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low thyroid

How To Treat Hypothyroidism: Is it your thyroid? Part 3

By | Uncategorized

This is Tracie’s third and final part on hypothyroidism and knowing if you have it and how to deal with it.  Today Tracie gets personal and shares her story of her struggle with her weight and her thyroid.  I want to thank Tracie for taking the time to share this valuable information with us!  I highly recommend you seek her counsel for any nutritional guidance.  You won’t be disappointed!  You can check out her website at http://www.itsyourplate.com

If you missed either of her first two articles or want to read the comments that she wrote to answer some of your questions, click the links below!

Click here to read part 1

Click here to read part 2

“There is nothing wrong with you.  Your lab tests are normal.”  Does this statement sound familiar to you? Many of my clients have reported to me that they go to their doctor feeling tired, depressed, constipated, bloated, anxious, and overall just not themselves.  The doctor will run some lab test that come back normal and tell the patient they can’t find anything wrong with them. This is a terrible place to be….knowing something is not right and feeling as if there is no where to turn.

Tracie Before

Tracie Before

I was talking with Joy (Dustin’s mom) the other day. She encouraged me to share my experience so you can see the transformation that can take place when you get to the bottom of your health issues.  I am not going to waste a lot of space giving you my health history. If you are interested in the details, please visit my website.  To make a long story short, I had severe endometriosis when I was in my early twenties.  This diagnosis led to surgery and drug treatment that had many side effects (having 15 hot flashes a day at 20 years of age is not fun).  After that, I was on a quest to get my health back without drugs. Over the next 4 years, I made some progress with the help of a Naturopath doctor that I was seeing for treatment. I was still experiencing fatigue, bloating, and constipation. I also had 20 pounds that I could not get rid of, no matter what I tried.

Tracie After

Tracie After

I had taken many alternative lab tests (food allergy, metabolic profiles, and gut function tests) and spent thousands of dollars in supplements. In the end, it really did not get me the results I was seeking.  I was baffled, because I was eating a so-called “healthy diet” and was not feeling better.

One day, I was reading online about hypothyroidism and realized that many of my symptoms, including endometriosis, was related to it (click here for an online thyroid questionnaire). I decided to go to my doctor and request a thyroid test.  The doctor tested my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone – put out by your pituitary gland) and my numbers came back normal.  I thought that this was interesting since I had 20 signs of hypothyroidism after taking the quiz. Over time, I was not getting any better.  I started to take my basal body temperature and found out that they were between 96.6°F and 97.0°F.  In my mind, this was not adding up; I had low body temperatures and multiple symptoms for hypothyroidism, yet my doctor told me I was fine.

This is when I met a M.D. that had a more holistic approach. She told me that I needed to have my FULL thyroid panel taken.  She explained that just testing the TSH does not tell the whole story.  The active form of the hormones (Free T3) needs to be measured along with the Free T4 (is converted to T3 in your liver) and TSH.  My full panel indicated that even though my TSH was normal, my T3 was low.  At that point my doctor prescribed a bio-identical (desiccated) thyroid hormone called Armour (Naturethroid and Westhroid are other brand names).  Desiccated thyroid hormones have been used for over 100 years around the world. It was the number one drug used to treat hypothyroidism until the 1960’s when pharmaceutical companies developed and marketed the inexpensive synthetic version.  The difference between desiccated thyroid and synthetic thyroid drugs (Synthyroid and Levoxyl) is desiccated thyroid contains both T3 and T4 where Synthyoid and Levoxyl contain only synthetic T4. One of the main problems with using just T4 is that many individuals have a problem converting the T4 into active T3 in the liver.

There is a huge debate in the medical community about the use of synthetic vs. desiccated thyroid medications.  You can read about both sides of the issue on the internet.  Remember, a lot of the research you read is influenced and funded by pharmaceutical companies. For this reason, most mainstream doctors will only prescribe synthetic medications.  This is unfortunate because many of my clients have fully recovered after switching to bio-identical hormones.

Hypothyroidism Type 2, by Dr. Mark Starr, is a fantastic book that goes into great depth on this topic.  He scientifically explains why synthetic drugs do not work for most people and what you can do about it.  He also addresses why current lab tests are not accurate. Dr. Starr also explains that you might be hypothyroid, even if your thyroid full panel comes back normal.

I want to leave you with a couple of last thoughts:

  • If you are currently on a synthetic medication and you are not getting better, do your own research on this topic and talk to your doctor as an informed patient (resources below).
  • Ask your doctor to run a full thyroid panel (Free T3, Free T4, TSH)
  • If you are symptomatic with low body temperatures, find a doctor that will treat you with a holistic approach.

Remember that no one else is going to fight for your health but you.  To wrap this up…here is an update on my situation.  Since last October, I have overhauled my diet to include foods that support the metabolism (what these foods are will surprise you) and have been taking bio-identical thyroid for the last three months. I have lost 12 pounds by changing my diet to the recommendations that I give my clients.  My body temperatures have risen from 96.6°F to 98.2°F.  Since I started taking thyroid medication, I have lost an additional 8 pounds.  I feel better than I have in years.  I hope my story encourages you to do your own research and continue to dig until you find an answer and start to feel better. More often than not…proper thyroid function is a key to the equation.

Visit www.itsyourplate.com for more information about my services and available programs. You can download a temperature and pulse chart on my website to track your progress.

Tracie Hittman Nutrition, LLC

Resources for further study:

Barnes, Broda and Lawrence Galton. Hypo-thyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness. NY: Harpers & Row Publishers, 1976.

Peat, Ray. “TSH, Temperature, Pulse Rate, and Other Indicators in Hypothyroidism.” Ray Peat.com 2007. 9 Sept. 2009. <http://raypeat.com/articles/articles /hypothyroidism.shtm>.

Shomon, Mary. Living Well with Hypothyroidism. NY: HarperCollins, 2000.

Starr, Mark. Hypothyroidism Type 2. Columbia, MO: Mark Starr Trust, 2009.

Websites/articles:

http://thyroid.about.com/

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/thyroid.shtml

http://www.brodabarnes.org/

http://www.longnaturalhealth.com/library2.asp?A=59

http://www.longnaturalhealth.com/library2.asp?A=105

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/

Tracie Hittman, MS, is a Nutritional Consultant and, as such, the nutritional consulting services provided are for information and education purposes only. Information provided is not to be substituted for a physician’s medical attention and professional judgment for diagnosis and hands-on treatment. Tracie Hittman MS, of Tracie Hittman Nutrition doesn’t provide medical advice or medical and/or diagnostic services. Follow suggestions as your own risk.

Low Thyroid (hypothyroid), Do You Have It? Part 2

By | Nutrition, Uncategorized

cutebabe

Last week Tracie did an awesome guest post on the warning signs of low thyroid.  Many of you had an “ah ha” moment realizing you might suffer from this.  Today Tracie gets more in depth into ways you can heal the thyroid naturally and what some of the causes are.  Her tips she gives not only are great for the thyroid, but are also the same recommendations I give people looking to lose weight.

cute-baby-working-mood-funny-02Here is her post.  Enjoy!

As I mentioned in the last post, thyroid conditions are becoming a serious issue in America today…the next question is why?

Why do so many people have hypothyroid and what can be done?

There are many things that can contribute to the inability for the thyroid to properly function. Listed below are some reasons along with helpful tips:

  • It runs in the family. According to Dr. Mark Starr in his book called Hypothyroidism Type 2, poor immune function and premature deaths are signs of hypothyroidism.  As modern medicine has advanced significantly over the last 100 years, fewer immune compromised individuals are dying from infectious diseases at an early age.  This is allowing individuals to pass on their weak genes to their offspring.  Survival of the fittest for many years has kept the hypothyroid gene pool under control but in today’s society, this is just not the case.  Does it run in your family?
  • PUFA intake has increased. Along with the increase of thyroid problems, there also has been an increase in the consumption of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) in the diet.  The intake of vegetable oils, such as soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, sunflower and safflower has skyrocketed 400% over the last 30 years.  This huge jump has created a lot of health issues for our nation.  PUFAS affect the thyroid by interfering with the uptake of the thyroid hormone in cells. PUFAS can also interfere with the conversion of T4 in the liver to T3.  Tip – Minimize or eliminate PUFA oils from your diet! Read More

Hypothyroid (low thyroid), Do You Have It? Part 1

By | Behavior Change, Uncategorized

hypothyroidism-and-impotence-lg

Tracie is back sharing her vast knowledge in nutrition and the role it plays with fat loss.  Today’s topic is so huge and is becoming more and more of a problem.  I send my clients who I believe have low thyroid to Tracie.  I am very good at getting people to lose weight, but I have found those who have been seemingly doing everything right, and aren’t losing any fat, are 90% of the time hypothyroid.  Tracie has an 8 week seminar, starting July 15th, that will really go in depth about how you can eat to heal the thyroid.  I just heard she only has 3 spots still available, so if you are interested, you need to contact her ASAP at tracie@itsyourplate.com to secure one of the last spots.

Okay, here is her post!

tired2

Could It Be Your Thyroid?

Are you always tired? Do you gain weight easily or have a hard time losing it?  Do you wear socks to bed even in the summer to keep your feet warm?  Are your hair and/or eye brows thinning? Do you have chronic constipation? Is your sex drive low?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, hypothyroidism may be an issue for you.

Background Information about the Thyroid

The thyroid gland is our metabolic powerhouse. Not producing enough active thyroid hormone can have a huge impact on a person’s ability to feel great and lose weight. This is because the thyroid directly regulates an individual’s metabolism. When someone has hypothyroidism (low thyroid production), they will often have a decreased basal metabolic rate (BMR), making it easy to gain weight and difficult to lose it. Some experts estimate that as many as 20 million Americans are currently suffering from undiagnosed hypothyroidism (Blanchard and Brill xiii). Considering that the thyroid gland regulates our metabolism, it is apparent that hypothyroidism can severely impact energy levels and the ability to lose weight.

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Let me briefly explain the science behind the thyroid function. The thyroid is a walnut size gland that sits just below the Adam’s apple and helps to control every chemical reaction in the body. It is also an endocrine gland that produces, stores, and secretes thyroid hormones. Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are the two main hormones that the thyroid gland produces. T3 is considered the active form of the thyroid hormone; a healthy thyroid produces about 80% T4 and 20% T3. (Shomon 16) The thyroid controls the body’s metabolism by helping the cells convert calories and oxygen into energy.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

There are many symptoms of hypothyroidism. Following is a list of the most common indicators: (Blanchard and Brill 103-107)

 

hypothyroidism_hair_lossSkin and outer body:

  • Dry and/or coarse skin
  • Coarse, brittle hair
  • Hair loss (thinning of the eyebrows)
  • Nail weakness/thinness
  • Edema (swelling) of the eyelids
  • Cold skin

Generalized:

  • Weakness/Lethargy
  • Severe fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Allergies

Muscles and joints:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Swelling of the hands/feet

scale2

Gastrointestinal:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea (especially near time of menstrual flow)
  • Constipation

 

Hormonal/reproductive:

  • PMS
  • Excessive menstruation
  • Menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, etc.)
  • Infertility
  • Frequent miscarriage
  • Loss of libido

ailmentphotohypothyroidismEmotional/mental:

  • Brain fog
  • Memory loss
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Change in personality- less outgoing, less joyful
  • Seasonal affective disorder

Cardiac:

  • High blood pressure
  • Palpitations
  • High total cholesterol
  • High LDL
  • High triglycerides.
  • High homocysteine levels
  • Low HDL

Other factors:

  • A family history of thyroid disease: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease, thyroid nodules, goiter, thyroid cancer.
  • A family history of autoimmune disease: anemia, diabetes (type I), endometriosis, multiple sclerosis, Raynaud’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, systemic lupus, vitiligo.

As you can see, there are many more symptoms besides weight gain.  Laurie Devine was kind enough to share her experience with hypothyroidism on the “Is soy making your fat” post comments.  She stated: “I discovered that the severe asthma, allergies and migraines I’d suffered with for most of my life pretty much disappeared as soon as thyroid treatment began.”  This is a perfect example of the important function of the thyroid. The bottom line is that our thyroid regulates our cellular energy and when it is not properly working, many other bodily functions are affected.  The health of the thyroid is one of the most important factors in determining our overall wellness.

There is a lot to talk about regarding thyroid.  On this post, I will challenge you to do a test at home that will help determine how well your thyroid may or may not be working.

Oprah Helped Bring Hypothyroid Center Stage, When She Announced She Had It

Oprah Helped Bring Hypothyroid Center Stage, When She Announced She Had It

The At Home Test

The thyroid regulates your body temperature. Therefore a low body temperature can help to determine if you have subclinical hypothyroidism (doesn’t show up in blood panel but patient has symptoms).  Blood chemistry thyroid panels only reveal overt pathology, not subclinical conditions, which I will discuss more in depth in an upcoming blog post.  Back in the 1940’s Dr. Broda Barnes, M.D., developed the axillairy (under arm) temperature test to determine subclinical hypothyroidism (click here for more information on the Broda Barnes Foundation and Dr. Barnes’ work). He studied thousands of patients and dedicated his life to thyroid research.  Although Barnes recommended axillairy temperatures, Dr. Ray Peat, a present day thyroid expert believes that the oral temperature is more accurate then the auxiliary.  As a result, I recommend using oral temps. Your optimum oral temperature should be 98.0°F in the morning before rising, so take your temperature before getting out of bed. Your oral temperature should increase during day light hours to 98.4°F- 99°F. It is important to take your temperature at least twice during the day because some people have a low morning temperature and a normal one during the day and vice versa. You should always use the lowest temperature as a deciding factor.

Women should take their temperatures especially on day 2-4 of their monthly cycle (day one is the first day of your period) if they are still menstruating to avoid the increase in temperature during ovulation. I recommend taking your temperature before getting out of bed in the morning, again 20 minutes after breakfast and between 11 am and 3 pm.  At the same time check your pulse, your optimum resting pulse (sitting down) should be 75-85 and not over 90-100.

Wrapping It Up

Okay, this is enough information for now. I would again challenge you to take your basal temps and post what you are finding.  In future posts, I will:

  • Discuss why hypothyroidism is becoming such as issue in today’s society
  • Provide a few nutritional pointers to support your thyroid
  • Discuss what blood tests to request from your doctor and treatment options

If you would like more information about me, my services or my upcoming 8 week seminar series, please check out my website at www.itsyourplate.com.

Tracie Hittman Nutrition, LLC

Please share this with everyone in your life who might have low thyroid!  Have you had experience with low thyroid?  Please share with us your story and what you know about it!

References:

Barnes, Broda and Lawrence Galton. Hypo-thyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness. NY: Harpers & Row Publishers, 1976.

Blanchard, Ken and Marietta Brill. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About

Hypothyroidism. NY: Warner Wellness, 2004.

Peat, Ray. “TSH, Temperature, Pulse Rate, and Other Indicators in Hypothyroidism.” Ray Peat.com 2007. 9 Sept. 2009. <http://raypeat.com/articles/articles /hypothyroidism.shtm>.

Shomon, Mary. Living Well with Hypothyroidism. NY: HarperCollins, 2000.

Starr, Mark. Hypothyroidism Type 2. Columbia, MO: Mark Starr Trust, 2009.