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KMUD: Hair Loss, Inflammation and Osteoporosis (2012)

Discussion in 'Audio Interview Transcripts' started by loess, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. loess

    loess Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    Raymond Peat, Ph.D.

    KMUD “Ask Your Herb Doctor” (2012)

    HD - Andrew Murray and Sarah Johannesen-Murray
    RP - Ray Peat

    HD: Dr Peat, could you please let listeners know about your academic background?

    RP: I studied biology at the University of Oregon, specializing in physiology, especially reproductive physiology and quite a bit of biochemistry. But I considered myself an old-fashioned biologist, pre molecular biology in my way of thinking.

    HD: I know you've spent a lot of time looking at hormones as a mode of activating our own bodies' mechanisms.

    RP: Yeah, my dissertation was on the effects of hormones on oxidative metabolism in relation to aging of the reproductive system.

    HD: Why do men develop male pattern baldness? And is it due to testosterone?

    RP: I think the belief in testosterone as the cause is similar to the old belief that males got prostate cancer because of having testosterone — since males get a particular kind of baldness, it's easy to blame it on testosterone, but in fact there is no evidence showing that excess testosterone is responsible for it, anymore than excess testosterone causes prostate cancer. So that's where the idea of increased sensitivity came in, because there was no evidence of too much of the hormone...

    HD: Right, but you did say that when they measured the blood levels of men with lots of hair and men with no hair at all on their head, the levels of testosterone were not important, so the best they could come up with was that their cells had a sensitivity to testosterone.

    RP: Yeah, that sort of fills in for their lack of evidence. But when you look at the actual hormone situation of people with lots of hair on their head and with not much, what you see is an excess of prolactin and cortisol in the people losing their hair, both men and women. When you look at the effect of testosterone on the growth of the hair shaft, the higher testosterone makes it grow thicker and faster. And prolactin tends to cause it to fall out. In chickens and other birds it's known as the molting hormone. In humans, it's a milk-producing hormone, largely, but it also regulates practically every other cell in the body, and it has that analogous function of terminating the growth cycle of the hair shaft. And cortisol and prolactin both rise during stress. For a long time, people have been noticing the association of baldness with heart disease and also with a crease in the earlobe. Both of those have been challenged repeatedly, but there is clear evidence that they are associated. What links those is also connected to prolactin and high cortisol, which is the low energy production, a thyroid deficiency tendency, letting the metabolism of cholesterol go down more towards increased cortisol and less towards progesterone and testosterone, and the DHEA; things that do promote hair growth.

    HD: So if men who were suffering from baldness were to have their prolactin blood levels checked, do you think these levels would be higher than normal?

    RP: It for sure wouldn’t be likely to be higher than normal, on the current lab standards for normal, because they've increased the upper edge, probably because of so much exposure of the population to estrogens. Estrogen increases the production of prolactin. And estrogen itself terminates the growth of hair, so...

    HD: But didn't you say that when they did actual studies for prolactin, or pituitary tumors in which prolactin was elevated, they found like an ideal range for a female and a male? Maybe we can discuss those?

    RP: Yes; back in the 70s, after the wave of pituitary tumors resulting from the high estrogen birth control pills, they found that the healthy range for women, on the standard scale of unit, was around 12, somewhere, maybe as high as 15. And for men, it was around 4 to 7. And now, they have raised the upper limit for men to, sometimes they say it's as high as 20, and for women as high as 30. But bald men I’ve talked to who had close to 20, even though they were said to be normal. They all had developing breasts (gynecomastia).

    HD: If they had 20, it might have been within the normal range that that laboratory stated, but if they were developing breasts, then they obviously have far too much prolactin for a man to have.

    RP: Yes. And fertility is best when a man has 4 to 7.

    HD: To go back to developing breasts, the term is gynecomastia, correct? For drinkers of hoppy beer (beer that has an extreme infusion of hops), gynecomastia isn't an uncommon sight?

    RP: It's not only the phytoestrogens from the hops, but the yeast that all of the alcoholic drinks require. The yeast, produces estradiol, the powerful human hormone, as their own reproductive hormone.

    HD: Interestingly enough, hops extract is the latest miticide for the bees industry. And the brand new thing is called Hopguard, and somehow it kills mites but not bees.

    HD: I wonder if there's an anti-parasitic compound besides the estrogenic resin that's in hops? Also, female hops pickers are notoriously known to stop menstruating because it's such a high level of hormones that they get exposed to through their skin. And that's a similar situation we have in Humboldt County with people being exposed to clippings and having their resins go through their skin, because hops and cannabis are in the same plant family .

    RP: And both those hormones in beer, and, less in most of the wines, but alcoholic drinks in general, with the estrogen from the yeast at least, will stimulate the adrenals to produce both estrogen and cortisol, and all kinds of estrogens increase the cortisol exposure. And so, the cortisol makes the big belly, and the estrogens, among others things, contribute to the breast growth.

    HD: What about the oral contraceptive pill and its massive exposure to the public through urine and regular drinking water, given that so many women are on the OCP? Do you think that that's a credible source of estrogens in the environment?

    RP: Oh, sure. You can identify the specific type of estrogen and progestin from pills going right through the sewer processing plants, right into the rivers and causing fish, muskrats and anything that lives in rivers getting the sewage from cities, they're being feminized.

    HD: Are there any filters to remove those estrogenic compounds?

    RP: No, nothing practical that's in use.

    HD: Activated carbon?

    RP: Well, yeah, if you're going to drink the water, you should run it over activated carbon.

    HD: Wouldn't activated carbon be a fairly cheap way for a sewage plant to process water? I guess maybe not.

    RP: No. Ozone is probably the cheapest, best thing, because it breaks down chemicals like that. I think Paris has been doing that for 40 years or so.

    HD: Regarding the connection between hair loss and the hormones: cortisol and prolactin are two hormones that decrease hair growth. And these are stress hormones, correct?

    RP: Yeah, they go up with stress in different proportions. The classical stress hormone is cortisol, but prolactin responds to different kinds of stress. For example, anything that blocks your thyroid function and energy production tends to increase prolactin at the same time it increases the thyroid-stimulating hormone. Those are both turned on by serotonin.

    HD: I've heard you speak many times about the innate energy level within an organism being responsible for keeping it in a state of good health and cellular repair and regeneration. You mention a lot that thyroid as being the body's natural hormone of energy and driving cellular respiration and repair. The link between cortisol as a stress hormone and prolactin with hair loss, and the opposing hormone — which you’re very well published about — is progesterone...

    RP: When your thyroid is low, or other factors, such as cholesterol (if cholesterol is below average), and if you're deficient in vitamin A, then you can't efficiently turn cholesterol into progesterone and the other anti-stress hormones. And the emergency anti-stress hormone is cortisol. So, if you lower your cholesterol with a drug, that's going to force you to increase reliance on cortisol. And that will have all the degenerative effects, including interference with hair growth.

    HD: Right, this is some of the reason why the lipid, the statin drugs, some of which have been recalled because of degenerative effects?

    RP: Yes, the thing that has got most attention is breakdown of muscle tissue causing bleeding in the urine and pain in the muscles. But it's that when you poison the production of cholesterol you're also poisoning the CoEnzyme Q10 and many other metabolic systems as well as cholesterol.

    HD: Right, I know you have mentioned a lot about cholesterol being the good guy and it's kind of counter-intuitive or counter-brain-washing for some sections of society, who want to tell us that cholesterol should be a certain level. I know you're an advocate of having a reasonably good level of cholesterol because it's such a building block for the steroid hormone production.

    RP: Yes, the Framingham Study at one point found that people over 50 who don't have at least 200mg percent [200mg/dL] of cholesterol are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. It's brain protective to have over 200, if other things being equal.

    RP: If you are over the age of 50, right?

    RP: Yes, and thyroid will lower cholesterol naturally, but it does by producing more of the protective hormones progesterone, pregnenolone and DHEA.

    HD: So it uses up the cholesterol to manufacture those hormones?

    RP: Yeah, and so if you naturally have below 200 cholesterol because your thyroid is good, and all of your nutrients are adequate, then that's fine.

    HD: So can we talk about some practical applications of what some people can go buy at the health food store and rub on their head to help the hair grow back, Dr. Peat?

    RP: Well, vitamin D happens to be closely involved in hair development; calcium, getting enough calcium in your diet.

    HD: How does the vitamin D work, Dr. Peat?

    RP: Well, they call it the vitamin D receptor, but it's a regulatory material in practically every cell in the body — bones and hair both. And the receptor itself, even without the vitamin D, is involved in regenerating, making stem cells that will produce new hairs and a couple of groups have discovered that, if you inhibit the parathyroid hormone, you can increase hair growth. The natural inhibitors of the parathyroid hormone are vitamin D and calcium, are the main ones.

    HD: Aren't the parathyroids inflammatory?

    RP: Yes, it turns on — it interrupts the use of oxygen, so it's really kind of a paradigm of an anti-thyroid function. Thyroid makes you able to use oxygen and the parathyroid hormone can do some useful things such as shocking your bones into producing more cartilage, stem cells and capillaries, simply by interfering with oxygen production. For a moment, that shock of oxygen deprivation stimulates regenerative process, but if you keep your parathyroid hormone up continuously then you destroy the bone, because it doesn't have enough energy to go ahead and build bones.

    HD: So it's like a stress hormone, for the immediate or very short term like cortisol, it uses, it mobilizes nutrients, it helps you get through that stressful period but in the long term it's very detrimental.

    RP: Yes, it's the same principle for you get a shock of parathyroid hormone that starts up the bone growth, it's similar to what happens with an injury - sometimes people have a cut on their scalp they'll get hair growing around the scar. Two or three years ago, an old man fell, with his head in the fireplace, and got a severe burn on the scalp and grew a whole head of hair as a result. But you don't want to rely on either injury or parathyroid hormone!

    HD: So lots of calcium up to 2000mg a day, of course dairy is quite high in calcium but also, to bring in some herbs here, nettle tea is high in a lot of different minerals and vitamin D is freely available from the sunshine at this time of the year. So what else Dr. Peat would you recommend for regular male hair loss?

    RP: Vitamin A intake is another thing that is helpful to put down parathyroid hormone and adequate thyroid and so you want to avoid everything that suppresses thyroid function such as polyunsaturated fats.

    HD: Right. All the vegetable oils and get plenty of coconut oil and vitamin A, found in liver and eggs, and there's beta carotene found in lots of vegetables but that conversion process does rely on the liver and if your thyroid is sub-optimal that conversion process will probably not happen as ideally as you'd want it to.

    RP: In the last couple of years, some people have found that topical thyroid hormone, the active T3 part of it, applied to the skin stimulates regeneration and regrowth and caffeine, which has some overlapping effects with thyroid hormone. Caffeine is now being added to lotions and ointments and such to renew hair growth, and it's a very cheap application — I think they still sell "Nodoze" caffeine pills, I haven't seen them for years.

    HD: Would coffee or tea work just as well if you made an infusion of that and then dabbed that on your head?

    RP: I suppose so?

    HD: You don't think so?

    RP: I am sure the caffeine would work, but it's cleaner to..

    HD: And then also you had mentioned earlier about making an oil rub for your head with natural progesterone, DHEA and olive oil.

    RP: Yes, those are things that regenerate many skin functions including hair growth.

    HD: So, if you took a little bit of olive oil and 25mg of DHEA and about 50mg of natural progesterone and you mix that all together, that’d last you for about a week?

    RP: Yes, I've seen several people do it, but if you have some hair to start with it's kind of a sticky, oily mess, to put it on your scalp every day, that's why caffeine is a neater thing because you can't see it or smell it or feel it.

    HD: Caffeine is freely available as a pharmaceutical, correct? And what's the dosage for the caffeine?

    RP: Oh, I don't think anyone has really worked that out but it isn't terribly soluble in water so if you get too much it itches, so it's just whatever is comfortable.

    HD: All right, I think we have a caller on the line anyway, so let's take our first caller.

    Caller: Hi, I guess my line would be I'm not going bald, I'm molting in preparation for my refreshed head of hair!

    HD: There you go, are you going to try this out?

    Caller: Well, yes, I was just wondering on that, you talk about estrogenics from plants and I am wondering if in nature's balance there are testosteronics in plants that would provide that ???unintelligible??? And related to that, the yohimbe plant and yohimbine, is that a hormone or how it works — it's actually recognized as the only aphrodisiac and yet the FDA says that it has no applicable uses, hence my definition of the FDA which I can't say on the air, but if you could address yohimbe or yohimbine or any natural testosteronics which may useful or avoided in certain situations, thank you very much for the program.

    HD: Well Dr. Peat, do you have anything to share on this?

    RP: I don't know of any plants that have a testosterone-like action. There could be some but I've never run into them, either progesterone or testosterone, in a practical sense in plants. There are some chemicals that test like progesterone in plants but I’ve never seen an actual biological effect from them.

    HD: Do you think the mechanism of nettle root...it’s not specifically testosteronigenic, but...I thought it had a blocking action.

    And Saw palmetto, that's similar to pregnenolone — that would help. Men notice it increases their testosterone, but I think it’s just because it’s helping increase pregnenolone?

    RP: Yeah, and pregnenolone blocks the stress hormones, primarily turning off excess cortisol production, but when you block the stress reaction, you also prevent overproduction of estrogens, so it can leave your own testosterone unopposed.

    HD: Do you have any experience with yohimbine perhaps?

    RP: No, and I don't know much about it — I’ve read many articles, but I don't really understand it.

    HD: Okay. It’s an alkaloid, supposedly the aphrodisiac portion...anyway, we have another caller on the line. Let's take the caller.

    [show engineer:] Actually they wanted me to do the question — you will always have better success asking Dr. Peat yourself, but…so, we have a female ex-bulimic, who got over bulimia about a year ago or so. She started experiencing hair loss as soon as she got over the bulimia, and would like some nutritional suggestions.

    HD: So Dr. Peat, what is your take on bulimia, and post-bulimic hair loss?

    RP: I suspect it led to hypothyroidism. There's usually high prolactin and high serotonin during those appetite disturbances. It probably was starting because of hypothyroidism. At a certain point, your hair can start falling when your thyroid is really low and the stress hormones high.

    HD: Right, because the stress hormones definitely are going to be high in that kind of situation.

    RP: Yeah.

    HD: So far as the hair loss is concerned, one of those suggestions was DHEA, and progesterone, and/or caffeine, as a USP pharmaceutical grade. Like No-Doze caffeine pills.

    RP: Aspirin is another thing that has some anti-stress, pro-hair action.

    HD: Well I'd like to spend some time talking about unwanted female hair growth, and female hair loss. Slightly different, but some of the same hormones. So, Dr. Peat, when women have a lot of facial hair or a mustache, or even if it’s on their chin or cheek, what's going on there with their hormones?

    RP: The androgens usually are up, but prolactin excess — the difference seems to be whether the prolactin is steadily high, or whether it surges very high. Both hirsutism and hair loss are associated with high prolactin. The thyroid supplement is a very reliable way to control prolactin in most women. vitamin A and calcium also help to inhibit excess prolactin.

    HD: And from a herbal point of view, Vitex blocks prolactin. Vitex — chaste tree berry. And also, progesterone would help with blocking some of those high androgens that are promoting the hair growth in women.

    RP: Yeah. And the thyroid, if you have enough cholesterol, the thyroid will increase your progesterone, pregnenolone, and DHEA.

    HD: How about graying hair? Most commonly you see that as a sign of aging but not necessarily so?

    RP: Yeah, I have seen DHEA correct it pretty quickly. The enzyme that creates the melanin pigment uses copper as a catalyst. Probably the best food for increasing your copper, while decreasing your iron — which competes against the copper — is shellfish. Shrimp, clams, lobster, crab, squid — all of those have a high copper content, not an excess of iron.

    HD: I think contrary to popular opinion about shellfish they’re actually lower on the food chain, so they’re lower in heavy metals and other contaminants than fish are. Just from a personal note since I started eating a serving of shellfish once a week three years ago, I haven’t noticed any new gray hairs starting — the same ones that had already started, unfortunately when I was 30, are still there, they haven’t reversed. I haven’t noticed it continuing to spread, so it does work, making sure you get your copper intake balanced. In the form of shellfish it’s quite balanced.

    RP: Iron accumulates with aging. If a person is going to eat foods that are very high in iron, such as meat or liver, I think it’s helpful in the long run to have some coffee right at the same time you’re having meat so you don’t absorb all of the iron.

    HD: Yeah, iron is a quite damaging ion itself, isn’t it, it’s very pro-inflammatory and oxidative…

    RP: Yeah, it attacks and interacts with the polyunsaturated fats, and it tends to increase your serotonin.

    HD: Isn’t that, you’ve mentioned lipofuscin.

    RP: Oh, yeah, it’s formed by the oxidation, chronically, of polyunsaturated fats interacting with iron and estrogen are the main…

    HD: Just for our vegetarian listeners--are there vegetables that are particularly high in copper? A vegetable source?

    RP: None that I know of.

    HD: What about eggs, do eggs have any copper in them?

    RP: Not enough to count.

    HD: What about seaweed, does it have any copper?

    RP: Yeah but you would probably get a toxic amount of iodine.

    HD: Lead and heavy metals and too much of that.

    RP: Yeah, the seaweed is not very discriminatory.

    HD: On what metals it picks up?

    RP: Yeah.

    HD: Dr. Peat, I’m just keen to ask you about osteoporosis, I know we all hear about calcium and brittle bones and post menopausal women being at risk of fracture, what’s your interpretation of the cause of osteoporosis?

    RP: My current interest in it is that it’s a good way to conceive the unified nature of the aging processes, because everyone’s bones get thinner with aging, and it corresponds pretty well to the loss of muscle tissue with aging. Generally it corresponds to the calcification of soft tissues that shouldn’t have calcium, and the excitatory processes of all the inflammatory and nervous activity — muscle cramping and so on — all of these things are associated with the misapplication of calcium, failing to put it in the bones. All of that is under the control of energy metabolism, so something going wrong with your thyroid and oxidative metabolism. The parathyroid, lactic acid producing kind of metabolism tends to replace it and causes stress, atrophy, shrinking of the tissues.

    HD: It’s more of an error of calcium metabolism, so, in terms of correcting…because I know you’re very big on natural sources of calcium, and the calcium recommendations that you’ve mentioned in the past may to some people perhaps seem high, but have certainly proven very useful for people with conditions related to calcium decrease. So what kind of calcium intake do you think is reasonable for people, especially those people approaching an age where…you know, 50, or whatever they are…

    RP: The Masai people and other cattle-raising people in eastern African often get 5000mg of calcium a day, for a long period of time.

    HD: And this is all from milk?

    RP: Yeah. There’s been a lot of publicity in the last few months about calcium supplements not being very helpful, and the most popular form of calcium supplement medically has been either calcium gluconate or calcium…I guess gluconate is probably the most popular…

    HD: Or citrate.

    RP: Citrate, yeah. Citric acid itself causes you to lose calcium in your urine. Lactate is another popular supplement. All of those have their anti-calcification effects, causing you to lose calcium or misplace it.

    HD: And here they advertise that calcium citrate is the only observable form for menopausal women, and you’re saying that it actually inhibits some of the absorption of the calcium?

    RP: It activates the loss of calcium in urine, where carbonate…it isn’t quite as soluble if you don’t have a lot of acid, but eventually, all the way down to your intestine, it has the chance to absorb, so it’s a very effective, but safe supplement, because the carbonic acid…the carbon dioxide is the form that stimulates bone formation rather than breaking down the bone.

    HD: And a really easy way to get an adequate level if you don’t eat dairy, or drink milk, or eat cheese is to do eggshell powder for calcium carbonate. Like where a quart of milk has about 1000mg of calcium, am I correct, Dr. Peat?

    RP: Yeah, 1000 or 1200.

    HD: 1000 to 1200. And if you have a 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground eggshell powder, you take that three times a day with your meals, so that your acid level is adequate, that’s providing around 2000mg of calcium. And that 1/4 teaspoon is smaller than most calcium pills you saw.

    RP: And there have been chemical analyses comparing eggshells to other…to the commercial calcium supplements, and they find that the lowest concentration of toxic heavy metals is in eggshells. Oyster shells are the next cleanest, but even they have slightly more of the toxic heavy metals.

    HD: Because naturally as mammals, we accumulate heavy metals and things we want out of our circulation and our bones, and so if you’re taking a calcium supplement and it’s from an animal’s bones, then you could essentially be poisoning yourself. Is this correct, Dr. Peat?

    RP: Yeah. Old cows are sometimes used to make the bone meal, and their lead content is really high.

    HD: All right. So calcium in the form of eggshells is an excellent supplement for combatting osteoporosis.

    HD: For those people who don’t want to drink milk, because milk has the protein and sugar that helps with bone production, as well as the calcium.

    RP: And aspirin…people seldom talk about it, but aspirin improves calcium retention in bones, and it isn’t as profitable as to sell as an osteoporosis drug, as the bisphosphonate and such things, but it’s very safe, as long as you take vitamin K along with it. And vitamin K happens to be a pretty expensive vitamin, but it is right at the center of the regulation of calcium; it protects your arteries from calcification, and it allows the bone to use carbon dioxide. It carboxylates the proteins that bind calcium into the bone, and so you’re protecting your arteries and building your bones when you have adequate vitamin K. And both aspirin and vitamin K are known, practical bone-building supplements.

    HD: Do you have any recommendations for food sources for vitamin K?

    RP: Kale is the vegetable that's richest in it, I think. And liver is a very rich source.

    HD: So do you know, for example, how much kale someone would use to get the equivalent vitamin K in order to be able to use aspirin safely?

    RP: I think every other day serving of well-cooked kale will give enough vitamin K, but the Japanese have treated osteoporosis and hardening of the arteries with doses of vitamin K that were 500 times the normal dietary requirement. It's safe, even at those high levels.

    HD: I know you've mentioned 1mg of vitamin K is sufficient. I think Thorne Research produces a vitamin K that is 1mg per drop and that would be enough to use alongside one 325mg aspirin.

    RP: Yeah.

    HD: Nettle tea has vitamin K, besides the minerals. Calcification of the arteries is fairly common; you hear about it quite a lot, and this is due to aberrant calcium metabolism, and actually to use calcium is not the problem. Because I know that I hear people say, “Well, if I’m supposed to be something about my calcification, then I don’t want to be consuming calcium.” But it’s actually counterintuitive, because consuming adequate amounts of calcium will drive parathyroid hormone down. And will deposit calcium in the correct location, not on the arterial wall.

    RP: Several years ago, several people noticed that people taking psychoactive drugs were getting osteoporosis. The SSRI anti-depressants that supposedly increase your serotonin — they don't reliably do that, but that's what they call them — they were seeing osteoporosis develop in people who had been on those for several years. And that led to some rethinking of bone metabolism. They see that serotonin, produced and coming mostly out of the intestine, reaching the bones — as a result of inflammation in the intestine, for example, or from taking a drug that increases serotonin — is interfering with bone metabolism and causing early, quick development of osteoporosis. And so now a couple of groups are coming out with drugs to suppress the synthesis of serotonin to cure osteoporosis.

    HD: Thank you Dr. Peat, I really appreciate your time and your expertise.
  2. burtlancast

    burtlancast Member

    Jan 1, 2013

    I've attached both the PDF and WORD files below.
  3. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

    Jan 4, 2012
  4. tara

    tara Member

    Mar 29, 2014
    Thanks. :):
  5. jyb

    jyb Member

    Nov 9, 2012
  6. mayweatherking

    mayweatherking Member

    Aug 18, 2015
    Pretty good information. .. would love to read more interviews with him if anyone has links
  7. Blossom

    Blossom Moderator

    Nov 23, 2013
    Go to the board index and scroll down to the subforum for interview transcripts.
  8. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

    Jan 4, 2012

  9. mayweatherking

    mayweatherking Member

    Aug 18, 2015
  10. slayers

    slayers Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    hair loss = genetics... if your gonna lose it nothing will stop it
  11. tara

    tara Member

    Mar 29, 2014
    And there I was thinking blood and bone was good fertiliser for the garden.