AIR DATE: March 22, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Chris Kresser
FEATURED TOPIC: “All Things Thyroid (Thyroid 101)”
Licensed acupuncturist and integrative medicine practitioner Chris Kresser is one of the most highly-sought after voices of reason in the realm of health on the Internet today. He has personally been through the wringer with the traditional medical system as he shared with me in Episode 464 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show.” But that set him on a quest to discover more about his own health by gathering and analyzing the medical research staying up-to-date on everything he could get his hands on. There are a lot of health myths that unfortunately pervade in the realm of health and Chris regularly addresses these on his highly popular ChrisKresser.com web site and wildly-popular Revolution Health Radio podcast. One area of specific interest to him is the subject of thyroid. Around 20 million Americans deal with some form of thyroid disease and yet it is left undiagnosed due to a variety of reasons. Yet there is a lot of confusion about thyroid conditions that we will hopefully have Chris help bring clarity to in this episode!
NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/3
Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:
Are there any dietary changes that will “treat” hypothyroid?
There is a meme that has spread quickly to Paleo sites that low carb causes low T3, and is a cause of hypothyroidism. How can this be? My doc who treats hypothyroidism and insulin resistance had me do low carb, and it worked. How can low carb be both the cause and part of the solution? Someone has this wrong. What is going on?
I am a 53 year old female who had a Total Thyroidectomy four years ago due to thyroid cancer. My doctor keeps me just a smidgen “hyper” with Synthroid replacement medication to help the cancer not grow back. I have lost 50 pounds. In one year on a low carb diet, I feel great. But I have been stalled for two months now. I can’t seem to lose any more weight. I need to lose 50 more. I know I need thyroid replacement meds but could this be the reason I can’t seem to lose anymore?
Which is better–natural or synthetic thyroid hormone (like Synthroid) or a combination?
When I went zero carb Paleo, my T3 dropped out of the range and I needed to take antibiotics for a mouth abscess. I resumed carbs and gained back the weight I lost. I am now trying to drive down the carbs again. What can I do to ensure that my T3 remains ok. I am hypothyroid (take 100T4 + 20T3) and I was assessed a few years back by a former family doctor as having low adrenal function. Are adrenal and thyroid metabolism related and can a low adrenal state lead to a low T3?
What is your opinion of Jack Kruse’s Leptin Reset Rx and Cold Thermogenesis on the thyroid?
I underwent a total thyroidectomy in January of 2006 following a thyroid cancer diagnosis and will be on replacement T4 (Synthroid) for the rest of my life. Are there any modifications that those of us without a thyroid need to keep in mind when following a Paleo diet?
My wife had about 90% of her thyroid removed several years ago after undergoing a thyroid storm and goiter. She’s on levothyroxin and we’ve switched over to a Paleo diet about two years ago, and she’s pretty good with adherence, especially when it comes to avoiding wheat and grains. One of my real concerns is with her long term bone health due to the thyroid removal. She currently takes anywhere from 2000mg to 3500 mg of calcium each day to combat calcium loss from her bones. She takes 5000 IU of D3 daily, as well as K2 to help with proper absorption. Her blood calcium levels are usually high, but if she doesn’t take the oral supplements she gets pain in her hands, wrists, and other joints. What supplements would you recommend for proper calcium absorption? What are some good blood markers you’d like to to indicate proper function?
Can you discuss the role of antibodies (AB), both blocking and stimulating, on thyroid health? When the typical thyroid labs appear “normal”, could there be an AB issue occurring, causing the autoimmune response?
Since giving up soy milk and grains (including daily wheat germ) when I started on a low-carb regimen about a year ago, my arthritis symptoms have virtually disappeared, and my thyroid started working better (I was able to lower my dosage of levothyroxine slightly). During the same period, my osteopenia has progressed to osteoporosis. The latter may just be age, but what I want to know is, could the same root cause underlie co-existing hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis?
My TSH increased from 3.86 a year ago to 5.23 last month. I have no hypothyroid symptoms but my doctor want to put me on levothyroxine. Does this make sense?
Other relevant blood values
T4 free 1.09
T4 total 5.9
T3 uptake 38
TPO antibody: 19
Total cholesterol increased from 197 to 215 over last year.
T total 417
T free 45
Free T% – 1.1%
I am a 42-year-old female who has been eating Primal/Paleo (low to moderate carb) for over one year now (after being a vegetarian and vegan for almost my ENTIRE life). I had my one and only child almost three years ago and lost all my baby weight (and then some) by changing my eating habits. I looked so much better after changing my lifestyle, but still had low thyroid symptoms (FREEZING cold, tired, digestion issues, etc) AND it was discovered I had near zero sex hormone production (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone). Also, I had BEYOND low Free T3 and Free T4 (TSH was all over the place, but is now quite low). I was diagnosed with hypothyroid due to a pituitary disorder. I have been put on Estradiol, Prometrium, and a small amount of topical Androgel (testosterone). I have also been taking Armour. I have gained 30 pounds thus far. I am miserable.
My questions are:
Do you believe in supplementing with sex hormones or should the thyroid medication be sufficient?
Would daily intermittent fasting be contraindicated for someone with issues like mine (or does this stress the adrenals too much)?
I want to be HEALTHY. But I cannot lie, I am so OVER being overweight. I would love to find a healthy balance.
This question is about real thyroid health vs “health on paper” (good test results). I’ve been treated for hypothyroid, chronic fatigue, and insulin resistance since 2007, with good results. I see a top doctor that deals with all three and they use the so-called bio-identical T3, hormones like testosterone or progesterone cream, and a lot of supplements. I lost 120 pounds quickly and look much different. My blood work went from train wreck to awesome. Weight is normal enough and I feel fine, even though I have low calorie requirements now (about 1,400 a day, and I’m male 51, 5″8, 192 pounds)
My question is how do I know if I get to a point where I’m spending a lot of money on meds and supplements and maybe need to back off and let the body take over? My doc wants to keep doing what has worked. Am I broke forever, or should I think about cutting back on supplements and hormones and let the body handle more?
TIRIL FROM NORWAY ASKS:
I am wondering if thyroid problems is the cause of hair thinning in a woman? Are there any other causes that should be investigated as well? And what can you do as a first intervention?
What thyroid tests do you recommend when weight loss has stalled? (In my case TSH is elevated but the HMO will not test T3 or rT3–is it worth paying privately for those tests to have a more complete picture of what might be going on?)
Do you have any insight on what might cause thyroid nodules? (I have several, and biopsies show them to be non-cancerous at this time. One doctor recommends surgery; another says they are nothing to worry about)