Are you struggling with thyroid problems and don't know what to do? I hear you. I've been there.
Years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's and it was scary! Along the way I had a very interesting turn of events. Here's what I did that led to my labs getting better...it's an interesting story that I hope might be an inspiration to keep trying. There is hope and it might not be where you thought to look....
If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know that I have thyroid disease. I had borderline hypothyroidism in college, then once again after having my 2nd child, and then was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease (autoimmune of the thyroid) about 2 years ago.
That means my body has been attacking itself -- in particular my thyroid.
Neither thyroid disease nor Hashimoto's is fun. And it wasn't for me.
I suffered from:
I obviously didn't feel well (that's an understatement) and desperately needed help.
So I search the internet for help, and after literally months of a trying out a few local practitioners, and interviewing several online practitioners, I chose a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist (the author of this post), and then later hired another practitioner to help me deal with this condition, and worked with her for awhile.
After many diagnostic tests, consults, dietary changes, supplements, and other therapeutic methods, this week I finally got blood work back that made my heart soar.
My blood sugar is in a very healthy range.
And my thyroid antibodies are down. Way down.
In fact, according to the Reference Range of the lab that I used this time, my antibody levels are completely normal. And according to the most strict lab ranges that I have seen, I am just 2 points off "normal".
So I wanted to reach out and tell you what I did. And what I wish I'd known at the beginning of my journey.
It would have saved me a bunch of time, and money.
How I Turned My Blood Work Around
So as I said, I've worked with 2 practitioners since my diagnosis. I worked with another one (who did hair tissue analysis for many things including heavy metals) before that when I was severely exhausted, but after a point, my thyroid went haywire so I had to move on.
My regular physician wouldn't work with me, and sent me to an endocrinologist. I really didn't want to go that route since I figured he would put me on meds and tell me that I couldn't get better.
So I started making phone calls.
I so wish, when this all started, that I knew what I know now. I literally spent hours and hours and hours looking for a good practitioner, and researching treatments and diets.
I already knew there were foods that can hurt the thyroid, tests beyond the TSH test that your doctor might want to order, and I had a lot of questions to ask my physician and holistic practitioner, but I was still very much in the dark.
With my first practitioner, I had learned a ton. I already was eating and living pretty clean, so other things needed to be addressed.
She recommended that I:
I was doing so much better after working with her, but knew I needed more work.
My thyroid antibodies were still high. They had dipped some, but returned to their initial levels following this treatment (I've heard this can happen when you first work on improvements).
I really needed my body to stop attacking my thyroid.
So I made more calls and did more research. And here's what I ended up doing.
Recent Things I Changed
1. AIP Diet:
During my searching time, I ended up going on the AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) diet. What a difference! Symptoms quieted down, I slept like a baby for the first time in many months, and still adhere pretty much to the diet.
For a long time I was eating really low carb. It's such the rage these days, that I basically found myself to be almost afraid of carbs. However, carbs appeared to be my friend.
I met Dr. Alan Christianson in September of 2014, and was introduced to his Adrenal Reset Diet. He did extensive research showing that carbohydrates eaten at midday and evening meals were supportive for the adrenals (of course, we're not talking refined carbs, but healthy ones).
Up until that time I was eating pretty low carb. More low carb than I should have been, in retrospect. Additionally, if you are at all familiar with the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, it recommends not going too low carb all the time and even encourages you to remember that carbs are important and should for sure be included in a healthy eating plan.
So I started upping my carbs some (and by that I mean healthy carbs like beans and whole grains and berries, etc, but not sugar). It's tempting to think that low carb is the way to go, but from what I've read, carbs are important for so many things.
I added some supplements. Some I decided on on my own and some were at the advice of my new practitioner.
We added in liver support and a few other things. Liver support has been a very important part of my overall health support.
The Labs Prove It
The truth is, when I got this blood work done, I expected to receive bad results.
We had just gone on a work / vacation and it was, while a fabulous time, incredibly stressful and I had many nights with little sleep (including several with only 4 hours).
So I was so thrilled when I opened the email and saw....
1. My Blood Sugars were more where I wanted them to be, and
2. My Thyroglobulin Antibody was basically undetectable
3. My TPO (Thyroid Peroxidase) was the lowest it had been since my diagnosis. According to this lab's reference rages, the level was normal, and according to the strictest lab reference ranges that I have seen, I am just 2 points above normal!
Like I said, when this all started, I didn't know where to turn.
I spent countless hours reading, researching, and trying to figure out what I should eat, what supplements I should take, and what advice to follow.
Obviously what I found worked, and worked well.
A Great Resource for Your Thyroid
One of the BEST resources I found at the time was Izabella Wentz's book, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.
I had the priviledge of meeting Izabella in September 2014, and she really knows what she is talking about.
This is one of the best books on thyroid health in my opinion.
Of course there are so many things that can affect thyroid health, but hopefully something in this post is a help to you and you too can see your labs turn around for the better.
Do you or someone you know have thyroid disease?
What's helped you the most?