So I couldn't get my hands on any keto sticks today for my monitor .. must be a few people burning their fat !!
So today's chat is one for the ladies out there .. so men here's your chance to avert your eyes! So yep you guessed what I am about to post is about my menstrual cycle and how I've felt on the LCHF protocol. I have to say my blood sugar levels leading up to today has been a little up and down and I've been noticing a slight slump in my energy levels throughout the day. I have been completely ravenous leading up to my period and I can't tell you how hard it's been on a low carb diet all I've crave are CARBS CARBS and MORE CARBS which is not unusual for me at this time of the month. Once my period arrived I've definitely felt quite low in energy, a little jittery even, quite groggy in the morning and feel quite sluggish throughout the morning. Now for anyone that knows me well, knows that I'm not typically a morning person but I haven't felt this sluggish in a long time.
The question is what does a low carbs do to females hormones. What I have discovered from my research is that a high fat diet tends alter thyroid hormone levels in women. Studies reveal decreasing carbohydrate intake to low levels results in diminished levels of T3 and/or increased reverseT3, something any fat-burner wants to avoid.
THYROID HORMONES 101 Lesson
Here's a quick overview of the thyroid hormones, courtesy of Chris Kresser: the creame of the crop for thyroid hormones is triiodothyronine, known as T3. It affects almost every physiological process in the body, including growth and development, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate.
The hypothalamus (a pea-sized gland in the brain) monitors the levels of thyroid hormone in the body and produces thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH).
TRH acts on the anterior pituitary (directly below the hypothalamus, but outside of the blood-brain barrier) to produce thyrotropin, a.k.a. thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
TSH acts on the thyroid gland, which produces thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), the primary circulating thyroid hormones. The thyroid produces T4 in significantly greater quantities (in a ratio of 17:1) than T3, which is approximately 5x more biologically active than T4.
T4 is converted into the more active T3 by the deiodinase system (D1, D2, D3) in multiple tissues and organs, but especially in the liver, gut, skeletal muscle, brain and the thyroid gland itself. D3 converts T3 into an inactive form of thyroid hormone in the liver.
Transport proteins produced by the liver – thyroid binding globulin (TBG), transthretin and albumin – carry T4 and T3 to the tissues, where they are cleaved from their protein-carriers to become free T4 and free T3 and bind to thyroid hormone receptors (THRs) and exert their metabolic effect.
Low T3 is associated with Hypothyroidism and guess what it turns out that glucose is necessary for the conversion of T4 to T3 in the liver.
On the flip side of this argument I found Dr. Phinney — Chief Medical Officer of KetoThrive, a physician scientist who has spent 35 years studying diet, exercise, fatty acids, and inflammation sees it from a different angle that infact a LCHF diet allows the body to work more efficiently and therefore does not require higher levels of T3 for the thyroid to function optimally. Hmmmm I think it's too early to know the exact effect on hormones as they are not fully understood.
One thing is for certain is that more research needs to be conducted and that includes settling my score on whether I am producing enough ketones .. I shall reveal my results tomorrow once I have those keto sticks!
There also seems to be a lot of discussion around finding the right balance of carbs for your body for this diet to work effectively. Some people have found 100 grams allows them to run more optimally. It also depends on how much intense physical exercise you are undertaking, your sleep patterns and how stressed you are!
So I guess the take home message is to listen to your own body. If you find you're experiencing symptoms of low energy, poor sleep, missed periods or poor mood then it might be time to re-evaluate whether LCHF is for you or perhaps trial uping your carb intake and assess how you feel.
- Breakfast: Coconut bread with avocado and butter
- Lunch: Left over Tempeh stir fry, brussels sprouts, red cap, kale, spring onion, garlic, spices, fresh ginger
- Snack: yoghurt, coconut flakes, ground flaxseed, sunflower seeds and raw chocolate
- Dinner: Lamb mince bolognese, diced eggplant, broccoli and buttered brussel sprouts and with cauliflower rice,
- Snack: yoghurt, coconut flakes, ground flaxseed, sunflower seeds and 99% cacao chocolate
- Beverages: water x1L, green tea x2 cups, rooibos tea x1, camomile tea x1
Yours in health