Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Does Paleo Eating Improve Thyroid Function?

I'm a case study of one, so this isn't like a big medical survey or anything, but here are some interesting facts about my thyroid condition and its response to my paleo diet.

Background: I was a vegetarian for 20 years, went vegan, ate a lot of soy, started having all kinds of problems with my thyroid (did you know that soy is a thyroid inhibitor? I didn't!) which ended up with me having surgery to remove a large growth that had embedded itself in the thyroid gland so much that they had to remove half of my thyroid. Since then, I've been on Armour Thyroid medicine to replace the missing thyroid hormone.

Fact:  Since 2002 I have been on the same dosage of Armour Thyroid

Fact: The only problem I've had with my medication is when Armour changed their formulation a couple of years ago. Along with many other people, I experienced hypothyroid symptoms for a few months as my body adjusted

Fact: Other than this time when we had the medication glitch (and my weight shot up and I had to battle it back off), my weight has also stayed very stable. Basically, I weigh the same as I did when I met my husband 18 years ago. Also my exercise levels, sleep habits, etc. are very similar from year to year.

Fact: My thyroid lab results have been consistent through the entire time I've been on medication, until this year

Fact: I started eating Paleo in February 2010, and did my first post-paleo thyroid lab test in October 2010.

Fact: The lab work showed that we were hugely over-replacing my thyroid hormone. In other words, maybe my thyroid started producing more on its own.

Fact: The only thing that has changed in 2010 is my eating habits, changing from heavily carb-based to Paleo.

Conclusion: Could eating Paleo have suddenly caused my thyroid to start functioning better? My doctor has decreased my dosage by 25%. I would be so happy to get my dosage lower or even eliminate it altogether. I wonder if that's possible, given my change in nutrition.

Stay tuned and I'll pass on the results of my next lab (with my adjusted medication levels), which I'll be taking in six weeks. Also, if anyone else on thyroid meds has experienced a difference after switching to Paleo, I'd love to hear it!


Velma said...

I am a newer reader, so this is very interesting. Do you eat meat as part of paleo (I know you can technically not eat meat under the plan, but it is difficult).

Yum Yucky said...

Wow. This is really interesting. I hope you continue to get some good, progressive results. It's really amazing how the right (or wrong foods) affect our bodies. I keep hearing about "Paleo". I'm going to look into this a bit more.

CVSURF said...

Really enjoy your blog. Just a quick question. What do you use for fuel prior to workouts?

Robin said...

I've started following a "train low, race high" fueling principle with regards to carbs. So I don't really fuel with carbs anymore, and am finding that after an initial adjustment period that I'm just fine. For instance, I ate two small handfuls of slivered almonds today before a 1.5 hour trail run and I was just fine. If I was in a competition and was pushing the pace, I'd go for the continuous carbs, but I think my body has adjusted to a steady level of energy without them.

Elizabeth said...

Just found your blog ! Great stuff !! I was looking for info on paleo improving thyroid function - i think i'm finding out the hard way - after 4 months strict paleo, and three years off gluten, pendulum is swinging toward hyPER -yuck! Darn thyroid !!!

Unknown said...

I have adrenal fatigue, very low thyroid, and Hoshimotos. I went very Paleo, eating mostly meats, and while I generally felt better, and had started losing some of the bloat/weight, I had absolutely no energy at the end of the day. I pet sit and also clean houses for some of my clients, and when I was done I had nothing left. I like to hike, and weight train, and that just wasn't happening. My thyroid symptoms were accelerating but I stuck it out for about three and a half weeks, then started adding some veggies. However, I recently read that if you can get thru that, it does get better, and the thyroid will adjust. I do take a natural thyroid supplement, as well as raw adrenals. Anyone have any experience with that?