Water-retention Due To Adrenaline, Not Oestrogen?

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Apr 21, 2013
Messages
176
Like many here, I have been struggling to control the side effects of T3 and pro-thyroid substances that include aspirin, coffee and pregnenolone (However, DHEA in low doses, like @haidut recommends is OK.). Here is my correspondence with Ray on this matter.


Dear Dr. Peat,

I’m 34/male.

Why would T3 or something like high-dose caffeine+aspirin induce water retention, often within minutes of ingestion? It also happens at a lower dose of the pro-thyroid substance when followed by a burst of physical activity. Strangely, simply high-dose caffeine improves body tone at the expense of a very shrunken penis owing perhaps to its progesterone increasing effect. It manifests itself as puffiness of the chest and abdomen. My thighs become much larger and jiggly while my calve muscles lose definition. The overall puffiness usually resolves at least partially overnight. I also have spider angiomas on the inside of my thighs close to the knee indicating high oestrogen. However, the strange thing is that the water-retention problem doesn’t really go away even using strong aromatase inhibitors like letrozole or exemestane, neither with a few weeks of high dose zinc or even vitamin E.


Are there circumstances when exogenous thyroid or pro-thyroid substances can lead to an elevation in the body’s oestrogen load? The usual explanation from the literature is that excess thyroid increases SHBG levels and because of the different binding capabilities of the steroids to the SHBG, the effective androgenic/oestrogen ratio is adversely affected. Others suggest that thyroid is flushing the oestrogen from the tissues and into the bloodstream; it’s an intermediate state one has to soldier through. Some argue about a copper toxicity syndrome. And there are those who argue for nutrient deficiencies, or even a down regulation of 5aR activity.


A lot of folks on raypeatforum.com also report similar experiences, so I was wondering if you could shed some light on why this is happening?​


Have you checked your weight before and after those events, and noticed the quanties of urine afterward? It could be that the changes are produced by shifts in circulation and muscle tone. Too much caffeine can cause a surge of adrenaline, which can cause shifts of fluids and tone.



What’s interesting in my case is that using aromatase inhibitors doesn’t fix the water retention problem, it barely makes a dent; it does improve EQ and morning wood though. So, I think Ray’s suggestion of it being an adrenaline increase is very interesting.


I’m wondering, is this adrenaline increase due to a deficiency of nutrients, or the inability of the liver to store enough glycogen? What steps can one take to reduce adrenaline? Some here (@docall18) have had limited success with vitamin B6 as an adjunct to pro-thyroid substances but at a dosage that far exceeds Ray’s recommendations. Is there a way to *obliterate* adrenaline to test this hypothesis?
 

Miggie

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Jun 21, 2015
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83
Interested to hear more about this because i struggle with the same issue i guess. Water retention that won't go away with high doses of aromatase inhibitors. I look like I have been snorting coke because my pupils dilate so fast. Have you tried taking clonidine to block the adrenaline?
 

lindsay

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One quick suggestion - actually two. Have you tried switching from regular coffee to espresso? In my experience, I feel much better drinking espresso - less liquid, higher magnesium content (very good for relaxation) - basically, I can't tolerate regular coffee like I tolerate espresso. Once I began drinking it, there was no going back. That being said, to prevent adrenaline, I would add plenty of cream and sugar. I used to take my espresso with milk, but have found that I tolerate half and half better than milk - even low fat. One of my friends even commented that she loves coming over and having me make her coffee because she always feels better after drinking it - she usually drinks drip coffee.

Anyhow, Dewitt (from the site formerly known as Peatarian) told me about espresso versus regular coffee and how he found it was better and so I gave it a try - true game changer in the world of Ray Peat for me.

That being said, thyroid is the only thing I've really found to reduce edema - I tried all sorts of stuff, but even topical application of thyroid works better than anything else. But definitely try espresso with lots of cream and sugar. If you want an extra boost, blend in a raw egg :) That will help with the adrenaline rushes, but I never get them from espresso - drip coffee is another matter. Jitters like crazy and feel awful.
 

unexamined_whimsy

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Interested to hear more about this because i struggle with the same issue i guess. Water retention that won't go away with high doses of aromatase inhibitors. I look like I have been snorting coke because my pupils dilate so fast. Have you tried taking clonidine to block the adrenaline?

Yeah, clonidine sounds quite interesting. But it would be nice if we could reduce heightened adrenaline to a nutritional deficiency. For instance, in my case heavy watermelon consumption seems to ameliorate the problem somewhat.
 

unexamined_whimsy

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Apr 21, 2013
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One quick suggestion - actually two. Have you tried switching from regular coffee to espresso? In my experience, I feel much better drinking espresso - less liquid, higher magnesium content (very good for relaxation) - basically, I can't tolerate regular coffee like I tolerate espresso. Once I began drinking it, there was no going back. That being said, to prevent adrenaline, I would add plenty of cream and sugar. I used to take my espresso with milk, but have found that I tolerate half and half better than milk - even low fat. One of my friends even commented that she loves coming over and having me make her coffee because she always feels better after drinking it - she usually drinks drip coffee.

Anyhow, Dewitt (from the site formerly known as Peatarian) told me about espresso versus regular coffee and how he found it was better and so I gave it a try - true game changer in the world of Ray Peat for me.

That being said, thyroid is the only thing I've really found to reduce edema - I tried all sorts of stuff, but even topical application of thyroid works better than anything else. But definitely try espresso with lots of cream and sugar. If you want an extra boost, blend in a raw egg :) That will help with the adrenaline rushes, but I never get them from espresso - drip coffee is another matter. Jitters like crazy and feel awful.

Yes, espresso definitely works much better. I just get leery of the sugar and cream bit because I don't want to put on weight, or worse, get my liver fatted up. What a dream it would be to drink espresso mixed with condensed milk all day! I wonder if there is a recommendation of the amount of sugar+fat one can safely metabolise with say a shot of espresso.
 

lindsay

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Yes, espresso definitely works much better. I just get leery of the sugar and cream bit because I don't want to put on weight, or worse, get my liver fatted up. What a dream it would be to drink espresso mixed with condensed milk all day! I wonder if there is a recommendation of the amount of sugar+fat one can safely metabolise with say a shot of espresso.

I actually lost weight switching to high fat dairy, as opposed to low fat dairy. Dairy fat contains far more Vitamin A and K2, which are important. I didn't do so great with regular milk consumption and I gained weight, despite keeping my fat intake lower. Saturated fat is protective and I think avoiding it made me unhappy - Ray Peat says you should eat foods that are tasty, and well I just decided that cream is much tastier in coffee and really, you need much less of it than milk, so it works out to about the same calorie and fat intake as whole milk, but with reduced liquid intake. I feel better with a bit of fat in my diet, but then again, I'm female. Anyhow, I have a past of bad health issues and estrogen dominance and switching to cheese and cream didn't make me gain weight. In fact, I've lost ten pounds over the course of the past 9 months or so and feel less estrogen dominant now.
 

superhuman

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May 31, 2013
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Hmm. Well if adrenaline is causing it, the best thing you can do is to smack down salt since that lowers adrenaline alot. 1 tablespoon of sodium bicarb really lessen my water retention. If i use regular salt i get more water retention so i may be reacting bad to chloride but sodium bicarb is amazing for it. So try that
 

dookie

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Yeah, clonidine sounds quite interesting. But it would be nice if we could reduce heightened adrenaline to a nutritional deficiency. For instance, in my case heavy watermelon consumption seems to ameliorate the problem somewhat.

How do you know adrenaline is causing your water retention? Do you have typical high adrenaline symptoms, like fast heart beat, shakiness, sweaty palms, cold feets and hands, etc? I would have expected adrenaline to be a diuretic.

I have personally tried clonidine, and it didn't help with any of my own issues (which includes water retention), and it made me sleep walk at night, pretty scary experience

I find it interesting that DHEA doesn't cause you any issues, yet pregnenolone does. Theoretically DHEA should be more likely to aromatize. It's also interesting that the pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitors didn't lower the water retention, when you'd expect it to be closely linked to estrogen.

I have found coffee helps in the short term, but in the long term increases the water retention. Nicotine (patches) is another thing which helps in the short term, and I thought that nicotine helps because it's a potent aromatase inhibitor, but another mechanism may be at play.
 

Orion

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When I forgot to take at least 1gram of potassium each day and not enough salt (~5grams), I will get puffy under eyes. Also not consuming lots of liquids helps.
 

superhuman

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@Orion 1 gram potassium as a supplement on top of foods that contains potassium? how much potassium do you get in total daily? 5 grams regular salt and how much total salt a day?

I drink 3-4 quarts of skimmed milk so thats like 3-4 gram of potassium a day. If i smack down regular salt i get more water retention.

I have never been able to figure out how to "cure" or get rid of my water retention and i have tried EVERYTHING
 

Orion

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@Orion 1 gram potassium as a supplement on top of foods that contains potassium? how much potassium do you get in total daily? 5 grams regular salt and how much total salt a day?

I drink 3-4 quarts of skimmed milk so thats like 3-4 gram of potassium a day. If i smack down regular salt i get more water retention.

I have never been able to figure out how to "cure" or get rid of my water retention and i have tried EVERYTHING


I try to keep mag, potassium, sodium salt high and keep my liquid intake to 1 quart per day (milk, juice, coffee), with small amounts of mag bicarb water. My supplemental potassium is just KCl salt.

Experiment for you to try is keep all your salts intake high and greatly reduce your liquids. Have you already tried this? I find that over doing liquids and low salts intake means puffy eyes, which I would guess means body wide retention. This would not be life long, just until you get healthier. I like Brian's post about getting adequate sunlight to make calcium and magnesium metabolism functioning via bright light boosting progesterone, which would probably help with other salts metabolism.

Also to note, more liquids make me colder, less liquids I feel warmer all around. I believe as your metabolism boosts you can handle more liquid intake.
 

superhuman

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@Orion sure but increasing and keeping minerals and esp salt high makes me more thirsty. So i need to drink :) i have tried increasing salt without water and it makes me thirsty and if i dont drink i start to dream about water and my mouth is super dry etc etc
 

Orion

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@Orion sure but increasing and keeping minerals and esp salt high makes me more thirsty. So i need to drink :) i have tried increasing salt without water and it makes me thirsty and if i dont drink i start to dream about water and my mouth is super dry etc etc

I went through the same reaction, try it for a day or two and fight the thirst. I have read that a symptom of too much drinking is actually being thirsty.

Try and see how your retention symptoms react.

How much are you urinating? Do you wake at night to urinate? Is your urine clear?
 

superhuman

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@Orion urine depends, its mostly semi clear.

Hmm fight the thirst means headache and stuff usually :( its easier for me just to not drink to keep my liquid down then to up my salt because that just makes me so thirsty

I dont wake up at night to urinate
 

unexamined_whimsy

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How do you know adrenaline is causing your water retention? Do you have typical high adrenaline symptoms, like fast heart beat, shakiness, sweaty palms, cold feets and hands, etc? I would have expected adrenaline to be a diuretic.

I have personally tried clonidine, and it didn't help with any of my own issues (which includes water retention), and it made me sleep walk at night, pretty scary experience

I find it interesting that DHEA doesn't cause you any issues, yet pregnenolone does. Theoretically DHEA should be more likely to aromatize. It's also interesting that the pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitors didn't lower the water retention, when you'd expect it to be closely linked to estrogen.

I have found coffee helps in the short term, but in the long term increases the water retention. Nicotine (patches) is another thing which helps in the short term, and I thought that nicotine helps because it's a potent aromatase inhibitor, but another mechanism may be at play.

I hadn't considered adrenaline as a root cause of water retention or even adrenaline as a stimulator of oestrogen, so what got me thinking is Ray's correspondence above. In terms of jitteriness: perhaps mild jitteriness when I feel I haven't eaten for awhile. It's really warm where i'm, and inspite of that, my hands and feet are not exactly toasty as they should be. Sweaty palms: yes, at times.

I tried clonidine last night, and besides the dry mouth and dry eyes it didn't prevent the water retention I got combining ~ 1g aspirin with a large red bull.

DHEA certainly increases oestrogen in conventional doses, but if I stick with @haidut 's recommended dosage of a few mg at each dose I do OK. Pregnenonlone, that I've only taken in doses in excess of 100mg, gave me clear estrogenic sides. @sladerunner69 suggested that it might be that the ratio of androgen / oestrogens is adversely affected even while increasing testosterone production, which is something most pro-thyroid substances do. The problem is that they also tend to increase SHBG, and the SHBG binds much more strongly to androgens than oestrogen.

If I do high dose coffee, without the aspirin, I find that high-dose coffee reduces water retention, but at the expense of a completely shrunken penis. I surmise this to be an increase in progesterone. In my experience, the beneficial effects of high-dose caffeine on water retention do not wane over time.
 

docall18

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Like many here, I have been struggling to control the side effects of T3 and pro-thyroid substances that include aspirin, coffee and pregnenolone (However, DHEA in low doses, like @haidut recommends is OK.). Here is my correspondence with Ray on this matter.


Dear Dr. Peat,

I’m 34/male.

Why would T3 or something like high-dose caffeine+aspirin induce water retention, often within minutes of ingestion? It also happens at a lower dose of the pro-thyroid substance when followed by a burst of physical activity. Strangely, simply high-dose caffeine improves body tone at the expense of a very shrunken penis owing perhaps to its progesterone increasing effect. It manifests itself as puffiness of the chest and abdomen. My thighs become much larger and jiggly while my calve muscles lose definition. The overall puffiness usually resolves at least partially overnight. I also have spider angiomas on the inside of my thighs close to the knee indicating high oestrogen. However, the strange thing is that the water-retention problem doesn’t really go away even using strong aromatase inhibitors like letrozole or exemestane, neither with a few weeks of high dose zinc or even vitamin E.


Are there circumstances when exogenous thyroid or pro-thyroid substances can lead to an elevation in the body’s oestrogen load? The usual explanation from the literature is that excess thyroid increases SHBG levels and because of the different binding capabilities of the steroids to the SHBG, the effective androgenic/oestrogen ratio is adversely affected. Others suggest that thyroid is flushing the oestrogen from the tissues and into the bloodstream; it’s an intermediate state one has to soldier through. Some argue about a copper toxicity syndrome. And there are those who argue for nutrient deficiencies, or even a down regulation of 5aR activity.


A lot of folks on raypeatforum.com also report similar experiences, so I was wondering if you could shed some light on why this is happening?​


Have you checked your weight before and after those events, and noticed the quanties of urine afterward? It could be that the changes are produced by shifts in circulation and muscle tone. Too much caffeine can cause a surge of adrenaline, which can cause shifts of fluids and tone.



What’s interesting in my case is that using aromatase inhibitors doesn’t fix the water retention problem, it barely makes a dent; it does improve EQ and morning wood though. So, I think Ray’s suggestion of it being an adrenaline increase is very interesting.


I’m wondering, is this adrenaline increase due to a deficiency of nutrients, or the inability of the liver to store enough glycogen? What steps can one take to reduce adrenaline? Some here (@docall18) have had limited success with vitamin B6 as an adjunct to pro-thyroid substances but at a dosage that far exceeds Ray’s recommendations. Is there a way to *obliterate* adrenaline to test this hypothesis?

Hi, yes i do find P5P B6 the best supp for reducing adrenaline. Most my life i have been running on adrenaline. and B6 is the only thing that really stopped it.

However the adrenaline made me very lean. I could eat anything and not put on weight. The B6 stopped adrenaline but caused water retention, bloating and weight gain due to underlying hypothyroidism and/or cortisol increasing to keep metabolism up.

Taking huge amounts of thyroid done nothing. This is probably because i was low in pregnenolone, dhea & progesterone.

I recently reduced the thyroid dose and added pregnenolone. This has been working great so far and the bloat is nearly gone. Now am going to slowly increase thyroid until optimized.

I previously got the estrogenic sides from pregnenolone. However, i find taking bigger doses helps (500mg+) - prob by increasing progesterone which is anti-estrogenic. Also, taking a few grams of aspirin and B6 P5P help. And of course taking enough thyroid with it.

Pregnenolone/progesterone seems to uncover hypothyroidism (increase TSH) in me, probably as it reduces adrenaline/cortisol forcing your body to use up your own stores of thyroid hormones to sustain metabolism.
 
Last edited:

unexamined_whimsy

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Apr 21, 2013
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Hi, yes i do find P5P B6 the best supp for reducing adrenaline. Most my life i have been running on adrenaline. and B6 is the only thing that really stopped it.

However the adrenaline made me very lean. I could eat anything and not put on weight. The B6 stopped adrenaline but caused water retention, bloating and weight gain due to underlying hypothyroidism and/or cortisol increasing to keep metabolism up.

Taking huge amounts of thyroid done nothing. This is probably because i was low in pregnenolone, dhea & progesterone.

I recently reduced the thyroid dose and added pregnenolone. This has been working great so far and the bloat is nearly gone. Now am going to slowly increase thyroid until optimized.

I previously got the estrogenic sides from pregnenolone. However, i find taking bigger doses helps (500mg+) - prob by increasing progesterone which is anti-estrogenic. Also, taking a few grams of aspirin and B6 P5P help. And of course taking enough thyroid with it.

Pregnenolone/progesterone seems to uncover hypothyroidism (increase TSH) in me, probably as it reduces adrenaline/cortisol forcing your body to use up your own stores of thyroid hormones to sustain metabolism.

@docall18, I tried 500mg doses of progesterone but I still got oestrogenic sides. How is your sexual function on the high dose pregnenolone?
 
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