Health:Fitness & Nutrition
#27: The Doctor Is In to Talk ALL Things Thyroid! (with Dr. Mark A. Scott)
You can reach Dr. Scott at:
Welcome back to another Episode of Waist Away: The Intermittent Fasting Podcast! Today, Chantel is joined by Dr. Mark A. Scott! He has been in private practice here in Virginia Beach, VA since 1996. Chantel and Mark dive into 10 listener submitted questions in this thyroid information filled episode! Sit back, take some notes, and enjoy this Episode of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast!
Question 1- 3:22
Q: It seems like “Gluten-Free” is a big buzz word right now! A lot of my friends eat Gluten Free, and the other day my girl friend told me I should consider eating this way because of my thyroid issues. Could you explain how glutten affects your thyroid?
A: There is definitely a buzz going around about going gluten free these days! I tell people all the time that no foods should be off limits, UNLESS they negatively affect my body. As for me, I know that when I am only eating gluten in the 20 of my 80/20, my thyroid is going to trying to heal my thyroid, I cut gluten out completely, and went 100% Paleo. Is this sustainable? No, but I recommend people with Thyroid issues doing this for a limited time until they see improvement. Again, I eat gluten now, but it will be included in the 20% of my diet that I am not eating clean. Because of my thyroid issues, I feel better when I’ve cut out gluten, but I know that is not sustainable for the rest of my life, and I don’t like to ever feel deprived.
Most doctors would agree that it is good for people with thyroid issues to eliminate or cut back on gluten. Although there are many factors involved in Hashimoto’s (which I was diagnosed with) and other autoimmune and thyroid-related conditions, going gluten-free can provide a huge benefit.
Unfortunately, the evidence that those with Hashimoto’s benefit from a gluten-free diet is, so far, anecdotal. That doesn’t mean that it’s not true, just that it hasn’t yet been confirmed with science, or atleast any studies that I can find.
My advice would be to try cutting it out for a short amount of time, and see how you feel! I am all about listening to your body!
Question 2- 7:03
Q: My online research leads me to believe that I have thyroid issues, but I haven’t been to the doctor yet. Can you do an overview of the symptoms I should be keeping an eye on, and is there a way I can verify without going to the Doctor?
A: I compiled my top 10 Symptoms that I have noticed in myself and in others that I talk to.
Those are the big things to look out for, but a lot of these symptoms can be the sign of something else as well, so I think it’s a great idea to check your thyroid at home. I recently purchased a Basal Body Temperature Thermometer. A lot of women use these when they are trying to get pregnant and are tracking their ovulation. They are more sensitive than a regular thermometer and allow you to track more closely.
Question 3- 13:50
Q: I’ve been taking Synthroid for almost a year now. Recently, I have read terrible things online about it. Should I try something more natural like Armor Thyroid?
-Erin in Lynchburg
A lot of people have complained of things like anxiety and irregular heart rate while on Synthroid.
Some people also claim that Synthroid may actually worsen your condition, as the synthetic T4 may compete with your body's natural T4 for cellular receptor sites.
I personally HATE taking medication of any kind, and hated that every time I went to the Doctor, he was upping my dose of Synthroid.
I love that you are looking into a healthy alternatives, just like I was! In a previous podcast, I went deep on how I got myself off of Synthroid using Intermittent Fasting and a paleo diet.
As for Armour Thyroid, I haven’t used this personally, but from what I understand, It is a natural product made from animal thyroid glands (usually a pig's). It replaces or provides more T3 and T4 hormones.
When I did some research online, I found a lot of people still complaining of negative side effects still relating to their heartbeat, anxiety, periods, etc.
Even though it is more natural than Synthroid and is natural, it is still a drug and in my opinion is still going to have some sort of side effect. I would recommend you give the Paleo diet a try if you are looking for the most natural way to get off those drugs, and definitely check out the podcast I did about this!
Question 4- 21:25
Q: What is the difference between T3, T4 and TSH? I’ve been trying to do some reading online all about thyroid and I am not understanding the difference between T3 T4 versus TSH. Can you explain these in an easy fashion where I can understand?
-Angela in Pennsylvania
A: So you’re your thyroid produces T3 and T4…a lot of people think that the TSH is a thyroid hormone, but it is ACTUALLY a pituitary hormone. TSH is your body’s gauge, or thermometer for the amount of thyroid hormones you have. A lot of people also assume when their T3 and T4 are low that their TSH is also low, but the OPPOSITE is actually true. There is actually an INVERSE relationship between T3, T4, and TSH. So If your T3 and T4 are high, TSH will go down. And if your TSH is high, T3 and T4 will go down. So if your pituitary gland senses that your Thyroid Hormones are low or high, it will send out TSH to help regulate it. It’s actually pretty cool how these two types or hormones work together!
Question 5- 27:29
Q: I am having trouble pooping since I’ve been doing intermittent fasting. I’ve always been a terrible pooper, and my thyroid is acting up. Do you think me not pooping has anything to do with my thyroid?
A: Yes, this absolutely has to do with your thyroid, because your thyroid issues will make you constipated! This is one of my least favorite symptoms of my thyroid issues!
Constipation is a classic sign of hypothyroidism. Without enough thyroid hormone, many of the body’s functions slow down, and your digestive track is one of them, as it can weaken the contraction of the muscles lining the tract.
Sometimes when I am really struggling and need to go, I will take a fiber drink like Metamucil which helps me. Coffee with coconut oil also helps me get moving, and of course, you will want to make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
Question 6- 33:37
Q: I got some blood work done on my liver, and my doctor said that my liver is not in good shape. Do you think that has anything to do with my thyroid ?
-Tracy in Chesapeake
A: This is such a great question! There are so many people walking around with a thyroid problem but its secondary, or caused by something else.
The liver and thyroid work closely together since the liver converts thyroid hormones. 80% of thyroid functions actually occur through your liver.
T4, one of the thyroid hormones we talked about earlier, is actually INACTIVE until the liver activates it to become T-3. So without a liver you cannot convert and make your thyroid work.
If your liver is damaged, chances are that is the source of your thyroid problem. If you have constipation that blocks your liver, that can also be a source of thyroid problems.
It’s so amazing the way each part of our body is designed to work closely together.
Question 7- 36:24
Q: I’ve noticed lately that my nails are super brittle and they have these little lines on them..I started doing some research online and it seems it could be thyroid related? I read that thyroid issues can also make your skin and hair dry- which mine are! Am I overanalyzing this too much…do I just need some lotion and a manicure! LOL Or do you think this is truly thyroid related?
-Ashlyn in North Carolina
A: Absolutely this is thyroid related. If there is a problem with a low thyroid, 1,000 enzymes will be blocked. That’s why you don’t have proteins to make healthy hair, you get vertical ridges on your nails, you get cold feet, you have problems with depression, you are tired, have decreased libido, digestive problems, constipation, you crave carbs! All of the symptoms we have previously discussed in this podcast. So yes, some lotion and a manicure would help but you should definitely take a look at the deeper issue and look at naturally curing your thyroid.
Question 8- 38:41
Q: How do I know when I started in a fat burning state?
-Tara in Charleston
A: There is no scientific or precise way to figure this out, but what I recommend is to listen for your stomach growling because that’s when you know that your body is emptied out. The reason your stomach growls is because it’s your signal saying HEY MY STOMACH IS EMPTY! The growling noise is your stomach contracting as it tries to find any food to eat that it may have missed earlier! This process cleans up any food that was missed earlier. When these muscle contractions get going again and your stomach is empty, those gas and air pockets make a lot more noise that you hear as stomach growling. I recommend waiting about two hours after your stomach growls to eat! It s a great way to burn fat because during that two hours your body diving into your fat cells and eating your fat for fuel! It is important that you are able to differentiate the sound of your body digesting food right after you ate, versus the empty, hollow sound of a true stomach growl.
Question 9- 44:49
Q: Hey guys,
I’m so thankful to have your show during my morning commute. Maybe it’s a synchronicity, but most of the questions I have about IF always seem to be answered in your podcast.
I’ve been doing IF for about 3 weeks now, and it’s definitely working for me. I’ve found that I have more energy and I am SOO much less crabby and cranky throughout the day.
I know you’ve mentioned PCOS in previous podcasts, and the advice was super helpful. I’ve recently starting feeling some changes in the way my body feels that I relate to my cycle: tender bosom (I love using that word whenever I get the chance lol), slight cramping, and other PMS-like symptoms (mood and cravings). I had my cycle just before starting IF, so experiencing these symptoms this “soon” is a bit out of character for my body. I have extremely irregular periods and I’m curious to know what about IF contributes to managing PCOS, if anything at all.
I also was curious to know if you have ever heard of taking Metformin for PCOS (I’m not a diabetic, nor do I have any other ailments, outside of PCOS.) My midwife/nurse practitioner (I’m not pregnant, just prefer a midwife over doc for womanly care) suggests I should take Metformin to help regulate my periods, as an option outside of BC. I’m a little unsure if I want to go this route as I am usually hesitant to take medications “unnecessarily.” I’m not severely afflicted w/ PCOS, but it definitely causes me to be very irregular in my cycle. Do you think this could interfere with my IF journey, or do you think it could be an assistant to the benefits of IF?
Any advice/info/opinions you have would be awesome!
Jazzmin - Miami
A: Congratulations on 3 weeks of IF! I am so happy to hear that you are seeing great results. Keep up the great work!
So PCOS is something that I have struggled with, and we discuss it in good detail in a previous podcast, which Jazzmin is referring to. If you missed that one, definitely go back and listen!
The first part of the question, you’re talking about how you feel as if you are starting your period a little early, since you had one right before starting IF and have been doing it for 3 weeks. Most people will find that anytime you dramatically change your eating habits, IE going full Paleo, or cutting out carbs, etc, or change your eating patterns, IE Intermittent Fasting, you will see a little shift in your period. When I first started IF I noticed my period was irregular for a few months until it finally balanced out, it has been super regular ever since!
The reason for this is really simple and actually good! Fat stores estrogen, so any time you start disrupting your fat stores, you are likely to have some cycle disruption as well. So while an early period may stink, it means that your body is eating it’s fat stores! Stick it out, and you will find that it regulates soon.
As for Metformin, I have heard of people taking this as an alternative to birth control. It has not been approved by the FDA for treatment of PCOS, but many doctors are prescribing it for PCOS treatment because women with PCOS often have elevated insulin levels and are more likely to develop diabetes.
SO…it will definitely help! But You will not enjoy some of the other “benefits” of Birth Control such as…..birth control LOL obviously, it won’t prevent pregnancy, and also it won’t help you with the excess facial hair that many women with PCOS experience. But you also won’t have to worry about the negative effects of birth control that some people complain about such as weight gain, and more dangerous, blood clots.
As Metformin relates to IF, I can’t find any research that leads me to believe that it would interfere with IF in a negative way. But, I do recommend taking it with your first meal of the day, and not on an empty stomach.
Like I mentioned in the podcast where we talked about PCOS, and as my doctor told me, if you struggle with PCOS the absolute best thing you can do for your body is to be at your ideal “healthy” weight and I am not sure where you are weight wise, but I know that since you started your IF journey three weeks ago, you are well on your way if not there already.
Question 10- 51:07
Q: I have noticed I am staying up a lot later at night not sure if it is from the IF? Perhaps I have more energy or something and sometimes it is hard to wind down. Right now it is after 1 am and a few nights I was up to after 3 and could not fall asleep until around 4 or 5. I already have to take 50 mg of lorazepam most nights to stop me from thinking so I can sleep. It would be great if I could get off of that also. I have only had to take it for the last several years, I am 61. Before that I slept just fine. I don't drink much coffee maybe half a cup twice a day especially on the days I did not get enough sleep. I also try to do 1 cup of decaf green tea and sometimes one of the sleepy time teas later in the evening. I can go several days with no coffee so not sure why I am wound up longer at night? Any guidance is appreciated.
Thanks again so much! Have a blessed weekend!
A: Well Jean, you are a lot like me!!! As I say over and over again, I hate taking drugs unnecessarily too, and I can relate to you wanting to get off that Lorazepam. You didn’t mention in the question how long you have been Intermittent Fasting, but if you are newer to the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, unfortunately this can be normal while your body gets adjusted.
I’ve heard several reasons for this, one is that when you are fasting your body is hyped up on adrenaline. You didn’t mention what exactly your eating window is, but if you are eating your last meal 4-5 hours before bedtime, you could try bumping your eating window up an hour or so later and seeing if this helps.
Another reason is increased caffeine intake- a lot of people will drink extra caffeine when they are fasting, but it sounds like this is not the issue for you, you’ve really cut back on your caffeine intake, it sounds. The only thing I would say in that department is maybe stick to strictly sleepy time tea in the evening, as sometimes even in Decaf Green Tea there will be traces of caffeine.
You didn’t mention in your question if you work out or not, but if you are working out in the second half of the day, you may find that this is making it difficult for you to wind down. I recommend working out in the morning if your schedule allows..I start my day with a workout at 5:45 every day and for this reason, I NEVER have an issue falling asleep at night!
Overall, I think that as your body becomes more accustomed to the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, you will find yourself sliding back into your old sleeping patterns. In the meantime, you could also take something natural like Melatonin, or try something I LOVE to do at night, and that is to diffuse Lavender essential oils by my bed.
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