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Are You On The Right Amount of Medication? - YouTube

It is a question I hear a lot: am I on the right amount of thyroid medication? In my experience, I have seen people who have been on far too much, too little, and on the wrong type. Let me give you a better sense of what I mean, and what you can do if you are in this same situation.

Truly, it is a real paradox, where too much thyroid medication can feel almost exactly the same as too little. So, how would you know you are taking too much? It is really tough to tell if you are taking a higher dose than your body needs.

Because of that, you could have symptoms like:

  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue

I really wanted to help you figure out more of what is going on with your thyroid medication dose – so, I made a calculator! This handy calculator will show you, in terms of percentage, how much your dose is (compared to your body’s actual needs).

The Concept of A Physiologic Dose

A physiologic dose is how much thyroid hormone your body would make, all on its own if it were working perfectly (1). Ultimately, the goal here is to have you feeling your best while having your thyroid be as involved as possible.

Using The Thyroid Calculator

There are a few things that I like to explain with the calculator, to help bring optimal clarity to your situation and your results. Here is what you need to know…

Weight

Per your body’s relative size, someone who is larger is going to need more thyroid medication than someone who is smaller. It is a pretty simple distinction, but one that we definitely want to make note of when we move forward.

Current Medications

In order for the thyroid calculator to work to its full potential, I am going to ask you for all the thyroid medications that you are currently taking. If you are on more than one, do make sure to list them all out. If you are just on one, feel free to leave the other fields blank.

Gender

The reason for needing to know your gender is that women often have a lot of hormonal factors which can cause their bodies to require different amounts of thyroid than a man’s body would require.

If you are a woman, I am also going to be curious as to whether or not you are pregnant, on an oral contraceptive or a natural hormone replacement, as well as if you are menopausal and not on hormone replacement.

Bottom Line: These are all things that change your body’s typical thyroid output. It helps to know more about them to paint a really clear picture of whether you are on the right amount of medication for you and your needs.

How Will Your Results Look?

Here is what will happen: Once we have all of the numbers crunched, you will receive a number which acts as a percentage to how much your medication satisfies your body’s physiologic dose (the amount your body would truly make in its best-performing form).

Let’s say that someone’s thyroid gland was removed and they were on the perfect medication for their needs. In this case, their percentage would be close to 100%. This would mean that close to 100% of their thyroid needs were being met by their medication.

On the other hand, if someone was on a small dose of thyroid and their gland was halfway underactive and halfway active. The percentage result for this scenario would be around 50% because their medicine is fulfilling half of their body’s needs in this situation.

Key Insight: When this number is over 100%, it means that you are taking more than your body needs. I have seen some people with results over 200, 300, even 400% – scary stuff! This is just far more than your thyroid would ever make if it was working perfectly on its own.

There are two distinct scenarios in which this occurs:

  1. Your score is over 100% and your TSH is below 0.4. The paradox here is that when there is too much thyroid hormone, your body makes itself thyroid resistant (causing your TSH to go down). In cases like these, you can feel the same as if you were getting too little thyroid medication – the feeling is the exact same.
  2. Maybe your score is over 100%, but your TSH is not below 0.4. This is a case to where your body is off when it comes to using these hormones.
  3. The first thing is whether you are taking your thyroid medication all by itself, with only water. Whether you know it or not, pairing your thyroid medication with anything but water can lead to malabsorption.

There are also some rare cases where digestive problems can also lead to the malabsorption of thyroid medication in the body. The truth is, though, that this is being made out to be more common than it truly is in most folks (2).

Studies have shown, in patients with celiac, that thyroid malabsorption is present in particularly devastated intestinal tracts.

The last thing to think about is production quality. This especially true for compounded thyroid or an over-the-counter thyroid glandular. In general, these are not standardized products – so no one is truly confirming just how much thyroid hormone you are receiving.

Using The Thyroid Calculator

Here is the comprehensive breakdown of the steps and how this helpful thyroid calculator can help you learn more about your health:

Step 1: The Dose

Please enter the dose of your thyroid medication or medications. As I mentioned before, if you are on one thyroid prescription, simply enter it on its own. If you are on multiple thyroid prescriptions, though, please do your best to enter them all.

If you are not on NDT, please enter your dosage in milligrams. Some of the most common products include:

  • Naturethyroid
  • WP Thyroid
  • Armour Thyroid
  • NP Thyroid
  • Erfa
  • Compounded desiccated thyroid.

Please enter your dose of T4 in mcg. Products here include:

  • Tirosint
  • Levothyroxine
  • Synthroid
  • Levoxyl
  • Compounded T4

Finally, enter your dose of T3 in mcg. These products may include:

  • Cytomel
  • Liothyronine
  • Compounded T3
Step 2: Weight

Enter your body weight in pounds to help the calculator gain a better sense of how much thyroid your body truly needs.

Step 3: Gender

After entering your gender, if you are a woman, please indicate whether you are premenopausal or menopausal. Please include perimenopause in premenopause and postmenopause in menopausal (3).

Key Insight: You are defined as menopausal once you have not had a menstrual cycle for over one year (or have had your uterus removed).

Interpreting Your Results

Your full dose, that 100% number, represents approximately how much hormone your gland would make if it were working perfectly. This is also the same as your approximate dose requirement if your thyroid gland were completely removed and you had perfect absorption of thyroid hormone pills.

Key Insight: Men and menopausal women generally need lower doses per body size than premenopausal women, due to the blocking effects that estrogen has on thyroid hormones.

Your percentage dose represents how much you are taking relative to your body’s full needs. Doses which are well above 100% are either too high or suggest that your body has poor thyroid absorption or thyroid resistance (as I touched on before).

If your dose is under 100% and you still have hypothyroid symptoms, you may need a higher dose (assuming your blood levels show you are not taking too much).

How much you are making assumes that your TSH is between 0.5 and 1.5 and your T3 and T4 or in the normal range. If they are, this number is the approximate percentage of the hormone your thyroid is producing.

Bottom Line: The higher this percentage is above 50%, the more likely your thyroid would be to increase its own production. The lower this number is below 50%, the less likely your thyroid would be to take over.

Make Sense Of Your Thyroid

Building the knowledge you have of your thyroid is so important, as it helps to get to the root cause of some of the symptoms that might be plaguing you every single day. That is the reason why we built this Thyroid Calculator in the first place: to help.

Use the calculator today to learn more about your thyroid (and your physiological dose) click here, the medications you are on, and if the two are lining up. Once you have learned more, I would definitely recommend reaching out to one of the professionals at Integrative Health to help initiate the next steps to better health (4).

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.

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30 amazing resistant starch foods for better digestion - YouTube

Chances are you might have heard of resistant starch by now, but do you know all of your food options when it comes to working it into your diet successfully? Here’s an update on the science behind the power of resistant starch, and a complete list of resistant starch foods that you can start incorporating into your diet as of today.

What is Resistant Starch?

Let’s dive into today’s discussion with a brief overview of what resistant starch is, and what it can do for you. Some of the most healing foods that you might be able to imagine are good carbs and foods with resistant starch carbs, so let’s start off by dismissing the idea that we need to avoid carbohydrates altogether.

Key Insight: If you work the right carbs into your diet, in the right amounts, you can do a lot of good for your body. It is all about balance, variety, and making sure that you know what you are doing when it comes to what you put into your body.

The bad thing about “bad carbs” is that they absorb really fast, and they make your body work harder in order to juggle your blood sugar. What this does is gives us a good clue about what we might be able to do with “good carbs” in our diet.

What we can see from good carbs is that they absorb slowly, they are easy on your blood sugar, and they feed a super important group of probiotics in your intestinal tract.

This is especially true for the group called the anaerobic protective bacteria. Resistant starch is fuel for these bacteria, which are not typically as influenced by probiotic supplements.

Bottom Line: Overall, resistant starch has the best of fiber and the best of carbohydrate. Fiber is good for your flora, but it is not digestible, while carbs do not feed the flora but do give nutrients. Resistant starch gives a little bit of nutrient, but it is so slowly absorbed that it gives you 7 – 9 hours of slow and stable blood sugar.

The Truth About Energy and Body Weight

When it comes to this concept of energy and body weight, it all comes down to your blood sugar being in that “good range” and not being high or low (while not moving fast, up or down).

What we know about resistant starch is that it stays longer in that curve, more than any other known food.

Here’s how it works. Basically, starches are made of two polysaccharides:

  1. Amylopectin – highly branched (lots of surface area and quickly digested)
  2. Amylose – straight chain (less surface area and slowly digested)

The long, straight chain of amylose, because there is a long single straight chain, it becomes harder to break down. Your body basically has to cover it one bite at a time, which leads to slower digestion.

With the branched versions, like amylopectin, you can take many bites at once – leading to faster digestion, but more surface area being covered overall.

Bottom Line: Resistant starch is such a long, singular chain, that your body is only able to break it down in the large intestine. It’s not “small intestine insulin,” it is “large intestinal good bacteria.”

The Benefits of Resistant Starch

What are some of the overall benefits of resistant starch in our diets? Well, the key benefits are that we begin to make more short chain fatty acids in our body. When we have more of these, we are better able to:

  • Feed good bacteria in our body
  • Reduce inflammation throughout our body
  • Heal our all-important intestinal tract

Ultimately, the things included here are called:

  • Acetate
  • Butyrate
  • Propionate

Key Insight: Not only do we work towards reversing leaky gut, but we also cut our cancer risks when it comes to these powerful benefits of resistant starch in our lives.

Resistant starch also improves:

  • Blood flow to the colon
  • Helps with our overall nutrient and mineral absorption
  • Binds with toxins in our body to get rid of them (1)
  • Feeds the good bacteria in our body
How much resistant starch does it take?

In a modern diet, all you might need is 2 – 4 grams of resistant starch per day, but many traditional diets had 20 – 30 grams of it per day. Data has shown that it is completely safe, for all ages, with no problems at all.

Resistant starch is safe, because of the fact that it is so good for you. It works to help mitigate future risks, while being a safe option in the present. But what more does resistant starch do for us?

Resistant starch also has the ability to lower triglycerides and LDL, as well as lowering the whole glycemic load of the meal involved (2).

We have also seen that more resistant starch in your diet can lead to less instances of inflammatory bowel diseases, while improving insulin sensitivity and allowing you to recover from infections faster. It can also:

  • Make you less apt to have digestion problems
  • It can help your body composition and immune response

Bottom Line: The debate for not bringing more resistant starch into our diet is pretty weak, because the evidence is strong that resistant starch works in so many different ways to benefit our bodies.

How does resistant starch work?

The interesting thing about this is that it works both as a prebiotic and a synbiotic. The synbiotic role is where these kinds of foods help the bacteria interact better amongst themselves (rather than just feeding them).

Key Insight: Different bacterium will encourage and cooperate with the growth of healthy neighbors, under the influence of resistant starch. Not only do you get more of the “good ones,” but it makes the good ones already there even better!

What are the main types of resistant starch?

There are different types of resistant starch that we can find (3). They are:

  • RS1 – This type of resistant starch is actually bound up and physically protected.
  • RS2 – This type is ungelatinized.
  • RS3 – This is otherwise known as retrograde starch, and typically involves cooking and cooling something. In fact, the more times something is cooked and cooled, the higher they get in resistant starch.
  • RS4, RS5, RS6 – There are more than just the ones listed, but these are synthesized forms of resistant starch that we might be able to see at one point or another.
The Sources of Resistant Starch

I want to take the time to really flesh out a resistant starch food chart that can work for you. This is a comprehensive guide of where we might be able to find resistant starch in our diets…

  1. Raw oats
  2. Navy beans
  3. Northern beans
  4. Cannellini beans
  5. Peas
  6. Adzuki beans – also the densest source of magnesium (4)
  7. Kidney beans
  8. Lentils
  9. Black beans
  10. Garbanzo beans
  11. Lima beans
  12. Pearl barley
  13. Green bananas
  14. Banana Peels
  15. Potatoes
  16. Sushi rice
  17. Pumpernickel bread
  18. Rye bread
  19. Yams
  20. Plantains
  21. Muesli
  22. Corn tortillas
  23. Sourdough bread
  24. Cooked millet
  25. Brown rice
  26. Rice pasta
  27. Corn
  28. Chickpeas
  29. Pinto beans
  30. Hi-maize flour

Key Insight: If you do have a sensitivity to wheat, you do want to ensure that you are eating resistant starch foods that do not include wheat. Stocking up on bananas, plantains, and others help, because thankfully there are many options for those who want more resistant starch in their diets.

Are there higher concentrations of resistant starch in certain foods?

Of course, we can find varying levels of resistant starch in a variety of different foods. Remember how I mentioned how cooking and cooling can increase the amount of resistant starch? Well, there are some foods which are naturally inclined to have more in them.

The kind of common foods which have the highest concentration of resistant starch, by far, has to be beans. Although all types have some, white beans – including navy, northern and cannellini – have the most.

There are other foods that have lower amounts than beans, including:

  • Cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Raw oats
  • Unripe bananas
  • Cashews

Key Insight: Unripe bananas are important to remember for the purposes of resistant starch. The greener they are, the better they are for you! The more yellow they become, the less resistant starch they have. You can even eat the peels – just make sure you are ready for a bit of a different taste than you are used to from a banana.

When it comes to products that are super dense in resistant starch, one of the best ones available is pea starch. It is commercially available, entirely flavorless, and has been used primarily in meal replacement products. It can be easily absorbed in water, is free of plant toxins, and is hypoallergenic.

Bottom Line: Resistant starch is the healing power of nature in effect. Not only do we find it in so many foods, we also have the opportunity to prepare it and enjoy it in so many ways.

What’s the best dose of resistant starch?

Ideally, we would like to get 20 to 30 to 45 grams per day of resistant starch into our diets. Overall, it is better to find it with food and to get it with food sources. The important thing to do is to raise the dose gradually when it comes to your consumption.

Key Insight: Resistant starch is so powerful for your good bacteria, if you do a lot at once you could have some unpleasant gas or bloating. It’s not the end of the world, but take your time and ensure a smooth ride when it comes to working more resistant starch into your life.

If you have the opportunity, slowly plan to increase your resistant starch intake by the week. If you notice a bit of discomfort, bring it down to a point where you stay feeling good and then bring it up again.

Deal with it at your own pace, so that you can be completely comfortable with the new products that you are bringing into your diet.

Resistant Starch & Your Health

What do we know about resistant starch? Well, it should be pretty clear that there are so many different ways that we can get it into our diet – and it has so many radical health benefits for us in our lives.

When it comes to getting more, it’s about making the small changes which we can use to benefit our bodies – without stressing ourselves out and giving up halfway through.

In order to stop yourself from decision fatigue, I would definitely suggest trying a couple resistant starches with a meal replacement strategy (5).

This way, your brain has less changes and considerations to deal with and make, so that you can stick to resistant starch so that it can work its way into your life in more impactful ways.

Feel Better Today

Have you been thinking about more resistant starch in your diet? Is it because you have been feeling less energized, or that something might not be right.

While you might want to start considering how to get more resistant starch on your plate, I hope this resistant starch carb is helpful and you also consider some of the other steps you can take to improve your health.

Start by taking the Adrenal Quiz (6) today, and see the kind of steps you can take to take back your health and start feeling better today.

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.

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Thyroid cancer is serious, but it is treatable – with the right steps. In fact, thyroid cancer has a high survival rate overall1,2. Today, let’s talk a little bit more about thyroid cancer, what you need to know about it, and if (and how) it can be treated.

Thyroid Cancer: The Basics

Most people with thyroid cancer do not die of the disease, this depends on two key factors:

  1. A patient’s age
  2. The stage of cancer

Overall, though, the truth is that thyroid cancer has a great prognosis. It is important to know, though, that those who are treated for thyroid cancer will still benefit from treatment for Hashimoto’s disease.

Key Insight: Many approaches to treatment overlap between Hashimoto’s and thyroid cancer, such as optimizing one’s TSH score (1).

You might have been hearing more about thyroid cancer because rates are definitely on the rise3,4. When you hear a statistic like this, you may think that it is because detection is a greater or better diagnosis but this is not the case (there are certainly more cases).

The Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

What symptoms of thyroid cancer are common? There are many symptoms that are non-specific to thyroid, as well as those which overlap with hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms (such as hoarseness and changes in your TSH levels).

There are some symptoms that should not be ignored and reported to a physician, these include:

  • Thyroid/neck enlargement
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • A lingering cough
  • Feeling a lump/bump on your thyroid

Keep in mind that your thyroid sits at the base of your neck. It is always beneficial to do a “self thyroid exam,” every month, to feel for any changes. This way, you can “get to know your normal,” and to pick up on things if they feel off in any way (2).

It is also important to know that you can also have no symptoms at all! That is why a thyroid ultrasound, and seeking out the help of a professional, is important and should be a vital component of routine testing for you.

Bottom Line: If you have a personal or familial history of thyroid disease, it is so important to seek out a thyroid ultrasound to really get a greater understanding of how things are working – and if there are any issues at all.

There are some other things you might want to consider. Such as any exposure to radiation (such as CT scans or dental x-rays)5,6. Or, if you have a personal history of nodules (3).

Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis

There are two key ways of achieving a diagnosis to understand whether or not you have thyroid cancer:

  1. Ultrasound
  2. Fine Needle Aspiration/Excisional Biopsy

In the case of ultrasounds, this is a good screening tool for all with thyroid disease of suspected thyroid disease. In fact, it is underutilized but a completely safe test (with no radiation involved).

If something unusual were to present itself during an ultrasound, there may be recommendations to have a fine needle aspiration (FNA) and/or biopsy to take a closer look at the cells in the thyroid.

Bottom Line: No matter how you look at it, it is incredibly important to gain a complete understanding of your thyroid and how it is working – especially if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms or a familial history with thyroid disease.

Treating Thyroid Cancer

It all depends on the stage and the type of cancer present, but some popular thyroid cancer treatments include:

Surgery – What is often considered the best and most appropriate treatment (4).
Radiofrequency-ablation7 – This is a process using heat to treat the cancer cells.
Radioactive Iodine – High doses of iodine to destroy thyroid cells (5).

Key Insight: Any qualified physician or surgeon can help answer your questions and provide more information on which course of treatment would be best for you.

TSH Suppression

Long-term TSH suppression, and not complete TSH suppression, is important to consider as a method of treatment for thyroid cancer.

TSH is a hormone that causes growth. Keeping your TSH between 0.5 – 1.0 can reduce the risk of unwanted cell proliferation8.

Key Insight: Complete suppression (under 0.5), though, is detrimental and places you at risk for things such as cardiac disease, anxiety, and osteoporosis, goiter, hypertension, thyroid storm 9.

Tracking Thyroglobulin

Keeping an eye on your thyroglobulin is a good idea overall because it acts as a marker for thyroid inflammation and tissue growth in our body (5). This protein is produced in the body and builds thyroid hormone.

Bottom Line: Thyroglobulin is not to be confused with anti-thyroglobulin, which is a thyroid antibody that targets thyroglobulin.

Thyroid Cancer Survival Rates

Papillary thyroid carcinoma is the most common type of thyroid cancer and has a 10-year survival rate of over 90%1.

Follicular thyroid cancers are the next most common with an over 80% 10-year survival rate.

The rarest type of thyroid cancer is medullary and has a 10-year survival rate of over 80%.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid & Thyroid Cancer

Is there a possibility for NDT to be used for those with thyroid cancer? Yes, because it is safe and also wise to do so.

If you have had your thyroid removed or radio ablation, you will most likely need thyroid supplementation whether it is synthetic or natural desiccated in origin.

In fact, NDT provides comprehensive support (6). There are also many NDT options, which means that making the switch is as simple as seeing a qualified physician (7).

Hashimoto’s & Thyroid Cancer

It was seen in a recent study that Hashimoto’s was more commonly seen surrounding papillary cancer and associated with a better prognosis10.

Don’t be too concerned, though, because this does not mean that if you have Hashimoto’s disease you will get thyroid cancer. This is just something your physician should monitor (knowing you have a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s).

Key Insight: Many of the same causes drive both conditions, even if they are separate, so treatment for both is important.

Some of the other things that you can do include:

  • Detoxification – Avoiding environmental pollutants.
  • TSH – Maintaining your optimal TSH levels.
  • Immune Stressors – Ensuring that they are decreased (8).
Understand Your Options Today

What you need to know from our conversation today is that most thyroid cancers are completely treatable – and even feature high survival rates. If you need more information or treatment options, please speak to your doctor.

Until then, you can also take the Thyroid Quiz (9) to learn more about your thyroid and what you can do in terms of treatment. Our doctors at Integrative Health are also always ready to answer any of your questions and to help you – so please consider reaching out today (10).

1. Dean DS, Hay ID. Prognostic indicators in differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Cancer Control. 2000;7(3):229-239. doi:10.1177/107327480000700302
2. Mazzaferri EL, Jhiang SM. Long-term impact of initial surgical and medical therapy on papillary and follicular thyroid cancer. Am J Med. 1994;97(5):418-428. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7977430. Accessed January 5, 2019.
3. G. P, F. F, C. R, S. S, R. V. Worldwide increasing incidence of thyroid cancer: Update on epidemiology and risk factors. J Cancer Epidemiol. 2013;2013. doi:10.1155/2013/965212
4. Du L, Wang Y, Sun X, et al. Thyroid cancer: trends in incidence, mortality and clinical-pathological patterns in Zhejiang Province, Southeast China. BMC Cancer. 2018;18(1):291. doi:10.1186/s12885-018-4081-7
5. Neta G, Rajaraman P, Berrington De Gonzalez A, et al. A prospective study of medical diagnostic radiography and risk of thyroid cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 2013;177(8):800-809. doi:10.1093/aje/kws315
6. Schonfeld SJ, Lee C, Berrington de González A. Medical Exposure to Radiation and Thyroid Cancer. Clin Oncol. 2011;23(4):244-250. doi:10.1016/j.clon.2011.01.159
7. Park HS, Baek JH, Park AW, Chung SR, Choi YJ, Lee JH. Thyroid radiofrequency ablation: Updates on innovative devices and techniques. Korean J Radiol. 2017;18(4):615-623. doi:10.3348/kjr.2017.18.4.615
8. Soh EY, Sobhi SA, Wong MG, et al. Thyroid-stimulating hormone promotes the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor in thyroid cancer cell lines. Surgery. 1996;120(6):944-947. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8957478. Accessed January 7, 2019.
9. Hyperthyroidism – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659. Accessed January 15, 2019.
10. Lee J-H, Kim Y, Choi J-W, Kim Y-S. The association between papillary thyroid carcinoma and histologically proven Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a meta-analysis. Eur J Endocrinol. 2013;168(3):343-349. doi:10.1530/EJE-12-0903

Written by Dr. Tara Burke of Integrative Health. Dr. Tara Burke is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor earning her degree at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona. While attending SCNM, Dr. Burke gravitated to endocrinology and women’s health, focusing much of her studies on these topics.

Learn more about Dr. Burke here. 

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Considering the vast amount of supplements available, it is easy to get overwhelmed. When it comes to which supplements for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the supplements not to take with Hashimoto’s, let’s consider this strategy: keep it focused and keep it simple.

What Do I Mean By That?

Well, with supplements for Hashimoto’s, you want to make sure you are getting what you need, and you aren’t getting what you don’t need.

Simple, right?

Some supplements will work against your body and set you back. Others are not bad, per se, but they aren’t the most important when it comes to treating Hashimoto’s.

Key Insight: Remember, your body metabolizes all supplements through the liver, so taking 20 – 30 a day may have little benefit to you (while being hard on your system).

Which supplements do you want to make sure you are getting? Here’s the comprehensive list to help you get started:

Vitamin A

You want to get a good blend of what are known as carotenoids. Beta-carotene is the carotenoid you hear about most. Your body makes beta-carotene into active vitamin A.

In order to get a good blend of carotenoids, look for whole foods and versions of vitamin A that contain them.

I love palm fruit, as it has a nice spectrum of carotenoids and is very bioavailable. This means it’s easy for the body to convert and activate.

Vitamin C

When it comes to vitamin C and Hashimoto’s, I recommend 500 – 1,000 milligrams per day and not much more than that.

There is a lot of data proving antioxidants are important, but if you have too much, you end up robbing your body’s own antioxidants (like superoxide dismutase or glutathione).

Vitamin D

I prefer the capsule version of vitamin D. This is because it’s typically easier to track how much I’m getting. Very few people reach a good blood level of Vitamin D with less than 10,000 units per day. Make sure you’re taking enough, and that you’re taking it with food.

When considering vitamin D supplementation, it is important to realize that this vitamin allows your body to absorb calcium. This is a good thing if you’re getting the right type of calcium.

It’s a bad thing if it isn’t the right type, or if your body isn’t using it well. This will create plaque in the blood vessels, leading to:

  • Joint calcification
  • Kidney stones
  • Gallstones

The important types of calcium are those similar to the calcium found in plants. My favorite form is dicalcium malate, as it won’t cause calcification or gum up your arteries (it’s also free of lead).

A lot of calcium is derived from oyster shells or bones (like the microcrystalline hydroxyapatite). There is concern about lead contamination with these types (because bone tissue always contains lead, there is also concern regarding bone broths, collagen, and gelatin).

It is good to take plant-based magnesium, too. When it comes to calcium-magnesium ratios, many of the high-dosage guidelines were based on types not easily absorbed.

I’m a fan of a few hundred milligrams (or even slightly less), per day, and in close-to-equal ratios. When you’re taking forms that are well-absorbed and free of lead, you do not end up needing much.

B-Vitamins

The B-vitamins are all critically important. Let’s look at them individually:

Folic Acid

Avoid all synthetic folic acid. This is important for one reason: Those with thyroid disease have a gene defect that causes folic acid to be poison, raising the risk for colorectal cancer.

Instead, look for methylfolate as your folate source. You need a milligram per day, which is 1,000 micrograms. This helps your body with its methylation pathways.

Generally, you do not want to take folic acid. Folic acid is essentially poison for a big percentage of people – upwards of half the population, and there are not clear ways to know which half you are in.

The data is strong that folic acid raises the risk of colorectal cancer. The rates of that disease have been climbing ever since we started fortifying our foods with folic acid.

So, you really need something like folate in your diet, get them from:

  • Leafy greens
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
B12

The preferred form of B12 is methyl B12, which is well-absorbed orally.

Biotin

Biotin is critical for your hair, skin and nail health. You want to take 3,000 micrograms (and not more than 3,500 micrograms) per day.

If you take much more than this, it actually blocks the body’s usage of it. Many people take mega doses, thinking it will help their hair, and it simply does not.

B6

Both pyridoxine hydrochloride and pyridoxal 5-phosphate are good forms of B6.

Thiamine

There is current data showing thiamine is beneficial for both the antibodies of Hashimoto’s and hormone conversion.

B5 (Pantothenic Acid or Pantothenate)

This B-vitamin benefits your cortisol levels and cortisol conversion. It’s good to have a few milligrams per day.

Vitamin K

The best form of vitamin K is vitamin K2. Most research has been done on a form called MK-7. It’s like the vitamin K we make in our intestinal tract.

Vitamin K2 allows your body to direct calcium to the bones and away from the blood vessels. It also plays an important role in your blood’s ability to clot properly.

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals and ultra-trace minerals are extremely important. When it comes to thyroid disease, selenium is the big hitter.

Selenium is difficult to absorb and is still being debated as to how well it enters the bloodstream in supplemental form.

The most data is available regarding selenium glycinate complexes (selenium bound with a carrier protein, called glycine). This form is easily absorbed, non-toxic and effective.

Also, consider a few of the more exotic trace minerals: vanadium, molybdenum, boron, and manganese. These are all critical for building and utilizing thyroid hormones.

Bioflavonoids

There are two important bioflavonoids I recommend: hesperetin and quercetin. These do well in strengthening your connective tissues. Varicose veins, hemorrhoids or easy bruising are all related to the strength of connective tissue.

So, take a few milligrams of these two bioflavonoids on a regular basis to help round out your supplementation.

Essential Fats

EPA and DHA are the critical essential fats to control inflammation, keep the brain functioning well and help repair joints and cartilage.

Which Supplements Should You Avoid?

Honestly, all the rest. I do not suggest taking anything extra unless there are specific reasons and a short-term plan in mind.

A major supplement to be sure to avoid is iodine. With thyroid disease, you are getting a lot of iodine in your treatment. Taking additional iodine will actually block thyroid function.

You may have heard about the tragic Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. People were told to take potassium iodide. Why? Because high doses of iodine shut off the thyroid, protecting it from the radioactive iodine.

This can be useful in the event of such a disaster, but you certainly don’t want to shut off your thyroid on a daily basis! This is why it’s best to avoid all extra iodine.

Reach Your Ideal Supplementation Today

With these supplemental tips in mind and in hand, you can treat your Hashimoto’s with clarity. Keep your regimen focused and simple, and you’ll be on your way to optimal thyroid health!

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.

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Hyperparathyroidism – hidden cause of anxiety, IBS, and fatigue - YouTube

It is more than just a mouthful when it comes to hyperparathyroidism. You may have never heard of it, or heard it mentioned in passing, but if you have thyroid disease it may have piqued your interest – let me help you understand it better.

Hyperparathyroidism: The Truth

I had never heard about hyperparathyroidism until I reached medical school. The impression that it got was that it was:

  • Rare
  • Caused unusual/recognizable symptoms
  • Easy to diagnose

Key Insight: If you have symptoms that include some mixture of fatigue, digestive issues, anxiety, or muscle aches, this could be the hidden reason. If you have thyroid disease, your risks for parathyroid disease are higher.

Over the years of treating thyroid disease, I have come to realize that none of these things are true. It is not rare, it can cause the most common symptoms we suffer from, and it is easily missed unless a doctor knows exactly how to look for it.

I would love to be able to give you a really good understanding of parathyroid disease, and what you need to know about it, so that you can know for sure if this applies to you – and which next steps you can begin to take.

Jonell’s Story

“Jonell” was a patient of mine in my early years of practice. Like most, she first came in already on thyroid treatment but was not at her best just yet. A bunch of symptoms came on around the same time and she thought her thyroid was the culprit.

When she was diagnosed with thyroid disease, she went on treatment and it did get easier to manage her weight. However, her symptoms of IBS, fatigue, and anxiety did not get any better. She hoped that if I helped her optimize her thyroid treatment that they could improve also.

For the first steps, we helped her liver function, improved her micronutrient levels, and dialed in her medication. She did improve with these steps, but not as much as she or I would have liked. It seemed like certain foods triggered reactions but it also seemed like the more foods she tried, the more foods she reacted to.

Considering Less Common Culprits

“Para” means next to and the parathyroid glands are located next to your thyroid. Typically people have four parathyroid glands, two on each side of the lower portion of their thyroid.

However, there is some variation in:

  • Where they are located
  • How large they are
  • How many there are

The parathyroid glands secrete parathyroid hormone (PTH), also called parathormone or parathyrin. It pulls calcium out of your bones and into your bloodstream. It works in opposition with a thyroid hormone called calcitonin which mostly moves calcium out of the blood and into the bones. One of the reasons that overdosing on thyroid hormones hurts the bones is that it blocks the gland from releasing calcitonin.

How much calcium we have in our bodies is ultimately from how much we consume, but PTH and calcitonin adjust how much goes in the blood and how much goes elsewhere.

In some cases, the parathyroid glands produce too much PTH which can cause too much calcium to enter the bloodstream. This condition is called hyperparathyroidism.

Back to Jonell’s case. After seeing this elevated level of calcium, I decided to test her parathyroid function. I was not highly suspicious of it being abnormal because her blood calcium was normal all the rest of the time, but I was trying hard to find something.

Her retest showed that her calcium levels were fine but parathyroid hormones were 50% higher than normal. These findings were diagnostic of primary hyperparathyroidism.

I referred Jonelle to a local surgeon who specializes in parathyroid disease. He evaluated her and agreed with the diagnosis. Within weeks after surgery, her symptoms were better than they had been for years.

She found that she could eat a broader range of foods without symptoms. She also noticed that normal life stressors did not trigger her anxiety the way they did in the past. We also found it easy in the following months to keep her thyroid levels regulated with less testing and adjustment.

Bottom Line: Jonell’s case radically changed the way I’ve come to understand parathyroid disease. Many doctors have been taught that unless there are high levels of blood calcium, parathyroid disease is not possible. This is not true.

Your Thyroid Advisor

Since the doctors at Integrative Health see so many people with thyroid disease, they truly understand parathyroid disease. In fact, we diagnose 1 new case of hyperparathyroidism every week. To us, it is definitely not rare (1).

Sadly, I’ve also had many cases in which people have obvious elevations of calcium in the blood yet their doctors tell them it is normal or insignificant.

Key Insight: Please know this, high levels of blood calcium are never insignificant and always need to be diagnosed. Besides parathyroid disease, the next common culprits are hidden cancers or kidney disease. None of these should ever be missed.

There are three main kinds of hyperparathyroidism:

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Parathyroid cancer
Primary Hyperparathyroidism

In the case of primary hyperparathyroidism, the parathyroid glands have grown some unhealthy cells (adenoma) and are making too much parathyroid hormone (PTH).

In 80% of the time, with PHPT, a single parathyroid gland is overactive. In 15-20% of cases, multiple glands are involved1. If this goes on to a large enough degree in a long enough duration, it can cause higher levels of calcium in the blood.

Too much calcium does not sound like a big deal, but you will soon discover that it really is huge. Besides parathyroid disease, hypercalcemia can be caused by:

  • Some cancers
  • Vitamin D overdose
  • High levels of thyroid hormones
  • Abnormal adrenal function (2)

Key Insight: If vitamin D levels are low, they can trigger parathyroid disease. However too much is also not good. If vitamin D levels are too high, they can unmask latent parathyroid disease2.

Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

Secondary hyperparathyroidism is completely different. In this case, the parathyroid glands are working harder for a good reason because the body is losing too much calcium.

The most common reason for this is kidney failure, and can also occur due to severe deficiencies of calcium or vitamin D.

Parathyroid Cancer

The rarest of all types of hyperparathyroidism is parathyroid cancer. This represents 1% or less of the cases and it occurs when the parathyroid glands themselves develop a malignant overgrowth of cells.

Hypoparathyroidism

The parathyroid glands can also become underactive, and this is called hypoparathyroidism. When it does happen, it is most common after surgery to the thyroid or the parathyroid glands.

In rarer cases, this can occur soon after birth or later in life for no clear reason. For the remainder of our discussion, we will be talking about primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) which I will refer to as parathyroid disease.

How Common is Parathyroid Disease?

Like thyroid disease, parathyroid disease is more common in women. The ratio is about 3:4 (women to men).

In 2008, it was estimated that 0.86% of the US population was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism.

Key Insight: For comparison’s sake, this is roughly as common as celiac disease. The rates have tripled in some areas like California, most likely due to better screening.

However, in those with thyroid disease, hyperparathyroidism may be six times more common3.

What Causes Parathyroid Disease?

By in large, parathyroid disease comes on unexpectedly and for no clear reason. There are known genetic components, but there is no known risk factor for those who have a family history of it.

Early-life radiation to the neck is known to be a large risk factor. In the past, it was common to have tonsils irradiated as a treatment for tonsillitis and this was a risk factor.

Exposure to certain medications can also be a risk factor. Those with the most documentation include lithium and thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide4.

Hyperparathyroidism can also show up by itself or, more rarely, in a cluster endocrine-related cancer called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome (MENS). This condition is more common for those who have a family history of the condition.

Overlap With Thyroid Disease

People who have thyroid nodules have a higher risk of PHPT. Those who have had to have thyroid surgery also have higher risks for it5.

In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the risks for parathyroid disease maybe 6 fold higher than it is in the general population. Some estimates say that there may be as high as a 5% overlap between autoimmune thyroid disease that may have parathyroid disease6.

Other Disease Risks

Untreated Parathyroid disease raises the risk, long term, of:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Congestive heart failure7

It has also been shown that the higher one’s serum calcium is for an extended period, the greater the risks are for breast cancer. There is also known overlap between parathyroid disease and esophageal and oral cancers8.

What Are Symptoms of Parathyroid Disease?

In medical school, we were taught a mnemonic to memorize the symptoms associated with parathyroid disease: “Stones, bones, moans, groans, thrones, and psychic overtones.”

These categories can be useful ways to think about how abnormal parathyroid levels in calcium levels can affect the body in which symptoms arise from that…

Stones

Because calcium levels are too high, people are at greater risk for kidney stones. There is also some evidence that gallstones and gallbladder disease are more prevalent with parathyroid disease9.

Bones

When parathyroid glands release too much hormone because a higher rate of release of calcium from stores in the bones. Overtime, this can lead to:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone pain
  • Early thinning
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hip and spinal fractures
Moans

Optimal levels of blood calcium are essential for nerve conduction and almost every part of normal biochemistry. Classic symptoms include:

  • General malaise
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle pain
Groans

The term ‘Groans’ refers to gastrointestinal symptoms. When calcium levels are abnormal, the digestive fluids are not secreted properly. This can trigger all of the classic symptoms that get misdiagnosed as IBS, SIBO, or heartburn:

  • Constipation
  • IBS
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Ulcers
  • Hyperacidity
Thrones

This one is probably the least intuitive, but it did make for a handy rhyme. Ever heard of the “porcelain throne”? People with parathyroid disease can have severe constipation that does not respond well to typical treatments.

They may also have an abnormally high thirst and, therefore, frequent have troublesome urination. Some even end up having to spend a lot of time on the throne.

Psychic Overtones

The brain is far from immune to the effects of normal calcium levels. It renders it far less able to carry out its proper cellular interactions.

I have seen many patients with debilitating anxiety that led to years of unsuccessful treatments through medication, talk therapy, or lifestyle – only to disappear in a matter of days after treatment.

Common symptoms here can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Brain fog
  • Difficulty walking

You can see that these symptoms are numerous and common. Some, like anxiety, fatigue, and muscle pains, are symptoms that doctors all too often give up on finding explanations to help diagnose and treat.

Do you have parathyroid disease?

In classic cases, hyperparathyroidism shows up with elevated levels of calcium in the blood. Too often, though, patients are told that elevated calcium is not significant.

It always is and should never be ignored. But, the even tougher part is that many doctors do not know that it can also show up with normal levels of blood calcium.

Key Insight: Because PTH is not routinely used as a screening test, a doctor can completely miss hyperparathyroidism in someone with normal calcium levels unless they are suspicious enough to dig deeper.

If calcium levels are elevated and the parathyroid gland is working correctly, it will lower its production of PTH. PTH will be low and the calcium is high for some other reason. If calcium is high and the PTH is normal or elevated, the parathyroid glands are not working correctly.

Here is where it gets tricky. For 20% of people with hyperparathyroidism, their calcium levels are not elevated. If someone has high-normal levels of calcium and they have good parathyroid function, their PTH should be low. If not, they have primary hyperparathyroidism.

Here are some images courtesy of parathyroid.com, which is a production of the Norman Parathyroid Center. Both are excellent resources for parathyroid information and care.

In the first image, you can see that ‘normal’ blood calcium levels in the range of 9.8 – 10.5 can still be associated with hyperparathyroidism and symptoms of hypercalcemia. In this image, you can see that a large number of patients with hyperparathyroidism have normal calcium levels (some even have normal levels of both calcium and PTH).

How would you know they had hyperparathyroidism if both calcium and PTH were normal? If one is up, the other should be down.

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In 2017, one of the most highly-searched terms was “ketogenic diet.” Today, I want to dive a bit deeper into what the ketogenic diet is, the relationship between hypothyroidism and keto diet and keto and thyroid medication. I will also uncover what the ketogenic diet may or may help – is the ketogenic diet good for hypothyroidism? Let’s find out today.

The Ketogenic Diet Defined

If your body is in a state of ketosis, you are going to trigger a chain reaction wherein your body is burning up fat faster than you can supply it.

Sounds simple enough, right? In fact, it’s easy to see how this method would result in shedding pounds like they were not even there (1).

It stems from a simple process, but one that sounds too good to be true (and we will dive into whether or not it is later on). Eating “ketogenic foods,” and following a ketogenic diet, will have you:

  • Losing Weight
  • Feeling Healthy
  • Having Better Brain Function

Key Insight: There’s an important distinction to be made between the ketogenic diet and metabolic ketosis. Any diet that supplies less fuel than needed will cause the body to form ketones – this can occur regardless of the levels of carbohydrate and fat intake in the diet.

Here is the big difference: when you are in a state of metabolic ketosis, any time that you are not getting enough fuel, your body will convert fats into fuel (and will eventually use your own fats, if you run out of glycogen). That process does result in some ketones being made.

If you were to have Hashimoto’s disease, or hypothyroidism due to another cause, is this sort of diet a good idea for you? The most thorough amount of research that has been done on this diet has centered around children with epilepsy.

I will mention more as we go along, but it is important to note that this audience is the main source of data that we have on possible thyroid side effects.

Bottom Line: All studies on the keto diet and thyroid, done to date, agree that the ketogenic diet has the potential to be harmful to thyroid function. The findings here are especially important because thyroid disease increased with age (and is less common in pediatric populations).

The Ketogenic Diet and Thyroid Disease

When it comes to the more recent and higher-quality studies performed, they are ones which looked at kids who were on the ketogenic diet for the prevention of seizures.

The First Study

In the largest study, 120 children (of both genders), between the ages of 4 – 11, were treated with the diet for at least 1 year. After 1, 3, 6, and 12 months on the diet, the following were measured:

  • Free T3
  • Free T4
  • Thyroid-stimulating Hormone (TSH)

The rate of hypothyroidism among preadolescent children is roughly 1 in 1250, or about 0.08% (2). As part of this study, 1 in 6 of the children became hypothyroid and required thyroid replacement therapy.

Key Insight: As per one of the largest studies on the ketogenic diet, the rate of hypothyroidism among children was 20,800% higher than would be expected from simple, random chance.

Due to these findings, the researchers concluded that the diet itself caused thyroid malfunction. Ultimately, they suggested that thyroid function should be monitored regularly in those with epilepsy who were on the ketogenic diet (3).

The Second Study

In the second study, researchers tracked children for two full years. They found that thyroid function did change, and that the change was more pronounced in those who:

  • Were on the diet for longer
  • Had blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Encountered seizures earlier in life

These researchers came to the same conclusions as the first, that if a patient was to be on this particular diet, their thyroid function would need to be monitored closely (4).

Why Does The Ketogenic Diet Slow Thyroid Function?

One of the benefits of the ketogenic diet is that it may lower insulin levels. Many people can have problems when it comes to having too much insulin.  Yet, too little can also be just as bad.

Insulin appears to be important for several facets of thyroid function, including the liver’s ability to make the more potent thyroid hormone T3 out of T4 (5).

Bottom Line: If you are on a diet that lowers your insulin levels to the point where your liver cannot adequately make T3 out of T4, you are inadvertently doing damage to your thyroid.  This is done by pushing your levels way too low.

What About Adults?

The studies that we cited earlier focused primarily on children, and even though I had mentioned that thyroid problems do get worse with age, it is important to consider some of the research done on adult populations.

In fact, the earliest studies on the ketogenic diet and thyroid function were on adults. They evaluated how very low carb diets, that were not low in calories, affected thyroid hormone levels in adults.

Understanding The Findings

The findings were such that the lower the diet was in carbs, the more T3 lowered and reverse T3 elevated. This was also the same change noted in cases of starvation, as the body attempted to slow its metabolic rate (in order to store fat and stave off illness and death).

This study found that it was not just starvation, but that carbohydrate restriction itself was responsible for the changes in thyroid function (6).

Another study performed, on completely healthy volunteers, showed the exact same findings. On a ketogenic diet, the thyroid function slowed. T3 levels dropped, and reverse T3 elevated. This change occurred even when the calories were not reduced (7).

Bottom Line: The ketogenic diet has been shown to slow thyroid function in both children and adults. No doubt about it.

What does slow thyroid function mean for you? It can result in numerous symptoms, such as:

  • Easy weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Higher risk for chronic disease
  • Many other complications
What Else Do We Know About the Ketogenic Diet?

It became clear to me, after digging into the science behind this popular diet, that the excitement behind it was buoyed more on speculation than evidence. Besides thyroid function, there were also other areas studied – the most included were on:

  • Epilepsy
  • Athletic performance
  • Weight loss
  • Cancer
Epilepsy

Evidence has shown that the ketogenic diet can be helpful for pediatric epilepsy which has been otherwise non-responsive to medication. This is by far the best-studied application of the diet, but it is not a magic bullet by any means (it may not even work for 78 – 85.5% of patients) (8).

There are also inherent risks when it comes to treating epilepsy this way, so much so that there are debates whether or not the benefits of fewer seizures are even worth it (9). The risks include:

  • Early Adverse Effects – such as gastrointestinal distress, acidosis, hypoglycemia, dehydration, and lethargy.
  • Late Adverse Effects – such as hyperuricemia, hyperlipidaemia, kidney stones, easy bruising, and decreases in height and weight.

Bottom Line: The positive effects that we know about the ketogenic diet revolve around young patients and epilepsy. But it is certainly not a cure all in these terms. It can help some, with risk, but for most it simply does not work (the vast majority, even).

Athletic Performance

How does the ketogenic diet contribute to athletic performance? A high-fat, low-carb diet may impair exercise performance by reducing the capacity to utilize carbs effectively.  This would typically go on to be a key fuel source of skeletal muscles during intense, endurance-based exercise. So, what does this mean?

Recently, we have seen an influx of ketone body supplements (like ketone salts and esters) on the market, which may be used to rapidly increase ketone body availability (without the need to first adapt to a ketogenic diet).

However, the extent to which ketone bodies regulate skeletal muscles and metabolism during prolonged periods of exercise remains unknown. Therefore, as of this moment, there is no reliable information to suggest that it would improve your athletic performance (10).

Bottom Line: While, in some studies, athletes might have felt their energy levels drop at first, but a stronger “second wind” carrying them through, the general ability to maintain high levels of endurance-based exercise was lowered (11).

Weight Loss

The most attractive aspect of the ketogenic diet is often that it does not matter how much food you are consuming, as long as you are still within a ketogenic state.

Can you use the ketogenic diet to lose weight? A controlled isocaloric study showed that the proportion of carbs to fats in the diet is irrelevant to energy expenditure and weight loss – particularly when dietary proteins and energy intake are held at a constant (12) (13).

The big promise of the ketogenic diet only leads to weight loss if there is a fuel deficit in your body. This means that there really is no chain reaction, and that there really is no inspiration for your body to start burning up fat out of control.

If you want to go into metabolic ketosis, where you can be below a threshold in terms of having less hunger, that is reasonable. The key to doing that is all about eating a good variety of:

  • Quality protein
  • Lots of plant foods
  • Lots of fiber-rich foods

Bottom Line: The ketogenic diet may result in a decrease of weight and body fat, but it is certainly not the magic bullet that some may claim for weight loss or proper dieting. It requires more nuance, and a greater emphasis on “metabolic ketosis” in the body.

Cancer Growth

This is an especially important topic to consider. There were some speculative studies in the past which thought that the diet may be helpful, but the newest studies suggest quite the opposite. In fact, for most types of cancer, it is harmful.

Key Insight: This is something I think that you really need to know about speculative data. While it might be good enough to avoid risk, it is not good enough to base action upon. If the evidence simply is not there, or if it is shaky, you are best off avoiding it.

What we have found about ketones is that they may stimulate breast cancer in some (14), and that by blocking ketone formation we may be able to do a better job of stopping cancer growth (15).

This all comes down to the fact that ketones and lactate can increase cancer cell “stemness,” which can drive recurrence, metastasis, and poor clinical outcomes in breast cancer (16).

Bottom Line: No matter what you might have heard, recent studies are showing that ketones may play a role in the development of cancers (like breast cancer). If you had heard that ketogenic diets beat chemotherapy for almost all cancers, there is little clinically to suggest that this is at all true.

Ketogenic Speculations

There are both good and bad speculations when it comes down to the ketogenic diet.  Unpacking the science a bit has hopefully helped us understand that the bad may weigh out the good when it comes to this diet.
For the good, the ketogenic can help with:

  • Those with diabetes complications, and
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

On the other hand, the ketogenic diet can have a negative effect on:

  • Diabetes (which is a bit of a paradox)
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Cortisol metabolism
  • Immune health
  • Gut flora
  • Detoxification
  • Hormone regulation
  • Brain cell repair

Bottom Line: If something is billed as a magic bullet, or the cure to all of life’s problems, sometimes you need to dig a bit deeper into the research. When it comes to the ketogenic diet, we might be seeing more flash than substance.

The Ketogenic Diet & Thyroid Health

Is the ketogenic diet safe? The research on the thyroid and keto diet would suggest that it is not. While it might seem like a miracle cure, the research suggests the opposite. We spent a little bit of time delving into some of the more recent data, and I fully intend on keeping you up to date as more comes out.

After all of that, isn’t it time that you learned a little bit more about your thyroid? It’s as simple as taking a quick quiz, where easy questions can unlock a world of answers about your thyroid health – and how you feel in general.

Please give the Thyroid Quiz a look today (17), and set yourself on the right track towards your best health.

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.

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You might not normally think about clams when it comes to your diet – heck, you might never have thought about them before today. I’d like to challenge you to reconsider:

Clams come with a whole host of benefits, they are an environmentally-sound food choice, completely sustainable, low in toxins, high in many hard-to-find nutrients, easy to prepare, and safe for limited diets.

It also helps that, when cooked properly, they are super tasty. Here’s what you need to know about clams, what they provide, and why you might find yourself at the seafood counter of your local grocery store sooner than later…

An Environmentally Conscious Choice

In a recent article that I read, it was argued that clams are one of the most ethical, environmentally-sound seafood choices out there1. One of the big reasons for this is that clams do not have to be fed living things.

Instead, clams filter their nutrients from the water which surrounds them. Finfish (fish with fins that swim) and crustaceans, like shrimp and lobster, have to eat other fish or fishmeal – clams, on the other hand, filter water and make water safe for other fish (allowing their populations to thrive).

Animal welfare is also less of a concern for clams. They do not migrate or have any space or social requirements. Whether harvested from the wild or grown in aquaculture, their lives remain essentially the same.

One author described the ideal species for aquaculture as such:

“It should be a species group that does not require fish feed, does not require conversion of habitat, does not contribute to pollution, and has very little potential to be invasive. It should consist of animals who are not likely to experience significant pain and suffering in captivity in particular—animals whose health and wellbeing is at least somewhat compatible with industrial methods.”

Bottom Line: It does not take long to realize that clams fit each and every one of these requirements – making them the conscious choice for those who want to make choices based on the future health of the planet.

Sustainable Seafood

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is considered, by many, as the de facto authority on seafood sustainability. They consider all listed varieties of clams as “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives.”

These include the following species:

  • Blood Clams
  • Chinese razor Clams
  • Hard Clams
  • Japanese Carpet Shell Clams
  • Lyrate Hard Clams
  • Northern Quahog
  • Northern Razor
  • Pacific Geoduck
  • Pacific Little Neck
  • Softshell
  • Venus Clams
  • Surfclam
  • Ocean Quahog

Key Insight: In fact, literally no specific type of clam is considered a poor choice for sustainable seafood – you cannot go wrong!2

Low In Toxicants

Animal foods in general and seafood, in particular, raises many concerns about exposure to unwanted chemicals. Here’s where clams stand on each:

Mercury

Mercury and methylmercury are two of the top concerns surrounding eating seafood. However, clams are considered to be in the lowest mercury category of seafood, and no restrictions are given for clam intake based on mercury exposure.3

Aluminum

It is possible for clams to contain aluminum, based on their sand content. This is a type aluminum called aluminum calcium silicate.

It is a type that is not (under 0.01%) absorbed by the intestinal tract. It is also not considered to be a neurotoxin and does not bioaccumulate. In fact, it is categorized on the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list of food ingredients.4

Key Insight: The drawback is that sand in clams can interfere with the bioavailability of their iron content. The sand is not within the clams themselves, washing and rinsing them thoroughly can effectively remove it.

Cadmium

Cadmium is a toxic metal found in many foods. It can contribute to risks of:

  • Kidney failure
  • Bone loss
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Many cancers (especially breast cancer)5

Key Insight: Tobacco users and those who are iron deficient are more at risk for cadmium accumulation.

The foods highest in cadmium include:

  • Butter
  • Ghee6
  • Organ meats (like liver)
  • Cocoa7

Scallops, when harvested from certain regions (such as the Pacific Northwest) have been found to contain high levels of cadmium. Even when harvested from the same regions, though, cadmium has not been an issue for clams8.

Misc Toxicants

Per heavy metal assays, clams have undetectable or minimal amounts of all metals measured. The following are average values from 74 to 75 samples from a variety of regions.9

Key Insight: I did find some data that some sources of softshell clams had marginal levels of cadmium. These concerns did not apply to hardshell clams.

Nutrients

Here’s some great news, clams are ridiculously high in lots of essential nutrients! In fact, for the same serving they have:

  • 19 times more iron than sirloin steak
  • 4.3 times more iron than liver
  • 91 times more B12 than sirloin steak

Red meat and liver are often thought of as among the most nutrient-dense foods, but now it might just be time for them to move over and make room for clams!

Here is a side-by-side comparison I put together for you:

Is the Iron In Clams Bioavailable?

There have been many who have gushed about the high amounts of iron in clams, but it does take some nuance to fully understand.

Key Insight: The labeled amounts do not predict how much iron is available. Live, chopped, or minced clams may have much less bioavailable iron.

If iron is your goal, the best bet is to choose canned whole baby clams. The iron they have is in the amounts listed above, it is heme iron, and is more bioavailable. Also, do make sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove any sand.13

Like other types of seafood, clams are rich in omega-3 fats. Unlike other animal foods, though, clams also have significant amounts of vitamin C which can further aid in their iron absorption.

Bottom Line: If you are trying to reverse anemia, clams have more to offer than beef or even liver. Here are some complete nutrient profiles on clams.14

Vitamins In Clams

Along with vitamin C, clams have vitamin A and a good spectrum of B vitamins.

They are also a decent source of choline:

Protein

Protein quality is also excellent in clams. Protein quality ratings above 100 are considered to be complete.

If you take a look at the comparison between protein quantity, quality, and amino acid content between 100 grams of clams and 100 grams of bone broth.

For comparison purposes, here is the protein breakdown for a 100 gram serving of bone broth:

Key Insight: You can see that clams are much higher in essential amino acids and still include glycine, proline, and serine – the sought-after amino acids in bone broth.

Minerals

Iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium – clams are awesome! Thankfully, they are low in fluoride (as high amounts of fluoride can suppress thyroid function).

Clams do contain an average of 66 mcg of iodine per 100 g serving, much less than most types of seafood.15 As such, they can be included in a low-iodine diet as long as other significant sources of iodine are avoided.

Safe for Limited Diets

Most who are vegan avoid animal foods for reasons related to health, ethics, and environmentalism. A subgroup of vegans has examined at these concerns and concluded that none of them apply to bivalves like:

  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Oysters

The term they have chosen for themselves is Ostrovegan. No, it has nothing to do with ostriches. The prefix ‘ostra-’ refers to oysters or mollusks in general. Ostravegans eat no animal foods (with the exception of bivalves).

Consider the research for their rationale:

“Bivalves [like clams] . . . have a minimal ecological impact while minimizing concerns around welfare in captivity. In fact, bivalves may not just be the best option in the ocean, but the best choice if one chooses to eat animals, period.”16

The argument for health and environmental benefits for eating bivalves over other animal foods are quite clear. Many also feel that bivalves lack the same experiences as more complex animals.

While they do likely have some rudimentary sense of irritation, called nociception, which causes them to move in response to their environments. However, these same properties are found in some plants like Venus flytraps and pitcher plants.

Key Insight: It is clear, though, that they lack elaborate feelings we would call pain, and they almost certainly lack any sense of social bonding or connection.

Nutritionally, clams are a perfect complement to a healthy vegan diet. They fill in gaps surrounding:

  • Iron
  • B12
  • DHA
  • Zinc
  • High-quality protein

When it comes to those on paleo diets, not only are clams accepted on all versions of the paleo diet, one could argue that clams and shellfish are among the only true “paleo” foods commercially available.

Other animal foods have been hybridized and raised in domestication. Clams are genetically unchanged since well before the days of Paleolithic humans.

This is not true of any other animal or plant food besides other versions of wild seafood. They are also one of the only wild-caught types of animal food available.

Allergies

Most people with allergies to seafood do not have allergies to clams. Those who do have allergies to clams, the reactions tend to be less dangerous than those to shellfish:

“There are two groups of shellfish: crustacea (such as shrimp, crab, and lobster) and mollusks (such as clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops). Crustacea cause most shellfish reactions, and these tend to be severe.”17

Other Considerations

Here’s how clams factor into other diets:

  • Goitrogen – Clams have no goitrogenic compounds.
  • AIP – Clams are considered safe foods for all versions of the AIP diet.
  • Lectins – While I do not subscribe to the belief that lectins in foods commonly eaten pose any harm. Nonetheless, clams are not on “high-lectin” food lists.
  • Ketogenic – I also don’t recommend ketogenic diets for general use. However – clams are also keto-friendly.

Bottom Line: How cool is that? Clams are “green-light” food for pretty much everyone. The only reason not to eat them left is that you might not know how to work with them in the kitchen. Let’s take care of that while we’re at it.

Preparing Clams

There are so many options when it comes to preparing clams for consumption. Personally, I have used fresh, frozen, and canned with varying results.

If I lived in the Atlantic Northeast or the Pacific Northwest, I would do the work to get familiar with suppliers of fresh clams. Here in the Sonoran desert, though, my experiences with fresh clams have been hit or miss – even when purchased from reputable supermarkets.

Frozen clams have worked well but can be hard to find. I also did find them hard to get the texture right.

It’s for these reasons that canned clams are my favorite. I know, we often have a visceral reaction against canned food. Some antioxidants in plant foods can be degraded from the high-heat of canning.

Key Insight: These concerns do not apply to seafood. The protein, essential fats, b-vitamins, and minerals are stable throughout canning. Avoid products with colors, preservatives, and cottonseed oil. Also, watch the total added salt content.

If you can find BPA-free cans, that is great! Many companies use BPA-free cans, but do not label their product as BPA-free because of guidelines that allow zero allowable BPA under this claim. Nearly all foods now have measurable amounts of BPA, even if the levels are not significant.18

When I have had clams at restaurants, I would estimate that they included no more than an ounce to an ounce and a half of clams.

Key Insight: When you are using clams to bolster iron and protein, it is best to use a 100 gram (approx 3 ounces) serving size. With a typical 10 ounce can of baby clams, you can get just over two 100-gram servings for $1-2 per serving.

Canned clams are also great because of their shelf life. We love to have a variety of canned seafood like clams, sardines, and oysters on hand to throw together for a last minute meal.

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The Top 5 Myths About Natural Desiccated Thyroid - YouTube

One of the questions that I get the most is, “how much desiccated thyroid should I take?” First, you might be wondering exactly what is NDT thyroid and how long does it take for desiccated thyroid to work?

Today I want to talk to you about some of the biggest myths surrounding this form of treatment. Have you heard that you cannot take it if you have Hashimoto’s? Well, this article is for you! Please enjoy this article while I discuss these controversies, and much more, today.

Let’s Talk About NDT

First, we should take a moment and define what NDT is all about. I want to really break it down, so let’s go word-by-word so that you can have a clear and total understanding of what forms NDT and to create it:

  • Natural – means that it is from a natural source. In prescription medications, that will typically come from pig thyroid (also known as porcine thyroid).
  • Desiccated – this means to chop something up really fine.
  • Thyroid – it’s thyroid hormone!

One of the things I want to start off with is that sometimes people think of NDT as Armour. While Armour is the brand name, NDT is the compound. It’s kind of like how Kleenex makes facial tissues, but there are plenty of facial tissue companies out there.

Kleenex is not the only one making it, and when it comes to NDT Armour is not the only option. Personally, I prefer WP Thyroid as best natural desiccated thyroid for treatment.

Now that we have a solid understanding of what goes into NDT, let’s break down the myths:

Myth #1: NDT is not okay for those with Hashimoto’s disease

The argument goes something like this: somehow, ingesting thyroid will raise your thyroid antibodies against your “original” thyroid.

That would obviously not be ideal for those who are dealing with Hashimoto’s. In fact, I have actually heard doctors tell people that they cannot take NDT at all and that it can even worsen your immune state.

I do not want to jump to conclusions about what is true and what is a myth without unpacking the myth itself because then we can approach it logically.

Let’s think about it: people who take thyroid do so because they have hypothyroidism (where their gland simply is not making enough hormone for their body). Those who have hypothyroidism, almost universally, have Hashimoto’s disease.

Bottom Line: If those with Hashimoto’s could not take NDT, then who would? They are the only real group who NDT would be meant for to help.

NDT and Antibodies

Well, to track back to the argument about taking natural thyroid and raising your antibodies against your thyroid, this is something we need to focus on. There actually have been a couple studies done on exactly this topic.

Those that I found showed that orally taking natural thyroid lowers your body’s immune response against your thyroid. This the model of “oral desensitization.”

This is based on the idea that when you take something in your body, in a tiny amount, on a regular basis, your immune system becomes more tolerant of that substance.

Clinically, I have case studies to where patients have had high thyroid antibodies and erratic thyroid levels that came from that. Oftentimes, the one change we would make was switching to NDT as a form of treatment. This would ultimately result in the antibodies coming down, and the levels stabilizing.

In Conclusion: I have seen countless cases where thyroid antibody levels have come down from the thousands to zero, simply by switching to NDT for 6 – 8 weeks. Having said that, it might not work for everybody when it comes to lowering them completely, but it certainly does not raise them any higher.

Myth #2: NDT is a poor choice because it is not standardized

This argument is all about creating a consistent product, and it is based on the idea that synthetic thyroid (or Synthroid) because it is synthesized. It is made to have a set amount of hormone, and it is generally more predictable how much T4 (or T3) you are getting.

Remember how I mentioned before that NDT comes in certain brands? In the past, there were actually more brands of NDT then we have today.

It was also more widely used in the past. The turning point actually occurred in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Prior to that point, there were more doctors prescribing NDT than those prescribing Synthroids.

The means of standardizing hormone used to be based on iodine content. Back in the day, that was more difficult to do using NDT than Synthroid – because you could guarantee how much active hormone would be present. Unfortunately, this led to some sad cases of people not getting the amount of active hormone that they needed. This led to a change in the guidelines for how hormone treatments would be standardized.

Key Insight: You know it, and I know it, a lot of things have changed since the 70’s and NDT is no different! If we look today, science has come far enough that we can ensure that we get the right amount of active hormone from NDT that we need for effective treatment.

Synthetic Versions

Now, let’s look at it from the other side, there have been multiple recalls for synthetic versions of thyroid over the years – upwards of a dozen in the last decade.

This is chalked up typically to poor quality control, and not being as consistently manufactured to a high degree of quality.

In the last decade and a half, there has been one voluntary recall of NDT. So, NDT has actually had a better track record of helping patients over a longer period of time than Synthroid.

In terms of numbers:

  • Synthroid – standardized to within 5% of prescribed recommended dosage.
  • NDT – there are brands which are standardized to less than 2% variability.

Bottom Line: NDT brands like WP Thyroid, Westhroid and Nature Throid all have better standards than Synthroid alternatives. While they might not be standardized the same way, that’s a good thing, because they are standardized amongst themselves even better.

Myth #3: You have to take NDT multiple times per day to have it work

This is one that I hear all of the time. When it comes to prescribing medications, there are some terms that we hear a lot in the medical community. In order to help your understanding, here they are:

  • QD – once daily
  • BID – twice daily
  • TID – three times daily

Many say that you must take thyroid BID or longer, or more frequently, to have it work properly. The logic behind this idea comes down to T3 absorption in our bodies. So T3, which is found in natural thyroid, is absorbed and peaks in a 4 – 8-hour window after you take it.

Doctors have looked at that and suggested that you need to take it a couple times a day, or else that T3 absorption will drop off after that time period. This is where the problem starts.

Key Insight: We need to understand the key difference between “absorption” and “metabolism” – how quickly it comes in, and how quickly it goes out. How frequently you take a medication should not be based on the former, it should be based on how long it takes to actually leave your body.

The excretion of T3 from your system is actually 1 – 3 days, as opposed to that 4 – 8 hour window that we mentioned previously. Because of that, you can take it once a day and have consistent amounts in the cells.

In Conclusion: In fact, it is better to take T3 once daily because thyroid hormones abide by a circadian rhythm. Your body releases the bulk of them during the late evening/early morning.  So taking NDT before bed or early in the morning actually achieves what would be happening if your thyroid was operating normally.

Twice a day ingestion is not only not good for your circadian rhythm.  This is because it is an unnatural process that your body would not abide by if it was working at 100% health. It is also unhealthy because it ignores your body’s excretion levels, instead of providing too much all at once.

Myth #4: NDT affects your ratios of natural thyroid (T3/T4) impossible

Here’s the thought on this one: the T3/T4 ratios, once you are on a good dose, are more about:

  • Your liver
  • Your kidneys
  • Your intestinal tract
  • Your detox pathways

They are more about these things than they are about the dosage you are taking. But, more often than not, that someone is not on a good dose. That itself will skew those ratios, no matter what they are when you are taking it.

What I mean by this is that if you are taking too much thyroid hormone, you will get rid of T3 faster than you would get rid of T4.

If you are on too little thyroid hormone, you will hold onto T3 longer than you would hold onto T4.

Bottom Line: The issues about ratios are more about dosage than the medicine being somehow wrong for us. Once the dosage is right, though, and those ratios are not perfect it would have more to do with peripheral thyroid metabolism.

In terms of how the ratios are found in NDT, compared to the body, many have said that it is a 4:1 ratio and that humans need a 10:1 ratio. The real question is, “what are we talking about when it comes to this ratio?” Do we mean:

  • What’s in the thyroid?
  • What’s in the blood?
  • What’s in the cell?

Getting to the bottom and answering the “where” component of the question is going to be so important, especially as it concerns proper ratios.

Our thyroid itself is actually at the same ratio as NDT, and when we first take NDT, the bulk of it gets bound up in carrier proteins in our body anyways. So, our body has the ability to unbind and “convert” as we see fit.

If we are on the right dosage, and our body is working well, then we can actually use NDT properly. The question then becomes: “how much desiccated thyroid should I take?”

The Role of Testing

If someone is on NDT, and a doctor runs a test like:

  • TSH
  • Free T3
  • Free T4

In this case, the doctor might notice that T3 is too high. This will then lead them to believe that you need less, because of the fact that your ratio is too high.

The real problem here actually is not the ratio, but the timing of the testing itself.

Key Insight: If you take a blood test right after taking your NDT tablet, your TSH and Free T4 might remain normal, but it can make your Free T3 score look shockingly high. This is only a question of timing, and nothing more!

Myth #5: NDT raises reverse T3 levels

This goes back to our same, earlier issue about ratios. If you are on too much thyroid, your body will ultimately compensate – this will result in your body converting more T4 into T3 than it otherwise normally would.

In Conclusion: High reverse T3, in nearly all cases, is more of an issue of the wrong dose rather than the wrong medicine. If you get the dose right, reverse T3 is apt to fix itself.

Dispel The Myths, Gain Knowledge

Now that we have gone over some of the most common myths about NDT, and worked to a better understanding of how it can benefit our thyroid, why not take the next step and really learn more about your thyroid today?

Take the Thyroid Quiz (1), and learn a little bit more about this important part of your body. Are you concerned about the status of your thyroid? Get on the road to recovery by learning more about what could be wrong today.

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.

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Thyroid Dose - YouTube

Do you know if you’re taking the right amount of thyroid medicine, or if you have the idea TSH level for weight loss? When it comes to Hashimoto thyroiditis weight loss, just because you’re taking more does not mean you’re getting better.

Let’s dive into how we can get the right thyroxine dosage for weight loss for you and your body. This way you can learn how to lose weight with an underactive thyroid today.

Thyroid Function Test

Before we get started talking about dosage, we need to make sure that we have an overview of the different labs that you need to know about:

  • TSH
  • Free T3
  • Free T4
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Reverse T3

Each is important, so it’s crucial that you have a good understanding of each. Thankfully I have talked about each of these tests before and you can find out more by spending a little bit of time on my site (1).

The Process of Testing

Good testing means getting a full panel done. This is going to include a TSH, fT3, fT4 and thyroid antibodies (for our conversation today).

You are also going to want to make sure that you are preparing the body the best way before you get these tests done.

Key Insight: If you are going to have a full panel of tests done, it should be done in the morning and before you take your day’s thyroid tablet. This way, you are able to get the best and most meaningful results possible.

Understanding Your Scores

Let’s get a quick refresher on what your scores mean when you have a full panel of tests done. When you are trying to understand your TSH scores, you want to know the following things:

  • When your TSH scores run higher, it means you are low in thyroid. 
  • When your TSH scores run lower, it means you are high in thyroid

When you want to understand your free T3 and free T4 scores, it is going to be a bit more direct. If you are low in thyroid, your scores will be lower – and vice versa!

The problems, or the wrinkles as I like to call them, begin when we start talking about ranges. As I have told you before, the TSH range is actually quite wide.

Many who are in the “normal” range, but on the high side, can be hypothyroid. It actually confuses a lot of what we think of as “normal,” because it is actually not healthy.

At the same time, free thyroid hormones are just as tricky. They can fluctuate all of the time, and studies have shown this (2). Just because you are relatively healthy, does not always mean that your free thyroid scores are going to “add up”.

It’s a tricky process, which means that understanding the appropriate dosage is going to be just as tricky. Let’s get rid of some of the confusion, and dive right into the concept of proper dosage of thyroxine for weight loss today.

Too Little Or Too Much

There are so many people, those who fall in the “normal” TSH range, who are subsequently underdosed (3). When I think of the optimal place to fall on the range, it has to be low, but it is still within the range.

When your TSH scores are between 1.5 – 4.5, and your free hormones are low to low-normal, you might still fall within the “normal” range.  But, you do risk being underdosed when you really need it.

The first real paradox I want to talk about, though, is that a higher dosage actually is not often doing more (or better) work. In fact, if you take too much your body actually becomes thyroid resistant.

Understanding Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid hormones are so powerful, and your body has so many different ways of controlling them – this way, they can perform so many tasks and keep your body humming.

  • There is control from above, which includes the brain, and its signals telling the thyroid how to work and how to disperse more hormone.
  • There’s also control from below. Your system has mechanisms that control how you eliminate thyroid hormones. These are used to regulate thyroid hormones after they have been released. These mechanisms involve your intestinal flora, liver function, kidneys, cortisol levels, cell membranes and mitochondrial permeability.

When a thyroid dose is higher than it should be, it takes two to three weeks for these mechanisms to start running faster. During this time, people often feel better or more energetic.

They have received their higher dose, and they start saying to themselves “hey, I feel much better and I have more energy. That extra boost must have done something right.”

It might feel good at the moment, but it is definitely not good for your health in the long-term. Do not confuse immediate success with long-term success – they can be quite different concepts.

Key Insight: The problem with a boost in dosage is that it often does not last, and patients end up going back to feeling to normal – where “normal” involves fatigue, weight gain and other unpleasant symptoms.  These are not optimal thyroid levels for weight loss.

The patient and the doctor often assume that raising the dose again will help, and it does for another brief period of time (4). It is a vicious cycle which finds a way of repeating itself again and again.  Because there are no short-term side effects it means that everything’s a-okay.

Unfortunately, what this approach does is leads to unsafe high thyroid blood levels. Higher doses of thyroid medication are not the answer, as this can lead to:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Stoke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia
  • Grave’s eye disease
  • Increase in Total Mortality

It is so important that we keep a close eye on the dose of our thyroid medication. What we do not want is to jump the gun and continuously boost our medication, forever seeking temporary relief from our symptoms. This simply is not a strategy for success and can lead to really dangerous side-effects long-term.

Bottom Line: A higher and higher dose is not the way to go. In fact, while some doctors might argue for this strategy, all it can do is lead to high thyroid blood levels and dangerous side effects like strokes and dementia.

Blood Levels

If the first paradox was all about making your body thyroid resistant, the second paradox is all about understanding the different ways that your blood levels might move when a dose is changed – and that they can be quite unexpected.

This point is so incredibly important. Understanding this will immediately give you an advantage over probably 99% of the physicians who prescribe thyroid medication.

When a TSH score first starts to get low, you might assume that the free T3 and free T4 will get high, but they often do not. The reason for this is that the body is trying to compensate.

It lowers the TSH to prevent your thyroid from making any more hormone. At the same time, it is speeding the elimination of T3 and T4 which can cause their blood levels to below-normal, low, or mid-range (rather than high).

If the TSH score is all the way to 0.01, and the dose keeps getting higher, eventually the free hormones do elevate – but this will not happen at first. It simply takes time.

Many thyroid experts encourage people to have their free hormones at the higher end of the range (5). Unfortunately this doesn’t happen without the TSH being too low, and that in itself does pose dangers to patients.

Studies done on people with healthy thyroid function find that their TSH runs in the low end of normal, but that their free hormones do not end up on the high side of normal. This works on the other end of the spectrum, too. When the TSH starts to elevate, the free hormones are not necessarily low.

If the TSH gets high enough, eventually the free hormones drop off when someone is extremely hypothyroid.

Good Labs, Bad Patient

What do you do if your labs are good, but you are still left feeling fatigued or dealing with unnecessary weight gain?

Here are just a few of the things I think we might need to start considering:

  • You may need different medication – I have seen so many instances where a dose reduction, followed by a medication change, has worked wonders for so many patients. 
  • You need to find your root cause – If you feel like you are only well when your TSH is low, then that is something you need to address. Boosting your dosage is not the answer, instead you need to find out more about the root cause of your problems. I would argue that it is important to find your root cause, so that you can minimize finding yourself in a state of risk.

You might also want to consider if:

  • Your adrenals are not healthy (6)
  • Your blood sugar is off
  • You have high thyroid antibodies
Where Do You Start?

Start with the TSH! I know that this can be a controversial opinion, as many have said that we should simply ignore the TSH. I think this might be ignoring something very important.

Your TSH scores can provide a really important launchpad for learning so much about the health of your thyroid. It does not have to end there, but it is a pretty good start (from there, you can find the right T4 dosage for weight loss for you, too).

The TSH is the first thing to adjust, because it represents the important work that our brain does when it comes to regulating the thyroid hormone. Your free hormone levels speak to greater problems down the road, not in emergency situations, so they are less important when it comes to starting an investigation into your health.

Once your TSH is optimal, the rest of your “local actors” find a way to sort themselves out. If there are still lingering issues, that is when we need to continue diving deeper and finding out more and more about root causes.

Key Insight: Address your symptoms, but know that they are often not the strongest indicators of what is actually going on in your body.

Ready To Learn More About Your Thyroid?

Your thyroid is so important. It controls powerful hormones which dictate so much of what goes on in your body. Do you know everything that there is to know about the thyroid? If you are concerned that you don’t, you need to take my thyroid quiz today. It will give you the information you need to benefit your body, and to live your best life. It’s always a good idea to keep your health in mind.

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.

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Do you know why weight loss is hard? It’s because body fat raises cortisol and cortisol raises body fat. Here’s how you can break the cycle for good. Learn more about your adrenal levels, and find out how to make adrenal fatigue weight loss work for you and your lifestyle today.

How To Lose Weight With Adrenal Fatigue

The fact is that keeping away those extra pounds can be a thousand times harder thanks to cortisol in our bodies.

It’s true, the release of cortisol in the body has an adverse effect on our ability to keep away those extra pounds. Cortisol is a hormone, released by the brain during different events and circumstances.

Our body releases cortisol in a “fight-or-flight” (1) set of circumstances, preparing us to take on difficult tasks or help our bodies deal with high levels of stress. Put simply, cortisol is released to help our bodies manage during intense amounts of stress.

For those who are already stressed, cortisol is forever being pumped from your brain to the rest of your body. This releases glucose, which helps you dominate your problems in short order.

The problem starts when we constantly feel stressed, and what happens when cortisol is consistently being released into the system. This imbalance of hormones deprives our cells of glucose, so our cells send a message to our brain to tell us that we need to eat. Let’s consider this is the start of the problem.

Telling our body that it needs to eat, the cortisol-belly fat cycle begins in earnest. Let’s break it down, step-by-step:

  • We feel stressed, so our bodies release cortisol which gives us energy (provided by our cells)
  • Our cells demand more glucose – so they tell our brain to feed them
  • Based on these triggers in our brain, we eat
  • We gain weight, and ultimately feel stressed about that weight gain
  • The vicious cycle repeats itself, over and over again

Don’t get me wrong, though. Cortisol can be great when you are training, bodybuilding or going through intense amounts of exercise. When we’re breaking a sweat, cortisol works with other hormones in our bodies to help burn calories and shed pounds.

The problem is that cortisol is not only released when we’re working out. While you want cortisol to be pumping when you’re at the gym, you don’t want it when you’re simply sitting at your desk.

Cortisol can create cravings for junk food, of all kinds while shutting off the part of your brain that tells you it’s a bad idea to be eating that much in one sitting. In the wrong context, the release of cortisol can be damaging and destructive to your body.

There is hope, though, and that is in the form of adrenal fatigue weight loss and a diet for adrenal fatigue and weight loss. The following are a collection of tips I can say will help you combat a cortisol imbalance and the dreaded cortisol belly fat that comes with it.

Of course, everybody is different, so these suggested dietary and exercise-based tips are going to vary based on the amount of effort and restraint you exercise.

If bodybuilders and athletes use cortisol to their advantage, why can’t you? There must be a simple way to help combat adrenal fatigue and cut those extra pounds out of your life for good. In fact, there is, so let me walk you through some of the best tips to help you reach your goals with adrenal fatigue weight loss.

Help combat adrenal exhaustion today with the following tips…

Key Insight: Cortisol naturally occurs in our bodies, but it can be dangerous to our health.

Tip #1: Carb Cycling

The research is in, and carbohydrate cycling is gaining traction in scientific conversations around weight loss (2). Better than ketosis (3), the process of enduring times of low-carb intake alternated with periods of high-carb intake is a way to combat your cells demanding more and more food.

Cutting down your carbohydrate intake from anywhere between 30-55% can help you reach your goals. It is also a way of avoiding weight loss plateaus (4), which can often be one of the most frustrating parts of any diet.

Limiting carbs and allowing your body to burn off that excess fat while replenishing with more carbs keeps your body in a steady rhythm when it comes to dropping that extra bit of weight.

Key Insight: Cut down on ketosis, and bring more carb cycling into your diet.

Induce your adrenal fatigue weight loss by doing a reset of your diet for 4 weeks. As long as you’re getting at least 800 calories, you won’t be raising your cortisol levels.

Keeping consumption low has proven to help manage weight and get started on losing weight in an effective and healthy way (5). Four weeks – where’s the harm in that? It might take a bit in the way of discipline, but it is going to help your body get back to where it needs to be.

This form of detox is highly instructive to your body, as it seeks to kick your metabolism into gear so that you may burn fat down the road. It’s basically like putting your body through boot camp, where the discipline you place upon your diet kicks your body into high gear.

Inducing this in your body isn’t easy at first, but it will go a long way in helping you cut down on those extra pounds.

Key Insight: Jumpstart your metabolism by keeping your calorie intake low for four weeks.

Tip #3: Meal Replacements for Adrenal Fatigue Weight Loss

The formula is simple: 2 shakes + 1 meal. The effects of meal replacement strategies have been well-researched, and is a proven way to safely remove those unsightly pounds from your belly (6).

Two low-carb, high fiber shakes per day, followed by a low-calorie meal is all it takes. This will help keep your adrenaline surges in check, and will help you manage your cravings with ease.

Meal replacement plans help create a large amount of initial weight loss, while also providing an improvement in weight management, inflammation and oxidative stress (7).

Basically, it is a way of giving your body what it needs. All done, without giving into the tried-and-true cravings which keep us from cutting those inches from our waistline.

Key Insight: 2 shakes + 1 meal = an effective weight loss strategy.

Tip #4: Long Slow Distance Training

Did you know that you don’t need to sweat like crazy to get a good workout? Long slow distance training (8) relies on long intervals of low-intensity physical activity.

Through these activities, you’re building aerobic strength and endurance that can help stimulate the loss of fat in your body. All you have to do is one session per week, moving for over one hour at an extremely low intensity.

Take a light walk, go for a hike and benefit your body. This form of training is an opportunity to introduce a consistent hum of fat burning in your daily/weekly/monthly regiment. The more exercise, the merrier, so long as you take it slow.

Key Insight: Take it slow, across longer distances, to keep your exercise routine humming.

Tip #5: Post-Dinner Cortisol Lowering

I’ve already covered the benefits of doing low-intensity workouts when it comes to adrenal fatigue weight loss – this is an even more practical suggestion. After dinner, take some time and take a walk.

If you take a 10-minute walk after dinner, you are going to effectively lower your cortisol for the evening. Not only will this help you sleep better (9), but it can help you combat adrenal exhaustion in the morning.

It also makes your muscles more insulin responsive (10), which allows for more fuel to go to your muscles and less to your fat. This is all part of the bigger picture, which is working in healthy habits and lifestyle choices into your average day.

A quick walk is all it takes, and you’ll be on your way to cutting out the excess fat in your life in no time.

Key Insight: Take a walk and take care of your post-dinner cortisol levels.

Tip #6: The Value of Potatoes

How to lose weight when you have adrenal fatigue all starts with a simple potato. It’s like I always say: a potato a day keeps the inches away!

Seriously though, studies have shown that boiled potatoes are in a class of their own when it comes to foods which curb appetites (11).

Working more of these ingredients into your diet, in quick and simple ways, can help you combat adrenal burnout for good. The resistant starch in potatoes, in particular, will also help to heal your gut lining (12).

There are so many superfoods out there, but potatoes can call themselves one of the original ones. They have loads of health benefits, and can help you jumpstart your adrenal fatigue weight loss. Easy to prepare, easy to enjoy and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.

Your Diet and Potatoes:

  • For breakfast: serve a boiled potato beside your scrambled eggs.
  • For lunch: another boiled potato compliments any salad.
  • For dinner: enjoy a baked potato alongside a lean cut of meat.
  • No matter the meal, you can easily work more potatoes into your diet.
Tip #7: Holy Moly… Holy Basil

Holy basil, otherwise known as Ocimum sanctum, is just another step in helping combat the cortisol belly fat problem. Studies being done on humans, using holy basil, have shown that the leaf lowers stress (13).

Therefore, the less stress, the less cortisol your body is producing to combat that stress. Adrenal fatigue weight loss can start in your diet, and holy basil might just be one of the pillars combating this imbalance of cortisol.

Want to work more holy basil into your diet? Try this pesto recipe on for size.

Key Insight: Working basil into your diet is simple, whether you’re using it as a pesto or simply topping it on some of your favorite recipes.

Even in 2017, it appears as though we might be more stressed than ever. Whether it’s the pressures of work, family, or something else, we’re always feeling pushed upon by the world. That doesn’t mean that we should run out of hope, though, because the answer is right in front of us.

All we have to do is make healthy living a routine, with habits that we can easily work into our lives to combat the negative effects of stress and cortisol in our bodies. This is all the simple answer to how to lose weight with adrenal fatigue and hypothyroid at play.

Have you been feeling stressed?

Changing the way you diet and exercise can make stress a thing of the past. Or, at least, how your body reacts to stress can be eliminated entirely.

Adrenal fatigue weight loss starts with the injection of healthy habits into your diet and your lifestyle. Whether that means boiling a potato a day, or going for a walk after dinner, you’re going to want to consistently adhere to a set of standards to better your life.

The stress that produces cortisol is manageable, as long as you are taking the right steps to manage it.

As I mentioned before, the cortisol belly fat cycle is one that can be dangerous. It’s dangerous to your body, but there is a way to combat it.

Key Insight: Follow these tips and you’ll break this vicious cycle for good.

Finally, take a moment and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you been feeling burned out?
  • Do you know the state of your adrenals?

Find out now with my super handy Adrenal Quiz. It will give you a good idea of where you’re at with your adrenal fatigue, and what you can do to combat this problem and lose weight today.

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.

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