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My Vitamin A Elimination Diet

Discussion in 'Experiments' started by franko, Jul 14, 2018.

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  1. franko

    franko Member

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    This is the diet I tried for my VA Elimination (VAE) experiment based on Grant Genereux's Vitamin A toxicity theory.

    Notes
    If you want to see Grant G's VAE diet, it's on p 334 of PFP. His was much stricter. I did things a little different, but with the same goal: eliminate / minimize VA. This is just what I tried.

    I think it's a safe estimate that I consumed, on average, less than 100 IUs of VA per day with this diet. And it may have actually been much less than that. Considering that the RDA for men is 3000 IU of retinol — I'd say that my diet was quite low indeed, even if it wasn't zero. Based on my symptom results, it seems to have been low enough for my body to deplete its retinol stores.

    • I have been on this diet since the beginning of April 2018. So I'm about 3 1/2 months in at the time of this post.

    • Just in case it's not clear: this is only a "diet" in the sense of "it's a set of foods". I wasn't trying to restrict calories. I ate when I was hungry and ate till I was full. A normal three meals a day + snacks.

    • I didn't avoid wheat / gluten. But I never noticed wheat or gluten causing problems for me in the past, and it would be difficult for me to give up, so I didn't. I kept it and the VA elimination diet still worked for me without needing to eliminate gluten. Maybe it'd have worked better/faster without it, I don't know. Maybe others (obviously the Celiac / gluten sensitive / IBD) will need to eliminate gluten (see: Grant's theory on the gluten connection).

    • This might not be the "healthiest" VAE diet you could do (whatever that means) — or the one you should necessarily do — but I'm just being honest. I'm not claiming to be the most disciplined man around. I like soda, for example, and even though it would eliminate more variables, I didn't want to give it up and it has no VA so I kept it. And I didn't want to just eat bland food all day so I took chances on things like sauerkraut and mustard and soy sauce. But the important thing is: it was very low in VA and it worked (for me)!

    • The number in [brackets] is the amount of VA in 100grams of that food, as per my research. But it's not guaranteed to be 100% correct — consider it an estimate and "fact check" it. You can usually just google search "vitamin a in [food]" and it'll pop up from Google, and the source for that is usually the USDA Nutrient Database — which you can also search directly.

    • At first (week or two) I just went "low VA" and kept a some eggs and cheese in my diet. I started noticing benefits within the first couple weeks though, and so I eliminated eggs and dairy, which brought me to the diet below.

    • In summary, here's what's significantly different about this diet from how I used to eat: no eggs, no dairy (no milk, no cheese, no cream, no butter), no orange juice, no fruit except apple and lemon juice and low VA strawberry jelly, tiny amounts of low A plant food for "flavor" (sauerkraut, onion, garlic, mustard). In super short summary: it's basically staple carbs (bread and rice) + meat (mostly beef) + a little flavoring.

    • Notice also no spices or herbs (most are very high in VA per gram). Thankfully vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, onion, sauerkraut and mustard were very low VA and with a little creativity, saved this diet from being torturously bland. But those were "adventurous" compared to Genereux's diet or a strict carnivore diet.

    • Quick contrast w/ Genereux's diet: I never ate beans, never ate brown rice (only white), never drank coffee, only ate cauliflower once, never took Vitamin C. I used quite a bit of coconut oil, and only a little olive oil. I only drank a little water, mostly drank soda and apple juice w/ meals.

    • The percentage numbers are rough estimates of the proportion of that food I consumed as a portion of the total of that particular category (e.g. roughly 60% of my carb foods was bread/wheat).

    Carbs
    60% Bread (or pancakes) [0] (my staple: Aldi brand ciabatta rolls w/ enriched flour & no fat)
    30% Rice [0] (typical: wheat/bread with breakfast & lunch, rice with dinner)
    5% Potatoes (w/ no skin) [0]
    5% Pasta (wheat white flour) [0]

    Meats
    75% Beef (~ 2-to-1 ratio whole beef [roasts, steaks, stir fry] to ground beef) [0]
    15% Tilapia [0]
    5% Chicken [21]
    5% Tuna*, white, canned [~20]

    *Be cautious with tuna. Vast differences in species. E.g. avoid bluefin tuna which has 2520 IU per 100g.

    Fats
    90% Coconut oil (regular and the liquid kind) [0]
    10% Olive Oil [0]

    Snacks & Sweets
    • potato chips cooked in coconut oil (Boulder brand) or olive oil (Trader Joes)
    • chocolate chips, dairy-free (Enjoy Life brand)

    Drinks
    50% root beer or other soda [0]
    30% apple juice [0]
    10% lemonade [0]
    10% water [0]
    • btw, I never drank coffee

    Flavorings & Sauces
    Bland meat + carbs got pretty boring so I had to figure out ways to make sauces without egg or dairy.

    When I want to add flavor to a burger or steak or fish sandwich:

    • sauerkraut [3 IU in 1/8 cup]
    • mustard [5 IU in 1 tsp]
    • vinegar [0]
    • soy sauce [0]
    • coconut/olive oil + vingegar + mustard = vinegarette
    • coconut/olive oil + lemon juice + mustard = "vinegarette"
    • onion powder & garlic powder

    When I want a broth / sauce w/ dinner:

    • soy sauce + beef broth + sugar + gelatin
    • beef pan sauce / au jus: beef broth or water + scrape up browned bits of beef remaining in cast iron pan after cooking steak + oil + a little mustard or soy sauce vinegar

    Typical Breakfasts
    • pancakes (no egg, no dairy) w/ dairy-free chocolate chips(Enjoy Life brand) or maple syrup
    • toast with strawberry jelly
    - w/ glass of apple juice or lemonade

    Typical Lunch
    • beef burger on white bread roll w/ "flavorings"
    • steak sandwich w/ flavoring
    - w/ a root beer soda

    Typical Dinners
    • beef pot roast & rice (w/ beef broth, +sometimes: garlic [9] & onions [2])
    • stir fry beef & rice: w/ broth + soy sauce + sugar
    • beef steak & mashed potatoes
    • broiled tilapia & rice: w/ lemon juice + coconut / olive oil
    - w/ a root beer soda

    Supplements
    I took a few B vitamin doses at first but stopped that within the first month. Maybe 5 doses.
    • Occasional zinc, maybe a dozen doses total spread out across the duration.
    • I took some vit K for several days when I had some tooth sensitivity but then it went away and I stopped. Again, maybe like 5 doses spread out once a day.
    • Note: I never supplemented Vit C so... there's that. (And my apple juice has no Vit C).
    • None of the supplements were regular or consistent.

    Results
    The short version is that it basically cured my chronic depression and chronic fatigue — which is the most significant and life-changing effect for me — but several other symptoms have improved as well. I'm working on a full, detailed write up of this. But for now you can see my summary in the theory thread: https://raypeatforum.com/community/threads/grant-genereuxs-theory-of-vitamin-a-toxicity.24722/
     
  2. Wagner83

    Wagner83 Member

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    It's very low in fiber while not being high in liquids, perhaps the lack of fermentation helps. I wonder if you will soon be bathing in iron with all the beef. Did you put your diet in cronometer out of curiosity?
     
  3. OP
    franko

    franko Member

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    Good idea. I'm uploading a typical day of VAE diet in cronometer.

    VAE Diet - Typical Day - Foods.pngVAE Diet - Typical Day - Nutrients.png

    Ironically, I am probably eating less PUFA than when I was "Peating" — because I did not want to give up eggs and dairy (until I read Genereux's theory).

    What's funny is that this typical VAE day has 68 IU of VA but 2/3rds of that is from 1 tsp of dijon mustard — I think I'll try cutting that out and just sticking with sauerkraut on my burgers. That'd bring it to about ~25 IUs.

    And while I'm at it, I will upload a day I tracked in Feb 2018, when I was still on the "Peat" diet.
    Notice the difference in Vitamin A.

    Peat Diet - Feb 2018.pngPeat Diet - Feb 2018 - Vitamin A.png

    6000+ IUs on the Peat diet!

    Was I "Peating" wrong to get that much VA?

    You tell me. That was just one day but it was typical of what I tried to do: lots of milk, orange juice, cheese, some eggs, some coffee w/ cream and sugar. I was probably low on calories but that's probably because I was avoiding foods (like starch and non-gelatinous red meat) and probably just didn't want to have any more damned milk and OJ!

    And get this: Two years ago when I had knew practically nothing about Vitamin A, I still (for some reason) threw it in with some private blood work and posted this question to this forum (in 2016):

    https://raypeatforum.com/community/...or-deficiency-in-your-diet.10597/#post-139042

    I don't blame anyone for not answering. I had no idea either. And I shrugged it off. But I still have that bloodwork. It's from Feb 2016 and it showed a "HIGH" serum retinol of 87 µg/DL (see attached screenshot).

    Feb 2016 - High Serum Retinol.png

    Some might say: Well, that's why this diet worked for you, you had abnormally high levels of retinol!

    Well, yeah, it appears I did. Possibly for 2+ years...

    But do you realize you can get 6000 IU per day so easily on a "Peat" diet?

    (And that wasn't even a "liver day" which can give you 27,000 IUs from just 3 ounces of liver by itself.)

    And did you realize that averaging 6000 IU per day could give you abnormally high serum retinol?

    (As it seems to have done for me).

    And did you know high serum retinol could be so toxic and produce so many disease symptoms?


    (I sure didn't. And I sure wish I would have.)

    Between that bloodwork in Feb 2016 and that snapshot when I was still Peating in Feb 2018 — that was two years of trying to be strict Peat — and yet my health just got worse.

    In addition to deepening depression and worsening fatigue and insomnia, several new very troubling symptoms arose in last two years of Peating (which is partly why I was desperate and ready to try something new):

    • had a one-time episode of a "pinched nerve" — most painful thing I've experienced, couldn't stand up or I'd collapse from intense pain — also couldn't lay down fully — so I had to try to sleep sitting up
    • waking up with numbness and tingling in my arms and hands (parathesia?) in varying sleep positions & getting that easily from just sitting in a "bad" position
    • shortness of breath at rest
    • worsening insomnia (couldn't fall asleep, can't sleep thru the night for several days in a row)
    • spontaneous sharp inhalations of breath, particularly when lying on my back before sleep (I think early sleep apnea signs)
    • hand tremor (forgo the name but: shaky hands when making deliberate movements like bring hand to mouth)

    All of those symptoms disappeared within 3 months of the VA elimination diet.
    • no more waking up with numb and tingling arms or hands
    • no more shortness of breath
    • no more insomnia (falling asleep is much easier and have sleep through the night consistently for 2+ months, with the except of one or two sleep disruptions)
    • no more sharp breath inhalations (with the exception of a recent short-lived "recurrence" triggered by an accidental high VA day which I will explain later)
    • greatly improved tremor — I think it's mostly gone — but I notice a slight tremor if I have am late to a meal — haven't eaten in 6+ hours it coincides with feeling kinda nervous and hypothyroid)

    See this is why it's taking me awhile to do the full, detailed write-up on my previous symptoms and which ones have cured, improved or persist. That's just the new ones that arose during the last two years.
     
  4. sugarbabe

    sugarbabe Member

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    I could analyze the **** out of your diet changes! First thing that stands out is you lost your appetite on the milk and OJ, this happened to me too and I was also doing really bad on that way of strict Peating. You are now eating a lot more! That can help your body heal. You also drastically cut your calcium intake. Maybe you had high tissue calcium, as a hypothyroid individual high calcium can cause parasympathetic dominance. I also had shortness of breath on the milk diet. And yet I got better without cutting dairy. Your depression could indicate you were not digesting the milk.

    You may have gotten all these benefits from cutting out dairy alone and eating food that increase your appetite.
     
  5. postman

    postman Member

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    Is vitamin a destoryed by heat? Or ehat destroys it? How come apples have plenty of it but apple juice has none? And how do you know if it hasnt just been reduced to retinoic acid? Then it would probably be listed as 0 vitamin a. Thanks for writing about your experience.
     
  6. Nighteyes

    Nighteyes Member

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    I love the effort everyone put into convincing you that you must be wrong, franko... at least that keeps This interesting discussion on Vitamin A going :)

    I Think its great that you found something that worked for you. Must be so Nice to watch annoying symptoms disappear. Thanks for sharing your story and keep us updated..

    Have you considered doing something to not absorb so much of that dietary iron? Maybe coffee?
     
  7. Wagner83

    Wagner83 Member

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    That looks like a pretty decent diet but I'd say some things are missing and you could take measures to limit iron absorption (imo). Not eating beta carotene forbids you from eating a lot of foods with interesting nutrients, perhaps as your retinol level goes down you can continue to avoid retinol while some beta carotene will be ok since the body has mechanisms to choose what to do with it to an extent. It will be interesting to see if cravings evolve. Retinol is a pufa afaik, so having it in high amounts floating around everywhere may not be optimal.
    You can search for Travis ' posts on vitamin a, he labeled it as quite dangerous, particularly retinol I think, he guessed that as long as the liver isn' t full there may be no obvious issues but once it starts spilling out in the blood there will be. Like I said on the other thread @stargazer1111 had problems with vitamin a too and has decided to research it.
     
  8. mipp

    mipp Member

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    Considering that, my diet was accidentaly quite low for at last two years or more. First switching from LCHF to a Peat-inspired low fat diet (cutting dairy fat, pork fat, eggs, leafy vegetables), couldn't force myself to eat liver, didn't care for carrots. Then also limiting or eliminating high histamine foods (tomato juice/puree, most fruit) thus removing all significant sources of vitamin A. And recently a strict elimination diet for a few weeks. I should be deficient by now. (And I'm still alive - Grant Genereux right again!) :wink

    Based on my symptom results, I'd say lowering histamine had some positive effect, eliminating vitamin A -- probably not. Just started supplementing retinyl acetate to really test this theory.
     
  9. Richiebogie

    Richiebogie Member

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    Hi @franc0

    How often are your BMs on your current diet? Are there any pains in your intestines from such little vegetable fibre?

    It would be interesting to know whether any of your symptoms return with a little butter on your bread, or with a couple of cooked eggs each day, or with a little OJ...
     
  10. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    ...
    Glad you feel good. Being alive isnt a sign of success though. ;)
     
  11. Blossom

    Blossom Moderator

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  12. Travis

    Travis Member

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    This is interesting, and I've talked to two people on this forum who had overdosed on retinol.

    I think you will find that you have a higher capacity for ethanol once retinol liver concentrations fall. The cool thing about getting retinol from β-carotene is that the enzyme responsible for transformation is under genetic negative-feedback from retinoic acid, meaning that the more retinoids you have the less are created:

     
  13. OP
    franko

    franko Member

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    Hypervitaminosis A and bone. - PubMed - NCBI
    There is a chapter on osteoporosis in ETFOH. Chapter 17. Here is the introduction:

    "I believe that osteoporosis is another critical piece of evidence that really ties this whole theory together. It is a major direct connection between vitamin A consumption, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and autism, and just about every one of the other autoimmune diseases.

    Why is that? Well, firstly, blocked vitamin D usage and, therefore, calcium absorption now proves to be a factor in people with elevated levels of vitamin A. But, I think that’s only part of the story. What about all the retinoic acid? This substance will bring down the serum pH level, and the body’s pH regulation mechanisms need to kick in to counter this condition. I think it’s logical for the body to draw calcium from the bone stores to bring the pH level back to normal." - p. 229
    And another snippet from that chapter:

    "Here is a study from 1947 “The action of vitamin K in hypervitaminosis A.” [80] The authors report high rates of spontaneous bone fractures in rats that are given elevated levels of vitaminA. It’s so toxic they inadvertently broke bones just trying to handle the rats. These rats were fed high doses of vitamin A (via fish oils) for only 10 days! The bones were incredibly quickly depleted of calcium.

    Here’s a more recent study by Binkley and Krueger “Hypervitaminosis A and bone.” [81] They noted the consistent occurrence of spontaneous bone fractures associated with hypervitaminosis A and that “no compound other than vitamin A is known to be associated with such fractures in animals.” - p. 230
     
  14. Travis

    Travis Member

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    Wow, those are some powerful quotes. I wonder if this has something to do with RORβ? a melatonin nuclear receptor specifically inhibited by retinoic acid:

    Stehlin-Gaon, Catherine. "All-trans retinoic acid is a ligand for the orphan nuclear receptor RORβ." Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (2003)

    Melatonin is a powerful growth factor for bone, the one location where it is found in the highest concentrations (surprisingly).

    Another melatonin nuclear receptor, RORα, is also inhibited by retinoic acid. Yet this one, like RORγ, is also inhibited by vitamin D and vitamin D-like molecules.

    Meyer, Thomas. "In vitro and in vivo evidence for orphan nuclear receptor RORα function in bone metabolism." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2000)

    Slominski, Andrzej. "RORα and ROR γ are expressed in human skin and serve as receptors for endogenously produced noncalcemic 20-hydroxy-and 20, 23-dihydroxyvitamin D." The FASEB Journal (2014)

    St-Arnaud, René. "Deficient mineralization of intramembranous bone in vitamin D-24-hydroxylase-ablated mice is due to elevated 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D and not to the absence of 24, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D." Endocrinology (2000)
     
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