March 19, 2014 at 8:44 am #15967claire411Participant
I have suffered from hypothyroidism for about 9 years, my doctors say that I should now be symptom free because my blood tests are within range. I disagree! I have felt cold in the main for as long as I can remember so Matt’s Eat for Heat book was very interesting to me, for the past 5 months I’ve been attempting to raise my metabolism with very little sucess, I’m sure that I am following the guidelines correctly, I used to be a very big water drinker and have cut that down drastically, generally only consuming 4-5 cups of fluid during each day, as well as implementing the 4 S’s. My question really is, can all this help if you thyroid isn’t being treated correctly? I’d hoped that this may kick it into gear more (as I have been a yo-yo dieter for 20 years which I feel was probably the cause for my hypothyroidism) And if it can, any suggestions on what else I can try? ThanksMarch 19, 2014 at 2:49 pm #15979jaketthomasParticipant
Most of the time, thyroid conditions are not from the actual thyroid gland itself, but it’s a liver disorder. There are some cases where the actual thyroid gland is messed up, but in the majority of cases, it’s due to a malfunctioning liver.
4-5 cups of fluid is probably too much. I usually drink 2-3 cups or less. There have been days where it was really cold outside where I didn’t even drink 8 ounces of fluid.
Try cutting your fluid intake in half, and I bet you see a difference in your body temp and digestion. Try to ONLY drink when really thirsty, and when you do, just take a few sips. Just enough to quench your thirst. Anymore is overkill.
I also had to reduce my sugar intake to a minimal amount to heal my metabolism. Some people say the opposite. But that was definitely the case for me.March 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm #15995MtnBoiParticipant
Jake, can you go into more detail about the liver thing? I’ve been hypothyroid and while eating has helped, I’m still needing to take desicated thyroid (3 grains/day). Do you have a list of symptoms, recommended tests to confirm, or treatment options?March 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm #16071
The liver does reportedly play a very important role in “thyroid” health. That’s because the liver converts a huge amount of T4 to T3 (or rT3 if things aren’t going well) and it also creates transport proteins to shuttle free thyroid hormone to cells where it is used. So if the liver is not functioning optimally, “thyroid” health will suffer.
Generally-speaking, the liver needs adequate nutrition/energy to function well. So refeeding tends to help. The liver particularly needs adequate quality protein, and from my research tends to do particularly well with gelatin. Adequate carbohydrates is also important, generally.
As with all things, sleep, rest, and relaxation are important for liver health. Going easy on alcohol is generally advisable. Lowering estrogen is also probably a good idea since that burden falls on the liver to metabolize excess estrogen.
I’m not a fan of using strong herbs indiscriminately. However, there are some pretty safe, gentle herbs that can help the liver. Milk thistle seed is one. It does contain PUFA, but the amounts that are needed are pretty small. It also may contain estrogen. But studies show that the net effect of milk thistle seed actually lowers estrogen in the body due to its positive effects on liver health. Dandelion root is another safe and gentle liver herb. Sometimes, in rare cases, stronger herbs are helpful/necessary. But I wouldn’t turn to those at first.March 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm #16091claire411Participant
Thanks for the info, J-lo, you mentioned good quality protein to help the liver, I’m a veggie (but do eat fish and dairy) do you think that could be part of my problem?March 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm #16092
Take everything I say as just one person’s ideas. I’ve researched these things a lot, but I certainly don’t know what is right for an individual since that will vary from person to person. With that said, my response to your question follows.
Protein quality is probably only an issue for vegans. Most animal protein is good quality. Dairy is generally very good, in my humble opinion. Eggs are also quite good if you eat eggs. Fish is good. I think there’s good evidence that suggests that polyunsaturated fat is a thyroid suppressant, so I’d probably give preference to non-fatty fish instead of fatty fish since fish fat is high in polyunsaturated fat. But this is probably only an issue if you’re eating fish daily. (In which case, frankly, I’d be more concerned about the contamination with heavy metals (and halides like bromide) than polyunsaturated fat.)
There are various views on actual protein requirements. I’ve seen Matt suggest that protein requirements may not be that high. Personally, I have seen benefits from increasing protein intake – not ridiculous amounts, but more than I used to. So it is possible that the quality of protein may not be as much of a factor as the quantity. US government recommendations are usually for just under 50 grams per day. I’d expect that for a chronic dieter with hypothyroid symptoms then refeeding protein requirements are probably higher. I suspect that most people in such a state will probably need 70+ grams of protein a day. Many people will need 80, 90, 100 or more grams per day. It’s highly variable.
Of course, there are plenty of factors that can contribute to hypothyroidism. Insufficient calories, carbohydrates, or protein can do it. So can excessive polyunsaturated fat. So can insufficient sleep. So can excess, particularly chronic stress. So can excessive goitrogens including thiocyanates and other food-based goitrogens or environmental exposure to competing halides such as chlorine, fluoride, or bromine. So can excessive estrogen.April 4, 2014 at 11:48 pm #16112daniaParticipant
Over the last 6 months I have improved my thyroid function. I used to be subclinical hypothyroid (my TSH was climbing higher and higher, approaching 4). Now my T3 and T4 are in optimal ranges (haven’t had my TSH tested again yet). I’m not exactly sure which contributed to the improvement, but these are the things I’ve been doing in that time, so it could be a combination of them:
-eating more calories (3000+ which I’m not force-feeding but actually hungry for)
-more salt, sugar, carbs
-more saturated fat from coconut oil and ghee and dairy
-taking a supplement to help clear out excess estrogen
-taking liver support herbs
-a low dose progesterone cream in the second half of my cycleApril 5, 2014 at 11:50 am #16113
Some quick questions for you. What supplement are you taking to help clear out estrogen? What liver support herbs do you take? I always heard most herbs were estrogenic, so it worries me to take them and add to the estrogenic load.
ThanksApril 5, 2014 at 12:26 pm #16115
I’m obviously not Dania, and I’m interested in hearing Dania’s answers to these questions as well. But in regard to the comment about most herbs being estrogenic, I don’t believe that is true at all. I’m an amateur herbalist, and I’ve done a fair amount of research into the hormonal effects of herbs. While there are very definitely some herbs that can increase estrogen, there are also herbs that can reduce estrogen, and I believe that the majority are mostly neutral in that regard. Also, the research and reports on these things are really all over the place, so it’s often very difficult to figure out what is what. But in regard to liver-supporting herbs it seems that there is some good evidence that the net effect is a reduction in estrogen so long as they are improving liver function. For example, milk thistle seed is (sometimes) said to contain estrogens, but I know of at least one study that determined that the net effect in humans was a reduction in estrogen levels. Remember that the liver is where estrogen is metabolized, so if liver function is impaired then estrogen metabolism will be compromised.April 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm #16126daniaParticipant
I take a supplement called Estrolief for excess estrogen (and before that I took EstroSmart). The liver support supplement I take is Hepasylin – it contains milk thistle, artichoke, dandelion, etc. I actually hadn’t heard that before about some herbs being estrogenic. These are just what my naturopath recommended.April 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm #16128
I think some of the estrogen-reducing supplements are questionable. I3C or DIM (which are derived from crucifers) are shown to reduce energy production (they interfere with the synthesis of ATP.) It would be nearly impossible to eat enough crucifers to get the amount of I3C or DIM in a single supplement. And the supplement is a fairly recent addition to the marketplace. So without a lot of evidence to back up the safety of the supplement, I’d personally skip it. Also, the claims that DIM reduces estrogen are based on a single study that showed that DIM increased the estrogen metabolites in urine of postmenopausal women in the study.
Calcium glucarate seems possibly safer, though it’s hard to tell. The evidence for efficacy with calcium glucarate is ever-so-slightly better, but not by much.
All in all, I’d probably skip both. I’d go the route of increasing dietary glucaric acid (the glucarate in calcium glucarate) from oranges and potatoes. Glucaric acid is more directly involved in estrogen metabolism in the liver than is DIM. And, the food sources for glucaric acid are otherwise enjoyable/tasty and benign whereas DIM is from crucifers, which aren’t thyroid friendly.
Just my two cents.April 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm #16130
Thanks for the responses J-Lo and Dania!April 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm #16135
Any idea what the best way to take milk thistle is? In a pill, like dania is doing, or tea, or tincture… I’d imagine tea is the most gentle, but also the least potent.
ThanksApril 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm #16136
I think that milk thistle isn’t terribly water soluble. So probably the most effective ways are to take the whole herb or a full-spectrum extract in both water and alcohol (a tincture). There are plenty of encapsulated products. They are all going to be way over-priced. Same with tinctures – overpriced. But they are convenient. A more economical, though less convenient approach is to grind the whole seed. A coffee grinder will work well for this. You’d need to grind it fresh – otherwise it will oxidize.
So bottom line is either whole (ground) seed or tincture is going to be more effective than water extract (tea). Grind it yourself for economics. Or, for convenience, buy encapsulated or tinctured herbs. Personally, I prefer whole spectrum extracts or whole herbs versus standardized extracts since they may well be guessing incorrectly at the “active ingredients”.
Just my two cents.May 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm #16333
since you’re an amateur herbalist, thought I’d run this by you:
I just bought the milk thistle- whole seed (mountain rose herbs- they’re usually pretty good, so I assume it is ok quality). I ground it up, and for the last 5 days I’ve taken about 1/2 tsp per day with food. No major reactions- but I did get a couple acne cysts on my forehead. Although I do suffer from acne, it’s been better lately and I never get cysts on my forehead. So I’m thinking the milk thistle is responsible.
Any idea if this reaction indicates I have an intolerance to the milk thistle? Or does it just mean it is working like it should to help my liver?
I know I’m only 5 days in, but I don’t want to keep taking it if it’s just adding to my inflammation if I’m intolerant/allergic to it. I just had my dose today and about 30 mins later the cysts started to each a bit. Could be random or in my head tho…
As far as I know, I don’t have a ragweed allergy- which I know can be related to milk thistle.
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