A large number of people with thyroid disease have little or no thyroid function of their own. People don’t make significant amounts of thyroid hormone when:
- Had their thyroid gland completely removed – total thyroidectomy
- Had their thyroid gland partially removed – hemithyroidectomy
- Have a long history of low TSH levels – many years of TSH below 0.2
- Know from ultrasound studies that their thyroid is shrunken or atrophied
One way that the Thyroid Reset Diet helps is by increasing the thyroid gland’s ability to work. Can this happen if the thyroid is not working at all?
Yes, because the Thyroid Reset Diet works in two ways. Besides helping the thyroid work better, it can help the body respond better to thyroid hormones.
Nothing will help your thyroid work better if you don’t have one, right? It is safe to assume that this is the case. Those who do not have a thyroid should expect to need thyroid replacement medication for the rest of their lives.
We did have a case at Integrative Health of a patient who had a complete thyroidectomy but ended up no longer needing thyroid medication. An ultrasound study showed that she regrew enough thyroid tissue to work. The surgeon likely left some tissue behind in this case. It was not typical.
There are two parts to recovering from thyroid disease. The first is having enough thyroid hormone, the second is using that hormone properly. Thyroid hormone resistance is a term used to describe this condition in which the body does not use it well.
If the first part were all that mattered, everyone on a reasonable dose of thyroid medication would feel fine. Those who have a thyroid can benefit by possibly making more hormones themselves and from using the hormone better. Those who do not have a thyroid can still feel better by using the hormone better.
Iodine intake affects the usage of thyroid hormones because it acts on the enzymes that regulate thyroid hormones. These enzymes are called deiodinases.
The body uses Deiodinase enzymes to control how thyroid hormones are converted and eliminated. When they work well, your body can have the perfect balance of circulating thyroid hormones like T4, T3, T2, and reverse T3.
These enzymes are present in major organs like your liver and kidneys. Your cells outside these organs also use them. A high dose of iodine can inactivate these enzymes.
When deiodinase enzymes are blocked by iodine, they can slow the metabolism.
Basal Metabolic Rate
Thyroid hormones control how quickly your body turns food into energy. We call this the basal metabolic rate. When it is low, people feel fatigued, and they gain weight too quickly.
Excess iodine can slow the basal metabolic rate. This can happen from the iodine slowing the thyroid, but it can also act directly on the basal metabolic rate. In one study, high dose iodine was shown to lower the basal metabolic rate as much as removing the thyroid gland.
“the basal metabolic rate may fall at a rate comparable to that following thyroidectomy.”
People who no longer have a thyroid can see improved deiodinase enzyme activity and enhanced basal metabolic rate. This is why the Thyroid Reset Diet can help those who no longer have a thyroid gland.
What You Can Expect
Those with minimal thyroid function should not expect to stop taking medication, but they can still feel better. Some may also need less medication.
The most typical result is to see symptoms change first. Those that change the most quickly are the ones that relate to thyroid hormone resistance. Of them, the quickest to respond change in the first several weeks. Examples of these include brain fog, fatigue, muscle pain, and poor quality sleep. Other symptoms take several months to change. These can consist of hair loss, dry skin, tendonitis, and irregular cycles.
If changes to medications are required, they may show up as early as a month or as delayed as 6 months. It is essential to regularly test your thyroid after starting the Thyroid Reset Diet so you can make these changes promptly.
1. Schedule a Thyroid Second Opinion with me, Dr. C, Click Here for Details
2. Download and use my Favorite Recipes Cookbook Here
3. Check out my podcast Medical Myths, Legends, and Fairytales Here
Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet, The Metabolism Reset Diet and The Thyroid Reset Diet.
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.