From anyone who has had experience with being hypothyroid or anyone who has some knowledge on the subject, what would be the biggest and most effective ways to improve and heal thyroid function? I eat pretty standard paleo, getting around maybe 200 grams of carbs a day. TSH around 8, and have all the symptoms except weight gain.
Have you checked out this book? There are different types of hypothyroid, Dr Kharrazian has protocols for each http://thyroidbook.com/ I have auto-immune thryoid disease, no symptoms yet. I tried an auto-immune paleo with fish oil every day and found that helped the best.
I have been following the diet advice given by Ray Peat and Lita Lee -because its specifically geared as a pro-thyroid diet. There is a lot to this. My biggest challenge is eating 100g of protein a day, but when I do this consistently I see my temps raise, an indicator of normal thyroid. I also supplement with whole thyroid, progesterone, and pregnenalone.
I have been on the pro-thyroid diet since august, and the meds since Oct. But the difference is amazing. Mood -My normal mood was apparently depressed -because now my mood is great!!! I feel like a new person. Mornings -are easy! I used to feel like a zombie and sick to boot, until 11am. Cold -I'm not nearly as cold all the time!!! I positively warm and can believe hearing people complain about the cold. Digestion -improving slowly but steadily.
While I'm not there yet -still having some low body temps, the improvements have been great. Weight gain was not one of my symptoms either. Good luck!
Hi there. I am also hypothyroid and am also an RN as well as a crossfitter for several years, paleo for nearly 2, and completely 100% gluten free for 7 months. First, may I say in my personal experience, you need your TSH to be in range recommended by the American Academy of Endocrinology. They recommend a level under 2.5. A level of 8 is significant enough that if personally I were at an 8, I would feel like crap and looking at food (Paleo or not) I would gain weight and fall asleep. I do aspire, personally again, to regain some function and maybe one day be free of medication, however I cannot imagine trying to do that while being off whack so to speak. To me, it's like trying to keep the rims of a tire in shape while riding on flats. The rim has no hope if the tires are continually flat. Re-inflate the tires first.
My TSH is at 0.6. I feel all right with that. I still am unable to lose weight which is incredibly frustrating when a new person might come to our CF box and in like 2 weeks they are down three sizes and look amazing. That will never be me. My thyroid does not function optimally. If you don't have the symptom of weight gain, count your lucky stars and I mean count them daily, nightly and with great gusto!!! Keep your Omega's balanced. Keep pushing forward. I have known people to fully restore their function with a paleo life but it all depends on individual physiology and how long your system was inflamed to trigger the damage in the first place. Before I was diagnosed, I back track now and I had been in full auto-immune attack on myself for at least 12 years --- probably closer to 16 and I am only in my 30's. If you don't want to try pharmeceuticals, try to go 100% gluten free. That means no beer for a cheat, no slice of pizza - not any. I noticed a large difference in how I feel once that piece came into play. I have yet to discover any magic genie in a bottle to answer my prayers yet.
I think the 3 most important foods for you are fish, fish and fish. If I could add a 4th it would be seaweed. I love sushi and is one major concession I make to carbs, allowing the rice for the benefits of the fish and seaweed, especially on thyroid function.
I gather you are already treating your thyroid condition medically and are looking for other, lifestyle interventions? Since I'm not sure, I'll add my perspective on the medical side of it:
I am a rare male with hypothyroidism. It seems to run in my family: my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother all had/have it. I have thyroid antibodies, but my mom didn't. I started out hyperthyroid as a child, and after treatment with anti-thyroid drugs, went hypo in my early 20s. I'm 41 now.
For me the most important change was switching from synthetic thyroid hormone replacement to natural thyroid, in the form of Armour Thyroid (or its generic equivalent). Once again, real meat is preferred to processed, synthetic crap: Armour is about the most Paleo pharmaceutical I can imagine, as it's literally made from pig thyroid glands.
I was on levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid) for about 15 years and my condition only worsened. I suffered weight gain, complete inability to lose weight no matter my diet, fatigue, "brain fog," depression--especially winter depression, constant carbohydrate craving, hair loss, skin problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coldness. Armour reversed most all of this within a few months.
In my opinion, Armour is superior because it contains both T3 (the active thyroid hormone that your tissues can use immediately) and T4 (the so-called "storage" hormone that your tissues must convert to T3), in addition to T1 and T2 (whose function is not well understood) and calcitonin. It's a very powerful drug, and should be titrated up slowly beginning with a low dose until one reaches remission of symptoms (and not necessarily just until one reaches specific lab values). Because I have antibodies, I aim for a suppressive dose that keeps my TSH extremely low, as I believe this reduces inflammation--but not a high enough dose to produce evidence of hyPERthyroidism.
It can be very difficult to find a doctor willing to prescribe natural thyroid like Armour. I finally had luck by going to a holistic/integrative doctor who uses a combination of conventional medicine, and non-traditional therapies.
I've only recently learned of the possibility of a gluten/grain/leaky gut connection to thyroid disease since going Paleo and reading everything I can get my hands on! Now that I am doing Paleo, I'm interested to see how it impacts my thyroid condition. I've read that I may expect to reduce the dosage of my medication as my body heals from the abuse it suffered under the SAD. I'm looking forward to that if it happens, but I am also aware I may have started too late and my thyroid may be toast. So I will not even consider stopping Armour until I have evidence I need to. It has changed my life.
I am interested to read the other links provided in replies to this thread, because I was not aware of some of that information. Great topic!
Paleo Helps Woman Get Off Thyroid Medication! http://robbwolf.com/2012/06/04/11360/
Also read 2 books:
Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto's Disease and Hypothyroidism by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS, MNeuroSci, FAACP, DACBN, DABCN, DIBAK, CNS - chiropractic doctor
Iodine: Why you need it, Why you can't live without it by Dr. David Brownstein, MD
For more Paleo Diet hacks: Are people curing hypothyroid??? - PaleoHacks.com http://paleohacks.com/questions/106904/are-people-curing-hypothyroid#ixzz1wsKV6BzQ
I have to believe iodine and selenium is fairly important especially if consuming goitrogens and fermented vegetables. My husband and I were consuming about 1-2 pounds of COOKED goitrogenic vegetables per day with no supplemental iodine or selenium. We were using sea salt which doesn't have much iodine. We started to develop symptoms like fatigue, feeling cold, cold hands etc. These symptoms happened in both low carb and higher carb contexts, although higher carbohydrate may mask thyroid symptoms - this was mentioned multiple times at Paleo FX in Austin.
Within days of slow adding kelp supplementation (building from 150 mcg to currently 600 mcg over a month) and 150-200 mcg of selenium daily we notice a big difference in energy and not feeling cold. We have also limited our goitrogens by eliminating fermented vegetables since we do fine with raw dairy for probiotics.
We thought cooking and eating lots of saturated fat would take care of the goitrogens, but apparently that wasn't enough for us. So I compiled this list to help those trying to limit goitrogens or have had a similar experience.
Avocado - improves thyroid function
Berries (except strawberries), Cherries, Citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, etc.), Melons
Apricots, Dragonfruit, Starfruit, Grapes, Guava, Kiwi, Lychee, Mango, Apple, Pineapple, Pomegranate
Nightshades - Peppers (sweet/bell and hot), Eggplant, Tomatoes, Potatoes
Squashes - Cabeza, Zuccinni, Yellow, Butternut, Pumpkin, Bittermelon (Corolla) technically fruit
Peas, Green Beans, Carrots
Lettuce, Celery, Cucumber
Herbs - Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Cilantro, Parsley
Onions, Leeks, garlic, shallots, chives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goitrogen Goitrogens are substances that suppress the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, i.e., a goitre.
Fermented Vegetables in brine (salt water) NOT vinegar have high Goitrogens since the bacteria convert more to that form as in Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Pickle, etc. Certain raw foods (cooking inactivates some of the goitrogens, except in the cases of soy and millet) have been identified as goitrogenic. These goitrogenic foods include:
Cassava (Tapioca), Sweet Potatoes, Rutabagas, Radishes (inc. Daikon), Turnips
Soybeans (and soybean products such as tofu, soybean oil, soy flour, soy lecithin) (High)
Pine nuts, Peanuts, Flaxseeds, Lima Beans
Strawberries, Pears, Peaches (low)
Vegetables in the genus Brassica (cruciferous)
Bok choy, Choy sum, Mizuna Tatsoi,
Broccoli, Broccolini, Broccoflower, Kai-lan (Chinese broccoli), Rapini, Cauliflower
Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese cabbage
Canola (Rapeseed), Yu Choy,
Collard greens, Mustard Greens, Kale
Despite being generally a stimulant, caffeine (examples: coffee, tea, cola, chocolate) acts on thyroid function as a suppressant. Indeed some studies on rats suggest that excess caffeine in conjunction with a lack of iodine may promote the formation of thyroid cancers. Masterjohn recommends no more then 5 servings of goitrogens/week and Kresser no more then 3-6 servings/week for anyone with thyroid issues.
Paul Jaminet, Chris Masterjohn, and Chris Kresser have written well on this.
Fermentation makes soy goitrogens worse! http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/10/fermentation-does-not-neutrailize.html
For more Paleo Diet hacks: Have you had a possible iodine and/or selenium deficiency (or symptoms of it) on an ancestral diet even with cooking goitrogens? - PaleoHacks.com http://paleohacks.com/questions/111727/have-you-had-a-possible-iodine-and-or-selenium-deficiency-or-symptoms-of-it-on#ixzz1tZqqlDIu
Lita Lee from Portland Oregon has been an incredible help for my 25 year undiagnosed hypothyroid condition. Patience is important at first but the rewards of taking thyroid glandular and Cytomel finally pulled me out of a very unhealthy state. I'm on the full dose of both aforementioned items and my thyroid panels came back "normal" 7 months ago. Do not rely on bloodwork, rather symptoms should be true indicator. I lost 20 lbs in the past three months and only have 10 lb to go. My temps were so low, you can't imagine...like hypothermic! Hibernation was the only way I survived, sleeping 16 -18 hours per day and still feeling like crap when I was awake. That went on for at least 25 years, so I don't want anyone else to not get help any later than necessary. Tooth decay, high is another Too much exercise can actually be counterproductive to hypothyroidism. My weight loss happened without much exercise at all. The prothyroid diet is very easy to follow and in the process of becoming gluten free, I had some pretty major withdrawl symptoms including strange pulsing dizzy spells in the head. Tooth decay and high cholesterol are also symptoms of hypothyroidism. Cytomel is usually only recommended for women, men mostly use the glandulars alone quite sucessfully.
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