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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 15, 2010

A Different Perspective on Hypothyroidism

By Mark Sisson
112 Comments

Hypothyroid has been covered to death before. I’m particularly fond of The Healthy Skeptic’s coverage – check out Chris Kresser’s ongoing series (possibly before you read on) for some great information on the thyroid. Carnivorous Danny Roddy did a good piece on it last year as well. As such, I won’t be redoing or rehashing an “intro to thyroid.” Instead, I’ll give a brief overview and then discuss why I think some of us may be looking at thyroid “dysfunction” in the wrong light.

The thyroid is a complicated little bugger wielding a lot of influence over the metabolism, and it seems like just about anything has been fingered as a trigger of its dysfunction. Lack of carbs in the diet, too few calories, too much iodine, too little iodine, too many grains, intermittent fasting, excessive cortisol, and multiple other factors have gotten the blame. Unraveling the multiple potential triggers for its dysfunction can be tough. But is dysfunction always the right way to describe a slight reduction in thyroid hormones? I’m not so sure.

In clinical cases of hypothyroidism, elevated levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) indicate that the thyroid is no longer producing enough thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Further tests of T4 and sometimes T3 can confirm it. Metabolic rates slow down. People gain weight and can’t ever seem to get enough sleep or get warm enough, especially in the extremities. Blood lipids increase and often worsen, and some cases even develop into emotional depression. If hypothyroidism gets really extreme and is allowed to progress unabated, hair loss, impaired memory/cognition, face puffiness, and numbness of the arms and legs can occur. Now, don’t get me wrong. These are terrible, frustrating symptoms for someone to deal with, and clinical hypothyroidism is a real problem, one that can be mitigated or treated with pharmaceuticals. I’m not trying to discount that. In fact, let’s take a look at the most common form of hypothyroidism: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease responsible for around 90% of hypothyroid cases in the United States. People with Hashimoto’s produce thyroid tissue antibodies that compel the immune system to wage war on their thyroid glands, destroying the thyroid itself. Without a thyroid gland, you can’t produce thyroid hormone. Without thyroid hormone, you’ve got hypothyroidism. That’s a serious problem.

(Side note that probably deserves more attention: Whenever I hear the word “autoimmune,” I immediately think of gluten, lectins, saponins and other gut irritants. I’m inherently suspicious of their role in human health, but when it comes to autoimmune diseases, I’m downright accusatory. Sure enough, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients are more likely to be celiacs, and abstaining from gluten for the purpose of reducing anti-gliadin antibodies also seems to reduce thyroid-specific antibodies. As Chris mentions, Hashimoto’s appears to merely be a part of a wider “polyendocrine autoimmune pattern” characterized by the presence of antibodies for multiple tissues and enzymes in the body.)

But what if “mild” hypothyroidism isn’t such a bad thing for those of us without Hashimoto’s? It manifests as a down regulated metabolism, a depressed energy output – a slowing down of sorts. Everything slows. What if slowing things down for a bit actually helps increase health?

As for general complaints about hypothyroidism due to some lab results, I’m always wary of folks determining their sense of health based on how their numbers compare to “normal” test results (remember my blood pressure experience?). Everything is relative; your numbers are being compared to millions of other numbers derived from a population eating the SAD, leading stressful lives, and following the modern, misleading CW. Is this population normal? Sure, using the strict definition. Is it healthy? No, and I think that calls into question the validity of comparing your numbers to theirs and using that comparison to determine which drugs to take.

You may have heard of the calorie restriction set, with their CRONometers and their fervent desire for life extension. It’s not a lifestyle I’m necessarily keen on, but the concept of calorie restriction as a life extension technique does have merit – plenty of studies show extended life spans in CR animal models, like monkeys, rodents, worms, and flies (a pretty diverse cross-section of life, I’d say) – and it’s always smart to pick and choose from what works and what does not, regardless of the source (this isn’t religion, folks, and dogmatic purity doesn’t matter when you’re just trying to get healthy and live well). Caloric restriction lowers circulating T3, which is the active, “potent” thyroid hormone that (for our intents and purposes) controls the metabolic rate. Low T3, lower metabolism, potentially greater longevity (since you aren’t “burning” as bright, so to speak). All good, right?

Sort of. Those rats, monkeys, and worms were having food withheld. They weren’t consciously deciding to restrict calories, and even though they were living longer, disease-free lives, they began to show signs of clinical depression. Humans do the same, as anyone who’s examined the results of Ancel Keys’ starvation study or dealt with a hungry, cranky spouse can attest. Nobody wants to restrict calories.

Intermittent fasting has been proposed as an effective way to get the benefits of caloric restriction without the actual restriction. Intermittent fasting certainly has some similar effects on the body. Like CR, IF reduces circulating T3 – but T4 normalizes. Like CR, IF likely improves age-related degradations in worms, rodents, and humans. It has the effect of spontaneously lowering caloric intake without much effort (eating Primal has the same effect on satiety), and many of the benefits attributed to both CR and IF are associated with thyroid hormone levels that approach “mild hypothyroidism.” Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, has the potential to shorten lifespan.

I’m just speculating here. Others, like Nora Gedgaudas, have suggested that a mildly hypothyroidic state might actually be physiologically “normal” and optimum for longevity. It makes sense, intuitively.

In the end, I’m all about subjective results. How are you feeling? Are you gaining weight? Are you fatigued? Or are your lab numbers just telling you (or your doctor) that you should be experiencing these symptoms? Listen to your body. If you’re experiencing the clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism, if you’re falling asleep at your desk and gaining weight and just generally feeling like crap, you’d listen to your body and get your thyroid checked, wouldn’t you? Just make sure you don’t ignore your body if it’s telling you good things, too, and don’t let some mildly “irregular” numbers override your intuitive sense of well-being.

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112 Comments on "A Different Perspective on Hypothyroidism"

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earthspirit
earthspirit
6 years 2 months ago

i hear turtles are delicious as a soup.
i had the sleeping always tired, gained 25lbs in one year. i was probably experiencing those symptoms without even knowing it. on a side note…i think it could have been caused from my addiction to bread pudding with praline sauce and buttercotch icecream…

earthspirit
earthspirit
6 years 2 months ago

lol someone got rid of the turtles remark first comment. well that makes my comment make no sense at all!

Turtle Man
Turtle Man
10 months 28 days ago

Perhaps you could try a turtle bake. Turtles by the bucket can really fuel your hambone reactor.

Dan Seidler
6 years 2 months ago
I have been hypothyroid (and hypogonad – low testosterone) for 12 years. I gained 70 lbs in 3 months before my TSH “normalized.” To this day I am still having symptoms. We increased my Synthroid medication, we’ve lowered it. I’ve increased exercise (P90X), decreased it (Grok-style)… increased calories, decreased it (IF made things worse)… I live a healthy lifestyle, probably mid 90% Primal. I’ve even lived like I had Celiac Disease for 8 months (restaurant managers treat you different when you ask for no bread/grains due to an “allergy”). I cannot find an answer. I just left a message with… Read more »
Erin
Erin
6 years 2 months ago
Dan, I suggest you look up the work of Datis Kharrazian. He teaches courses in functional endocrinology and practitioners who have been trained by him know which tests to give you to figure out your personal endocrine puzzle. I also urge all of you with Hashi’s to look into Kharrazian’s work. You have an immune system issue, first and foremost, which needs balancing (the thyroid being attacked is just collateral damage) and taking thyroid meds just masks the damage that is still occurring and does not address the real underlying issue. You need to find out which pathway of your… Read more »
Dr. Carpenter
5 years 7 months ago

Erin is right on. I’m one of the doctors trained by Dr. Kharrazian, and his approach to the thyroid truly is cutting-edge stuff. Many, many people have been helped with this approach.

If you are having thyroid symptoms, even if your labs look “good,” or even if you are already on a prescription, I urge you to read Dr. Kharrazian’s book and to find one of the doctors he trained near you. TRAVEL to one if you have to. I’m in Texas & happy to help. 🙂

Chad
Chad
6 years 2 months ago

My wife has hypothyroidism and was on synthroid which did not work for her. However, Armour Thyroid has worked very well, it is made from pig thyroid. Ask your doctor about trying it.

marcadav
marcadav
6 years 2 months ago

Dan
Have you had your frees tested -T4,T3? Are they midrange? Since you have low testosterone, have you considered the possibility of hypo-pituitarism?

Dan Seidler
6 years 2 months ago

Though I haven’t had them tested in the past year, I have had all the other levels tested – they were all “normal.” I had a radio-active MRI done to check my pituitary and hypothalumus. (twice, actually) – no tumors.

As for Armour, none of my doctors will prescribe it… I have switched doctors on several occassions due to lack of progress. I am currently in the market for a good Internist…

Fantastic posts, guys. Thank you all so much!!

I will have to look in to Kharrazian’s work. Thank you! – Dan

Nicole
Nicole
5 years 3 months ago

Why are you on synthroid? The internet is full of storys relating to being mistreated with synthroid. Lots of good storys about natural dessicated thyroid derived from pigs though, sounds more primal to me 🙂 I read a very good book by Mark Starr about thyroid health, covers heaps of info. I hope you are getting to the bottom of your health issues and best of luck to you.

gijive
gijive
6 years 2 months ago

i really stuggle with this feel like crap most of the time,struggle to lose weight ,workouts are hard to keep going,its a night mare ,i take a high dose of thyroxine 275 mm Help 🙁

TexasPrimalSurfWahine
6 years 2 months ago

@ Dan & gijive – I was still having problems while on synthetic replacements (Synthroid, levothyroxine) but have found much relief when I asked my endo to prescribe desicated thyroid for me. I take Armour thyroid and it has done the trick. It is a combination T4 & T3 medication. It can be a chore to source each month will calls to several pharmacies in the same chain to check availablity but at least I have always been able to get it. I would recommend it, it has given me my brain clarity and energy back.

Katt
Katt
6 years 2 months ago

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s about 10 years ago. And following right along with that, I am very gluten intolerant. I may be Celiac, but I have never tested for it. Once I went Primal and cut out grains, that was no longer a problem for me. I have lost 40 lbs since then, and at my latest exam, my doctor lowered my dosage. He said it was simply a matter of losing weight. I think that it’s also partly because I stopped eating grains.

G.G.
G.G.
6 years 2 months ago
I have both Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and celiac disease and have been on (natural, porcine) thyroid hormones for the past four years, which have brought my TSH, T3 and T4 into “normal” range. Of course my antibodies remain sky high. I have been as close to primal as possible (I indulge my sweet tooth with dried fruits more than is strictly primal, but not by much) for over two years and I practice intermittant fasting. Despite the lifestyle changes – and don’t get me wrong, my I do feel better than I did before my diagnoses – I still feel way… Read more »
Elizabeth
6 years 2 months ago

There’s actually a lot of interesting ideas out there about curing candida with a high fruit diet. I admit it’s mostly the vegan types who promote that kind of cure, but it’s something to contemplate.

mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago

How exactly would that work? What’s the science behind it?

Madelain Burgoyne
Madelain Burgoyne
3 years 1 month ago

You could probably tie Hershi’s to Celiac to damaged gut lining and one’s gut flora being out of whack: Candida.

Probiotics, ditch the grains, fungus foods, focus on building good gut flora etc. Maybe Mark has a post of gut flora?!

Andrea
Andrea
6 years 2 months ago

Thanks for this, Mark. Although I’ve always struggled with weight issues and would love to “blame” hypothyroidism, I too have long thought that intuitively, a slower running metabolism seems like it’d be better than one running hot. Not scientific at all, just seems like if you run slower, you live longer. 🙂

Anne
Anne
6 years 2 months ago
I have Hashimoto’s, and am pleased to report that a few weeks ago I had my TPO antibodies (the marker for the autoimmune disease) tested for the first time since I was diagnosed three years ago. I’ve been low carb/grain free/increasingly primal for most of that interval. Well, on the recent test the antibodies are not active at all (normal is <20, mine were <10). I pretty much credit the diet for that! Don't know that I'll be able to reduce medication — just over a week ago I had half my thyroid removed for a large nodule associated with… Read more »
Alisa - Dairy Free
6 years 2 months ago

Thanks Mark – this is a very interesting perspective. I have been hypothyroid for most of my life, yet active and never overweight. My husband notices that I tend to get a bit “depressive” and lethargic when my thyroid is low (he notices the symptoms before I do, but when tested, he is right), and a low dose helps. But, I sometimes wonder if I really need it, or if I can get past this on my own. I lived for years without the medication and was still highly active, so who knows!

Laura
Laura
6 years 2 months ago
I am 30 years old and have had hypothyroidism since 7th grade. I was active person and a healthy eater. Hypothyroidism runs in my family. I experienced depression, extreme tiredness, hair loss, and weight gain before my diagnosis was made. All of which are hard on an adult, but even more difficult on a teenage girl. I was put on a low dose of Synthroid and many of my problems did subside. If I am reading the post correctly it seems as though you are suggesting that having a slightly dysfunctional thyroid could be a good thing? I assure you,… Read more »
SK1
SK1
6 years 2 months ago
I have to agree with Laura on this one. Hypothyroid is an extremely misunderstood disease, I’ve had it since I was 15 years old and I still don’t understand all of it. I wouldn’t play around with mild hypothyroidism, it will cause you a lot of unexplained lethargy and other bad feelings. You’ll be desperate to know what is wrong and nothing you’re doing will feel like it’s helping. Even with meds levels are slow to change so it can be quite frustrating while you wait – then one day, finally, the water weight will start coming off and your… Read more »
mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago

Did you guys skip the part where Mark said PB’ers are only mildly hypo on paper but are asymptomatic? Or even all of those success stories of people talking about how much more energy they have? Or how eating paleo reduces inflammation disorders and gives your adrenals a break from all of those sugar crashes?

Turtle Man
Turtle Man
10 months 28 days ago

Paleo made me feel a lot worse. I am a long time “only mildly hypo” sufferer. Occasionally more tired than I should be in the afternoons, occasional body temp fluctuations. Otherwise fairly healthy. I finally decided to try the lowest dose of synthroid and honestly it really made me feel a lot better. I’m not discounting other peoples experience. Everyone has to figure out what works for them though.

Lydia
Lydia
6 years 2 months ago
Yes, yes, yes to everything Laura said. Who cares about living a longer if you feel terrible all the time? I usually agree with you 100% Mark, but as someone who finally got a hypo diagnosis after much grief and anguish (three years of depression, losing my hair, and gaining fifty pounds) I gotta say on this one? No. Way. By the way, my numbers always fell in the normal range. I didn’t get a diagnosis until I started to develop a visible goiter. So I agree with not living by the numbers, but I’m coming at that from the… Read more »
Elizabeth
6 years 2 months ago

I second this. I definitely don’t want to live an extra twenty years if I have to have cold hands, depression and lethargy. In fact, get depressed enough and you won’t want to live to see tomorrow, nevermind fulfilling some kind of superhuman lifespan. Living should be defined as feeling great and functioning well, not duplicating some lab results with animals that have a brain the size of a pinhead.

Willa
Willa
6 years 2 months ago

Thirded. Most hypo patients feel best when their numbers are towards the hyper end of things. If I had to live in the upper range towards being hypo instead of hyper, I wouldn’t want to live the extra ten or twenty years.

Sarah
Sarah
6 years 2 months ago
I also agree with Laura. My story is a lot like hers — I was a teenager, and my numbers were within “normal” range, so it was only when I saw an endocrinologist that I got a diagnosis. I had successfully fought the weight gain through restrictive diets and desperate exercise, and guess what, that did NOT improve my symptoms — I was still cold all of the time (to the point where my hands were sore from the cold), tired, having trouble digesting food, and out-of-it. I don’t know where I’d be without Armour thyroid. Just one anecdote that… Read more »
Simon Fellows
Simon Fellows
6 years 2 months ago

thanks..the only thing i’d say is that intuition can be spectacularly wrong or right.
Did you read Myers book Intuition its powers and perils .. a brill read..very sobering

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[…] Original post by Mark Sisson […]

Marc
Marc
6 years 2 months ago

Mark,

Our circadian rhythm must be set every day in unobstructed morning light,in order for our body to have optimum physiological functions … including thyroid function.This is basic to health, and should be the starting point to any discussions on health … and it doesn’t cost anything to do. The question is, why is it so neglected ?

Marc

rozska
rozska
6 years 2 months ago

I was diagnosed with hypothyroid about four years ago. My numbers were borderline, but my naturopath treated my symptoms. It’s made a *huge* difference in the quality of my life. One thing that we quickly learned is that while Synthroid and a “natural” compounded mix may keep my numbers in line, the Armor, porcine stuff is the only one that keeps my symptoms away. So I agree wholeheartedly that numbers don’t tell the entire story: treat the symptoms.

Lydia
Lydia
6 years 2 months ago

After five years on levothyroxine, I became symptomatic again in March. After several months of fooling around with different dosages, my doctor switched me over to Armour at my request. I’ve been on it for three days. Here’s hoping.

I admit I’m scared. I don’t want to get trapped in that downward spiral again. It was hell. I’m glad to hear another vote for Armour. It makes me feel a little better.

Shawn
Shawn
6 years 2 months ago
I think youll like the Armour brand, its actual thyroid hormone, not some man made knock off. Ive been on it for a couple years, who knows i might not even need it anymore. All i know is that i felt a difference immediately…like within a week. No more brain fog, no more wanting to take a nap at 1pm. Gaining weight is no longer a problem, keeping it on is. My doc tried Levothyroxine on me when there was a shortage of Armour. I did NOT like that stuff. Within 5 days i had sore/swollen throat to the point… Read more »
Elenor
Elenor
6 years 2 months ago
“get your thyroid checked” If only it were that simple. Almost all docs only treat by lab numbers, not symptoms: “here sweetie, your thyroid number is fine, have an antidepressant”! {eye roll}. Most docs only test the TSH — thyroid stimulating hormone — which is a pituitary hormone, not even a thyroid hormone. The example I always use to explain the problem with that is as follows. The farm wife yells out the window that supper is ready. (The pituitary ‘shouts’ to the thyroid to make some T4, the storage hormone that must still be converted to the biologically active… Read more »
teri fout
teri fout
6 years 2 months ago
Thanks for your response and for including information about STTM. I have alot of respect for Mark Sisson and his PB but thyroid issues are complex and totally out of his realm. I cringe when I read blogs like this. There are literally thousands and thousands of people who have had devestating health consequences from misdiagnosed and undertreated thyroid problems. The thyroid and thyroid hormones affect leterally every cell and system in the body. Any one who even THINKS they might have thyroid issues, I urge you to check out the Stop the Thyroid madness site and to join the… Read more »
Maria
Maria
6 years 2 months ago

Nice to see a plug for the Healthy Skeptic Blog. It’s yet another wonderful resource for those of us floating around in cyberland. Chris Kresser knows his stuff.

M'chelle
M'chelle
6 years 2 months ago
Perhaps, being a Primal-dabbler, and not fully accustomed to your writing style I’m taking this wrong – but as a symptomatic Celiac with friends with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, and a cousin with an autoimmune disease that is slowly killing her – I’m a little offended by the tone of this post. What you’ve written makes all of these very serious, sometimes deadly diseases, sound like minor annoyances. It’s agonizing to have a body hell-bent on slowly destroying itself. Please be cautious when posting advice about health topics that go beyond basic nutrition and fitness. Suggesting that a disease is to the… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years 2 months ago

Agree, I was rather offended when I first read it, but usually I am not offended by your posts, Mark. I think the tone of the autoimmune sidebar is rather confusing.

Erik
Erik
6 years 2 months ago

I took it entirely differently. From what I could gather, Mark’s saying that hypothyroid is a serious disease with some devastating symptoms, but if you feel fine, don’t jump to conclusions and freak out if some test numbers come back a little lower than you expected.

For instance, a lower carb diet and intermittent fasting can both lower thyroid hormones; absent any symptoms, is that a problem?

Elizabeth
6 years 2 months ago

“For instance, a lower carb diet and intermittent fasting can both lower thyroid hormones; absent any symptoms, is that a problem?”

I would personally say no, absolutely not a problem. The problem is if you start experiencing negative symptoms but ignore them because you’re boxed in by preconceived ideas of a “perfect” diet.

Jen
Jen
6 years 2 months ago

That’s how I read it, too — prefacing everything about how real and bad those hypothyroid conditions are, as a contrast to what he’s actually talking about which is very mild / slightly low metabolism.

teri fout
teri fout
6 years 2 months ago
I was one of those folks who felt fine with slightly skewed labs for quite awhile. But untreated hypothyroidism can have devastating affects on health. Even “subclinical” hypothyroidism. One minute you are ok, the next minute you aren’t. It’s not quite as simple as that, but you get the idea. I’ve eaten a low carb diet for years and have just recently (in the past 5-6 months) gone more primal with IF because I was getting frustrated with no weight loss, and inexplicable weight gains. I’m not saying that change suddenly made me ill. But I do think it was… Read more »
Matt C
Matt C
6 years 8 days ago

Exactly how I read this post – don’t freak out if the numbers come back a little outside “normal”. When researching the hypothyroid issue even what’s considered “normal” is up for debate.

hogbackmts.
hogbackmts.
2 months 20 days ago

agreed. Thanks Mark.

tess
tess
6 years 2 months ago
🙂 complex subject, indeed! i was diagnosed hypothyroid at just a few months of age, and that was half a century ago. all my life i’ve been on thyroid of one kind or another, so believe me, i have a LOT of experience of good doctors and bad, good medicines and bad…. i second the recommendation to access stopethethyroidmadness.com!!! YES, hypothyroidism is nothing to treat lightly, but NO, do not rest your fate in the hands of conventional medicine! educate yourself! with the recent “shortage” of natural thyroid (Armour), i had to start tweaking my treatment, and between adding IRON… Read more »
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tess
tess
6 years 2 months ago

it’s interesting that although the Healthy Skeptic writes that there are many pathways to hypothyroidism, most of his recommendations are based on the Hashimoto’s kind…. he says (in bold-face type, no less) that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder, which isn’t ALWAYS the case. SOME of us definitely benefit from nutritional supplements.

Abby
Abby
6 years 2 months ago

As a cancer survivor, I have been told that radiation has severely destroyed my thyroid. I have been 90% primal for the last 2 years with no change in my TSH levels. I fast once a week, sometimes more. I have not succumbed yet to meds, but I may have to.

Kim
Kim
2 years 20 days ago

I am new to this site, just thinking of exploring the primal life and would like to know how you are doing with the primal diet and hypothyroidism. I too am a cancer survivor with a radiation destroyed thyroid. I have gained 45 lbs since and would like to chat with someone who has some of the same situation as me health wise. I also struggle with depression and fatigue and definitely an emotional eater.

Kevin
Kevin
6 years 2 months ago
I was diagnosed hypothyroid a few years ago after a blood test. Not knowing any better I put myself in the hands of an endocrinologist even though I felt fine, had no significant weight problem, etc. At the time I was still eating a grain and legume-based diet and drinking a lot of beer. Today I’ve been pretty much primal in diet and exercise for about a year, feeling fit and strong at 57, (6’0″, 165, doing level 7 on superfit.org) but I’m still taking 125mcg. of Levoxyl every day. So I’ve decided to wean myself off it slowly while… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
6 years 2 months ago

Typo correction: simplefit.org, not super, which by the way is an outstanding simple program to satisfy the “lift heavy things” recommendation.

slacker
slacker
6 years 2 months ago

Great post! Something intelligent about thyroid — what a relief. I’m going to go look at those other sites.

I always wondered about thyroid CW but was way too discouraged by my experience with conventional medicine on it that I just came to ignore anything I read about thyroid. For instance, I used to take kelp pills — I’m sure I was getting less iodine out of them than the average Japanese. Doctor I was seeing at the time said, “No! Don’t take those! It will suppress your thyroid. ” Huh? But, I did what I was told.

Brenda
Brenda
6 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the tip on Datis Kharrazian…….I have Hashimotos and have taken thyroid replacements but never felt any better or lost any weight. I had given up for now on dealing with this so I’m glad to have this lead on new info.

scotsgirl
scotsgirl
6 years 2 months ago
I’m on day three of changing to a paleo diet. I just turned 45 and had a list increasingly disturbing symptoms including morning pain and overwhelming fatigue, which I was starting to put down to my age, even though this has been going on for over a decade. The doctor told me my blood showed low T4, high TSH, so “we might put you on a tablet”. Why am I low thyroid? “It just happens” (Thanks for the deeply researched answer, doc). After a frenzied but very focussed session on the internet I put it all together and have banished… Read more »
Elenor
Elenor
6 years 2 months ago
Slacker wrote: kelp pills — I’m sure I was getting less iodine out of them than the average Japanese. Doctor I was seeing at the time said, “No! Don’t take those! It will suppress your thyroid. ” Huh? But, I did what I was told. It’s not actually that simple: one school of experience says even folks with Hashi’s can take iodine; another school of experiences says not to. There are two concerns about Kelp pills: 1) they are variable in their iodine levels and 2) some seems to contain arsenic! I started my return-to-health journey using Iodoral — the… Read more »
Jessica Slattery
Jessica Slattery
6 years 2 months ago

I’m also of the opinion that lab numbers are not an indication of health, but when it comes to hypothyroidism, as has already been mentioned, most people have normal lab results and experience symptoms-not the other way around. Suffering from low FT3 feels terrible. I barely have energy to play with my 2 yr old. My whole body often feels limp. This despite eating primal for 6 months. The only thing that gives me energy these days is creamed coconut. I don’t want to live a long life if it’s like this… luckily I’ve found a good doc who listens…

Mallory
6 years 2 months ago

why did you banish the dairy?

Gina
Gina
6 years 2 months ago
I just ordered the PB book and found MDA a couple of days ago and this is the first post I have read. I have to say I am disappointed. Hypothyroidism is NOT something to make light of. It is a serious and debilitating condition that often goes undiagnosed (or more commonly MISdiagnosed). It is pretty difficult to get tested and treated PROPERLY when you ARE hypothyroid, I can’t imagine there is much of a problem with asymptomatic people having meds passed out to them. Like other people said, the TSH test is almost worthless to detect thyroid problems. TSH… Read more »
TC
TC
3 years 4 months ago

I know this is an old post, but have to comment! Your analogy is by far the best I have ever read. I don’t want an “in range” life, I want an optimal one 🙂

STEVE
STEVE
6 years 2 months ago
I have been taking Synthroid for 30 years. I have seen several GP’s & Endocronoligists. They all seem to throw a dart at the dosage dart board to get my numbers right. Even lowering the dosage & taking 1 extra a week (effectivley taking the original dose per week) & it fixing my numbers. Is it a pipe dream to think that by being primal I have a shot of getting off of that medication? I have kicked all other meds by losing weight (cw), but now I am 14 weeks primal, & plan to see my GP in about… Read more »
Cassandra
Cassandra
6 years 2 months ago
Just a warning for all of you that are thinking you might be hypothyroid…you might not be! I spent three years being tested for thyroid because of on going problems and it finally took a trip to the ER late one night to find out I’m hyperthyroid not hypo! I still had many of the same complaints (energy issues, hair loss, weight, depression, etc) of hypo along with the racing heart and uncomfortable feelings in hot and cold weather. It took several doctors to finally find one that knew what he was doing after the ER trip. Doc’s best advice… Read more »
Lee
Lee
6 years 2 months ago

I wonder the exact same thing. I had the radioiodine for graves’ disease 4 years ago and now I’m hypo and not sure which is worse! I really wish I would’ve had the information on grains that I have today. 🙁

Nomad Foods
5 years 4 months ago

There is an excellent article from Dr. Mercola on thyroid dysfunction and some ways to manage it naturally with coconut oil of all things. There was feature about that in Womens Day in 2003 as well but there are plenty of resources and testimonials about it online as well.

jennifer
6 years 2 months ago
First, most diagnostic tests look for the outliers, the clinical picture, not the subclinical one. I would argue that addressing JUST the thyroid without regard to any of the other glands is erroneous and, possibly, dangerous. The thyroid is not the most important regulatory gland in the body – there isn’t a master gland (though if I had to pick one, it would be the pituitary). The thyroid works in conjunction with the other glands. Remove any one of the endocrine glands and you’ll see cascade effects all over. However, it is pretty clear that the adrenals are probably more… Read more »
Health Articles
6 years 2 months ago

very nice article on hypothyroidism and i would like to recommend this page for people looking for info on hypothyroidism !kudos for you for elaboratinh things easy !

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6 years 2 months ago

[…] a different view on hyperthyroidism […]

Elenor
Elenor
6 years 2 months ago
Jennifer wrote: it is likely that thyroid function will follow along on improved adrenal function. I’m afraid I have to disagree with this — you certainly can’t fix your thyroid malfunction until after you’ve fixed your adrenals, but fixing your adrenals will only address adrenal problems, and if your thyroid is not to badly worn down, it may be able to heal itself — but if your thyroid is shot, fixing your adrenals won’t fix your thyroid. The usual progression is: fix your adrenals, fix your thyroid, then fix your sex hormones. You can’t get the best response by trying… Read more »
Kristina
6 years 2 months ago

…so how does one fix their adrenals?

teri fout
teri fout
6 years 2 months ago

Kristina, you need to have a saliva cortisol test done which will show adrenal rhythm (4 samples collected during the day) and if cortisol levelas are low or high. Check out the yahoo adrenal support group and STTM website for tons of great info.

Elenor
Elenor
6 years 2 months ago

One goes and reads up the in-depth and experientially based information on Stop the Thyroid Madness.

Elenor
Elenor
6 years 2 months ago
Let me just add: before I discovered the Stop the Thyroid Madness site, I had always attributed my various “ills” to my age and my sedentary lifestyle. I would awaken feeling as if some guy had taken a bat to my “kidneys” (the adrenals sit directly on top of the kidneys). My neck would be stiff, my hair and skin were dry, the soles of my feet hurt,I often had some carpal tunnel pains. My morning mug of coffee would “unstiffen” me (turns out coffee whacks the adrenals to get them to perform — which isn’t a good thing, when… Read more »
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[…] on Hypothyroidism By regina, on July 18th, 2010 Here is a good article from Mark’s Daily Apple, that takes a different perspective on […]

Jeff
Jeff
6 years 2 months ago

I was diagnosed with a mild case of Graves Disease, followed by Hypothyroid, and put on thyroid meds 25 years ago (.025). My dose has been the same for about 15 years. I’ve never experienced any typical symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, depression. I feel no different when I take the meds or not. My TSH numbers are “normal” when I’m medicated. Should I keep taking the daily pill?

Elenor
Elenor
6 years 2 months ago

Jeff without testing you cannot possibly know! Which meds are you on? As I wrote above — the TSH test is pretty much useless for diagnosing thyroid problems.

Please check out “What We’ve Learned” on the Stop the Thyroid Madness site — it will give you some ideas to investigate to see if you can get off the pills.

tbird
tbird
6 years 2 months ago
Women often have thyroid problems after after pregnancy. I certainly have. Being only “mildly hypothyroid” according to my numbers – I still really didn’t feel like myself. I had weight gain (40pnds), poor concentration, sleep and energy difficulties and depression and no sex drive at all. The worse part was not knowing what was happening and why I felt so different in every aspect of my life. And I was so busy with a baby that I suffered too long before I got diagnosed. I’ve only seen improvement in all of those realms with conventional pharmaceudical treatment. Just saying, it… Read more »
Mar
Mar
6 years 2 months ago

I had hypothyroidism and it was ruining my life. I was sleeping all the time, always depressed, overweight despite a “healthy CW diet”, fatigued, and generally uncomfortable. it is what prompted me to switch to the primal diet. And all those symptoms went away, and now I am one of the healthiest and most energetic people I know. I have not had my numbers checked again, but I can tell you at this point those numbers don’t mean anything. my body speaks for itself. i dont think people with hypothryoidism need medication, i think they need to go primal.

angela
angela
6 years 2 months ago

That’s wonderful that primal alone helped you. It doesn’t help everyone. Thyroid disorders left untreated can eventually kill.

angela
angela
6 years 2 months ago
I agree with some of the others who say that living longer isn’t worth it if I have to be hypo my whole life, even mildly so. I feel best when my numbers are heading toward hyper. Otherwise I’m fatigued, and I can’t maintain a normal weight, even with 10+ workout sessions a week (mixed cardio and weights.) I’m lucky to have a dr. who diagnosed me with Free T’s and symptoms; had I listened to the 2 drs. who told me I was “euthroid,” I might still be in bed…. I’m a fan of this blog and I link… Read more »
Gwen
Gwen
6 years 2 months ago
Being hypothyroid has made life very difficult for me for much of my life. Lab results for TSH were always within the norm and doctors never took into account my symptoms of fatigue, brain fog and more. Instead I was prescribed antidepressants and stimulants. I finally found a naturopath who is working with me to solve the problem. Recent lab results show low TSH, adequate T4 but very low T3. I have been taking armour thyroid but will add t3 to my regimen. I am also planning to have cortisol levels checked. A few months ago I ordered a number… Read more »
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[…] might find this link useful: A Different Perspective on Hypothyroidism | Mark's Daily Apple If you are going to take the low-carb route, I'd recommend paleolithic or primal eating. A great […]

park
park
6 years 1 month ago

I have been hyo/hashis/low testosterone for 4 years now. Despite being on 3.5 grains my Antis refuse to drop….

grrrrr

Caroline Smith
Caroline Smith
6 years 30 days ago
I was found to have a TSH of 94 in February, 2010; 23 in April/May, 2010; 16.5 in August, 2010. I definitely have the antibodies against my thyroid… but my endo told me it doesn’t matter what the level is after it’s elevated once – because it can always become elevated again… if you create the antibody against your tissue, then your tissue can always be targeted… so improvements in that value mean nothing! Memory cells create the antibody with no notice to the body. Anyway, I’m embarking on a water fast of several days with hopes to improve my… Read more »
Nossar
Nossar
5 years 9 months ago
Well I read Dr Kharrazian’s book after starting the PB diet. I had felt better being gluten free but since 20% was allowed (80% primal), I felt like shit and became ill every month again (and back on antibiotics from my doctor). So I re-started the PB lifestyle but with 0% gluten this time and I feel wayyyyy better. I have most hypo symptoms but my lab tests are just below top limit (Dr Kharrazian explains that this result should normally alert a well informed doctor, well not mine). Obviously I belong to the 50% of people who fall through… Read more »
Jenn
5 years 8 months ago

I had hashimoto’s since high school…diagnosed as papillary thyroid cancer in 1999 – 6 months after birth of my only child. Had a total thyroidectomy and I-131 a year later…now on Synthroid .15 mg as a supressive dose (been 11 years now).

Gained weight. Stubborn to lose no matter what activity level – until I started Intermittent Fasting. My question is – is there anything about IF that I should be concerned about or watching with an IF diet and synthroid/no thyroid of my own?

thanks!

sonDeenna
5 years 7 months ago
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