Decoding the Symptoms and Treatments for Thyroid Conditions
Your thyroid is key to balancing hormones and losing weight, and it’s also the central hub for many health conditions.
In this episode of the podcast, I’m talking to Dr. Amie Hornaman, otherwise known as the Thyroid Fixer. As a thyroid specialist, she is on a mission to help thyroid patients around the world and give them their lives back.
While competing in fitness and figure competitions, Dr. Hornaman experienced sudden unexplained weight gain and the frustration of visiting doctor after doctor with no answer as to why her body was rebelling against her. It wasn’t until she found an integrative practitioner who gave her the right thyroid tests that she finally got a diagnosis and was able to treat her hypothyroidism.
Join us as we dive deep into the symptoms of hypothyroidism that you need to be on the lookout for, the lab tests needed to diagnose it, and the medications to treat it. Plus, we’ll explore many of the lifestyle changes you can make to take care of your thyroid function and support your metabolism.
Stay tuned until the end of the episode where Dr. Hornaman has a quiz to help you determine if your thyroid could be at the root of your symptoms.
0:01:40 – JJs experience with hypothyroidism
0:02:40 – Introducing Dr. Amy Horneman, The Thyroid Fixer
0:07:44 – Diagnosing hypothyroidism after visiting seven doctors
0:11:00 – A life-changing diagnosis and treatment plan
0:12:34 – Losing weight with a thyroid condition
0:14:06 – Testosterone, autoimmune thyroid conditions and weight loss management
0:16:18 – Thyroid hormones, metabolism and weight gain
0:20:23 – The impact of low thyroid function on health and well-being
0:21:56 – Thyroid hormone replacement in hypothyroidism treatment
0:28:06 – The benefits of T3 and T2 in thyroid hormone replacement therapy
0:30:00 – Brown fat activation and T2 supplementation for fat loss
0:33:03 – T3 and DEXA Body Scans
0:34:20 – Basal Metabolic Rate and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
0:36:00 – Increasing Basal Metabolic Rate through exercise and diet
0:39:08 – Weight training and eating more protein for improved body composition
0:42:57 – Protein, soy, and thyroid Health
0:44:35 – The controversy around iodine and its role in nutrition
0:46:01 – Iodine supplementation and thyroid health
Freebies From Today’s Episode
Take Dr. Amie’s FREE QUIZ: Is Your Thyroid the Reason You Can't Lose Weight?
Mentioned in this episode:
Learn more about Dr. Amie Hornaman
Check out Dr. Amie’s podcast: The Thyroid Fixer
Order your own thyroid labs
Try the Kooru Cold Plunge and use code JJVIP500 for $500 off
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Episode 551 Dr. Amie Hornaman
[00:00:00] I am JJ Virgin, PhD Dropout. Sorry, mom, turn four time New York Times bestselling author. Yes, I'm a certified nutrition specialist, fitness Hall of Famer, and I speak at health conferences and trainings around the globe, but I'm driven by my insatiable curiosity and love of science to keep asking questions, digging for answers, and sharing the information that I uncover with as many [00:00:25] people as I can, and that's why I created the Well Beyond 40 podcast.
To synthesize and simplify the science of health into actionable strategies to help you thrive. In each episode we'll talk about what's working in the world of wellness, from personalized nutrition and healing your metabolism to healthy aging and prescriptive fitness. Join me on the journey to better health so you can love how you look and feel right now [00:00:50] and have the energy to play full out at 100
over a decade. I still remember cuz it was like I was cold all the time. Now I'm one of those people who's sweaty, I'm like a sweater. And I remember all of a sudden I wasn't sweating like I used to always sweat. And then my outer through of my eyebrows started to fall out and my hair just wasn't the way it used to be.[00:01:15]
And my skin was a little tingy. Cholesterol was going up. LDL. And got a little constipated. I know tmi. I knew what that was. And you know, it's interesting, I went and got my thyroid tested. I checked Ts H t3, three t3. I didn't check everything cause I just ran conventional labs. So I did get a T3 and I remember having a tssh, so was just [00:01:40] around.
And all these things were going on. Thankfully, I worked with an integrated doc who was able to help me with all of this. And I've been on OID or W Poid ever since, and man took me about a year to get my hair back. I'll tell you. But what a game changer. And so, you know, you gotta, thyroid [00:02:05] is just the key.
You can't balance your hormones. If your thyroid's not balanced, you'll never lose the weight. There's so many issues with it. So really it's like the central. So we can't really talk enough about thyroid, and I'm always looking for people who are geniuses in the field. And I've got one with me today. I've got Dr.
Amy Horneman. She is known as the Thyroid Fixer and in [00:02:30] fact, the Thyroid Fixer is, uh, a podcast too, a top-rated podcast in medicine and alternative health. She has also got the Thyroid Fixer Program. And the Institute for Thyroid and Hormone Optimization. And she also created a whole line of fixer supplements too.
And she is really because of her own story, which we're gonna share, she is on a mission to optimize thyroid patients around the world and [00:02:55] give them their lives back. And I say amen to that because I know as I started to really understand this and share this with my audience, they would, they couldn't, they had trouble even getting lab tests.
And we're gonna talk today about which lab tests you really need to. To make sure that you can get the clear picture why the lab values you're seeing are junk and won't give you the picture, but you know, and then if they could get the lab test, they couldn't get the supplements and the medications that they need.
[00:03:20] And the deal is, if you've got hypothyroidism, supplements alone aren't gonna cut it, and it is a condition that you do not wanna play around with. I share the story of my cousin and what happened with her because of her long-term chronic hypothyroidism. So this is not. To mess around with. And it is one that when you take care of your thyroid, it is a massive game [00:03:45] changer.
So we're gonna give you the symptoms just so you can always be aware of this. If you see anything, feel anything changing in your body, the labs that you need to do, and then what you should be looking for in terms of helping so that if you do have low thyroid function, cuz it's so common, holy smokes, you'll know how to.
You'll know how to treat it right? And you know, if you can't find that [00:04:10] doc out there, you've got one right here with Dr. Amy Horneman, the thyroid fixer. She is just doing amazing work in this area. We also have a thyroid quiz that you will be able to get, and it is, is your thyroid the reason you can't lose?
And you can get that at jj virgin.com/thyroid quiz, and we will also have all the show notes there as well. So be sure to jump into that. And I will [00:04:35] be right back with Dr. Amy.
Dr. Amy Horneman, welcome to the show. I'm so excited to dig into thyroid with you. Thank you. I'm pumped to be here. Well, you are known all over as the thyroid fixer. What made you decide you were going to go deep into thyroid? Well, like many of us paint a purpose story, right? So if I rewind [00:05:00] 25 years ago, I was competing in fitness and figure N P C fitness and figure, and I was doing fitness modeling too.
And so I had guided down, you know, the up and down you get ready for a show, 12 weeks prep. Well, so let's talk about that. Like how much did, because that, that whole world, I never, that was never my world. I used to train people way back when at Gold's Gym in Venice, I actually used to take my personal training clients.
On field trips. Mm-hmm. [00:05:25] Because it would show them what's possible. They're like, what is this? Cuz it was like a completely different world. Right? Yeah. So when you say that and you're just throwing out there, I dyed it down. I, for most of us, this is a completely foreign thing we have no clue about.
Absolutely. So I was a fat kid, so my dieting down actually took more effort. I didn't just [00:05:50] naturally go on a diet for a short amount of time, and I was ready to step on stage in a bikini. So this whole body building role, fitness figure, body building, You're being judged on stage in a bikini. Like I think of things that I would not wanna do in my life that's ranks right up there with like, I'd rather get a root canal than stand up on stage in a bikini and get judged.
We're all a little bit crazy who do that. We just we're, we're we're a little bit crazy. And [00:06:15] especially you said you were a, you called yourself a fat kid. We can always get more fat cells, but it's very difficult too, really. You get them during times of rapid growth when you're a baby in adolescence. So the bottom line is, if you're a chubby kid, it makes it way harder.
You're 70% more likely to be a chubby adult. So when you say were you were a fat kid, the question would be like, how overweight were you and, and how much did it just means your struggle was [00:06:40] so much bigger? It was, it was diabetes in my family. We're all short. I'm five two on a campaign. I know you're a bitty thing.
I mean, just it's, yeah, so when the weight comes on, you know, you expand outward. Of course, I had carried extra weight probably all the way up until ninth grade when, you know, you start to grow a little bit. And I got into cheerleading and gotten into working out more and, and actually lost the weight. But you're [00:07:05] right, jj, that was always a struggle when it came to competing and getting ready for a competi.
I wasn't a stick figure. I was always a little bit more bulky, a little more muscular. So I really had to work hard. I mean that diet that you do for a good 12 weeks in contest prep mode up to a show, it is chicken, fish, broccoli, asparagus. I mean, back then it was, you know, [00:07:30] low fat. So you couldn't use olive oil.
You couldn't use butter. Oh no. I remember the Gold's Gym like cuz all the bodybuilders would eat their lunch and their lunch was broccoli, brown rice, and. Yep, that's it. And it wasn't much brown rice That was, and that was it. Rocky Brown rice chicken breast. And they're at the gym twice a day. Yes, they're there twice a day.
Morning cardio. Yep. I did it all. So when I was doing these shows, I had done enough and I would [00:07:55] prep for a photo shoot the same way I prepped for a show. So I'd done it enough times to know this is what works for my body. And I had a coach. I mean, we all need coaches cuz you don't wanna think for yourself.
And there was one show in particular where the scale was going up. As you know, biologically, even though a calorie is not a calorie, it does depend on the type of food that you're eating and what it does in your body. They still [00:08:20] count, the source counts the most, but the count too much. Healthy foods unhealthy.
Bottom line. Exactly, and, and when you're looking at eating chicken, broccoli, asparagus, fish, there's not many calories there. There's not many carbs or fat there to put on weight, just biologically, physiologically, it shouldn't have been happening. And I shouldn't have put on 25 pounds what? [00:08:45] That was the weight that came on in a very short amount of time.
Holy smokes. Yeah. Very short amount of time. Well, that got your attention. Got my attention. So what do we do? We go to our doctor. So that's what I did actually, I first went to my sister, so I blame her first cuz she's a doctor. So I went to her first and I said, you know what? What's going on? This isn't right.
You know, look at the [00:09:10] scale. You know what I'm doing? She tested something. Don't know. I think she tested my thyroid. Probably just a couple tests that they normally. And said everything was fine. But then she sent me on, so she referred me to multiple different doctors. One was a metabolic disease specialist, i e endocrinologist.
Mm-hmm. And they all said, you're normal, you're fine. Eat less and exercise more. [00:09:35] It's like, you're like, okay. Uh, did anyone ask what you were doing? I actually brought in a paper to one of them with my diet printed out and that I go to the gym twice a day all printed out so they could see it. Well, they thought you were cheating.
Here's, here's what's interesting too about the body building world that listeners might not know is this is like serious discipline and regimented like. [00:10:00] Guesstimating your calories. Oh no. This is like we record EV and track every single thing. Mm-hmm. Everything, everything. So it was all written down.
They could see it. I got total dismissal. I got shown A B M I chart, which we know how that little girl read this uhhuh and just dismissed on your way. And I remember getting into my car and putting my head on the steering wheel and crying. Because I just [00:10:25] wanted something to be wrong so that there was an answer to what was going on in my body.
My body was rebelling against me. Yeah. And I wanted somebody to tell me why. That's all. So seven doctors later. Seven doctors later, one woman feels my throat tells me to swallow and says, you have a goiter, so you have hypothyroidism. We're gonna send you for an ultrasound, and here's a [00:10:50] pill. So I walk out of her office, I'm like, yes, this is it.
There's an answer. There's a diagnosis, there's a pill. I'm gonna lose this weight. I'm gonna feel better. This is. Five months later, nothing happened. Not one pound lost. I did not feel better. I was losing my hair. I was tired all the time. Not one pound lost. Next we start doing our own research. Right? So we go to Dr.
Google, and I joke because I [00:11:15] think it was the gateway computers back then, like the big ones. Oh boy. Uhhuh, right? You did the dial up. Do I did the dial up. Yeah. I'm looking things up. And I kept hearing the name of a local functional. At the time it was more integrated. We were using the term integrative than functional.
Practitioner who had helped a lot of people. I'm like, you know when you hear somebody's name three times, it's time to go. Right. So I make the appointment, I go, this [00:11:40] man changed my life. He did all the testing. He put me on the right medication, the right supplements. Who was it? Dr. Len Bran. Seitz. He's, he's retired now.
He's down in Atlanta, but he's my mentor. All right. Well, we're blessing you. Yeah. Dr. Lynn. Yeah, he is. He is my savior, so I still keep in contact to him when we were down in Tampa and he was probably considered kind of a quacky nut back then. Right. Well in Pittsburgh, pa Yeah. I mean, we [00:12:05] weren't, we weren't that advanced in Pittsburgh yet.
Mm-hmm. So, yeah, he was, he was kind of on the outskirts of health. And he was a fringe doctor. Yep, exactly. Just quietly saving everybody. All right. So he helped you because he made you realize that your normal thyroid labs were not normal. Exactly. I had all of those things start happening when my thyroid was at two.
My t s H was two. Yep, yep, yep. It was like it [00:12:30] went from 1.2 to two and bam, like and two is still considered normal. Totally normal in conventional medicine. Oh my gosh. 4.51 is normal. Yep. Exactly. So gosh, imagine it too if you're gaining weight and losing your hair and losing the outer 30 of your eyebrows and cold all the time.
The only good thing was I wasn't sweating all the time like I used to be. Yeah, no, that was only benefit. Yeah, you're just freezing all the time while everyone else, but I don't know. That wasn't so [00:12:55] helpful like anyway, so, okay, so you go to him, he gives you the right things to do, intake, everything changes.
And then you decide you're gonna go into becoming a functional medicine practitioner. Absolutely. Yeah. My career path totally changed at that point. What was your career path then? I was a massage therapist, that's where I started. And, and personal trainer. I did personal training too. Mm-hmm. Yep. So I was still in the health [00:13:20] world.
Yeah. But this just opened up a whole nother level of what we can do with people and four people. That's how I walked down this path. And gosh, I think 27, 28 years later, here I am. And you know what's so wild? And I'm glad we're digging into thyroid today cause you can never dig into it enough because despite, you know, the things that we obviously now know in the functional world.
The majority of people are not [00:13:45] getting diagnosed, are being told that they're normal, are suffering silently, are thinking they're crazy, and that is just, it's so awful. Like it just doesn't need to be. So we need more Amys out there more. Dr. Amys so. Let's talk about this cuz we're really gonna talk about, you know, one of the big signs of core thyroid function is you don't lose weight.
You know, that's one of the first things I think most of us kind of noticed, and then we're told we're [00:14:10] crazy. But this seems to be way more women than men. Yes. Why is that? Because we have lower levels of testosterone. Testosterone is actually very protective against autoimmune conditions. So if we look at thyroid conditions as a whole, hypothyroidism, low and slow, 95% of hypothyroidism is the autoimmune form of Hashimotos.
Mm-hmm. Even if you're not testing [00:14:35] positive, interested, sitting there going, well, I didn't have positive antibodies. Okay. We can often get false negatives with the antibody test. So 95. Autoimmune and we know that testosterone is very protective against that autoimmune switch turning on. So when we see that switch turning on, it's usually a stressor.
Pregnancy? Yes. Pregnancy is a stressor on the body, puberty, perimenopause, menopause, or any kind of life stressor. And was it for you, the [00:15:00] ridiculous level of training that you were doing? I would say yes. The trying to drop your body fat way down below physiologic for a woman. A hundred percent. Yeah.
Looking back that, I mean it's, it's, it's craziness, it's insanity what we put our bodies through and it's a huge stressor on the body. Huge. Yeah. I know for mine, you know, my son gets hit by a car as in a com mine, guess what? Fu you know, so you do see quite often [00:15:25] that just the stress is just that like poof flips the.
Let's kind of go top level because you know, one of the biggest things, there's so many things that your thyroid does, but just how is it important in weight loss and weight management? It is the master gland, so it controls your entire metabolism. It controls your sex hormones, it controls insulin. I'm sure you've talked about insulin resistance on your podcast and the importance of hormones on your pod, [00:15:50] right?
All of that gives us a metabolism. Now, specifically with a thyroid, we have to look at the active thyroid hormone, so that's t3. And that's where I really struggled when I walked out of the first, well, the six doctor's office who actually, who actually diagnosed me and gave me. Standard of care. Synthroid.
Mm-hmm. That is t4. And T4 is inactive. It actually has to [00:16:15] convert over to the active form t3. T3 is what gets to your cell to this is what drives your metabolism, is what increases your metabolism, gives you energy, makes you feel better. So it really starts with the thyroid because that is the master gland controlling the downstream cascade of your metabol.
For a lot of people, it could just be that they're a bad converter. Mm-hmm. And what are the things that would [00:16:40] get in the way of them being able to convert from the inactive T4 to t3? The what the body can use. I always say that conversion process is like running five tough utters. It's really hard for the body to do because all the different things that interfere with it.
If you have high estrogen, if you're insulin resistant, if you have low iodine, low zinc, low magnesium, low selenium, if you're in a calorie restricted diet or like some H C G [00:17:05] diet, you're not eating enough calories. If you're not eating enough protein. I mean, the list goes on and on, and that doesn't even include the genetic factors that some people are just, they have a genetic SNP that interferes with that conversion.
So that's why giving. Just sin for only, I'm not a fan of because so many people have such a hard time converting it over to the active form. Okay. So what are some of the other signs beyond just [00:17:30] the weight issue? Just for someone to pay attention and, and then let's talk about like what we should be looking at for lab values.
Cuz I think the first thing is, You kind of noticing, Hey, something's up, you know, something's wrong and I'll, I'll tell you what was interesting during the pandemic, the story I share, and this is why I believe that we need to get on the scale every single day. And I know that people are having this whole thing with scales are a trigger.
Scales are a freaking biometric tool. Mm-hmm. [00:17:55] They are not a mean friend. They're not body shaming you and they're not telling you like, like if you're getting on a scale and all you're seeing is weight and you're not looking at body composition, fat-free mass and fat mass, then, you know, get a new scale because they're not expensive anymore.
You know, fortunately for me, I step on the scale every single day. Mm-hmm. And during the pandemic, I initially jumped up five pounds and I'm like, huh. I noted. I was just going That's, [00:18:20] that's odd. Yeah. And it got me a little anxious and so I just kind of went in my. Eating marks. I'm around the house, but I'm so, like I eat the same thing every single day, right?
That wasn't it. Um, am I stressed cuz of this, this whole thing? And so maybe stress is doing a little bit. Maybe start stepping on the scale and noticing that after that first five pounds I start gain a pound a day. Now, [00:18:45] very important cuz think first if, if during the pandemic I hadn't been stepping on the scale, what was I wearing?
Not jeans, you know? No, we are all wearing stretchy stuff. So thank God I was stepping on the scale. Cause I could intercept the autoimmune gastritis that came along with my Hashimoto's boom right away. And so that's one thing really important for us to do is start to make sure that we're monitoring these [00:19:10] things.
You know, be really aware of these symptoms because they're, your body's attempt to tell you now weight is one of the symptoms, but let's go through all the different symptoms that you could see. Absolutely. And I'm so happy that you said that too, that it's your body's way of telling you, because I always say that too.
When you have symptoms, any of the ones that we're gonna list, That is a huge red flag. It's not to be ignored or pushed [00:19:35] aside. Don't, don't even tell yourself like, oh, I'm just getting older. That's normal. No, it's not. That is a huge signal by your body given to you as a gift to say, Hey, look a little bit deeper into this, because it's not right.
Yeah. And Ian, one thing I'll, I'll share with this is I have a cousin who didn't go to the doctor for like, mm. Three decades, like I was like, I don't even understand, at least two decades. Mm-hmm. And [00:20:00] turned out she was so hypothyroid that the first sign of her hypothyroidism was she fell at age 60 and broke her hip.
And her bones are so, so osteoporotic from having low thyroid function for so many years, and she's not getting that. You know, she's someone that like if she ran in, [00:20:25] like walked by, you know how you walk by, maybe I do. I walk by things and bang into 'em fairly regularly. She'll break something like, her quality of life now is absolutely horrific, so, Low thyroid function is, is incredibly damaging.
All right, go ahead. Symptoms. I'll stop talking. No, I promise you mention the weight gain. Mention the weight gain. So then you also have to consider the, the weight that you can't lose no matter what you [00:20:50] do. I have a ton of women that come to me. They're on a perfect diet. I mean, they're, they're just doing all the things, all the right things.
Weight is not budging, fatigue, incredible fatigue, hair loss, hair thinning, joint pain. That's a big one. That'll not a lot of people. Correlate with low thyroid function, but joint pain, muscle pain, absolutely tied back to thyroid function, low thyroid function, frozen [00:21:15] shoulder, constipation. You have to think everything is low and slow.
Hypo low and slow. So your gut motility, that slows down so you're not pooping every day. Your hair's not growing. Your skin gets really dry because that cell turnover doesn't happen like it should be. At the same rate. Just everything has slowed down. So you're like that. You're tired. You're slug it, you're depressed.
Maybe you're a little anxious, but you're depressed. You [00:21:40] feel like you can't really sleep like you wanna sleep all day, but you can't fall asleep then at night. Cuz now the adrenals are coming into play and you have wonky cortisol levels. It just really starts affecting every area of the body. So you go to the doctor and what should you be looking for in labs?
Yes. This is important because if you look back, if I look back at my story, I probably only. T s H and maybe free [00:22:05] T4 tested. So T S H is thyroid stimulating hormone. It's not a thyroid hormone, it's a pituitary hormone. So it's released by your pituitary gland to kind of poke the thyroid. And when your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone, the pituitary pokes it and it's just like yelling at your kid, right?
If Johnny isn't picking up his toys, you might first start off, you know, Johnny, can you put your toys away? And then 10 minutes later he doesn't do it. Your voice gets a [00:22:30] little bit louder, right? You're like, Johnny, you gotta come on. Let's do this. So that's the pituitary yelling at the thyroid. Now, t s h, like you mentioned two, you start to feel hypo in functional medicine.
Yeah. Anything above a two with T s, H, we start to look deeper. And really, I've even had hypo patients at A one, 1.5 because you have to look deeper. You have to look at those thyroid hormone. So free T4 is [00:22:55] helpful, but that is the inactive thyroid hormone. The two most important tests to get done. Free t3, the active, free bioavailable, ready to go into the cell to do its job hormone.
And reverse t3, the antithyroid hormone. So how I describe reverse t3, it's like a bouncer at the club sitting outside, arms crossed right outside your cell looking at T3 gun. Yeah, [00:23:20] you're not coming in today. You're not gonna do your job today. You're not coming in. So reverse t3, if that's high, that is going to literally block that active thyroid hormone from attaching to the cell receptor site and doing its job.
I. Giving you a metabolism, giving you energy, growing your hair, allowing you to go to the bathroom every day. So that's why those two markers are vitally important. And then we do have to test the antibodies and there are two antibodies. There's [00:23:45] T G A and T P O, and often I will only see one antibody tested.
And there are two markers that we wanna look at. That's the full testing of thyroid. Those are the most important ones. Okay, so someone tests, they have symptoms. They're labs. We know the norms. And maybe you can talk for a moment about the silliness of the thyroid lab norms. Yes. And then we'll talk about where you want to be.
Yeah. So explain how these norms that I [00:24:10] don't even understand how they're continuing on have been figured out. So when we look at e every lab mark on the planet, I mean, we can go thyroid, we can even dive into hormones, insulin, we get these standard lab value ranges that you see on your lab work. You know, you look at your range, you look at your number, and then you go next to it and you see that standard lab value range.
That is taken from an enormous group of people and they are not weeding out [00:24:35] the sick. They're not weeding out preexisting conditions. They're not weeding out the overweight people. They're just taking this big group and they're saying, you know, if you fall into this range, that's pretty good. And how often do they adjust those ranges?
Not often. TS h has been debated for decades. So like you said, now it's sound of 4.5. It used to be a 10 used to happen. Well, and also, I mean if they were adjusting them based on today's people, we have [00:25:00] what, 10% of the population? Maybe that's metabolically healthy. I heard recently it was five. So the takeaway is you've got norms based on a largely unhealthy population.
Yes, definitely not based on what would be optimal, which is the only thing that makes sense. To get those optimal ranges. That's what functional medicine does. We. Give me your healthy, give me your fit. Give me your, your metabolically [00:25:25] flexible lean subjects. Let's test them and get the optimal range. So that's where the optimal ranges come in for the thyroid logs that we look at.
So someone isn't hitting the optimal numbers. What should they do? Is it always thyroid sub, um, medication supplementation? If so, which kinds, what supplements, diet, lifestyle, also help here and make an impact. So I always say my, my whole [00:25:50] theory of treating people is the both and theory. So we have to do everything all at once.
I can't just give you thyroid medication and you be over here eating at McDonald's and destroying your gut and not taking beneficial supplements. Even the basic minerals and nutrients that you need for thyroid function to occur. It has to all come together and we have to look. Are you insulin resistant?
Well, if you have high insulin, again, doesn't matter how [00:26:15] much thyroid medication I throw at you, that high insulin is gonna make that t4, er a t3. So it has to be kind of all encompassing treatment. But thyroid hormone replacement does play a huge role. Huge role, because I can't bring you, so let's take three T3, because that's the active thyroid hormone.
Three t3, optimal ranges in the upper quadrant of the range. So most lab value ranges, it's gonna be 3.5 or above, or in that upper [00:26:40] quad. I can't take you from the bottom of the barrel. You're one point above being actually flagged low in conventional medicine, you're at a 2.3, you're at a 2.5. I can't bring you to a 3.5 with just diet alone, with just healing your gut alone.
There has to be a combination of treatment, so that's where thyroid hormone replacement comes in, and it's a beautiful thing. I always tell people don't think of it as [00:27:05] medication because a lot of people are like, I don't wanna take meds for the rest of my life. This is giving you. I'll take thyroid replacement for the rest of my life in order to, yeah.
Not have my hair gone and my eyebrows gone, everything else and Right. And are you finding that when you give people thyroid replacement and you tag team it with diet and lifestyle, that [00:27:30] you can taper down some of the thyroid medication? Sometimes You can, yeah, absolutely. So we might start on a higher dose.
To answer your previous question, the medication that I prefer, not T4 only, so there's not one size fits all, but I want to make sure that there's T3 in the mix, so that might be T3 alone in the form of Lithy, Cytal coming in to pair up with your. [00:27:55] Levo, your Synthroid, your t4. So we might have two separate medications coming together.
T4 and T3 or natural desiccated thyroid medication has T4 and T3 in it naturally. So as long as we're using something that contains t3, that's a win and that's gonna benefit. So even if we have to start you at a little bit of a higher dose, once you do start doing all the things, cleaning up your diet, dropping [00:28:20] that insulin, balancing your hormones, fixing your.
Then, yeah, absolutely. You might be able to drop that thyroid medication down in your dose, but just like you said, you probably would've to pry it out. My dead cold hands take it away from me completely. That's very funny. That's cute. Let's go over to T2 two because you mentioned it. What about that and how does that fit into the [00:28:45] picture?
It's so amazing as I start diving into the T2 research, it's just flat out amazing. So we have actually four thyroid hormones produced by a thyroid gland, t1, t2, t3, t4. So we already talked about t4. That's inactive. T3 is active. T2 is actually also active, and it's kind of, I do meant the forgotten thyroid hormone because we don't pay enough attention to.
It is naturally occurring in N D [00:29:10] T medication, so your armor, your NP thyroid, it naturally occurs in there, but at a much lower dose than what was used in the studies. And the studies show a very beneficial effect on basal metabolic rate. So T2 comes in and actually increases your B M R. So the amount of fact that you are burning sitting there at rest, doing nothing, it's increasing your B M R.
It's actually increas. Brown fat, which is [00:29:35] the type of fat that we want. That is the type of fat that is activated. When we do cold plunges. When we do intermittent fasting, it activates our brown fat because brown fat is metabolically active, so that helps stimulate lipolysis your burning of stored body fat.
It actually helps with insulin resistance. It improves lipid profiles. So when you stimulate that brown adipose tissue, you get a huge [00:30:00] response by the. So when you say, when you say brown fat, do you, is it that it's converting the white fat over to brown fat? Is it that when you're putting on fat, you're putting on brown fat, which is it?
It stimulates the brown fat that's already there to be a little bit more active. And then it does convert white fat to brown fat. So white fat is the fat that we don't want. Yeah, it, yeah, it just sits there. That's the stuff that we grab and we're like, eh, that's why I cold plunge, man. I cold plunge to brown My.
Exactly. [00:30:25] That's it. I'm like, it's, I suffer through every minute of it, but I'm browning my fat. Exactly. And it's so good for you. Good for longevity. Yeah, absolutely. I never see T2 measured. How does one, and, and you're saying that one, then you're just getting in the, like, is this one that could be more low and you have to take something to do it?
Like what, what things can help t2 or is it just gonna happen if we're doing the other? [00:30:50] Yeah, I mean currently right now they, they do have an assay, a measurement for it in the clinical trials that they did in the studies, but there's no conventional average, like we can just go out and test our T2 levels.
There's no marker for that yet. I, I would expect it to come because it is such an important marker and it's an important hormone. But right now it's in the form of three five dito, l thine long supplement word. Mm-hmm. [00:31:15] But yeah, it is in supplement form. So I have it in my thyroid fixer. Uh, it actually started, and again, bodybuilders are the original biohackers.
I know they figure everything out for fat loss and muscle gain. They just do. You gotta give 'em some credit. They're the OGs. But when you, when I look back there, when I first discovered. Too. It was like 15 years ago and it was in a muscle head, body building, power lifting supplement line. But I [00:31:40] was like, you know, there's something to this.
And I started playing around with it, with myself, with my patients, and it was working. So it was working. Mm-hmm. So that's why. And when you say that, what would you see? I mean, just fat loss. Where even when we were optimizing their thyroid, you know, you still have those people that are. Yeah, I'm, I'm all the way up in my t3.
My T3 is optimal. I feel a lot better. My energy's back, but I just can't lose this darn weight. And so that [00:32:05] just gave them that extra edge and literally increased their basal metabolic rate to where they could lose those last five to 10 pounds that were not coming off despite optimization of their thyroid numbers.
I mean, and, and for people listening, if you haven't seen bodybuilders, I mean, it's like they're trying to lose. Three ounces of fat. I mean, it's, yeah, it is. The biggest challenge is that last bit, especially if you are, you know, 12% body [00:32:30] fat and you wanna go to 11, right? Like it's. Really hard. So, and they don't wanna burn muscle either.
Right? And that's the other beauty of t2, is it does not burn muscle. Now t3, as much as I love it, I love it, it will burn fat and muscle. It doesn't discriminate between the two. So when you hear bodybuilders talk about getting ready for a show like I did, mm-hmm. They will use t2. I mean, in the past they've abused T3 to lose body fat, let's.
But [00:32:55] now they will use T2 because it's safer. It has no cardiovascular effect, it won't change your thyroid numbers and it won't burn muscle. Well, I guess they don't test for drugs and body building, otherwise there'd be no sport. But, um, but I was just thinking for like, you know, regular athletes that do get tested, this would never show.
No, I'm not saying to do this. This was not [00:33:20] like, but, but it is interesting. I'm, I'm wondering if they use it cuz certainly if I was a competitive athlete I would be looking at this. Yep. Wow. And beyond that, is there anything else? I just went and did a dexa. Okay. Took Tim and Tim and I went and did Dexa.
And, uh, did our BMRs, which was super fun. That's the fun couple. We are, that's what we do. We do our dxa body scan. I'm gonna do a whole podcast just on [00:33:45] reading my dxa body scan. And what's fun is the last time I did my dxa body scan, I was 35 and my weight was the same and my body. Fat was 13% and now my weight's the same at 59 and my body fat's 14%.
Oh, that's cool. And I'm like, well that's pretty badass. You know, we also did our basal metabolic rate. Mine is higher than Tim's. Nice. Which is super cool. I know I have a very fast metabolic rate, which I was thrilled about. [00:34:10] Which I've always looked at metabolic rate and went, all right, specifically basil.
And I'd love you to define basil metabolic rate, but to me, I always look at it and go optimize your thyroid and have a bunch of muscle mass. Are there, is there something else that I'm not thinking about? And first of all, define basal metabolic rate because it's the, everyone's like, I need to boost my metabolism, you know?
And I look and I go, what's your basic running rate? And then what can we do throughout the day to kick things up? So I'd love to hear [00:34:35] that definition of that. And then, then what are things you could do throughout the day that could. Definitely. So basal metabolic rate, just the amount of energy, the amount of fat that you were burning at rest.
So literally not doing anything. It doesn't account for exercise activity, it's just you breathing and living. Yeah. If you were gonna sit on the couch or. That's what it would do. Yep. And not eat baseline. Just digestions not counted in there either. [00:35:00] Exactly. Exactly. Movement. Even just bouncing up and down when you're at your desk.
Mm-hmm. You know, moving your foot. Those little tiny movements that do increase your metabolism. Well, we know those little movements. Did you see the recent research on soleus pushups? Yes. Yeah. I was like, okay, now we're gonna have people biohackers throwing muscle stem on their soleus muscles. Yeah. To try to activate this.
And, and for [00:35:25] those of you listening, there was a study done where they did four, I think it was four hours of people doing little heel lifts Yep. While sitting at their desk. And it helped with better glucose uptake. Mm-hmm. So they had better blood sugar balance. Yep. And there's something called non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
And the challenge with non-exercise activity thermogenesis is this, I think it's totally genetic. Yeah. You fidget or you don't fidget. Yes. Because the [00:35:50] minute you start thinking about it, it's no longer non non-exercise activity. Now you're thinking about it and doing it. Yep. But you'll see, you know, thinner people tend to fidget and move around a whole bunch.
That's true. And they've actually been shown that people who are abnormal. When they are overfed, we'll tend to fidget more. To get back to normalcy, like your body does a whole lot for homeostasis. So back over to this, someone who's. Say A [00:36:15] B M R, and it's not where they want it to be. Like they get the B M R test, which I just, I didn't do the BOD pad, I just did a breath test.
And they find they're on the lower end. What can they do and what can they do to improve their basal and then throughout the day, so I mean, definitely we wanna start with the thyroid. That's the master. We wanna check that. I love checking. Well, I do check insulin and I love checking testosterone because male and female alike, that is just [00:36:40] so vital to.
Active metabolism and to even be able to put on the lean body mass, which will come from my number two suggestion would be lift heavy, lift heavy weights. Yay, lift, no pink weights, please. Yes, no party queens not a, and I've seen, so granted you have a, um, advantage over me at the. Because I'm short because you're a little one.
I, [00:37:05] when I was in grad school, I did my grad work in biomechanics and one of my friends was a power lifter. And she was your height? Mm-hmm. She could crush me cuz she had short levers. I'm like, I can't move all that through this much space. That's true. You know? That's true. I did do power lifting for a little bit too.
I was a killer dead lifter. But yeah, the tall people, not so much. Yeah, sorry. Yeah. Nope. Mm-hmm. So yeah, get [00:37:30] in the gym. Lift heavy, stimulate that muscle. Even if you build, and ladies, I know JJ has said this on the podcast before, you're not gonna get bulky. You're not gonna get bulky from lifting heavy. But when you stimulate that muscle, and even if it.
Just grows a little bit to where you have those sexy curves. That is that lean body mass that brings up your basal metabolic rate. So again, with that muscle mass, you are [00:37:55] burning more fat, more energy at rest, doing nothing, and you've got a bigger margin for air. You overeat a little bit. It's going in your muscles.
Yep, it's, I call it your metabolic Spanx. You know, if you think as a woman you're gonna go to the gym, lift weights and get big, unless you start eating a whole lot, it ain't happening. Do you know how hard it is to put on muscle? Especially as we age, like you know, if you killed yourself over a year, like killed yourself [00:38:20] as a woman, maybe you'd put on eight pounds.
You know, and you'd lose fat because now you're better, your ins more insulin insensitive, et cetera. Like, I just, I just went through a whole thing. I'm like, I need to put on more muscle. I had to kill myself to add three pounds muscle. Like, I was like killing myself over there. And then of course, mentally I was like, my weight went up and I went, oh, you know, stop, slap yourself.
Stop. Stop it. I had better body composition, [00:38:45] power lifting and lifting super heavy, and not being overly strict with my dad. I mean, I was still strict, but I wasn't like crazy strict, like we talked about with competing in, in fitness and figure I had a better body composition power lifting because I wasn't.
Starving my muscle away. Mm-hmm. I wasn't doing endless cardio to burn my muscle tissue away. So yeah, absolutely lift heavy. That's gonna improve your body comp tenfold. And what about, so [00:39:10] you do that and, and the nice thing with weight training as opposed to cardio, like you need to do both. You need to do both.
Like you still have to do some cardio. Uh, I've been really looking at all the research for my next book. Cause I was like, do weight training just do hit, but you know, no, you need to do some cardio too. The difference is you do resistance training. This is like early on when I was in grad school and everything was cardio based.
Like all the research we were doing, [00:39:35] I was the one that did the research study on weight training. I was like wet rogue because Got it all like Steermaster and Tread and the life, like whatever the life company was that did treadmills, they were funding us, you know? And everything was done in like, you had to be at least 30 minutes, so you got into your fat burning zone, all this ridiculous stuff.
Mm-hmm. And I thought, you know, you could either do that. And burn off calories while you're there. Or you could [00:40:00] add muscle and burn more calories all day long. Right. Seems to me the smart way is to, it's, it's just kinda like spending the interest on your money or spending your money, right. Spend the interest.
Yeah, like I wanted to improve my interest rate. I wanted to prove all my client's interest rates. Now, smart trainer would've done the opposite. Cause if they had to do cardio to maintain. Lose weight and the minute they stopped, they gained it all back, which is what will [00:40:25] happen. Then they're stuck with me, you know?
True. So now what are some things that you can do? Throughout the day that could help your metabolism. I'm gonna say eat more protein because hey, ah, I see winner, winner chicken dinner or chicken breakfast, even chicken breakfast. Oh, I see. These ladies come to me and you know, we look at their diet, that it, we go [00:40:50] through the whole deal.
We look at their labs, we look at everything lifestyle, and then we get to their diet. Ah, jj, nine times outta 10, and you know this, they're maybe getting in 30, 40 grams of protein per day, maybe on a good day. And, but they think that they're getting in a lot. You know, they eat their Greek yogurt, they eat a chicken breast, they eat a four ounce chicken breast, and then they had a Greek yogurt with non-fat, with fruit on the bottom right.
So they had a yogurt [00:41:15] sundae. Let's call it what it was. It's a yogurt sundae. Yep. And they're eating tons of carbs. Uhhuh, you know they had the skinny latte. Yep. And they had the healthy morning muffin. You know, you just, you know what it is. You're like, stop, stop it. Stop, stop. Why? It is so interesting to me.
You know, when you look at our whole diet culture, it seems like we are always talking about either lowering the carbs or lowering the. But when you really [00:41:40] look at what is most essential and what really controls everything, it's like eat more protein. Like eat, and we never seem to talk about it. It just gets ignored.
It's either eat more or less fat, eat more or less carbs. I'm like, what is this? It's so weird. And if anything, protein's scary. It is. I think we've been scared by the mass media. I mean, if you look back, was it 1977 when the [00:42:05] American Heart Association said, Eat less fat, eat more carbs, and red meat is bad.
Yeah. And that was based on wrong information. Exactly as we know. Exactly. And now everything's going towards plant-based. Which is, I heard they were feeding, like in New York City, that they're like putting stuff in place. For me, it was Brooklyn that like the kids were eating plant-based meals and it just scares, scares me so much.
I know. Same. Like, I don't, it's not a great source [00:42:30] because the, the people that I see, the patients that I see, they're already losing their hair. Their hair is. Thin, their muscles hurt. They're weak. Like they, they actually feel weak, like they can't do the things they used to do. Protein will fuel that, but it has to be amino acid based.
It has to be animal based protein, where you get that full spectrum of amino acids. That's what strengthens your hair. That's what sends the nutrients to your hair. That's what builds your [00:42:55] muscle tissue. You can't be doing the plant-based. It's not gonna work. It's just not. Along those lines. I've got two other questions for.
Soy and thyroid. So bad. It's so bad. I don't care what you could, I'm sure you could pull a study that says, well soy isn't that bad for the thyroid. No, it absolutely I am against it. We know that soy interferes. It's a ergen. It interferes with thyroid function. It will interfere [00:43:20] with how your thyroid hormone replacement therapy is actually working in your body.
And it's very estrogen. So now for a menopausal woman, you might be like, well, I need a little bit more estrogen. Yeah, I get that. Let's do estrogen replacement. I was like, let's do an estrodiol patch. Let's do some seed. I love that. Yeah, yeah, exactly. You don't have to bring soy into your life. Right? But even with that, you know, it might be estrogen, but it ain't gonna [00:43:45] solve the the low estrogen problem.
No it's not. If anything, it's gonna cause you to break out. Right? So no soy. No soy, and this whole thing, you know, you'll hear people talk about. Cruciferous vegetables, you don't have to totally avoid them. Where they come in as a problem for the thyroid is if you're eating a ton of raw vegetables. So back when was that?
Like 19, I don't know, 88 where the raw food diet came out. There's, [00:44:10] it's still the raw food thing is still going, but like they still gone. Have you tried raw broccoli? It's not good. It's, it's horrendous. Like it's a disgusting. And a lot of these things, when you cook 'em, you've better access, cook 'em and put a little fat, and you're gonna get a lot more out of them.
Yep. You're gonna be able to get that vitamin K, you know, it's like, Raw broccoli, like I, you never understand when you get the crute tray and they've got the raw, I'm like the raw broccoli and the raw cauliflower. I'm like, who [00:44:35] eats that? You need a lot of ranch. A lot of ranch. You know? Yeah. You would have to smother it in ranch for that to be edible.
But I did have a nutrition friend early on who said, Hey, if you have to cover the broccoli with chocolate to get your kids to eat it, do it. I'm like, huh? Oh, well, strategy. Yeah. Little it. Okay. Or just cook it and make it really nice. All right. Okay. The last one. Iodine? Yes. Mm-hmm. [00:45:00] Okay. This is such a controversial topic, so, yeah.
Um, you know, there's like people saying, no, iodine, iodine's, bad people saying, gotta have iodine. That's the problem. I remember, was it 20 years ago? Was. I think David Bronstein Yeah. Was everyone was like putting the iodine that, that pink stuff on their arm, you know, and seeing if they Right. If they got absorbed.
So what's the story with [00:45:25] iodine? Okay. I love this topic because you're right, it's, it's, the camps are split, but if we really look at the science, we know that. The thyroid gland needs iodine. Not, not too much, not too little. It's kind of like Goldilocks, right? We wanna find that. Mm-hmm. Just right that sweet spot in the middle.
So the thyroid gland needs iodine. You need iodine to convert T4 to t3. Every cell in your body needs iodine as well. Now where it got a really bad [00:45:50] reputation was practitioners using way too much high doses of iodine. That's where we saw people going into hyperthyroidism, into a hy, into a thyroid storm.
And that was obviously a problem. But low amounts of iodine given consistently day after day is key. I actually interviewed, I interviewed Barton Scott and. He said something on my podcast that it stuck with me, and now I continue to say it. He goes, [00:46:15] well, I said, Barton, do you guys test for iodine with your H T M A?
He goes, no. He's like, because every cell in the body needs it, so why don't we just take it? I'm like, Oh, that's brilliant. That okay. That's awesome. Yes, and it's so true. Biologically every cell in your body needs it. Iodine helps with your hair. It lowers your reverse t3. It protects against breast cancer.
I mean, the list goes on and on. You just [00:46:40] don't wanna overdo it. Mm-hmm. You wanna use the right kind in a small amount. Just give it to your body day after day in a little bit, and you'll be good. Perfect. Thank. All right, now you have a quiz. Is your thyroid the reason you can't lose weight? Don't you wanna know this?
So I'm gonna put this at jj virgin.com/thyroid quiz along with all the notes. Cause I know we went through a lot of stuff today. So you'll be able to grab all that stuff. And again, it's jj virgin.com. [00:47:05] Slash thyroid quiz. And Dr. Amy Horneman, thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure. Thank you. This has been fun.
Be sure to join me next time for more tools, tips, and techniques you can incorporate into everyday life to ensure you look and feel great, and more importantly that you're built to last. And check me out on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and my website, jj virgin.com. And make [00:47:30] sure to follow my podcast so you don't miss a single.
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