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Thread: Low Carb and Thyroid Function page 2

  1. #11
    solobiker's Avatar
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    I have hypothyroidism and and have been having trouble with insomnia since going LC. It has been getting worse not better. For the past couple of weeks I fall asleep around 9/930 and wake up between 2-3 am and can not fall back to sleep. Heck, I even woke up at 11pm. I am thinking my medication may be off for whatever reason. When I wake up that early I am so wired that I just get up and go ride my spin bike for an hour then get ready for work. I am going to go have my thyroid levels checked this week. I just want to sleep again. I keep my carbs between 50-100. Maybe I should increase them a bit...just not sure.

  2. #12
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    I'm not sure that the issues I had were thyroid or not, I never tested more than borderline. But I had a lot of the classic symptoms - hair loss, extreme fatigue, cold, muscle soreness after going VLC. When I switched to primal by removing bread and pasta, I essentially removed any major sources of carbs. I was consistently under 50g/day, more like 30g/day. I discovered after about 2 weeks that iwas not the right way for me as I got severely depressed.
    I added more carbs, mostly in the way of potatoes 4-5 days/week and feel much better. I simply need more carbs to function. I know lift 3x/wk, play soccer once, have energy to play with my kids, and am still losing 2-3lbs/month. So it's just about finding what works best for your body.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    I think this write up is good Low-Carb Diets and Hypothyroidism: A False Alarm « A Worldly Monk.

    There are several possible breaks in the chain that can lead to hypothyroid symptoms. What the cause is and how it's treated is all about determining at which point your hormonal conversions or production is broken. Just for instance, iodine is a bad option if you have Hashimotos, but low carb may be quite helpful for this autoimmune disorder.
    Interesting write up. Thanks, Neckhammer.

    An excerpt:

    "Proponents of the idea that the reduced levels of T3 associated with low-carb diets cause the symptoms of hypothyroidism have yet to offer an explanation as to why this reduction takes place, perhaps with good reason.

    One of the functions of T3 is its role, along with insulin, in lowering blood sugar by transporting glucose from the bloodstream into individual cells.

    Other things equal, lower levels of dietary carbohydrate mean lower levels of blood sugar. The simplest and most plausible explanation for the lower levels of T3 that accompany low-carb diets is that the amount of T3 required to perform all of its functions is now less.

    Ironically, both T3 and insulin are reduced by a low-carb diet, apparently for the same reason, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who referred to this as an “insulin deficiency”.

    There are anecdotal reports of symptoms of hypothyroidism in those following a low-carb diet that were improved by the isocaloric addition of dietary carbohydrate.

    The preponderance of clinical evidence suggests that their symptoms were caused by too few calories or a pre-existing thyroid condition. Attempting to treat the symptoms of hypothyroidism by adding carbohydrate to the diet might offer some improvement via the placebo effect, but it will not address the underlying cause and, more importantly, will delay treatment."


    IOW, yes, T3 goes down with low carb diets but this is because not as much T3 is needed to metabolize low carb foods. This lowering of T3 can be a problem for someone with a pre-existing thyroid condition and can indeed make things worse as BB saw. But the solution is to treat the thyroid problem, not just throw more carbs at it and hope it will go away.

  4. #14
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    I am thinking I need more carbs as well. I tend to do a lot if cardio..it is what I love. I do lift weights 3x/week as well. As fo cardio it is not uncommon for me to get 2hrs/day during the week a. 4-7 hours on a weekend day. Maybe that is what is messing up my medication. Time will tell.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artbuc View Post
    Chris Masterjohn and Chris Kresser say there is ample evidence that restricting carbohydrates can adversely affect thyroid function which in turn can down regulate LDL receptor activity. Kresser says he has had patients who were low carber's and exhibited the classic symptoms of hair falling out, etc. Symptoms usualy resolved when carbs were added back to the diet.
    This is the meme that will not die.

    Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet have some anecdotes in search of a theory. Paul's motives are obvious, Chris's less so, but neither one of them has a shred of evidence that the lower T3 levels that accompany low-carb diets has any adverse effect.

    I posted this on Paul's blog and I'll repeat it here: It's simply unethical for them to continue promote an idea that has neither theoretical nor empirical support. It's particularly unethical to recommend a treatment (adding carbs) that has no basis in medical evidence.
    Last edited by samknox; 11-12-2012 at 07:39 PM.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by samknox View Post
    This is the meme that will not die.

    Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet have some anecdotes on search of a theory. Paul's motives are obvious, Chris's less so, but neither one of them has a shred of evidence that the lower T3 levels that accompany low-carb diets has any adverse effect.

    I posted this on Paul's blog and I'll repeat it here: It's simply unethical for them to continue promote an idea that has neither theoretical nor empirical support. It's particularly unethical to recommend a treatment (adding carbs) that has no basis in medical evidence.
    Thank you.

  7. #17
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    @ BestBetter are you sure it was not a combination of low carb and low cal? With your increase in starches I bet your caloric intake is up too.
    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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  8. #18
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    You can say what you want about the man himself (And I'd probably agree with you) but Jack Kruse's stuff about thyroid, brain wiring, adrenals... sounds interesting to me. Carbs for thyroid function are effectively a "boost" but it's because you ask your thyroid to convert more T3 just to process carbs, it does not make your thyroid healthy. It's like a band-aid that, I reckon, will make your life a bit easier, but not optimal.

    Even very famous doctors in the hormones therapies and "anti aging" domains advice a lower carbs diet. I'm trying Kruse's Epi Paleo and Leptin RX because I have many hormonal imbalances but I don't do that without meds. I'm on Erfa, on Testosterone and on Anastrozole.
    Young self-caring Paleo-eater from France.
    (So please forgive the strange way I tend to express myself in your beautiful language )

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    I get hair loss, cold extremities, fatigue and anxiety if I stay very low carb, many on this forum do.
    A lot of people need starch or sugar for optimal t3 conversion or they suffer from Euthyroid sickness syndrome. It has nothing to do with a diseased thyroid, it's just a down regulation that many people don't tolerate and experience hypothyroid like symptoms.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by solobiker View Post
    I have hypothyroidism and and have been having trouble with insomnia since going LC. It has been getting worse not better. For the past couple of weeks I fall asleep around 9/930 and wake up between 2-3 am and can not fall back to sleep. Heck, I even woke up at 11pm. I am thinking my medication may be off for whatever reason. When I wake up that early I am so wired that I just get up and go ride my spin bike for an hour then get ready for work. I am going to go have my thyroid levels checked this week. I just want to sleep again. I keep my carbs between 50-100. Maybe I should increase them a bit...just not sure.
    Solobiker - with that sleep profile, I'd think about getting your adrenal functions looked like. That early hours awakening thing can be a sign of your cortisol being too low/too high, or low and high at the wrong times.
    Adrenals Web

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