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...Tell Me More
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!
The 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.
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.
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.
Honestly, 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!”
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!