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Hair loss and thyroid problems from low carb

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  • Hair loss and thyroid problems from low carb

    I have been dealing with what I thought were hormonal problems - acne, hairloss, fatigue, PMS and weird periods. When it did not stop I got my thyroid checked and I came back Hypo with an elevated TSH (other levels weren't measured yet). I had been off meds since starting Paleo with a low TSH, so I find that surprising. My liver levels were also too high. I tried different things, adding supplements, being much more strict (I cut out honey), but nothing helped. Upon researching I read about low carb paleo and high carb paleo when it comes to hair loss and a LOT of sites said going low carb too fast can actually cause thyroid like symptoms, including hair loss.

    I was only eating 59g of carbs a day instead of my higher carb intake in summer, which was 70-110. I was not planning to get into ketosis, I am actually trying to gain weight, I just got tired of carbs like carrots and sweet potato.

    Is it likely that this is my problem? And if so, how can I reverse the effects? I read that one needs to eat an insane amount of carbs to get out of it? I am back on my usual 70-110 carbs and a bit more sugar from honey and fruit, I feel less fatigued but my hair is still coming out in clumps. I am so embarrassed to leave the house! I am 30 and female by the way.
    Currently eating strict Paleo, no rice or potatoes. I want to increase carbs and make sure my ratio of carbs, protein and fat is right for me.
    30, 5'5" and 108 lbs (formerly 100 lbs)
    I don't work out but I chase and nurse a toddler all day

  • #2
    Not surprising at all. Low carb and high protein diets can cause hypo and liver problems. When the thyroid is not functioning correctly it will cause a decline in metabolism which also effects how efficiently your organs are working. An excessive intake of protein is also a problem, causing inflammation and suppressing the thyroid further.

    Lower your protein to only 50-70g a day, severely limit your intake of PUFA from all sources, increase your carb intake from ripe fruit and good starch like potatoes and white rice and make sure to use salt in your diet if you dont already.

    Also i would highly recommend you check out RayPeat.com and DannyRoddy.com While they are not paleo advocates, they do specialize in thyroid/hormones and Roddy specifically with hair growth.

    Comment


    • #3
      you made me think of this...
      Why I Ditched Low Carb

      she has something in there about hair loss, also body temp and thyroid. i found LC was ok for a short period but then did not work for me (esp cause i exercise a lot). i am back up to 150 or so carb with high fat and decent protein intake (70-80g). feel WAY better.

      you may also want to check out Anthony Colpo

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey Mireia,

        Zach had a lot of similar problems from low carb which he cured by following the tips above so I'm sure you can take his advice.

        I just wanted to say I'm really sorry that you havent been well and I feel your pain about the appearance-induced agoraphobia. You may not look your best right now, but that it's not going to last and I'm sure you're still beautiful. Anyway, strangers on the street won't know the difference

        Make sure you tell your close ones what's going on with you so they can give you support.

        Hugs!

        PS. Low carb wasn't optimal for me either.
        "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

        In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

        - Ray Peat

        Comment


        • #5
          Low carb doesn't work for everyone, and if you want to gain weight, you should not be eating low carb!

          There are plenty of other friendly carbs out there. Eat fruit! Have honey! White rice is okay as long as it doesn't bother you. Even regular potatoes, some say, are fine.
          Depression Lies

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow thanks everyone for the quick answers!

            Do you know how soon I should see bettering from eating mote carbs again? I was thinking it might take time for my thyroid to regulate, therefore it will take some time for the hair loss to stop too if that was really the culprit...

            Zach

            Ever since going Primal/ Paleo I have been reacting to foods like rice, potatos and grains (not dairy as much). I wonder what caused this. I never had any obvious problems with them. I often eat sweet potato or carrot for carbs.
            I read a few things on Danny Roddys Page and what he wrote scares me off of my diet a little. I am conflicted because for the past year I learned that so many things are bad, yet I am developing problems cutting them out. There is information overload out there.

            Meloroaster
            Thank you I will read this! My protein intake was about 110g when I was on low carb (59 g) and my fat was around 120g. Not sure how I eat so much protein. I never looked into nutrition much, I changed my diet because I wanted to fix a bunch of health problems.
            Currently eating strict Paleo, no rice or potatoes. I want to increase carbs and make sure my ratio of carbs, protein and fat is right for me.
            30, 5'5" and 108 lbs (formerly 100 lbs)
            I don't work out but I chase and nurse a toddler all day

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mireia View Post
              Zach

              Ever since going Primal/ Paleo I have been reacting to foods like rice, potatos and grains (not dairy as much). I wonder what caused this. I never had any obvious problems with them. I often eat sweet potato or carrot for carbs.
              I read a few things on Danny Roddys Page and what he wrote scares me off of my diet a little. I am conflicted because for the past year I learned that so many things are bad, yet I am developing problems cutting them out. There is information overload out there.
              It is tough with so much conflicting information and what works well for one, certainly wont for another. The best bet is to forget about healthy and unhealthy foods for a minute and try to find the foods the you, A. like to eat, B. make you feel good and C. reverse these issues.

              For me, that was fruit, dairy and eggs with little bits of other stuff. Meat and veg was and is not good for me in big amounts. Im willing to be it will help you as well because i have seen many others improve your symptoms doing the same thing.

              As for how long it will take, that depends on how much damage was done and if you can figure out whats right for you. What were you lab tests if you dont mind me asking?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by YogaBare View Post
                Hey Mireia,

                Zach had a lot of similar problems from low carb which he cured by following the tips above so I'm sure you can take his advice.

                I just wanted to say I'm really sorry that you havent been well and I feel your pain about the appearance-induced agoraphobia. You may not look your best right now, but that it's not going to last and I'm sure you're still beautiful. Anyway, strangers on the street won't know the difference

                Make sure you tell your close ones what's going on with you so they can give you support.

                Hugs!

                PS. Low carb wasn't optimal for me either.
                Thank you for the heads up!

                Some family members are not understanding at all. I tried telling my sister and my mother/ father and I feel they only hear half of what I say. They often don't respond or change the subject. They don't think that hair is an issue and that I can just cut it off and regrow or keep it short...who needs long hair anyway and PMS is supposedly normal now.


                My hair used to be quite long (thigh) and because of repeated hair loss I har to keep shortening it. Back then a pituitary tumor and prolactin where causing it but my prolactin is fine this time.
                It just gets frustrating to go through this over and over again.
                Currently eating strict Paleo, no rice or potatoes. I want to increase carbs and make sure my ratio of carbs, protein and fat is right for me.
                30, 5'5" and 108 lbs (formerly 100 lbs)
                I don't work out but I chase and nurse a toddler all day

                Comment


                • #9
                  Namelesswonder
                  I guess it is not good for everyone, but some still advise it and I was told ketosis is a good state to be in. I felt like i was floating though!
                  I did actually gain some weight and am only a little under my goal now, but I guess it is due to my sluggish thyroid now! Not what I wanted
                  Last edited by Mireia; 01-25-2013, 02:27 PM.
                  Currently eating strict Paleo, no rice or potatoes. I want to increase carbs and make sure my ratio of carbs, protein and fat is right for me.
                  30, 5'5" and 108 lbs (formerly 100 lbs)
                  I don't work out but I chase and nurse a toddler all day

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Zach
                    My doctor did not test T3 and T4, I have to wait for an edocrinologist to test this on the 12th of February (long waiting time sigh)
                    But my TSH was 4.96, even when I had thyroid problems way in the past and had high antibodies my TSH was still around 3.
                    Then it also says:
                    Leukozyten: 6.47
                    Erythrozyten: 4.67
                    Haemoglobin: 13.2
                    Haematokrit: 41.0
                    MCV 87.8
                    MCHC 32.2
                    Thromozyten 249
                    GOT + 80
                    GPT +128
                    Kreatinin i. serum jaffe 0.68
                    GFR according to MDRD 107.98
                    Prolaktin 191 (uU/ ml) (normal 46-622)
                    Anti Thyroid Antibodies- TSH receptor AK 1.24 (nornal < 2.00)
                    Thyroid Peroxidase AK (TPO) +> 1300 U/ml

                    This is like chinese to me....I don't know what all that is in English sorry. But maybe it is similar. Posted all since I am not sure what could be useful.
                    Currently eating strict Paleo, no rice or potatoes. I want to increase carbs and make sure my ratio of carbs, protein and fat is right for me.
                    30, 5'5" and 108 lbs (formerly 100 lbs)
                    I don't work out but I chase and nurse a toddler all day

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I dunno....this is like putting together a puzzle without all the pieces whenever you don't even have all the necessary proper labs. You can blame da low carb if you like, but for now its just a scapegoat. Your really just gonna have to wait to get the rest of the results in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mireia View Post
                        My hair used to be quite long (thigh) and because of repeated hair loss I har to keep shortening it. Back then a pituitary tumor and prolactin where causing it but my prolactin is fine this time.
                        It just gets frustrating to go through this over and over again.
                        If you've had a pituitary tumor then your thyroid issues MAY be pituitary based secondary hypothyroidism. In order to see if this is your issue you definitely need Free T4 and Free T3 along with TSH tested. A MRI of the pituitary,along with testing of all pituitary hormones, might be a good idea.
                        Other things that could contribute to your symptoms include:
                        1.Low iron, including ferritin
                        2.Low Vitamin D
                        3.Low selenium

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I developed some pretty serious problems from being low carb for too long.

                          When I upped my carbs to 150+g/day consistently, it my hair eventually stopped falling out by the handful in the shower, and a bunch of my other issues resolved. I follow the Perfect Health Diet with some Ray Peat stuff thrown in and I now generally consume somewhere between 200-250g/day of carbs, which works for me. You might not need such high levels.

                          Here are some links to sites I found helpful when I was trying to reconfigure my diet:

                          Thyroid Disorders

                          Hypothyroidism | Perfect Health Diet

                          Also, once you get on track, you might want to try castor oil scalp treatments for regrowing the hair you lost. I've been reading about it on the long hair forum, and just started it myself. It's supposed to both speed hair growth and stimulate lost hair to regrow. Many people have said that after using it, they stopped shedding, and some people have said that it reversed receding hairlines and bald spots.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            In my opinion, slight thyroid hormone problems can be fixed with diet, but once you go beyond that, especially if you have hashimoto's, then diet alone ain't going to cut it.

                            Firstly I would go back to the doc and get a comprehensive range of blood tests, not just TSH, but free t4, free t3 and reverse t3.

                            I struggled through every type of dietary change - high carb, moderate carb, low carb, fasting, high fat, high calories, low calories, cutting out nightshades, cutting out dairy...the list goes on. Add to that lots of exercise, no exercise, weights only, etc. NOTHING WORKED.

                            The ONLY thing that worked was getting on the right meds for my thryoid. It has taken over two years, and only in the last few weeks have I started seeing results (weight loss, energy etc).

                            Primal is a great way of eating, and if you'd been brought up on it no doubt it would prevent all sorts of diseases, including thyroid problems, but if your system was already broke before going primal (as mine was), you may need to accept that some additional help, in the forms of meds, may be required.

                            Also - I am not losing great chunks of hair anymore, and my nails are no longer brittle. I do not need morning and afternoon naps anymore, and I can concentrate for longer periods of time again. And a lot of my light-headeness and dizziness (even when sitting) has gone.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mireia View Post
                              Thank you for the heads up!

                              Some family members are not understanding at all. I tried telling my sister and my mother/ father and I feel they only hear half of what I say. They often don't respond or change the subject. They don't think that hair is an issue and that I can just cut it off and regrow or keep it short...who needs long hair anyway and PMS is supposedly normal now.


                              My hair used to be quite long (thigh) and because of repeated hair loss I har to keep shortening it. Back then a pituitary tumor and prolactin where causing it but my prolactin is fine this time.
                              It just gets frustrating to go through this over and over again.
                              Oh, no worries!

                              I can understand the frustration. And family are often the worst people to talk to about these things. Try chatting to some supportive friends... ones who've had health complaints will be more inclined to be empathic.

                              Good luck on your recovery!
                              "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                              In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                              - Ray Peat

                              Comment

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