Around the Web; and Menstrual Cramp Remedy

Things that caught my eye this week:

(1) Great New Weight Loss Diet!!!: Man loses 7 pounds in his first 3 days on the “dog food diet.”

Let’s see, that’s 2.3 pounds per day, which if it came from fat would be a calorie deficit of 9,500 calories per day.

Are we really sure this isn’t the “look at dog food and decide not to eat it” diet?

(2) Even Our Bugs Have Bugs: The bacterium C. pneumoniae which contributes to so many diseases is often infected itself, by an even tinier bacteriophage. Infected C. pneumoniae is less dangerous to us. (Source: Hoestgaard-Jensen K et al. Influence of the Chlamydia pneumoniae AR39 bacteriophage ?CPAR39 on chlamydial inclusion morphology. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Feb 23

(3) Early Elective C-sections Not Good: The Wall Street Journal has the story:

[A] growing body of medical evidence indicates that gestation even a few days short of a full 39 weeks can lead to short- and long-term health risks….

A 2009 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that of 24,000-plus repeat elective C-sections, more than a third were performed before 39 weeks. The risk of complications, including respiratory distress, seizures and bloodstream infections, increased even among babies delivered in the last three or four days of the 38th week.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, infants born at 37 to 38 weeks face problems with brain development and function, including psychological, behavioral and emotional problems.

I was early – not sure how many weeks, but 4 pounds 10 ounces at birth. If I seem to have psychological, behavioral and emotional problems, this may explain it.

(4) Two Incredible Things: I was reading a BMJ editorial, and this paragraph shocked me:

He drew attention to rodent experiments10 showing that adult energy balance can be preprogrammed by administering leptin in utero and in early life. “Might one be able to supplement human milk with leptin?” he wondered aloud in a recent press interview—triggering yet another frenzy of speculation.

First, if giving leptin to pregnant women will make their babies grow up skinny, wouldn’t fat mothers (with high circulating leptin) produce skinny children, and thin mothers (with low circulating leptin) fat children?

Second, does the editor really expect us to believe that a scientist’s musings were greeted with “frenzy”?

(Source: Watts G. In search of fat profits. BMJ. 2007 Jun 23;334(7607):1298-9.

(5) Dick Cheney has no heartbeat: See here for details.

(6) You Be the Doctor Quiz #2: How do you cure this problem?

I vote for anesthesia in the jugular, or chili sauce on the cheek.

(7) Nature photos: Michel Denis-Huot in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve photographed three cheetahs catching a baby impala – and, because they were not hungry, playing with it before letting it go:

Click the image for more photos and the story.

(8) OxLDL Can Break the Blood-Brain Barrier: This interests me because the blood-brain barrier is important for protecting the brain from infections. OxLDL could be a major risk factor for dementia. Stay away from omega-6 fats! (Source: Lin YL et al. Resveratrol protects against oxidized LDL-induced breakage of the blood-brain barrier by lessening disruption of tight junctions and apoptotic insults to mouse cerebrovascular endothelial cells. J Nutr. 2010 Dec;140(12):2187-92

(9) The 10-Minute Cure for Menstrual Cramps: We are guardians to two nieces and a nephew, and one of the nieces was home from college this week. On Friday we came home to find her in bed, suffering from a bad case of menstrual cramps. She looked rather like Little Nell:

I gave her 750 mg of magnesium. Ten minutes later she bounced out of her room, smiling.

She is now a convert – to the belief that chocolate should be eaten daily!

(10) Do They Have a Mud-Wrestling Match at the End?: Gary Taubes (“The man who thinks everything Dr. Oz says is WRONG”) is going to be on the Dr. Oz show Monday. Check out the promo. Looks like fun!

(11) Weekly Video: The National Park Service is doing videos now and some of them are beautiful as well as informative. I thought I knew a lot about Yosemite, but I didn’t expect to see the beautiful coals at 4:30. Meet Horsetail Fall on El Capitan:

Leave a comment ?


  1. “First, if giving leptin to pregnant women will make their babies grow up skinny, wouldn’t fat mothers (with high circulating leptin) produce skinny children, and thin mothers (with low circulating leptin) fat children?”

    Isn’t there a difference between administering a hormone to the mother vs in utero? Are high circulating levels of insulin passed onto the fetus? Ghrelin?

    I think it’s pretty obvious we need to start administering leptin and statins directly to fetuses ASAP.

  2. “I gave her 750 mg of magnesium. Ten minutes later she bounced out of her room, smiling.”

    Sorry for a newbie question but… Even though I’ve reading some books about digestion, I still don’t understand how fast do foods get digested. Does 750mg magnesium really get absorbed in ten minutes? Some foods seem to take a bit longer time…

  3. Hi Valtsu,

    Electrolytes can enter circulation very quickly; they’re water soluble and diffuse rapidly.

  4. Is there any potential problems in consuming more magnesium than calcium? I seem to meet my daily requirements for magnesium but I rarely get enough calcium, usually about 30-40% of the daily requirement. Would supplementing with magnesium possibly throw off the ratio even more and cause potential problems in the future?


  5. Hi Robert,

    Since bones are a big sink for calcium, I don’t think there’s risk of upsetting cellular calcium-magnesium ratios by supplementing magnesium. Deficiencies will produce problems much more easily than excesses.

    The RDA for calcium is exaggerated; about 600 mg/day is probably sufficient as long as vitamin D status is good. We get about 200 mg calcium in our multivitamin and we eat some dairy (cheese, yogurt, cream), so we’re not too worried. Seaweed, green leafy vegetables, onions, carrots also have some. Mineral water is probably the best source of calcium — and was the primary Paleolithic source.

    We don’t as a rule recommend calcium supplementation: see But if your diet is bare of calcium sources, modest supplementation is fine. If you’re worried I would try to get more calcium containing foods or mineral water into my diet.

    But I wouldn’t cut magnesium intake.

  6. Those wild cheetahs didn’t eat the impala? C’mon. They must have had full stomachs!

  7. (3)well I guess any C-Section is not as good as normal birth

    a| C-Section bypasses the natural hormonal “explosion” (in my opinion being a significant cause of “psychological, behavioral and emotional problems”)

    b| and the kid is not exposed to mother’s microbial environment, otherwise a very important point of first contact for the kid’s immunity

  8. Hi Peter, maybe they were vegan cheetahs! (Actually, the story says they had just eaten and weren’t hungry.)

    Hi Tomas, yes, C-sections could be the issue. I was premature but natural.

  9. What are other sources of oxidized cholesterol we should be careful about? I’ve been taking a whey protein isolate supplement and am worried about that now…don’t want to go MAD!!!!!


  10. Rick,

    Answer to your question is
    “Stay away from omega-6 fats!”
    which means basically all vegetable and seed derived oils (except for coconut, palm oil, olive oil and maybe sesame oil).

    This is an excellent primer on fats which I recommend

    And the same site for the chemistry 101, very accessible

    Also it is good to consume chicken in moderation, it’s higher in n6 fats than beef or pork.

  11. Tomas,

    Thanks for the links. They discuss fat and stability and how some fats oxidize more readily than others, but what about oxidized cholesterol? I guess that if the fat is oxidized then the cholesterol is too. My concern is with processing of foods like Whey protein, and how that effects the cholesterol in those foods. I have read that Whey protein isolate is actually low in cholesterol but that other methods of making whey powder can have quite high amounts of oxidized cholesterol, as does skim milk powder. I must of read this at the WPF website or something. I should probably just stop eating/drinking the stuff, just find it hard to get enough protein.(I’m shooting for 100-150g a day)


  12. Rick,

    I am not sure but I think it’s safe to say that more PUFAs you eat (which are unstable by their molecular structure and tend to oxidize) makes room for oxLDL.

    I have no knowledge of whey protein though, sorry. I only intend to start delving deeper into weight-lifting and gaining muscle. You may find this site interesting: their protocol includes taking BCAA pre and post workout. I like their approach and read their articles from time to time.

  13. There is whey isolate which has 0(zero) cholesterol, fat and carbs per serving – which means there still may be trace amounts under 0.5 gramms, but 1-2 servings per day hardly gonna hurt you. And more I wouldn’t recommend anyways.
    BCAA’s are good stuff. I take 10g 2-3xper day (during 20h-fast) and same ~30minutes before training.
    I use a unflavoured pure powder (dymatize, ON, scitec) and just take 2 teaspoons and wash each down with water.
    No expensive flavoured product with more artificial stuff inside then BCAA(like M.Berkhan endorses) required!

  14. I am a latecomer to your excellent blog… couldn’t get the RSS link to work, for some reason, but when I typed your URL into Google Reader manually, it went through just fine. Just FYI.

    Also — what form of magnesium did you administer? I tried 400mg of magnesium citrate and it gave me diarrhea. Cut back to 200mg and still had problems. Finally switched to glycinate and it worked better. I am now experimenting with 5 sprays (on the skin) of magnesium chloride from Swanson’s.

    For daily supplementation, what kinds of magnesium would you recommend? Also, would you administer something different for women suffering from menstrual cramps? I’m sure my friends and family would love to know.


  15. Hi Jae,

    Magnesium citrate and magnesium chelates (such as glycinate) usually work well, but citrate can induce diarrhea – but I think usually only in magnesium replete persons. So it may be a good sign for your magnesium status that it happened. 🙂

    Both citrate and chelates are good. If you like to bathe, epsom salts in your bath water can improve magnesium status.

    For cramps, any kind of electrolyte deficiency can contribute. On a Paleo diet, potassium deficiencies are common. In addition to magnesium supplements, your friends and family might try potassium supplements (take multiple 99 mg tablets) or bananas/potatoes; salt; magnesium supplements; and calcium or mineral water.

    Best, Paul

  16. Interesting. I hadn’t heard that diarrhea is usually a problem only in magnesium-replete individuals. Thanks for the reply!

  17. Hi Paul,

    First full month on PHD and I am, as usual, having terrible menstrual cramps. I tried the magnesium glycinate (800mg) which has not made them subside. Is there anything else I may be lacking?

    I eat potatoes and bananas daily for potassium and follow the PHD supplement recommendations – although early days. I have type 1 diabetes.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Claire,

      If it’s not electrolytes/fluids (magnesium or potassium or water) then next most likely is an energy/ATP issue. Try supplementing pantothenic acid, vinegar (for acetyl groups), lemon or lime juice (citrate), and sour green apples (malate) for TCA cycle intermediates and acetylCoenzyme A, and eat more calories especially from non-protein sources like fruit and ice cream.

  18. Thanks Paul. I have been doubled over in pain today. I am definitely magnesium replete given my reaction to a large dose today! Upset stomach – at least rules magnesium out I guess. I will incorporate all of these things, take a look at the cycle you mention and see what happens next month. Hoping to get through a month without having to give into ibuprofen. Can’t face any eggs or meat right now so ice cream, water, acids and fruit sound appealing. I take pantothetic already, I’ll check the dose on your supplement page again.

    Thanks again.

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