Home > Resources, Diet, Testimonials, Logs > Ask For Help or Advice > Cortisol, Serotonin, Histamine > Combating Elevated Cortisol & Histamine Resulting From Jogging & Sprinting

Combating Elevated Cortisol & Histamine Resulting From Jogging & Sprinting

  1. Hello Ray Peat community.

    I am seeking advice on how to prevent elevated stress as a result of exercise, such as jogging at the track, sprinting, and calisthenics on the pull up bar, in an effort to safely lose body fat and build strength. I came to the conclusion that cortisol and histamine must be contributing to my symptoms post exercise after performing the same exercises for 4-5 months during summer. I lost about 15 pounds, mostly fat, and some hair.

    My exercise takes place in the afternoon and lasts about 30-45 minutes, in sunlight. I load up on about 20-30 grams of carbs, preferably sugars, and caffeine, prior to hitting the track always. My calisthenics involves about 100-150 pull-ups, and 100 push-ups, 2-3x a week. Track involved jogging/sprinting up to 5km, 3-4x a week.

    Post exercise, I take cyproheptadine to stop histamine and serotonin, and regenerate with about 60 grams of carbs.

    Observations during exercise:
    Itching head/scalp - most likely a result of histamine levels rising?
    Dark circles under eyes, especially during an intense run/workout - do not know why, loss of oxygenated blood?

    Observations during 4-5 months exercise:
    Fat loss, about 15 pounds
    Hair loss - why? an indication of high cortisol?
    Elevated testosterone, increased strength capacity

    Observations after stopping exercise, during winter:
    Hair loss has stopped

    Has anyone had good results with other supplementation, such as the kind from idealabs? What about foods before exercising?

    Your advice is greatly appreciated, and may benefit others.
  2. What does your diet look like?
  3. I do not count calories, but I gauge my intake to about 3000 calories of food, daily. Including gelatin, red meat, chicken, liver, orange juice, coke, a lot of coffee, sugar, salt, cheese, whole or skim milk, eggs, especially yolks, white rice, potatoes, noodles, apples, bananas, butter, coconut oil, and little to no PUFA - not all in one day of course, but throughout the week, these are the staple foods I will eat.

    I also supplement with vitamin K, vitamin E, aspirin, methylene blue, red light, and recently started Tyromix at night, consistently.
  4. A lot of foods you are having are on the high histamine list. Cheese, all meats, fish, orange juice, milk, coffee etc
  5. Scale back. Why not decrease reps with weighted exercises. Weighted pull ups, weighted dips?
    Some protein an hour before workout.
    Caffeine after not before workout.
    Baking soda in water during workout.
    Forget the jogging. 3x5 reps heavy dead lifts then sprints.
    Extra B1 after workout with meal.

    The reason I would switch to weights is when you get to those 100 rep ranges you're building muscle endurance more than muscle size.

    As far as supplements, I haven't found anything better than baking soda and creatine for recovery.
    Baking soda is king for mitigating DOMS and is ergogenic to boot.
  6. be mindful that you are consuming a lot of starch; in working with pro athletes most of them were chronic starch eaters. Once they replaced starch with fruits and sweet potato (still some starch but much less) stress went down.

    Also, if you haven’t tried yet, yuh might want to experiment with insoluble fiber such as raw carrot or white button mushrooms.

    If cortisol/histamine is high, you may want to read up more on theanine. Haidut has posted a lot of good info on the forum. In my experience, theanine is the only supplement that stopped my panic attacks after a loss in my family. No other supplement I’ve ever tried has even come close to reducing stress such as this.
  7. Itching is due to underactive thyroid and lymphatic stagnation of the head.

    Dark circles under the eyes correlate with kidney weakness. The kidneys are also the primary gateway for lymphatic flow.

    I've heard that in accordance with traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys are associated with strength. It's not surprising that they would be further weakened during exercise whenever they're already being put under such a heavy acidic load given your diet that you listed... The caffeine pre-workout is just icing on the cake as it promotes an adrenaline response that defers blood away from the acidic filtration organs & systems.
  8. except the majority of the most successful athletes in the world eat starch. you can’t refill muscle glycogen as well with fruit because the anabolic effects of insulin are crucial for muscle recovery.
  9. Wow. Thank you for all the valuable information. Please allow me some time to respond.
  10. Why Caffeine after and not before workout? Curious to know, I just reintroduced it back into my diet.
  11. With the exception of fish, are these not staple foods of Ray Peat? If carefully selected, do they not promote thyroid function? I have heard nothing but positive information, especially for sweet orange juice which lowers the the level of stress and inflammation.

    Ray Peat PhD, quotes on Naringenin:

    “Orange juice contains the antiinflammatory chemicals naringin and naringenin, which protect against endotoxin by suppressing the formation of nitric oxide and prostaglandins (Shiratori, et al., 2005).”

    “Orange juice contains naringenin which is effective against melanoma, and guavas contain apigenin, also effective. A diet consisting of milk, orange juice, guavas, cheese, and some eggs, liver, and oysters, with aspirin would be protective against the spread of the tumor.”

    So, wouldn't orange juice be especially beneficial after exercising to counteract the rising cortisol and restore depleted glycogen?

    What do you eat/drink/supplement?
  12. Citrus are all high histamine and people with low levels of DAO will have problems. I struggled with restless legs for 5 years no medicine or anything else helped. Soon after adopting a low histamine diet did it stop. Peating is a very high histamine diet.
  13. I appreciate you considering weights, as I have primarily worked out with machines and barbells years ago. I switched to calisthenics for the past ~5 years, and started using Peat's advise ~3 years ago. Like Joe Rogan said, all you really need is your body and push-ups, pull-ups, and squats, done correctly.

    I could try weighted calisthenics, definitely. I'd like to see what difference this will make overall. Would weights not increase cortisol level? - physical stress exerted on the body would be increased? I was trying to increase strength and rep amount. And I have increased both. For example, I started with 20-30 reps max for the pull-up, and have managed to pump out beyond 100 during exercise. I could feel my strength improve greatly.

    My main goal however was to lose body fat. I have a decent amount of fat tissue especially around my stomache, chest, and back. I believe that in order to lose 10-20 more lbs. of fat, I would need to run/sprint at the track. The question is, how can I do this safely so that cortisol doesn't destroy my hair and body.

    I could try 20-25 grams of naked casein, with some milk, before the workout. Why caffeine after? I have not thought of using baking soda.

    I will look into and try it.

  14. I forgot to mention, I have been using cyproheptadine, and recently metergoline. 1-2 drops of cyproheptadine after the workout to try to counteract the increased cortisol & histamine. I did not notice any visible results though.

    Would you suggest using cypro before? Have you had success with cypro, metergoline, lisuride, or any other supplements? What time of day do you use it?
  15. I have no idea on whether you are a truly high histamine or low histamine individual, but if you are actually high histamine, you can sharply increase intake of copper and vitamin C from food and eat foods higher in methionine and that will lower histamine. I really don't think its a good idea though to do that though but better than taking cypro. Histamine helps keep you lean (among many other important functions) and lowering it too much will make it easy to get fat or in your case regain fat. If you actually want to lower histamine do it the natural way as I described.

    Carb intake is the obvious way to reduce cortisol response, I don't personally think its a good idea to blunt the natural stress response to exercise with medicine.
  16. Foods like white potatoes and white rice are a staple for me- but I can try cutting it down by half, and replacing it with sugar or eat foods like sourdough bread that have a slower glycemic response.

    I am a fan of raw carrots. I think eating them in the mornings could help filter out gut serotonin that can accumulate

    I will read up on theanine. I am a fan of Haidut's supplements

  17. I'd say one of your problems is jogging. Jogging can be very bad for your health and chronically spike stress hormones. It doesn't look like your jogs are very long (short jogs are fine or even beneficial) but it is something to watch for. Sprinting can be great for you if not overdone. If you are sprinting 5km that is very much overkill. A good sprint session should only take about 20 minutes with plenty of rest in between sprints. HIIT style sprints will burn a lot more fat than jogging will without the adrenal burnout. You should generally feel good after a workout. If you are exhausted and feel terrible after working out then your probably overdoing it.
  18. Yes, I have had very good results with it. I take 1 mg in the morning with BF, and 2-3 mg at night.
  19. Cypro interacts with Levothyroxine. Will it not make one more hypothyroid?
  20. I am telling you what I witnessed in working with a professional team/teams for 8 years.

    In my experience, all of my athletes were previously eating starch because that’s what they were told to do from previous generations. Once they started eliminating starch, not only did they have more energy, but all of them stop losing muscle during the season and I had many that gained 5-8lbs of muscle during the season in a high lactic acid sport (hockey).

    In terms of recovery, when they started eliminating starch and replacing with fruit, many went from sleeping 3-5 hours a night to sleeping 7-9 hours per night. So in terms of recovery, it appeared that this trade off was working.

    Now, with all that said, I fully believe that many athletes/people can do fine or even well on starch. In this person’s cases, he said that he was trying to lower cortisol and histamine after workouts. From everything I’ve learned through my experiences and Peat’s research, it seems that there are a lot of reasonings that starchy foods have a higher chance of causing elevated levels of the stress response due to endotoxin and polysaccharides.

    This is how I came to the reasoning in response to this post.
  21. No problem my friend. Happy to be supportive.
  22. Caffeine mobilizes fatty acids. I don't want that pre-workout. Personally I don't like the hit or miss ergogenic action of caffeine. A lot of studies seem to suggest coffee results in a free testosterone boost but so does a nap.

    I think the more solid studies indicate caffeine post workout is more beneficial for glucose uptake. The sweet spot seems to be 400 mg. Trash your CNS and caffeine could be like throwing gasoline on a fire. Recovery is most important to me these days so sodium bicarbonate is my favorite.

    Glucose uptake, partitioning, glut4 receptors are important for the body recomp guys. These days at my age it's all about remaining strong and lookin good in a shirt. I tend to leave more in the gym than going balls to the wall. A big meal and a couple three double espressos after a decent workout does tend to make me glow.
  23. Bigger muscles burn more fat at rest. Light weights and body weight after a point need speed to make the muscle bigger. Hypertrophy is easier with weights.
  24. A few big issues I see with your approach:

    1) diet: reduce starch/fat intake. Get carbs/protein primarily from citrus fruit, low fat dairy, and gelatin. Coke is chemical laced garbage. Sugar in the form of honey/fruit is far superior.

    2)supplements: the listed hormones and drugs are not conducive to healthy hair or athletic performance. You’ll be better off without them.

    Aspirin and vitamins/minerals in reasonable amounts are all you need. Certain herbs and amino acids(ie. taurine) can also be beneficial. I personally use aspirin, ginger, d-limonene, and phosphatidylserine.

    3)exercise: high volume workouts of pushups/pullups are a waste of time and are not going to make you stronger or increase muscle mass.

    You need more challenging exercises like the front/back lever, handstand, L-sit, and pistol squats. I recommend yoga as well. Less volume, higher intensity is what you want. Buy a set of gymnastics rings. Fat loss will occur much faster and you will become much stronger.

    Sprinting/running distances under 5km is not metabolically compromising. Low intensity, steady state cardio 1hr+ is what you want to avoid.

    I personally went from being fat and balding, 240lbs, to 175lbs and lean while regaining almost all of my hair in the process.

  25. Thanks for mentioning this. I never considered that my lymph activity may be bottle necked or that the dark circles can be associated with exhausted kidneys. I also experienced some sneezing after the workouts; along with the itching, I thought it was an allergic response to histamine release. I've also heard that in Chinese medicine, asian pears are used to brighten dark circles under the eyes; perhaps from their copper. I can try supplementing to see if there's an effect.

    What's so acidic about my diet? I'll cut out the caffeine pre-workout but wouldn't the exercising already induce adrenaline?

    I'll see about reducing citrus fruits. Do you avoid orange juice?

    Good point. It's possible that I was using too many supplements. Asian pears have copper and vitamin C. At any rate, I will have a different approach to the training/diet this time.

    I agree, it could be a mistake to blunt natural cortisol with cypro before training.

    Don't low carb diets actually increase cortisol???

    Hmm... I will have to alter my runs to have more sprinting than jogging, and definitely read more into the methods of other athletes, historically and in current times. Sprinting gets exhausting, but feels good at the end. That must be the cortisol and serotonin too. I was wondering if there's anything specific you would take immediately after such a HIIT workout.
  26. I'll put weights into consideration for my new training plan which I will be developing soon. A big reason why I workout outside is that it is free, and there is the added benefit of sunlight and vitamin D absorption.

    Have you heard of Pavel Tsatsouline? Do you like kettle bells?

    Wow. Incredible! What's that device on your lower back?

    65 pounds is alot of weight to lose; how long did it take you? Which vitamins/minerals have helped you? Which supplements?

    Are there any books or articles about those exercises that you could recommend?

  27. So what Are you eating now? How much calories?

  28. How much copper and C would you recommend and with what food can I reach high doses of this ?
  29. Error 404

    I use the list above and eat low histamine foods. Have 2000 calories a day. Trying to gain weight as am 104 pounds. Have Hashimoto and Celiac's.
  30. Thanks. I lost the weight in about 6 months. I was going through a particularly stressful time in my life so I went all out with diet and training. No cheat meals, no days off.

    I did mostly gymnastics training, with some yoga and some weights. Large emphasis on stretching/mobility work.

    As for supplements, I only take what I need to make up for shortages in diet. I occasionally use K2, magnesium glycinate, B vitamins, D3, selenium, C, and E. I take aspirin, phosphatidylserine, ginger, d-limonene daily to manage serotonin and cortisol. Creatine, BCAA’s, taurine, tyrosine, work ok but I rarely use them.

    Overcoming Gravity by Steven Low is a book that I personally recommend. It has almost all the body weight exercises available with progressions for each. It’s a huge amount of information, but studying and learning the material will set you up for success. Plus, it’s only $50. Best fitness investment I ever made.

    The thing on my lower back is a belt with a weight pack from a scuba harness. I use it to add small weights for certain exercises.
  31. Any fruit high in vitamin C can achieve high C intake quickly if you eat enough. Keep in mind vitamin C will block copper absorption. Copper should not be with vitamin C together if you take as supplements. 4-5mg of copper in one sitting (from say liver/potatoes if you want to keep it to food) and up to 2g of vitamin C seperate to the copper should lower histamine.

    Vitamin C actually lowers histamine in the moment (when you take it), but overtime may chelate copper out of the body besides also preventing absorption. So high copper food like liver, potatoes, dark chocolate are the main necessity for DAO. Then there's methionine intake for HNMT (deactivating histamine via methylating). Milk, yogurt, eggs, chicken, are generally 1 to 1 methionine to histidine or more favored to methionine.

  32. Cool, thanks.

    So putting fruits , Joghurt, dark chocolate in a blender and eat/drink it is not a good idea because of the vitamin C / copper mix?
  33. Would making tea in a copper tea pot from Kashmir provide a level of copper to ingest rather than using supplements
  34. You would still absorb copper, but I don't know how much copper you would absorb. I don't think the natural ratio of vitamin C and copper present in foods are that much of an issue. You would need ridiculous amounts of vitamin C usually in the form of supplements to cause issue. But fruits have both C and copper, and likely you can absorb copper from fruits pretty easily.

    If you hate the idea of liver (most do) and don't think you can eat much potatoes and very dark chocolate, copper from a good supplement may help. There are other foods highish in copper you can check out online, maybe there are some you like but copper in plants is not as bioavailable as copper from liver. If you pay for higher quality liver it may taste better, thats what I hear all the time.

    Any copper that it would provide would likely not be significant.
  35. Thanks for all you share redson
  36. Dark chocolate daily is no issue.

    I can’t eat liver too often and my main issue - I can’t eat a lot and least of all potatoes

    I could add oats?
  37. After exercise I usually have a fruit drink to alkalize the body a bit, a pea protein shake and then some carbs. Stretching and meditation will also help you eliminate the acids that trigger cortisol.
  38. Could you please recommend a copper supplement that would not trigger Histamine. Thanks
  39. I wouldn't worry too much about lowering cortisol or serotonin right after a workout. Just getting plenty of carbs and protein after working out is all you really need to do. Serotonin and cortisol surely spike during workouts (as workouts is a stressor) but its mostly the endorphins that lead to the feel good reactions at the end of workouts.

  40. This guy makes some interesting points. He's talking about weight lifting but he makes the point that cortisol is triggered when glucose is needed so to help prevent this you should take in plenty of carbs before a workout.
  41. Just came across this study https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-pdf/64/5/778/23157565/778.pdf

    Preexercise meal composition alters plasma large neutral
    amino acid responses during exercise and recovery13

    It suggests eating a pre-exercise meal with a low ratio of tryptophan to other amino acids to limit the exercise induced increase in serotonin. The best performer in this study was corn cereal.
  42. Just wanted to say, that anyone who can do 100 pull-ups in a workout, in a few sets, must have impressive strength.
    At my best shape ever, I could do like 3,4 sets x 12 bodyweight pull-ups.
  43. Yeah I didn't clock that. 100 pull-ups is insane.
  44. You can use an adaptogen like Maca Root to balance your cortisol levels. I actually HAD to because my cortisol levels were too high, it works like a charm.

  45. depends on how far your hands are together, hence how you do pull ups

    i similarly do sets of around 12 when my hands are far apart (back more involved), and i do 20 plus when they are close together (biceps more involved)
  46. Hi @Velve921 One thing that I have not tried seriously is elimination of starch. More sleep, energy & muscle sounds good & I think digestion might be the key here. Did the athletes you refer to just substitute a piece of fruit for starch at meals?

    Just looking for how do this on a practical level to ensure meeting calorie needs etc. Also any thoughts on which fruits worked best? Thanks.
  47. HIT > Introduction

    Look at the foodlists

    A lot of information about Histamine related conditions.
    Magnesium citrate liberator of Mast Cell activation.. Carbonate is ok.
    I also have a problem with carbs but have some to keep weight up
    I have low cortisol not high may be why magnesium is an issue with me
  48. Where did you get that from? I am taking that stuff. Guess I will have to switch since I do have allergic reactions
  49. Many of them would always start with switching pasta, rice, and/or white potato with...

    sweet potato and fruit at their pre game and post game meals. The sweet potato made a huge difference for the majority.

    Popular fruits were oranges, bananas, and berries (by their choice).

    So this is the interesting thing, fruits they chose do not always work well with everybody, but generally speaking, most reported a huge differences from simply switching starch for fruit.

    Ice cream became a huge pre bedtime favorite... especially after games.
  50. I’m not sure if this has been said yet, but you should stop mouth breathing during exercise if you are. I had terrible hay fever where I would have an allergic reaction for days after a 30 minute jog and ever since doing buteyko I have had no issues with allergies at all.
  51. Thanks @Velve921 When I've attempted less starch previously I felt I ran out of fuel quickly and needed to eat more often. I'll see how it goes.
  52. HIT > Introduction

    Look at downloads and click on food lists. Histamine liberators and foods/medication fillers are showing.
  53. I’ve had the same response as well. I eat between 4000-4500 kcals a day. I used to only eat around 2000 a day when I did the opposite. So I have to fuel more but it’s worth it for the emotional response.