September 30, 2023
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/amie-hornaman-thyroidfixer/
[00:01:01] Who is Dr. Amie Hornaman?
[00:02:30] How did Dr. Hornaman start her journey?
[00:10:36] Where does the weight gain come from?
[00:13:38] Are the usual thyroid tests adequate?
[00:19:25] What to do when the thyroid values are off?
[00:22:31] Genetic tests for thyroid
[00:24:11] The importance of T1 and T2 hormones
[00:32:04] Does lack of carbohydrates suppress thyroid?
[00:35:44] The use of animal-desiccated thyroid glandular
[00:37:57] Are Iodine and selenium good for thyroid problems?
[00:42:35] Peptides and bio-regulators for thyroid support
[00:48:50] Red light therapy for thyroid issues
[00:51:32] Cold thermogenesis for thyroid support
[00:56:11] Testosterone for women
[01:01:07] Closing the Podcast
[01:02:52] End of Podcast
[01:03:24] Legal Disclaimer
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Amie: Your thyroid is the master. I mean, that is the start of all metabolic processes, including fat burning. So, if your thyroid isn't working, texercise regimen. They're doing all the supplementation. They're doing peptides. They're doing all the things and they're not seeing the results. They'll say, “Listen, the scale is not moving down and in fact it's moving up.” And, that is the thyroid's control over your metabolism.
Ben: Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
Alright, folks. I have been asked a lot of questions about the thyroid. And, of course, this isn't just by people who are concerned that their metabolism might be broken or something like that and that they're not burning enough calories. But, I mean, gosh, we're talking about hormones, we're talking about sleep, we're talking about headaches, constipation. There's all sorts of things that the thyroid gland is related to. And, I finally decided to get an expert of experts on all things thyroid on my show. As a matter of fact she's known as “The Thyroid Fixer.” Her name is Dr. Amie Hornaman. And, she's a founder of The Institute for Thyroid and Hormone Optimization. She practices this stuff day in and day out and knows all things thyroid. I've been impressed in kind of going through a lot of her information leading up to this show to prepare and know who I was going to interview and make sure she actually does know about the thyroid. And, she actually does and she actually has a very cutting-edge approach. And, she works on hormones, she works with peptides and she knows a lot about this stuff.
So, Amie, first of all, welcome to the show. And then, real quick if you're listening, BenGreenfieldLife.com/ThyroidFixer is where you can go to access the shownotes. So, Amie, welcome.
Amie: Hi, Ben. Thank you so much for that amazing introduction.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. And, I'm always curious when I talk to people who are big experts in a particular field, especially for you being a doctor. How do you actually get into specializing in the thyroid? And, also related to that, since your approach seems so much different than the standard Synthroid prescription doctor approach, where did you kind of veer away from, I don't know, standard same medical advice into all this woo-woo stuff?
Amie: Into all the thyroid stuff. Well, like most of us in this space, it was a pain-to-purpose journey. So, like you years ago, I competed in fitness and figure competitions. I did fitness modeling. I mean, you've talked about this on the podcast before. It was the chicken, fish, asparagus, gym twice-a-day regimen. I mean, you're killing yourself.
Ben: That's right, bricken. Chicken and brown rice. Yeah.
Amie: So good memories. Such great memories. So, I was doing all the things. I had done multiple shows before. I had done multiple preps for photo shoots before, so I knew what to do with my body, I knew what worked, what didn't work. This one show was a big one and your listeners that compete will know. It's the NPC Pittsburgh. So, I was getting ready for pretty big show at the time and checking in with my coach, doing the weigh-ins, all of that. And, I'm getting on the scale week after week and the scale is going up. And, we know biologically that doesn't make sense whether you believe in calories in/calories out or not does not make sense with what I was putting into my body, what I was expending. No, unacceptable.
So, I kept going to my coach. We kept talking. He was trying to troubleshoot. Every week, I get on the scale, 10 pounds, 15 pounds. Eventually, 25 pounds heavier. Now, I'm frustrated.
Amie: Right. Yeah.
Ben: And, by the way, you were in full-on competition phase eating like you said the chicken and rice and cutting calories and I would imagine exercising pretty heavily and you were up 15 plus pounds.
Amie: Yeah. Yeah, I stopped weighing after I hit 25-plus pounds because I was just depressed. I mean, I fell into a true depression, despair. I mean, you always think people at the gym are judging; “Oh, she's not doing it right. She's eating too much. Look at her, she's gaining weight. Here's a fitness model not looking so good.” So, I did what we all do. I went to my doctor. And, at the time I wasn't into functional medicine at all, I just went to regular conventional allopathic sick medicine trusting that they would have an answer because I knew my body was rebelling against me. So, I figured, well, if I go with all my symptoms, they're going to test something, they're going to tell me what's wrong, I'm going to get an answer on a pill. So, I do that and I'm told you're normal, everything is fine. Eat less and exercise more. I was like, right, that is even possible with the regimen that I'm on.
So, doctor number two, I don't stop, I don't accept that, I move on. Doctor number two, doctor number three, now we're four, five, six, all of them telling me that I'm normal. And, I know just like I'll tell your audience, you know when your body is off. You absolutely know when your body is rebelling against you and there's something wrong. So, I kept plugging away, I kept going and they all told me it's all in my head, eat less, exercise more, your BMI is fine. Meanwhile, I'm bringing in what I'm eating. I'm bringing in my exercise regimen saying this doesn't make sense. No one would give me an answer.
Amie: Finally doctor number seven says, “Oh, you have a thyroid problem, you have a goiter on your thyroid, you have Hashimoto's. We're going to do an ultrasound and confirm it but here's a pill.” So, I left her office pumped. I'm like–
Ben: Wait, wait. Could I ask you something?
Ben: What's a goiter?
Amie: Oh, it's a little growth on your thyroid. So, your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. So, she did touch my neck and she actually said swallow. This is the first doctor to actually do the touch test of my thyroid. And, she ran a couple other blood labs and said that she wanted to get an ultrasound. She felt some growth on my thyroid gland. So, she knew that something wasn't right. And, whatever number she looked at on paper, she called me hypothyroid, which I was totally okay with because I had a name for it finally and I had a pill.
Amie: So, I thought, “This is going to be it. I'm going to finally lose this weight. I'm going to feel better, all the things.” I gave it five months, nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. Not 1 pound loss, I didn't feel better, I was still gaining.
Ben: And, what was the pill that she gave you?
Amie: Synthroid T4. T4, levo, Synthroid T4.
Ben: And, Synthroid is just T4, which means that there's, I believe, four different thyroid hormones and the Synthroid replaces one of them.
Amie: Right. And, we'll get into this. We'll get down and dirty with the thyroid hormones just for right now, T4 is inactive. So, that's the thing to remember is that T4 is totally inactive. It is a standard of care though. That is what you learn in med school. You learn to test one test for the thyroid. And, if it is above the standard lab value range which we know is taken from sick people, if it's above that standard lab value range, then you're given a pill and that pill is T4. Now, I mean, we could go down rabbit holes and say the makers of Synthroids, sponsor med school, and give funding, and all of that, but that is the standard of care. That's what's true.
Ben: No, no. Don't do that. I don't want to lose my pharmaceutical company sponsorship of this podcast episode.
Amie: Right, exactly.
Ben: So, don't go down that rabbit hole, but let's keep going.
Amie: Right. So, I was given T4 and I start googling on my big Gateway computer back in the day, what about these thyroid hormones? I'm on T4, it's not working. So, I start to see this thing about other thyroid hormones that are really, really important. And, I went back to my doctor and I'm like, “Hey, maybe this regimen, this protocol that you have me on, I know it's not working, maybe it's not the best for me, how about we try something else?” She goes, “I don't do that.” I'm like, “Well, I'm going to find somebody who does.” And, that's what led me into functional medicine where a functional medicine practitioner literally saved my life, did all the tests, changed the thyroid hormone therapy that I was on, implemented a supplement regimen that actually would work for me and work for my body and work for the numbers that he was seeing. And, he became my mentor and that's what totally changed my career.
And, I just thought, “Well, wait a minute, here I am 20-something and I'm dealing with this in a pretty large city.” I was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pretty large city, huge medical system, and I'm getting the shaft. So, how many other people are getting the same shaft all across the United States let alone the world? So, that's what landed me here. And, I specialize in thyroid and hormones and here I am helping people.
Ben: So, what kind of doctor are you exactly?
Amie: I'm a doctor of clinical nutrition and a functional medicine practitioner.
Ben: Okay, okay, got it. And, you took a deep dive and studied all this thyroid stuff. Who is this mentor by the way? I wonder if I know him, the thyroid guy.
Amie: His name is Dr. Len Brancewicz. He is in his 70s now. He practiced in Pittsburgh PA. He had his own radio show. Yeah. I don't know if he's practicing anymore, but.
Ben: Okay, got you. Yeah. Yeah, I don't think I know of him.
But, back to the thyroid. When you were gaining that weight, because I am super curious about this, is it waterway or do you know when people start to see this increase in the metabolism? And, just so you know, the reason I'm asking this is I'm doing some math in my head about the whole calories in/calories out equation. And, I'm just curious if the added weight is kind of cortisol-related water retention and bloating, if it's an actual formation of new fat in response to drop in metabolic rate or did you ever think about that or dig into it?
Amie: Formation of new fat based on the decrease in metabolism because your thyroid is the master. I mean, that is the start of all metabolic processes including fat burning. So, if your thyroid isn't working, there's nothing that is working. There's nothing that you can do. And, this is what I see with the people that I work with. They're doing the most perfect diet, the perfect exercise regimen. They're doing all the supplementation. They're doing peptides. They're doing all the things and they're not seeing the results. They'll say, “Listen, the scale is not moving down and in fact it's moving up.” And, that is the thyroid's control over your metabolism.
Ben: Okay. So, is this related to the whole idea of metabolic set point to where you could be burning, let's say, I mean my metabolism is screaming how I was talking to somebody the other day like, “Dude, you're just eating all the time, how are you so lean?” And, the last time I did one of these, they call them indirect calorimetry test for how many calories that you burn at rest, sitting around, doing nothing at all, I'm at 3,200. Meaning I got to eat at least 3,200 calories a day to actually keep weight on. But, if somebody finds out how many calories they're burning and they're like, “Oh, I'm going to go on a diet, I'm going eat say 500 fewer calories in that every day,” what could happen, it sounds like based on your explanation, is if they don't go back and retest that their thyroid master regulator might actually decrease that natural amount of calories that they're burning to I don't know 1,500 calories a day. And so, all of a sudden, they're back at calorie balance.
Amie: Exactly. And then, it becomes cyclical, so the people can't burn body fat, their metabolism drops. So, what do we all naturally do? We eat less and exercise more. So then, that eating less, that restriction to where–I mean some of my ladies will drop their calories. They're coming in to see me. They're at a thousand calories a day because they got so desperate to lose the body fat that they just saw pile on that they're restricting, restricting, restricting. And, that further drops their metabolism, it drops the T3 production of their own thyroid gland so it's almost just this really bad cycle that people get into when they're suffering with a thyroid problem and they're not being diagnosed or addressed properly or treated properly, it compounds on each other and the metabolism goes even lower.
Ben: Okay, got it. I got a lot of questions for you about the thyroid now. So, you said earlier that the doctors run this kind of test for the thyroid and they test for certain things. Is that test inadequate?
Amie: No, no. So, you go to your doc, you say, “Listen, I want to get my thyroid tested.” If you don't specify the test that you want, you're going to get TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone. And, that's a pituitary hormone, it's not a thyroid hormone. And, it's an okay test but again in functional medicine, we have optimal lab values. Standard conventional medicine has their standard lab value range that we said earlier is taken from a group of sick people. Functional medicine takes people like you, takes the fit, the healthy and we say, “Where are they at?” And, that's that really narrow optimal range that we want you to fall into. So, with TSH, even just that marker alone, in functional medicine, we want that below it too. Standard medicine won't call you hypo until you're above a 4.5 now. So, it's an okay test if it's screaming at us, if someone comes in and it's like, “Wow, your TSH is a 5.” Yeah, there's a problem but there are so many other tests that we have to test.
Ben: Okay. So, you got TSH. And, first of all, the reference range for that you're saying should be closer to 2 than 4 plus.
Ben: So, if you're looking over your lab values and you got an InsideTracker or Wellness FX or your doctor scores or whatever, you might have to look a little bit more closely if that flags as A, okay, because that might actually not be a proper reference range for what you would consider to be true thyroid health.
Amie: Right, exactly.
Ben: Okay. What else do you test? Okay. So then, we go down the line, we go free T3. That is the active thyroid hormone. So, I mentioned I was given T4, that's inactive. We will test the free T4 for sure, we'll do a total and a free T4. And, that gives us a little bit of information but where I really like to focus, what I want to see is the total and the free T3 because that's your active thyroid hormone. And, the free form of it tells me how much of that active thyroid hormone is in your body ready to be taken up by the cell. So, if we look at a cell, the receptor site on that cell is for T3. There's no receptor site on your cell for T4. There is for T3. So, I want to see how much free active thyroid hormone is in your body, then I want to look at reverse T3. So, reverse T3 is your anti-thyroid hormone.
The analogy that I love to use is a bouncer at a club. That bouncer is just standing outside your cell door, arms crossed, looking at T3, being like, “You're not getting in. You're not getting in today.” So, if there's too much reverse T3 in the body, it's going to block T3's action at the cell level. Where we see elevator reverse T3 is in clinical settings like the ICU, the ER. When you're injured, when you're in a trauma state, that reverse will go up–and, it's a survival mechanism. I mean, it's beautifully built into our bodies, but we don't want it elevated when you're walking around trying to live life. You're not in a hospital bed. We don't want you to have elevated reverse T3. So, this also tells me how well you're converting your inactive thyroid hormone T4 over into the active thyroid hormone T3.
Beyond that, we test for the Hashimoto antibodies. So, that's TPO and TGA, thyroid peroxidase thyroglobulin. That tells me if you have hypothyroidism that is an autoimmune form where your body is attacking your thyroid gland.
Ben: Okay, got it. Would that only be for Hashimoto's that someone would have these elevated thyroid antibodies?
Amie: Yeah. Those are just Hashimoto antibodies. I mean, we could run like an ANA screen. That's kind of general autoimmune marker, but the TPO and TGA are just for those autoantibodies attacking the thyroid gland.
Ben: Okay. So, you got this one subset of people who's maybe not eating enough calories or not eating enough carbohydrates and exercising too much and you're getting a downregulation of thyroid that you could test. But then, are you saying there's another population of people who have an immune condition in which their thyroid is under attack?
Amie: Oh, yeah. So, 95% of all hypothyroidism is actually Hashimoto's. So, we have that small percent of the people just like you said, Ben, that they're overexercising, they're over dieting or maybe they did chemoradiation, they're taking a drug that is downregulating their thyroid function. But, 95% of hypo, low and slow thyroid patients fall into the Hashimoto category. Now, it could be that the diet and exercise, overdoing it actually flip that autoimmune switch to the on position too. So, the overexercising, over-dieting, low calorie definitely will have an effect on the thyroid directly, but it's also a stressor on the body that can flip on the Hashimoto switch.
Ben: Oh, this sounds a little bit something like leaky gut syndrome or a food allergy where a stressful incident in life or something that triggers almost a cell danger response syndrome causes someone to all of a sudden have an autoimmune reaction to certain foods or permeable gut membrane that they never had to deal with otherwise in life and there's a life incident that flips that switch that maybe they weren't born with but that is now activated from a stressful scenario.
Amie: Yeah, exactly. It's that whole three-legged stool analogy for all autoimmune conditions where definitely having a leaky gut, that's going to set you up for that autoimmune switch to turn on and then here comes that stressful event.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. And obviously, this kind of leads to the question and this is probably going to rabbit hole a little bit is what do you do if you find out the values are off. And, it sounds there might be two different approaches depending on which thyroid dysregulation that you're looking at. Yeah.
Amie: I mean, here's the thing. Even if you have Hashimoto's, how are we going to treat you differently? Okay, we're probably going to use something like low dose naltrexone, black cumin seed oil, we're going to mandate that you go gluten-free because gluten is a molecular mimicker to the thyroid so that can induce an autoimmune attack, but I'm still going to treat those low thyroid hormones. It's not like, “Oh, you have Hashimoto, so you're going to get T4 monotherapy while everybody else gets T4 and T3, I'm still going to look at those lab values that we just talked about and I want to get those in an optimal range and I want to get you in an optimal range ultimately eradicating your symptoms.” So, treatment might vary slightly, but at the end of the day, we want you optimized.
Ben: Okay, got it. So, let's go back to the optimized piece assuming that Synthroid as you've just explained is not necessarily the answer because it's inactive T4. What would you actually do to restore thyroid function?
Amie: So, let's look at those labs. So, let's say you're coming in with a free T3 that is suboptimal. I won't even say low because it's not necessarily going to be flagged low on that standard lab value range, but maybe it's low according to my functional standards. Then, we have to look at the fact that here's a stat for you, only 2% of hypothyroid patients do well on T4 monotherapy, 98% do well on T4 and T3 or T3 alone. So, right there, we have to change the treatment. If someone is on T4 only, it's not going to work, it's not going to work. We have to add in some T3. So, let's add in some T3. We can use natural desiccated thyroid like Armour or NP. I have no problem with the synthetics. I have no problem if someone's on Synthroid and they're doing well and their reverse T3 is okay, it's optimal, I know they're converting their thyroid hormone, but the T3 is low. Okay. Well then, let's add in some liothyronine, let's add in some Cytomel, let's add in that T3 to get a better balance, skip the middleman, give you some of that active thyroid hormone that your body needs and that your cells require and now, all of a sudden, you're feeling better.
Now, if there's a reverse T3 issue where the person is having issues converting, then we might lower the T4 and add in the T3. Maybe we do T3 only. I'm T3 only. I don't convert. I never tested my genetics to see if I have a D101 or D102 SNP, but I don't convert. You give me T4, I get worse. So, I'm T3 only. Some of my patients are. It's all about that personalization aspect and finding the right combo that's going to work for that individual.
Ben: Yeah. I was just talking with Kashif Khan from The DNA Company a few days ago for a podcast. I don't know if it's going to have come out by the time this podcast is released, but I would imagine that there are some genetic pathways that would dictate your response to certain thyroid approaches. Could you test for genetics before–kind of like there's a certain people who are statin responders and non-responders and certain people respond to PCSK9. So, based on cardiovascular risk, you could theoretically do a genetic test prior to prescription and find out which medication for say heart disease or plaque they might be more responsive to because you kind of preemptively do that for the thyroid in some fashion.
Amie: The only thing we can do genetic-wise that I know about is testing that D101, D102 pathway. So, that's going to tell us whether or not you readily convert T4 to T3 or if you maybe push that T4 to reverse T3. So, that inactive thyroid hormone T4, it has two paths to choose from. It can convert to free T3, the active thyroid hormone which we hope it does or it can go down the reverse T3 path. And, in my case, I was converting all of my T4 thyroid hormone that I made from my own thyroid gland and that I was given in the form of a T4 pill. I was converting that to reverse T3 and that was putting my body in survival mode. So, we can test those two SNPs, but I haven't yet heard of genetic test that tells us exactly what med and combo you would do best on.
Ben: Right. It would at least give you some clues though about your potential for converting, let's say, T4 into reverse T3 it sounds like.
What about T1 and T2? Why are we just talking about 3 and 4?
Amie: I love the other thyroid hormones, love it. So, T1 and T2, very important. T1 is inactive. We can kind of set that aside, put it in the same category as T4. But T2, oh, this baby, I've been studying T2 now for 15 years. And, I joke, Ben:, that bodybuilders were really kind of the OGs of biohacking because I mean you know when you were doing it, we tried everything on our–so, I mean you try everything on yourself now, but we tried everything on ourselves long before it came into mainstream. So, 15, 20 years ago and T2 has been studied for 30 years. But, 15, 20 years ago, I started looking into it because as you know, many people, many bodybuilders, competitors, people looking to lose body fat will use T3 in order to lose body fat whether they have a thyroid problem or not. And, the problem that I saw when I was competing were especially among the ladies, a lot of these girls were using it to burn body fat, get show ready, and then they came out the other side and would put on 30, 40 pounds a couple weeks after the show and now they have a thyroid problem because they shut down their own thyroid production. They basically created that negative feedback loop, now they're hypothyroid.
Ben: Sounds similar to a guy who gets on a bunch of testosterone when they're young and inhibits fertility and LH and FSH and has this big uphill battle to climb if they ever stop taking it.
Amie: Exactly. I mean, our bodies are smart. It's going to shut it down if we're ever partaking something that we don't need. So, T2 not in medication form in supplemental form, T2 will decrease body fat. So, it'll actually increase your basal metabolic rate, it will stimulate brown adipose tissue. And, I can go into the studies on this, but in a nutshell, it protects your muscle. So, where T3 will come in cause a thyroid problem, burn fat and muscle, so now you get to the show, now you look flat on the stage because you wasted your muscle, you come out the other side, you're going to gain 40 pounds and have a thyroid problem. T2 will only burn body fat, it will protect muscle and it will not downregulate your own thyroid.
So, back in the day, the trainers to the pros were using T2 and I actually saw one interview where he's like, “Yeah, I don't let my women competitors use T3 at all, I give them T2 because we can get it in supplemental form, we don't have to buy it on the black market, we don't have to get a doctor to prescribe it. And, oh, hey, it's only going to burn body fat, it's not going to shut down their thyroid production afterwards.” I mean, T2 is amazing. The technical term is 3,5-diiodo-L-thyronine and it is in supplemental form, it is not in medication form although we do see it in natural desiccated thyroid products medication, the Armour, the NP because it is naturally produced by your thyroid gland, it's one of the four thyroid hormones. Although it's in a teeny tiny amount in the NDT medication. Whereas, what we use for the study is higher.
Ben: Yeah. So, T2, you call it 3,5-diiodo-L-thyronine?
Ben: Okay. So, if I have a supplement and you're saying this could be an over-the-counter supplement and I want to like, I don't know, enhance brown adipose tissue activation from cold or I want to lose fat but not lose muscle, I could literally take this as a supplement without having to get a prescription from a doctor?
Amie: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. That's what I put in one of my formulas, Thyroid Fixxr, because I've been using it for 15 years. I started using it when I was competing. I started using it with my patients. And anecdotally, I was just seeing these amazing results, amazing fat-burning results with no effect on their thyroid lab values. So, yeah, that's the beauty of it. I mean, until the FDA clamps down on us and figures out, hey, this is really good, let's put it in a pill. It is available on supplemental form.
Ben: Is that this black bottle, Thyroid Fixxr?
Amie: That is. Yup, that's what's in Thyroid Fixxr.
Ben: I did put two and two together. Okay, because four bottles of that showed up at my house two months ago and I read the label. I wasn't quite sure about the 3,5-diiodo-L-thyronine, now it makes sense if that's the T2. But, I took a bottle to Italy and we went to Italy. And, since Italy, I've been telling everybody we're riding all Over the hill country like mad men on bicycles, I was eating cake for breakfast and gelato for lunch and pasta for dinner and came back and I'd lost 7 pounds. But now, I'm wondering how much that stuff came into play because I was popping three capsules of that every morning.
Amie: Yeah, no, it'll help.
Ben: What's the downside in terms of T2? Are you going to see any type of negative feedback loop or hormonal downregulation?
Amie: I have combed through all the studies, the rodent studies, the human studies. I have combed through them. And, I cannot find a negative. There was one study that showed there's a potential downregulation of TSH. Meaning your TSH might go low in which case, okay, if it goes super low, your doctor's going to say, “Oh, my gosh, you're hyperthyroid.” But, that was just one single study done in rodents. All the other studies show no thyromimetic effect. So, no effect on the thyroid gland itself because this thyroid hormone T2 works at the mitochondria level. It doesn't work stimulating the thyroid to pump out more thyroid hormone, it's actually working at the mitochondria level.
Ben: Yeah, I tested about six days ago and my TSH already came back a couple days ago. It was at 2.5, so I haven't seen a huge suppression or elevation. Mine kind of tends to be between about 2 and 3 most of the time, which I realize is still a little bit bigger than the lab values that you said were ideal for the reference range. I believe you said below 2, right?
Amie: Right, right. But then, for you, I would look at your other symptoms too and say, okay, are you presenting with fatigue and weight gain and constipation? If the answer is no, then we don't mind.
Ben: Yeah. And actually, what I had been meaning to ask you–and definitely, weight gain is not an issue with me. Like I said, I got to eat like a horse to keep weight on. But, I also don't eat a lot of carbohydrates. Back when I was racing Iron Man, I took part in that Jeff Volek study where for a full year we only had 10% of our diet from carbohydrates, it was 80% fat. I mean, that was obviously for an experiment, but I probably averaged for at least four years of my Iron Man racing somewhere around 20 to 30% carbohydrate. This was actually one of the things that led me to write my book, “Beyond Training,” because I started to do all this blood and biomarker testing and I saw suppressed testosterone and rampant inflammation and even blood sugar dysregulation, but my TSH, I think it was close to 5. I mean, it was through the roof, and the thyroid values were super suppressed.
And, at that point, I began doing more carbohydrates. Still less than I think what you might see recommended by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, but I started taking with my evening meal particularly anywhere in the range of 100 to 250 grams of carbohydrates. And now, that's usually what I had about 30 to around 40% daily carbohydrate intake, which is still a little bit low when you look at my level of physical activity. But, I suspect if I were even eat more carbohydrates that I might see the TSH drop a little bit more.
But, I wanted to get your thoughts on this whole ketosis, low carb thing and whether you think there's anything there as far as lack of carbohydrates suppressing thyroid.
Amie: So, the studies show that it's only in long-term low carbohydrate consumption. So, I mean, a lot of my patients end up being insulin resistant because of the thyroid problem. So, thyroid master gland controlling sex hormones controlling all the hormones in our body including insulin. So, we see this glucose dysregulation, insulin resistance in the majority of thyroid patients. Now, what do they do? All of them go on a low-carb diet because we see that they're insulin resistant, maybe they'll throw in some berberine. But, if they are low, low, low carb like under 20 or 30 grams of carbohydrates day after day, month after month, year after year, then we will see a little bit of a downregulation in free T3 production, in the T3 production of the thyroid gland. But, it's not significant enough for me to say, “Oh, that low carbohydrate diet, being in ketosis is bad for you because there's so many other positives. Whether you're doing carnivore which okay it has upsides and downsides, but a lot of people will do carnivore just to reduce that inflammation. And, that has a fantastic effect on Hashimoto antibodies and the reduction of those. So, if it's working for you, if the low carb diet, if carnivore, if being in ketosis is working and you feel better and your brain's alive and you're keeping a stable weight, then who cares if your free T3 drops a little bit? I mean, you can always come out of ketosis once a week or once every two weeks and that's enough to just kick that back up again.
Ben: Okay, this idea of long-term carbohydrate deprivation deleteriously affecting thyroid kind of makes me think about something else I wanted to ask you that you see bandied about a lot, particularly the nutrition sector, and it is that you should do refeeds. And, I've even seen a number thrown out there is four weeks like don't go any longer than four weeks without some kind of a refeed weekend or a binge Saturday or a big cheat day or whatever. Because if you do that every four weeks, you push the reboost button on your thyroid. I've seen other people say as often as every one week. But, is there any science behind or anything that you know about this idea of calorie cycling and having basically refeeds on particular days of the week to keep the thyroid elevated if you're otherwise restricting calories on other days?
Amie: Yeah. I mean, I haven't seen any hardcore evidence or studies on it, but what I normally tell my patients is, and this will happen naturally because you're just living a normal life. Once a week, once every two weeks, go ahead and enjoy. Now, I'm not talking about a cheat day where you go all out and it's like, okay, let's do the pizza, beer, and brownie diet. But, just bringing your carbohydrates up, eat sweet potatoes, have that fruit that you've been craving, have some dark chocolate, bring your carbohydrates up to 100, 150, but with good quality carbohydrates. And then, that's enough to bring you kind of out of that ketosis. Now, obviously, if you're metabolically efficient, you're going to snap back into ketosis the next day or two. But, it's enough to bring you up out. And, that's all your thyroid needs. Maybe it's once a week based on your lifestyle, based on your social schedule, and plan it out that way so you can live a life.
Ben: Yeah. There's half the people, I think, who hear that and are going to put an extra cup of blueberries in their smoothie and then the other half of people just heard you say have donuts every Saturday. So, it's going to widely vary.
So, with the thyroid, you talked about T2, talked about Synthroid and some of these other natural options say Armour, but what about these folks who are just using desiccated thyroid glandular? You talked about the carnivore diet, a lot of those people maybe because the Liver King guy, Brian Johnson, had Ancestral Supplements company and would sell these thyroid capsules. I know there's a lot of other companies, I think Heart and Soil does one. I know there's a few others out there, but it's basically claims to be T1, T2, T3 and T4 because it's just the ground up thyroid gland of an animal. Do you think that's beneficial at all?
Amie: So, this is a story going back about 15, 20 years, maybe 20 years ago. There was another company that had it out. And, I swore one day, because I would use this with my patients and I would see lab values change and I would see improvements happen, and I said, “One day somebody's going to figure out that there's T3 and T4 in here and take away the glandular.” And, they still haven't yet. But, yes, I mean, so glandular are supposed to. And, if you look on Ancestral, if you look on those companies' websites, it will say, “Oh, there's no active thyroid hormone in these glandulars.” But, just like you said, Ben, they're drying the thyroid gland out of a cow. So, is there a little guy picking out the T3 and the T4 and the t2? No, I mean, those thyroid hormones are going to be dried in that thyroid gland. So, yes, I do think that they are beneficial. There's a caveat though if you are not a converter. So, going back to what we talked about before about that T4 and T3 conversion, if you're not a converter, those glandulars are 80% T4, 20% T3, just like Armour Thyroid, just like NP thyroid, they are 80% T4. So, if someone's a non-converter and they take a glandular, they could actually get worse.
Ben: Yeah. I see where you're going. You can see elevation of reverse T3, so your balance are in front of the cells would actually go up.
Ben: Okay, cool. That's good to know. So, you'd actually have to do a little bit of pre-testing or look at that genetic SNP that you talked about before you determine if that approach might work for you.
I know that's not really a whole foods approach, although some would argue it is. But, another thing that comes up a lot is the recommendation for using these seasonings that are ground up sea vegetables like kelp and dulse and kombu, nori, eating a diet that's rich in sea vegetables and including a lot of these components in your diet. What do you think about that approach for things like iodine and selenium, for example?
Amie: Right. So, that's the iodine, yeah, the iodine-selenium piece. So, here's my take. And, as you know in this space that we're in, you could find 50% of the people saying Hashimoto hypothyroid patients shouldn't do iodine and 50% will say that they should. I'm in the camp that iodine is good because if you really look at it, every cell in the body needs iodine, just like every cell needs thyroid hormone, every cell in the body needs iodine. And, when you look at the studies on iodine, iodine will reduce reverse T3, it will help with T4 to T3 conversion, it helps your hair grow, it helps with fibrocystic breast disease. It's used for your immune system support. So, why not take iodine? We don't have to take it in excess. We don't have to take abnormal amounts that's going to cause a thyroid storm, but we can take enough for support and for conversion help.
So, I'm a fan of using straight-up iodine just because some of the, like you said the sea kelp and the salts. I mean, number one, you're probably not getting the amount of iodine that you need and you might even overdo it if you're taking an iodine supplement and you're doing all the sea vegetables. And, I mean, listen, I love some good sushi, but I'm not going to use that as my sole source of iodine. I'm going to take a really high-quality iodine supplement. And then, for the selenium, I see too many. Oh, my gosh, these thyroid patients, they will go on every blog, every forum and they see selenium and then they start popping 200 mgs of selenium a day. Now, their selenium goes up, now the reverse T3 goes up. So, I tell people, “My god, just eat a Brazil nut or two per day to get your selenium.” It's cheap and you're not going to overdose on it.
Ben: Yeah, fun fact. Keep the Brazil nuts in the freezer. Those things tend to get notoriously moldy. They don't have a good shelf life. So, I actually have Brazil nuts and I keep them in the freezer and I pop a couple every now and again for primarily the selenium that you talked about. But, I also interviewed a friend of mine Dr. Leland Stillman, he said the same thing about iodine that you are really championed the idea that it actually is a helpful supplement for a lot of people. He uses it with a lot of his patients. He was taking, I don't want to get this wrong, I'm going to say what I think he said on the podcast, but I'll link to it in the shownotes. We may have to go back and check, but I think he said he was around somewhere in the range of 50 to 70 micrograms a day. Has a little experiment that he was doing and feeling fantastic. And, since talking to him and looking at a few of the options for iodine out there, I actually started a couple of times a week to take 150 micrograms of iodine, the Life Extension formula. And, what's interesting is that I fly a lot. And, if you look at all these things like bentonite clay and magnesium and chlorella that are all talked about as a way to combat the effects of radiation, X-ray radiation, solar radiation, even the type of radiation you might get from a dye injected during say a CT angiography which I recently got, that iodine is the only supplement that actually has scientific data behind it for helping to combat the effects of radiation exposure. So, there's kind of a bonus to have it around. If you happen to go on a long-haul flight or go get a heart scan or something like that, it appears that iodine's good for that too.
Amie: Oh, yeah, I squirt it up my nose when I'm on a plane. I keep it in a little spray bottle and dilute it with saline water and put it up my nose because it's so good for the immune system. And then, for the thyroid gland, iodine will bind to the halides that are toxic to the thyroid gland so that it's going to bind to chlorine and bromine and fluoride and all those fluoride treatments that we got as kids. I mean, it's going to bind to that in your body and help your body detoxify from those halides. It's only going to help support your entire body detoxification processes and support your thyroid gland too. Actually, protect the thyroid from all those toxins that like to attack it.
Ben: Yeah. So, you have your kids and swim or you're a master swimmer in the chlorinated pool all day, make sure you have some sushi or some sea vegetables, use some iodine. I wish I'd known about that when I was doing a lot of triathlon because I was in chlorine almost every day, and that's a notorious halide that affects the thyroid. So, something to think about there.
And then, the other thing that I'm seeing a lot more of, Amie, is this idea of peptides as the research out of Russia, Dr. Khavinson has done a lot of that research on longevity and decreased all-cause risk of mortality and improved organ function with these very small peptide bioregulators, which TLDR you consume certain bioregulators and they go to support that specific gland that they're named after. And, there's one, I think it's called, I'm not butchering the name, I think it's called thymosin or something like that but you take it and apparently helps to support the thyroid as a peptide and a lot of people are swearing by peptide bioregulators and/or peptides for thyroid support. What do you think about peptides?
Ben: Okay, yeah.
Amie: And, what's crazy about it is it will work whether you're hyper or hypo. I mean, it's amazing, these bioregulators coming. Now, you have to have a thyroid gland. So, if you have a thyroidectomy or you had your thyroid radioactive iodine, not going to work. You have to have a thyroid gland for the bioregulators to work on it, but it's almost like an adaptogen but so much better. It will literally balance out the thyroid. So, if you're making too much thyroid hormone and you're hyper, it's going to going to calm that down. If you're making too little, it's going to help your thyroid amp up and kick out more thyroid hormone.
So, that's the bioregulator. But, peptides, that's where we can get into thymosin alpha. So, we know that that's immune regulating. That's going to help people with Hashimoto's because we see with Hashimoto's, like we said, it's your body attacking your thyroid gland, your little soldiers in there think your thyroid gland is a bad guy and they're going out and they're beating it up and they're attacking it until your thyroid gland becomes like this weird looking small tiny little gland that can't produce T4 and T3 anymore. So, when we support the immune system, use thymosin alpha, then we see almost a downregulation of those autoantibodies. They start to calm down, the soldiers stay in their barracks. So, peptide-wise, I love thymosin alpha, I love MOTS-c because we see, like I said earlier, a lot of insulin resistance with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's. So, MOTS-c is really good. And then, just the growth hormone ones, CJC-1295, ipamorelin. So many of my patients have the hair loss and they will literally say, “I feel like I've aged 10 years in one year.” So, we bring on the growth hormone peptides and now they're seeing this more luxurious hair growth and they're seeing improvements in their dry skin from their thyroid condition. And, I mean, it's not the miracle fat loss drug we know and you've talked about this before in your podcast. These growth hormone peptides, they act slow. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So, you're not going to see, “Oh, my god, I dropped 10 pounds in a month from using CJC.” No, but over the long haul when you're doing all the things, that's just going to stack on top of your regimen and help with all of the symptoms that you're seeing.
Ben: Yeah, arguably safer in my opinion than growth hormone because of some concerns about carcinogenesis of excess growth hormone use. Although, I personally think that's more of an issue of reduced receptor availability, which you can address that with some flavonols or polyphenols or compounds like quercetin or rutin, things like that that you co-consume with the GH. But, the peptides, that's a really great stack that you talk about. The CJC-ipamorelin in the morning or the tesamorelin in the evening or vice versa. Some people, including me, prefer vice versa. That is something that shows profound improvements in energy and muscle gain and appetite regulation. So, that's a great stack. That MOTS-c that you talked about, that's a wonderful one for the mitochondria, for insulin. The thymosin alpha, I didn't know about how good it was at supporting the immune system and thyroid, but it kind of makes me want to ask the thymosin beta, a lot of people use that for injuries, the TB500. Does that have any effect on the thyroid or is it just named similarly for a different reason?
Amie: It's not so much a direct effect on the thyroid. I use it for wound healing post-surgery, all of that. I love that in a Wolverine stack. But, what I see more with the thymosin beta are more for just the injury component. So, a hypothyroid patient, everything is low and slow. If they have surgery, they get an injury. Wound healing goes down especially if they're insulin resistant or type 2 diabetic on top of that. We see slow wound healing. We see slow connective tissue pair. So, you threw in some thymosin beta and yeah that amps it up a notch too.
Ben: Okay, got it. Now, one other the thing about peptide bioregulators, I know a lot of people are wondering, is that a prescription? You can get them over the counter. That Phil Micans guy that you mentioned who I also interviewed, he's affiliated with a website called Anti-Aging Systems. And, I know they have even though I think they go in and out of stock because they're difficult to get, they have at least an oral version of peptide bioregulators. I think all of them. And so, that'd be one option. You don't have to take them all the time. I think it's a couple of 10-day cycles that you do each year. But, I know that's one source for them. Do you have a particular source you like for peptides or peptide bioregulators, Amie?
Amie: I started carrying Thyreogen on my store because of the beneficial effects. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, my people need this” because how easy is it to take a thyroid bioregulator and literally improve your thyroid function. No matter what you're doing, no matter what kind of protocol you're on, medication protocol, there's no interaction with being on T4, T3. There's no interaction with T2. There's no harm in throwing it in. So, I actually started carrying the Thyreogen on my store but it is, it comes in and out of stock. It's really hard to get.
Ben: Okay. I assume you can get this 3,5-diiode-L-thyronine, this T2 at your store also.
Amie: Yup, definitely. Definitely, that's Thyroid Fixxr. Yup.
Ben: Okay, good. I'll add all that to the shownotes for you who are listening.
The red light therapy, people talk about using this infrared and red light. And, I think it's the 650-ish to 820-nanometer wavelength spectrum close to the thyroid around the front of the neck or so to basically treat thyroid function. And, I don't know if it's similar to this thymosin where it treats both the hypo and the hyperthyroid, not the thymosin, the other peptide that you mentioned, but was it thymogen?
Ben: Thyreogen, yeah. What about red light though?
Amie: I mean, red light, there's again a ton of studies on it showing the positive effect on the thyroid gland. And again, you have to have a thyroid gland, A. So, that red light shining on the thyroid gland, it's actually showing to heal. So, if you do have Hashimoto's and like we said earlier, the thyroid gland starts to get all wonky looking and small and kind of beat up, you add in that red light therapy on a daily basis on the thyroid gland itself. And, we're seeing some tissue regeneration and a little bit more output of the thyroid hormones.
Now, it's not huge, it's not tremendous. Again, it's the marathon thing. You got to do it every day. You have to be diligent about it. I probably wouldn't use that as a monotherapy. So, if someone comes to me and they have all the symptoms and they're gaining weight and they're constipated, they're losing their hair, I wouldn't just say, “Hey, stand in front of a red light and you'll be good,” I would do it in conjunction with other therapies for sure.
Ben: Yeah. That's interesting. And, you know I've just seen some of these companies coming out with wraparound red lights for the joints, one company called Kineon has one. And, the guy who sent it to me said that it does help out with thyroid function. So, rather than just using my knees and my elbows, I've occasionally just wrapped it around the neck, put the red light on the neck.
Ben: And then, the company HigherDOSE that for the longest time had this infrared light face mask that you use if you're going to do a clay mask for beauty or wrinkles or something like that. And, I got one last week, they sent one to my house to try. They made a wraparound red light that's specifically for the neck and the chest. You wrap it around your neck almost like a bib, a lobster bib, and it does red light starting at the bottom of the chin all the way to about the sternum level. So, that'd probably be another option for people who want to do targeted red light therapy for the thyroid but maybe can't afford or don't have space for one of these big red light panels or red light beds.
Amie: Yeah. And, you help your turkey neck all the same time.
Ben: I think that's why they made it was for the beauty aspects, but I was thinking, gosh, there's probably a crossover effect here for the thyroid. That's interesting.
Amie: Yeah, definitely.
Ben: One other thing that people talk about a lot, and this might be related to or even something that might be stackable with this T2 approach because you mentioned it for brown fat activation is cold like cold baths, ice baths, making sure that you get the neck under or the chin under when you get in there to treat the thyroid. Have you seen any research on that or do you like the idea of cold thermogenesis for thyroid support?
Amie: I do. I do because of that brown fat activation and the decrease in inflammation. So, I mean, now you tell a hypothyroid patient who is usually cold intolerant, they're cold when everyone else is totally comfortable, you tell them that you got to do cold therapy, they're going to look at you like you have five heads. But, when you look at the evidence, so we know that the body will adjust. So, on the one hand, you can tell that patient, “Listen, I know you're cold all the time, but if you do the cold showers, the cold bath, the cold therapy, you're going to acclimate.” So, your body will adjust to that, you're going to get the benefits of it, you're going to get that brown fat activation, you're going to get the decrease in inflammation, but you're also going to acclimate and be more comfortable at the end of your therapy, whether you're doing it daily or you're doing it two, three times a week. In a couple weeks to a month when your body actually starts to adjust, now you won't be that cold person in the room that has to wear a sweater and it's 75 degrees. Your body temp will adjust to that as well. So, there's so many benefits I have nothing but good to say about cold therapy whether you have a hypothyroid issue, a thyroid issue or not.
Ben: Yeah. I think a lot of people forget about that improvement in microcirculation and brown fat formation. That kind of makes a little bit easier as time goes on or at least you warm up a little faster. And, for people who don't really like the idea of getting into the cold water or maybe can't afford a cryotherapy chamber in your spare bathroom, there's one company, and I have had a few clients who really just detest cold water get this. It's called Cool Fat Burner. And, I think it's coolfatburner.com, I believe, and they've got this wraparound device that you put ice packs in. They got one for the gut and then they got one that wraps around the collarbone and up by the neck. I think I blank on the name of that one. Actually, I think take the one around the waist is called the Cool Gut Buster or something like that and the one for the neck is the Cool Fat Burner. But, that's an option, you can just use cold packs in this kind of vest scenario. And interestingly, the cold packs are actually pretty close up around the thyroid gland.
Amie: Right. And, like you said, Ben, stacking it. So, you stack it with T2 that activates brown adipose tissue. You're activating more BAT. That is lowering or improving your insulin sensitivity, lowering your insulin, lowering your insulin resistance. You're stimulating more mitochondria. I mean, it literally just keeps stacking upon itself with the benefits. You can't go wrong. And, when you're talking again about a hypothyroid patient, weight is the big thing, weight and low energy. So, when you are activating that BAT or you're stimulating white adipose tissue and browning it, oh my gosh, I mean, your energy improves, your inflammation goes down like we said, you're burning more fat. I mean, it has nothing but good, why not do it?
Ben: Have you ever heard of grains of paradise?
Amie: That's funny. I just started looking that up as a potential to actually put into one of my new formulas. So, yes, I have because I just started looking at that.
Ben: Yeah, it's like one of the most potent brown fat activators. Matter of fact, if you come to my house and we got our Greenfield family logo on everything, it's on the family crest and there's flags by the front door with the Greenfield family logo and our pickleball paddles have the family logo, our throw pillows, our coasters, it's everywhere. But, we have this really beautiful custom-made wooden pepper grinder that if anybody uses pepper at our house, they think they're using black pepper. That thing's always full with grains of paradise. And, I put pepper on just about every meal except breakfast. And, that is a super potent brown fat activator. And, I looked into the research on it, so yeah, it would be a fantastic addition to your product. But, you can literally just buy the grains from Amazon and put them in a pepper grinder and just use it on your bone broth and your salads and things like that.
Amie: Yeah, amazing, amazing research with that.
Ben: Yeah. I know that you specialize in thyroid and again, BenGreenfieldLife.com/ThyroidFixer is where people can access the shownotes and learn more about you and your website and your practice and everything, but you do a lot of other hormones and a lot of other work.
And, one thing I just wanted to ask you while I have you on the show. I know we don't have a terribly long amount of time left together, but it's testosterone, particularly for women because I understand I think I saw an article on your website where you talked about this and I'm curious, what's your take on that? Because I'm hearing a lot of talk about sexual function and orgasm quality and things like this for women who use a topical testosterone or a hormone replacement with testosterone. What's your take on that?
Amie: This is my second passion next to thyroid is testosterone and the importance of it for men and women. So, I mean, really, we're hearing it more and more from men these days, TRT, all of that. I mean, it's talked about more mainstream, but I think women get left behind in this testosterone talk because when we talk about women's hormones, we think estrogen, we don't think testosterone. But, testosterone is the most abundant hormone in a woman's body. Now, you guys have more of it but it is our most abundant hormone. And, I call it the get-shit-done hormone. It gives us motivation. It gives us drive. It gives us strength. It helps with body fat. It helps with libido. It helps with hair growth. I mean, it helps with so many things that if you don't have enough of it, you're not going to want to do anything. I mean, you're not going to want to have sex, yeah, but you're also not going to want to go to the gym, you're not going to want to work, you're not going to want to think, you're not going to want to do. So, testosterone for women is vital.
Now, here's the problem, again, going back to conventional medicine and those standard lab value ranges. A woman will get cut off in that standard lab value range, most of them end at 48 total. So, I'm looking at the total testosterone right now. It'll go 2 to 48.
Amie: So, if a woman comes in with a test level of a 50, which in my mind is the bottom number for optimal, I like my ladies at 50 or above for testosterone, total testosterone. So, woman comes in with a 50, she's getting flagged high. Her doctor is telling her, “Oh, you have too much testosterone, you must have PCOS or you have an androgen problem.” Meanwhile, she's just hitting the bottom of the barrel of optimal.
I mean, men, you guys get told you're normal too if your testosterone is 400 and we know that that's horrible. But ladies, I love, I mean when you get that testosterone number up and you give a woman who is low in T, you give her testosterone replacement therapy. Whether it's a cream, I will use injectable with my ladies too, troches, however you want to do it. The only thing I stay away from are the pellets because that's where I see female levels go to dude levels. And, that's where you'll get the women saying, “I lost all my hair.” It's like, yeah, well you converted the DHT because your test was a 900. So, that's not good–
Ben: I was going to say. I assume that you're looking at lab values because I would imagine if you're just looking at total T, you could put a woman on testosterone, see something like over-aromatization. I don't know if excess estrogen could lead to risk of breast cancer or something like that or you might see that it's not bioavailable because sex hormone binding globulin is too high because they're under a lot of stress. I would imagine similar to a man, you can't just take testosterone as a woman and assume you're just good to go, right?
Amie: Right, yeah. No, it's all about the dose, the administration, how she pushes to the 5alpha-reductase pathway, so how she's going to aromatize her testosterone in the DHT. We look at that. And, I mean, we can tweak it, we can personalize it, we can really make it fit her. So, if we're using something like a cream, I'll go 10 to 20 mgs per day because there's always a crapshoot with the cream with absorption and utilization with an injectable. I mean, we could do something as simple as 10 milligrams a week or 10 every two weeks. And, that's enough. I mean, it just lights a woman up.
And, here's the thing with the thyroid too tying it back, low levels of testosterone and this is one reason why women get hit with Hashimoto's more than men because again, you guys have more testosterone for protection. Testosterone protects against autoimmune. So, women get hit with Hashimoto's more often because we have lower levels of testosterone in general and then you have the group of women that just have low T period. And, when you give that testosterone, male or female, you actually protect against autoimmune. So, you can lower the Hashimoto antibodies by bringing those testosterone levels up too often.
Ben: Wow, interesting. Yeah, I thought about recommending testosterone to my wife but I thought we should just test blood first just in case her levels came back at 68. So, I told her she's good to go, and it's probably because she's just outside all day in the sunshine pushing around wheelbarrows and bringing alfalfa out to the goats and just kind of living a primal lifestyle out there. And, I think she's okay on testosterone, but yeah, I think a lot of women don't know about this. And so, that's really helpful to hear the reference ranges and in your approach on that.
We're out of time, but man, I mean your website is a deep dive into a lot more. You get into peptides for women and other lab tests for other hormones and constipation, what to do if you're losing your hair, and a lot of really, really helpful advice. So, I'm going to link to your website in the shownotes and everything else that you do and then to some other podcasts that I mentioned like the one with Phil Micans, the one with Leland Stillman, et cetera. So, obviously, a lot there. I'll take detailed shownotes and get them down there for everybody at BenGreenfieldLife.com/ThyroidFixer.
And, correct me if I'm wrong Amie, but even though you're based out of Pennsylvania and kind of the Northeast area, you would do consults or tele consults and things like that with people?
Amie: Yup. We can actually, my team–I built a team that we can now prescribe to all 50 states because I do feel that I don't claim to be able to heal everyone's thyroid naturally or with supplements, I mean just like we talked about, sometimes thyroid hormone replacement or bioidentical hormone replacement with testosterone, sometimes that is required. Oftentimes, that's required. So, we can prescribe to all 50 states. So, absolutely, I do the one-on-one consults, my team does them. We can prescribe the whole deal for anyone suffering.
Ben: Awesome, awesome. Well, everybody, go some sushi with your donuts and grind a little bit of grains of paradise in your wild blueberry smoothie and throw some thyroid gland in there and have an amazing week. I hope you learned a little bit about the thyroid here. Amie, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Amie: Thanks, Ben.
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Dr. Amie Hornaman “The Thyroid-Fixer”, is host to the top-rated podcast in medicine and alternative health The Thyroid Fixer™, with listeners around the globe. She is the founder of The Institute for Thyroid and Hormone Optimization, an organization with transformational, proven approaches to address thyroid dysfunction and support people in returning to full health. Dr. Amie is also the creator of The Fixxr™ Supplement line with revolutionary, proprietary supplements that are changing the lives of many people. Ultimately, she is a woman on a mission to optimize thyroid patients around the world and give them their lives back.
While competing in NPC figure competitions, her own body rebelled against her resulting in insufferable symptoms, 6 misdiagnoses and improper treatment. From that experience, Dr. Amie set out to help others who she KNEW were going through the same set of frustrations and who were on the same medical roller coaster.
She grabs your hand, gives you answers about your health that no one has told you and gives you the actual tools and personalized treatment to fix you. With a focus on optimizing thyroid and hormone function, and thus optimizing her patients, Dr. Amie looks at you as a unique individual and not just a lab value. She examines all factors that tie into thyroid dysfunction and thyroid symptoms and FIXES you to give you your life back.
- The Fixxr (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-How did Amie Hornaman start her journey?…02:30 07:37
- Amie competed in fitness and did fitness modeling
- She had chicken, fish, asparagus, gym twice a day regimen
- Getting ready for a pretty big show
- Started gaining weight out of nowhere
- Went to her doctor
- The first doctor told her that everything was fine
- To eat less and exercise more
- She went to other doctors because she felt something was wrong
- Dr. no. 7 told her she had Hashimoto’s
- Started taking pills – Synthroid T4
- Nothing improved
- Started googling thyroid hormones
- Went into functional medicine
- A Functional Medicine practitioner saved her life
- Became her mentor
- She now specializes on thyroid hormones
- Amie is a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition and a Functional Medicine practitioner
- The Institute for Thyroid and Hormone Optimization
-Where does the weight gain come from?…10:36 15:43
- Formation of new fat based on the decrease in metabolism
- The thyroid is the master of all metabolic processes, including fat burning
- If your thyroid isn't working, there's nothing that is working
- People can't burn body fat, their metabolism drops
- Eating less and exercising more further drops their metabolism even lower
-Are the usual thyroid tests adequate?…13:38 18:45
- If you do not specify the thyroid test, doctors usually get you TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
- TSH is a pituitary hormone, not a thyroid hormone
- It is adequate, but not enough
- Functional medicine has different lab values than standard medicine lab values
- For TSH, functional medicine reference range should be below 2
- Standard medicine says 4.5+
- Free T3 – the active thyroid hormone
- Free T4 – the inactive thyroid hormone
- We want to see the total of Free T3
- Shows how much free active thyroid hormone is in the body
- Reverse T3 – anti thyroid hormone
- Too much reverse T3 blocks T3 action in the cellular level
- Hashimoto antibodies
- TPO and TGA
- 95% of all hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s
- Over exercising and over dieting can effect the thyroid directly
- A stressor on the body that can flip on the Hashimoto switch
- Analogy to leaky gut
-What to do when thyroid values are off?…19:25 24:32
- Hashimoto's Bundle (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Low Dose Naltrexone
- Black cumin seed oil
- Gluten-free diet
- Low thyroid hormone treatments
- The goal is to get lab values in the optimal range and eradicate symptoms
- Only 2% of hypothyroid patients do well on T4 monotherapy
- 98% do well on T4 and T3, or T3 alone
- T4 alone is not going to work, we have to add T3
- With reverse T3 issue, lower the T4 or do just T3
- It’s all about personalization aspect
- Podcast with Kashif Khan:
-Genetic tests for thyroid?…32:31
- Genetic wise, we can only test D101 and D102 pathways
- It shows if the body is converting T4 to T3
- Or pushing T4 to reverse T3
- No genetic test that tells us exactly what medication is the best for us
-The importance of T1 and T2 hormones…34:11
- T1 and T2 are very important
- T1 is inactive
- Amie has been studying T2 for 15 years
- Many women bodybuilders would use T3 in order to lose body fat
- After the show, they would put on significant weight
- They cause a thyroid problem because they shut down their own thyroid production
- Like men taking testosterone
- T2 in supplemental form – Thyroid Fixxr (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Decreases body fat
- Increases basal metabolic rate
- Stimulate brown adipose tissue
- Protects muscles
- Ben’s experience with Thyroid Fixxr when he travelled in Italy
- T2 is 3,5-Diiodo-L-Thyronine in Thyroid Fixxr (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Amazing fat burning results with no effect on thyroid lab values
- No downside effect on the thyroid gland itself
- T2 works at the mitochondrial level
-Does lack of carbohydrates suppress the thyroid?…40:38
- Faster study over at Dr. Jeff Volek’s at the UConn Human Performance Laboratory
- Beyond Training by Ben Greenfield
- Glucose dysregulation and insulin resistance in the majority of thyroid patients
- All of them go on a low carb diet
- Months and year of low carb diet can influence T3 production
- Not significant enough to say low-carb diet is bad
- Cheat days and re-feeds every four weeks to push the reboot button
- Haven't seen any hardcore evidence or studies on it
- Good quality carbohydrates once a week is ok
- Live life and it will come naturally
-The use of animal desiccated thyroid glandular…45:44
- Organ meats supplements
- The story goes back 15-20 year ago
- Drying the thyroid gland out of a cow, hormones are going to be dried
- They are beneficial if you are not a converter
- Glandulars are 80% T4, 20% T3
- If someone's a non-converter and they take a glandular, they could actually get worse
-Are Iodine and selenium good for thyroid problems?…48:34
- 50% of the people saying Hashimoto hypothyroid patients shouldn't do iodine and 50% say that they should
- Amie believes iodine is good
- A fan of using straight up iodine (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Too much selenium can increase reverse T3
- One or two Brazilian nuts per day are enough
- Brazilian nuts should be kept in the freezer
- Dr. Leland Stillman did an experiment
- Takes 50mg a day
- Podcast with Dr. Leland Stillman:
- Ben takes 150µg of iodine a day
- Iodine supports detoxification process
- Binds to chlorine, bromine, and fluoride
-Peptides and bio-regulators for thyroid support…53:12
- Peptide bioregulators will work whether you're hyper or hypo
- You have to have a thyroid gland for the bioregulators to work on it
- Balances the thyroid
- Podcast with Phil Micans:
- Peptides will help people with Hashimoto’s
- With Hashimoto’s, your body is attacking your thyroid gland
- Most beneficial peptides:
- Growth hormone peptides act slowly
- The effect of TB-500 on thyroid (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- More for wound healing, post-surgery (injury component)
- The source for peptides and bio-regulators
- Anti-Aging Systems (use code BGF15 to save 15%)
- Amie has Thyreogen in her store (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- T2 is 3,5-Diiodo-L-Thyronine in Thyroid Fixxr (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
-Red light therapy for thyroid issues…58:46
- Many studies show red light therapy has positive effects on the thyroid gland
- Good for Hashimoto’s
- You got to do it every day and be diligent about it
- Just an additional therapy
- Kineon (use code BGLIFE to save 10%)
- Wraparound red lights for the joints
- Wraparound red lights for around the neck
- HigherDose Red Light Face Mask or Red Light Neck Enhancer (use code BEN to save 15%)
-Cold thermogenesis for thyroid support…1:01:25
- Cold therapy is very useful:
- Brown fat activation
- Decrease in inflammation
- Body is adjusting to cold
- Cool Fat Burner
- Cold packs for gut and neck
- Stacking with T2 (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Lowers or improves insulin sensitivity
- Stimulates mitochondria
- Improves energy
- Inflammation goes down
- Fat is burned
- Grains of Paradise
- Super potent brown fat activator
-Testosterone for women…1:05:54
- Women get left behind in the testosterone talk
- Testosterone is the most abundant hormone in a woman's body
- It gives us motivation, drive, strength, helps with body fat, libido, hair growth
- Conventional medicine and standard lab value range for women – 2-48
- Amie believes it should be 50 and above
- Women's Testosterone Booster (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- It's all about the dose, the administration, aromatizing testosterone into DHT
- Personalization is important
- Testosterone protects against auto-immune
- You can lower the Hashimoto antibodies by bringing the testosterone levels up
- Amie can prescribe to all 50 states
-And much more…
- Couples Collective: October 25th – 29th, 2023
Couples Collective is an exclusive and immersive way to explore health, wellness, and mindset with your significant other. Jessa and I will be leading a health optimization and relationships workshop, alongside many other awesome couples. This is a small event, and access requires you to interview with event-holder OWN IT to ensure a right fit. However, for those who are said fit, this event is designed to bring you into deeper union within your relationship and onward into greater connection with your life, love, health, and happiness. I'm looking for 6 to 7 powerful couples to come join me at the event – are you one of them? Learn more here.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
Resources from this episode:
- Fixxr (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- The Thyroid Fixer
- The Institute for Thyroid and Hormone Optimization
- Why You Worry About Stuff, Wake Up Earlier Than You Want To & Get Bored Easily: Unlock The Secrets Of Your Genes To Reverse Disease, Slow Aging & Achieve Optimal Wellness, With Kashif Khan.
- The “Monster Mash” Muscle-Building Tactic, Live Like A Polar Bear, Decoding Vitamin C, Melatonin, Iodine, Magnesium & More With Dr. Leland Stillman.
- The New Darlings Of The Anti-Aging Industry & The Russian’s Secret Age Reversal Weapon: Peptide Bioregulators With Phil Micans.
– Other Resources:
- Faster Study
- Ancestral Supplements (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- Heart & Soil
- Thymosin Alpha (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- MOTS-c (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- CJC-1295 (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- TB-500 (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- Anti-Aging Systems (use code BGF15 to save 15%)
- Red Light Therapy
- Kineon (use code BGLIFE to save 10%)
- HigherDose Red Light Face Mask (use code BEN to save 15%)
- Higher Dose Red Light Neck Enhancer (use code BEN to save 15%)
- Morozko Forge Cold Bath
- Cool Fat Burner
- Grains of Paradise
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BGL Masterclass: The course is structured to help you identify barriers and your biggest weaknesses that prevent you from making the most of your available time and resources. By the end of this course, you’ll possess the ability to confidently master all six major areas of life: time, environment, health, soul, relationships and legacy. Visit BenGreenfieldLife.com/masterclass to secure your spot so you can optimize your life and leave the legacy you would be proud of!
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Dr. Amie Hornaman or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!