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Paleo & Hashimoto's Disease - Bad advice from Endo! Need opinions!

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  • Paleo & Hashimoto's Disease - Bad advice from Endo! Need opinions!

    I need some advice. In February, I started following the Paleo diet ĖFor 8 weeks, I was really good about sticking with it and lost 0 pounds Ė but didnít have any gastro issues anymore. My husband lost 15!I had some blood work done as a part of a routine check- up and was diagnosed with Hashimotoís Disease and was prescribed 25 mg of Levothyroxine. (TSH was 5.730, FT4 was 0.92, and TPO was 388)
    The first week I felt great Ė the scale was moving a bit, I was waking up after 8 hrs of sleep and felt rested. In the last 2 weeks though, my weight has shifted up and down, fatigue and extreme sleepiness have set in and Iím having night sweats. I went to see an Endo today because I thought a specialist would be able to better guide me given that they focus on matters of the thyroid. This doctor, who had zero bedside manner, increased the Levo to 50 mg, but said that I would need to cut my calories to 800/day for a week, then the next week up it to 1000/day (+ exercise) and alternate back and forth until I reached my desired weight (Iím 5-5/182 pounds). I was so shocked that she would suggest such a drastic cut in calories Ė it just didnít sit well with me. She saw the shock on my face and said to just try cutting 30% of my calories. This just sounds really off to meÖ She also seemed to insinuate that I was blaming my thyroid for all my symptoms ! Iím totally new to all of this and Iím trying to sort it out based on what Iíve read --
    Has anyone had an Endo recommend this kind of diet? I canít imagine trying to do Paleo on 800 calories a day!


  • #2
    Sounds like BS to me. With a TSH that high I'd say your Levothyroxine dosage will not be sufficient. Need free T3 and reverse T3 labs as well for a complete picture. Most feel best with a TSH around 1 give or take for individual requirements.


    • #3
      I've got Hashis and my doctor has never tried to get me to do a crazy low calorie diet. And Hashis definitely can kill your metabolism- it did mine. I had to go on meds to get my metabolism squared away. I take desiccated thyroid derived from pig thyroid glands instead of Levo. I had studied up and preferred to go that route since many sufferers of Hashis have issues with T4 to T3 conversion and natural thyroid has T4, T3, T2 and T1 whereas Synthroid/levothyroxine is synthetic T4 only so if you have a conversion issue all the Levo in the world won't make you feel better.

      Sorry, that was more info than you asked for. No, my doctor would never ask me to go on a crash diet.
      High Weight: 225
      Weight at start of Primal: 189
      Current Weight: 174
      Goal Weight: 130

      Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


      • #4
        If you don't have enough T3, then you should supplement with T3. Not synthetic T4.
        Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

        Griff's cholesterol primer
        5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
        Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
        TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
        bloodorchid is always right


        • #5
          I'm a firm believer in healing the body BEFORE trying to lose weight. You have thyroid disease. I believe your focus should be on getting optimally treated. Thyroid rechecks (TSH, freeT4, freeT3) should be done every 6-8 weeks until your frees are at midpoint of their respective ranges.

          After that, give your body time as symptoms can lag behind labs by months. If symptoms remain tweak slowly using freeT4 and freeT3 as a guide and watching carefully for hyPER symptoms.

          During the time you are getting optimized I suggest eating eating primal and being diligent about avoiding grains. Restricting calories, IMO, can hinder getting thyroid issues optimized. Health should be the focus, not weight.

          My story-- It took about eight years to get optimal treatment for my hypothyroidism. I gained a lot of weight during this time. After I was optimized, it took about 6 months for my body to accept that things were good. After that, eating low (not VLC) carb at first, then primal, and exercising allowed me to get healthy. A nice perk of getting healthy was finally losing the weight.

          I have remained healthy and kept the weight off for 3+ years. There have been bumps in the road when my meds need adjustment.

          My endo never recommended a diet. He just kept me undermedicated for years, was a TSH worshipper and said I'd feel better if I weighed less. I fired him.


          • #6
            Try and find an integrative doctor. You can improve your thyroid function and possible adrenal problem with supplements to support your system.

            There is generally more going on with your hormones than just your thyroid. It all has to be looked at as a whole.

            I have had success with dr wilson's supplements prescribed by my integrative doctor after looking at blood and saliva tests of things like cortisol, progesterone, estrogen, dhea, insulin, thyroid hormones, and liver function.

            If I remember right there is a triangle between hypothalamus, adrenals and thyroid and one not working right can affect the others.

            One thing you will have to do if you have hashimotos is to never touch wheat....

            Hope this helps...


            • #7
              Dear Smithfamily99,

              I hope I am not too late with my info on your request. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's in March of 2012. I suspected for years that something's wrong. My mother, father, and my sister all have been diagnosed with the same condition. It isn't something I consider a disease because I believe my family and I have caused this condition to ourselves due to our misinformation about our diet and lifestyle. As an eastern european I used to eat grains in a large quantity, so as my family and the entire population around there. Autoimmune conditions, just like Hashimoto, are rampant when this is your way of eating. To contribute to the condition, we all drink very chlorinated water, and one major detail from my past is that I grew up in the time of Chernobyl.

              Let me get back on the subject. After I have been diagnosed with the thyroid condition I was told I most likely would be on the hormone replacement for the rest of my life and I cannot do anything about it. This was confirmed by both my american and european endos, I do travel a lot btw. All that happened around March of 2012, a year and 6 months before this post. After the use of the meds for 6 months my endo found that my hormones have gone from 6.1 to 8.6 and my replacement hormones were increased from 50/75 to 75/100. The two numbers mean I had to alternate the dose every day. Past tense because I no longer have to take hormones and it’s not because I am dead already, we will get to that part in a bit.

              Both my docs, here in the states and the european one, told me the same thing that most likely I have to cut on the calorie intake. At some point we all decide to check things out for ourselves because we begin to feel something isn't right with the info. This was that point for me.

              It turns out almost all endos are treating their patients by the same outdated info from the 60s. Why? Because no major drug company is doing any research on the subject. This is not a life threatening condition and they don't see any profit in it so nothing needs to be changed by them.

              Okay, sorry again, back on the subject. As it turns out, when you eat grain based diet there is a specific enzyme that looks very much like our TSH hormone. When the levels of the gluten go high the gland in our brain sends a message to the thyroid to slow down the production of the hormones, and so the thyroid listens to the request and it does exactly that. However, we keep on eating what we eat the most, grains. Eventually the brain thinks the thyroid has gone rouge so it does what is knows best in a situation we know as autoimmune diseases. The brain sends a command so the body begins to attack the thyroid. Basically the white blood cells begin to attack the thyroid and in the process slowly killing it. If we keep on eating grains and the brain keeps on detecting the large quantities of, the similar to the TSH but foreign, enzyme eventually the thyroid would be gone and if a person is not on corrective meds and the thyroid isn't removed things get really bad. That was one long sentence.

              Now here is the good part. Going on the Paleo diet would ensure you will no longer cause damage to the thyroid. But it’s not enough to reverse the damages. In the process we have to help the thyroid to get back to normal function. I decided to try it regardless what my "very educated" doctors told me that was impossible. So I did my independent research and kept on finding that many people have been successful with it and that even some doctors are helping their patients to achieve this goal.

              You do have to keep on the hormones your endo has put you on until you get to your recovery so you will not be doing anything drastic from what you have been told. You do have to stay on the Paleo diet, especially no grains. You also have to avoid eggs, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Do not drink and if possible do not shower or swim in chlorinated water. This last one is hard to do. Apparently, the last few irritate the thyroid so you should avoid them as much as possible until it has returned to its normal function. The last part is something that both my doctors told me not to do because they. After I found out that I have to take some supplements I had to ask their opinion. They both told me iodine is horrible for the thyroid gland. But, here is the reality. Iodine by itself is not helping the thyroid and it may be damaging for the thyroid. However, the iodine is one of the two elements that builds up the gland and also provides for the production of the TSH hormone. So how is it that it is so needed by the body and apparently a person suffering from a Hashimotos is so depleted of this element and yet he or she isn’t supposed to take it??? As it turns out IT MUST BE COMBINED WITH SELENIUM, the other most essential element for our thyroid health!!! Both substances work well in the repair and the restoring of the natural function of our t-gland. We must take both together, and there is a limit on how long we can take Selenium due to its toxicity if taken for a prolonged period of time, so checking on that is a must!

              This June, six months after my TH4 was at 8.6, I went to Europe and I did my check up. My TSH was at 2.5 and my endo, the same one who told me I would be on meds for the rest of my life scanned my t-gland. She told me it no longer looks like Swiss cheese! She wanted me off the meds in two moths. I did my check up here in the states two weeks ago and I've got the same results. However, my american doctor said the diagnoses may have been wrong. I am off the hormones, I am 100% paleo, and I am still afraid to eat eggs, tomatoes, and bell peppers! I need to mention all this was done in 6 months. January TH4 at 8.6, June at 2.5!

              Please, don't take my word for it. Do your homework and find doctors who deal with reversing this condition. Again, this is a condition and not a disease. Don't listen to people who have settled for a lifelong of pill taking. Do your research and get your health back to normal.

              BTW, I didn't think it would be relevant to this the subject to mention that during the thyroid recovery on the day after one of my long flights from Europe I suffered a stroke due to a whole in my heart (PFO), which was discovered later in the hospital and permanently lost peripheral vision in my right eye. So, during that time I underwent a heart procedure to close the whole in my heart. I hope this gives you some encouragement and show you that you are capable to restore your health with a lot less problems on your plate. I send my good energy and hope for your quick reversal of your condition.

              Many blessings and Namas te!



              • #8
                Dear OP,

                As a person who almost wants to slap someone everytime I see someone given the advice to eat more to lose weight, I have to say that this time, I'm in that camp. Well, not so much eat more to lose weight, but 800 calorie crash diets on and off throughout life is probably what hurt a lot of the "older" people in our culture.

                If you were to eat 85 grams of protein, at 4 cal/gram, that would be 340 cals. Add about 75 grams of carb at 4 cal/gram - that's 300. Which on 800 cal/day would leave you 800 - 340 - 300 = 160 calories for fat, or ~ 18 grams of fat (fat has 9 cal/gram). That's pretty much the same BS CW has been spouting for 40 years - while the country got fatter and sicker.

                If you used even macros, i.e., 33/33/33 (well, one of them would have to be 34 to equal 100%), on 800 calories per day, that would give you about 67 grams each of Carbs and Protein, and 30 grams of fat. You might be able to subsist on that for awhile, but it's not going to contribute to your health in any way, and I'm wincing at that low of a protein intake, even though I know a lot of people eat that low. You'd need supplementation up the ass. And for me, that's how one knows one isn't eating enough, or in the right manner - if supplements rather than food are giving you most of your nutrients, something is wrong. I can tell you from experience, that going too low fat will make your hair look like crap - that was just an outward thing that was apparent; goddess only knows what it was doing to me on the inside.

                Anyway, your endo is asking you to basically starve your way back to health. Does that make sense?

                Please find a doctor who has read some of the literature written since after she graduated and who doesn't take cruises as a way to get her continuing education. Yes, ultimately, you have to eat fewer calories than you "use" to lose weight, but there is no reason to starve. Even if it took you the better part of two years to lose 45 pounds, in the end, you'd be better off than if you crashed it off, especially with any kind of metabolic issues, which starving would probably exacerbate.

                Good luck to you!
                "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


                Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


                • #9
                  I have had Hashimoto's for many years - unfortunately, my thyroid is all but destroyed now from it - I found Paleo too late in life to stop the destruction. I take Armour Thyroid and have for years - keeps my TSH at or below 1.0, which is where I feel good. I have been on the same dose for 15 years and have it checked yearly. So there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel! Wish I could say it was an easy path, but it was far from that! But I finally found a doc who respected my wish to try the Armour, and the rest is history. Hashimoto's is autoimmune in nature - so it makes sense that Paleo will help that. I eat very low carb, too, as I just feel better when I do that.
                  A normal person can convert some of the T4 to T3, but if you cannot convert, then taking only T4 will never resolve the issue. Armour contains both, which was a blessing to me and saved my life and sanity! Good luck!!