Tuesday, June 19, 2012


A year ago I noticed something very frightening: a lump in my right breast/arm pit area. After three months of observation, I noticed it would increase in size and tenderness about 10 days before my period, but would disappear as soon as I started my menstrual cycle. Then, again, it would appear about ten days before the following period. I scheduled a breast exam with two different doctors and both said it wasn’t something I should worry about.

Each month I noticed it was slightly bigger and more obvious than the previous month. By this past February, it was worth worrying about.  There was no doubt in my mind I had a problem, so I scheduled another doctor’s visit as well as a mammogram and ultrasound. By the time I got the mammogram I had started my period, the lump was smaller, and nothing was found. I left the exam both excited, but also feeling a bit crazy.

This is where cold therapy comes in. I had been reading the blogs written by Dr. Jack Kruse where he describes the science and details to the healing benefits of cold adaptation or cold thermogenesis(CT) along with his genius application of seasonal eating. Keep in mind- his blogs are specific to a natural means to reduce leptin resistance and ailments caused by leptin induced inflammation. Being that I have very low body fat, I wasn’t thinking this information could be used to reduce or heal my own issues, but I instead I was reading to gain insight into CT as a suggestion to help other people. 

Cold therapy isn't new to me. As a college athlete, bags of ice all over my body was a daily need. I played volleyball at the collegiate level and not only did we wrap ice bags on our inflamed and over used knees, spine, and shoulders, but we jumped into the near by river for 10-15 minutes as a daily ritual- especially during two-a-day practices. I even arrived early before practice to ensure enough time to sit in an ice bath. The sports medicine trainers warned me that ice before practice might cause injury, but to me it made practice bearable.

While reading Dr. Kruse's blog,  I connected the dots to my own obvious inflammatory problems. It became obvious that CT might be a solution to my menstrual inflammation and osteoarthritis (caused from years of over training). So I reintroduced CT to my body and hoped for the best.

But the decision to add cold therapy  has come with risk.  I do not have leptin resistance and because of my very low body fat percentage, I assumed my response to CT (from a fueling perspective) might cause fat gain. Why? Since I have less fat, my body might react differently than a person who has more fat and leptin resistance.

From my understanding, for people who have leptin resistance, CT (as described by Dr. Kruse) reduces leptin levels. The result would be reversed leptin resistance, less hunger, less inflammation, and more fat loss. Like a game of balance atop an upside down U curve (an arch like a rainbow), preventing blood leptin from levels that are too high or too low is the goal. Less leptin than ideal results in symptoms of starvation. More leptin than ideal results in resistance, fat gain, inflammation, and most modern ailments our culture experiences today. The goal is a balance on top of the curve, which would make for an optimal hormonal environment.

My experience with this curve comes from observation of the hCG protocol. Over the last four years, I have observed- in detail- over a thousand patients through multiple rounds of Dr. Simeons hCG protocol.  It is my speculation that hCG does the opposite of CT. Low dose hCG stimulates the body to release leptin, which reduces hunger and the hormonal need for food. However, in order to avoid symptoms associated to leptin resistance, a  controlled very low calorie protocol is necessary. Rapid fat loss is a result of this hormonal balance and maximized fuel demand. Whether it's hCG or CT, the goal is to hit the optimum level of leptin at the top of the curve. This is where there is ideal fuel demand  which results in fat loss, loss of inflammation, and as an adaption - improved resting metabolic rates.

The discovery of leptin and the scientific understanding of its influence during starvation, fueling homeostasis, fat cell multiplication, inflammation, mitochondrial biogenesis, and much more have exposed the incredible ability the body has when given the opportunity to maintain life in threatening environments. Here is a link to scientific study that describes how this can be done.

For me, being that I didn't have leptin resistance or extra fat to lose, I assumed cold adaptation might make me susceptible to fat gain.  If my body's reaction to CT worked in negative feedback loop-  my body might have the reverse influence from CT- stimulated leptin. Ultimately this would increase my susceptibility to fat gain. But, even so, I was more concerned about reducing these symptoms:
1) Osteoarthritis in my spine.
2) Restless leg syndrome.
3) Inflammation with weather related cold fronts.
4) My right breast lump.
In my mind, it was worth the risk.

It took about 2 months at 15 minutes each day to acclimate to 52-55 degree showers, and here is what I observed:

1) I no longer take anti-inflammatory meds for chronic osteoarthritis. It is manageable with CT, and postural alignment exercises (Egoscue Method).
2) Restless leg syndrome occurs less often.
3) Cold fronts aren’t noticeable, but I am now aware all pressure fronts influence my fluid retention and inflammation.
4) The breast lump has reduced in size and tenderness. It also goes away sooner which has made it very easy to predict the start date of my period.
5) My periods are shorter in during.
6) My legs have less circulation problems during my period.
7) I have gained 5 pounds of fat (just as I predicted).
8) I get heartburn with citrus fruits, especially during the 10 day period before my period.
9)Now that its summer and I have more time in heat and the sun, I've noticed a weird throat feeling that is difficult to explain.  This weird fluttery feeling doesn't occur as often when I add back starches to my diet. I'm assuming this is thryoid????
I've noticed that my fat gain occured during the luteal phase of my menstrual cycles. During this time hunger is minimal and I have intolerance for fruit (heart burn). Except for 3 days before my period, where my hunger dramatically increases (and so does the weird throat fluttering). I've come to realize my diet has needed to change depending on where I am during my menstrual cycle.  It’s pretty obvious why, when you look at articles that describe significant increases in leptin levels during the luteal phase.
It is thought that the recorded increases in leptin during the luteal phase correlates with the increase in estradiol and progesterone. Here is a picture of this cycle.
  1. With the natural increase in leptin related to the increase in estradiol and progesterone, is CT at that time making me more sensitive to gain?
  2. In a woman who has excess body fat, would she lose fat during that time?
  3. If I remove all carbs during that week would my leptin levels have less of a slope, which would reduce my sensitivity and symptoms of heartburn, fat gain, and the increase in my breast lump?
  4. Does the increase in core body temperature during the luteal phase increase further with CT or does CT reduce this temperature?
  5. I'm thinking this increase in leptin after ovulation has to do with preganancy. Maybe the upswing in leptin is necessary to increase hCG release from a newly implanted egg, which would further increase projesterone levels that are necessary to sustain the placenta for full term pregnancy?
My goal would be to reduce the slope of the (progesterone/estrodial) curve but not eliminate the slope of the curve (which I'm assuming would stop menstruation all together).
With this in mind, for the last two months I've increased my starches just before and during my period. But immedialty after ovultation, I've removed both fruit and starch from my diet. All the while, I've continued daily CT. As a result I've noticed my body fat hasn't increased, but it hasn't gone back down. The luteal occurance of heart burn is gone, and the breast lump has reduced in size and tenderness even more.

As a woman, and knowing my body cycles hormonally, integrating CT and change in diet to offset my symptoms has been an awesome experiment. I will continue to adjust and adapt my diet, but it has required I stay tuned into my body, into hunger, and that I adjust to it's rhythms. I've had to adapt to monthly rhythms, to changes in sleep, with alcohol intake, and now I've adjusted with the change in season.

I believe this capacity to adapt, as Dr. Kruse preaches, is a big deal. The less adaptable we are, the more prone to disease we become. And to all of you lean people- you aren't immune.
For those of you who are implementing CT either with the hCG protocol or alone, what have your symptoms been during your menstrual cycle? Have you been able to compare a protocol with CT to a protocol without CT? I am very excited about what CT has to offer and as a woman I know we can use this science to reduce symptoms during our menstrual cycle that are less understood by the science community. 

Dr. Kruse has done us a huge favor. He's taken modern science and made it applicable. But for CT to work, there is a large amount of personal responsibility to change your eating lifestyle and that you have tolerance for fleeting physical discomfort. The questions you need to ask yourself are:
  1. Would you be willing to sit in a bathtub was water that is 55 or less degrees Fahrenheit for enough time that your body acclimates?
  2. Is it worth the risk to understand your body isn't flawed, but our desire for "comfort" is?
  3. Are you desperate enough to set your ego aside to open your mind to witness your body's capacity is to survive and heal itself?

And if CT does reduce premenstrual symptoms, it could in fact- make the world a better place.

I would like to thank Dr. Jack Kruse for putting himself out there by delivering this incredible science. HERE IS A LINK TO DR. JACK KRUSE'S BLOG


Relation of menstrual cycle and alimentary consumption of women

Modulation of placental vascular endothelial growth factor by leptin and hCG.


  1. Robin, you should gain in the luteal phase CT or not because this i when implantation should occur and the trophoblast requires this fat for the first two days in all mammals. This is how leptin controls fat metabolism of the placenta to build a human brain. Longer term without pregnancy CT diminishes fat.......provided inflammation is low.......My bet is you have some source of inflammatory cytokines somewhere that is your speed bump. Great blog and love your detail.

    1. Thanks! my weight fluctuates at least 5 pounds up and down each cycle, however, I did notice I was up 5 and still had the +/- flux. I didn't eliminate starches as I should have to start! I have noticed I am down about 3 lbs and 1% body fat now that I've removed 95% of my starches during that luteal peak. I considered removing CT during that time, but didn't want to give up the benefits to my restless leg symptoms, or the reduced size and inflammation of the breast lump. I'd rather change my diet!

  2. Lack of iodine can cause cysts in your breasts and ovaries. That may be what is causing yours.
    I'm on a thread for iodine at Mark's Daily Apple:

  3. Since beginning CT (Icepacks nightly legs, back stomach for 1 hour) I've noticed changes. I am lean also, but have not gained during the last half of my cycle since going grain free. I agree that I seem to not tolerate fruit as well (just noticed this this cycle, as I had naturally cut WAY back in the winter months...practically to none) Also could not stand my last two days of CT prior to getting my period, I was super cold. Now that I think back I may have had a time a couple weeks ago that I was also feeling colder than usual (maybe mid-cycle) Will have to continue to pay attention going forward...

  4. Wonderful Blog Post! I've been CTing since DrK's first post about CTing. I spot CT 4-5x/week, and do 2-3 CT Baths/week.

    There's a great thread on his forum that discusses charting cycles, and the interesting thing many of us have discovered is an aversion to CT towards the END of the LP within the CYCLE. After Reading Dr K's comment above - this all makes sense... the aversion to the cold is a natural selection cycle to preserve a potential pregnancy.

    here's the thread on the forum http://forum.jackkruse.com/showthread.php?298-Women-Who-Chart-Basal-Body-Temps-etc

    My circumstances are different from yours; as I'm over weight and I have hormonal imbalances. When I've pushed the CT, I've not only lost fat, through out the cycle. But one of the crazy side effects I've had has been massive estrogen dumps, and crazy PMS. However, 4mths into CT - my PMS has disappeared, as has my PCOS symptoms and my cycle has shortened and become lighter.

    I know that my P:E ratio has never been optimal, as I'm a migraine suffer. With the help of CT and BHRT I've conquered my migraines. and my P:E ratio is starting to move toward an optimal level...

    1. I haven't had aversion to the cold as much as I've noticed I have to restrict my food choice to eliminate almost all carbs. However, those 3 days before my period i've noticed I needed to add carbs to eliminate the increase in that throat symptom and my greatly increased hunger. I guess if you weren't adjusting food intake or timing that it would make sense to could adjust CT frequency and timing. I did consider removing the CT during the peak LP but didn't want to give up the anti-inflammatory benefits to my arthritis and restless leg syndrome. In fact, over the last 5 months I've missed only 2 days of CT!

  5. WE also have our own iodine forum on my site at www.jackkruse.com if you're interested Robin. Iodine/B12/zn/Mg is huge

    1. I don't take any supplements so this could definitely be my issue. I am 100% reliant on food for nutrition so based on that, I might be able to improve my symptoms with additional supplementation. I did start taking Vitamin D (living in Minnesota winters has been a killer).

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I'm pretty dang excited to report that after 6 months of CT and dynamic change with my food intake that the breast lump is gone and has not reappeared!!!! This is amazing....

  8. There is a lot of amazing things that happen with science.

  9. I have a question that I can't find the answer anywhere...
    Can I take hcg with birth control pills? I am sorry if the question is not appropriated ...


  10. Hi Robin
    First, I am a purchaser of your book, and it has been a big help in understanding the hCG protocol and making it work. Thank you for writing it!
    I am diabetic and eat LC as my normal WOE, so have no interest in doing P4 - ever.
    In doing the protocol the way written, I have felt some twinges of pain in the gall bladder region during the transition from P2 to P3 that have me concerned that the extended period of eating extreme low-fat during the P2 of the protocol might be setting me up for gall bladder problems. This is a serious concern since it's important to my blood sugar control that I am able to eat fat.
    I wonder if you have read Dana Carpender's blog where she describes combining hCG P2 with Atkins Fat Fast?
    Me and a few other low carb friends are interested in possibly experimenting with this, but first I thought I'd ask you if you could share your thoughts on what the science behind this idea looks like?
    My email is kajolaba (at) gmail.com

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  22. Robin, do you continue with doing CT during your period? Ive been doing the leptin reset and CT after 3 sucessful rounds of Hcg. But recently switched from 30min cold baths to 10min cold showers this past month and for the first time in my life had NO cramps with my period. Amazing stuff!!

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