Paleo Thyroid Solution Success Story: Morgan Buehler

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. This week’s featured testimonial is one of many success stories spurred by Primal Blueprint Publishing’s upcoming release, The Paleo Thyroid Solution, by Elle Russ.

If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

realifestories in lineThe winter of 2012, when I was twenty-eight, I started to notice changes in my digestion: feeling super bloated every night and just generally sick after I ate. I was going to the bathroom less and less. And the constipation…ugh! Awful. I was freezing all the time, cold hands and feet. I’d lay in bed, and my butt would literally be cold to the touch. It was bizarre! I was working from home at the time, and I remember not wanting to get out of bed, I was that cold. I’d work from my bed until eleven, which was ridiculous because I live in Los Angeles and grew up in Chicago; 60 °F should have seemed warm to me! I was napping every afternoon. I’m not a sleepy or lazy person: I work out every day, eat very clean, and surf three to four times a week. But during this point in my life, I was really exhausted all the time, especially at 3:00 p.m.

A few things happened right around the same time these symptoms started showing up. I gave myself a Christmas gift of an appointment with a naturopathic doctor in San Diego and had complete panels done on everything you can imagine: stool test for parasites, blood work for micronutrients, DNA analysis, etc. I took a quiz on thyroid from a book on different health conditions one may have, and concluded, I’m definitely hypothyroid.

I got my blood drawn in February, read the book in March and self-diagnosed hypothyroidism, waited a few months to get my blood work taken, do the stool test, get my blood work results back, and schedule a follow-up appointment with my ND. She confirmed my suspicion.

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 4.23.51 PM

The values for T4 and T3 above are not “free” results because I didn’t know at the time what the better tests were. You can still see that all of the results are below the range.

During this three- to four-month period, I was super stressed out, commuting three hours a day (ninety minutes each way), I gained 8 lbs in three months (which is about 8% of my body weight because I’m only 5’0”), and was getting depressed. I was eating super clean, low-carbohydrate, and so forth, but the weight would not budge. A group of my high school friends came into town for a mutual friend’s bachelorette party when I was at my lowest: I didn’t want to be social (which is not like me at all; I am very outgoing), and I fell asleep during their visit and woke up four hours later. Something was wrong; I am the most social person I know.

I started on 1 grain of Nature-Throid in June. By July, I quit my job. About five weeks after starting Nature-Throid and one week after quitting my job, I lost 5 pounds in one week without trying. Over the course of the next month or so, I got back to my natural maintenance weight of 99–113 lbs and I remained there effortlessly for three months. I started having bowel movements, anxiety went away, and I didn’t feel stressed. I started looking good and feeling good about life.

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 4.24.09 PM

These results only after two months on 1 grain of natural desiccated thyroid (NDT)—I got the “frees” tested at this point, you can see the TSH getting suppressed and the Free T3 and Free T4 are moving up. I am starting to feel better at this point.

In the early months of 2015, I got lazy again. I was unsure my Nature-Throid was doing anything for me, and I stopped taking it to embark on a personal experiment to see if my own thyroid would kick back in and do its job. Really, I just didn’t want to schedule an appointment and pay for more labs. And I’d switched doctors and had a bad experience with insurance. So I procrastinated over dealing with it. Simultaneously, in an attempt to get “really fit” and sculpt my arms, I started following the advice of bodybuilder trainer. I started eating carbohydrates. Well, it took all of three months and 10 lbs for me to throw my hands up in the air, text Elle, and get myself back on track. I hadn’t been this heavy since my beer-guzzling, gluten-eating college days. I was distraught and my body wouldn’t budge. I was constipated again, and when I did manage to go, my stool was like rock-hard pellets. Elle guided me through my options and advised me on which panels she thought I should test; lo and behold, my thyroid hormone levels were at the bottom of their ranges. So in June 2015, I went back on Nature-Throid, but this time, I started with ½ grain and then increased to 1 grain in six weeks.

morganHonestly, I don’t think any doctor ever had my thyroid optimized. I learned a lot in my “experiment,” comparing how I feel when I’m not on Nature-Throid to how I feel when I’m on thyroid hormone replacement. There are considerable changes in almost every aspect of my life.

When I’m on Nature-Throid, my weight is naturally stable and in my maintenance range. Before going back on meds in June, my weight was going up and up and up with no end in sight, no matter how much I surfed, how cleanly I ate, or how many strength-training sessions I did during the week. As soon as I started treating my hypothyroidism, the upward spiral turned around and my weight started to come back down again. I feel more like myself. I’m a light-hearted, free-spirited goofball again. Four weeks after I started on Nature-Throid again, I was thinking, “This is the regular Morgan!” So much lighter and more fun! I’m sure less anxiety and depression have something to do with it. My sex drive was virtually non-existent when I was off thyroid hormones, but it came back—thank God! And I no longer nap. I have energy all day.

My diet hasn’t changed, my workout routine hasn’t changed, my boyfriend hasn’t changed. I have a lot more energy to last the entire day than I ever did pre-diagnosis; I’m getting older, yet my energy level is increasing. I have experimented with different dosages, with my doctor, and as of right now, my current NDT dose is .75 grains, which I take first thing in the morning. Thank you, Elle, for The Paleo Thyroid Solution; you are my “Thyroid Hero!”

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 4.24.36 PM

A year later, on .75 grains of NDT. My TSH is more suppressed, and my Free T3 moved up. I am feeling good, yet I plan on experimenting with my doctor by moving from .75 grains to 1 grain of NDT. I am back to my normal weight though and feel pretty darn good!


About the Author

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

27 thoughts on “Paleo Thyroid Solution Success Story: Morgan Buehler”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. These success stories never get old. Congrats Morgan…you look amazing and it sounds like you feel that way too!

  2. Awesome!!! Good for you, Morgan. Glad to hear you’re doing so much better.

  3. You look AMAZING! Congratulations on all the success. Good for you for treating yourself to that naturopath visit.

  4. Nice! Surfing several times a week? Now THAT is an awesome way to get in your exercise, stress reduction and just plain fun outdoors.

  5. Awesome success story! I’m a few chapters into Elle’s book and loving it so far.

  6. I can totally relate to Morgan’s story—this makes me so hopeful that there’s a solution for my unresolved issues! I flipping love Elle and can’t wait to get my copy of The Paleo Thyroid Solution. Maybe I’ll be a success story in The Paleo Thyroid Solution 2! 😉

  7. Reading your description of low energy and falling asleep so easily reminds me of different times in my life where I felt the same. I never sought treatment, although my thyroid levels were tested a few times. These were just the standard tests. And I always came out seemingly OK. This was before switching to a Paleo/Primal diet. At one point, my hair was so dry that I couldn’t control the static electricity. I was also going through peri-menopause at the time. I’m much better, now, but these stories are so helpful. I know where to go if I start feeling that way again and can also advise friends about Elle’s book. I’m so happy for you, Morgan, and appreciate this awesome success story!

  8. These recent hypothyroid success stories give me hope. I have every single one of the symptoms they’ve shared, plus others, and they’ve been getting worse over the last couple of years, no matter how primally (or even AIP) I eat; very discouraging. I just recently made an appointment with an integrative medicine doctor who prescribes NDT and my fingers are crossed. Keep these great stories coming!!

  9. Congrats, Morgan! I can’t relate to low thyroid but in a sense I can, having gone threw low testosterone.

  10. Hi Morgan. You have misinterpreted the lab results and you need to see a good internist. TSH stands for Thyroid stimulating hormone. It is elevated when your thyroid levels, t3 or t4, are too high. Someone who is hypothyroid, as you have interpreted your symptoms, would have a high TSH. Not a low TSH.

    You may be doing serious harm to yourself if you continue on this path.

    1. FWIIW I found this online:

      “TSH is a pituitary hormone, not a thyroid hormone, so TSH is an implied measurement of thyroid levels. There are too many instances where TSH levels fall below the reference range (which implies hyperthyroidism), when the patient is actually clinically hypothyroid or normal, but certainly not hyperthyroid. Many have Free and Total T3, and Free and Total T4 levels that are within range with low TSH levels, which contradicts this paradigm. Because of this pseudo-suppression, low TSH levels really should not be used to diagnose hyperthyroidism without confirming the Free T3 and Free and Total T4 levels, nor should low TSH levels alone ever be a reason for decreasing one’s dose.”

      1. This is certainly interesting and definitely adds to the discussion, but please cite the source of your comment. It doesn’t do any of us any good just by saying you “found this online” — where did you find this “online:? I’d love to read the rest of the article!

        1. PrimalGrandma, you just have to copy a section of the cited text (the longer the better) and paste it into your search engine. And … voilà! In this case it will lead you to a site concerning tired thyroid.

      2. You are correct. The pituitary gland senses the level of Free T4 in the blood and if the level is low then the pituitary gland will send out TSH (Thyroid stimulation hormone) to stimulate the thyroid gland. It’s a feed back loop.

        1. everyone on here…you can still find info on the internet that says saturated fat is bad for you…and we 100% know this is not true. Same with thyroid health… there is a ton of misinformation out there which is why I wrote a book on the subject and if you really did some research and looked into this topic you would see all of the proof and science behind why these outdated paradigms of looking at the TSH value or other things are harmful to patients. If you read my book, it’s clarified and confirmed by a doctor who is way more qualified than the majority of MDs out there. 🙂

    2. Secondary hypothyroidism can create results like this where the pituitary doesn’t produce enough tsh. Its one of the reasons why looking at tsh in isolation is a very bad idea.

    3. “It is elevated when…are too high. ”

      Chris, really? It is rather supressed, I would say! YOU seem to have misinterpreted something. Maybe you just mixed it up. But your conclusion would (might) be false anyway because the TSH number doesn´t say anything as long as you have not tested your fT3, fT4 and – in particular! – your rT3 (reverse T3), too.

      TSH could be low because there is a lot of T3 already floating in your blood (i.e. high T3 levels and no need for stimulating further amounts of thyroid hormones). But it might be T3 consisting of large portions of the inactive form rT3 (!) blocking your cell receptors. So, your low TSH level indicates hyperthyroidism (or at least a healthy thyroid) but in fact you (your cells!) are hypothyroid because the free T3 can not do it´s job due to the rT3 blocking the receptors.

    4. TSH testing is absolutely NOT sufficient!

      I (having spent several years educating and treating myself: no insurance) always describe the TSH test this way: The govt (your doctor) goes to the farm wife (the pituitary) and says: “check the time” (how much thyroid hormone is in your blood stream) “and call in the field hands for lunch” (i.e., send out some TSH to get the thyroid to “feed the body” = shoot out some hormone).

      The farm wife (pituitary) yells out the window (sends out TSH) and your doctor (reading the TSH results = he heard her yell) happily decides that the farm hands have *now been fed* (the TSH is “normal” so you’re “fine”). (Often: wrong Wrong WRONG!)

      Suppose the farm hands didn’t HEAR the farm wife (the thyroid doesn’t get or ‘understand’ the TSH signal)? Suppose the farm hands hear it but DON’T come in to eat (the thyroid gets the signal but for some reason doesn’t or isn’t able to release thyroid hormone)? Suppose the farm hands HEAR the farm wife (the TSH signal arrives at the thyroid), and the farm hands ACT on the call (the thyroid produces thyroid hormones (there are several); but instead of doing as the signal tells them, the farm hands go into the pasture and try to eat grass instead of to the farm house to eat lunch (the thyroid produces T4 (storage form of thyroid hormone) and maybe the body is unable to adequately convert the released T4 into T3 (active form) — and eventually, the body has too MUCH T4 ((TSH has signaled release, thyroid has responded, but little or no conversion to T3) and so the body converts the excess T4 into rT3 (reverse T3, which gets picked up by cell receptors but can’t be used because it’s “put-together backwards.”)

      So, “the govt” (your doctor) says “you’re just fine,” when in fact the farm hands have NOT been fed, and are dying out there in the field trying to keep the farm (your body!) running!

    5. Chris, sorry but you are totally misinformed and do not have the latest information regarding thyroid health or you wouldn’t have made this 100% false comment and a comment that has HURT patients for decades because it’s based on an outdated, wrong paradigm that uninformed doctors still practice.. If you actually read the book or even listened to Dr. Foresman or anyone else in the thyroid community (informed doctors or other authors) who truly know what they’re talking about …you would understand WHY it’s a 100% false statement. #1: people on thyroid hormone replacement with T3 in it, often have suppressed TSH values. TSH isn’t even a thyroid hormone it’s a pituitary hormone and it is an outdated way of assessing thyroid health in a variety of scenarios. Please learn more and do updated research before you make comments on thyroid health and falsely warn someone against something that is just not true.

    6. Chris

      The TSH is low which should indicate that there is to much thyroid hormone being produced. The problem is that is not always the case. My TSH is always low but if I follow the doctors recommendation and take less thyroid med my T4 andT3 are to low. I was listening to my doctor and was taking a low dose of levothyroxine based on my TSH. I was barely able to move. I found l a functional med doc and was placed on NP thyroid. My T3 and T4 ares now the proper range and the TSH is still low. That is just the way it is for many of us with thyroid problems.

  11. Question- I got tested on my thyroid a couple years ago but I still feel like my symptoms are still indicating a problem with my thyroid. Is it possible I had a false negative? Or I wasn’t tested with a thorough enough test? Should I go to a naturopath over a DO?

    1. Get retested – your levels can change a lot in a couple of years. A DO is fine – if you have a good one, they’ll listen to you and work with what your symptoms are and use your blood tests as a guidance. When I first went in I had really bad hypothyroid symptoms (shivering in 82 degrees, gained 40 pounds, etc), but my TSH tested within the normal range – 2.5. (Normal is 0.3-3.3, with hypothyroidism being a higher number.) There’s other tests, like the free T3 and free T4, that can show you have problems even when your TSH is normal, but I tested just within those ranges as well.

      That doctor (an MD) told me I was fine and wanted to put me on diet pills. Six months later, symptoms were worse, and my gyno recommended a primary when I brought it up, who listened, said it sounded about right, and retested me.

      When the blood tests came back normal again I asked what could be wrong with me instead, but she said that while I was “normal”, it probably wasn’t within my normal, so prescribed a low dosage to see if it helped anyway, since the only other thing that causes cold intolerance, which was the symptom bothering me the most, is hypopituitarism, which is rare. So we went with the more obvious to see if it would work. (It didn’t, because I ended up having Hashimoto’s, a thyroid attacking auto-immune disease that can often give you good test results, and thyroid cancer. Which we found out both because when upping the med dosage wasn’t working the doctor admitted, since I was reacting normally, it was outside of her scope and so sent me to a endocrinologist. Great doctor, she was.)

  12. Hi
    I agree with Chris
    Your TSH should not be suppressed that much.
    I am a fellow sufferer of Hypothyroidism and could relate to all of your symptoms
    I was correctly diagnosed and treated ( My TSH was 92 – outrageous ) and now feel really well.
    I play tennis twice a week and do 3 classes. My weight has dropped ( US size 6 ) and all symptoms gone
    Seek further advice

  13. This is an absurd post, and she is not hypothyroid by a long shot. Posting stuff like this is downright dangerous to people who might take it seriously, and the woman in question could be seriously risking her health. Very disappointed in MDA.

  14. Congrats with your success! Keep on inspiring us. It’s really nice to read stuff like this from like-minded people. 🙂