Looking back, and knowing what I do now, I could have saved myself a world of trouble.
To say that I made my fair share of mistakes when I first began dealing with my own thyroid issues would be an understatement.
Yet, that’s also why I’ve spent years devoting my life to helping hypothyroidism sufferers.
I don’t want others to make the same mistakes that I did.
And I certainly don’t want you to either.
I’d rather save you from the world of trouble that I went through.
After working with so many clients, I’ve come to realize just how many mistakes people are making every single day as they struggle with this devastating condition.
Whether you’re dealing with Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, have had a thyroidectomy, or gone through radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment…
…I want to share with you some of the biggest and most common mistakes I see today.
And I can guarantee that you’ve been misled by one or more.
This is one of the most in depth posts I’ve written to date.
It’s long and deservedly so because we’re covering some very big and important topics like adrenal fatigue, gut dysfunction, hashimoto’s, and weight loss that are responsible for much of the misinformation and lack of real answers today.
So, I hope that I can help you avoid some of these pitfalls and get you back on the road to recovery where you belong.
While these thyroid mistakes are not listed in any particular order, you’ll want to read them all because they are all extremely important… especially the last.
Let’s get started with mistake number one…
Mistake 1: Believing That Your Thyroid Gland Alone Is the Real Problem
Now, don’t get me wrong and let me be clear.
Your thyroid is definitely involved.
But, is your thyroid really responsible for your hypothyroidism?
Or, is it the victim of bigger underlying problems?
Talk to just about any doctor or look up the definition of hypothyroidism and you’ll likely get this same answer.
People are led to believe that hypothyroidism is simply a result of a dysfunctional thyroid gland.
But there’s so much more to it than that.
With hypothyroidism, you can’t just look at your thyroid gland alone.
You have to look at your entire Thyroid Hormone Pathway. When addressing your entire Thyroid Hormone Pathway, we need to evaluate if your poor thyroid function is the result of…
- Your thyroid gland being blocked from releasing thyroid hormone.
- Your liver not being able to convert your thyroid hormone into the active form.
- Your carrier proteins not beingF able to transport your thyroid hormone to where it needs to go.
- Your cells receptors being blocked from allowing thyroid hormone into your cells.
- Your cells not being able to use what thyroid hormone you do have available.
Your hypothyroidism can be caused by any one of these problems with your Thyroid Hormone Pathway.
Most hypothyroid people are dealing with a number of these Thyroid Hormone Pathway problems.
Not just one.
In the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol, I show you our SOBC Method for unblocking your Thyroid Hormone Pathway while exponentially boosting thyroid function.
You can download this daily protocol here.
Addressing this complete Thyroid Hormone Pathway is how we get such great results with our clients and our HR Program.
(NOTE: We go into a lot more detail about your Thyroid Hormone Pathway in this article here.)
And this is also why supplementing or medicating with thyroid hormone alone doesn’t work for most.
If any part of your Thyroid Hormone Pathway is blocked, your body won’t be able to use that thyroid hormone.
We focus first and foremost on unblocking this pathway as our primary method of improving thyroid function.
Restoring your ability to get thyroid hormone to your cells and to use that thyroid hormone efficiently can oftentimes make all the difference.
Even if you’ve had your thyroid hormone levels tested and they are low, you still can’t blame your thyroid gland.
In this case (and particularly with Hashimoto’s), it’s oftentimes the effects of excessive estrogen that’s blocking your thyroid gland from releasing thyroid hormone.
This can make your thyroid gland appear to be the culprit with it’s really not.
As I said, there’s much more to it than that.
Failing to address your entire Thyroid Hormone Pathway is one of the most common reasons why people fail to ever get any results.
Mistake 2: Believing That a “Normal” Thyroid Test Means You’re Normal
The bottom line with thyroid testing is this…
Based on research, we know that your TSH should be less than 1.5.
Yet, the TSH test itself is unreliable for a number of reasons.
While TSH does rise as thyroid function declines, it can also be artificially suppressed by a number of factors including long term stress.
And it’s well known that T4 only medications can artificially suppress your TSH too, while failing to provide any improvement to your thyroid health.
So, if your TSH is above 1.5, even if it’s within the normal test range, then you’re very likely hypothyroid.
And if you’re TSH is 1.5 or below, you’re still not out of the woods yet.
You still need additional testing to properly assess your thyroid function and determine if your TSH level is reliable or if it’s being artificially suppressed.
The good news is that we have a free thyroid testing training protocol that shows you how to test your own thyroid function more accurately, for free, and from the comfort of your own home.
(NOTE: You can access this free Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol training right here.)
Mistake 3: Blaming Your Hypothyroidism on Your Adrenals
Adrenal fatigue is a very misunderstood topic today.
And this is because your adrenal glands don’t actually fatigue.
In fact, the forefather of modern endocrinology, Dr. Hans Selye, showed in his research that you can remove the adrenal cortex from the gland, and it will regenerate rather quickly.
So, while your adrenal glands don’t actually fatigue, it’s commonly believed that adrenal insufficiency will make your thyroid condition worse.
What you might not understand is this…
Your body requires thyroid hormone to produce your adrenal stress hormones.
And being hypothyroid, your body is forced to compensate by over-activating your adrenal glands in a couple of ways…
- The result of increased ACTH production which is a hormone that directly stimulates your adrenal glands.
- The result of impaired blood sugar handling caused by your hypothyroidism which stimulates the production of stress hormones to prevent low blood sugar.
As your adrenal glands are over-stimulated this further suppresses your production of thyroid hormone, by blocking the conversion of thyroid hormone at your liver (an integral part of your Thyroid Hormone Pathway).
It all boils down to a matter of supply and demand.
The less thyroid hormone you have available, the more your adrenals are stimulated.
The more your adrenals are stimulated, the more your thyroid function is suppress and the less thyroid hormone you have available.
As this viscous cycle continues, eventually you reach a point where the demand for stress hormones exceeds your ability to produce them because you don’t have an adequate supply of thyroid hormone to do so.
As a result you’ll see an initial rise in the stress hormone cortisol as demand increases (oftentimes referred to as stage 1 of adrenal fatigue).
Then your cortisol begins to fall as you lack adequate thyroid hormone needed to continue such a high rate of production (oftentimes referred to as stages 2 and 3 of adrenal fatigue).
In other words…
Without adequate thyroid hormone, your adrenal glands can’t produce adequate stress hormones.
You can’t make lemonade without lemons, no matter how hard you try.
This is why your cortisol levels drop when you’re hypothyroid.
Not because your adrenal glands are “fatigued”.
Because you lack the thyroid hormone needed to produce it.
The solution is to address your adrenal issues from both directions.
First, stop the over-activation of your stress response, thus decreasing your need for stress hormones.
Second, ensure that you have adequate thyroid hormone and thyroid function to produce adequate stress hormones when needed.
(NOTE: We go into more detail about adrenal fatigue in this article on… Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue.)
Mistake 4: Blaming Your Hypothyroidism on Your Gut Problems
Much like the flawed “adrenal fatigue” theory, many people are wrongly blaming their thyroid condition on their gut issues.
And much like the case of adrenal fatigue, it’s your thyroid condition that’s causing your gut issues.
Not the other way around.
And this is also explained through research. For starters, research has shown that hypothyroidism sufferers are very susceptible bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, often referred to as SIBO.
Association between hypothyroidism and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17698907 “CONCLUSIONS: The history of overt hypothyroidism is associated with bacterial overgrowth development. Excess bacteria could influence clinical gastrointestinal manifestations. Bacterial overgrowth decontamination is associated with improved gastrointestinal symptoms. However, fermenting carbohydrate luminal bacteria do not interfere with thyroid hormone levels.”
Now you know the truth of why so many people depend on probiotics today.
And that’s just the beginning.
At the same time, research has also shown that this bacterial overgrowth causes damage to your intestinal lining and a loss of enzyme production.
Effects of an enteric anaerobic bacterial culture supernatant and deoxycholate on intestinal calcium absorption and disaccharidase activity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1973395 “Culture supernatant and deoxycholate, both alone and combined, significantly reduced lactase, sucrase, and maltase activity. Electron microscopic evidence showed degeneration of microvilli, disruption of mitochondrial structure, and swelling of the endoplasmic reticulum after exposure of the intestinal loops to the supernatant or deoxycholate.”
It’s also important to understand that every cell of your body relies heavily on thyroid hormone to properly energize and perform its necessary functions, including the cells of your digestive tract.
When the cells of the digestive tract can’t properly energize, they lose their rigid cellular structure enlarging the gap junctions of your intestinal lining, which further leads to digestive leakiness.
And now you know the truth of why many hypothyroidism suffers develop leaky gut and lactose intolerance… both of which can be corrected by fixing the underlying cause, which we do and do so effectively.
I have had clients with severe digestive issues, some which have been medical mysteries that have seen incredible improvements by simply addressing restoring their Thyroid Hormone Pathway and thyroid function.
Mistake 5: Believing That a Healthy Thyroid Diet Is a Matter of Good Foods vs. Bad Foods
We know food and diet.
And we know it on a level of detail that most don’t even know exists.
So many people look at their diet on a superficial level.
They have a list of good foods that they will eat and bad foods that they try to avoid.
That won’t get you very far when it comes to your thyroid health.
That’s why we rely on our Strategic Thyroid Balancing Principe to create balanced meal plans for our clients that actually work.
And they work by balancing your diet on four different levels.
- Balancing thyroid suppressive and thyroid supportive foods.
- Balancing on a macro-nutrient level with the best ratios of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats at each meal.
- Balancing on a sub-macronutrient level by…
- Balancing the thyroid suppressive and thyroid supportive amino acids that make up the proteins you’re eating.
- Balancing the specific types of carbohydrates (i.e. fructose and glucose) you’re eating for optimal thyroid function.
- Balancing the specific types of fats you’re eating based on their effects on thyroid function.
- Balancing on a micro-nutrient level by balancing calcium and phosphorus, zinc and copper, and other micronutrients that affect your thyroid health.
It’s complicated and I get that, but it’s also important and something you can’t ignore.
But you don’t need to get a PhD. in nutrition to get the help you need.
If your car breaks down, you don’t enroll in auto-mechanic classes to learn how to fix it yourself.
You take it to a mechanic and let them fix it for you.
This is why we design our thyroid diet and our meal plans around this Strategic Thyroid Balancing principle, so you don’t have to worry about it.
It’s what makes our Ultimate Thyroid-Boosting Meal Plan so effective.
Just don’t make the mistake that most do by thinking that removing a few foods from your diet is going to be the answer to all your problems.
Mistake 6: Failing to Use Thyroid Hormone Multiple Times a Day
If you’re using a T4 only medication like Synthroid or Levothyroxine then this doesn’t much apply to you.
But you still need to know this because at some point in time, you’ll likely need to switch to a medication containing T3 that can help you far more.
The half-life of the T4 thyroid hormone is quite long.
So, you can take it once a day at any time and it won’t make much of a difference.
Your T4 levels will remain stable regardless.
If you’re using desiccated thyroid or a medication or supplement containing T3, then this does apply to you.
The half-life of T3 is relatively short. So, once it’s absorbed it only works for the matter of hours before you lose it and its benefits.
If you take it only once in the morning then by around lunch time it will be out of your system.
And this is the reason people oftentimes feel better in the morning after taking their medication and then feel worse by the afternoon or as the day goes on.
Keeping T3 stable and not letting it drop is important for a number of reasons.
And to do that we need to use T3 in appropriate amounts multiple times a day.
Mistake 7: Believing You Have Hashimoto’s Based On Antibody Testing Alone
Today, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is typically diagnosed by lab testing to look for the presence of certain anti-thyroid antibodies.
If these anti-thyroid antibodies are detected at a significant level then you’re given little hope and told that your immune system is attacking your thyroid gland.
Well… that’s not entirely true. Studies such as the one below have shown that the presence of these anti-thyroid antibodies doesn’t mean that they are infiltrating your thyroid gland or that your thyroid gland is being damaged.
These anti-thyroid antibodies are found more commonly and to a greater degree in other autoimmune conditions like Sjögren syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis than in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Thyroid hormone autoantibodies in primary Sjögren syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis are more prevalent than in autoimmune thyroid disease, becoming progressively more frequent in these diseases. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12035942 “We conclude that prevalence of THAb [thyroid hormone autoantibodies] in the 2 non-thyroid autoimmune diseases [Sjögren and Rheumatoid Arthritis] is greater than in the 2 thyroid autoimmune diseases [Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease].”
So the presence of these anti-thyroid antibodies is not an accurate way to test and diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Simply the presence of these antibodies does not mean that they are attacking your thyroid gland.
The only way to accurately diagnose true Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is to biopsy the thyroid tissue and look for signs of infiltration and damage.
Mistake 8: Trying To Lose Weight to Improve Your Thyroid Health
I won’t lie…
Weight loss is a very touchy and misunderstood subject.
I hear it all the time with new clients and in emails I receive daily…
“If I could only lose this weight, everything would be better.”
This mentality is what prompts many to take up extreme diets and/or over-exercise at the gym trying to get their scale to budge.
And while some do see initial results, they are paying the price by further damaging their thyroid health.
This is why we so commonly see the cycle of initial weight loss followed by weight gain.
The problem is that most have it completely backwards. You don’t lose weight to improve your thyroid health.
You improve your thyroid health to lose weight.
Focus on the latter and you’ll get far better, healthier, and longer lasting results.
Mistake 9: Believing That All Hypothyroidism Sufferers Need Iodine
If you’re currently supplementing more than a few hundred micrograms (not milligrams) of iodine daily then this is for you.
Many people are led to believe that if you’re hypothyroid you need to supplement iodine.
What you need to understand is that too much iodine will only further suppress your thyroid due to what’s called the Wolff-Chaikoff’s effect.
[Hypothyroidism related to excess iodine] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12448334 “WOLFF-CHAIKOFF’S EFFECT: The thyroid gland has a capacity to reduce thyroid hormone production in the presence of excess iodine by reducing the organification of the iodine.”
Not only has research shown that excessive iodine suppresses your thyroid gland…
It has also shown to cause/worsen Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, promote the development of goiters, and cause thyroid cancer.
You heard that right…
While iodine was once used to treat goiters in iodine deficient regions, too much iodine can also cause goiters to develop.
So, what about the Japanese who consume large amounts of iodine in their diet?
You may not realize this but research shows that the more iodine they consume the higher their risk of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s too.
Association between dietary iodine intake and prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism in the coastal regions of Japan. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jcem.78.2.8106628 “These results indicate that 1) the prevalence of hypothyroidism in iodine sufficient areas may be associated with the amount of iodine ingested; 2) hypothyroidism is more prevalent and marked in subjects consuming further excessive amounts of iodine; and 3) excessive intake of iodine should be considered an etiology of hypothyroidism in addition to chronic thyroiditis in these areas.”
The Japanese aren’t quite the spitting image of thyroid health that most believe them to be.
There are also dozens of studies showing that iodine treatment administered in iodine deficient regions has time and time again led to increased rates of hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer.
Yes, you need some iodine, which is easily obtained through a healthy diet.
Just be careful of iodine supplements as most contain toxic amounts of iodine that can make your condition far worse.
Mistake 10: Falling for Misguided Health Advice
I guess you can say that I saved what is possibly the most important of all thyroid mistakes for last.
And I did so because this one wouldn’t make sense until after you’ve read the previous nine.
I believe that this is the biggest mistake today that is preventing most hypothyroidism sufferers from getting the results they really want.
As you can see, we’ve covered a lot of controversial topics here and for good reason.
A lot of these “mistakes” are based on much of the common, yet misguided, health advice that most people have come across today.
One of the biggest hurdles that I face today when working with clients is NOT helping them get great results with their thyroid health.
In fact, that’s the easy part.
The biggest hurdle is getting people to let go of all the misguided health advice so that they can move forward and experience those results.
Sometimes we can become our own worst enemy.
Sometimes we’re just a little too blinded to see the answers right in front of us.
With that being said… making mistakes is actually a good thing.
It’s an important part of life.
It’s how we learn, grow, and get closer to achieving our goals.
Like Thomas Edison, who had to learn thousands of ways NOT to make a light bulb before discovering one that actually worked.
We just have to be careful so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Unfortunately, that’s the trap that many fall into, and sometimes never get out of.
And as I mentioned, I’ve personally made a number of big mistakes when I first began dealing with my own thyroid issues… some on this very list and plenty of others that aren’t.
If it wasn’t for my own mistakes and failings, I would never have learned what I now know…
…and I wouldn’t be able to offer you the help I’m able to today.
The easiest way to get yourself back on the road to recovery is to start with the right diet.
And in the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol, we’ll show you exactly how you can start using your diet to fix some of the many underlying causes of your hypothyroidism.
This protocol is used by each and every one of our clients and it’s so easy I want to share it with you too.