Always Cold? Low Pulse and Body Temperature, Cold Hands, Feet and Nose

The Gold Rush 1925
Image: The Gold Rush (1925)

Ever notice how cold you are, even when you’re indoors, or when the temperature outside isn’t that cold?

Are you going long hours without eating? Restricting carbs and/or eating very low calories? Perhaps eating the wrong ratios of sugar, fat and protein per meal, and experiencing severely cold body temperature, cold hands, cold feet and/or a runny cold nose? This is the bodies natural “adjustment” to maintain balance and survival and should set off alarms that you are not living in a way that facilitates health.

Over-exercising or exercising to intensely and not recovering properly from workouts by not getting the proper rest, nutrition and mindset can all cause reactions in the body resulting in lower body temperature and pulse rate. Take precaution when feeling over stressed and not meeting your bodies demands by focusing more on working-in, which is energy building, extra fuel and healing through food, rest, and other successful strategies like epsom salt and baking soda baths, salt, light therapy, aspirin, and breathing, to name a few. Logging your food into “My Fitness Pal” so you can track how many calories you are getting. From experience most men and women I see are eating very low calories (under 1800), eating the wrong types of carbohydrates, too much fat and the wrong types of fat, and not enough protein. These are all recipes for a low functioning metabolism and potential thyroid issues like regulating body temperature.

Eat consistently throughout the day which involves not going long hours between meals. Another greatly important factor is in eating the right digestible foods that help increase body temperature and pulse, by keeping blood sugar balanced and stable throughout the day, keeping the metabolic rate from being in a constant state of flux. Some of the beneficial recommended foods are ripe tropical fruits, well cooked root vegetables, saturated fats like coconut oil, butter and ghee, digestible power proteins such as liver, eggs, tropical white fish and gelatin/broth and a good amount of salt per meal.

    1. “Body temperature AND resting pulse readings are direct insight into your cellular energy production – your most fundamental human NEED. When your body is producing energy using the food you eat, all systems are communicating and able to function at their optimal level. When your body is unable to produce energy because you are skipping meals, over eating processed foods, over/under exercising, not sleeping, etc, all systems are compromised and the body is fighting for survival. In this state your body will prioritize its utilization of energy sources to ensure the emergency is dealt with.” EastWest Healing, Body Temperature and PULSE!
    2. “There are now many people who argues that a low metabolism rate, a low body temperature and slow heart beat indicate that you live a long time: “your heart can only beat so many times.” Most of these people also advocate “conditioning exercise,” and they point out that trained runners tend to have a slow heart rate…Hypothyroidism–whether preexisting or induced by running–slows the heart rate, raises the production of adrenalin, and is strongly associated with heart disease, as well as with high cholesterol.”​ ​Raymond Peat, PhD​, ​Quotes Relating to Exercise
    3. “A slight decrease in temperature can promote inflammation (Matsui, et al., 2006). The thermogenic substances–dietary protein, sodium, sucrose, thyroid and progesterone–are antiinflammatory for many reasons, but very likely the increased temperature itself is important.”​ ​Raymond Peat, PhD,​ ​Salt, energy, metabolic rate, and longevity
    4. “But hypoglycemia also tends to decrease the conversion of T4 to T3, so heat production often decreases when a person is hungry. First, their fingers, toes, and nose will get cold, because adrenalin, or adrenergic sympathetic nervous activity, will increase to keep the brain and heart at a normal temperature, by reducing circulation to the skin and extremities. Despite the temperature-regulating effect of adrenalin, the reduced heat production resulting from decreased T3 will make a person susceptible to hypothermia if the environment is cool.
      Since food, especially carbohydrate and protein, will increase blood sugar and T3 production, eating is “thermogenic,” and the oral (or eardrum) temperature is likely to rise after eating.
      Blood sugar falls at night, and the body relies on the glucose stored in the liver as glycogen for energy, and hypothyroid people store very little sugar. As a result, adrenalin and cortisol begin to rise almost as soon as a person goes to bed, and in hypothyroid people, they rise very high, with the adrenalin usually peaking around 1 or 2 A.M., and the cortisol peaking around dawn; the high cortisol raises blood sugar as morning approaches, and allows adrenalin to decline. Some people wake up during the adrenalin peak with a pounding heart, and have trouble getting back to sleep unless they eat something.
      If the night-time stress is very high, the adrenalin will still be high until breakfast, increasing both temperature and pulse rate. The cortisol stimulates the breakdown of muscle tissue and its conversion to energy, so it is thermogenic, for some of the same reasons that food is thermogenic.
      After eating breakfast, the cortisol (and adrenalin, if it stayed high despite the increased cortisol) will start returning to a more normal, lower level, as the blood sugar is sustained by food, instead of by the stress hormones. In some hypothyroid people, this is a good time to measure the temperature and pulse rate. In a normal person, both temperature and pulse rate rise after breakfast, but in very hypothyroid people either, or both, might fall.
      Some hypothyroid people have a very slow pulse, apparently because they aren’t compensating with a large production of adrenalin. When they eat, the liver’s increased production of T3 is likely to increase both their temperature and their pulse rate.
      By watching the temperature and pulse rate at different times of day, especially before and after meals, it’s possible to separate some of the effects of stress from the thyroid-dependent, relatively “basal” metabolic rate. When beginning to take a thyroid supplement, it’s important to keep a chart of these measurements for at least two weeks, since that’s roughly the half-life of thyroxine in the body. When the body has accumulated a steady level of the hormones, and begun to function more fully, the factors such as adrenaline that have been chronically distorted to compensate for hypothyroidism will have begun to normalize, and the early effects of the supplementary thyroid will in many cases seem to disappear, with heart rate and temperature declining. The daily dose of thyroid often has to be increased several times, as the state of stress and the adrenaline and cortisol production decrease.” Raymond Peat, PhD, TSH, temperature, pulse rate, and other indicators in hypothyroidism
    5. “For example, keeping cells in a well oxygenated state with thyroid hormone and carbon dioxide will shift the balance from estradiol toward the weaker estrone. The thyroid stimulation will cause the liver to excrete estrogen more quickly, and will help to prevent the formation of aromatase in the tissues. Low temperature is one of the factors that increases the formation of estrogen. Lactic acid, serotonin, nitric oxide, prostaglandins, and the endorphins will be decreased by the shift toward efficient oxidative metabolism.
      Progesterone synthesis will be increased by the higher metabolic rate, and will tend to keep the temperature higher.” Raymond Peat, PhD, Preventing and treating cancer with progesterone.
    6. “A person may have normal levels of thyroxin but not be converting it adequately to the active form of the thyroid hormone (triiodothyronine or liothyronine). High cholesterol is practically diagnostic of hypothyroidism. Why? Because thyroid hormone controls the conversion of cholesterol to important anti-aging hormones and to bile salts. However, many hypothyroid people have low cholesterol from a suppressed immune system, liver problems or from eating a low protein (vegan) diet.
      The late Dr. Broda Barnes introduced the basal temperature test as an easy way to determine adequate thyroid function. It’s important to do an oral temperature test. The oral temperature is measured with an oral digital thermometer after arising. Women should do this during their menses to ensure missing the rise of temperature during ovulation. The morning oral temperature after arising should be 98.0 degrees F. It should then rise to 98.6-99 degrees F between 11 am and 2 pm and the resting daytime pulse should be around 85 beats per minute. The national average is around 72. If your pulse is less than 80, you may have an underactive thyroid (however a hypothyroid person with high adrenalin can have a pulse of as high as 150). Babies have a pulse greater than 100 until around the age of eight years when the pulse slows down to around 85. Dr. Peat says that the idea of a slow pulse being healthy is folklore. Thyroid needs increase during the cold, dark winters and decrease during the warm summer days when there is more sunlight. In addition to the seasons, any kind of stress hinders thyroid function.” Lita Lee, PhD, Hypothyroidism
    7. “A deviation from optimal body temperature is evidence of a change in body function. An increase in body temperature (a fever) is a known effect of getting sick. A decrease in body temperature should be just as alarming as a fever.​ ​Many lean individuals, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts are surprised to find they have a near hypothermic body temperature. Obesity too is associated with a lower body temperature.”​ ​Rob Turner​, ​Functional Performance Systems
    8. “A simple way to monitor the intensity of your resting metabolism (i.e. how well you are making energy/heat) is to track the resting oral temperature and pulse rate. Collect this data upon waking while lying in bed, ~40 minutes after breakfast, and between 1 and 3 pm in the afternoon.
      Prior to 1940, the resting body temperature upon waking was a common way in which physicians would diagnose a slow metabolism. If the temperature was below optimal, a trial of natural desiccated thyroid was given. If symptoms regressed as metabolic efficiency improved and temperature rose from the thyroid supplementation, the therapy was continued. Broda Barnes, MD, PhD and other doctors influenced by his work use this method during his career with much success.” Rob Turner, Functional Performance Systems, Temperature and Pulse Basics & Monthly Log
    9. “Body temp. You have a chronically low body temperature. In the book, Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness, the author (Broda Barnes, MD) explains how measuring body temperature is a fairly accurate way to judge optimal metabolic function.
      Try this simple test: Get a body thermometer. Digital is best — mercury is fine. First thing in the morning before you get out of bed, check your body temperature. Your morning body temperature should be between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees. Then check it again about 20 minutes after lunch — at this time your temperature should be around 98.6 degrees or higher. I will bet most of you will be below these temperatures. Before I started to heal my body, I was 96.5 to 97.0 in the morning and never above 97.5 mid day. It took me months and months of decreased activity and the proper diet to heal my metabolism. Honestly, healing and staying health are a never-ending process. In time, my body temperatures rose to a healthy 98.6 degrees…I still have my ups and downs…but Im far more UP, then years ago.
      Pulse. You have a low pulse. Broda Barnes, MD and Dr. Ray Peat both state that an optimal pulse is between 75 to 85 beats per minute (BPM). “Huh? I thought a low pulse was better? Don’t most athletes have a pulse rate below 60 BPM? I think super-fit Lance Armstrong has a pulse of like 45 BPM.” Yes, Lance is “super fit”, and yes he had a very low pulse rate. Yet, let’s remember, he had testicular cancer at the ripe age of 25. We must remember — “fit” does not equal “healthy”. A healthy metabolism induces a higher pulse rate and body temperature — two things you will frequently NOT see in endurance athletes.” Kate Deering, Is Your Metabolism Broken?
    10. “… an increased prevalence of mild to moderate hypothyroidism may be contributing to the lowering of our “normal” body temperature. In other words, “normal” does not necessarily mean optimal.” Women’s Health Connections, Is 98.6 Really Normal?
    11. “Changes in body temperature are associated with significant changes in metabolic rate.”​ ​Is obesity associated with lower body temperatures? Core temperature: a forgotten variable in energy balance, 2009
    12. “Many mammalian species utilize regulated decreases in temperature, such as hibernation or shallow torpor, as a means of energy conservation. …Obese humans, however, have normal core temperatures. This review addresses the role of core temperature in the metabolic economy of the obese state and raises the possibility that (i) lower temperatures may contribute to the increase in metabolic efficiency that accompanies weight loss in the obese; and (ii) that lower core temperatures may have initiated weight gain in the pre-obese state and that the normal temperatures in the obese may represent metabolic compensation to restore energy balance and limit further weight gain.” Core temperature: a forgotten variable in energy expenditure and obesity? 2012
    13. J Neurosurg Anesthesiol. 2006 Jul;18(3):189-93.
      Mild hypothermia promotes pro-inflammatory cytokine production in monocytes.
      Matsui T, Ishikawa T, Takeuchi H, Okabayashi K, Maekawa T.
      Hypothermia is often associated with compromised host defenses and infection. Deteriorations of immune functions related to hypothermia have been investigated, but the involvement of cytokines in host defense mechanisms and in infection remains unclear. We have previously shown that mild hypothermia modifies cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In this study, the effects of hypothermia on the monocytic production of several cytokines and nitric oxide (NO) were determined. Monocytes obtained from 10 healthy humans were cultured with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) under hypothermic (33 degrees C) or normothermic (37 degrees C) conditions for 48 hours. We performed flow cytometric analysis for simultaneous measurement of interleukin (IL)-8, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p70, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in culture supernatants. NO production was quantified as accumulation of nitrite in the medium by a colorimetric assay. Compared with normothermia, mild hypothermia raised the levels of IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-12p70, and TNF-alpha produced by monocytes stimulated with LPS. On calculating the ratios of these elevated cytokines to IL-10, however, only IL-12p70/IL-10 and TNF-alpha/IL-10 ratios were significantly elevated under hypothermic conditions. In contrast, hypothermia did not affect NO production. This study demonstrates that mild hypothermia affects the balance of cytokines produced by monocytes, leading to a pro-inflammatory state. Specifically, monocytic IL-12 and TNF-alpha appear to be involved in the immune alterations observed in mild hypothermia. However, the clinical significance of these phenomena remains to be clarified.
    14. J Appl Physiol. 1997 Aug;83(2):477-84.
      Chronic hormone replacement therapy alters thermoregulatory and vasomotor function in postmenopausal women.
      Brooks EM, Morgan AL, Pierzga JM, Wladkowski SL, O’Gorman JT, Derr JA, Kenney WL.
      This investigation examined effects of chronic (>/=2 yr) hormone replacement therapy (HRT), both estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and estrogen plus progesterone therapy (E+P), on core temperature and skin blood flow responses of postmenopausal women. Twenty-five postmenopausal women [9 not on HRT (NO), 8 on ERT, 8 on E+P] exercised on a cycle ergometer for 1 h at an ambient temperature of 36 degrees C. Cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) was monitored by laser-Doppler flowmetry, and forearm vascular conductance (FVC) was measured by using venous occlusion plethysmography. Iontophoresis of bretylium tosylate was performed before exercise to block local vasoconstrictor (VC) activity at one skin site on the forearm. Rectal temperature (Tre) was approximately 0.5 degrees C lower for the ERT group (P < 0.01) compared with E+P and NO groups at rest and throughout exercise. FVC: mean body temperature (Tb) and CVC: Tb curves were shifted approximately 0.5 degrees C leftward for the ERT group (P < 0.0001). Baseline CVC was significantly higher in the ERT group (P < 0.05), but there was no interaction between bretylium treatment and groups once exercise was initiated. These results suggest that 1) chronic ERT likely acts centrally to decrease Tre, 2) ERT lowers the Tre at which heat-loss effector mechanisms are initiated, primarily by actions on active cutaneous vasodilation, and 3) addition of exogenous progestins in HRT effectively blocks these effects.
    Is 986 Really Normal Part 1
    Image: Is 98.6 Really Normal? Part 1
    Is 986 Really Normal Part 2
    Image: Is 98.6 Really Normal? Part 2
    Is 986 Really Normal Part 3
    Image: Is 98.6 Really Normal? Part 3
    Is 986 Really Normal Part 4
    Image: Is 98.6 Really Normal? Part 4
    Is 986 Really Normal Part 5
    Image: Is 98.6 Really Normal? Part 5

    Is 986 Really Normal Part 6
    Image: Is 98.6 Really Normal? Part 6

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