Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism?
Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-15-2011 11:06 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Hi LC tribe,
How are you all doing? I have to put forth a question about a problem I am experiencing, and I trust I will get lots of good input about this. I have been hypothyroid my entire life. This runs in my family and I have been on medication forever, though I never thought it worked too well. For the most part of my life I have had fatigue that I slug through, weight problems that low carb and paleo diet have helped a lot. I've been on a drastic change for the last year, going off all grains (whew, that feels better) cutting sugar, loosing a bunch of weight. In the last 6 months I have had a creeping sensation that my thyroid problem has worsened since I often have most of the low thyroid symptoms. Very recently it has become clear that this is the case and I will be allowed a larger dose of medication, but it never seems to work too well. I have taken supplements for 35 years including magnesium, zinc, selenium, C, B, choline and inositol. I took D for about a year but now my level is too high so I've stopped. Why is it that low carb diets seem to sometimes result in worse hypothyroidism? What can be done? I am feeling suddenly pretty bad with it, noticing my mood sinking too. ?
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 04:25 AM


Expert Low-Carber


Just curious to know what your vitamin D levels are?
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 01:16 PM


Moderator


Perhaps your symptoms would be even worse if you WEREN'T low carbing.

My sites:
Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes
In the Kitchen with Linda Blog
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 02:09 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Hi,
Responding: My vitamin D levels are now too high as a result of supplementing for the last year. My hypothyroidism is definitely WORSE after a year of low carb, this is tracked by my doctor. Any thoughts?
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 05:38 PM


Unregistered

 
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How can your blood thyroid hormone level be low if you are adding thyroid hormone to your blood?
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RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 06:18 PM


Moderator


My point is that maybe it's not as bad as it might have gotten had you not been low carbing. Perhaps low carbing has kept it from getting a LOT worse. What could there be in flour and sugar that would help your hypothyroidism??? It doesn't seem logical that eating foods that aren't good for you could keep you from getting sick.

My sites:
Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes
In the Kitchen with Linda Blog
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 06:52 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Jimmy has had several guests on the podcast who have talked about having thyroid problems in spite of medications. Here are the URLs to take you to some of them.

Dr. Datis Kharrazian: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?

Janie Bowthorpe: Stop the Thyroid Madness

Dr. Jorge Flechas: Iodine Therapy for hypothyroidism

I must agree with LindaSue that eating harmful foods like sugar and wheat could not have been making your thyroid problems BETTER, so something else has to be going on. Don't give up on your new healthier way of eating. I hope you find an answer to your problem.

--Sue

What can I do this week that will make me healthier at the end of the week than I am right now?
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 06:55 PM


Newbie Low-Carber


I too have hypothyrodism and was on 175mcg of Synthroid pre-low-carb. Post-low-carb I too was experiencing sluggishness and it was determined that my body wasn't processing T4 to T3 like it should so my Synthroid (only T4) was reduced to 150mcg and I now also take Cytomel (pure T3). I would strongly (!) suggest you get your T3 levels checked. I do think that low-carb caused this shift in my body but its definitely something that I'll live with for all of the other benefits.
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 07:34 PM


Unregistered

 
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I agree that low thyroid *symptoms* can still be present after supplementing with T3 and T4. From Yogijudi's post I understand she is saying that she is supplementing with T3 and T4, and that her "tracked by my doctor" blood tests show that her blood is low on T3 and T4. I don't understand how this is possible.
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RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 07:52 PM


Expert Low-Carber


Responding: My vitamin D levels are now too high as a result of supplementing for the last year.
I understand that I just want to know what the level is.
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-16-2011 08:31 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


I agree that low thyroid *symptoms* can still be present after supplementing with T3 and T4. From Yogijudi's post I understand she is saying that she is supplementing with T3 and T4, and that her "tracked by my doctor" blood tests show that her blood is low on T3 and T4. I don't understand how this is possible.
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It's perfectly possible. She needs more medication. Thyroid medication does need to be adjusted over time. Things change. I was being medicated with thyroid meds, but not enough and I felt HORRIBLE. I was gaining weight and napping every day -- all while on thyroid meds. I fired my doctor and went to an endocrinologist and he found my blood tests showed that my levels were still too low, so I had my T4 medication raised, then waited 6 weeks, then had T3 added and felt a world of difference.

To the OP, it may be that you are eating more goitrogenic foods? Are you eating tons of cabbage or broccoli? I can't eat cabbage, even cooked, as I can definitely feel a difference. Just an idea.

Donna -- hypothyroid homeschooling mom. Vegetarian 12 years, now a meat-eating low carber!
06/21/10 at 192.2 lbs.
08/01/11 at 160 lbs. and AT GOAL! Woot! Woot!
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 12:59 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Hi caring people who responded- Thanks for the thoughts. In response, I do not know the number on my vitamin D test, but doc said it was too high and to stop taking it. I should have found out the exact number. My doctor usually does the advanced kind of thyroid testing with the T3 T4 assays and seems to believe that bing on the low end of normal, after medication is fine, but I seem to have gone low normal on meeds, to low/low on meeds. Shy Susan sent the links I wanted to remember to listen to again about thyroid, because I do seem to recall some thought following a low carb diet could worsen hypothyroidism. Now, there is no way I am going back to eating high carb empty calories and perhaps as Linda Sue suggested I'd be worse off had I not gone low carb. I can't say for sure, but I did have the experience in the last decade of having times on LC diets when I would get too hypothyroid to function well. Still- I am not even mildly considering grains. I had been feeling excellent on this kind of diet, with astonishing improvements in my athletic ability, weight loss, muscle recovery and I lost debilitating migraines! However in the last few months I have gained mild daily headaches, fatigue, a reduction in my muscle recovery, water retention, constipation, extremely dry painful skin, nails breaking in the middle of the nail bed (infection risk) and lots of hair flying off my scalp. Really I think that this is all hypothyroidism, doc agrees to some extent, but he is stubborn about ever wanting to raise the dose. Occasionally I have just taken extra tablets I had stashed and I do start to feel better after a few days. Hopefully next appointment he will just prescribe a bit more as Beezer said. Having lost ovaries due to tumor I have to take estrogen (only) too, and I am aware that estrogen binds thyroid, and that the estrogen requirement can rise with less bodyfat, which was true in my case. I have had to nearly double the estrogen dose to remain at a level consistent with menopause. I'm always waking at night with hot flashes, loosing several hours of sleep each night due to that, so fortunately Doc has agreed to try and dose the estrogen level up some. It is important to keep the estrogen at least in a menopause level or the resulting, rising androgens will become a problem. It is all tricky this hormone thing, and I wish I hadn't have had an ovarian tumor, but hey I am alive, and last night I was sprinting very, very fast!
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 01:19 PM


Newbie Low-Carber


I finally found a doc that believed that hypos should be on the high side of normal. Get a new doc.
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 01:31 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Agreeing with profdjj, get a new doctor. If you don't want to leave your regular doctor you can certainly add an endocrinologist to your care! Go find one -- now. There is no reason for you to feel this way and wait and hope that your regular doctor will see fit to get you out of the low normal. (((hugs)))

Donna -- hypothyroid homeschooling mom. Vegetarian 12 years, now a meat-eating low carber!
06/21/10 at 192.2 lbs.
08/01/11 at 160 lbs. and AT GOAL! Woot! Woot!
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 04:01 PM


Unregistered

 

I agree with others that your thyroid levels should come to normal. But here's the problem I imagine your doctor is pursuing. Low thyroid is invariably the result of an autoimmune thyroid attack, or at least immune hypothalamus involvement. Both can be caused by diet. If you fix the diet problem, even by accident, your thyroid output could normalize and leave you hyper.

I'm not generally a doctor goer. If diet fixes a problem then I pursue the diet. I had anxiety, brain fog, WPW heart arrhythmia, digestive distress, tiredness, blurred vision, chronic sinusitis..... I was off sugar, but I stopped eating grassy grains in 2007. This fixed my problems, but started me researching. Likely I was suffering from LADA diabetes and graves disease ...hyper-thyroid. A year later certain other "carbs" started refueling my symptoms. Elimination challenge diets revealed the triggers. They are nightshades, legumes, most nuts, onions, garlic and most phenol and tannins.

I think you and I are different only in our immune responses. I don't know why people like us progress to other carb sensitivities, but the internet is teaming with personal stories of the same phenomenon. I've buried enough friends and relatives with doctor-treated autoimmune problems. I have friends and relatives missing surgically removed organs like thyroid glands, spleens and gall bladders who are still miserable. But many chastise me over my "picky" eating habits for failing to get my problems fixed.

I suggest identifying the foods which are now giving you problems, and eliminating them. The intent is to spring your thyroid back into action, so vigilantly watch for hyperthyroid symptoms.

I lost the extra 30 pounds I was carrying in the bargain. Now I don't have to search for the trigger when I react. It's apparent.
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RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 05:32 PM


Newbie Low-Carber


If the OP is strongly hypothyroid then no amount of diet change will make her not-hypo. If she's barely(!) hypo then diet could effect it. It does sound like the OP is strongly hypo.
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 06:16 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


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Hi Veggienft,
I've been figuring out some of the things that mess up my GI tract, but I would be interested in learning the right way to do an elimination diet. Do you know of some good site on the internet that discusses this?

--Shy

What can I do this week that will make me healthier at the end of the week than I am right now?
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 07:59 PM


Unregistered

 
I've been figuring out some of the things that mess up my GI tract, but I would be interested in learning the right way to do an elimination diet. Do you know of some good site on the internet that discusses this?

--Shy
Elimination challenge diets should be tailored to a person's individual symptoms. I'm no expert, but I can tell you the principle and a few clues. Autoimmune problems start because digestive enzymes fail to do their work before the small intestine becomes permeable. Fast acting enzymes are ones like pepsin, the enzymes which break down animal protein. They are activated in the stomach by bile acid.

The idea is not to eliminate one trigger and see what happens. Other triggers can cause the same symptoms, and prevent identification. The idea is to try and eliminate all triggers, even if it means temporarily eliminating foods which aren't triggers. The way to confirm that you've at least eliminated all triggers is to continue the elimination for a long time until your symptoms improve.

If your symptoms don't improve, either you haven't eliminated all triggers, or food is not the problem. Try even more restriction. If and when you finally get some relief (it could take weeks) then re-challenge food in three day increments. If a challenge food causes a reaction write it down, re-eliminate it, and stabilize before challenging more foods.

I would rely heavily on meat, *white* cheeses, and non-legume veggies. Plain yogurt and cottage cheese is good. I would start by eliminating all sweet foods including fruit, grassy grains (wheat, barley, rye and oats), legumes (peanuts, beans, soy and peas), nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes and peppers), milk, cream, pecans, walnuts, cashews, and all heavily colored foods and spices ......like turmeric and yellow cheese (annatto).

Do I need to say it? If a food makes you ill? ........Stop eating it forever.
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RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-17-2011 09:21 PM


Expert Low-Carber


I took levothyroxine for a year and a half. I now take something my doctor gets for me called Thyrostim (it's not a synthetic hormone, but, rather, something that just nourishes the thyroid). My last numbers were good, and I'm completely off the levothyroxine now. I HAVE TRIED TO ELIMINATE SOY FROM MY DIET, TOO. I THINK THAT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR SOME PEOPLE. Soy is terrible. I am a firm believer in low carb diets for hypothyroidism. Worked for me!
RE: Do low carb diets worsen hypothyroidism? , 02-18-2011 02:37 AM


Advanced Low-Carber



If your symptoms don't improve, either you haven't eliminated all triggers, or food is not the problem. Try even more restriction. If and when you finally get some relief (it could take weeks) then re-challenge food in three day increments. If a challenge food causes a reaction write it down, re-eliminate it, and stabilize before challenging more foods.

I would rely heavily on meat, *white* cheeses, and non-legume veggies. Plain yogurt and cottage cheese is good. I would start by eliminating all sweet foods including fruit, grassy grains (wheat, barley, rye and oats), legumes (peanuts, beans, soy and peas), nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes and peppers), milk, cream, pecans, walnuts, cashews, and all heavily colored foods and spices ......like turmeric and yellow cheese (annatto).

Do I need to say it? If a food makes you ill? ........Stop eating it forever.
..
I've already tested and eliminated all grains, nuts, eggs, citrus. I had been dairy-free for 16 days and then tried it again yesterday and "reacted" so I guess I'll take dairy off my list. I'm thinking about eliminating everything except beef and water and my three prescription pills, and then starting to reintroduce other foods and my various supplements.

What can I do this week that will make me healthier at the end of the week than I am right now?