- your weight (low metabolism means slow conversion of fat into energy)
- energy levels (thyroid hormones power you up)
- gastrointestinal health (thyroid is responsible for stomach acid formation; essential in good digestion)
- nervous system (this is why low thyroid causes brain fog, forgetfulness and depression)
- cardiovascular health (many heart diseases could be avoided if the thyroid was properly checked)
- hormonal balance (this is why infertility is often caused by thyroid issues)
- fatigue, exhaustion
- feeling run down and sluggish
- difficulty concentrating, brain fog
- unexplained or excessive weight gain
- inability to lose weight no matter what you do
- anxiety attacks
- brain fog
- dry, coarse and/or itchy skin
- dry, coarse and/or thinning hair
- feeling cold, especially in the extremities
- constipation, indigestion
- muscle cramps
- increased menstrual flow
- more frequent periods
- increased perspiration
- thinning of your skin
- fine brittle hair
- muscular weakness especially involving the upper arms and thighs
- shaky hands
- panic disorder
- racing heart
- more frequent bowel movements
- weight loss despite a good appetite
- lighter flow, less frequent menstrual periods
Sadly, TSH and T4 are the “golden standards” in testing for thyroid health amongst most physicians. This is only an indirect measure of your thyroid’s health. A good physician would look at a full thyroid blood panel as well as your symptoms and your health history. It’s widely proven that many people have “normal” TSH (within the range) in spite of having many thyroid symptoms.
Absolutely. This is part of the reason why so many people go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Instead, they are dealing with depression, anxiety attacks and heart diseases; all of them are preventable if the thyroid was checked more skillfully.
TSH and FT4 alone are widely used as the ONLY indicators of thyroid heath; they are however highly deceptive. Firstly, the range is a disputed issue; many people feel sick even though they have a “normal” TSH. Secondly, TSH and FT4 are indirect measures of the thyroid’s health. To make a proper diagnosis and help you, your doctor needs to do a full thyroid panel test and (most importantly!) look at your symptoms to give a conclusive diagnosis.
Yes, in 95% of cases. 95% of thyroid conditions (both hypo- and hyper-) are caused by an autoimmune disorder. In simple words; your own immune system starts destroying the thyroid. As crazy as it sounds, it is true. It is not known for certain why this is happening. Suspicion of toxicity in food, water and the air are slowly being connected to thyroid diseases. Thyroid problems in women are more frequent than in men, about 7:10.
In the case of hypothyroidism, the autoimmune disorder is called Hashimoto’s Disease and in hyperthyroidism – Graves’ Disease.
Because it is the core cause of your thyroid issues today. Once you fix your immune system, the thyroid will stop being attacked and this is how you can free yourself of most symptoms; weight gain, depression, hair loss, etc.
The second thing is this: often times an autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto’s or Graves’) mutates into something else; 60% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from thyroid issues too. Other conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are also autoimmune conditions often connected to the thyroid.
Most people do not know that 75% of the immune system lives in the gut. The gut is your smaller intestine located below your stomach. The lymph nodes and tissues can be found there, this is where the immune system begins. There is a saying “you are only as healthy as your gut” which is very true. A troubled gut shows up in the form of constipation, diarrhea, gassiness, bloating and digestive pains. Strengthening the gut will reduce the inflammation level of the immune system. It’s a simple idea that is not yet fully embraced by Western Medicine. Functional medicine has made the connection and sees inflammation of the gut as the underlying reason for majority of chronic diseases today; most of which can be prevented.
70% of people I meet who struggle with thyroid conditions were never explained what an autoimmune disorder is, that it is the root cause of your thyroid crisis and monitoring the antibodies will be as important as looking at your TSH, T3 and T4. A few reasons why this is happening today:
- Modern Western medicine is most often focused on treating the symptoms, not the root cause of any disease
- There is no medication, apart from steroids, to lower the inflammation of the body
- Doctor were never taught nutrition in medical school, hence they can’t really advise on what thyroid diet foods should be
- Western medicine does not recognize chronic inflammation as a medical condition
Apart from the standard TSH and FT4 (Free T4), you should also ask for FT3 (Free T3; this is the active hormone that powers you up) as well as reverse T3. Also ask for TGB (thyroglobulin) antibodies and TPO (thyroid peroxidase) antibodies. If you suspect having hyperthyroid or Graves’ Disease, also test for TSI (thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins). For mineral deficiencies, test for vitamin B12, vitamin D, ferritin and folic acid.
Find a doctor who is worth your time and money. And your thyroid.
It means your immune system is inflamed and is launching various attacks on your body.
High TPO antibodies (see above) show the degree of the inflammation. Your antibodies should be below 30, anything above 300 means serious inflammation, and above 500 a severe inflammation. 70% of people with hypothyroid have elevated TPO antibodies. The author of this website had her antibodies over 1,000 and managed to bring them all down after adopting a low thyroid diet and making sound lifestyle changes.
People with hyperthyroid and Graves’ Disease are also likely to have TSI (thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins) antibodies elevated. It’s not uncommon though to have TPOs elevated too.
Because they are the reflection of the condition (and inflammation) of your immune system and early cancer detection markers.
This happens largely due to doctor’s reliance on limited blood testing like TSH and FT4 alone instead of looking at a full blood panel and most importantly… listening to the patient’s symptoms. When a sick person’s TSH and T4 shows within range, the patient is told there is nothing much that can be done other than going on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, synthetic laxatives or to exercise more and eat less. This is a real shame.
It’s not just the thyroid; all autoimmune diseases (which thyroid is part of) have become a pandemic in our society.
An ordinary physician would tell you “we don’t know why this is happening”. If you are a little analytical, well read and observant, you will start connecting the dots, namely:
1. we suffer from nutritional deficiency
- our aggressive agricultural practices depleted the soil and fruit and veggies of nutritional value
- we eat lots of processed food which is nutritionally speaking is “dead food
2. toxicity, found in:
- food, especially in non-organic food
- water; chlorine, fluoride
- household cleaners
3. overuse of antibiotics which kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut, leaving the gut highly damaged to vulnerable to diseases, including autoimmune disorders
Why women? Because our hormonal balance is much easier to distract than men’s.
Firstly, do NOT be afraid to call and ask your future doctor these questions. Many people are intimidated by doctors; as a patient you are a client too and it is YOUR choice which doctor you want to work with.
Here are some questions you might want to ask and the answers you want to hear:
Your Question: What do you test for if I suspect having hypothyroidism?
Answer you want to hear: TSH, FT3, FT4, rT3, antibodies and some vitamins and minerals (for details see above). Potentially your adrenals too, if we suspect adrenal fatigue.
Your Next Question: Apart from Synthroid and other synthetic hormones, what other medications are you open to working with?
Answer you want: I’m open to working with whatever will work for you. Not one patient responds the same to thyroid medication. I’m open to working also with natural thyroid hormones such as Armour or compounded hormones (designed for your specific needs).
Hint: doctors who insist on treating you only with Synthroid should be avoided.
Your Next Question: I might be suffering from adrenal fatigue; what would you suggest testing for?
Answer you want: I’m happy to test you for 4-point cortisol levels (from saliva not blood) and DHEA as a starting point.
Hint: If your doc tells you there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue, move on to the next physician.
It is a frequent question. Not surprisingly; many of you hate the idea of popping the pill first thing in the morning and everyone wants to be free of these debilitating symptoms. The truth is:
- the earlier you catch it and make changes, the higher the recovery chances (like in the case of this author)
depending on the condition of your thyroid gland and the degree it can start producing T4 and T3 hormones on its own again; this is something no one will tell you till you try it. In any case, you will feel significantly better when you adopt the Thyroid Diet
- even if your thyroid is significantly compromised or you lost it to cancer, the Thyroid Diet will still benefit you in: converting T4 to T3 hormone more effectively in your liver and gut (means less medication) and help you reduce the inflammation in your body (means more energy, weight loss and less fatigue) and preventing you from future autoimmune conditions.
Yes, even if they are benign. Modern Western medicine is of a different opinion but holistic and integrated medicine doctors feel otherwise about it. Nodules and enlargements of the thyroid gland are early indications of an imbalance in your thyroid. This balance can be restored by fixing nutritional deficiencies (like adopting a low thyroid diet), detoxing and de-stressing. Early prevention is key; why wait till something serious happens? The author of this website also had multiple benign nodules which disappeared in the healing process, especially after switching to a Thyroid Diet.
If your doctor is advising you to remove the thyroid (or part of it) due to benign nodules, seek a second opinion, especially from a holistic doctor who knows the thyroid.
Goiter is a substance that messes around with your thyroid by making it sluggish and slow in producing the thyroid hormone. Many people have great results when they limit eating goitrous food. This is how to go about it:
Thyroid foods to avoid (no more than one serving per week):
• bok choy
• Brussels’ sprouts
• mustard greens
• soy milk
• soybean oil
• soy lecithin (often used as a filler in vegetarian food)
Go easy on these thyroid foods (no more than 3-4 servings per week)
• bamboo shoots
• pine nuts
• sweet potatoes
The treatment is mainly focused on taming your immune system; this means adopting a low thyroid diet and incorporating the right vitamins and minerals to your body’s ecosystem.
Adrenal fatigue often develops after periods of intense or lengthy physical, emotional or chemical stress, when overstimulation if the glands leave them unable to meet your body’s needs. It’s not only for people working on Wall Street or advertising. 70% of homeless people suffer from adrenal fatigue too. This means anybody can who sustains chronic stress, pain or ordeal can develop adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands kick in in times of stress; when we need to run from danger; they mobilize our energy and give us a sugar high to escape. This condition is supposed to be temporary in nature. Unfortunately, for many people such state becomes a daily occurrence that wears out the adrenals, making them go under- or over-active.
Many of symptoms of adrenal fatigue overlap with hypothyroidism, the ones that are unique are highlighted in blue.
- excessive fatigue and exhaustion
- non-refreshing sleep even after having slept 10 hours
- overwhelmed by or unable to cope with stressors
- craving salty and sweet foods
- you feel most energetic in the evening
- the day does not start till 10am or after 2 cups of coffee
- feeling really tired after exercise
- slow to recover from injury, illness or stress
- consistent low blood pressure and getting lightheaded when getting up
- dark circles under the eyes
- frequent sighing
- feeling rundown or overwhelmed
- difficulty concentrating, brain fog
- poor digestion
- low immune function
- food or environmental allergies
- premenstrual syndrome or difficulties that develop during menopause
- extreme sensitivity to cold
Adrenals are tiny glands found on top of your kidneys. Together with the thyroid gland (and a few others) they are part of the endocrine system that is responsible for all our hormone production.
When thyroid hormones are prescribed for hypothyroidism, the metabolism of the body is increased. This will stimulate the adrenals to play along but when the adrenals are not able to produce sufficient hormones, they can get completely overloaded and this can even cause failure of the adrenal glands.
Treating thyroid without treating the adrenals will not produce good results and in some cases will even make the patient feel worse.
In a combination of ways:
a. Doing an Elimination Diet to remove food that aggravates your immune system
b. Removing all toxicity from your life; food (thyroid foods to avoid), water, emotions and habits among them
c. Restoring the health of your gut by populating it with the right systematic probiotics.
The Thyroid Diet I developed is based on these principals and produces life-changing impact on women’s thyroid health. You can read more about that in the testimonial section.
95% of cases of hypothyroidism in the US, Europe and Australia are the result of an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Disease. The other 5% are due to iodine deficiency which is rare unless you live around Michigan. You might not aware that most thyroid problems in women (and men) are in fact NOT caused by a thyroid disease but an autoimmune disorder in which your own immune system gets confused and starts attacking your own thyroid which then starts to under function. An autoimmune disease is very hard to treat as modern medicine does not have a cure for it today. This is also why it’s so important to measure your antibody levels to understand the degree of the disease. Sadly, hardly any doctor will run these tests. Medications like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Cytomel, etc are synthetic versions of your thyroid hormone which your thyroid is not producing sufficiently now – they do not however address the cause of your immune system producing the killer antibodies.
I suffer from a sugar problem/addiction (hypoglycemia or insulin resistance); does it impact my thyroid?
Very much so. Your sugar levels are monitored by the pancreas that are also part of the endocrine ecosystem. Without sorting out your sugar issues, you will never be able to fix your thyroid and rid yourself of all the weight issues, depression, brain fog, etc.
A low Thyroid Diet is a life-changing diet based on these principals:
Step 1: REMOVE what is detrimental and toxic to your health. This means sugar, food addictions, thyroid foods to avoid, food intolerances, toxicity in your gut and life.
Step 2: ADD what your thyroid needs to start healing. This means right food for your thyroid, herbs, supplements, minerals and vitamins. Let’s not forget also adding some grounding/de-stressing techniques, movement and good old fun.
Step 3: BALANCE based on your bio-individuality; no one plan works for everybody as each person has a unique way of healing.
You can read more about it in this page.
A vast majority of people suffering from thyroid and autoimmune disorders have a problem with gluten.
What is gluten? It’s a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, couscous and kamut grains. As you can see, since it’s found in wheat, this means you would need to avoid: pasta, bread, cakes, cookies, pizzas, etc.
It’s not known 100% why is gluten a problem, but there is one theory that the molecular structure of gluten is very similar to the thyroid gland. When we have a compromised gut (“leaky gut”), gluten seeps out to the blood stream triggering the immune system. Why? Because the immune system thinks there is too much thyroid floating around; as a result, the immune system starts killing its own thyroid.
The bottom line is: people experience SIGNIFICANT improvement in their health when they reduce or eliminate gluten.
Yes, it’s a tough transition and it can be life-changing for most people. But, there are many substitutes available today like rice pasta, gluten-free breads, crackers, etc. Even mainstream chains like McDonald’s, Subway are now offering gluten-free menus. Speak to a nutrition coach to help you have a transition plan; complete with meal plans and shopping lists.
Very soon – just by eliminating certain foods that are not serving you well today, most people start feeling better within the first 1-2 weeks. The Elimination Diet will teach you how to spot the culprits; the food culprit is different for each person. Detoxing your liver and gut will provide another wave of relief. Often times thyroid problems in women are caused by too high or too low sugar levels or adrenal fatigue which you would need to address first before healing your thyroid – you will be pointed to the right resources on how to handle that.
You don’t do it without your doctor’s agreement. What often happens is: you will show signs of hyperthyroid symptoms (shakiness, nervousness, sweating, etc) and/or your TSH goes too low – these are signs (good ones!) that your medication needs to be reduced as your body doesn’t need that much thyroid hormones– signs of a recovery!
Iodine is the very mineral needed by the thyroid gland to produce T4 and T3 hormones. If you are suffering from hypothyroidism and NOT Hashimoto’s Disease (that’s only 5% of cases), extra iodine dosage will help you. Interestingly however, if you have Hashimoto’s (which is 95% of people with hypothyroidism) iodine can create even more havoc in the body; it’s like adding fuel to the fire. Doctors tend to be of both opinions on this but more lean towards “no iodine with Hashimoto’s” approach.
You need to adopt a Thyroid Diet that focuses on reduction of the inflammation in the immune system (since Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease) as your first step to recovery.
You can check out these resources and look up practitioners in your area:
Thyroid information portal : www.thyroid-info.com
If you need NYC, Houston or Seattle doctor recommendation, please email Magdalena@ThyroidDietCoach.com
Thyroid health is complex (the above FAQs are just the tip of the iceberg) and it’s perfectly normal to be overwhelmed at this point. I’ve been there so I understand.
Don’t worry; I’m here to help. If you’ve been struggling with your own thyroid crisis and nothing you’ve tried works, I am here to empower you with the right knowledge, action plans and point you to the right resources to regain your thyroid health.
Go ahead and join us at Live support calls called Thyroid Community Calls where we do educational talks, give each other support and answer your questions.
Don’t hesitate to email Magdalena@ThyroidDietCoach.com if you have any questions.
I can help you in three ways:
A. Get my FREE Thyroid Dose eNewsletter – just sign up by filling in your name and email address on the left side of this website. You will hear from me about latest thyroid news, tips, rumors and recipes. As a gift, you will get my “Thyroid Diet Starter Kit” that took me 5 years to figure out…
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C. 1:1 VIP Coaching for a 3-6 months period (6-12 sessions), details here.
A highly personalized at-your-own-pace nutritional coaching investment to free you from hypothyroid symptoms in the fastest way possible, giving you life-long self-help tools; complete low thyroid diet with detoxing plans, meal plans, cooking class, food shopping tour, blood test interpretation, doctor pre-screening, herbal and supplement support based on your nutritional deficiencies, as well as distressing and meditation techniques, plus much more. We can work face-to-face, on the phone or Skype. I work with people around the globe.