Today I sat down with Laura. She was suffering with energy ups and downs, weight gain, insomnia, and joint pain from arthritis. We also found that Laura had Hashimoto’s thyroid autoimmunity. We shifted Laura away from her previous vegetarian-like diet toward more of a Paleo-like diet. We also used some herbs and vitamins to help quell inflammation in the thyroid, in addition to herbal support for her female hormones. In two months, Laura lost a significant amount of weight, was sleeping much better, and had improved well-being and much less joint pain. We applied a simple functional medicine approach that required minimal testing, simple dietary changes, and a few choice supplements. We obtained good results quickly, cheaply, and easily.
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Success with Thyroid Autoimmunity, Joint Pain, Fatigue, Insomnia, and Weight Gain
Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio. I’m here with Laura. And she’s had some good results from the clinic, so I wanted to take a moment and talk with her and get her perspective on things. So, tell us a little bit amount how you were feeling when you first came in.
Laura: I was feeling not at an optimal health.
Dr. Ruscio: Sure.
Laura: I had spikes during the day, in terms of, maybe a little bit too much frantic energy, and then feeling depleted. I was having trouble losing weight. In fact, I was gaining weight, regardless of how I altered my diet. I had a lot of problems with sleep.
Dr. Ruscio: Okay.
Laura: Usually, I would wake up in the middle of the night and around two in the morning, and not be able to go back to sleep.
Dr. Ruscio: Yeah, not fun, I know.
Laura: Right, it wasn’t fun. It was really affecting the quality of my life.
Dr. Ruscio: Sure. Sure. And then, the arthritis, also.
Laura: Yes, I have arthritis in my hands and a little bit in one knee. And those really affect the way I feel. So, if I could find a way to get rid of the arthritis, or at least keep it under control, that’s important.
Dr. Ruscio: Sure. Sure. And so, she came in eating a fairly healthy diet. Definitely, you were taking steps to try to eat as healthy as you could. But definitely a diet that was higher in grains and some other inflammatory foods. And so, I think it was a little bit of news for you to think that some of the foods that you thought were really healthy may have been a little bit counterproductive. But we decided to do a dietary experiment. And in conjunction with that, we did some lab work. And we did find Hashimoto’s. So there was some inflammation.
So we did some work with her diet. We put her on the autoimmune Paleo diet. And we did some work to help with her thyroid hormone conversion to put the inflammation out in her thyroid gland. And then, we also did some other support for some of her other hormones. And you responded really, really well.
Dr. Ruscio: So tell us a little bit about the changes that you’ve seen in only about two months now.
Laura: Well, first of all, I’ll just say that it all came as a surprise. I had no idea that I had—I knew that I had a thyroid condition, that I was hypothyroid. But I had no idea that it was as significant a problem as that. And I also did not relate what I was eating to that. So putting those two things together, I think was really critical.
Dr. Ruscio: Sure.
Laura: I thought I would have a lot of trouble with the elimination diet, because, essentially, we were taking out almost everything that–
Dr. Ruscio: Your staples. Your dietary staples. Yeah.
Laura: Yes, my dietary staples, and I thought, “I’ll never be able to do this.” But, in fact, I found it very easy after the first couple of days. As long as I planned and had the foods that I needed, I always felt satisfied. I never felt hungry. And I now have been on that diet for two months and feeling really good on it. It regulated everything. So I don’t feel deprived, which is really important when you’re trying to change your eating habits.
I’ve lost about a pound a week. So it’s been about eight pounds I’ve lost, which for me is a lot.
Dr. Ruscio: Yeah, if you can’t tell on the camera, she’s a shorter gal. So for your frame, that’s a fair amount of weight.
Laura: It’s a lot of weight. And I have a ways to go. But it’s been really a good way to lose weight, very steady, not precipitous where you feel…I don’t even know what the word is. But it feels really steady. I’m sleeping well. Boy, that counts for almost everything. I thought I was fated to be an insomniac for the rest of my life. But I’m now sleeping through the night, most nights. Every once in a while, I’m up. But, by far, my sleep has improved.
I would say my sense of well-being, my energy level, everything’s more regulated. I just feel the quality of my life has gone up a lot. And I’m no longer feeling pain in my knee.
Dr. Ruscio: Good.
Laura: And less stiffness in my hands, which is where I had fairly significant arthritis.
Dr. Ruscio: Right. Right. Good. So yeah, she’s done really, really well. And one of the things that you’ve probably heard me talk about is this conservative model of functional medicine where we don’t do a ton of testing and a ton of treatment. So with her, we’ve done just some preliminary stuff. And that’s gotten a lot of result.
And now, we have some other things we may want to investigate with lab work. But we just had the conversation of, “Let’s see how much more she continues to improve with our current plan.” And then, when we follow-up, if she’s not all the way where we want her to be, then we can do the testing. But if she’s feeling great, there is no need to do the testing. And we can just let her go off and live her life.
And I think that’s probably going to be how it’s going to be. It’s a fairly short, inexpensive process where we got right to the root of the problem. You’re feeling better. And now, you can go enjoy the nice, sunny day.
Laura: And it is very empowering, I think. We were just talking earlier about the importance as you age—and I’m 67—so you have to get used to things changing in your body. One of the things that’s really important is to have a sense that you’ve got some control over what’s going on. This made such major changes in my life, that I realized I had attributed things to aging that actually weren’t aging. They were just things not being functionally well.
Dr. Ruscio: Sure.
Laura: So now that that’s been addressed really successfully, I have a really different idea about what’s going on with myself. And I don’t feel—I feel younger and freer.
Dr. Ruscio: Good. Good. So she’s done great. I’ll continue to share these cases with you, guys. And thank you so much for taking a moment to talk with us.
Dr. Ruscio: Okay. Good.
If you need help with thyroid autoimmunity, click here.
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If you are a healthcare provider looking to sharpen your clinical skills, click here.
What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.
Dr. Ruscio is your leading functional and integrative doctor specializing in gut related disorders such as SIBO, leaky gut, Celiac, IBS and in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. For more information on how to become a patient, please contact our office. Serving the San Francisco bay area and distance patients via phone and Skype.