Podcast Episode #35: Mineral deficiency, Hormonal Issues & Skin Help
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1: I frequently wake up with tingling fingers in the middle of the night. My chiropractor says it’s Carpal Tunnel but I feel I’m too young for that – Could a mineral deficiency be the issue? [19:10]
2: What would you suggest for a person with familial history of bone loss, osteoporosis, and stress fractures? I get concerned about the calcium content of the Paleo Diet. [27:52]
3: I have had cold sores crop up at random times for as long as I can remember. Is there anything I can do nutritionally to combat this? [37:04]
4: I have been a vegan for many years, and I simply have no taste for meat. I’m ready to make the change to this way of life, but I just can’t bring myself to eat it. Suggestions? [40:42]
5: What does the liver have to do with hormonal issues? [48:20]
Click here to download the episode as an MP3.
LIZ WOLFE:Oh no!
[The Andy Griffith Show theme song plays in the background]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] Oh man.
LIZ WOLFE:The Balanced Bites podcast starring Diane Sanfilippo. Also starring Liz Wolfe. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Is that…? What is that? The Andy Griffith Show?
LIZ WOLFE:It’s The Andy Griffith Show. I had to.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I’m tearing up, I’m laughing. I’m-I looked at our little switchboard and I was like what is this audio clip Liz has loaded? I had no idea. Oh, that was…
LIZ WOLFE:I had to do it because our last workshop, the Andy Griffith clip about carbohydrates and glucose did not play, and I was so so sad.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: This is what happens when I leave the high tech heavy lifting to you. Just kidding.
LIZ WOLFE:Exactly. I like, probably about a week before you contacted me about the podcast, like at some point last year, I probably had learned to turn my computer on and off by myself about a week before that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I know, you did warn me that technology was not your strong suit. I was like, eh, we’ll figure it out.
LIZ WOLFE:No. I still..
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Can you use a phone? If you can use the phone, you can record a podcast. No big deal.
LIZ WOLFE:[laughs] Which I probably had a flip phone up until about a week before I got my Mac computer. I resisted like the iPhone, I resisted a Blackberry. I had this chunky, beautiful flip phone with bumpers. It was like a construction worker flip phone, and it survived years upon years of abuse, and now it’s just not the same. This iPhone is ridiculous.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Quite delicate, that iPhone.
LIZ WOLFE:Mm-hmm. It is.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh boy. Sooo…
LIZ WOLFE:Oh boy. So podcast 35!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE:So bizarre.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I feel like we’re inching closer to a year of podcast, which also means a year of time that I’ve forced Liz to not only be my friend but now also work with me.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Not necessarily in that. Oh, side note. There’s some construction going on in my parents’ house, and yeah, I may or may not be able to control whatever noise might happen in the background. You guys may not hear it; sometimes with the phone it doesn’t actually come through, but if you hear any loud, you know, like jack hammering, I’m not in the middle of, you know, New York City street construction.
LIZ WOLFE:Oh, you’re doing your CrossFit workout?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Just some kitchen remodeling, which I’m kind of excited for, but anyway. That’s just a little side note.
LIZ WOLFE:Well, I can’t hear anything at this point.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: No.
LIZ WOLFE:If there are any kind of slurping or gargling, I’m either drinking coffee or brushing my teeth, so…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Awesome.
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, the two actions kind of…one has to follow the other.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Indeed.
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah. So I guess I’ll just throw out our little reminder: [in a country twang] that the materials and content contained in this podcast are for general information purposes only, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. [back to normal] I’ve been requested to do that in voice, so I’ll try and do that. Just to make this less legitimate than I already have just by virtue of my presence, I’ll start doing that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh boy, why don’t we just a little quick update on some upcoming workshops because I know a lot of people who are coming up to the workshops have heard about it through the podcasts, which I think is awesome. We’re getting, you know, a good number of just kind of local people who are members of each gym, but I’ve had several, you know, several events where I’m kind of asking people how they heard about it, and they’re all like, yeah, I heard about it on the podcast, and it’s awesome.
So let’s see, next weekend is Cinco de Mayo. We will be at CrossFit West Houston and we do plan on going, you know, trying to get some dinner after that event, you know, potentially some Mexican food, that kind of thing. Oh because it is Cinco de Mayo, and you know, Liz, if you’ve got a sombrero at home, you know, feel…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Feel welcome to bring and wear the sombrero.
LIZ WOLFE:I will. I have a poncho, too.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: A poncho, too? Awesome. I’m actually headed right after the event at CrossFit West Houston, I’m headed on to the Low Carb Cruise, which is going to be May 6th to the 13th, and it’s totally last minute, but there might still be room, if anyone’s like I would like a weeklong vacation in about a week. You guys can join us. There’s information on Facebook and all over the Interwebs, the Low Carb Cruise, and that’s something that Jimmy Moore organizes. It’s not, you know, it’s a cruise ship, a regular cruise ship, and we kind of have a small group of us, well, not that small, but a group of us that are going and there’s talks and all kinds of things there also, but it’s so much fun to be had. So I will be mostly like sleeping in the sun and possibly drinking, I don’t know, piña coladas and/or pineapple juice and rum, who even knows, but [laughs] I will be…
LIZ WOLFE:All low carb.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, on the Low Carb Cruise. I just..it’s totally fine with me. I really do not care. [laughs] Drinking my carbs on the Low Carb Cruise. Not an issue for me. I’m not worried. I do plan on working out on the cruise ship, which is going to be funny because I did that on the cruise several years ago, and at the time I was doing stuff on the treadmill, and running on a ship is really funny. So I’ll probably just be lifting weights, so I’m sure people can find me in the gym.
And then, what else am I going to tell you guys? Yeah, working like head down on writing for the next however long. And then after the cruise, all nice and tan, and we’ll be hanging out at CrossFit Oregon City May 19th…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: With Jen of Jen’s Gone Paleo, her husband, they own that gym. I’m really excited to go up there. I’ve been psyched for them, for them to open that place. I don’t even know if it’s been open a year now or maybe just about…?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: But I met Jen, yeah, I met Jen last year in Texas at my Plano event, so I’m really looking forward to that. So that’s going to be cool. And then, is that it until June? I think that’s it til June. We’ve got a couple of events in North Carolina in June, so just check out the links and we’ll be in Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina. And then after that, I think it’s just into the fall, right? We’re…right?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Looking…looking…
LIZ WOLFE:We’re trying to..we may have to start not turning people away but if you want to try and host a seminar at any point in the fall of 2012, we really are booking up really quickly. I’ve had to kind of jostle dates around because one gym, you know, put their stamp on a date first and just contact us ASAP if that’s what you’re looking to do. We’re probably going to have to start putting the waitlist together for 2013, so…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I think there’s just a couple of dates left for the fall and obviously…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: we’re not going to be doing anything, you know, too much into the winter. Like potentially some really local events, early November, maybe early December, if somebody really wants something early December, that’s probably okay, but there’s probably only like 2 or 3 open weekends at this point, and so we may just have a couple of Sundays that are, you know, potentially pretty close to some other Saturday events that we’re doing, but that’s really it. So I know people think it’s kind of crazy that it’s the end of April and we’re already almost booked up for the fall, but that’s kind of how it goes. So yeah, if you’re listening and you own a gym, or you are a member of a gym, and you’ve been like hoping that they would host an event. First of all, check out where we are going to be because we added a bunch of dates just this week, mostly on the East Coast, which I’m kind of psyched about, but yes, get in touch with us as soon as possible. Otherwise, we’re going to be moving on.
LIZ WOLFE:The next..we have to…Yeah, also like, if anybody, you come up and we have a couple people come up to us the other day and they had driven I think from Virginia, which was at least 3 to 4 hours away, and I felt that was so awesome, and if you do drive a long distance, come see me after the workshop and I will give you PaleoKits for the road. So there you go.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] Awesome.
LIZ WOLFE:Incentive. Yup. All right cool.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I mean, this…my last note on that is like, it’s a whole day of learning so, you know, if you can grab a friend and kind of maybe take a hotel the night before or, you know, leave really early and just like make a day of it and do a little road trip and I mean, it’s definitely worth it. Everyone who’s ever, you know, had a long drive or…I had somebody who drove like ten hours. I think they, you know…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: it was a couple that stayed the night before somewhere, yeah, from Florida up to my Atlanta event last year, and you know, it’s a whole day of learning that, it’s just invaluable. Get your questions answered and come kind of hear what we have to say and I think it’s a really an eye-opening event for a lot of people, and we don’t spend 8 hours doing the like eat this, not that on Paleo foods. It’s a really kind of rich steeping in the traditional foods and the perspective and the whys behind the kind of food that we recommend that people eat, so usually, you know, even people who are eating this way for a long time, I would say at least half of the attendees are those people, and for them, it’s a great way to kind of learn how to better describe what they’re doing to other people when they ask about it, or how to, you know, help educate other people, so you know, you can either come in and learn because you’re new and you’re learning for yourself, or you can learn how to take this from a different perspective to talk to other people. So…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Moving on.
LIZ WOLFE:Moving on. So it’s opposite day.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It’s opposite day. [laughs] What does that mean?
LIZ WOLFE:Diane is going to ask the questions, and I am going to be maybe answering them appropriately. We’re going to talk a little bit about, if I could just preface this whole deal. A lot of these questions are kind of workshop generated, they’re some of the really good questions that we get within workshops. But my soapbox a lot of times, especially with personal clients that I work with in my practice is the idea of mineral deficiency and I think Diane works with probably a host of issues related to some kind of mineral deficiency as well, whether that’s from people that have never really looked at an ancestral or a Paleo style diet. They’re just coming from the Standard American Diet. But what’s most important to me and we definitely address this in the workshop is that A. minerals are so important. Every hormone has a mineral co-factor. You hear about iodine and the thyroid. Zinc and the prostate. But you can’t just kind of hammer your body with one mineral necessarily at the expense of others, like through supplementation, for example. It’s really important to look at the true foundation of a mineral deficiency and address the factors around it before you start supplementing with kind of hyper-normal doses of one mineral at the expense of another. There are some exceptions, definitely, especially in the short term, but I kind of want to also relate back some different experiences that people have that they’re a little bit confused about, even after starting a Paleo style diet that people may not realize actually have their legs anchored in kind of a mineral deficiency, so that’s kind of what I come back to with a lot of these questions that we get.
Another thing that I want to say is that a lot of these issues when we talk about mineral deficiency, they’re really well served by -Diane is a huge fan of like Epsom Salts baths and stuff like that. But also one of our favorite superfoods, which is homemade bone broth. We talk about it all the time. Beyond minerals, it’s really rich in glycine. It’s full of nutrients, really helps heal the gut. It’s an amazing source of calcium, for those of you who are concerned with calcium status. We’ll get more into that later. But I’m really shocked at how difficult it is to get some people on board with making bone broth. It seems people are just…find it so daunting. And I promise you, once you do it, you’ll figure it out. It’s easy, and next time it’ll be even easier. You can make a ton. You can freeze it. But if you really, really, really don’t want to make it yourself and you’re experiencing any kind of problems with mineral deficiency or you need some gut healing, the only place I know you can order pre-made broth from that is decent and in fact, really actually really good stuff is U.S. Wellness Meats. That’s-you can order it from, I think, Diane, is it Grasslandbeef.com?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. We’ll put a link to it.
LIZ WOLFE:Okay, we’ll link to it. They actually make broth and ship. They make it according to Sally Fallon’s specifications in Nourishing Traditions. You can order it from them and freeze some, drink some.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, making broth is like pretty much as simple as boiling water. So…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: You know, I’m definitely..I, you know, I’ve got a bone broth recipe that’s going to be in the book. It’s the same one that’s on the website. It’s not difficult. It just requires buying like two ingredients, the rest you have in your house. It’s no joke. It’s water, bones…
LIZ WOLFE:It’s literally water, a bit of vinegar, and bones.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. And I, you know, I take it like two more ingredients further to make it really, really yummy. So the water, bones, and apple cider vinegar are like the basis, and the vinegar helps to extract from the mineral content and break down the bones, which is why we use that, especially for large bones, you know like sometimes with chicken bones, you don’t need to do that. But with, you know, like beef bones, I definitely recommend it. And then the other ingredients I tend to use are garlic, like 5, 6, however many cloves of garlic, just smash it once, peel it, whatever, throw it in there and then a bunch of sea salt. Mostly the sea salt is just for flavor and taste. If you’re just going to drink the stuff plain, the salt really helps, you know, It’s more palatable that way, but if you’re not going to just drink it, how many of you are out there making, you know, Crockpot recipes or slow cooker recipes with stews and it calls for broth. This is exactly what you will use and you’ll get all of the value, even if you go and cook it again. Mineral content does not change when you cook something. So that’s really the huge benefit of broth is that, you know, and I don’t generally love vegetable broth. Partially because I think it doesn’t come out. I just don’t love the flavor of it. If you like vegetable broth, it does not need to cook nearly as long. Chop the vegetables up pretty small and you don’t have to cook it that long at all. You’ll be able to extract the mineral content from them pretty quickly. Like, probably even you know, 4 hours vs. the 24 hour broth, which is what I do pretty much all the time. But I just don’t care for the taste as much.. That’s me, personally. You won’t get all the same minerals from vegetables as you would from bones, so, you know, changing it up is a good idea, but yeah, that’s pretty much it. And if you, you know, just check out the recipe. It’s one of the busiest pages I think on my blog or at least one of the most hit from like Google searches is the bone broth recipe because I think it’s just like really easy. People are successful with it, and it tastes really good. If you can’t eat garlic, no big deal. Don’t use it. But if you can eat garlic, use the garlic. It tastes really, really good with that.
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, it’s super yummy. And if you don’t know where to get bones, generally, you know. If you really can’t go out and look for them at your local wherever, Whole Foods, that type of thing. You can also…I know you can order the broth, but you can also order the bones from Grasslandbeef.com. So there’s really no real excuse not to give it a whirl. It’s a super food. I mean, it’s literally…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah.
LIZ WOLFE:It’s better than a mineral supplement, so.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: And I did this just, I think it was last week. I was feeling a little under the weather, and I went down to Whole Foods to get whatever groceries and, you know, I didn’t see any grass-fed bones in the freezer. I saw other marrow bones, just, you know, they have them in their little frozen section. And the reality is if you can’t get them grass-fed, it’s fine. Get whatever bones you can. Don’t make this an issue of, your access isn’t perfect or your budget isn’t perfect. You’ll still get the mineral value from the bones. It’s totally fine. If you can find them from grass-fed cows, great, that would obviously be ideal. So I asked the butcher, hey, do you have any bones from grass-fed cows, and he said, I have an entire femur back here, if you’d like to wait for me to cut it up. I was like, of course I would. [laughs] Well, to the [xxx] Facebook laughing, I know, I was like, yeah, can you cut them so I can roast the marrow bones first and then, you know, kind of the knuckle ends or the joint ends were, you know, obviously much larger. I wasn’t going to roast those for marrow, but I had a marrow party last week, and then some broth from the bones. So you know, just asking that question usually you’ll get something back. And sometimes even in kind of a less frou-frou grocery store than Whole Foods, if you ask the butcher about bones, they probably have some. Most people aren’t looking for them. So not only will you be able to find them if you ask. But chances are they’re pretty inexpensive. This butcher, because I bought the whole thing, he gave me like a dollar off per pound, so you know, this stuff is really affordable. You can make, I think from, you know, one pot, I had maybe 64 ounces plus of broth. I mean, you can make a ton, as much as your slow cooker will fit. So anyway.
LIZ WOLFE:Very, very easy. Very easy. All right. Do you want to move forward into the mineral questions.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah. I will, yeah. So I will ask the questions, you will answer, and this will be fun.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: All right, question. We don’t have a name on some of these? Okay, no big deal. Question…
LIZ WOLFE:A lot of these are from the workshops as well.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh, right. Okay. “So I frequently wake up with tingling fingers in the middle of the night. My chiropractor says it’s Carpal Tunnel but I feel I’m too young for that – Could a mineral deficiency be the issue?”
LIZ WOLFE:I love how you read that. Okay, so this is actually something that I dealt with myself, and we may have talked a bit about it before. Carpal Tunnel is basically like nerve pressure that affects the fingers. Usually those first three fingers after the thumb and then your thumb. It can kind of progress up towards the elbow, and even cause some muscle wasting, especially in people that have been feeling it for a long time. So basically what happens is you have blood vessels and tendons and the travel through, I guess it would be the actual carpal tunnel, and those will be prone to entrapment, especially when that pressure intensifies inside the carpal tunnel, so you see that a lot in people that are constantly typing, secretary, excuse me, administrative assistant, that type of thing. So the nerve itself is really the first to feel the effects of that kind of lifestyle type of problem. It can lead to the numbness and the tingling and the burning, and sometimes it’s even worse at night. But it was actually when I first felt it. I would wake up with my hands, basically kind of feeling really bad feeling kind of asleep and this was a year after I started blogging. I was constantly at the computer. And with reference to the statement about being too young for this? I think generally this was something that affected people, you know, above 30. People that have been typing for a living for a long period of time, and at one point in history, that wasn’t everybody. But now it’s pretty much everybody. We’re all typing. We’re all on the computer far too much. Me included. So it seems like more people are dealing with this now.
I work in concert with a chiropractor at South Jersey Sports Chiropractic and chiropractic can be helpful with the ongoing alleviation of the problem, but there is for some people like an underlying mineral deficiency, and a lot of people don’t realize that. I think B6 is the first place to look. B6 really and any type of joint pain or swelling, too. Zinc and magnesium can be issues as well, as really for women on birth control, especially over the long term because birth control can deplete these nutrients pretty excessively, I would say you’re probably…it could be an ongoing problem if you are continuing the birth control. A lot of people, I think, in this community are looking towards alternatives. We’ve talked about that before on a different podcast. But my first recommendation is always the bone broth. Making sure there’s enough complete protein in the diet. Liver, fish, looking at those co-factors for like mineral absorption, like proper stomach acid and proper essential fatty acids. And a lot of times this is about following a trail kind of back to what the root of the problem is. So if you’ve got low stomach acid, you probably need to try and boost that up a little bit, whether that’s with like digestive bitters as Diane talks about in the workshops, whether it’s with taking some supplemental betaine hydrochloride. Unfortunately, vitamin B1 is necessary for HCL production, and sometimes you can kind of be looking at a cart horse type of situation: which do you need to care of first and for how long? But I find I’m pretty successful getting people on some supplemental stomach acid. If you’re looking at an essential fatty problem, where you’re having trouble kind of moving those mineral co-factors across the phospholipid membrane to be used and kind of utilized at the cellular level, you may want to take even a step further back and look at, make sure you’re getting adequate bile production. Do you have a gall bladder? That type of stuff.
So not trying to make it super complicated, but if you are having these really pronounced symptoms, I’m sorry, indicators of mineral deficiency, but a lot of times it is worth working with someone or doing a little bit of extra detective work rather than just thinking, oh okay, this is magnesium, I’ll take some Natural Calm. That’s kind of where I come down on that. And Diane just kind of texted me a little reminder. I’m talking about hormonal birth control, not, you know, 99% effective withdrawal method or anything like that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: The jack hammering over here has commenced, so I’m going to be muting myself periodically. FYI.
Yeah, I think…a couple of things I just wanted to throw in, like you’ve been mentioning some B vitamins and minerals obviously. I typically forget to even really talk much about my book. But one of the things that will be in the book for different meal plans and different, just for people to kind of review where to get all these nutrients from, I have pretty extensive lists of different vitamins, minerals, just other types of co-factors, phytonutrients, etc., that we can get from food, largely, and then a couple that are really only available or, you know, much more available supplementally, and so I’ve got like huge lists of okay, B vitamins, what do they do, what are different B vitamins responsible for in the body, and then what are some dense foods sources of these, you know, vitamins and minerals, so that should be really helpful for people because a lot of times, just putting all of that together in one place and at the same time, making it only a list of foods that, you know, you’d even consider eating, you know, eliminating things like grains and beans, and just kind of keeping the list to things that we do want to be eating. I think it’s going to be really helpful, so yeah, what are some of the B vitamins you were talking about, like B1, thiamine…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: We’ve got Brewer’s Yeast..
LIZ WOLFE:Brewer’s Yeast.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, Brewer’s Yeast is a pretty dense source nutritionally and I know, what’s the brand that you like of that?
LIZ WOLFE:Okay, the brand that I like for Brewer’s Yeast is from Lewis Labs, and actually, you can get that at Whole Foods at this point. The Brewer’s Yeast is different from nutritional yeast, and please, please remember that because really I think one of the biggest values of Brewer’s Yeast from Lewis Labs that is, I’ll also throw in there, is it’s grown on sugar beets, non-GMO sugar beets instead of as a by-product of the beer brewing process, so that is why I recommend that brand. I don’t recommend any other brand. It’s also a really good source of chromium. That’s Brewer’s Yeast is a good source of chromium. Nutritional yeast is not. And chromium is really, I think, a common deficiency at this point. Plants don’t need it that badly, so a lot of times we don’t get those minerals that plants are pulling up from the soil. I personally find it valuable. I used it as part of a skin care protocol, so a little bit of a tangent there, but…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: We can get chromium also from liver, pretty dense source of chromium. Liver is a really dense source of a lot of nutrients that we can’t find elsewhere. But also on the B vitamins, so what was the other one you said? B6?
LIZ WOLFE:Yup, B6.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: B6 is a big one. Also Brewer’s Yeast, somewhat in like some nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts have some, and like bananas. Anytime you look more at like plant sources, they will be less dense than animal sources of pretty much any type of nutrient, it’s one of the awesome things about eating animals is that they do tend to condense nutrition for us from what they’re eating into their own tissue, so that when we eat them, we’re getting a lot more from them, so just, you know, some other little notes and things that you guys can look out for in the book that will just make all this easier when we kind of shout out, oh, you should be getting more of this or more of that, you’ll see food sources for that.
So next question?
LIZ WOLFE:Yup, next question.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Ready? Okay. “What would you suggest for a person with familial history of bone loss, osteoporosis, and stress fractures? I get concerned about the calcium content of the Paleo Diet.” Yeah, we get this one a lot.
LIZ WOLFE:All the time. Yeah, and I kind of like, we had a question in the last workshop that was basically like, how do you sum this up? And I really my calcium shpiel has gotten shorter and shorter over time because I almost just don’t even care to deal with the question with people that are just using it as an excuse not to explore an ancestral way of eating. It does not matter how much calcium you take in. You need to account for what your body’s actually doing with it. You can hammer yourself with calcium containing foods all day; that does not mean you’re going to be making appropriate use of it. And I think one of the biggest strengths of an ancestral health type foundation is that at this point, the community is really focusing on things like vitamin A, D, and K2, which are all really, really important in calcium homeostasis, especially K2. Chris Masterjohn has done a lot of work on this as well. I believe Chris Masterjohn for the Weston A. Price Foundation. It didn’t even really have a name until fairly recently when you compare it to the other vitamins that do have an RDI. I don’t even know that it has an RDI right now, but what K2 does is basically tells the body where and when to lay down calcium. It’s really important in the health of your bones.
I’ve written about the calcium question before and I’ll kind of run through it a little bit now, and again, we can go back a lot of Paleo people stress the importance of leafy greens and how high they are in calcium. But my thing is bone broth. Again. Really high in bio-available minerals. What else? There’s a lot of co-factors to calcium homeostasis and really all of them are covered, you know, very, very well with an ancestral diet. So the first thing is hormonal balance. Your body obsessively regulates hormonal balance via things like blood pH, blood sugar balance, and as your body buffers blood pH, it uses like the alkalinizing properties of calcium to do that, so it will pull calcium out and you know, when necessary, it’ll put calcium back. It’s a very complex interaction. The parathyroid gland releases parathyroid hormone. That regulates blood calcium. It buffers blood pH. It initiates osteoplastic activity. Calcetonin, which is released from the thyroid, counterbalances that whole process by inhibiting osteoplastic activity. So it’s this constant kind of push-pull, this real balance between, you know, both sides of the equation. Estrogen and progesterone, which we often kind of look at as two sides of the coin. They check and balance one another, too, when it comes to calcium. So, and I’ll throw in there, xenoestrogens, like estrogen-mimicking substances like we get from plastics and stuff like that in modern life can skew that balance, too: the balance of estrogen to progesterone. I mean, beyond that, you need to be properly hydrated, proper electrolytes, which is just another name for minerals. It’s important that we kind of realize that these drugs like Boniva really only address half of the equation. Diane talks about this in our workshops as well. Drugs like Boniva keep bones from breaking down, but they stop the natural and necessary and constant process of bone remodeling. They literally just stop that balancing act, packing a bunch of, you know, substrate on the bones, but not making them stronger.
The next co-factor for calcium homeostasis is digestion. You have to have adequate hydrochloric acid and we went back and we said vitamin B1 is necessary for that. Vitamin B6 is necessary for that as well. Other minerals balance calcium: vitamin D, magnesium. I’ve said before, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium are not the Three Musketeers. They’re not like this happy family that keeps your body all in perfect health all the time. They’re more like the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. They are not always friends. At times they can competitively inhibit one another, but that’s an important function. They keep one another in check when necessary.
Beyond that, like I said, vitamin K2 is sooo important. We get that from the cod liver oil/butter oil blend from GreenPasture.org. We also get it from organ meats and grass-fed dairy products. What else? Fatty acid balance is important. Fatty acids are cast with the transport of calcium across your cell membranes. Diane always says that your cells are the end users of all of these things that we’re putting into our bodies, so the most important thing is that we give ourselves the tools to transport these minerals to where they need to go, so you need appropriate fatty acids. We do not need these highly processed fats from corn and soy oils. Fats that are in a lot of processed foods, so there you go. Ancestral diet takes care of that problem. And the other co-factor is exercise. I think a lot of people are pretty well versed in that, so I won’t go too far into that, but what do you have to say on that, Diane? I feel I just talked for 20 minutes.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: No, it’s good. It’s really loud, so I’m like, oh gosh, I hope I’m talking when it’s not really bad. Just a couple of other things on calcium absorption, which I don’t think I mentioned this in our last workshop, but some things that can affect a risk for things like osteoporosis and just decreased bone density are things like, caffeine intake, cigarette smoking, just a lot of-can you hear me okay? Caffeine intake…
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, I can hear you fine. But you said caffeine intake as I finished my venti iced coffee.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] Like uh oh. So you know, excess alcohol, caffeine, cigarette smoking, certain medications can kind of get in the way, like prednisone, cox-2 inhibitors, antacids, people are taking a lot of antacids, so you had mentioned like malabsorption, low stomach acid, that kind of thing. What else? Hypothyroid or hyperparathyroid conditions can be some other risk factors, so, you know, just all different reasons why our bodies might not be absorbing and incorporating minerals and vitamins properly. So what else did I want to tell you guys about that? Calcium…I mean, we’re not just getting calcium from, you know, the typical sources we think. So the idea like you said about, you know, getting minerals in balance is really critical, and I think one of the things I wrote about for the Paleo Magazine article I did on a Paleo diet for kids because this is one of the biggest questions with parents and kids, and like, oh, don’t I need to give my kid milk, which I mean, that question, like I get it. We get a lot of new people coming in and they’re really curious about this. But there’s actually been some information on like the whole phytic acid and grain consumption blocking the absorption from dairy sources, so you know, people are looking at a standard diet of cereal and milk, they’re thinking they’re doing really well by getting that milk into the diet, but they’re eating grains, too. So, you know, while whole raw unpasteurized grass-fed milk can be a really good source of calcium, the point of that calcium getting its way, you know, making its way into your bones and helping you build bone density is that it’s in the food that comes rich with naturally occurring vitamins A, D, and K2, so, you know, like that whole point is great on calcium from dairy, but it’s not, you’re not getting it, it’s not going to work the same way if you’re getting it in pasteurized milk, and I, you know, organic milk means nothing. Like I just don’t recommend people do regular, you know, organic pasteurized milk. it’s not a healthy food. It’s not something that I would make any sort of large portion of anybody’s calorie intake ever. So that’s kind of my last little bit on the calcium. The calcium issue.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Let’s see what’s up next here. It’s kind of weird not having names, so I’m like, ahhh, sounds like I have all these questions.
LIZ WOLFE:I know.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: These are not my questions. I do not have carpal tunnel, despite the fact that I’m on the computer pretty much all day. Very strange like to be on the computer all day, but…anywho. Okay, so what’s the next one? “I’ve had cold sores crop up at random times for as long as I can remember. Is there anything I can do nutritionally to combat this?”
LIZ WOLFE:All right, so this is something I think the people may not necessarily associate with mineral deficiencies, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it has no, nothing to do with minerals, it has nothing to do with anything that you can kind of supplement away, unfortunately. A lot of people do develop these types of lesions based on stress. I know many people who in stressful times of their lives can basically guarantee that one or two cold sore type lesions will crop up. One thing that I have found helpful, just anecdotally is, and this is one situation where you potentially can supplement with kind of a isolated nutrient and make a difference is supplementing with l-lysine. I think that it’s possible just from what I’ve read that a low lysine intake in comparison to arginine with kind of enhance the risk of an outbreak, but it just really depends on what these cold sores are from. So you can actually go get some l-lysine just from the vitamin shop. I would not continue to supplement with that, though. I think it’s something to take when you perceive kind of those perfect storm of conditions where you know that you’re going to develop these cold sores.
This question, of course, is that cold sores crop up at random times. However, I think, just like, you know, digestive symptoms and that type of thing, this is something that you can track. If you keep a journal for about a month of not necessarily what you’re eating, although that can be an important component, but when you perceive greater stress, kind of what’s going on in your life, sometimes you can perceive patterns. The other thing that I have read a little bit about is the idea that these lesions are associated with decreased availability of calcium in the tissue. Again that’s something that vitamin K2, I believe, will have an effect on. Only anecdotally, I have no literature to back that up. But that’s just been my experience and my instincts. In general, I think that stress will cause kind of an increased output from the adrenals of like mineral-cortocoids, which can cause calcium to be displaced or excreted at a little bit higher rate. That’s my opinion. I may have that physiology wrong, but I think that the vitamin K2 can probably do a little bit to fight that, should that be the underlying problem. Do you have anything on that, Diane?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: No, but just to let people know lysine is an amino acid, and we are getting it from our food. You know, we can get it from chicken, turkey, fish. But you know, generally, you’re going to be eating it, so if you’re dealing with this kind of issue, that’s why maybe supplementation might be more useful because obviously, you know you’re eating this in your regular diet, and if it’s, you know, you’re still showing kind of that sign of deficiency, that’s when the supplement might be useful, so…that’s really it.
LIZ WOLFE:All right. Next one.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: All right, let’s see. All right next question: “I have been a vegan for many years, and I simply have no taste for meat. I’m ready to make the change to this way of life, but I just can’t bring myself to eat it. Suggestions? “
LIZ WOLFE:For this one, this is not unusual. I think that often a vegan diet, especially one that is not based on whole foods, especially a vegan diet that’s based on a lot of more processed foods, crackers, that type of thing. Bread, things like that. This happens. I think part of it is a suppression of stomach acid. I find that people that don’t eat meats, that don’t get a lot of those B vitamins that are necessary for stomach acid production will not produce stomach acid. It stands to reason. So when you have low stomach acid, which is required for the breakdown of these proteins from meat, your body, I think, really perceives that it cannot digest it effectively and you’ll basically just lose your taste for it. I think a little bit of supplemental HCL as you’re starting to take a bite or two of meat. You just kind of have to make yourself do it, unfortunately. I think fish is a good place to start. You’ll just kind of have to build that up as you go. You’ll have to build up that stomach acid. You’ll have to build up the B vitamins that serve as co-factors for the stomach acid.
Another point I wanted to make is that it’s possible that this person is talking about an actual loss of taste sensation, not so much kind of a, kind of the emotional/physical interaction of low stomach acid, but the actual loss of the taste sensation, which is also not uncommon when you’re kind of recovering from like a vegan diet. I’ve worked with several people that have really lost their sense of taste, have lost their sense of smell. I think a lot of that has to do with zinc. You get zinc from, you know, red meats, oysters, that type of thing, and when that has been deficient for a long, long period of time, you often are having trouble getting those minerals in your diet, especially if you’re strategizing a vegan diet with a lot of grains, which as Diane, as you were talking about a minute ago, do have properties especially when eaten in amounts common to the standard, Western diet, that will bind minerals and kind of keep them from being absorbed and utilized by the body, so there is no reason to expect as a vegan that your experience will be different. And I hate to say that because I don’t want to pass judgment on anyone who is choosing that way of life, especially out of compassion. I completely understand. But even strategizing a vegan diet better than the conventional way of strategizing can really set the stage for mineral deficiency, especially when you stick to it hard core for a very long period of time. I think a lot of vegans do kind of slip up. They have the best of intentions, but they slip up once in awhile. Build up their mineral stores, have a nice steak, hide in the closet and eat a, you know, a filet or something like that, I don’t know. But this is all related to mineral deficiencies that I think could be very well corrected by the transition to a more ancestral or Paleo type of diet. Do you have anything to say on that?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Just that when I generally coach people on coming back around, a lot of the time, the issue is, you know, maybe this person made the decision, okay, I’m ready to change it, but they have a very strong, you know, still strong kind of psychological, emotional aversion even though, you know, the decision psychologically is there. So I just make sure that they take it really slowly. Some people do, you know, like you said, just kind of jump in, They’re like, okay, I’m just going to eat a steak, and I don’t recommend that people do that, even though it’s like, awesome. Good for you. You know, you just totally flipped a 180 and went totally the other direction. That’s great, but for a lot of people, because of that decreased stomach acid because of, you know, just the lower nutrient status altogether, they may not feel great after eating, you know, 6 ounces of red meat, if they hadn’t eaten that for a really long time. So I generally recommend, well, we go back to the whole bone broth thing. They start with just broth. And then add a little bit of sort of shredded small bits of meat to that. And then a little bit more meat to that. And they do stews and you know, braised meats. Not only is that sort of introducing things a little bit like slowly, but it’s also meat that is sort of more broken down. The well-cooked meat, it’s easier to digest. This is stuff that I think we’ve heard. A bunch of like scientists who talk about Paleo nutrition and cooking food to make it easier to digest. That happens with protein, cooking does denature proteins, so to some degree, when we cook them for a long period of time at a low temperature, we’re denaturing them, which means we’re sort of like pre-digesting them by the cooking process, so that should make it easier for people who are not used to eating those things, easier for them to digest. That being said, it does not mean that inherently animal proteins are difficult to digest. It means that over time of not taking these foods in, you’ve lowered the demand in your body for the, you know, appropriate digestive enzymes and stomach acid, which is, you know, a natural state for your body to be in, producing adequate stomach acid, adequate digestive enzymes. So when you stop demanding it for a long time and the production potentially decreases, you need to just make sure you’re re-stimulating the entire system. And stomach acid really is one of the very first places to do that because without stomach acid, digestive enzyme signaling is not going to be appropriate for the rest of the digestive process.
So long story short. You know, introducing animal protein slowly and just kind of steadily, maybe one week at a time. I’ve had several vegetarians, a couple of vegans come back to eating meat this way, and they found it very successful. So I think it’s a really good idea. And I think, you know, it’s important to know that you cannot grow plants without dead animals, so understanding that there are minerals that we cannot get from plant sources, so you know, there is a lot of value. And at least, you know, I think a vegan diet that might be supplemented with bone broth, that would probably take you like almost as far into some supplementation as you need to be. I think that you’d need some B12 and some heme iron sources somehow, but anyway, I digress.
LIZ WOLFE:There you go. We never digress.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] That’s yeah, so what’s next? Let’s see. How much time do we have? Do we have time for more questions? Or…
LIZ WOLFE:We have probably under ten minutes.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: We have like ten minutes. Yeah, do you want to do one more here?
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, let’s just-ask me the liver one because we’ll kind of tie it together some of this mineral/hormone stuff, and then we’ll call it a night.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Ooh, ooh, ask me! Okay, cool.
LIZ WOLFE:Woo hoo!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So “Liz, What does the liver have to do with hormonal issues?” Whatever in the world…
LIZ WOLFE:What in the eff? So this is one we just get in the workshops. And as I was saying before, the liver as kind of a place where hormones are-the word we use is “synthesize” which means the liver is basically-it doesn’t make hormones, which that actually is the job of different glands within the endocrine system, like we were talking about the prostate, the thyroid, and all of those as having mineral co-factors, like iodine and zinc. Okay, so the liver is actually where these hormones are synthesized, basically meaning that it’s where the hormones are combined with other elements and deployed to the body, to the bloodstream as needed. And that’s where kind of the health of the liver and mineral sufficiency and deficiency kind of interact with the whole hormonal cycle in your body. And that’s why for a lot of people, they are-they’ll see an alternative medicine and alternative practitioner and will be recommended things like liver cleanses, that type of stuff, which in my opinion is, you really have to find somebody that’s well versed in that type of stuff. You can’t just kind of start hammering yourself with, I don’t know, whatever. Milk thistle, as much as I like it, I wouldn’t, you know, whatever. I’m digressing, but basically, if you’re talking about doing a liver cleanse, like make sure you talk to someone that’s well qualified with that type of thing before you jump into all kinds of crazy supplements to make that work.
And again, we were talking earlier about how rich the liver, the food is, and different minerals and stuff like that. That’s because it’s the place where those minerals are stored and utilized. Toxins are filtered out. Some minerals are stored. So the liver’s just really fascinating. So basically, like I was saying, the liver deploys hormones into the bloodstream as they’re needed. So it’s really crucial to kind of that hormonal balance between say estrogen and progesterone, for that metabolic activities are enabled by these secretions from the liver. Even beyond, like hormonal, like blood glucose levels and amino acid balance, stuff like that. What else? I guess hormone elimination is also really an important responsibility of the liver. A lot of times when we look at, say you knew, Diane, you and I are planning on doing a Poliquin certification at some point, hopefully before maybe after they get back from the European leg of the certification tour, but basically what that does is that it looks at different areas of the body where say fat deposits and kind of correlates those areas to different hormonal imbalances or hormonal overbalances, that type of stuff. So when you at say different places where people tend to store fat, for me it would be kind of around the saddlebag area, to my great chagrin. That can often be a little bit of what is it? Estrogen, I think.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yes, generally. Generally the places where we see more, you know, typically female looking shapes of fat deposits, generally means things like estrogen, so hips and then in the chest as well.
LIZ WOLFE:Mm-hmm. And a lot of times we talk about cortisol as being responsible for a little bit of that kind of trunk type, that abdominal fat pad. And I feel like I’m talking in circles a little bit, but really what we talk about minerals and hormones is really important for the generation of hormones from the endocrine glands, and then the liver actually is the one that deals with the filtration and the deploying of these hormones throughout the body, so they can be used as needed. Balanced estrogen is really, really critical for like sexual function, reproductive function. This is so, so common when we talk to women that are struggling with fertility, hormones really play a huge role, especially with women that are struggling with PCOS, which is basically like insulin has completely taken over the entire hormone loop and upregulated everything. What else? Testosterone, which is also important, even for women. That needs to be kept at proper levels that relies on mover efficiency. Women who have high testosterone, testosterone that’s too high, they can what? They’ll develop facial hair, a lot of times the result of that is some acne that was actually a problem for me. So getting that balanced out was really important in healing my skin. What else? Insulin as well. That’s pretty much all I have to say on that. I think it’s…I don’t know. I probably have talked in circles, but maybe you can kind of bring it home, Diane.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh jeez, that responsibility? I just think when it comes to hormonal issues, understanding that the liver is doing so many jobs and whenever we think about like priority-types of jobs, one will be filtering stress hormones because that’s kind of like, if anyone’s dealing with imbalances, they’re going to have typically some sort of excess cortisol production. Any type of inflammatory response to, you know, illness within the system, that will definitely get in the way, but also, you know, most people who are kind of coming around from a Standard American Diet that may be very very rich in dense carbs that are nutrient poor. You know, the liver is processing all of that carbohydrate. It’s very taxing. So as soon as you pull like the priority function to the liver, you have to understand that sex hormones monitoring is a secondary function. Like stress hormone which is completely tied to blood sugar regulation, toxicity and all of that is always the priority. I talked about that a little bit in seminar with the whole like pregnenolone steal thing and hormone production, all of it. But just understanding that sex hormones, especially, I know you were talking about estrogen and testosterone. And you were talking about insulin, too, like the insulin situation is always taking precedence. So managing insulin, managing blood sugar, all of that, first and foremost what the liver needs to do. So if you’re taxing it with just too much sugar, essentially, you know, dense carbs that you’re not using with your activity level or you’re putting in carbohydrates that are nutrient poor and you’re not getting the right nutrition to actually process those carbs, then you’re in a situation where, you know, hormonal imbalances are just ripe.
So you know, I definitely have this a lot with clients, dealing with PCOS and all of that, and the reality with PCOS that I’m seeing is that it takes a longer time to fix it than you think. Like re-regulating insulin and hormonal balance is not something that will happen in one month or even two. I’m seeing, you know, people who are kind of on a Paleo diet who maybe are like dabbling in treats a little too much or they’re just not, you know, maybe ripping out all of the fruit that they need to, and this is the kind of person where a low carb intervention might be really useful. You need to get blood sugar really, really under control, insulin really, really under control, and for an extended period of time, so that when you do get the blood testing back, your blood sugar and insulin levels have dropped, that way the rest of your hormones can start to come back into balance and that whole issue, you know, starts to resolve but it can take a decent amount of time. You have to just stay with it and be consistent. Your body has had a long period of time where you’ve told it one thing. you know, we’re going to get a lot of sugar all the time, we need to deal with that, and when you change that message, it’s not an immediate response. It takes a decent amount of time for you, your know, whole system to kind of catch up.
Yeah, so that’s kind of what I think liver and hormonal issues, you know, you have to give it time. But be consistent and blood sugar regulation is numero uno there. That’s pretty much it, right? We’re at like right about an hour, so…
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, let’s stop. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think we can wrap this up. I guess just like my last notes. I am like in the complete home stretch of getting things done for my book. I am like really hoping to get everything done when I’m supposed to. I’m leaving for this vacation in a little over a week and I’m like, oh, something some greater power please help me get through and finish all of this. But I’m really excited and it’s going to be an awesome resource. And like pretty much every day I’m like, I wish I had only committed to writing a cookbook at this point because…
LIZ WOLFE:Oh man.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It’s not easy on me, but I’m excited.
LIZ WOLFE:I saw a preview and it’s good stuff for sure. Really good stuff.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It’s going to be good.
LIZ WOLFE:And I’ll be, if anybody’s going to be at Southeast Regionals, come see me at the PaleoKits booth. I will be there, talking about Steve’s Club National Program, selling PaleoKits, selling Paleo goodies. It’ll be fun. So come say hi.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Awesome. I wish I were going with you. All right, well that’s it. Do you want to wrap this up?
LIZ WOLFE:All right, see everybody next week. Yep, let’s do it.
[The Andy Griffith Show theme music plays as outro]
Diane & Liz