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Category: Paleo Diet

  • The Emotional Impact of Eczema – Guest Post by Jennifer Roberge

    Post From https://www.thepaleomom.com/emotional-impact-of-eczema/

    Jennifer Roberge is the founder of the award-winning Its An Itchy Little World blog and The Eczema CompanyPropelled to find a solution for her son’s struggles with eczema, allergies, and asthma, Jennifer has established herself as the go-to resource on integrative and holistic methods, and the best natural products for healing both inside and out.

    Most posts about eczema talk about treatment and prevention and that’s a huge piece of the puzzle. It’s undeniably important. But today I’m going deeper. I’m going to talk about the part of eczema that often isn’t discussed by physicians, friends or family. The Emotional Impact of Eczema.

    Dealing with my son’s eczema was the single most difficult part of my life. It brought me to some very dark places emotionally, it nearly ruined my marriage and it left me feeling weak and helpless when I couldn’t soothe my little guy. Now, all the lack of sleep surely didn’t help matters, but overall, eczema was to blame and I’m not ashamed to say that I hit rock bottom and wallowed there in my own pity for a while.

    Now, surely some of you are thinking, “pfft eczema, it’s just a little dry skin here and there. What’s the big deal? You are being way overly dramatic. If that’s the worst thing to have happened in your life, you’re lucky.“ Yes, in some ways you’re right. My son didn’t have an incurable terminal illness and wasn’t taken from this world all too soon nor did he have a degenerative disease. For that, I’m eternally grateful. But what he did have was head to toe eczema that made him appear severely burned. He was itchy all over his tiny little body. He wiggled around scratching and rubbing himself on furniture, jungle gyms and basically anything solid to find a moment of relief. He’d go into these itch trances where his eyes would glaze over and he’d scratch until his skin was rubbed raw, he’d bleed and then he just continued on scratching. At his worst point, he was three years old, and reasoning with him and asking him to stop scratching obviously was less than effective. Sometimes distracting him with games and toys worked, for a minute or two. Then it was scratch city all over again.

    Again, you’re probably thinking “What’s a little blood? Kids fall and get hurt and draw blood all the time. Is it really a big deal?” Again, you’re kind of right. I’m not scared to let my kids get their hands dirty or be a little reckless, heck, I want them to be kids. Getting a little bloodied up from a fall off a bike or a scrape from a tree branch, no big deal. But in our case, my son’s scratching and drawing blood usually led to severe skin infections, which when left untreated, can actually be fatal, not to mention how they worsened the overall pain and discomfort of his skin. So, a little blood can be quite dangerous for someone with eczema.

    Then there is sleep deprivation. Obviously, my son didn’t sleep very soundly, being intensely itchy can have that effect. But in our case, it wasn’t just my son that wasn’t sleeping well, it was my husband and I as well. We took turns sleeping with him to hold his arms in place and prevent him from scratching himself raw. Plus we had a newborn in the house at the time, so, not one person in our house was sleeping well, not one. A house full of non-sleepers took its toll. We were cranky and all emotions were heightened. Anyone with children can at least relate to the effects of lack of sleep. It wears you down and begins to loosen your grip on reality and you frequently find yourself hysterically laughing for no reason and alternately crying uncontrollably, at least that’s how it went down with me.

    With my son’s skin, we were seeing a dermatologist, a few different doctors actually, but they kept wanting to increase his dose of topical steroids because his skin continued to worsen once we’d take the mandatory two-week break between treatments. I wanted to quit hydrocortisone cold turkey since it didn’t seem to be working for our son and my husband wanted to continue to follow the physician’s plan. And after all the cumulative lack of sleep and the stress of all that we’d gone through already, this is the point where our marriage was truly tested. We both felt so strongly about our son’s treatment plan that neither of us backed down and we both felt the other was completely in the wrong. I lost faith in my spouse and surely he did so in me. I was so outrageously frustrated at him for his unconditional belief in the medical system that I thought was failing us. And I was shocked and sad that western medicine did not have an effective solution for my son’s skin. I turned to holistic ideas and researched elimination diets and healing from within and this further divided my husband and I.

    At this point, I spent more days in tears and despair than I did anything else. My marriage was rocky. My son was miserable. I was miserable. I saw no hope for relieving his suffering. Strangers stared at my son and gave me condescending looks probably imagining either he had some contagious topical illness or that I simply didn’t care enough to take care of his skin. I was angry this was happening to my son, to my family, to my life. I was jealous of other kid’s soft, creamy smooth skin. I was frustrated I couldn’t help my son find relief. I felt like a failure to my son and family. I felt overwhelmed by the skincare routine, trying new products, looking for triggers, modifying diets, researching alternative treatment options and the list just goes on…..and I was so, so, so tired.

    living with EczemaToday, I know all these emotions are normal and expected. It’s how we look at them that makes all the difference. Back then, in the midst of all those dark emotions, things weren’t so clear. I have a very dear friend now, Marieke Bosche Larose of Your Novel Life, that I wish I’d known back then. She is a life coach and in earlier days, she had a child with eczema as well. She made this amazing, thoughtful, inspiring video from her perspective as a life coach now about what she’d tell her former self during those difficult times managing her daughter’s eczema. And wow, how badly I needed to hear her words back then and I hope they bring you some peace during difficult times.

    Here are some of Marieke’s wise tips from her video:

    • Trust your gut. If you have a feeling about what may be triggering your or your child’s eczema, take a closer look and follow your intuition.
    • Acceptance, accepting what is. We can ease our suffering when we release our resistance to what is.
    • Feel all your feelings. Give yourself permission to feel everything that you feel.
    • Feel empowered by realizing you have choices in how you handle things. You don’t have to DO anything. Chose how you want to do it and know you are making a choice instead of being forced into something.
    • Get support, reach out, connect with other people, share your story. Don’t live this by yourself because there are so many people living it. That’s what we’re here for, to support each other.
    • Find the blessing and remember that this is happening for me, not to me. With that perspective, what can I do with it, what does it mean? What do I want to make this mean for myself or my child? How can this be a blessing for my family?

    Get 20% off sitewide at The Eczema Company with code ‘PaleoEczema’

    In the end, the emotional impact of eczema can be incredibly difficult to bear. It’s ok to have these feelings and it’s completely normal. Accept them, don’t fight them. Talk about how you feel and get help. The worst always passes. In my story, I’m happy to say that the cliché was so very true – after hitting rock bottom, there was the only way to go, up! My research and dietary changes worked wonders and my son ended up healing by 95% via natural means. Read more about what worked for my son here.

    My son’s story ended up inspiring me to create a resource for others battling eczema, The Eczema Company, an online store where I share natural products that worked for us and countless other families. We have the best products for eczema all hand-picked for their ability to soothe and heal the skin. Shop for non-toxic skin care, soothing clothing, scratch mittens, wet wraps, alternative laundry solutions and more.

    Guide to EczemaLooking for even more information on Eczema? The Eczema Company thrilled to be collaborating with Sarah on an exciting new ebook about the science behind eczema and how lifestyle changes like the Paleo diet can really help encourage skin healing. The Paleo Mom’s Guide to Eczema is packed with all the best tips for treating and preventing eczema and related skin conditions naturally!

    Download The Paleo Mom’s Guide for Eczema for FREE! 

    The post The Emotional Impact of Eczema – Guest Post by Jennifer Roberge appeared first on The Paleo Mom.

  • 5 Cardiovascular Risk Factors You Don’t Need to Stress over on a Low-Carb or Keto Diet

  • Great American Campout, Worker Bee Trips, and a Contest!

    Post From https://www.marksdailyapple.com/great-american-campout-worker-bee-trips-and-a-contest/

    On June 23rd, the world changes. Every RV, Subaru Outback, and pickup truck in every neighborhood across the country disappears from city limits. Expect the swoosh of fiberglass poles sliding through tent fabric to resound across the land and millions of campfires to produce enough smoke to block out the sun. Molted marshmallow flows will destroy hundreds of homes, and millions of fathers sitting on Doug fir rounds by the fire will tell so many ghost stories that they summon actual phantoms from the spirit world. The nation’s circadian rhythms will get a hard reset back to the superior factory settings, thanks to avoidance of artificial light after dark. Or so we could hope….

    June 23rd is the Great American Campout, that time of the year when the National Wildlife Federation arranges a series of mass public camping sessions across the country and encourages everyone else to do the same in their local communities. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone.

    The unfortunate truth is that the vast majority of people still don’t camp. Chances are, the average person won’t even be aware that the Great American Campout is happening. This is a tragedy.

    Regular camping could change the world. Imagine if every citizen spent at least a couple nights per month under the stars, gazing into a dancing campfire, getting fresh air and plenty of natural sunlight during the day, going on hikes, lounging in hammocks with a book, and ignoring their smartphone (because there’s no reception). The world would be a better place. People would be happier, healthier, and more tuned in to everyone’s ancestral homeland: the wilderness.

    You might think it’s cheesy, or lament the imagined crowds, but you’d be making a mistake. Getting more people to enjoy and experience the outdoors will ensure we hold onto them for years to come.

    There are many ways to take part:

    • Host a public campout. Arrange your own public campout in your community.
    • Attend a public campout. Go join in on the fun.
    • Just go camping. Participating in the Campout doesn’t have to be formal or registered. You can just camp in solidarity with everyone else.

    If you’re new to camping, want to level your camping up, or are just interested in why camping is so important for our health, take a look at the posts I below. 

    Go to the website, make the pledge, and start getting friends and family together for an awesome time together. There’s no way you’ll regret camping. Even the rough situations, like storms in the middle of the night, make for great stories—but you almost certainly will regret letting the opportunity slip through your fingers. Chances are, camping is one of those things you “resolve” to do more of but never actually do. Now’s your chance. Consider it a mini-challenge within your 21-Day framework.

    Want some inspiration for camping and other active vacations? Some of our Worker Bees are sharing their favorite trips today. And be sure to leave your own anecdotes/suggestions for camping and active vacations in the comments for today’s contest (details below).

    My favorite type of vacation is a good balance between relaxation and activity. I love getting up in the morning for a hike or taking a walk on the beach at sunset. Then, finding time to read, recharge and connect with the natural beauty of my surroundings is where it’s at! Also, water is a must! I feel the most relaxed near the lake or an ocean. This photo is a Rocky Mountains camping trip.   – Ana G.

    Destination races! My husband and I sign up for races as an excuse to visit other countries, like when we ran the Great Wall of China Marathon. It’s pretty much the opposite of sitting poolside with a mai tai! You get to meet amazing people—other participants, race volunteers, and locals—you’d never normally encounter and see things the average tourist misses. It’s a wonderful way to travel.  – Lindsay T. 

    My favorite active spot around the globe to vacation is Costa Rica! I especially love Dominical, a little surf town on the Pacific Coast. Great for yoga, kayaking, surfing, hiking, running, and swimming, there are literally endless adventures to be had in a place so rich in different ecosystems and outdoors escapes.  – Annie M.

    Morning run in Tel Aviv, Israel!  – Chloe M.

    One of my most memorable places for vacation was Lake Tahoe, absolutely gorgeous scenery and amazing time spent with family. We paddle boarded, canoed, and fished!  – Michelle F. 

    I spend a lot of time in the North Woods and North Shore (Minnesota). It’s beautiful hiking there, and we enjoy gorgeous sunsets on the rocky beaches.  – Jen W.

    I’m lucky to live just a few hours away from Big Bear, California, and it’s definitely a favorite getaway spot. With breathtaking views, epic hiking trails and calm water, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you moving!

    Last time I was there, I linked up with the Bee the Wellness tribe for one of their adventure retreats. It’s so nice to just show up somewhere with all your activities and (paleo!) meals planned, so you can sit back and really enjoy your surroundings. In fact, I’ll be joining them again this July in the Redwoods! If you miss PrimalCon, you’ll LOVE this (and you might see a few familiar faces too).  – Liz M.

    Favorite active vacation spot: San Diego, CA
    Favorite activities: 
    1. Hiking in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (attached photo taken on one of the trails that overlooks the beach) 
    2. SUP/paddleboarding in Mission Bay 
    3. Family bike riding on Coronado Island
    4. Kayaking and jetskiing in Carlsbad Lagoon
    5. Trail running and hiking in the San Elijo Hills

    – Sabrina T.

    Now For the Contest…

    The Bees and I want to hear your stories and suggestions for camping adventures and active vacations. Simply leave a relevant comment here by the deadline, and you’ll be entered to win.

    The Prize: The Primal Blueprint Platinum Supplement Package

    The Platinum Package is the ultimate in supplementation, and a daily dietary boost favored by Mark Sisson, his wife and thousands of other health-conscious devotees. This comprehensive supplement plan includes: Primal Master Formula, Primal Fuel, Primal Probiotics, Primal Omegas and Primal Sun. With a 30-day supply of a high-antioxidant multivitamin complex, omega-3 fish oils, healthy probiotics, vitamin D and a 21-day supply of delicious, coconut-based Primal meal replacement shake, the Platinum Package is a complete, convenient and cost-effective way to live a healthy, Primal life in the modern world.*

    The Deadline: Midnight PDT, June 19th, 2018

    Thanks for stopping in, everyone. Take care.

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    The post Great American Campout, Worker Bee Trips, and a Contest! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

  • Grain and Dairy-Free Pepperoni Pizza Recipe

  • 8 Natural Benefits of Cardamom & How to Use It

    Post From http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PaleoPlan/~3/4fYT7M0Hp7Y/


    When it comes to super-spices, cardamom comes out as a top contender. Don’t be afraid to branch out and add it to your diet – its benefits match (and even rival) those of turmeric.

    What Is Cardamom?

    Cardamom is a popular spice in the ginger family, used widely throughout India and Europe for culinary flavoring and medicinal purposes. Its use dates as far back as 3,000 years ago, where it is referred to as Ela in ancient Sanskrit texts.

    While cardamom is just now starting to re-emerge as a super-spice, it was well-known throughout the ancient world not only for its flavor, but also its benefits. It has been said that the king of Babylon grew cardamom in his herb garden, and it remained one of the most popular spices in Greek and Roman cuisine. It was so prized, in fact, that it was put under taxation in Alexandria in 176 AD. (1)

    From improving digestion and fighting aging to preventing cancer, cardamom is no secondary spice when it comes to improving health. Read on to see why.

    8 Natural Benefits of Cardamom

    1. It’s Antibacterial

    For thousands of years, cardamom has been revered throughout India for its antiseptic properties. The compound cineole found in cardamom has been shown to also be effective against the Staph bacteria, E.coli bacteria, and even candida yeasts when combined with other antimicrobials. (2)

    Additional studies show it also helps fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay. (3)

    2. Improves Gut Health


    Typically, cardamom is overlooked in favor of ginger or peppermint when it comes to easing digestive woes. However, cardamom has proven itself to be worth a second look if you’re having gut issues.

    Research has shown that cardamom has a protective effect in the gastrointestinal tract, with the ability to reduce ulcer lesions by up to 70 percent. (4) In addition, studies have also shown that the active component in cardamom, cineole, can help control acid levels in the gut, potentially making cardamom excellent for those with acid reflux. (5)

    In the ancient tradition of Ayurveda, cardamom is used to relieve cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and other symptoms of an imbalanced gut.

    3. Prevents Tumor Growth

    Several of the oils found in cardamom are so potent, they’ve even been shown to fight against cancer and tumor growth. The extract eucalyptol in particular demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and anti-invasive effects against tumors. (6)

    This is true for multiple types of cancers, as other studies have shown that cardamom helps prevent the spreading of skin papillomas in non-melanoma skin cancer cases. Researchers believe this is due to its ability to activate detoxification enzymes like glutathione, which help fight DNA damage that leads to tumor development. (7)

    4. Fights Aging


    Many of the signs of aging we experience, such as wrinkles, graying hair, loss of skin suppleness, and even a higher risk of developing disease, are caused by molecules called free radicals. These molecules come from sources like environmental pollution, a bad diet, and stress, and can damage our bodies to the point of developing diseases.

    Antioxidants, on the other hand, are DNA-protective compounds found in healthy foods and spices that eat up these free radicals before they can do damage. As it turns out, cardamom is full of antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols, as well as E. repens hexane extract, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage. (8)

    5. Boosts Immunity

    Cardamom has been shown to boost your natural production of killer T cells. These immune cells are responsible for tackling foreign invaders in your body, which includes cancer. One study found that combining cardamom with black pepper significantly increased T cells’ ability to kill cancer cells. (9)

    6. Promotes Healthy Blood Pressure


    Research has shown that cardamom can also help lower your blood pressure. One study out of India found that giving 20 stage 1 hypertension patients three grams of cardamom powder daily in two divided doses for 12 weeks resulted in decreased systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure.

    Not to mention, the cardamom was also able to increase their total antioxidant levels by a whopping 90 percent in just three months. (10)

    7. It’s Anti-inflammatory

    Cardamom is similar to turmeric in that they both share potent anti-inflammatory properties. One study found that, compared to a placebo, cardamom was able to significantly decrease markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in pre-diabetics. (11)

    In addition, cardamom has also been shown to fight inflammation by activating the antioxidant glutathione, which helps fight free radicals that may aggravate chronic inflammation. (12)

    8. Improves Asthma Symptoms


    One study showed that cardamom acts as a bronchodilator, helping to open up the lungs and airways and increase air flow. Of course, these are huge factors when it comes to making breathing easier in asthmatics. (13)

    How to Use Cardamom

    Cardamom’s sweet, slightly nutty-with-a-bite flavor makes it extremely versatile and great for adding to recipes. Keep reading to see how you can easily get more in your diet.

    1. Add to baked goodies


    Cardamom makes a great exotic addition to baked goods, especially when added to sweet recipes. Try adding some to your next batch of almond flour cookies, muffins, or even pancakes.

    2. Chew on cardamom pods


    Cardamom pods were traditionally chewed to extract some of their benefits, so don’t be afraid to munch on some when your stomach is feeling upset or you have a sensitive tooth.

    3. Brew cardamom tea


    Make your own cardamom tea by combining cardamom pods, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and black tea. Play with the ratio of cardamom; if you like a super-sweet flavor, try using more cinnamon.

    4. Add cardamom to your golden milk latte


    Cardamom doesn’t have to compete with turmeric – you can get the best of both worlds by adding cardamom to your anti-inflammatory golden milk latte. Just a pinch will do.

    5. Add cardamom to curries


    Cardamom adds another layer of flavor to curries, and pairs especially well with medium-spiced curry dishes.

    6. Add cardamom essential oil to your skincare routine


    As we mentioned earlier, cardamom is loaded with antioxidants that help prevent aging and free radical damage. This makes the essential oil a great addition to your skincare routine. Add a drop to your favorite moisturizer (always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil) and apply on your face and body.


    The post 8 Natural Benefits of Cardamom & How to Use It appeared first on PaleoPlan.

  • Contest: You Might Be Primal If…

    Post From https://www.marksdailyapple.com/contest-you-might-be-primal-if-4/

    The Prize:

    The full collection of Primal Kitchen® Bars…

    12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Chocolate Hazelnut Bars: The PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Chocolate Hazelnut Bar is the coveted combination of chocolate and hazelnut we all remember and love, and it’s guilt-free to boot. Nutritional bonus: it’s packed with beneficial healthy fats, 15 grams of protein and low in carbs and sugar (only 3 grams). To craft the perfect high-protein, low-sugar bar, we’ve toasted our hazelnuts for sweet aromatic flavor and crisp, crunchy texture, and paired them with unsweetened chocolate.

    12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Macadamia Sea Salt Bars: Who doesn’t love the distinctly buttery, sweet flavor of macadamia nuts with a hint of sea salt? PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Macadamia Sea Salt Bars were created with Mark’s favorite nut in mind and contain only 12 grams of carbs—the lowest carb bar in the PRIMAL KITCHEN™ lineup!

    12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Dark Chocolate Almond Bars: Turkish almonds and roasted pumpkin seeds are enrobed in a dark chocolate, chewy, caramel coating with an added touch of coconut for a subtly sweet taste and mightily beneficial impact on your health. All PRIMAL KITCHEN™ protein bars are made with grass-fed collagen protein from Brazil. Collagen has been shown to help improve joint mobility, improve sleep quality, support skin, hair and nail growth, and enhance digestion.*

    12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Coconut Cashew Bars: What do you get in a PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Coconut Cashew Bar? Monounsaturated fats for heart health, prebiotic fiber for digestive health, plus antioxidants, minerals and 15 grams of protein from grass-fed collagen. That’s more collagen than a cup of bone broth! Cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds satiate with a nutty crunch, while coconut imbues our bars with a creamy, sweet flavor.

    The Contest (an Oldie but a Goodie):

    If you were alive in the mid-1990’s, you may remember comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s empire of “You might be a redneck if…” humor. Today I’m looking for “You might be Primal if…” jokes. Think one up and leave it in the comment board.


    • You might be Primal if you’ve been banned from your local grocery store for repeatedly violating the “No shirt, no shoes, no service” policy.
    • You might be Primal if you’ve never used an elevator. Ever.
    • You might be Primal if you prefer your apple with worms.
    • You might be Primal if you accidentally broke your neighbor’s second story window with a kettlebell.
    • You might be Primal if every butcher in America can recognize you on the spot.
    • You might be Primal if you measure friends, relatives, and children not by the mettle of their character, but by how far you could throw them.
    • You might be Primal if you’ve started to use Tabata intervals for dish washing, shopping, shaving, and dating.
    • You might be Primal if you make guests take off their shoes before leaving the house.
    • You might be Primal if you measure time by the number of cows you’ve consumed since an event occurred… “When did we take that trip to Portland?” “Oh, that was about 3 cows ago.”


    Anyone in the world can enter, though this prize may only be available to U.S. contestants. In the case of an international winner, substitute prizes of equal value will be shipped.

    The Contest End Time:

    Tuesday, June 18th, 2018 at Midnight PDT

    How the Winner Will Be Determined:

    I’ll pick a handful of my favorites and let all of you decide the winner through a reader poll.

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    The post Contest: You Might Be Primal If… appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

  • How should doctors discuss obesity with patients?

  • TPV Podcast, Episode 304: What’s Better: Raw or Cooked Vegetables?

    Post From https://www.thepaleomom.com/tpv-podcast-raw-or-cooked/

    In this episode, Stacy and Sarah discuss the prevailing debate about whether it is better to eat veggies raw or to cook them first.

    Click here to listen in iTunes

    or download and listen by clicking the PodBean Player below

    If you enjoy the show, please review it in iTunes!

    The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 304: What’s Better: Raw or Cooked Vegetables?

    • Intro (0:00)
    • News and Views (0:40)
      • Sarah is on summer break mode and the girls have been entertaining themselves!
      • Brace yourself: Cole turns 13 this summer!
      • Stacy and family will be transitioning into summer mode in the coming weeks.
      • Stacy is really excited about this week’s show.
        • Afterall, her original hashtag is #morevegetablesthanavegetarian.
        • Even with all the veggie-related shows we’ve done, there are still topics we haven’t covered.
    • Question from a Listener (7:40)
      • Marin asks, “This podcast and you have truly changed my life for the better. I’ve been a listener for 3 years and totally binged listened before that! I Have cured so many things from acne to being able to live life like a boss with RA. Really appreciated you opening up about depression and it was helpful listening to you coming off meds and it wasn’t something you had to just add to this list of meds you’d take forever. I wish I have the time to list all the healthy things you’ve helped me through! Really appreciate the cool books too and you guys sharing all the recommendations. My question is can you break down or talk about raw vs cooked foods. This came up in looking at adding more veggies and some of the reading I found (vegan based) said it was better to eat more raw than cooked veggies. Is this really true? I just kinda figured veggies were veggies. Is it really that beneficial to consume more raw than cooked? One of the “rules “ was raw till 4. Thoughts? Thank you for all you and your teams do.”
      • The bottom line is that there are benefits to both raw and cooked, so mix it up!
      • There were two main drivers of us evolving our large brains.
        • 1. Fire and Cooking
          • 1.5 million years ago.
          • Increases the energy that can be digested out of food.
            • It costs us less energy to get the energy out of our food.
            • More time in the day for socializing and communicating.
            • Our brains use 20-25% of the calories we burn every day.
        • 2. Eating starchy roots and tubers.
      • A study in 2011 looked at mice fed meat and sweet potatoes prepared in different ways.
        • Cooked food delivered more energy than raw, both meat and sweet potato.
        • Cooked food gave more energy than pounded foods, pounded foods gave more than raw foods.
          • Mice showed a preference for cooked foods.
      • Micronutrient content in foods.
        • Sarah strongly believes that micronutrient sufficiency is the primary criteria for a healthy diet.
        • Some micronutrients are volatile in heat.
          • Vitamin C degrades with heat.
            • For example, steamed broccoli may have a 10% drop in vitamin C versus raw.
          • Polyphenols are partially destroyed by cooking.
          • Myrosinase, whose activity forms sulforaphane, known to prevent cancer, is found in raw broccoli but destroyed in cooking.
          • The allicin in garlic (the compound responsible for its antibiotic and antimicrobial effects) is less stable in heat.
          • In general, boiling and blanching can cause phytochemicals to leach out into the water.
        • Some nutrients are formed during cooking.
          • Heat breaks down cell walls and can liberate nutrients that would otherwise be locked up.
            • Carotenoids increase in bioavailability when cooked.
            • Lycopene increases when tomatoes are cooked or sun-dried.
            • Indol (in cruciferous veggies) is only formed when those veggies are cooked.
      • What about the fiber content in raw versus cooked vegetables?
        • Cooking partially breaks down some of the fiber.
          • Does this alter how the fiber feeds the microbiome?
            • There are only a handful of studies that have looked at this.
        • The diversity of fibers types from different vegetables feeds a diversity of microbes.
        • A study that looked at carrots showed faster fermentation of cooked versus raw.
          • It also produced more short-chained fatty acid.
        • One study looked at raw and toasted wheat fiber on common gut microbes.
          • Bifidobacterium growth didn’t show a preference for raw or toasted.
          • Lactobacillus only grew with raw wheat fiber, not the toasted.
            • A study that looked at brown seaweed found similar results.
              • They concluded that raw fiber supported more lactic acid producing bacteria.
              • Heat treated fiber supported more butyric acid producing bacteria.
      • You can see that it’s hard to make a statement of if cooked fiber or raw fiber is better.
        • They both act differently on the microbiome.
        • Cooked fiber:
          • Is more readily fermentable = increase in short-chain fatty acids.
            • Lowers the acidity of the colon, which supports the growth of probiotic bacteria.
            • This is why cooked veggies and soups is great for your intestinal health.
        • Raw fiber:
          • Certain good bacteria species prefer this raw fiber.
        • Both children and adults can benefit from mixing up raw and cooked veggies.
      • Collagen Veggie Blend
      • Previous Veggie-Loaded Podcasts:
    • If you’ve enjoyed the show, please recommend it to someone who might enjoy it.
    • We love when you share and when you leave reviews for us! Thanks for listening!

    raw or cooked

    The post TPV Podcast, Episode 304: What’s Better: Raw or Cooked Vegetables? appeared first on The Paleo Mom.

  • Mexican Watermelon Salad

    Post From https://nomnompaleo.com/mexican-watermelon-salad

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    On sweltering summer days, this Mexican Watermelon Salad is like a welcome splash of cool water. Refreshing and sweet, with a punch of spicy pepper and tangy lime, this dish will have you clamoring for more. Besides, it pairs well with just about anything you throw on the barbecue this grilling season!

    My Mexican Watermelon Salad recipe comes from our new cookbook, Ready or Not!, and it’s one of my favorite hot weather side dishes. You won’t heat up the kitchen by making this tasty crowd pleaser—a win-win in my book. Not a fan of Mexican flavor? Just leave out the ancho chili powder and use more cayenne (to make it spicier) or smoked paprika (to make it smokier). The combination of watermelon, zingy lime juice, fresh herbs, and crunchy and smoky pepitas is truly magical.

    Pro tip: If you’re making this salad ahead of time, don’t add the olive oil, herbs, and pepitas until you’re ready to eat—otherwise, the olive oil can solidify in the fridge and the pepitas can get soft. Also, this recipe calls for toasting more pepitas than necessary for this dish, but you’ll thank me later when you have leftover crunchy smoky salad toppers on hand for the rest of the week!

    Serves 6


    For the Smoky Lime Pepitas

    For the Mexican Watermelon Salad



    Let’s make the spiced pepitas first! Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack placed in the middle position. In a medium bowl, combine the pepitas, olive oil, salt, paprika, cayenne, and lime juice. Mix well.

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    Spread the seasoned pepitas in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toast the seeds for 12 to 15 minutes in the oven, stirring at the halfway point, until fragrant and crunchy.

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    Cool to room temperature. Reserve ¼ cup for this recipe, and keep the rest in a sealed container for up to 1 week to munch on.

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    While the pepitas are in the oven, soak the onions in a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes to take the bite off ’em.

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumber, drained onions…

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    …olive oil, chili powder, salt…

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    …cayenne pepper, lime zest, and lime juice. Toss to mix. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    Garnish with fresh mint leaves and toasted pepitas.

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    Serve immediately!

    Mexican Watermelon Salad by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

    Wanna watch me make this dish live from my kitchen? You can watch the replay of my Facebook Live cooking demo from June 13, 2018 here:

    Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!

    Recipe IndexNom Nom Paleo CookbooksNom Nom Paleo App


    Mexican Watermelon Salad

    Prep 10 mins

    Cook 20 mins

    Total 30 mins

    Author Michelle Tam

    Yield 6 servings

    On sweltering summer days, this Mexican Watermelon Salad is like a welcome splash of cool water. Refreshing and sweet, with a punch of spicy pepper and tangy lime, this dish will have you clamoring for more. Besides, it pairs well with just about anything you throw on the barbecue this grilling season!


    For the Smoky Lime Pepitas

    For the Mexican Watermelon Salad


    1. Let’s make the spiced pepitas first! Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack placed in the middle position. In a medium bowl, combine the pepitas, olive oil, salt, paprika, cayenne, and lime juice. Mix well.
    2. Spread the seasoned pepitas in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toast the seeds for 12 to 15 minutes in the oven, stirring at the halfway point, until fragrant and crunchy.
    3. Cool to room temperature. Reserve ¼ cup for this recipe, and keep the rest in a sealed container for up to 1 week to munch on.
    4. While the pepitas are in the oven, soak the onions in a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes to take the bite off ’em.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumber, drained onions, olive oil, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper, lime zest, and lime juice. Toss to mix. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.
    6. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and toasted pepitas. Serve immediately!


    • Not a fan of Mexican flavor? Just leave out the ancho chili powder and use more cayenne (to make it spicier) or smoked paprika (to make it smokier).  
    • Pro tip: If you’re making this salad ahead of time, don’t add the olive oil, herbs, and pepitas until you’re ready to eat—otherwise, the olive oil can solidify in the fridge and the pepitas can get soft. Also, this recipe calls for toasting more pepitas than necessary for this dish, but you’ll thank me later when you have leftover crunchy smoky salad toppers on hand for the rest of the week!

    Courses Salad

    Cuisine Whole30, Primal, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Summer, Gluten-free

    The post Mexican Watermelon Salad appeared first on Nom Nom Paleo®.

  • RHR: Why Your “Normal” Thyroid Lab Results May Not Be Normal

    Post From https://chriskresser.com/why-your-normal-thyroid-lab-results-may-not-be-normal/

    revolution health radio

    In this episode, we discuss:

    • TSH does not give you a complete picture
    • Free thyroid hormone
    • Antibodies and thyroid hypofunction
    • What lab ranges are used for thyroid testing
    • Goiters and iodine deficiency
    • Thyroid patterns that may not show up on standard lab tests
    • Thyroid physiology, proper assessment, and treatments

    Show notes:

    [smart_track_player url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/thehealthyskeptic/RHR_-_Why_Your_22Normal22_Thyroid_Lab_Results_May_Not_Be_Normal_1.mp3″ title=”RHR: Why Your “Normal” Thyroid Lab Results May Not Be Normal” artist=”Chris Kresser” ]

    Chris Kresser:  Hey, everyone, Chris Kresser here. Welcome to another episode of Revolution Health Radio. This week I’m going to answer a listener question from Laura. Let’s give it a listen:

    “Hi Chris. My name is Laura and I’m from Ireland. I have a question for you about goiters and thyroid function. Basically I’ve had a goiter for over 5 years now and I get blood tests every 6 to 12 months which show that my thyroid levels and thyroid antibodies are always within the normal range. I’ve had ultrasounds confirming that the goiter is normal. However I have every symptom of hypothyroidism. The most worrying aspect for me is how much the swelling of my goiter can vary from a day to day basis. So if I’m tired or particularly when I’m stressed, under any emotional kind of stress, my thyroid swells, it becomes inflamed, tender and red. There’s a throbbing sensation like a headache, but in my neck, and I will instantly get a headache. Normally if I get a headache or a migraine, I’ll check my thyroid first to see if it’s swollen more than usual. And I have no energy. And whenever my immune system is low or I’m sick, or I have a head cold or flu, it’s the same thing that occurs. But it’s just the fact that the swelling varies from day to day and I’m just at a loss to do, a loss at what to do with conventional medicine. I’m waiting 18 months for a referral. But I have no faith because every test is normal and they don’t seem to care to get to the root. And I just have no idea holistically what to do anymore. And I mean if it was just the goiter, if it didn’t have that swelling and inflammation on a daily, hourly basis, it wouldn’t be so disconcerting. It’s just the fact that I am struggling and I need help.”

    Hey Laura, thanks so much for sending in your question. I’m really sorry to hear about your struggles. I imagine it’s extremely frustrating. This is a huge topic, so I’m going to break it into several questions in order to frame the discussion.

    TSH does not give you a complete picture

    So the first question here is do “normal” lab results always mean normal or optimal thyroid function? And the short answer to that question is no. So the first thing we need to look at is what is actually being tested. In many primary care environments, practitioners will only test TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone. And TSH is what is produced by the pituitary gland. It’s the signal that’s sent to the thyroid gland to tell it how much thyroid hormone to produce. And there’s no doubt that TSH is the most sensitive marker for assessing both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. But there’s also no doubt that it doesn’t on its own give you a complete picture of what’s happening with the thyroid gland. So if all that’s being tested is TSH, you certainly cannot rule out problems with thyroid function on the basis of that result alone.

    “Normal” lab results don’t always mean normal or optimal thyroid function. Learn the reasons why. 

    Some practitioners might also test total T4 in addition to TSH. Now, T4 is the main form of thyroid hormone that is actually manufactured or produced in the thyroid gland. I think about 92, 93 percent of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland is T4. The rest is T3. Now, T4 does give you an idea of how well the thyroid gland itself is functioning because if T4 is normal, then that tells you the thyroid is doing a pretty good job of what it normally should do, which is to produce T4. But as we’ll discuss a little bit later in the show, T4 alone, again, doesn’t give you a complete picture because T3 is the more metabolically active form of thyroid hormone and is more responsible for doing all the things that thyroid hormone does in the body. And even if T4 is sufficient, if the thyroid gland is producing enough T4, if that T4 isn’t getting converted into T3, which mostly happens elsewhere in the body—in the liver, in the gut, in the peripheral tissues—then that person can still suffer from hypothyroid symptoms. And that’s indeed a very common pattern that we see a lot.

    So TSH and T4 is probably the second-most common group of tests that a conventional practitioner will run. Some might also add T3, which is a little bit better because then, as I mentioned, you get some information about whether T4 is being converted into T3. But even TSH, total T4, and total T3 are not sufficient. Because total T4 and total T3 refer to the form of thyroid hormone that is bound to a protein carrier. So, hormones are fat soluble, they’re not water soluble, and the blood is mostly water. Which means that in order for hormones to be transported around the body, they have to be attached to a protein carrier, thyroid-binding globulin being the main protein carrier for thyroid hormone. So the total T4 and total T3 measurements are looking at how much of this thyroid hormone that is bound to the protein carrier and can be circulated around the bloodstream there is. And that is important. It does tell you, in the case of total T4, how well the thyroid gland is functioning and is the best way to measure that. But the problem with only looking at total thyroid hormones, the protein-bound thyroid hormones, is that in order for a hormone to become metabolically active and bind to cellular receptors and perform its function, it has to be cleaved, or separated, from that protein carrier once it gets to its destination.

    Free thyroid hormone

    And we call this form of hormone that has been separated from the protein carrier free thyroid hormone, so free T4 or free T3. And the free T4 and free T3 measurements are actually a better way of assessing the amount of metabolically active thyroid hormone in the system. And that’s important to know because it’s possible and not uncommon to have normal amounts of total T4, total T3, but to have low amounts of free T4 and free T3. And what’s happening in that case is there is an excessive amount of the protein carrier of thyroid-binding globulin, and that’s leading to a lower-than-optimal amount of the free thyroid hormone. And as we’ll discuss later, that can be caused by things like excess estrogen.

    The opposite can be true as well. There can be not enough thyroid-binding globulin and too much free thyroid hormone. But that would result more in hyperthyroidism, typically, and that’s less common and not what we’re talking about here. So I’ll leave that for another discussion. So I know that might’ve been a little bit complicated, but in order to understand what we’re going to talk about next, we needed to do that basic overview of thyroid physiology. And now you probably understand more about it than even some practitioners, which is often amazing to me because when you really do understand the physiology, you see how it makes sense to test for all of these things, TSH, T4, total T4, and total T3, and then free T4 and free T3 is really what gives you the most complete picture of what’s happening with thyroid function.

    Antibodies and thyroid hypofunction

    But then of course we have to talk about antibodies. The most common cause of thyroid hypofunction in the developed world is Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland, where the body attacks the thyroid gland and eventually decreases its ability to produce thyroid hormone. Unfortunately, in the conventional model, thyroid antibodies are rarely tested for, and that’s because if the antibody test is positive, it doesn’t really change their treatment. In the conventional model, the treatment for hypothyroidism is just to prescribe thyroid hormone regardless of what the cause is. And so, from their perspective, it doesn’t really matter if antibodies are positive or not because it’s not going to change the treatment protocol.

    Certainly in conventional medicine, there are treatments for other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. But since in the conventional model, all of those treatments are based around global immunosuppression, like using steroids to globally suppress the immune system and Hashimoto’s, and those treatments are known to have a lot of side effects and long-term complications and risks, the calculation with Hashimoto’s in the conventional model is because it’s not as serious an autoimmune disease as something like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, the the risk-benefit analysis doesn’t come out in favor of using those steroids or other immunosuppressants. And so there is no treatment offered for the autoimmune component, and they just prescribe thyroid hormone. So the net result of all that is that thyroid antibodies are typically not tested for in the conventional model.

    However, in Functional Medicine, we look at it differently. Functional Medicine, as I’m sure you know by now, is all about identifying and addressing the root cause of the problem rather than just suppressing symptoms. And in many cases of hypothyroidism, the root cause of the problem is not actually the thyroid gland malfunctioning. The thyroid gland malfunctioning is the symptom of the real problem or the root cause here, which is immune dysfunction, autoimmunity. So in Functional Medicine, we very much do want to know if there are antibodies being produced against the thyroid, because if there are, then our primary focus will actually not necessarily be on the thyroid itself. It will be on balancing and regulating the immune system so it stops attacking the thyroid gland. So this is why antibodies, thyroid antibodies, are part of my basic blood workup for new patients, and I believe they should be, especially for anybody who’s suffering from symptoms that could be associated with hypothyroidism.

    What lab ranges are used for thyroid testing

    Now the last thing to address here in this first question of whether “normal” labs always mean normal or optimal thyroid function is of course what ranges are being used. The conventional lab ranges are, in many cases, based on a sample of people that have received those tests, and then they simply make a bell curve of the results, and anyone who is in the middle of that bell curve is deemed as being normal. So it’s that these ranges are based on what the average values are in a population, rather than what the optimal values are. And let’s look at the potential problems with that approach. Just focusing on TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone, is an example. So the initial studies to determine the range for TSH were done in the Nurses’ Health Study, and so they looked at a bunch of nurses. They measured their TSH and they did take steps to try to exclude people that had already been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and already had abnormal TSH. And I believe they even assessed thyroid antibodies, which is a little surprising. But what they didn’t do is any ultrasound or other types of assessments to screen for people who did have hypothyroidism but hadn’t yet been diagnosed. And the number of people with hypothyroidism that don’t know that they have it is actually significantly higher than the number of people that have been diagnosed. And so those initial studies led to a TSH range of around 0.5 to 4.5, which is now the standard conventional range.

    But there have been many, many studies published over the last 20 years that have been critical of those initial studies. And they have pointed out that there were likely many people included in that initial study, those initial studies, to determine the range that actually did have hypothyroidism, which would’ve skewed the “normal” range of TSH to be much higher than it should be. And in those subsequent studies where they did a much better job of eliminating people with hypothyroidism from the bell curve analysis, they found that for a person with no evidence of poor thyroid function of hypothyroidism, a normal TSH was more like 0.5 to maybe 2 or 2.5, depending on the studies that you look at. So that is a much tighter range than 0.5 to 4.5, and it means that if you’re going to your doctor and they’re using the conventional range, and your TSH is 4, they’re going to tell you that you have a normally functioning thyroid gland, when most of the evidence now suggests that that’s simply not the case. And your TSH of 4 is actually indicative of perhaps a mild hypothyroid state. So those are several of the reasons why we can’t assume that so-called normal thyroid lab results are in fact indicative of normal thyroid function or optimal thyroid function.

    Goiters and iodine deficiency

    So the second relevant question here for Laura is, what does a goiter typically indicate? So, there’s no disagreement or controversy here about Laura’s goiter with her doctors, and goiter is often visible. So this is not something that can be easily explained away. And goiter is not normal. It’s not normal physiology, so we know that that’s indicative of a problem. And we know from the research that in the developed world, the industrialized world, the number one cause of goiter is Hashimoto’s, the autoimmune condition I mentioned where the body attacks the thyroid gland. In the developing world, the number one cause is iodine deficiency. But in the developed world, it’s Hashimoto’s. And the number two cause in the developed world would be iodine deficiency for goiter.

    Here’s the thing. Even if a patient has goiter and they have been tested for thyroid antibodies … Laura didn’t mention that in her question, so I’m not sure whether she has. Oh, actually she did, and she said her thyroid antibodies were always in the normal range. About 20 to 30 percent of patients with Hashimoto’s, according to the studies, never test positive for thyroid antibodies. And in their case, a diverse multinodular goiter that is evident on ultrasound may be the only sign that they have Hashimoto’s. And this is well documented in the scientific literature. It’s not understood clearly why they don’t test positive for antibodies. In some cases they may have a compromised Th2 antibody humoral immune system, so they just are not very good at producing antibodies, period. And that can be assessed by testing total immunoglobulin levels IgG, IgA, IgM and IgE. It’s a pretty simple lab test.

    In other cases, it’s not clear, but it is pretty clear that that’s the case, 20 to 30 percent don’t test positive for antibodies even after multiple tests. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have Hashimoto’s and that their thyroid function is not compromised. So iodine is, moving onto iodine, it’s the backbone of thyroid hormone and it’s obviously, for that reason, extremely crucial for thyroid function. And as I mentioned, it’s the number one cause of goiter in the developing world and the number two cause in the developed world. Now, rates of iodine deficiency have gone down a lot over the past 75 to 100 years. That was largely because of the iodization of salt. So iodine deficiency used to be very common, and that is why iodine was added to salt. And it was actually quite effective at addressing that problem.

    However, people who are on … who favor healthier types of diets usually switch to sea salt, which I think overall is a good choice because sea salt is higher in trace minerals and other nutrients. But the problem with sea salt is that it does not contain meaningful levels of iodine. And there aren’t that many other sources of iodine in the diet. Dairy products are a decent source, not because they themselves contain a lot of iodine, but because the tanks that dairy products are stored in are cleaned typically with an iodophor, or iodine-based cleanser, and that iodine gets into the milk. Sea vegetables like kelp, arame, hijiki, wakame, etc., are very rich in iodine and are consumed in Asia, in Asian countries, but not very often in the West. And then some species of fish like cod are pretty good sources of iodine. So, if you take a person who’s on a healthy Paleo-style diet and they’re eating sea salt, they’re avoiding dairy, but they’re not incorporating sea vegetables into their diet, they very well may be iodine deficient.

    So, to summarize this section, if you have a goiter it’s extremely likely that you have a thyroid problem regardless of what the labs are saying. And statistically speaking, you likely have either Hashimoto’s or iodine deficiency. Now of course, the caveat applies here. I’m answering a general question, Laura. I can’t diagnose you from a distance or provide any medical advice, and I’m really hopeful that you can find someone to work with that understands all of this stuff well and can give you the appropriate diagnosis and attention. The fact that your symptoms get worse with stress, Laura, is another clue, as stress is a notorious trigger for autoimmune conditions. And it also wouldn’t be surprising that your symptoms would be worse when you have a cold or a flu, since those are also immune challenges to an immune system that may already be challenged with an autoimmune condition, if that’s the case.

    Thyroid patterns that may not show up on standard lab tests

    So the third question to ask here, is it possible that the thyroid is malfunctioning and not functioning properly, even if the lab results are all normal? So even if you’ve gotten TSH, total T4 and T3, free T4 and free T3, thyroid antibodies, and all those results are normal, is it still possible that the thyroid may be malfunctioning? And, again, the short answer here is absolutely. Way back in 2010, eight years ago now, I wrote an article called Five Thyroid Patterns That May Not Show Up on Standard Lab Tests, and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes. I’m just going to very briefly summarize these patterns, and then you can go read about them if you’re interested.

    Number one is hypothyroidism due to pituitary dysfunction. So sometimes that can lead to a low-normal TSH because that’s produced in the pituitary. And then maybe a low-normal T4 or T3, but all of those could be in the standard lab ranges, and perhaps even in the functional ranges, which are tighter than the standard lab ranges. But the patient can still be suffering from hypothyroid symptoms. And in that case, it may be due more to a problem in the pituitary than it is with the thyroid gland itself.

    The second pattern is one I briefly mentioned earlier, which is under-conversion of T4 to T3. So, remember that T4 is not very metabolically active, and although it’s the main thyroid hormone that’s produced by the thyroid gland, it has to be converted to T3 in order to be metabolically active. And that happens in the gut and in the liver and in other peripheral tissues around the body, and it can be inhibited by inflammation, gut issues, and also nutrient deficiencies. 

    The third pattern would be elevated thyroid-binding globulin. Again, I referred to this earlier, that’s the protein that carries the thyroid hormone around the blood. And some states like high estrogen, which could be related to birth control or hormone replacement therapy, can elevate thyroid-binding globulin, and then that can lead to low levels of free T4 or free T3, even if total T4 and total T3 are normal. And the free T4 or free T3 might actually just be low normal in that case and not out of the reference range.

    Four is non-thyroidal illness syndrome. This is sometimes referred to as central hypothyroidism. Here the problem is low levels of TRH, or thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which is secreted by the hypothalamus in order to tell the pituitary how much TSH to produce. Which then, as I mentioned, in turn goes to the thyroid gland to tell it how much thyroid hormone to produce. And the causes of NTIS, or central hypothyroidism, include things like leptin resistance, insulin resistance, inflammation, and other non-thyroid-related causes, hence the name. Now as a quick side note, this number four is a little bit different than the number four in the article that I wrote 10 years ago. Things do change over time, so you won’t find more information about this here, but we’re going to be writing an article. I’m going to be publishing an article about it soon.

    And then the fifth is thyroid resistance. So this is similar to insulin resistance or leptin resistance, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. This is when both the thyroid and the pituitary glands are functioning normally, but the thyroid hormone is not getting into the cell where it’s needed. The cellular receptors for thyroid hormone have become resistant to thyroid hormone in the same way that way that the cells for insulin can become resistant to insulin. So this can be caused by things like chronic stress and high cortisol levels, inflammation, high homocysteine, and other factors.

    Lastly in this, at least for this question, I should mention that there are some new tests being investigated that identify thyroid dysfunction at an earlier stage than the current blood markers. One of them is the ratio of free cortisol to total or metabolized cortisol. And this, you can get this information from the DUTCH test, which is offered by Precision Analytical. It’s a great test that I’ve been doing for a few years now. And we will often see people with high free cortisol and then low total cortisol. And the reason for that is that thyroid hormone is required to metabolize cortisol.

    So if you have high levels of free cortisol, but then low levels of total or metabolized cortisol,  that is a kind of indirect way of showing that the levels of thyroid hormone in the body are not optimal because that conversion is not being made. So it’s not measuring thyroid hormone directly; it’s measuring something that depends on the action of thyroid hormone. And sometimes those indirect markers can actually be more sensitive in that they can identify problems that happened early on, even before the blood markers would go out of range. And I actually have seen that to be true in several cases in my clinical practice.

    Thyroid physiology, proper assessment, and treatments

    Okay, so what to do about all this? Well, again, it’s very tricky, especially for patients that are in a place that don’t have access, where they don’t have access to a Functional Medicine practitioner or that’s just not accessible to them for other reasons. But if it all possible, Laura, I would, it would be awesome if you could find a Functional Medicine practitioner to work with who is familiar with thyroid physiology and proper assessment of these issues and is willing to perhaps treat you. Do a therapeutic trial of a range of treatments for autoimmune under the assumption that you may have an autoimmune thyroid condition and see how you respond. Sometimes that’s the best way to do it in the absence of any conclusive information. And again, please understand that this is not medical advice. And I would definitely recommend finding someone local in your area to work with, if at all possible.

    But there are also some steps you can take yourself, even if you can’t find someone to work with, under the presumption that it may be autoimmune. One is to try the autoimmune Paleo diet, autoimmune protocol diet, AIP, as it’s known. I don’t believe that everyone with an autoimmune condition needs to be on that forever. But I do think that everyone should try it at least once if they haven’t tried it already. It can make a really big difference because diet, even foods that are healthy otherwise for people without autoimmune conditions, can trigger immune dysfunction in a subset of people who have autoimmunity. So that would be step one, for sure. And there are a lot of resources online and books that you can find, that can help you to get on that diet successfully.

    Then there are things like optimizing vitamin D status, optimizing glutathione status, because both of them are T regulatory cell, they both help with T regulatory cell production and differentiation. And those are the cells that help balance and regulate the immune system. Likewise, curcumin is an anti-inflammatory that has an immunoregulatory effect. Low-dose naltrexone is something interesting to explore. I’ve written some articles about that and have done podcasts about that in the past. It helps to balance and regulate the immune system, and it reduces central nervous system inflammation.

    And actually, there is a pretty well-known doctor in Ireland, I think in Dublin. I could be wrong about that, but somewhere in Ireland named Dr. Phil Boyle. And he is very experienced with low-dose naltrexone, been a proponent of it for a long time, and he’s used it in, he primarily, I think, has a fertility clinic and helps women to get pregnant and uses low-dose naltrexone to do that. But as far … he may also treat other conditions. I’m not sure. You may want to consider contacting him. And then stress management. I can’t emphasize how important that is. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is for autoimmune conditions. It’s just absolutely crucial.

    Okay, so I hope that was really helpful. I hope this gives you some food for thought and some things to try. I know we haven’t been doing a lot of these Q&A episodes lately, but please do keep sending your questions to ChrisKresser.com/podcastquestion. Even though we’re not able to answer all of them, they do inform my thought process about what articles to write and material to cover, even outside of the podcasts. So please do keep them coming. Thanks, everybody, for listening, and I will talk to you soon.

    The post RHR: Why Your “Normal” Thyroid Lab Results May Not Be Normal appeared first on Chris Kresser.

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