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now I’m not a woman but nine years of doing Kido and nine years of studying and researching Kido and being alongside some of the best Kido researchers I know a fair bit about what happens with the ketogenic diet on the female body now I’m not a perfect expert in this world but I can at least break down what the research is showing and at least disseminate some good information so that you have a solid comprehension of what’s happening in the female body so maybe there’s instances where you feel like you’re plateauing quicker than your male counterparts and we have some hypotheses there because it really just comes down to estrogen another hormone so we’ll break it all down hey I have new videos coming out all the time so if you would please hit that red subscribe button and then hit that little bell icon to turn on notifications that would be awesome so after you watch this video if you’re doing keto I highly recommend you check out Yugi toh matcha so if you consumed matcha green-tea which I highly recommend you should you should check them out they’re a one hundred and eighty year old matcha company and they have these cool little single-serving keto friendly sweet matcha packets so super awesome stuff you sub out your coffee for whatever you want but it’s something that’s really really good at boosting the catecholamines that you need to get the most out of your ketogenic diet so special link down below if you want to check them out after we get through all this hormonal science okay so the first thing I have to address is there aren’t a whole lot of studies that take a look at women’s hormones on the ketogenic diet over the long term okay that’s I have to be very very clear on that so we’ve had to kind of look at different studies that look at different things surrounding PCOS surrounding estrogen and put a lot of things together and we do have an interesting hypothesis as to why women might stall out faster than men when it comes down to the early phases of keto adaptation now some of the things that we have to recognize is that a lot of times changes in hormones and changes just in the body are more noticeable in women than they are in men simply because women have a lot more in the way of hormones these are things that are gonna be catalysts for different reactions and in the body so it’s more noticeable in the female body that it might be in the male body and also women have sort of a built-in litmus test by having a monthly period okay that’s something that is very easy to see when it gets thrown off so in essence women have things that highlight changes a little bit more so it’s actually quite easy to recognize in hormonal function as far as the keto diet goes with women because you can see it periods may be becoming irregular or they become more regular it’s just recognizable so let’s go ahead and let’s start off with the first part of this video which really talks about the things that people already know kind of like we’re talking about the obvious things with PCOS right PCOS is the biggest thing that we can highlight and it’s talked about a lot with keto because there’s very clear evidence that keto works well for PCOS but it’s also a good indicator that keto is just good for the female body in general PCOS affects at least 7 percent of the female population anyway now that’s who have actually been diagnosed so there’s probably a lot more so polycystic ovarian syndrome manifests through infertility issues irregular periods a lot of pain a lot of cramping anyway it’s just a classic case of just hormones being pretty much out of whack and a lot of times it has to do with high levels of insulin in fact it’s even been coined ovarian diabetes for that very reason high levels of insulin tend to correlate with PCOS so right then and there the ketogenic diet reducing insulin levels is very very much so could end up getting rid of PCOS altogether in fact in some cases it’s reversed in so here’s a couple of references just to make this clear the AACE clinical care reports published a study that took a look at for women who were having fertility issues and having irregular periods they put him on the ketogenic diet and they found that just after 6 months all four of them ended up having normal periods and two of the four conceived and the funny thing is they weren’t even actively trying to conceive it just came that much easier so that’s a very very good story for people that are trying to get pregnant having fertility issues now the next study was published in nutrition and metabolism very similar took a look at five women that had PCOS put him on a ketogenic diet at less than 20 grams of carbs per day and they found that yes their PCOS symptoms went away symptoms improved dramatically and they ended up getting back in their normal period schedule and to the five ended up getting pregnant so this is all great news so we know from a hormonal standpoint as far as PCOS goes it plays a big role well let’s dive a little bit deeper because you’re probably wondering about fat loss your thyroid some of these other things so one of the big things I want to look at is the under consumption of fats for women due to various environmental and societal reasons women tend to under need in the first place now on a ketogenic diet it’s very easy to underneath the fats okay especially women that are first starting they just have this aversion to eating those calorically dense fats because it’s extra calories and why do they need them so they tend to trim the fats a little bit well this can obviously cause some slowdowns in your basal metabolic rate and it causes some slowdowns in your thyroid function lower levels of t3 now this isn’t always bad but if it happens for too long for too much then you’re running into an issue okay so we have to be very very careful with that now the interesting thing about the ketogenic diet when it comes into play here is it does of course have a weight loss induced reduction of your thyroid hormone t3 however that lower t3 doesn’t translate into slower metabolism like it does with other diets there’s a lot of reasons that it could be why but the point is that’s fascinating we can lessen our t3 lessen our thyroid function but not have it affect our metabolism lower slower thyroid is actually good for longevity and good for our cells we just don’t want to have the slow metabolism that normally comes with it well Kito’s the answer there and one of the ways you can kind of get around that potentially slower metabolism is by having a refeed every 14 days or so so dr. Jamie seaman who’s an ob/gyn specializes in the keto diet that’s what she recommends I tend to agree with her having the 14-day kind of refeed with a few carbs or just extra calories to just kind of keep the metabolism a little bit hotter now I do need to touch in the thyroid for a little bit because I think it plays a big part and it’s honestly a lot of misinformation on it so the first thing I want to talk about really quick is birth control will affect your thyroid so if you’re a woman and you’re taking birth control not saying that you shouldn’t take it but I want you to know that that could be affecting your thyroid levels okay it depletes folic acid it depletes selenium it depletes the zinc all which plays such a big role in the conversion process of t4 into active t3 which is the thyroid woman that you need to burn your metabolism nice and hot to burn the fat that you want to burn okay the other thing that you need to know is as a female with higher levels of estrogen estrogen increases thyroid globulin so what that means is you’re going to have more Tyron hormone that’s getting bound to a thyroid globulin basically the thyroid binding globulin so what that means is the thyroid hormone that is free in your body is getting bound up and not able to attach to receptors and do what it’s supposed to do because it’s bound to this thyroid binding globulin directly impacted by estrogen so how do we control this we don’t want to just lower estrogen levels but as you reduce your fat mass your estrogen levels will decrease so you actually might have more positive impact with your weight loss as far as your thyroid is concerned as you start to lose a little bit more weight if you’re already vastly overweight or even just you know just a little bit overweight another thing to touch on really quick that kind of falls in the same circle here is people that go on the ketogenic diet usually see a pretty significant decrease in their period pains now this has to do with the anti-inflammatory effects beta hydroxy butyrate the main ketone body so when you’re in ketosis basically are having this fanta inflammatory effect that’s blunting pain it’s acting upon cox-1 and cox-2 enzymes very similar to how ibuprofen or aspirin would but of course without the stomach lining destruction right so we’re getting a very powerful effect there so that’s a big benefit this next piece that I want to touch on is all about knowing your timing for women it’s much more important that you know your timing and I’ll get to this in a second then it is for men you see your menstrual cycle dictates some hormonal changes the first two weeks the first half of your menstrual cycle you are much more estrogen dominant you have higher levels of estrogen this isn’t always bad estrogen actually stimulates recovery estrogen has been linked to much more protein synthesis collagen protein synthesis myofibrillar protein synthesis so what that means is when you are in your first two weeks of your menstrual cycle you can actually get away with working out a little bit more intensely training a little bit harder less instances of being sore better recovery but also higher estrogen equals less cravings estrogen blunts cravings so this means that you can kind of orient your diet accordingly so that maybe you don’t have to meal prep as much during the first two weeks of your cycle simply because you’re already having the crating blocking effects of estrogen and a lot of people notice this I know my wife notices it she actually didn’t even know this science she would always say after you know the second part of her cycle she would always just be ravenous well that’s because the second half of your cycle you have an increase in progesterone and this progesterone does kind of the opposite of estrogen in a way it makes it so you feel more hungry and actually hurts your recovery so you want to have harder workouts in that first part and more easy workouts more recovery more yoga things like that during the second part okay pretty simple with that in the same vein of estrogen it’s gonna be really important that we pay attention to estrogen disruptors so for women especially pay very close attention to BPA’s on keto okay receipt paper Tupperware things like that just be extra careful because that can just demolish estrogen levels and throw everything out of whack but it can also cause a rise in different kinds of estrogen okay one seven hydroxy estradiol all these things that are not good that was very hard on the liver now additionally birth control affects these things too okay we need to make sure we’re paying attention to that the European review of medicine and pharmaceutical science published study that showed that birth control does deplete the folic acid the selenium the zinc that has an effect on estrogen has an effect on your thyroid so you just have to be paying attention there so just be very very careful now this next thing I want to talk about has to do with your weight loss plateau and this is definitely somewhat of a hypothesis because we’ve had to look at different feedback loops that occur in the body but it makes a lot of sense now I’ve worked closely with a really cool researcher so his name’s Nick Norwoods he’s over at Oxford University so he’s an Oxford University PhD researcher and Harvard med student the guy is awesome anyway so he came up with this hypothesis and we talked about and it makes a lot of sense okay so what we have to look at is fat increases estrogen right now knowing that let’s talk about what happens when you first start keto when you first start keto it’s stressful on your body okay what that means is your body’s cells are getting adapted to utilizing ketones that is stressful it is hard on your body it is a period of stress and it’s been shown that cortisol levels go up when you’re first start key dough because you’re not keto adapted yet that’s one of the reasons you feel so lethargic now cortisol can trigger fat accumulation okay fat accumulation leads to more estrogen because fat leaks estrogen okay so keto stress equals cortisol equals fat equals estrogen but estrogen also releases cortisol so now we have a vicious circle where we have keto causing stress causing fat causing estrogen causing cortisol causing fat causing estrogen you see the cycle here now as you get keto adapted that cortisol will come down because you’re not stressed from the ketosis anymore so in theory and this is a hypothesis women might have a tougher time kick-starting that keto adaptation cortisol process earlier on than men do okay it’s just a little bit tougher for them so you might find that you hit that plateau like really early you lose some weight and then just like boom whereas your husband your boyfriend your friend is like just show them the scales just move it on down they’re losing weight and you’re stuck after losing weight for the first two weeks cuz you lost some inflammation and now you’re like great I lost water weight but I didn’t actually lose what I wanted to lose stick with it because keto adaptation takes anywhere from four to twelve weeks you have to deal with a little bit of a plateau and then your body will break through regardless of weight loss you are seeing benefits from reduced insulin all that effect on the ovaries all that effect on the menstrual cramping everything so at the end of the day even if you never lost a pound from the ketogenic diet you would probably lose weight indirectly from how much the quality of life improves based upon the other indirect effects of the ketogenic diet so women yes do keto enjoy it in fact your bodies are probably more adapted to utilize fats for fuel than men’s are simply based on the fact that you utilize lipids better throughout exercise so as always make sure you’re keeping it locked in here on my channel and if you want more female specific topics on this even though I’m not a female I’d love to talk about it because I feel like there’s a lot of misinformation and it needs to be address so let me know in the comments section below see you soon
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Now I’m not a woman, but nine years of doing keto and nine years of studying and researching keto and being alongside some of the best keto researchers, I know a fair bit about what happens with the ketogenic diet on the female body.
Now I’m not a perfect expert in this world, but I can at least break down what the research is showing and at least disseminate some good information so that you have a solid comprehension of what’s happening in the female body.
So maybe there’s instances where you feel like you’re plateauing quicker than your male counterparts, and we have some hypotheses there because it really just comes down to estrogen and other hormones.
The first thing I have to address is there aren’t a whole lot of studies that take a look at women’s hormones on the ketogenic diet over the longterm. I have to be very, very clear on that so we’ve had to kind of look at different studies and look at different things surrounding PCOS, surrounding estrogen, and put a lot of things together.
We do have an interesting hypothesis as to why women might stall out faster than men when it comes down to the early phases of keto adaptation. Now some of the things that we have to recognize is that a lot of times changes in hormones and changes just in the body are more noticeable in women than they are in men simply because women have a lot more in the way of hormones.
These are things that are going to be catalysts for different reactions within the body. It’s more noticeable in the female body than it might be in the male body. Also, women have sort of a built-in litmus test by having a monthly period. That’s something that is very easy to see when it gets thrown off.
In essence, women have things that highlight changes a little bit more. It’s actually quite easy to recognize a change in hormonal function as far as the keto diet goes with women because you can see it. Periods may become irregular or they become more regular. It’s just recognizable.
Here’s a couple of references just to make this clear. The AACE Clinical Care Reports published a study that took a look at four women who were having fertility issues and are having irregular periods.
They put them on the ketogenic diet and they found that just after six months, all four of them ended up having normal periods and two of the four conceived and the funny thing is they weren’t even actively trying to conceive. It just came that much easier, so that’s a very, very good story for people that are trying to get pregnant or are having fertility issues.
Now the next study was published in Nutrition & Metabolism. Very similar. Took a look at five women that had PCOS, put them on a ketogenic diet at less than 20 grams of carbs per day and they found that yes, their PCOS symptoms went away, symptoms improved dramatically, and they ended up getting back on their normal period schedule and two of the five ended up getting pregnant.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper because you’re probably wondering about fat loss, your thyroid, some of these other things.
One of the big things I want to look at is the under-consumption of fats for women. Due to various environmental and societal reasons, women tend to under-eat in the first place. Now on a ketogenic diet it’s very easy to under-eat the fats, especially women that are first starting.
They just have this aversion to eating those calorically dense fats because it’s extra calories. Why do they need them? They tend to trim the fats a little bit. This can obviously cause some slowdowns in your basal metabolic rate and it causes some slowdowns in your thyroid function. Lower levels of T3.
So women, yes, do keto. Enjoy it. In fact, your bodies are probably more adapted to utilize fats for fuel than men’s are simply based on the fact that you utilize lipids better throughout exercise.
Nicholas Norwitz – Oxford Ketone PhD Researcher and Harvard Med Student: