Diet for Pituitary Problems
I've been battling hypothyroid and low testosterone symptoms for the past six months, and I finally saw an endochronologist yesterday. She is taking me off my primary doctor's order of Armour and testosterone cream (they didn't improve my subjective symptoms), waiting a month, and then doing a bunch of tests for my thyroid, gonadal, and pituitary systems. To complicate things, I had a head injury when I was a teenager, so the issue may be much deeper than initially thought.
In the mean time, are there any things I can with my diet to help the symptoms? I'm exhausted, low energy, lack of motivation during exercise, mood swings, depression, zero sex drive (I'm 21 years old, male), constipation, cold hands/feet, low body temp, slow body hair growth, fat accumulation around the waist/thighs (not visceral fat...lots of "under the skin"/hanging fat over my muscle) etc. I'm not looking for anyone to second guess my doctor, just diet help.
I've been grain-free since June, and I'm open to trying pretty much anything. I tried keto over the summer and hated it. It only made my thyroid problem worse. For a month or so, I've been getting the bulk of my carbs from two medium sweet potatoes a day, plus veggies, and I can feel my energy and muscle tone returning. My endo didn't ask about my diet besides dairy. I told her I didn't "avoid" dairy, but that I didn't make a point to consume. She didn't expand on that, but I assume she was asking about calcium intake.
I'm 5'11, 210 lbs. I'm thinking about cutting back on the calories, since eating til I feel full on primal hasn't helped.
That all sounds very hypothyroid. Have you read the "why do I still have thyroid symptoms?" book? I wish I'd found it years ago, when I was first diagnosed. For me, cutting all dairy helped. But I love dairy. And when I cheat, the hypo symptoms start coming back and my energy lags.
Hey CoS, I really think that you should request a brain scan (If you haven't already) to see what exactly is going on. I don't want to be alarmist but it could be a pitituary tumour. I had one ( a crainiopharingioma), that I happened to be born with but didn't discover until i was 20 and the symptoms were very similar. This might not be the case at all and it might be symptoms from that injury you had when you were younger since the trauma would be in the same part of the brain and cause the same symtoms, but it's always better to be safe!!
I stopped taking medications for my sex hormones because they were causing crazy mood swings and not improving my symptoms at all... now I feel a lot better, although my sex drive is barely existant unfortnately. If you have symptoms of feeling weak/faint, you might need to check out your cortisol levels and lack of human growth hormone might be another reason for fatique and weight gain (particularly abdominal). So get a full hormone check and stick to the primal diet, because I think it's the best way to maintain any pitituary condition!
I don't know anything about gland disorders.
Weston A Price has come across people who had children with deficient glands, especially pituitary glands that were damaged during the first 8 weeks of the baby's bone development, when the skull and bones first form. He also had children who were lethargic, or who had learning disabilities or any other 'weird' ailments for its time.
He improved MUCH of it through nutrition, especially with cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil combined. A lot of these kids completely recovered.
If you haven't seen the book, it's a MUST to read. At the time though, nobody knew about hte ill effects of wheat and grains in general, phytic acid was discovered shortly after his book was puplished.
Both, my nephew and niece, were born with birth defects. One can't hold the pee and doesn't know that he is pee'ing, and the other lacks an enzyme production that is vital for the digestion of important fats. My sister, at the time and before becoming pregnant, was on a very high grain diet, never ate fish and hardly ever ate real meat. No supplementation of any kind.
I was the born "runt" of hte family...underweight at birth, prematurely born, only 35% of my skeleton was laid down at the time of birth. I was tiny. I barely had a voice. I was in a 'breeding box' for 6 weeks after birth at intensive care to keep me alive. I received no mothers milk at all. Brought home, my mother was told to put me on a boiled potato and carrot diet.../sigh.
I am now 40 years old, taller than my older sister who received ALL the nutrition. My sisters (age 44) hair is lost, she is bald (as a female), her thyroid looks swollen, she has severe back pain, severe arthritis, grey, transparent teeth, snores like a champ, is always tired, acne, is obese, borderline diabetic, already had a hysterectomy at age 41 because of her excessive bleeding and pain, paper thin nails, always sick, severe allergies and sleep apnea and she looks 10years older than she actually is.
I'm robust, strong bones, long, shiny hair, clear skin, of ideal weight, have 0 ailments (knocks on wood) and look 5+ years younger than I actually am.
My sister, compared to me, looks 20 years older than I, yet we are only 4 years apart.
What's the difference? Our diet. Her and I would be another good study for Weston Price. (How the biggest of the litter became the runt.)
The correct Nutrition makes all the difference!
BrassyDel - My endo is going to check me again for thyroid, but since Armour isn't helping and the hypothyroid symptoms are paired with low T (hypogonad), then she suspects a bigger problem. The pituitary gland regulates both the thyroid AND sex hormones.
Jovana - My endo wants to test for hypothyroid and hypogonad again, and if need be, she mentioned an MRI.
Issabeau - Thanks for the input, but I think Dr. Price's "Solve everything with some fish oil" is a load of crap. If I am having glandular and hormonal issues, a tumor, or complications from a head injury, its not going to matter whether or not I was raised on margarine or butter.
Since they are exploring it, I am sure you know that it is not that uncommon to have pituitary dysfunction after a head injury. I would suggest just suffering through feeling like crap instead of trying any remedies now - it is important to find out how much residual function you have so you can supplement properly.
ETA: Don't cut calories now either. If you have no thryroid function you are not going to lose weight. Just ride this thing out until you can get a proper diagnosis.
That's what I'm thinking. I'm going to keep working out to maintain muscle mass, but maybe quit beating myself up about not going 100% all the time. I don't want to use the pituitary as an excuse, but its a little comforting to know that I'm not losing weight due to lack of effort or poor diet. DAMN GLANDS!
I would agree that there's not much you can do until testing is done and your endo finds the cause of your problems. Your symptoms certainly seem like thyroid (I'm hypothyroid myself), but, as you know, the pituitary controls the thyroid, so that may be the cause of your problems and why the Armour didn't help. I hope you get an answer soon.
However, I would caution you about working out because when thyroid is low, exercise can stress it too much and cause further problems.
Moreover, you may want to restrict calories just a little. Even though I am well medicated, I have Hashimoto's, and the disease is progressive, and I've had problems. Twice my T3 has 'tanked.' The first time, I gained 10 lbs in two weeks, although I had been losing steadily with the same diet. This time, I reduced my calories significantly and was able to at least maintain my weight until I was able to get my meds adjusted.
Again, I hope you get this worked out soon because those glands affect every cell in the body.
Cos , just so you know even with lack of thyroid and other hormone function, you should still be able to lose weight in the long term. After I had surgery for my pitituary tumour, i lost most of the hormones that kept me thin.
This means within a few short months I gained 20kg (44 pounds) , which is a lot considering I only weighed 50kg (110 pounds) to begin with. My endo said i'd never be able to lose the weight and that i'd only get bigger but after 3 years of exercise and dieting I've managed to get to 53kg (116 pounds), which is pretty close to my original weight!
So although it will probably take you a lot of effort and a lot more time to lose the weight, it's definitely do-able.. and at the very least you'll certainly be able to maintain the weight you are at. Never give up!
I dropped 110 lbs from June 2010 to June 2011, but it seems like everything just shut down in June. My endo was amazed that I was able to lose weight, but its been totally dead for the past six months. I'm just going to have to avoid overeating and work on my mobility/flexibility and core strength, and maintain a low stress routine. That seems to be the best answer for now. No reason for me to be squatting or sprinting if I can't lose weight, and my glands are stressed already.