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ENCORE: How we are missing subclinical hypothyroidism with Christa Biegler, RD

Picture of podcast cover art with Christa Biegler: Solo Episode 332 ENCORE: How we are missing subclinical hypothyroidism with Christa Biegler, RD

For the next few weeks on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I will be republishing our most popular episodes.

Hair loss, cold hands and feel and feeling tired are the big three for a sluggish thyroid. But relapsing gut issues, slow motility, sleep disruption, brain fog, slow metabolism, inflammation, low mood or anxiety, and dry skin can all be symptoms of a sluggish thyroid.

In this episode, we talk about how we’ve had to change how we’re approaching thyroid health in practice to ensure clients feel their best and maintain their results.

We talk about “dead ringers” of thyroid symptoms, blood versus tissue labs, thyroid nutrient cofactors and steps to take if you’re checking the boxes but not getting answers yet.


  • Thyroid labs
  • Hypothyroid symptoms
  • Nutrients the thyroid needs
  • Symptoms for elevated thyroid hormones
  • How we create a sluggish thyroid
  • How stress affects the thyroid

Books mentioned: 

  1. Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms by Datis Kharrazian 
  2. Overcoming Thyroid Disorders by David Brownstein, MD 
  3. Stop the Thyroid Madness II, by Andrew Heyman, James Yang, & compiled and edited by Janie Bowthorpe 


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Podcast Instagram: @lessstressedlife
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[00:00:00] Christa Biegler: Welcome to another Encore episode, how we're missing subclinical hypothyroidism. If you have listened to any other episodes this month, you may know that we're doing Encore or republishing episodes that have very high download rates from the last year and in general, but Most of them were in the last year, except for the first one about probiotics.

[00:00:19] Christa Biegler: This one was a solo episode I did on how we're missing subclinical hypothyroidism. This is a topic very near and dear to my heart because it affects me. And to be honest, this is my favorite person to help. It's this person that doesn't really think that they have an issue, but they think that they could feel better or.

[00:00:36] Christa Biegler: They're like trucking through life, just doing all the things, but really their thyroid wants a lot of love, their adrenals want a little bit of love. So in this episode, I go through all of that and I hope you enjoy it.

[00:00:48] Christa Biegler: Hey, welcome to the Lustrous Life Podcast, where we believe. That everyone deserves a less stressed life without food sensitivities, fatigue, and overall inflammation. So today I'm telling you about something that I think is so important and is so missed and that is sluggish thyroid 101. Now don't stop listening to this.

[00:01:09] Christa Biegler: If you have had blood labs and everything is normal, that's really who this is for. I had a woman tell me about a month or two ago, she said, but your website doesn't really talk about thyroid. I said, that's a great point. I don't need the people who know that they have a thyroid issue. I need the people who don't know that they have a thyroid issue.

[00:01:26] Christa Biegler: So today we're going to talk all about learning and relearning and how we're never done learning how a lot more people have sluggish thyroid than who's diagnosed with thyroid issues. We're going to talk about. issues with gut health and why people relapse, how I handled thyroid issues years ago and now, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:01:44] Christa Biegler: So we'll go through some checklists, what you can do, cofactors, all the things. First, man, I've had a lot of humbling this last year or two, as I have just relearned biochemistry, just because your blood labs are normal doesn't mean everything is normal. Many years ago, when I started practice, this is how I handled thyroid versus how I'm handling it now.

[00:02:06] Christa Biegler: I would say if someone's really wrecked, so thyroid is like a gray cloud that's going to cover everything up. And even if you're seeing success in other places, it's going to just follow you around like a dark cloud. So if that was happening with someone, because often people would come into my practice and they would already either be on thyroid medication, I would say their doctor's got this right?

[00:02:25] Christa Biegler: That is what the doctor is there for. They are diagnosing thyroid issues and treating that with medication. And that's the role of their provider. That wasn't, I can't diagnose anything, so I didn't see how I could be supportive in that role. So once upon a time, my best friend, who's a pharmacist, told me that the most prescribed medication was thyroid medication.

[00:02:47] Christa Biegler: And so if the most prescribed medication is thyroid medication, at least anecdotally, then what does that do for the rest of us that have a sluggish thyroid overall? So when you go to your provider, you can ask for thyroid testing. And what commonly happens is you have a TSH drawn.

[00:03:01] Christa Biegler: If you say I would like thyroid testing, you'll usually have a TSH drawn. Usually at maximum, there will be a TSH reflex to a T4. So what that means is that you have a thyroid stimulating hormone. So not even a thyroid hormone, but a pituitary hormone, a thyroid stimulate. It's like an alarm clock to send out messengers to wake up things.

[00:03:21] Christa Biegler: You're having that measured. And if it's a little bit out of range, then you have this T4 measured. So T4 is inactive thyroid. And I always say TSH is like the alarm clock. T4 is getting ready for work and taking all the cofactors, putting makeup on, getting dressed, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast.

[00:03:38] Christa Biegler: And then when you go to clock into work, it's T3. That's the active hormone. But here's an interesting thing. When you know how, if you drive to work, you've got that on autopilot. You've got a neural pathway carved that way. If you have cortisol. Stress hormone coming into play. Now the thyroid hormone goes off into the wrong freeway.

[00:03:56] Christa Biegler: So if you have reversed T3 elevated, that means that there's elevated cortisol. So things aren't checking into work overall. So many years ago, I would just say, okay, go have your thyroid tested by your provider. So people would go ask for a full thyroid panel that include T3, T4 TSH, thyroid antibodies, et cetera.

[00:04:15] Christa Biegler: And sometimes they would get that fully drawn and sometimes they wouldn't because it's not the standard of care. I'm not complaining about it. Just saying this is how it is. So the TSH should be drawn, maybe a T4. And I actually had a client tell me one time, I just was wondering what the cost of this looked like.

[00:04:29] Christa Biegler: And she told me that her insurance was billed 2, 000 for that, which made me fall over because when I order blood labs through our lab concierge, which is called Rupa Health, if you have a private practice, it's like 10 for those two markers. So blows my mind. So what was happening was they go to the provider, not get it ordered, or.

[00:04:49] Christa Biegler: They would get it ordered and it would be normal or they weren't able to get it ordered. So at that step, the client can actually order tests on their own. You can go to requestatest. com or directlabs. com and order thyroid testing or in our practice, we help facilitate that through our lab concierge.

[00:05:06] Christa Biegler: And so then they go and get that drawn. And then we get the blood labs back and things. Often still look normal. Sometimes we catch something and then when we catch something, because we don't diagnose, we send you back to your provider and say, Hey, these antibodies are really elevated, and then that provider is going to recheck.

[00:05:20] Christa Biegler: So that's how thyroid is being handled in practice years ago versus now. Now. I'm realizing that even if your blood labs look okay, you're not okay. So if you have any of these symptoms, you can just go ahead and raise your hand virtually, but if you have a, I would say sluggish thyroid is more common.

[00:05:42] Christa Biegler: We'll talk about elevated or hyperthyroid later, but hypo or sluggish thyroid symptoms look like the big three would be. Feeling cold, either your whole body or hands and feet, hair loss and fatigue, but there's also brain fog or just inability to concentrate. It's overall slows the metabolism down and makes it easy to gain weight, or you'll have trouble losing weight or have weight loss resistance.

[00:06:12] Christa Biegler: Some people have disrupted sleeping. Sometimes you'll see a lower heart rate puffy face overall. If you're feeling swollen, it's a weird feeling. It's like an inflamed feeling where you just don't feel like you fit in things or that your face feels just puffier dry skin, dry hair, predisposition to fungal overgrowth slow motility.

[00:06:32] Christa Biegler: So if your motility with your gut health is slow. So the huge spoiler alert here is that a lot of these symptoms overlap to gut health. If your overall motility has slowed down, that's constipation, that's not having a beautiful type four banana style bowel movement every day. And so if you have sluggish motility, you now are breeding a problem.

[00:06:54] Christa Biegler: So it's just like stagnant water with stuff in it. It will grow and create microbes. And so what happens is you'll have relapse of gut issues if there's a sluggish thyroid. So this is where my interest really began because we would. Get people better, their gut health would be beautiful. We would discharge them and maybe two years later, and this wasn't extremely frequent, but it was enough where it bothered me because I like people to get better and then just be better.

[00:07:23] Christa Biegler: And I think there's a lot of things that go into that. Our stress is huge. And and that's usually where a lot of things come from in the first place, but if the thyroid is sluggish, what would happen is if they go off of stimulating supplements that make the gut health look beautiful, they would be slowed down.

[00:07:37] Christa Biegler: Okay. So the motility would be slowed and it would be masked by the fact that they're on supportive gut health nutrients. So it would be masking the overall motility issue. The other thing that would happen dead ringer is needing coffee to use the bathroom. Or increasing carbohydrates and having bowel movements in those are all three like dead ringers.

[00:07:58] Christa Biegler: Absolutely. I know this person has sluggish thyroid in conjunction with these other things. Okay. So we were talking about. Hair loss, cold, brain fog, or trouble focusing, sleep disruption, feeling inflamed slow motility, which is overall going to be poor digestion, dry skin, brittle hair predisposition to fungal overgrowth, like fungal issues come back again and again.

[00:08:20] Christa Biegler: And then 33 percent of people who have thyroid issues struggle with anxiety and 25 percent have depression. And I just think right there, that's enough where we should be checking this more. But the problem is that if the blood labs are normal, then what tools do we have? Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of tools conventionally that, that really blows.

[00:08:41] Christa Biegler: It really does because it feels like there's not a lot of options, but blood labs show you what's in the blood right now. It doesn't show you what the cell is using, what's happening inside the cell. So a couple of years ago, I explored adding tissue mineral analysis to practice. It felt a little goofy, a little hokey.

[00:09:01] Christa Biegler: The research on it is so old and the first person I learned it from. I had like highs and lows. My friend Kaylee and I did our, we did some continuing education. We were going through a program together and we were like, Oh, this could be awesome. And then it would be so supplement heavy. And anyway, then we'd have lows.

[00:09:17] Christa Biegler: I'm like, I'm not applying that. I'm not implementing this. This just feels like not going to work for people. Fast forward, my friend Amanda, who is the hormone healing RD is a huge advocate of mineral testing. I'd gone on a, an a dietitian trip with her and she opened my eyes to a different way to read it using whole foods.

[00:09:34] Christa Biegler: And so what really became was that it allowed us to see sluggish thyroid issues. It allowed us to see adrenal issues , without the use of other testing that can be a little bit hard. People always want their hormones tested. And I use dried urine tests for comprehensive hormone analysis or the Dutch test.

[00:09:51] Christa Biegler: And it sounds so fun to just test your hormones, but hormones are really secondary to what your gut health is doing, your stress, your micronutrients, your blood sugar and your toxic burden. In my mind, I like to do things. I like to be a good steward of finances. And so it doesn't make sense to me to have someone do that debt chest because it's a lot of information.

[00:10:08] Christa Biegler: It's overwhelming if we could be working on all those root causes. And so that's where we look at that cortisol or what the cortisol are doing. So anyway. Mineral analysis allows me to see what the adrenals are doing even before things are awry on the saliva or urine testing for cortisol, et cetera.

[00:10:25] Christa Biegler: So when I've implemented tissue analysis, I can now see what nutrients have been depleted from stress. Because I did know that the only people that didn't get better fast or as fast as I wanted, or didn't get better as, as good as I want. I can count them on both hands.

[00:10:45] Christa Biegler: So I knew this, but trying to communicate that to them was actually more stressful for them. So you're really up a Creek when that happens. When I look at the mineral analysis, it allows me to see the byproducts of what's happened from stress. It allows me to see the deficiencies. So for example, when your cortisol is elevated or when you're using a lot of cortisol, you dump potassium.

[00:11:07] Christa Biegler: And when Body is trying to control blood pressure. It uses aldosterone and that dumps sodium and through stress also magnesium is dumped, et cetera, et cetera. And so when these things get out of balance, different things happen. Like calcium will stand in front of the doorway for nutrients to enter the cell for the thyroid, et cetera.

[00:11:23] Christa Biegler: And if you have a deficiency in potassium, because, and again, you're not going to see this on blood, but you see it in tissue, because if it, if you see that in blood, you're basically falling over like you're faint, et cetera, et cetera. Like you're just not going to see that. Those are markers where if you're really sick, you may see that, but it's pretty much not going to happen in the blood.

[00:11:42] Christa Biegler: Cause our body is so amazing, but in the tissue, you'll see that the tissue inside the cell is actually starving for those nutrients because they've been used up by stress. So now that I use mineral analysis, I can see the cofactors needed for the thyroid support, the cofactors through food, wallah, we're doing a lot better.

[00:12:00] Christa Biegler: So this is an issue for me because. There's such an overlap almost all of the symptoms I mentioned for thyroid are also symptoms of suboptimal gut health. That means imbalances of bacteria, fungus, et cetera. And that's because one leads to the other, really. So if you have a sluggish thyroid, you're going to have gut issues later.

[00:12:18] Christa Biegler: So for us and our practice, we, Address gut issues and mineral issues to support the thyroid and the adrenals all at once, because I don't really understand how in this stressful world, your thyroid could work optimally. So I feel that the grand majority of our clients fit into this overall picture overall.

[00:12:38] Christa Biegler: Okay, so we've gone over symptoms of sluggish thyroid, the dead ringers of sluggish thyroid. Like I mentioned, you need coffee to stimulate bowel movements, going off a gut protocol or gut supportive, like going off of, let's just pretend going off of you're on a probiotic and helping you be regular and you go off of it and you can't poop.

[00:12:55] Christa Biegler: And then also eating carbohydrates. Let's actually talk about how sometimes we create a sluggish thyroid. So I have another episode coming out where we talk about just destroying metabolism, but destroying metabolism and having a sluggish thyroid are almost one in the same. So destroying your metabolism looks like this.

[00:13:15] Christa Biegler: Every version of it is under nourishment and overactivity or overstimulation. So let's say you're not eating breakfast or carbohydrates. That's a whole thing, but let's just say you're just generally under eating, which unfortunately, if you are. And if you're intermittent fasting, most days of the week, you're probably under eating because it's not common for Americans to let go be super nutrient dense for one or one and a half meals and have it be enough.

[00:13:44] Christa Biegler: So our thyroid required. Carbohydrates digested well, which is relying on good gut health in order to work optimally. And so sometimes taking in those carbohydrates will just make the bowels work better in general. So carbohydrates are a huge cofactor for supporting thyroid. So when we're talking about broken metabolism, it's uncomfortable because we've adopted these things slowly. It's like drinking coffee for breakfast, skipping breakfast. Cause I'm not hungry. You're not going to have much of an appetite if your thyroid is sluggish and your metabolism is sluggish. What's it's going to look like is that you used to be able to restrict and lose weight, and now you restrict and you get puffy and you continue to gain weight.

[00:14:22] Christa Biegler: That's literally the transition of a thyroid being sluggish. So fun, right? So what are some other nutrients that the thyroid needs? I've alluded to some kind of tangenting around, sorry about that, but there's lots of nutrients needed. So I talked about potassium being huge. So high potassium foods, I've talked about carbohydrates, but other nutrients needed for hormone production or for thyroid health include iodine.

[00:14:46] Christa Biegler: Which is a whole topic. Let me come back to selenium found in Brazil, nuts, oysters, et cetera. Zinc found in oysters nuts, et cetera. Tyrosine B vitamins, which come from well processed carbohydrates, often beef liver, et cetera, vitamin C in a whole food form, vitamin D, vitamin E. This podcast is not about you going to take those supplements.

[00:15:10] Christa Biegler: It's about, you couldn't get those nutrients if you weren't eating rich sources of those foods, which would be uncommon foods it would be animal products, some animal products oysters and carbohydrates and digesting those well, et cetera. And then also vitamin a is really important. So if you've been randomly supplementing vitamin D on its own for a long time We should make a podcast about that.

[00:15:31] Christa Biegler: You're driving on vitamin a, they're competing for receptor sites. So this is important for you converting T4 to T3. This is a whole thing in my brain too, because when you have actually deficient thyroid by conventional standards, what the standard of care is to my understanding is levothyroxine or Synthroid, which is a T4.

[00:15:53] Christa Biegler: And then how does that T4 become T3? If you don't have the nutrients. That's my question. The conversion from T4 to T3 is improved from exercise, vitamin A, zinc, potassium. And if you take zinc by itself and vitamin D by itself, you're driving other deficiencies. So you really do need to get those from food sources.

[00:16:11] Christa Biegler: Unfortunately, the food sources of these are just not. It's common, or we don't eat enough of them to compensate for the stressors that we're giving them. So I have all kinds of questions about thyroid and how we're doing this. And I just think to myself oh my gosh, no one's thyroid is okay.

[00:16:26] Christa Biegler: That's my current state. No one's how could the thyroid be okay in this modern world where we have stress. So this entire year I'm devoting as the year of thyroid to understand it better. So I've talked about assessing for hypothyroid. Some of the nutrients that support it, and I want to also give a little lip service to speedy thyroid or elevated thyroid hormone.

[00:16:48] Christa Biegler: So the symptoms for that look like shakiness, trembling hands, heart palpitations, unexplained weight loss, loose stool, also anxiety, also sleep issues, excessive sweating, increased appetite, bulging eyes or goiter. But what happens is when people have elevated thyroid hormones, sometimes they get diagnosed with graves and then they're given a medication to destroy this excess thyroid hormone.

[00:17:11] Christa Biegler: And so you'll actually swing to a hypo state, or you'll have start to have those symptoms of a low thyroid state. So it can be a little bit complicated. So I was actually discussing with a friend recently, just about, we can't meddle with medications. That's where the provider, I'm really looking for partnerships with providers and really looking at how we can empower people to understand how to support their thyroid more. So if I could tell you, one, do you have a potentially sluggish thyroid? Despite your blood levels to advocate for full blood level workup or panel three, if you can't get one from your provider, order your own through direct labs or request a test.

[00:17:50] Christa Biegler: It includes TSH free T4 free T3 thyroglobulin and thyroid peroxidase antibodies. I think that's everything some people reverse T3 we talked about, because if you go down the cortisol pathway, reverse T3 is elevated. Some of my other thyroid expert friends recommend even more labs. But from there, if that's okay, what can you do to support thyroid conversion?

[00:18:14] Christa Biegler: And that's nutrients. So I was going to actually tell you about iodine also. So selenium, zinc, tyrosine B, just looking for rich sources of these foods overall. But I want to talk about iodine for a little bit, and I'm going to give you some resources on how to keep this learning going for yourself.

[00:18:30] Christa Biegler: Iodine is a whole topic and Guy Abraham made that a little bit, but he was an early iodine pioneer. And now I would say David Brownstein is the current pioneer that's alive. David Brownstein has a great book on iodine. And so iodine is a halogen and we learned in sixth grade science that things in the same line on the periodic table compete for space from each other.

[00:18:53] Christa Biegler: So sometime in the seventies, they were putting iodine in commercially processed baked goods as a dough conditioner. And then the FDA is Ooh, it's a little much iodine. We've had this whole, like we used to use iodine for an antimicrobial and other things in medicine. And then we stopped using it.

[00:19:10] Christa Biegler: We tend to be like all or nothing type of people, but anyway, so it was being used in commercially processed baked goods. The FDA was like, Ooh, I think that's a little too much iodine. They took it out and put bromine in it. And so now the bromine in commercially processed baked goods competes for the iodine receptors.

[00:19:26] Christa Biegler: And then the chlorine in the water is another halogen. So all of these halogens are in the same line. Iodine, bromine fluoride or fluorine and. I hope I got them all. I don't think I did. Fluorine, fluorine. So we see a lot of fluoride or fluorine and chlorine or chloride in our water supply, or if we sit in a hot tub.

[00:19:45] Christa Biegler: And every time we do that, I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I would just say that our lives compete with iodine. And so where are we getting sources of it? We get really tiny microgram sources and food. And so anyway, this is a to be discontinued discussion on iodine, but. It seems that every organ needs it.

[00:20:05] Christa Biegler: There's a whole lot of data that shows like, if we have enough, we may have less instances of certain cancers. Why would that be? Cause it's helping with estrogen breakdown, histamine breakdown, et cetera. And so it's a whole rabbit hole for another day, whole different podcast on iodine and the appropriate use of it.

[00:20:22] Christa Biegler: But, it's just fascinating. And by the way, before I close out here, apparently urine iodine testing is the most accurate method of finding out if you have adequate iodine. You get a loading dose of the iodine in a tablet, and then whatever you urinate out is extra. Your body is getting rid of, and what it's not urinating out of the percentage is what it needs to utilize.

[00:20:43] Christa Biegler: I hope this has been interesting for you. I think we're really missing subclinical, meaning not showing up on Blood Labs hypothyroidism. I think that there are so many people experiencing symptoms of a sluggish thyroid and it's looking can't concentrate. I have my own story. I.

[00:20:57] Christa Biegler: Let an iodine loading test sit in my bathroom for a year. And then I thought this box is annoying. I should get rid of it. So I peed in the urine jug for an entire day. Like you're supposed to, and my iodine was so stupid low. And the three days following the loading dose, I was like. So focused. I never really thought, Oh, I have brain fog.

[00:21:17] Christa Biegler: I just thought I have ADHD. Like I obviously ADHD, I cannot focus. I like need to be in appointments so I can stay focused and get my things done. Cause I want to squirrel around. I don't know if you guys ever hear that here, but but it was just so remarkable, my own experiences and then some of my clients experiences.

[00:21:34] Christa Biegler: So if you feel like you've got hypothyroid symptoms. Test your blood labs. Here's some books for you to read and learn a little bit more. And if it's a good fit for you, we have a program called food sensitivity solutions and the fatigue fix. It's two kind of separate programs that go together because I feel like if you feel like you're having food sensitivities, it's gut issues overall and other things going wrong, going awry.

[00:21:59] Christa Biegler: And I think fatigue is the other big thing. Even if you, I would just want you to feel. As a person who wants to also feel younger as you get older, I want you to have sustainable, good energy. And so thyroid stuff, assessing that with mineral analysis, et cetera, is all part of that program. So here are some books for you to read. If you're just learning about this topic. Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms by Datis Karazian his last name is spelled K H A R A Z I A N. I'd love to have him on the podcast.

[00:22:26] Christa Biegler: He's a mentor I've had of mine. I've learned from him. And then Overcoming Thyroid Disorders by David Brownstein, MD. And this is one that's a lot of case studies written by many people. It's a cool one called stop the thyroid madness to how thyroid experts are challenging ineffective treatments and improving the lives of clients.

[00:22:43] Christa Biegler: So this episode is a cry for you to be a good advocate for your own health and to let you know that even if your labs are fine, you don't feel fine. You're probably Right. 

[00:22:53] Christa Biegler: I hope this episode is insightful for you and I wish you well. Talk to you soon.

[00:22:59] Christa Biegler: Oh, and if you're interested in food sensitivity solutions and the fatigue fix, you can find out all about it on my website over at KristaBigler. com. I'll have the link in the show notes.

[00:23:08] Christa Biegler: Sharing and reviewing this podcast is the best way to help us succeed with our mission to help integrate the best of East and West and empower you to raise the bar on your health story. Just go to review this podcast. com forward slash less stressed life. That's review this podcast. com forward slash less stressed life.

[00:23:29] Christa Biegler: And you'll be taken directly to a page where you can insert your review and hit post. 

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