Around the Web; PaleoFX Edition

I’ll be speaking and sitting on two panels at the Paleo(fx) conference this week, Wednesday-Friday in Austin, Texas. The meeting has a great lineup of speakers and I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of interesting people there. If you’re there, be sure to introduce yourself!

[1] Music to Read By: Glen Campbell has Alzheimer’s, and is doing a farewell tour. His final concert will be June 30 in Bayfield, Wisconsin. Here is “Wichita Lineman”:

And “Rhinestone Cowboy”:

[2] Interesting posts this week:

My favorite post of the week: Emily Deans reports on the Pathogen Host Defense theory of depression. Depression is part of the immune response to infection: it is how the immune system gets us to rest and avoid other people so as to keep the infection from spreading. The supporting evidence: every genetic allele known to increase the incidence of depression, also increases immunity to infectious disease. Moral of the story: if you’re depressed, find and treat your infections.

Bix discusses the role of histamine in depression. Antihistamines relieve depression. Of course, they may also inhibit the immune system from fighting an infection.

Kamal Patel has a new website on pain management,; he opens with an excellent discussion of nightshades. Peter Frost notes that redheads are more sensitive to pain.

Dr. Steve Parker reviews the classic study in which diabetic Australian aborigines were returned to their ancestral lifestyle.

Angelique Corthals presents an offbeat theory of multiple sclerosis. Another offbeat theory: Via Melissa McEwen, a paper argues that Crohn’s may result from bacteria which survive in refrigerators.

Chris Kresser discusses folic acid dangers, a topic I’ve recently done some thinking about.

Allan Balliet has a podcast interview with Dr Thomas Cowan, author of The Fourfold Path to Healing: Working with the Laws of Nutrition, Therapeutics, Movement and Meditation in the Art of Medicine.

Tony Federico was able to fix his cholesterol by adding carbs. CarbSane finds she sleeps better on 100g per day starches (PHD proportions) than she did on VLC. Cameron also had trouble on VLC.

Serum IL-6 levels predict mortality and disability. IL-6 is part of the immune response to many infections.

An 87-year-old billionaire aims to live to 125. He eats a lot of fruit and vegetable smoothies.

Parvovirus B19 is present in the thyroid glands of 90% of Hashimoto’s patients.

Stephan Guyenet got some nice exposure at Boing Boing, talking about how the cafeteria diet seduces rats. Matt Metzgar’s personal experiments are supportive of Stephan’s view.

Sean at PragueStepChild has a terrific post pointing out the flawed logic underlying a new “food reward in a pill” drug.

Seth Roberts warns that supplement quality can vary widely.

Apparently Dr Steve Phinney thinks the best fat is a mix of butter, olive oil, and canola oil. I think it’s possible to do better.

The Daily Mail reports that passing weak electric currents through the brain can lift patients out of depression for up to six weeks.

Via Dave Asprey, an “M2A” (mouth to anus) capsule enables photography of the intestine. He’s got video. Dave also has a rapid fat loss protocol: a diet of coffee, butter, and supplements. I prefer our Food for a Fast.

Warning: Dr Clark says that coffee is bad for people with gluten sensitivity, due to cross-reactive antibodies.

Dr Mercola defends free speech, and objects to an FDA assertion that walnuts are drugs. Yahoo reports that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is buying 7 million pounds of “pink slime” beef for the school lunch program.

I didn’t know this: “In healthy individuals, blood sugar rises to ~135 mg/dL after 15 minutes of vigorous exercise…. In Type 1 diabetics, the same intensity and duration of exercise produced blood sugars that exceeded 150 mg/dL in spite of continuous insulin infusion.” (from Sam Knox)

Via PaleoHacks, how a pig gets divided up into meats.

Matthew Green satirizes Paleo.

Finally, Apple came out with a new product last week, and Yoni Freedhoff has the marketing video:

[3] Cute animal:

Via Yves Smith.

[4] Meet Ray Audette: The author of NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body and one of the pioneers of Paleo:

[5] Not the weekly video: Dr. Mark Cucuzzella offers “The Principles of Natural Running”:

[6] Shou-Ching’s Photo Art:

[7] Weekly Video: Ever wondered what auroras look like from space?

Leave a comment ?


  1. First, nice link to Kamal’s pain management site. It is great and getting greater.

    Also, who knew Ray Audette had video on YouTube – well, I guess you did! I have his original book.

    Finally, good luck at PaleoFx. I wish I could be there. Austin is a great city and your presentation is going to be stellar as always. Are the presentations going to be made available via the Interwebs by any change. I would like to view some of them since I don’t get a chance to travel much.

    Cheers Paul!

  2. Paul — have you heard the Glenn Campbell album he released last year? Favourite track from that is Ghost On The Canvas:

    You can hear a cheeky little salute to Wichita Lineman’s morse code right at the start.

  3. Hi Paul,

    On the food reward issue there may be an unexpected side-effect, anhedonia:

  4. Hi Meredith,

    Yes, Kamal’s site looks terrific!

    I know PaleoFX will be recording the presentations. However, I believe they intend to make money from them, as they’ve asked presenters to sign over all rights to the recordings.

    Hi Simon,

    No, I hadn’t heard it. Thanks for the link!

    Hi Sarah,

    Interesting! Thanks for pointing that out. The brain is complicated.

  5. Thanks Paul and Meredith! I’m going to try to make the website as clear and evidence-based as 🙂

    I’m building up in complexity…first is nightshades and homeopathy, later tendon and bone issues, and finally the big daddy– lyme disease and other painful infections!

  6. re: Tony Federico was able to fix his cholesterol by adding carbs.

    … or was it from subtracting dairy fat …
    “no more heavy cream, limiting eggs to 6 per week, less butter”


  7. Campbell is sort of a native son of my hometown of Albuquerque where he moved to live with his uncle at the age of sixteen, until he left for the bright lights of LA to be a music star. I did the same but it didn’t work out quite as well as it did for Campbell.

    The FDA walnut thing is pretty pathetic–talk about mission creep. Grant sweeping powers to unelected bureaucrats then stand back and watch the crazy hijinks!

    Have fun in Austin and lastly, thanks for the linkage 😉

  8. Wow, the Angélique Corthals MS theory is incredibly fascinating. Has anybody seen the whole paper?

    “I propose a new framework for understanding MS as a dysfunction of the metabolism of lipids. Specifically, the homeostasis of lipid metabolism collapses during acute-phase inflammatory response triggered by a pathogen, trauma, or stress, starting a feedback loop of increased oxidative stress, inflammatory response, and proliferation of cytoxic foam cells that cross the blood brain barrier and both catabolize myelin and prevent remyelination.”

    I wonder what the proposed treatment is hinted at in the abstract?

  9. The Matthew Green link was hilarious! I laughed out loud several times while reading it.

  10. I have never seen any published research supporting the concept of cross-reactivity between gluten and a grain or legume. I have seen a recent study showing that there is not cross-reactivity between gluten and tef, millet, amaranth, and quinoa.

    I’ve also seen people who have had trouble with coffee start to wash the coffee beans and then they tolerate the coffee just fine. In other words, the coffee was cross-contaminated with small amounts of gluten. Given that there’s a range of sensitivity, this glutenated coffee may be easily tolerated by most people who consider themselves to be gluten sensitive.

    I think Cyrex Labs offers some very interesting antibody tests, but I’m not impressed with the cross-reactivity ones. Early on, they warned their customers that the initial chocolate cross-reactivity tests were invalid because of the casein in the chocolate. This seems like a very basic mistake to me; and how do we know that the other foods are not cc’d with traces of gluten?

    Bottom line – if coffee bothers you, try more than one brand and try whole beans that you’ve washed and dried.

  11. Some studies seem to suggest that redheads have higher pain thresholds.

    One of my relatives certainly does. A freckled, fair, true red head who never uses any pain meds at the dentist even with extensive periodontal surgery. (Paleo is improving their dental health, BTW.)

  12. Paul-
    Corthal’s MS theory makes more sense to me than the autoimmune theory. From the moment that I was diagnosed I have felt it was tied to my blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
    Another interesting note is that my sister was recently diagnosed with a mutation in both genes for MTHFR. I realize if I test positive for MTHFR my MS could be atributed to this mutation (or would I be considered not to have MS anymore?).
    This would be considered a lipid metabolism dysfunction right? Or am I wrong about this?

    Could this explain why some people with MS do well on a good diet (I’m thinking Dr. Terry Wahls)-leafy greens=higher folate=lower homocysteine? Maybe a lot of us (or some)with MS actually have MTHFR?

    I realize this is somewhat simplistic and looking through my old paperwork my folate levels were normal but it does open up a new avenue to investigate. I find the science fascinating but being a complete novice I apologize if I’m to off course here!

  13. Hi MarkES,

    Well, when you increase carbs you have to decrease fat. Since carbs were increased many-fold but fat reduced maybe 30%, I think it’s more likely to be the carbs, especially since we know a mechanism for the carbs. But the fat could be a factor too.

    Hi NoGlutenEver,

    Thanks for the info. I’m not sure how seriously to take the Cyrex stuff, so it’s good to hear from someone in the trenches.

    Hi Sara,

    It is very interesting. I have to think about it more, I’m inclined to an infectious view of MS, but diseases are generally multi-causal and this could be a significant factor. Your ideas are in line with Corthal’s, and so is the Terry Wahls experience. Perhaps you should get your genome tested too!

    Best, Paul

  14. Paul-
    I do think that there is probably an infectious element there also. Or maybe we will found out that there are different types of MS all caused by different factors and that is why some of us respond to some therapies and others continue to degrade.
    Hopefully someday we’ll find out!

  15. Here is a link to an article about MTHFR and MS.

    I presented with optic neuritis, had oligoclonal bands in my csf and scarring on my MRI. Really a “perfect” MS patient. It will be really interesting if I am diagnosed with this mutation. I’ll let you know when I find out.

  16. Hi Paul,

    One of things I found interesting about Tony’s history is that his cholesterol did not jump following Cordain/Wolf’s books, which has little to no starch carbs (no tubers). Only an occasional sweet potato if needed with intense exercise.

    So, is the rationale Tony got enough carb calories from fruit to keep the thyroid humming or maybe 7 weeks is not enough time to see hypothyroid symptoms?


  17. Thanks, Sara. Very interesting questions that I plan to look into.

    Mark, I think we’ll have to appeal to Tony for his point of view. He’ll have the best perspective on what may have happened.

  18. RE: Coffee and Gluten

    The doctor mention coffee protein. I did some digging around CalorieKing and discovered that 8oz of brewed coffee has 0.3g of protein, whereas a shot of espresso has less than 0.1g protein.

    Maybe switching from brewed coffee to espresso or an Americano would benefit those troubled by the cross-reactive antibodies? Or am I just being wishful? 🙂

  19. Coffee and Gluten: Say It Isn’t So | Critical MAS - pingback on March 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm
  20. Sounds like the Rapid fat loss is the ketogenic coconut oil fast you recommend except he suggests butter instead.

    Do you agree with the 6 day fast then need to carb load about every 7th day for leptin and other hormones, then repeat? Would a month or more on this strategy start affecting thyroid, etc?

  21. Hi Jay,

    I think you need to get carbs from time to time, but once every 7 days is too rare. You should get some every day, more when you exercise.

    I don’t think it would be a healthy strategy, too little nutrition. The goal is not so much to lose weight immediately but to be able to maintain the weight loss afterward. This protocol may be good for a wrestler or boxer trying to reach a weight class, or a bodybuilder trying to look lean at a competition, but is not a good weight loss protocol for the obese.

  22. Paul, good luck at the conference!

    I just thought PHD readers might find this interesting:

    From the abstract: “Colonization of [germ-free] mice with a normal gut microbiota normalizes bone mass.”

    And, from a recent comment by Kurt Harris at Free the Animal (slightly altered): “Parts of our genome are literally missing. Commensal organisms and saprophytic bacteria, necessary to regulate our immune systems, have been murdered over the past century and we are paying for it in spades.”

    Is anyone out there studying or planning to study the effects of the colonization of cafeteria-fed humans with a normal gut microbiota? As a simple non-scientist I no doubt am easily seduced by the promise of a ‘magic bullet’, and I do my best to combat that sort of thinking; still, it baffles me that human fecal bacteriotherapy is not a subject of more aggressive research.

  23. Hi Gary,


    That bone mass study is very interesting. If germ-free mice have higher bone density, perhaps cafeteria-fed mice have lower bone density than normal.

    There are ongoing studies looking into the link between gut flora and obesity. Fecal bacteriotherapy makes so much sense, but it’s not ever going to be lucrative, and it is so expensive to meet modern standards of “evidence” that only potentially lucrative treatments get studied.

  24. Corthals’ “offbeat” theory is familiar to me as Ray Peat discusses it in a similar context:
    The B19 Hashimoto’s link is interesting. That it occurs in 70-90% of cases requires further inquiry. On another note, has anyone considered that some viruses may be commensal?
    HIT training raising blood glucose is not surprising as it would highly stimulate adrenaline release, mobilizing glycogen, and glucagon pathways; a necessary adaptation to keep the brain fueled under such duress.

  25. Dear Paul
    Have you seen this, a comprehensive review on omega 3 supplements and manufacturing from Efsa (European food safety authority). Totally supports your view on avoiding omega 3 supplements, from what I can make out of it.

    Scientific Opinion on Fish Oil for Human Consumption. Food Hygiene, including Rancidity

  26. Hi Nick,

    No, I didn’t see that. Thanks for the pointer!

    Best, Paul

  27. Hi Paul-
    just wanted to thank you again for visiting us here at CrossFit NYC last time you were in town, always enjoy your discussion. One of my members (who has achieved good results by implementing PHD) saw this study on longevity & red meat consumption
    and wanted to know your thoughts on the study and it’s results, so I thought I would pass it on to you.

    Court Wing

  28. Hi Court,

    Thanks for hosting me!

    I haven’t thoroughly read the study but I’ve seen many other studies like it so I don’t find it that surprising. I commented briefly on it in several places: and

    Best, Paul

  29. Hi Paul-
    thanks for the fast reply! Next time I shall have to employ that marvelous invention called the “site specific search engine”; I hear they’re powered with steam…perhaps I can blame the sleep deprivation?
    I’ll post your reply to our comments.

    Thanks again,

  30. Hallo,
    I have also the low free t3 problem. But 150g carbs don’t fix it. So now I will try to go higher but it seems impossible to me to do this only with rice, potatoes and fruits, because of the food volume. Seems like I have to go back to juice and bread. That’s a pity.

  31. Pia,

    What about rice syrup? Use it to make custard, rice pudding, ice cream, and pour it over tapioca flour pancakes. There are plenty of ways to increase carbs without resorting to bread and juice.

  32. Ellen,

    Do you have a recipe for tapioca flour pancakes you can share? Would be most appreciated!


  33. Elyse, not to steal Ellen’s thunder — I will try hers too if she has one to share — but I have a PHENOMENAL tapioca pancake recipe that my kids and other innocent (i.e., non-‘paleo’) bystanders enjoy:

  34. Paul,

    I was wondering if you had any articles specific to combating pathogens/infections? Moreover, do you have a protocol of sorts for determining if and what infections you may have, and what the best course of action to take?

    Do all “infections” respond to the same basic treatments? What do you think of natural parasite cleanse type things like Huma-worm, or zapper devices?


  35. John D:

    Steal away!!! Those sound wonderful. I can’t wait to try them. Of course, in my book, sour cream makes anything delicious and the more the better!

    What I actually meant was *any* kind of pancake made with safe starch flour(s) and some rice syrup in the recipe and then on top…for those with good blood sugar regulation.

    I usually make a simple version of chebe bread, but without the cheese. It is probably wonderful with cheese, so that would be another option…just add some grated cheese to the mix below. I make it plain and consider it a “bread” rather than a pancake. I have been experimenting with adding various herbs and spices: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are good. Today I did sauteed onions. Other thoughts are lightly sauteed garlic, maybe some curry spices…. It would probably make a good pizza base.

    1 cup tapioca flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 T. melted ghee or butter or CO
    2 T water
    2 – 4 eggs, depending on size

    I make one big pancake, top it with chunky salt before I turn it over.

  36. Hi Daniel,

    I have a number of articles, they can be found in the category “Infections”:

    A protocol for diagnosing and treating disease is really a research project that we’re trying to develop, it’s not a finished product. Unfortunately infections are highly varied and so it is not possible to generalize about how to detect them or respond to them.

    Best, Paul

  37. Hi Paul,

    Great Around the Web post, as usual! 🙂

    Just wanted to ask for your opinion. So, I read a variety of Paleo/Primal/Ancestral/etc. blogs and there’s consistent information from all of them (the big main points that the lifestyle is based on). I actually began to read the Bulletproof Executive blog because of the link you provided here regarding the rapid fat-loss via coffee and butter (and had also heard about Bulletproof Coffee via Food Lover’s Primal Palate blog). I then watched a video that was on the Bulletproof blog where Dave Asprey was presenting his bio-hacking findings, and there was a lot of talk about mycotoxins (which I don’t think I’ve ever really heard about in the Paloe/Primal-sphere) and how molds in our food and environment really messes us up (and also that whole bit about how cholesterol and cancer is a response to having mold in our bodies – what?!). Apparently, he is highly sensitive to mycotoxins, more so than your average Joe (or that is the impression that I get from his talk, e.g. him eating a bar of chocolate and if it has mycotoxin, his hands and feet swell up for a day – I have to say that’s never happened to me before, thank goodness!), so maybe he feels the detrimental effects more than others and it’s not such an issue for most people? However, given that argument, I thought that’s not much different from someone saying I don’t have stomach issues when eating bread so gluten isn’t really bad for me, but in essence, gluten may be more damaging to you than you realize, it’s just that you don’t have a strong reaction to it.

    So, with all that (long thing) said, could you shed a little more light on this issue and what you may know about it? I read through his Bulletproof Diet, and he’s got similar points as those made by the Paleo/Primal community, but then again he doesn’t go much into why he recommends what he recommends on the diet page of his blog, unlike the video post where he talks heavily about mycotoxin and why what he recommends is a way to avoid it (although I don’t know if I can throw away food if it’s been sitting in my fridge past 24 hours – he says it’s already molding at that point although you can’t see it, so he doesn’t eat leftovers) and the supplements he takes (like charcoal, bentonite clay, zeolite, cholestyramine, actos, glucomannan, beta glucan, etc. all meant to draw out the mold). I guess I want to know how much of this I need to be aware of and is it essential to work that into my diet (i.e. avoiding mycotoxin). I’m thinking following PHD or Paleo/Primal would already help with a lot of that, but I wanted to know if I need to follow this more
    closely or not.

    Thanks so much! 🙂

  38. Hi Su Jin,

    Fungi/mold are everywhere; they attack organic matter so they’re on a lot of foods in low amounts (high amounts when food gets moldy). Any food that is stored for long periods of time is likely to get moldy.

    Even if the mold doesn’t flourish within the human body and won’t produce enduring infections, upon death mold cells disintegrate to release a lot of toxins (cell wall components mostly). Some people are more sensitive to these than others.

    Fungal toxins can circulate for a long time, getting re-absorbed with the bile, so detox aids like bentonite clay and charcoal and cholestyramine can be helpful in excreting them and reducing symptoms. But too much of these can lower serum cholesterol and impair immunity, leading to bacterial infections.

    Overall, there’s plenty of evidence for ill health effects from aflatoxin on peanuts and other mold toxins, but if you cook fresh foods at home and don’t have mold in your house, you shouldn’t have difficulty. We do eat leftovers, but try to finish them in 3-4 days and don’t eat anything if there is visible mold anywhere.

    If you have symptoms, sensitivity to mycotoxins might be one area to check out.

    Best, Paul

  39. Thanks for shedding some light on that, Paul. I don’t think I have any symptoms, but it was something that I had never considered before or knew much about. 🙂 But I’ll definitely be reading some more and weighing the evidence…

  40. Paul,I’ve noticed in this topic a post about “nightshades” toxicity. What’s your opinion on it ? (I can remember macrobiotic’s diet does not recommend them..^^) .Did you noticed Julianne Moore’s results on her weight loss success since she has excluded white potatoes and other nightshades from her diet. And moreover, would you recommend to replace potatoes _ as a safe starch source_ with another one, when weight loss is required ? It seems interesting to go further on this “potatoes” topic , as it is a so ancestral vegetables…that most of us cherish ! 🙂 Here is a link talking about resistant starch benefits (potatoes seems to have a significant amount of RS !
    Your opinion would be appreciated on all of this .. :)) Best, Maya

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