7

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Hypothyroidism and Paleo

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 02, 2010 at 6:20 AM

Does eating Paleo cause hypothyroidism? Anyone have any quick answers?

7d7523d1cf39d807d046b91cf5a4fc64

(20)

on June 02, 2011
at 01:05 PM

I agree with David Hirschman - iodine is not the culprit at least not according the excellent Perfect Health Diet blog - the problem is the iodine/selenium balance see their hashimoto's series starting here http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=3621

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 22, 2011
at 01:40 AM

"You can have thyroid anti-bodies years before there is enough damage to the thyroid to cause hypothyroidism. A change in diet could be co-incindental." Good point juilanne. It could also be an example of the old logical fallacy, "Post hoc, Ergo, Propter Hoc" - B happened after A, therefore A caused B. A good counter example is "Roosters crow just before the sun rises. Therefore, roosters crowing cause the sun to rise." Roosters = A, Sun rise = B.

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 22, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Dr Brownstein, and many others, point out that the iodized salt you buy is most likely very old (sitting in a warehouse, in transport, more warehousing, sitting on a self in a store) and whatever iodine it may have had is GREATLY reduced. It is NOT likely that one could get much iodine from table salt. Please read Dr Brownstein's books - he has one on iodine and another on salt. He recommends good Celtic Sea Salt.

3573f7a18ee620179fda184c7d8b7242

(241)

on January 21, 2011
at 11:12 PM

My experience supports this theory. I was LC for over a year. The weight wouldn't budge; I went VLC for six months. Weight still didn't budge, but I began to have hypothyroid symptoms - lethargy, cold, depression, dry skin. I don't know whether it was VLC or just too low caloric intake. I then cycled in periods of higher carb and all is good. Now, I IF and do tend to consume too few caloric intake, but I'm not having the hypothyroid symptoms. Weight is dropping, energy levels are generally good. Which seems to argue (for me) that periodic higher-carb intake does something metabolic.

Ed1130126ed818a751e7a72feb487584

(45)

on October 12, 2010
at 09:08 PM

You beat me to it. I was going to comment that low carb can be an issue so if you have thyroid issues (not auto-immune tho' - that's a different problem) then making sure you include paleo-friendly sources of carbs every few days can make a difference. I had done low carb dieting for years & started experiencing hypothyroid symptoms (and was no longer able to lose weight being low carb either) so my Naturopath put me on desiccated thyroid. I started following a more paleo WOE but started including carbs every few days. I believe helped my thyroid enough that I no longer need the dess. thyroid.

14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

(373)

on October 12, 2010
at 08:58 PM

I think you're spot on. I developed hypothyroid symptoms after being VLC (high cholesterol, low body temp, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, weight gain). VLC healed some injuries of mine initially, and so I thought it was the way to go. Most healthy cultures I've found eat plenty of carbs, suggesting that dietary glucose is probably low on the agent of disease list. I agree that it can be beneficial, but it's not an ideal long term strategy.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on October 12, 2010
at 06:27 AM

It's hard to believe that an essential trace element causes hypothyroidism, especially considering the fact that north-american consumption is so low. Cancerous thyroid glands are also often very low in iodine. It's ill-advised to cut iodized salt and not seek another iodine source. With that said, the source of the autoiimune problem must of course be taken care of (i.e. gluten). Iodine must be introduced slowly.

25f4a87a6792e7ba6de2525a121fffa8

(0)

on May 29, 2010
at 11:14 PM

Hashimoto's was discovered in Japanese who were eating too many sea vegetables which are rich in potassium iodide. Since then potassium iodide has been shown to clog the thyroid (possibly because it is relatively insoluble in water). For this reason I avoid iodine supplements with potassium iodide and instead supplement with Iosol iodine.

58a55f0986b8f49a8bc5666e10492569

on February 17, 2010
at 11:06 PM

I realize the conventional wisdom says that Hashimoto's is caused by too much iodine, but I strongly believe that is incorrect. My authority on iodine is David Brownstein, MD (http://www.drbrownstein.com) who has worked with hundreds of people with Hashimoto's and other thyroid problems and finds that nearly all are deficient in iodine.

60b0d3e60670f645cca59f67710b4820

(399)

on February 17, 2010
at 08:16 PM

This advice is somewhat misleading, see http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/hashimotos/

60b0d3e60670f645cca59f67710b4820

(399)

on February 17, 2010
at 08:15 PM

This advice is somewhat misleading: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/hashimotos/

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15 Answers

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5
D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

on February 15, 2010
at 09:19 PM

Please, please, don't take supplemental iodine if you have autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's disease), which is by FAR the most common reason that people (especially women) are hypothyroid. All the guidance on living with this condition suggests that excess iodine worsens the condition; it has nothing to do with inadequate iodine. If you're that worried about it it would probably be OK to use iodized salt, or take a multivitamin (it's hard to find one without iodine, I've looked). Or just eat some fish regularly. I've been reading a lot about this taking iodine business over the past week or so and I think people are messing around with something they don't understand well at all. I'm not an expert either, but I think this iodine supplementing recommendation is quite dangerous when you don't understand just how prevalent Hashimoto's is.

http://thyroid-disorders.suite101.com/article.cfm/iodine_and_hashimotos_thyroiditis

60b0d3e60670f645cca59f67710b4820

(399)

on February 17, 2010
at 08:16 PM

This advice is somewhat misleading, see http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/hashimotos/

60b0d3e60670f645cca59f67710b4820

(399)

on February 17, 2010
at 08:15 PM

This advice is somewhat misleading: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/hashimotos/

58a55f0986b8f49a8bc5666e10492569

on February 17, 2010
at 11:06 PM

I realize the conventional wisdom says that Hashimoto's is caused by too much iodine, but I strongly believe that is incorrect. My authority on iodine is David Brownstein, MD (http://www.drbrownstein.com) who has worked with hundreds of people with Hashimoto's and other thyroid problems and finds that nearly all are deficient in iodine.

25f4a87a6792e7ba6de2525a121fffa8

(0)

on May 29, 2010
at 11:14 PM

Hashimoto's was discovered in Japanese who were eating too many sea vegetables which are rich in potassium iodide. Since then potassium iodide has been shown to clog the thyroid (possibly because it is relatively insoluble in water). For this reason I avoid iodine supplements with potassium iodide and instead supplement with Iosol iodine.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on October 12, 2010
at 06:27 AM

It's hard to believe that an essential trace element causes hypothyroidism, especially considering the fact that north-american consumption is so low. Cancerous thyroid glands are also often very low in iodine. It's ill-advised to cut iodized salt and not seek another iodine source. With that said, the source of the autoiimune problem must of course be taken care of (i.e. gluten). Iodine must be introduced slowly.

7d7523d1cf39d807d046b91cf5a4fc64

(20)

on June 02, 2011
at 01:05 PM

I agree with David Hirschman - iodine is not the culprit at least not according the excellent Perfect Health Diet blog - the problem is the iodine/selenium balance see their hashimoto's series starting here http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=3621

16
58a55f0986b8f49a8bc5666e10492569

on February 13, 2010
at 11:44 PM

One way in which Paleo helps with thyroid problems is:

  1. In the U.S. sometimes flour is still bromated - treated with Potassium Bromate as a dough conditioning agent.
  2. Bromine (along with the other halides fluoride and chlorine) is an iodine antagonist, and therefore is bad for the thyroid.
  3. By giving up flour you avoid the bromine and effectively increase your iodine intake.

In his book, Brownstein says that almost everyone is deficient in iodine, and that with iodine supplementation people will start to flush bromine out of their bodies. Our need is probably greater now than in paleolithic times because of water fluoridation and chlorination, fluoride toothpaste, bromated flour and vegetable oils (sometimes used in softdrinks), etc. whether paleo or not. It may be difficult to get enough iodine through dietary sources alone.

We began to supplement with either Lugol's iodine or Iodoral tablets several months ago. My wife, who has Hashimoto's (from before we went Paleo I hasten to add) noticed a significant improvement in her thyroid numbers and dropped about ten pounds with no other lifestyle or dietary changes. I also lost a few pounds.

For me the bottom line is:

  • Iodine is tremendously important, and not just for the thyroid.
  • Going paleo will help a bit, but even then most people will need to supplement to get enough.

4
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on January 21, 2011
at 12:17 AM

This thread at the PaleoNu forum might be of some use:

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-forum/post/1374967

Original, forum question: Paleo triggers hypothroidism?


Dr. Kurt Harris' answer:

Any semi-starvation diet, including one based on low carb, can decease metabolic rate reflected as decreased peripheral or tissue t3 levels - this happens to conserve energy. It has nothing to do with hypothyroidism, which by definition means the thyroid gland is unable to produce thyroid hormone.

So don't starve yourself and there is nothing to worry about.

4
0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on October 12, 2010
at 04:57 AM

You can have thyroid anti-bodies years before there is enough damage to the thyroid to cause hypothyroidism. A change in diet could be co-incindental.

I discovered mine quite by accident, when I had a general checkup last year. My TSH was slightly high - but my thyroid anti-bodies very high.

No symptoms, at least nothing that had changed recently. If anything all my other problems were cured with paleo - many of them are associated with hashis, like blood sugar issues, menstrual issues.

I started to take iodine but it made things horribly worse. TSH went from 4 to 13 in a few weeks and I started to get an enlarged thyroid and weight gain. Scary. Be careful with iodine.

I've been strict paleo and especially gluten free, my anti-bodies have started to drop and my TSH is back to 4.5

I feel normal again.

Check out Datis Kharrazians thyroid book

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 22, 2011
at 01:40 AM

"You can have thyroid anti-bodies years before there is enough damage to the thyroid to cause hypothyroidism. A change in diet could be co-incindental." Good point juilanne. It could also be an example of the old logical fallacy, "Post hoc, Ergo, Propter Hoc" - B happened after A, therefore A caused B. A good counter example is "Roosters crow just before the sun rises. Therefore, roosters crowing cause the sun to rise." Roosters = A, Sun rise = B.

4
6b73f0c4b971e2dde7147920e329fe7f

(2041)

on February 14, 2010
at 06:26 PM

Diana Hsieh has done a lot of research on this.

4
540dd44031fbed51088a481ceb9172e8

on February 12, 2010
at 10:14 PM

The SAD (Standard American Diet) tends to have a moderate amount of iodine because of all the iodized salt in it. When some folks go Paleo, they may eat less salt, or eat sea salt, and may as a result lower their intake of iodine inadvertently.

Iodine is a building block for some thyroid hormones, so I'd recommend supplementing it into your diet. Lugol's would be one option. It's easy and relatively inexpensive.

4
Df11e66ec4dd4f749eca409633b6a3fb

(595)

on February 12, 2010
at 07:54 PM

As far as I know (I have an auto-immune hypothyroidism, btw), as long as you're getting enough iodine, you should be OK. That means having a decent seafood intake, since you'll be going light on the salt. There are rumors of improved thyroid function for some, but nothing solid that I've seen.

I can tell you that in my experience, the hypothyroid symptoms have gotten better since I went Paleo. My energy levels, skin texture, etc. have all improved. It didn't fix my thyroid, of course, but it has mitigated symptoms. I do eat a decent amount of fish, though, so my iodine intake's good to start with.

2
82c0fcce70c30c41c14bf7791689c3af

on January 20, 2011
at 11:51 PM

This is one topic that it seems no one knows anything! Or everyone knows something!!

2
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on October 12, 2010
at 06:48 AM

I know that some people have reported developing hypothyroidism symptoms after being very low carb for a very long time. I also read somewhere that such hypothyroidism could be a temporary adaptation, a bit like peripheral insulin resistance that goes away as soon as you eat more carbs.

I would be interested to know about people who have been vlc for a great while and who experienced that. One of my pseudo-scientific theories is that while vlc is beneficial overall, higher carb consumption, at least once in a while, might be needed for some hormone regulation. After all, I don't think that any traditional cultures went vlc forever, I mean, even the Inuits sometimes had berries, even if it was once a year. Ketogenic diets are good for repair and junk protein recycling while insulin is a growth factor and I think we need both periods of repair and periods of growth.

Anyways, I would appreciate the input of anyone with any hands-on experience with that.

Ed1130126ed818a751e7a72feb487584

(45)

on October 12, 2010
at 09:08 PM

You beat me to it. I was going to comment that low carb can be an issue so if you have thyroid issues (not auto-immune tho' - that's a different problem) then making sure you include paleo-friendly sources of carbs every few days can make a difference. I had done low carb dieting for years & started experiencing hypothyroid symptoms (and was no longer able to lose weight being low carb either) so my Naturopath put me on desiccated thyroid. I started following a more paleo WOE but started including carbs every few days. I believe helped my thyroid enough that I no longer need the dess. thyroid.

14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

(373)

on October 12, 2010
at 08:58 PM

I think you're spot on. I developed hypothyroid symptoms after being VLC (high cholesterol, low body temp, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, weight gain). VLC healed some injuries of mine initially, and so I thought it was the way to go. Most healthy cultures I've found eat plenty of carbs, suggesting that dietary glucose is probably low on the agent of disease list. I agree that it can be beneficial, but it's not an ideal long term strategy.

3573f7a18ee620179fda184c7d8b7242

(241)

on January 21, 2011
at 11:12 PM

My experience supports this theory. I was LC for over a year. The weight wouldn't budge; I went VLC for six months. Weight still didn't budge, but I began to have hypothyroid symptoms - lethargy, cold, depression, dry skin. I don't know whether it was VLC or just too low caloric intake. I then cycled in periods of higher carb and all is good. Now, I IF and do tend to consume too few caloric intake, but I'm not having the hypothyroid symptoms. Weight is dropping, energy levels are generally good. Which seems to argue (for me) that periodic higher-carb intake does something metabolic.

2
A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

on February 17, 2010
at 02:33 AM

If you read Richard Nikoley's blog, freetheanimal.com, he has been hypothyroid since before he started Paleo. He has some good tips on natural ways of dealing with it.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 14, 2010
at 12:07 AM

I have hypothyroidism, and in my opinion, nothing related to it has any quick answers. It took years before I was diagnosed even though I had classic symptoms.

I was eating a SAD diet when I got hypothyroidism, not Paleo.

2
Dbfd016ec2d477a76d7db6c1538f7182

on February 13, 2010
at 02:54 AM

Possibly, considering the major source for the people is iodized salt. Add a sea vegetable every other day or so. You should gain adequate iodine this way.

Check out EAT, MOVE, THRIVE. Check out the Nori chips...yum.

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on January 22, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Dr Brownstein, and many others, point out that the iodized salt you buy is most likely very old (sitting in a warehouse, in transport, more warehousing, sitting on a self in a store) and whatever iodine it may have had is GREATLY reduced. It is NOT likely that one could get much iodine from table salt. Please read Dr Brownstein's books - he has one on iodine and another on salt. He recommends good Celtic Sea Salt.

1
Medium avatar

on January 21, 2011
at 03:46 AM

I eat a small piece of Laminaria digitata every couple of days. It's the most iodine-dense plant I could find. Not sure if it's excessive.

0
376c6e325c2f43747104846549303af5

(0)

on February 07, 2011
at 05:30 AM

I am considering doing the paleo..it looks like people generally have good things to say about it. I weigh about 130 and am 5'5'' and have hashimoto's. I more then anything would love to bring the antibodies down. Any input before I start it would be helpful. Thanks

0
40e925ddc9657e211c9a2ee83c2cc579

(364)

on January 22, 2011
at 04:11 PM

I have Hashimotos and have reversed the disease to a large extent since going paleo 18 months ago. My antibody levels have dropped from roughly 255 to 45 (whatever the units are ), and I am taking a fraction of the medication I started on. My Tsh and free thyroid levels are normal.

I attribute this to removing gluten from my diet.

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