Ask Me Anything at Reddit Tuesday noon

Just a brief reminder – I’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything at Reddit at noon Eastern time on Tuesday. To join in, visit Thank you to Sol Orwell for organizing this. UPDATE: The thread is here:

On Saturday, Shou-Ching and I will be speaking and signing books at Relentless Fitness in downtown Philadelphia. We’ll be taking a few vacation days around it and so our next blog post might be delayed into next week. Thank you very much to Roger Dickerman and Grace Rollins for organizing Saturday’s event, which is full. We’re excited to have an opportunity to meet our Philadelphia readers!

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  1. Ask Me Anything at Reddit Tuesday noon | Low Carb RSS - pingback on March 5, 2013 at 1:14 am
  2. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    Sorry, I couldn’t wait.

  3. Hi Paul!

    I am not able to participate but I do have a question regarding supplements. I would like to know the quality of a brand “Nature’s Plus” since I have a store nearby to shop. They do have more or less all of the supplements you recommend. Any thoughts?


  4. Looking forward to the talks in Philadelphia this Saturday! I am under strict instructions to report everything to the enthusiastic Low Carb Friends forum PHD group. 🙂

  5. When I clicked on the link above, I saw a lot of misleading, negative links.

  6. OK, my terminology might be off, remarks. Seems like some kind of smear effort.

  7. When you say noon, which time zone are you referring to?

  8. Hi Paul, sorry I didn’t get to make it to Reddit today, just wondering if you have seen any research on any negative health effects of having a vasectomy?

    Thanks, love the books and the blog!

  9. Maria Alcantara

    Dear Paul
    I’m really grateful to you. I’m reading the book and enjoying it. Despite feeling good in the diet constipation is a real problem. I am following the advice on the thread on that… Still no luck there.
    I’m also curious about your approach on dealing with mild hypertension. Can you please advise?
    Many thanks

    • I’ve suffered from constipation pretty much my entire life. Even after starting PHD, it is sometimes better, and then sometimes I’ll be constipated just like old times. One thing that seems to help more than other stuff I’ve tried is a magnesium drink that my doctor prescribed called Natural Calm. It took me around a week of taking it for it to start working – the jury is still out on whether this will be a good long-term fix.

      • Magnesium oxide seems to be the ideal form; sulfate is too strong, others are too weak.

        I would also consider adding well-prepared legumes such as dhal cooked to a paste and flavoured with masala and tahini, or humus, every now and then if constipation is really a problem. you wouldn’t be using it as a food, just as a medicine…

  10. Hi Paul and Shou-Ching,

    thanks again for all your responses everywhere on this site!

    some of this comment might need to go under reader results on the diet/supplements, because I would like to help other people with my experience.

    Basically, my comment originates somewhat from PHD experience, and also from reading Dr. Michael Terman’s new book, Chronotherapy. He is a sleep doctor from Columbia University’s sleep center and a lot of your and his recommendations for sleep are similar – such as taking lithium in the morning, except if thyroid issues, and the importance of circadian rhythms like bright light during the day and melatonin for sleep. He also has an interesting section on sleep and depression in his book, as well as fixing our internal clocks with bright light devices and melatonin.

    It’s interesting because he looked to evolution to find a reason to explain sleeping patterns, and has performed extensive studies on the use of bright light therapy in the morning to enhance circadian rhythms (I think it’s amazing that he uses light as a drug!), the effect of being outdoors, and finally microdose melatonin (0.1 mg) to reset circadian rhythms. He is a doctor who felt evolution and ancestral health offered more of a solution to sleeping problems than lunesta or ambien and I agree!

    Anyway, it’s interesting because I wrote to you in a separate comment about how melatonin was helping some with sleep (the sublingual plus the timed release you recommend on your supplements page), but I was waking too early and one of your responses (and perhaps a commenter named Darrin also reinforced this) was to take less melatonin, to avoid waking up after the big drop-off in melatonin from the blood stream.

    I followed that advice from you- I took one of the 1 mg melatonin sublingual tablets and split it into 2 pieces, with no luck-still early waking, and then I split the tablet into 4 pieces (because I remembered reading that the body actually produces on 300 micrograms of melatonin at its peak), and guess what? with 0.25 mg of melatonin and PHD (I’ve been doing it for 5 months now), I slept very soundly through the night and have continued to do so for the past two weeks.

    I started reading Chronotherapy about 1 week into this experiment, and found that my self-experimentation (with your advice) corresponded to the clinical results of Dr. Terman with melatonin!

    He saw poor results with the 1, 2.5, and 5 mg doses of melatonin sold in the store, but better results when he made his own solution and gave lower (0.1 mg) doses 2-3 hours hours before bedtime.

    He recommends 0.1 mg of melatonin, once per hour, 2-3 hours before bedtime, to mimic the body’s natural melatonin production as the night progresses (these tablets are, unfortunately, not sold anywhere right now) and he writes about the difficulty in getting a clinical trial to try melatonin versus another placebo, because of the fact that Big Pharma (yes, an MD from columbia university’s sleep center actually uses that term, not my words!) would have a lot to lose if patients took melatonin and/or used a light box, instead of Lunesta, Ambien, etc. – i.e. huge amounts of money at stake.

    Perhaps the sublingual melatonin tablets do not distribute their melatonin evenly, but I found that taking 1/4 of a melatonin tablet ~30 minutes before sleep helped me sleep very soundly through the night, 1/8 of a tablet did not help as much.

    Of course I think PHD played a huge role too – the egg yolks, bone broth and marrow, some supplements like Magnesium, healing my gut. It took time but I finally got to the point where I think some of my infections (perhaps fungal, perhaps bacterial or both) somewhat resolved, like acne, being able to tolerate coconut oil, the intermittent fasting of eating a snack at 10 AM but most calories from 12- 8 pm, taking walks at 7 AM and 12 PM, etc.

    I hope this self-experimentation of mine with PHD + lower doses of melatonin, confirmed by the recommendation/practice of Dr. Terman, can help someone else, or form the basis for some self-experimentation. it’s a big difference for me – not perfect health but definitely healthier.

    I highly recommend this book on chronotherapy – I happened upon it at my public library – because he talks about how most of us have clocks quite different from 24 hours – some 23, some 24.15 hrs, as well as different chronotypes – lark, night owl, and the one that most people are – I forget the name. and so what bright light therapy early in the morning or melatonin in microdoses later in the evening can help do is adjust our internal clock so we can go to sleep and awake more rested. I think melatonin moves the clock earlier and bright light pushes it back, and some of the reader results in his book say that the bright light is more energy than a cup of coffee! I can believe it.

    He also recommends blue light blocking glasses and f.lux computer program in preparation for times where there will be jet lag, which are other reasons I think he could be a great collaborator for you. obviously, he believes there are fixes other than drugs (his presmise seems to be: Establish good health and then evaluate the need for antidepressants, or other aids, but don’t go to sleeping pills first), and he is interested in sourcing the problem. Finally, his practice resonates very soundly with what mark sisson, robb wolf, paleohacks experimenters, and the Jaminets have recommended!

    Furthermore he says patients are raising their expectations of the medical community, thanks to great people like Paul and Shou-Ching of course!

    I guess the book made me optimistic that the good guys can make a change to the medical establishment and convince people of alternate ways to change their health besides pharmaceuticals, and I consider the Jaminets (yes, Paul and Shou-Ching both!), the Termans (Dr. Terman and his wife are both MD’s who participate in the sleep studies/columbia univ. sleep center), and Seth Roberts, the professor of psychology, as instrumental in bringing these issues to the public in a rational, reasonable way – i.e. being able to provide a basis for general health.

    With principles for good health from you and the others above, it is reasonable for the public to then experiment, or use ancestral health ideas to our benefit when we do need to move time zones, work the night-shift, have disturbed sleep because we are new parents, etc.

    So in summary:

    I think there are some good ideas from Drs. Terman to help people with sleeping issues on PHD

    it may be useful for those on PHD with sleeping issues related to falling asleep or staying asleep to take microdose melatonin 0.25 mg 30 minutes before bed or perhaps 0.1 mg melatonin, once per hour, for 3 hours before bedtime, if problems with 1 mg of sublingual and 5 mg of timed-release melatonin.

    Finally – for those who need to shift their clock because of night work, jet lag, etc. his website has a recommended light box (he is aghast they are not regulated by the FDA when the light clearly acts like a drug) that I would be interested if anyone can report trying!

    It may be that the Termans have a book and products to sell, but I support their “Center for Environmental Therapeutics” ( for giving patients options that don’t involve sleeping pills with lesser known negatives and potential side effects like sleep walking, headache, drowsiness, and dry mouth

    Thanks and God bless the Jaminets for giving us empowerment and education to work with our health problems and “hack” PHD.

    • Hi Lyon,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and all the information about Dr Terman, that’s terrific and I’m glad you’ve solved your sleep issues.

      We are making progress!

    • Thank you for typing that up, Lyon.

      This past December, I purchased a therapeutic light, one recommended on the CET site.

      Morning light therapy made a big difference for me this winter in Chicagoland!
      Although I wasn’t having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, morning grogginess seemed to last from waking until noon, only to be followed by a big dip in alertness & energy around 4 pm. Light therapy nipped that in the bud. I was able to get going in the mornings, with a lot less effort, and the afternoon crash was no more.

      I think I’ll read Terman’s book, based on your write up, Lyon.

  11. Sorry I just wanted to clarify this sentence: “Furthermore he says patients are raising their expectations of the medical community.” Thanks to great people like Paul and Shou-Ching of course!

    that comma should be a period!

    • @Lyon, FWIW, I have had the exact same experience with melatonin. I find the recommended dosage either makes me feel groggy in the morning or causes me to wake up too early. I take a 3mg pill and break into bits that are about .25 to .5 mg. Taking one a half hour bed and wearing a sleep mask = quality sleep!

      • Totally fascinating. I fall asleep no problem but wake at between 3:30-5. I’m going to try the lower dose of melatonin! Thank you to Lyon for the long helpful post and to Thomas for corroborating.

  12. Hello, Paul. I’ve always shrugged off the advice to restrict salt, so I was heartened when I read your recommendation to salt food to taste. Then I read this:

    Any thoughts?

  13. Wow, very interesting information on using melatonin.
    I wasn’t breaking them down like that and spreading it out over a couple hours time before bed. (then of course complained they don’t work) Will have to give this a try.

  14. Paul I’m not able to participate at the reddit event but could you please respond here quick: I’ve been reading about high levels of arsenic in rice. What’s your take on that?

  15. Paste this into
    arsenic rice

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