The Key To Deciphering The Mysteries Of Your Thyroid And Fixing Your Thyroid Hormones Forever.

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

I'll admit it: I have thyroid “issues”.

I've had them ever since I combined extreme ketosis (e.g. 90%+ fat based diet) for a full year, combined with hard and heavy training for Ironman triathlon.

So in light of the fact that I've had to battle rock-bottom “T3” levels over the past several years, hypothyroidism is a topic near and dear to my heart.

And I'm not alone. Over 200 million people worldwide and 20+ million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, but 60% are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. Undiagnosed or mistreated hypothyroidism can put people at risk for serious conditions, such as: depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, gynecological issues (infertility/miscarriages/fibroids/PCOS etc.), hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, anemia, and other diseases.

My guest on today's show has written one of the most comprehensive resources I've ever read for deciphering the confusing world of thyroid hormones, and fixing your thyroid for good. Her name is Elle Russ and her book is called “The Paleo Thyroid Solution: Stop Feeling Fat, Foggy, And Fatigued At The Hands Of Uninformed Doctors – Reclaim Your Health!“.

Elle is a writer, health/life coach, and host of the Primal Blueprint Podcast. She is fast becoming a leading voice of thyroid health in the burgeoning Evolutionary Health Movement (also referred to as Paleo, Primal, or Ancestral Health). Elle has a B.A in Philosophy from The University of California at Santa Cruz and is a certified Primal Health Coach. She sits on the advisory board of The Primal Health Coach Program created by Mark Sisson. Originally from downtown Chicago, Elle lives and plays in Malibu, CA.

Elle wrote The Paleo Thyroid Solution after consulting with over two dozen endocrinologists, internal medicine specialists, and general practice MDs…only to find that her thyroid condition was getting worse – and nothing from doctors resembled a solution, or even hope. Exasperated and desperate, Elle took control of her own health and resolved two severe bouts of hypothyroidism on her own – including an acute Reverse T3 problem. Through a devoted paleo/primal lifestyle, intensive personal experimentation, and a radically modified approach to thyroid hormone replacement therapy…Elle fixed her thyroid.

Her new book The Paleo Thyroid Solution dispels outdated, conventional thyroid wisdom still practiced by uninformed doctors, and instead provides the in-depth guidance necessary to solve hypothyroidism, achieve vibrant health, and optimize thyroid fat-burning hormone metabolism. It provides the only lifestyle and weight loss plan specifically targeted for maximizing thyroid hormone metabolism in harmony with paleo/primal/ancestral health principles.

In The Paleo Thyroid Solution, you will learn:

  • Primal/paleo protocols for naturally optimizing and even possibly reversing low thyroid function
  • How to work with your doctor to get the correct blood tests to diagnose hypothyroidism and accurately interpret results
  • How to work with your doctor to optimally treat hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone replacement
  • How to find a good doctor or work with your current one to diagnose and treat Reverse T3 issues (including T3-only treatment)
  • How to lose the insidious fat and weight gained from hypothyroidism
  • An MD’s perspective on why and how some doctors are uninformed and still practicing outdated thyroid protocols (in-depth commentary from integrative physician Dr. Gary E. Foresman, MD)

During my discussion with author Elle Russ, you'll discover:

-Why Elle call T3 the “hormone of life”, and what happened to hers…[10:30 & 13:20]

-How to find a doctor who actually knows the right parts of your thyroid to test…[19:00]

-Why most thyroid supplements don't actually contain thyroid glandular or thyroid hormones…[23:53]

-The confusing hormone “reverse T3” and the ancestral reflex that causes your body to make it…[25:30]

-Whether body temperature tests really work, and if there any science to back them up…[38:10]

-What vitals you should track, such as heart rate and blood pressure, and the best way to do it…[44:20]

-What Elle thinks is the best natural over-the-counter (OTC) thyroid for people who want to “self test” and “self medicate”…[50:30]

-Why coconut oil can help to heal thyroid issues (and whether or not marijuana or CBD should be used)…[51:50]

-The best prescription form of thyroid hormone to use and what Elle personally takes…[54:55]

-The shocking link between chiropractors, acupuncturists and thyroid hormone…[68:27]

-What to do if you have tried everything and you're still having issues…[70:27]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The FASTER ketogenic study Ben talked about

-Book: The Paleo Thyroid Solution

NTH Yahoo Group

The Oura ring for tracking body temperature (use coupon code “ben” and you’ll get 5% off your purchase and free shipping within the USA)

Geratherm thermometer

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Elle or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

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53 thoughts on “The Key To Deciphering The Mysteries Of Your Thyroid And Fixing Your Thyroid Hormones Forever.

  1. Mark says:

    Great podcast Ben and Elle.

    Hey Elle, would you have any words of caution for anyone who is considering ordering desiccated thyroid from Thailand? I’m in Canada and I’ve exhausted my resources as I’ve had no luck finding a local doctor who will write a prescription for NDT (I’ve tried all the steps on Thyroid-S seems to be the next best option. Would you agree?

  2. Drew says:

    Great podcast! Does the book cover what to do if you’ve been correctly diagnosed and put on thyroid hormone, but you’d like to try and heal the thyroid and get off meds?

  3. Serious question – is having erections in the morning regularly (ie. morning glory) a good sign of being healthy?

    also interested to see the health effects of CBD on thyroid issues.

    lastly, my nana (grandmother) had a mini stroke recently………I don’t know a lot about her *symptoms*, but I know she feels colder and sicker a bit more and has memory problems……….any thoughts? (I know that’s sweet FA to go on, but what are the effects of thyroid on stroke?)

    great podcast guys :)

    1. Yep, that's a really good sign. Great sign of cardiovascular bloodflow at least. ;-)

  4. Lara says:

    Hi there, great podcast. I’ll have to listen again to absorb all the information, but I’m curious about the excess fibrinogen you talked about Elle.

    I had a stroke about a year ago and have been trying to find a reason ever since. Doctors have come up with nothing and I’m a super healthy, active, young person. It makes no sense, until

    I heard you talking about this. I have the symptoms you talked about and wonder if this is a possibility. Is there a test I can take to determine if I have this, and can I supplement with the enzymes, or anything else, whether I have it or not? Is this something discussed in the book? I would really love to hear more and see if there is a connection.

    Thank you both for all you do!

    1. elle russ says:

      I don’t go into depth on systemic enzymes in my book…but a stroke could be from diet/lifestyle….a million factors, including genetic components and certain blood levels. I would get to a functional medicine doctor so they can do in depth testing and look at all of the co-factors here :-). The doctor on my book is amazing, he’s in central California and people have flown in from other states to see him. Gary E. Foresman MD in arroyo grande, CA.

  5. Phil says:

    Ben – The promo code for human charger is not working.

    If I go to it still defaults to the normal website

    I did all iterations of Bfitness and it says “code not valid.”

    I used both internet explorer and google chrome.


    1. Hey Phil – the Human Charger team is going to get in contact with you directly to sort this out – but the code does work. Thanks!

  6. Shaf says:


    The importance of the T3 to rT3 ratio is something which makes sense because they are the 2 primary hormones which bind to the T3 receptor.

    However, I’ve seen a bullshit reference (on Stop the thyroid madness website) to an endocrinology paper which I checked very carefully and was not able to find anything related in the paper.

    Have you found any official document to prove it’s an important biomarker that patients can show to their GP?

    Send a link if so and tell me where on what page to find that reference because the one I mentioned above does not exist even though many “thyroid experts” online always refer to it (I’ve found several people including a few doctor websites online refer to this same document, clearly they didn’t check the source).

    I looked into this because I wanted to present it to my Endo and at the time I came to the conclusion that it does not exist because I downloaded and searched the paper using the find function on my computer.

  7. Lisa says:

    Hi Elle an Ben

    I had Epstein Bar. I have all symptoms of thyroid issues. All tests normal Drs do come back in the range.

    How do I get myself to lose weight again.

    Gone low carb. Tried everything. Weight training. An so on

    I have had two children an lost weight after them no problems.

    I got Mono at 35 an I gained 15 lbs in 2 months. I didn’t change a thing.

    I CANT LOSE IT! it’s been a year An half. :-(

    1. elle russ says:

      Hi Lisa, just because something is WITHIN RANGE does not mean you are fine. I was undiagnosed for 2 years because a doctor told me my labs were within range. Email me through my website and I will send you bunch of free info and resources to get you on the right path! I also had mono as a child and EBV can mimic thyroid symptoms.

  8. Marisa says:

    Great podcast!! My sister and good friend are both taking the T4 only drugs and I already sent them this podcast to listen to and told them to get the book asap! I am grateful that you got to the bottom of all the info we all need to know about the thyroid. It has been so confusing for me to find the best solutions and answers for my sister. She is not losing any weight and eats so healthy. I know this book will help guide her and get her on a better track!

  9. n = CK! says:

    Ben, how are you getting 24/7 temperature readings from your OURA?

    1. ŌURA tracks the variations of your body temperature by measuring your skin temperature each night.

      1. n = CK! says:

        Right. You said it “measures your temperature 24/7” and made it sound like you can check the readings.

  10. Bradley says:

    What was the enzyme mentioned towards the end?

    1. elle russ says:

      Yes I mentioned systemic enzymes….I take VitalZym XE (professional strength)

  11. Hilary says:

    I hope you are well! Firstly, let me just say I love your podcast. I’m an outside sales rep and you’ve made driving around all day far more enjoyable!

    I have a question about my thyroid that I just can’t get an answer for. My current blood work is:

    TSH .01

    T4 11.4 pmol/l

    T3 4.03 pmol/l

    thyroperoxidase Ab 11 IU/ml

    I am currently on 90mg of desiccated thyroid per day.

    I went to a functional medicine dr that actually added a compound T3 / T4 at 20mg a day. My conventional dr thought it might be a pituitary issue and sent me to a specialist who just said there was nothing wrong and I should get off all medication. Now my conventional dr also thinks I should get off the T3 because I’m risking my health later on in life which clearly scared me. I originally was put on the medication from a natural path I went to because I was so tired in the later afternoon I would sleep around 5pm. If I reduce the meds I start to feel that way again immediately. Now I’m feeling nervous and think I should just stop taking anything, but also scared of how tired and miserable I’ll feel if I do!

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Hilary, for something like this it's best to book a consult. You can do this by going to <a href="” target=”_blank”> and choosing 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled for a skype consult. Thanks!

    2. Elle Russ says:

      Hi Hilary, happy to give you an opinion on your labs and also send you a bunch of free info that will get you on the right path with thyroid health. Just contact me through my website :-)

      1. n = CK! says:

        Hi Elle! I just wanted to butt in to comment that you are so generous! It took me awhile to warm up to you on the Primal Blueprint Podcast, but the more I listen to you and learn about you, the more you grow on me. Thanks for all the good that you do!

        1. elle russ says:

          LOL! Glad I grew on ya! :-) Feel free to contact me anytime to suggest show topics or feedback, and thanks for listening.

  12. Jeffrey Fronk says:

    Hi Ben! Do you know the name brand of the systemic digestive enzymes she talks about in the podcast?


  13. Kathleen says:

    Sorry, forgot to add the must have link:

    1. Elle Russ says:

      The systemic enzymes I mentioned that I use are VitalZym XE

  14. Kathleen says:

    Thank you, Ben, for another great podcast ! This one is near and dear to me in that I have Graves Disease (autoimmune hYperthyroidism) followed up by thyroid cancer, several years ago, with extensive spread to lymph nodes resulting in a total thyroidectomy and radical neck dissections. As a lifelong endurance athlete – trail runner and cyclist – living with a thyroid disease followed up by living sans thyroid – makes life, particularly endurance training, challenging. It is a roller coaster, at times, despite my levels being steady for the past several years. My TSH is very strongly suppressed (mostly due to the liothyronine/Cytomel) and my FT4 and FT3 hover in the middle of their respective ranges. I take levothyroxine(T4) combined with Cytomel (T3) as I am one of those people who do not convert T4 effectively. Thankfully, I do have an endocrinologist who is willing to prescribe Cytomel. Have been interested in trying natural dessicated thyroid hormone replacement but for me, as a former thyroid cancer person, am hesitant to try it. Natural dessicated hormone (Armour, Naturethyroid) can, in *some* people, cause our thyroid cancer marker Tg (thyroglobulin) to raise (because it contains a tiny amount of Tg). Because my cancer markers have been undetectable, if I would switch to a med like Armour, and my Tg rose, I wouldn’t know whether it was due to cancer recurrence or due to the natural med.

    I have read that supplementing with with Cytomel long term can actually slow down a body’s already sluggish conversion of T4 to T3. I would love to hear Elle’s weigh-in on that. All I know is that adding Cytomel to the levothyroxine has been a life changer for me. Am not back to 100% pre-disease and cancer but so much better than when on levothyroxine-only therapy. I won’t give it up.

    Would LOVE to hear more from her (and you!) about any experience in endurance athletes training without a thyroid. It’s not the same. The body is MUCH more sensitive to too much intensity and recovery can be more challenging. It certainly is a balancing act in figuring out what is not too much, not too little, but just right.

    Also, here is a website: that shows top-prescribers as recorded by Medicare for all medications. I think it shows the top 50 prescribers in each state. A person can search for liothyronine prescribers, for example.

    Lastly, here is a AWESOME website from a fellow ThyCa Inspire person who is a wealth of knowledge with regard to all things related to thyroid hormone dosing, function, etc. It has armed me with a wealth of knowledge that has kept me an entirely informed patient. It quite possibly could rival if not surpass Elle’s info in it’s complete and comprehensive nature. You will learn from it. Highly recommended reading!

    Thank you, again, Ben, for your wonderful and informative podcasts.

    1. Elle Russ says:

      Hi Kathleen, Dr., Foresman, the doctor on my book THE PALEO THYROID SOLUTION and I have just recorded a podcast for the Primal Blueprint Podcast on Graves/Hyper which should be uploaded in the next month. If you are now HYPO as a result of the thyroidectomy (usually happens, they take away the thyroid and then the patient needs thyroid hormone replacement because they are now hypothyroid instead of hyper)…a few thoughts for you. First of all, generic levothyroxine in Dr. Foresman’s medical opinion based on his practice, causes lots of issues and fluctuations and he ONLY uses brand name synthroid if he’s giving a patient T4…so at the very least you can try switching it Brand name on the T4. Also, you should get a proper thyroid panel including Reverse T3 so that you can see whats going on with conversion (Do a morning blood draw between 7-9:30am WITHOUT TAKING YOUR THYROID HORMONES and test: Free T3, Free T4, TSH, and Reverse T3…then pop your thyroid hormones in your mouth after the blood draw) *Its the ratio between the Free T3 and Reverse T3 that assesses a RT3 issue best. There is an article I am writing that will be published soon on athletes and thyroid but the bottom line is…if you are still HYPO and feeling crappy because of mis-managed thyroid treatment…then DO NOT TRAIN AND COMPETE because you could be doing more damage and cause more issues. You can always reach out to me through my website and I can send you a bunch of free info to get you on the right path. NEVER GIVE UP….THIS STUFF IS FIXABLE! :-)

  15. Tony says:

    More evidence that following advice from Ben can harm you in the worst way possible. This is why you should never take advice from Bens podcast. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about and has already caused irreparable harm to his body and he’ll do it to your’s. While selling you a matress.

    1. Steve says:

      Go Away

    2. Jamie says:

      Hi Elle and Ben,

      Here Is this the product Elle recommended on your Podcast? I purchased it and was wondering about the soy in the ingredients and the fact they were made in Japan. There was no way to determine if it was GMO soy or not?

      Vitalzym 360 Enteric Coated gels (World Nutrition)

      by World Nutrition…(Amazon)

      It is interesting to read the comments on Amazon because it appears to have multiple great reviews even for many sport injuries (which I have from chronic overuse..ex. way too many chaturangas.)

      One more question, How many did you take a day…..the comments on Amazon differ tremendously.

      Elle and Ben can you speak to the benefits and use of this supplement?

    3. Jamie says:

      Tony, I am sorry you are a 300 pound troll living in your mom’s basement. Your jealousy is not very becoming! Please get some help….I am sure Ben would help you!

  16. Joan D says:

    Fantastic podcast, thank you! I have been considering myself sub-clinical hypo thyroid for about a year and a half. How do I boost my Free 3T naturally?

    Free T4 1.0

    Free T3 2.6

    Ferritin 28

    Selenium 145

    Vitamin D61

    I just started taking apple cider vinegar with my meals, I will eat clean liver once a week. I also just started taking 8 drops a day of Oceans Alive phytoplankton and Assist Prescript probiotics, which all seem to help.

    I have been doing 3 drops a day of nascent iodine a day for over a year and that has not solved my problem.

    Many thanks!

    1. I would start here Joan:… and if you would like to go into detail, feel free to book a consult at <a href="” target=”_blank”> and choose 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled to Skype consult.

    2. Elle Russ says:

      HI Joan, contact me through my website and I can help you sift through this stuff/labs….and send you a bunch of free info to get you on the right path. BTW – iodine can cause thyroid issues and this is something a lot of people make a mistake with. NEVER TAKE HIGH DOSES OF IODINE unless you know for sure (through a 24 hour iodine urine test) that you are deficient. Otherwise, the trace amount of iodine in food and/or a multi-vitamin is enough.

  17. Shaf says:

    Elle sounds like she knows what she’s talking about and most of what she said is true.

    A few corrections, people on t3 as a sole therapy (as she’s currently doing, so am I) do not have zero t4 and zero TSH. They have reduced values (often on the lower end of the range or slightly under but it’s totally subject to how much t3 they run).

    I’d love to see blood results to prove otherwise, I’ve done a lot with f self experimentation with this and even if I stop t3 for 2 days my tsh and go back to normal (it’s slightly low on t3).

    She also said people who run t3 alone just to loose fat (like bodybuilders) will run into other problems but didn’t explain the most obvious problem they will have (from an aesthetic perspective which is the only reason most would even consider it), if they do this and why it does not apply to bodybuilders. So here it is, elevated t3 causes insulin resistance, so unless your on anabolic steroids (which significantly enhance insulin sensitivity and negate this problem) then taking t3 will make you skinny fat and break down muscle tissue real fast.

    I’m in same boat as Elle, elevated reverse t3 and have exhausted all testing to determining why. Just thought I’d fill in those gaps.

    1. Elle Russ says:

      Hi Shaf…I usually say “no T4” or “zero TSH”….but you are correct, the T4 and TSH is in fact very, very surpressed and practically non-existent so for the sake of conversation I said ‘NO T4’ or “zero TSH” – but I will clarify this next time I discuss this topic. Also, yes there are a myriad of problems that the bodybuilders taking T3 will run into….and yes, with the way they do it, they often take other drugs and supplements alongside T3. Too much T3 can cause inflammation and yes, blood glucose issues.

  18. rezart mersini says:

    Hey Ben,

    I posted last night but I am yet to see me post published… is there a time delay, or did something go wrong?!



  19. Casey says:

    Just pointing out a typo. I think you meant she is FAST becoming…

    She is fat becoming a leading voice of thyroid health in the burgeoning Evolutionary Health Movement (also referred to as Paleo, Primal, or Ancestral Health).

    1. Elle Russ says:

      LOL I definitely don’t want to be “fat becoming” :-)

  20. Paulina says:

    Great podcast! I recognized some chronic symptoms that I have been struggling with; but it sounds as though once you have a thyroid condition, you’re stuck with it or it’s really hard to recover from. Is that the case?

    1. You must, must, must read her book! Highly recommended Paulina!

  21. Nicole Thompson says:

    Hi there!

    I have been dealing with hypothyroidism for 14 years now, and over a year ago was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, Leaky Gut, Candida Gut Overgrowth (with a parasite and bad bacteria), as well as SIBO. My food sensitivity panels had left me with so few options regarding what I could eat, that I had to either decide to give up training for triathlon or go on a very strict Ketogenic Diet. So…I went Keto. For over a year now, I have been in ketosis and still running marathons and training for Ironman. My SIBO is gone, Candida is gone (FINALLY), parasite is gone, some bad bacteria is still hanging on. My autoimmune numbers are still terrible. My thyroid is finally leveling out now that my Dr. put me on glandular hormones.

    Looking back on your Keto journey, would you tell me to STOP and just chill out..take time out of my training to heal? I really don’t want to do that.. yuck. Or is it possible to stay in Ketosis and do Ironman without making things worse? Thank you!

    1. I would really, really, really get and read Elle's book ASAP!

    2. Nicole Thompson says:

      Thank you Ben,

      Amazon just delivered her book and I’ll read it today. Thank you for another awesome podcast!

    3. Hi Nicole, we sent this question to Elle and she said she would reach out to you directly. Thanks!

    4. Elle Russ says:

      HI Nicole, contact me through my website and I can help you sift through this stuff and send you a bunch of free info to get you on the right path. If I were you, UNTIL YOU ARE NO LONGER HYPOTHYROID (and until Hashimotos antibodies are lowered *depending on where yours are at) DO NOT TRAIN like you were….you are taking 3 steps backwards by training and could negatively affect several systems in the body that can be detrimental to thyroid hormone metabolism.

    5. Carole says:

      Taking a daily strong Probiotic has helped me. I started with IBS, then had gastritis for a long time and just been in hospital for 6 days with Diverticulitis. My stomach is still healing!

  22. Mike says:

    What a beautiful photo of Elle. The pose is strong and lighting dramatic. My compliments to the chef.

  23. Barry says:

    Why can I not download the pdf transcript?

    1. Michael says:

      It’ll be out in a few days

      1. Elle Russ says:

        Thanks Mike! Photographer was Jonathan Moeller in Kauai, Hawaii.

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