Do you have Hashimoto’s and find you are always hungry and sleepy after meals? If so, you may suffer from insulin resistance, a disorder of high blood sugar that raises your risk for diabetes. Although you may need to give up some creature comforts, the good news is simple dietary and exercise practices can both reverse insulin resistance and help you manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism autoimmune thyroid condition.
See if any of these symptoms of insulin resistance apply to you:
- Fatigue after meals
- General fatigue
- Constant hunger
- Craving for sweets not relieved by eating them
- Must have sweets after meals
- Waist girth equal to or larger than hip girth
- Frequent urination
- Increased appetite and thirst
- Difficulty losing weight
- Migrating aches and pains
- Trouble falling asleep
Insulin resistance is harmful when you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Insulin resistance is also known as pre-diabetes because, left unmanaged, it will turn into type 2 diabetes. It also raises your risk of many chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, chronic pain, hormone imbalances, and many other common modern maladies. Studies also link insulin resistance with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Insulin resistance also comes packaged with plenty of negative symptoms. For instance, it kills your libido and causes chronic tiredness.
For both women and men, insulin resistance significantly disrupts hormone balance. In women it spikes testosterone, causing male-like symptoms such as hair loss and facial hair. For men, it causes female characteristics by raising estrogen levels. Men develop breasts and cry at commercials.
These are some pretty disturbing consequences for a sugar habit! Insulin resistance also unnecessarily worsens your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism low thyroid condition.
What causes insulin resistance?
The bad news is poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle cause insulin resistance. The good news is this means you can do something about it. Simply addressing just these two areas can help you not only reverse insulin resistance and prevent diabetes, but also manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and even possibly drive it into remission.
What kind of diet causes insulin resistance? One that is high in sugars and carbohydrates—sugars, sweets, sodas, pastries, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, grains, beans, and other starchy foods. This diet keeps blood sugar chronically high until the body start to break down, leading to myriad chronic diseases.
Because the body sees high blood sugar as dangerous, the pancreas lowers it by secreting insulin. Insulin brings sugar out of the bloodstream and into the body’s cells so it can be used for energy. Whatever sugar is left over the body converts into fat for storage.
When this happens repeatedly, as it does for millions of Americans, the cells begin to refuse entry to insulin as a matter of self-protection. This means that now both excess sugar and excess insulin are circulating in the bloodstream. This is not only very damaging to arteries, it also causes inflammation, imbalances hormones, degenerates the brain, and makes successfully managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism difficult to impossible.
Insulin resistance causes fatigue after meals because cells are deprived of glucose for energy and process of converting excess sugar into fat is demands significant energy and is draining.
Many people have both insulin resistance and low blood sugar. This means they crash between meals but also feel sleepy after meals, and suffer symptoms of both high and low blood sugar. This creates a very inflammatory state for the body. Stabilizing blood sugar is your key to managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Reversing insulin resistance and managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
To reverse insulin resistance and manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, ditch the sugar and eat only as many complex carbohydrates as your body needs (the amount varies from person to person). Eat plenty of vegetables with every meal for fiber and to build good gut bacteria. Begin checking your fasting blood sugar in the morning with a glucometer, and shoot for a level between 80 and 100. Anything over 100 is too high. Also, exercise daily, with bursts of high intensity and some weight training to sensitize your cells to insulin.
These tips will help you reverse insulin resistance and manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Various herbs and nutrients can help reverse insulin resistance — ask my office for a recommendation.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.