthyroid is diagnosed by a raising pulse.
RAY PEAT: There is an old doctrine that, around the beginning of the 20th century, they called it the rate of living theory that the faster your heartbeat, the sooner you would die. And the experiment to find that and proved it for so many people was to put some cantaloupe seeds in a dish in a saucer of water and watch them sprout. The ones that sprouted the soonest and grew the fastest died soonest, but they didn’t put any soil.
ANDREW MURRAY: [inaudible] food.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And that’s what they were using to support that rate of living theory?
RAY PEAT: Yeah. It’s just an embarrassment for science. It’s like if you gave a person all the thyroid they needed, but no food, naturally they would die quickly.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. Excuse me. I think, Dr. Peat, there is a couple of callers on the line, so let us take the first caller. Okay. You’re on the air? Hello.
CALLER: Hello. Is it me?
ANDREW MURRAY: Yes. You are on the air.
CALLER: There was no sound. Hi. Thank you, all. I have a couple of related questions.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, go ahead.
CALLER: If a person was quite low in thyroid and it wasn’t known for a long time, like more than 20 years, I wonder what kind of damages that could cause. About 12 minutes in, Dr. Peat talked about tissue damage. Maybe he could tell me what he meant more by that. And then, taking supplementation, when could you expect to be much better? I have been getting supplements for 20 years after not having any and I am still quite incapacitated.
RAY PEAT: Usually, doctors prescribe thyroxine because that isn’t the thyroid hormone. It has to be turned into the active thyroid hormone, which is called triiodothyronine or T3, in the liver to be active. And the thyroid secretes a little. But when a doctor prescribes thyroxine, there is no chance that you will be overdosed because as you increase it – one of the first patients I heard about who had a myxedema coma became totally unresponsive from hypothyroidism. She had been mildly hypothyroid for years and they prescribed 100 mcg of Synthroid and she became more hypothyroid and they doubled it. And when they reached 500 mcg, she went into a coma.
CALLER: What about – sorry.
RAY PEAT: That was supplementing more and more thyroxine. But when, in the hospital, they gave her an injection of the active hormone T3, she came out of the coma in just a few hours and was completely well after that. You can have a complete, just amazing recovery from many things in just a matter of minutes, in some cases. For example, a doctor who had been having agonizing breast pain, especially premenstrually, increasing over the recent years, I visited and she said that that was her main problem. I gave her a 10 mcg tablet of Cytomel, she went into – said she’d see me in an hour when she finished with the patient. In ten minutes, she came out saying I can’t believe that it stopped. And that’s a very typical thing, in less than an hour, with just T3, pains such as menstrual or breast pain will stop totally.
CALLER: I have taken both of those and also now I have the, like, Armour. It’s not synthetic, but so you are saying that no matter how much damage over like a couple of decades, all of that could be repaired.
RAY PEAT: Yeah. Some types of damage such as osteoporosis, when your thyroid is very low, your one compensation is that your pituitary tends to swell up and over-produce prolactin. And that’s one of the factors in causing breast pain and a disturbed salt regulation and so on. But prolactin is a major factor in causing loss of bone. And as at menopause, very often, prolactin goes up because thyroid has gone down and the prolactin coincides with extreme loss of bone. And so, it takes sometimes a long time of correcting your diet along with thyroid before you restore your bones. But I have seen a couple of people, one had her x-ray bone exams showing tremendous – I think it was 20% increase in less than a year when she was taking thyroid.
CALLER: Okay. I am going to go, so other people can speak to you. But I don’t have a thyroid, so I don’t know if that makes much more of a difference, but…
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I am wondering if the question you’re wanting to ask is what would happen to someone’s body, how much damage is there?
CALLER: That’s what I was asking because, for 20 years – the doctor removed my thyroid, but they never did anything about checking back, so I went for more than 20 years…
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Without taking any supplementation at all.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: After your thyroid was moved. So what would you – do you think there is damage that’s been done in this client, Dr. Peat, that’s irreparable?
RAY PEAT: It just increases your stress and slows your recovery from stress, and so it tends to age you faster than usual, just like working too hard would. But those changes – for example, bone growth – I grew an inch and a half in my 40s when I started taking thyroid.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Wow!
RAY PEAT: So it happened over just a period of a few months. And so, even lifelong things can be corrected pretty quickly.
CALLER: Thanks again, bye.
ANDREW MURRAY: Very good. Okay. Let’s see if we have any other callers on the line. I think there is one or two at least. Okay. You are on the air.
CALLER: Yes, I am.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, go ahead.
CALLER: Hi. I wanted to ask two questions and I will take my answer on the air.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
CALLER: What is – first of all, let me say, I was thyroid toxic in form…
ANDREW MURRAY: Thyrotoxicosis or…?
CALLER: Yeah, thyrotoxicosis.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
CALLER: [inaudible] for 4 months, was treated with I-131. For the last 30 years, I have been taking Synthroid, okay?
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
CALLER: Now, here is my question. Could the doctor please explain the connection between the adrenals, [inaudible] the pituitary and the thyroid gland, it seems to be a merry-goround that goes around and around and back and forth.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Okay. Can you possibly turn your radio down if you haven’t already because we seem to be getting some feedback interference and we can barely hear your question?
CALLER: My radio is not on.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Okay.
CALLER: Is it breaking up?
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. I think I heard your question. You said basically you had thyrotoxicosis. You were treated with iodine-131 and then you were given a thyroid replacement.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. And your main question was…?
CALLER: What is the connection between the adrenals and the stress factor?
CALLER: The pituitary and the thyroid. How do they communicate with each other [inaudible] stress.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. There you go.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Dr. Peat, did you hear that question?
RAY PEAT: I think most of it. When your thyroid is low – because you don’t have the efficiency with oxidative metabolism, you turn a lot of your sugar into lactic acid. And then your liver spends more energy converting the lactic acid back into sugar. So low blood sugar is constantly a problem in hypothyroidism. And the compensation for that is that, first, your adrenal medulla secretes a lot of adrenaline to force your liver to give up any sugar it has stored. And when that doesn’t meet your needs for sugar, then the adrenal cortex begins over-secreting cortisol to break down protein or muscle tissue to make sugar out of it to keep your energy up. And the falling blood sugar itself and the rising adrenaline, both of those are signals to your brain to increase the stress hormones. The ACTH is produced by the pituitary gland, but also other brain and pituitary hormones, including prolactin, increase along with it. And the ACTH is what drives your cortisol up. And the cortisol is what causes the most acute tissue damage, loss of muscle mass, and quick loss of bone structure and so on.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. Also weight gain, isn’t it? Low muscle mass in relation to weight – fat?
RAY PEAT: Yeah. As your ability to burn fat decreases with your falling thyroid, the cortisol eats up your skeletal muscles that burn fat. And so, the unburned fat gets laid down in your trunk and neck and face area. It’s probably some kind of a defensive reaction to pad your organs when you are under chronic stress.
ANDREW MURRAY: Alright, because muscles burn a lot of energy and so, therefore, muscular people can eat a fairly high calorie diet because that energy is being consumed by the muscle whereas people that have an excess of fat and then a lack of muscle tone can very easily get fat on a very small amount of calories. Is that right?
RAY PEAT: Yes.
ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah. Okay. Well,I don’t know if that answered the – I'm pretty sure it helped to answer the lady’s question, if not answered it completely.
RAY PEAT: And a lot of people who have measured a deficiency of adrenal function, that seems to be a medically popular diagnosis, is adrenal fatigue or insufficiency. But to get any adrenal function, you need the vitamins, vitamin A especially, and thyroid. So many people have been diagnosed as having Addison's disease simply because their thyroid was so low that they couldn’t produce steroids. The other factor for producing steroids is cholesterol. And so, if you have both low cholesterol and low thyroid, then your adrenals aren’t going to able to make the steroids such as progesterone and pregnenolone and cortisol.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So, really, what some doctors would say, ‘oh, you have adrenal fatigue and that would be maybe diagnosed by a saliva test.’ Really, what they need to be looking at is the thyroid function and making sure those people are getting enough vitamin A and that their cholesterol is high enough or they are getting enough in their diet?
RAY PEAT: Yeah.
ANDREW MURRAY: Do we have any other callers? We don’t. Okay. So let’s carry on with…
SARAH JOHANNESSEN MURRAY: I wanted to say another thing that – I believe this is what you think, Dr. Peat, is temperature and pulse can be a measurement of one sign of a low thyroid function. So how would you say temperature is affected with someone that has a low thyroid. What would their waking morning temperature typically be in the range of?
RAY PEAT: Usually, around 98 degrees oral temperature.
SARAH JOHANNESSEN MURRAY: And then, after they eat, what would their temperature be?
RAY PEAT: It should pretty quickly pop right up to 98.6, 98.8. And then as they get some muscle activity going during the day, it can even rise above that 99 degrees, is good in the afternoon.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Okay. So this is a normal function. First thing in the morning, your temperature should be around 98.
RAY PEAT: Yes.
SARAH JOHANNESSEN MURRAY: Okay. Now, I just want to say, of all the clients that I’ve had take their temperatures and pulses, about 2 out of 50 have had – since I’ve been doing the temperature and pulse thing all of last year, about 50 of them have had much lower temperatures in that and only 2 have had what you just described, Dr. Peat. So can you say most of them if they had low thyroid symptoms in conjunction with those low temperatures would be a diagnosis of low thyroid?
RAY PEAT: Yeah. If you look at the whole picture, the Achilles reflex and their symptoms and how many calories they can burn without getting fat and how well they sleep and the activity efficiency to be able to relax instantly after the exertion and to be able to go to sleep quickly, all of those go with the good temperature curve.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So it’s something that can be used in conjunction with symptoms.
ANDREW MURRAY: Right.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I think we have a caller on the air.
ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah, we do. Go ahead, caller.
CALLER: Hi. This is Kevin.
ANDREW MURRAY: Hey, Kevin.
CALLER: Hi, Andrew and Sarah. Hi. So I had a question about Hashimoto's disease. I was diagnosed with that. And understand that it interferes with the absorption of thyroid. And I am wondering if Dr. Peat can speak about Hashimoto’s and what if anything can be done to alleviate it, cure it?
RAY PEAT: The disease was originally defined as infiltration of white blood cells into the inflamed thyroid gland and since they did not necessarily like to cut out a piece of gland to confirm that what was wrong. They started looking at antibodies in your blood and assuming that you would have the infiltration and inflammation of the gland if you find the antibodies circulating in the blood, but in fact the antithyroid antibodies overlap with many other problems, including arthritis. And so, the antibodies aren’t strictly clearly diagnostic, but they do indicate that something is inflamed. And since the thyroid is the basic anti-inflammatory hormone and organ, it’s very often the thyroid that is the main problem when you have these antibodies. And there have been several studies in which simply supplementing even with thyroxine for six months or a year, the antibodies will decrease and the whole problem is solved.
CALLER: One thing I have heard about is taking low-dose naltrexone as a way of helping with the condition. Have you heard of that?
RAY PEAT: When you are hypothyroid and produce lactic acid too easily, you tend to accumulate endorphins. Endorphins are produced in response to the signal of increased lactic acid to compensate for the stress by acting like morphine equivalents. And the endorphins themselves limit your physiological functions in a protective way, sort of like a localized kind of hibernation. And so, the naloxone or naltrexone will clear those out. Sometimes, in 2 or 3 days, you can see a person come out of depression or a lethargic state. There was a study in California of demented people who were given very big doses of naloxone for several days or several weeks and their dementia improved just by blocking the endorphins.
CALLER: And how long somebody should be on naltrexone with conditions like Hashimoto's? Is there any problem with long-term use?
RAY PEAT: No. But I usually see good results in just 2 or 3 days. So I think the basic treatment is a good diet and a thyroid supplement as needed. And then the naloxone and naltrexone is a good thing to try once in a while. If it makes you feel better, then it probably was breaking up a pattern.
CALLER: Okay. And thank you very much.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay, thank you.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Thank you for your call, Kevin. We have two other callers on the line.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. Go ahead. You are on the air.
CALLER: Yes. Thank you for taking my call. My name is Mike and I had a question for the doctor. And earlier, I heard the show, the doctor was listing a number of vegetables and some polyunsaturated oils that had something to do with making something higher. And I am assuming that had to do with the thyroid. And my question is would cod liver oil be placed in with those other oils? And I will take my question off the air. Thank you.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
RAY PEAT: The fish oils are long molecules compared to the seed oils and they are also more unstable to oxidative breakdown. And the fact that they are long means that they don’t inhibit our enzymes for metabolizing fats as seriously as the seed oils such as canola or corn oil do. But their instability means that by the time they get into the blood, they are pretty well oxidized. And several studies have shown that the fish oils do have an anti-inflammatory effect, but only their oxidative breakdown products, which include some serious toxins, only those are really active anti-inflammatory substances. And what they are doing is poisoning the immune system, suppressing immunity. So, temporarily, it is effective for alleviating symptoms. But in the long run, it’s not good because the breakdown products include things like a crolein and several of the free radical oxidative damage, fractions of the broken down fats.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: I know they are both very dangerous toxic substances. So not only does it suppress your immune system, it also – through this immune system suppression, it’s also releasing toxic substances there.
RAY PEAT: And there are really quite a few articles that people don’t get to hear about showing that the fish oils contribute to atherosclerosis and increase the risk of metastatic cancer and are toxic to the brain and so on. The commercial promotion of the fish oils, they happen to never mention those.
ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah. Well, I think we’ve got two other callers on the line, Dr. Peat. So let’s take the next caller. You are on the air.
ANDREW MURRAY: Hello, you are on the air.
CALLER: Hi. My name is Jenny. Thank you for speaking, Dr. Peat. I’ve been on Armour Thyroid for some years now and they want to change over – change me and put me on one of the synthetic thyroid. And I am wondering if there are disadvantages to doing that. And also, I am wondering about – if the synthetic thyroid – I’ve heard they are made with milk products, which – I can’t tolerate the cow’s milk. So I am wondering about those two things.
xRAY PEAT: The company that makes Armour also makes a synthetic called Thyrolar, which was based on the original Armour Thyroid product. And the FDA has been requiring a lot of formula changes in the natural thyroid. So it seems to vary in quality according to the interference by the FDA. And the Thyrolar, as a synthetic, I think it has been pretty steady over the last 40 or 50 years since it’s just a synthetic chemical. And it’s very equivalent to the traditional Armour. But you could find out on the Armour company's website, Forest Pharmaceuticals, whether there is milk in it. Several other products contain the same synthetic chemicals. I get them from Mexico. One is called Novotiral and the other one is Cynoplus and they are very similar to Armour Thyroid.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: So when you see your doctor, if you want to ask them to – if you want to request that you have a prescription for Thyrolar.
CALLER: Thank you.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: You are very welcome.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. I think we might just have time for one more caller before we need wrap up. So you are on the air.
CALLER: Yes. I am on the air.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
CALLER: This is not related to thyroid. I actually wanted to ask you about something that has to do with tuberculosis.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
CALLER: And staph infections. I have had somebody at [inaudible] and also at Garberville clinic, I’ve been diagnosed with staph.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay.
CALLER: How do I treat this?
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. When you say you’ve been diagnosed with staph, do you have multiple lesions resembling snowballs?
CALLER: Yeah. All over my body.
ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah, okay.
ANDREW MURRAY: Right.
CALLER: And it started as a calf scratch, went up my nose and then it went into my eyes and it went all over my body. And then my husband caught it too and they had to put a wig into his chest because of the abscess.
ANDREW MURRAY: I don’t mean to be personal, but is there any kind of drug abuse or any kind of very low immune status amongst either of you?
CALLER: Immune status.
ANDREW MURRAY: Do you normally get coughs and colds more frequently than other people or any kind of infections more easily than other people and if you have any kind of history of having a weak immune system?
CALLER: I’d say that I get a cold every once in a while because my stepson comes back from CR and he always gets cold.
ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. Alright. I think without going too far into it because we really don’t have the time, I would certainly come up with a few suggestions or things to try and then we’ll throw it over to Dr. Peat and see what Dr. Peat would be thinking about. I know there is one product. And it’s actually manufactured in England. I don’t know if you can get in America, but basically it’s an allicin-rich garlic extract. And Dr. Peat may not like this much, I don’t know because it does contain a lot of sulfur and the sulfhydryl groups that we were taking about to begin with that you find in the Brassica family.
ANDREW MURRAY: They’re thyroid suppressive. So allicin was used very successfully for internal staph. So that’s basically one solution. Other immune stimulating herbs from a herbal perspective would certainly be useful to improve your tissues’ resistance to the by products of the staph infection that cause that boil and that breakdown of that tissue. But, Dr. Peat, I am very interested to hear if you have any comments to make on systemic staph infection.
CALLER: Well, I will talk to you directly then.
ANDREW MURRAY: Yeah. Go ahead. Dr. Peat will talk on the air now.
RAY PEAT: I have seen a few cases of chronic infections, some that had gone for decades that cleared up with just thyroid or thyroid nutrition. And it’s good to cover the bases. Even some antibiotics, tetracycline, for example, happens to have a structure that’s parallel to vitamin K and to the active ingredient of aloe and cascara. And so, those three or four molecules have a very beneficial effect on your immune system as well as being slightly suppressive to a variety of bacteria.
CALLER: Doctor, have you ever known somebody who has gone into the VA? My husband is in a VA clinic and he has gone and we were worried about that.
RAY PEAT: I had a friend whose doctors insisted that they first were going to amputate his feet and then they decided they would amputate his legs because they said the infection in the bones made it incurable. And since I had read Broda Barnes’ book and had seen a couple of cases with chronic infections clearing up myelitis and such, I made my old friend take thyroid for a while. And the ulcers, he had gangrene into the bones of his feet, within two weeks, the sores had closed and he was putting on his dress shoes and going to lodge. And we went through cycles. I think there were 3 cycles where his doctor made him stop the thyroid, the bone infection came back after 2 or 3 months, and I would see his feet rotting and make him take his thyroid and his feet each time cleared up totally.
RAY PEAT: The doctor finally said, ‘well, there is still infection in there, so we have to cut them out.
’ ANDREW MURRAY: Okay. I am going to have to call it a night there. Thank you very much for all of your calls. And, Dr. Peat, thank you very much for joining us again.
CALLER: Thank you all.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: Thank you for your call.
ANDREW MURRAY: I want to mention that Dr. Peat's website is very extensive, has lots of articles on it and very much researched scientific information. So some of it may seem counter controversial or counter to what we’re told. But it is scientific information that you can all check out. His website is www. raypeat.org.
RAY PEAT: No, it is dot com now.
ANDREW MURRAY: Sorry, dot com. raypeat.com. Okay, folks. So that’s the website, go check it out. Thank you very much, Dr. Peat, for joining us.
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And I just want to say thank you, Dr. Peat, and for all those listeners who are interested in trying to eat right for their thyroid health. We can be contacted Monday through Friday normal business hours. Toll-free, 888- 926-4372.
ANDREW MURRAY: Which is WBM-HERB. Okay. So thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for all the callers. Thank you fo r being out there and asking questions and…
SARAH JOHANNESEN MURRAY: And also Dr. Peat is available for nutritional counseling from his website directly, which is www.raypeat.com. Thank you, Dr. Peat.
ANDREW MURRAY: Thank you and good night.