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‚ÄčThe Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #12- Elle Russ

Elle Russ is a bestselling author, speaker and host of Mark Sisson’s very popular Primal Blueprint Podcast. She is the 5th person in the world to be certified in Ancestral Health and is the leading voice of thyroid health in the Paleo, Primal, and Evolutionary Health movements. Elle is the author of the THE PALEO THYROID SOLUTION. She lives in Malibu, California.


LEARN MORE AT‚Äč:

‚ÄčInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/_elleruss/
Elle's Website: http://www.elleruss.com

‚ÄčThe Paleo Thyroid Solution: Stop Feeling Fat, Foggy, And Fatigued At The Hands Of Uninformed Doctors - Reclaim Your Health!

SHOWNOTES

‚Äč

2:10 - LISTEN ON HIMALAYA!: Download the free Himalaya App (www.himalaya.fm) to FINALLY keep all your podcasts in one place, follow your favorites, make playlists, leave comments, and more! Follow The Melanie Avalon Podcast in Himalaya For Early Access 24 Hours In Advance! You Can Also Join Melanie's Exclusive Community For Exclusive Monthly Content, Episode Discussion, And Guest Requests! Use The Code MELANIE To Get Your First Month Free!

03:00 - Paleo OMAD Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook Group To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!

03:25 - BEAUTY COUNTER:  Non-Toxic Beauty Products Tested For Heavy Metals, Which Support Skin Health And Look Amazing! Go To Beautycounter.com/MelanieAvalon! To Receive A Free Beauty Counter Gift From Melanie, Exclusive Offers And Discounts, And More On The Science Of Skincare, Get On Melanie's Private Beauty Counter Email List At MelanieAvalon.com/BeautyCounter!

5:40 - Elle's Personal Diet & Health History

8:40 - The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroid Hell

12:30 - Solving Hypothyroidism Yourself

14:50 - How The Thyroid Master Gland Controls Everything (Digestion, Temperature, Energy, Mood, etc.)

19:30 - The Thyroid's Connection To Other Health Issues 

25:00 - Thyroid Hormone Foundations

26:40 - Why T4 Converts To T3

28:50 - The Role Of Reverse T3 

30:25: Why TSH Is a Faulty Indicator Of Thyroid Status 

36:20 - The T3 Comparison To Type 2 Diabetes

39:00 -  Hormone Hesitancies 

41:45 - Natural Desiccated Thyroid History (NDT)

44:05 - Synthroid

46:15 - Compounded T3 T4

53:35 - NATIVE: Get Safe, Non-Toxic, Effective Deodorant! Go To Nativedeodorant.com And Use The Promo Code MELANIEAVALON For 20% Off Your First Purchase!

59:55 - Thyroid Supplementation And The  Feedback Look

1:02:00 - The Role OF T1 and T2 

1:03:20 - Dosing: Direct Vs Slow Released T3, NDT, T4 Only

1:05:50 - Testing Temperatures For Thyroid Issues

The Paleo Thyroid Solution: Stop Feeling Fat, Foggy, And Fatigued At The Hands Of Uninformed Doctors - Reclaim Your Health!

Elle's FREE Thyroid Guide!

1:07:15 - Reversing Thyroid Issues With Diet 

1:11:20 - The Hashimoto's/ Diet/ Autoimmune Connection

1:15:30 - The Role Of Iron And Ferritin

1:18:10 - The Role Of Selenium

Life Extension Se-Methyl L-Selenocysteine 200 mcg, 90 Vegetarian Capsules

1:19:00 - Are Low Carb Or Keto Diets  Detrimental For The Thyroid? 

1:24:10 - T3 Levels Vs. Metabolic Rate: Reduced T3 Level Implications 

Alternate Day Fasting Improves Physiological and Molecular Markers of Aging in Healthy, Non-obese Humans

1:27:00 - TSH Suppression On Thyroid Hormone

1:31:15 - You Can GET through it!

Melanie On The Primal Blueprint Podcast!

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TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon:
I am so excited today to be here with a fabulous, wonderful woman and friend, Elle Russ. I'm sure many of you are very familiar with her. She co-hosts the extremely popular beyond belief Primal Blueprint podcast with Mark Sisson and she's also the author of The Paleo Thyroid Solution: Stop Feeling Fat, Foggy, And Fatigued At The Hands Of Uninformed Doctors - Reclaim Your Health!. That is a true subtitle statement right there. She knows her stuff. I mean health in general, food in general, but when it comes to the thyroid, she's the girl that you want to talk to. She's been there, she's done that, she's learned what's going on, which so many of us don't really realize what is going on with the thyroid. So Elle super excited to have you. Thank you for being here.

Elle Russ:
Oh my God. Thanks for having me. What a lovely introduction.

Melanie Avalon:
Oh, it comes from the bottom of my heart and my thyroid. I don't know if that makes any sense at all. Anyways, to start things off, would you like to tell listeners a little bit about your personal history with your thyroid, with your health, all the things and what led you to where you are today?

Elle Russ:
Sure. Yeah. In general, I grew up actually in quite a healthy household. My parents and grandparents knew more about nutrition than most people and we ate full from square meals and healthy vegetables. I didn't grow up eating junk. At the same time when I started getting into my teenage years, those are awkward years anyway. But when I look back in hindsight, wow, I got really big. Now, that could have been because back then they were like pulling the whole low fat thing where it was like eat pasta and bagels and stuff like that. And granted I'm from the Midwest, a lot of cheese.

Elle Russ:
I was probably eating way against my DNA and what I know now in the teenage years. But then long story short, I went through those phases and I'm in LA and like you, I'm an actress. And so I was here pursuing that field and I knew it's about ... Now, 15 years ago was different starting out here versus now we see a lot of different ... And I'm so happy to see this different normal, real body types of women on television.

Elle Russ:
But when I was starting out it was like if you wanted to be a leading lady, you better look like Jessica Biel and being an athlete. And so I was like, okay, I'm going to do it. So instead of doing cocaine and diet Coke all day long, I decided to [crosstalk 00:02:37] that could've been a choice. I decided that I was going to work out and eat right. And at the time everybody was talking about the zone and eat every two, three hours, keep your insulin steady. It was a little bit of a low fat, low carb thing too. Like people were still kind of on the low fat things.

Elle Russ:
So low-carbon low fat, never work out. And that was just a true, which turned me a complete sugar burning total sugar addict, hypoglycemic nightmare. And I remember, Melanie, I would be in Hollywood for an audition and have to drive back to Malibu. It would be like a maybe a 45 minute drive in traffic and I would be so hangry, brain empty and pissed off, just so freaking out that I would literally have to get off the highway and go find a local grocery store or walk up to the counter and shove some cold cuts and cheese in my face just to make it the other ... Not that I was going to pass out in the car. It was more of that hangry hypoglycemic moment because I didn't realize that I was a sugar burner and I thought that this is the way it was supposed to be.

Elle Russ:
So I achieved this fit body, but was struggling on the inside. And I thought, is everyone else not talking about how they're thinking about food all the time like me? Or is something wrong with me? And this whole thing, because I know what it's like to be a food addict and it doesn't matter if you're 500 pounds or you're 112 and you look like you should be on the cover magazine. They're both the same hell. It is hell to be thinking about food all the time. And I mean I know you know this, with intermittent fasting and everything that you do, you understand how the difference between being satiated and having freak out meltdowns.

Elle Russ:
So that kind of is what proceeded me getting hypothyroidism. Can I say that it caused it? No. Can I tell you that it will? Yeah, it can. Because what it is, it ends up being sort of like starvation where you're sending the wrong signal to the body, especially the thyroid though, and you're not getting really the enough nutrients. And I was so as overworking out, doing what Mark Sisson calls chronic cardio and, Melanie, man, here's the thing that's so great about now versus then. I used to have to work out so much to maintain this thing that was also just a horrible soup of terrible sugar burning, prediabetic kind of train running away from me where now, I barely work out like I used to yet I'm able to achieve those similar results by just adopting a different paradigm.

Elle Russ:
What happened was, is one day I started to get my period all the time like it happened and that happened two weeks later and I was like, that's not right. But I just kind of talked it up to like, that's a fluke. That happened again and I kept bleeding. It seemed like I never stopped getting my period. I went to the doctor, they're like, Oh yeah, we'll just put you on the pill to control it. There right there is the first order of business everyone needs to look at. That was not asking why is this 30 year old who has healthy history for her whole life suddenly bleeding abnormally. Instead it was let's patch up whatever symptoms she's feeling. Had they tested my thyroid correctly then and then knew what to do about it, I would not have even suffered for the years that followed. But I suffered because doctors kept trying to patch it up. I kept bleeding through the pills. They're like four different now.

Elle Russ:
Finally I thought, Oh, I must have some crazy hormonal imbalance. So I went down that road trying to research hormonal imbalance blah, blah. Finally, after two years of just being sick, gained so much weight, went from like 112 to 160. I am 5′2″, so that sucks when you're that short. Okay. I would be crying in the shower because I couldn't even reach certain parts of my body. I was such a depressed mess. My hair was falling out. I had horrific acne and I have had perfect skin my whole life. I was a mess. I had heavy legs. There's over 47 symptoms in my book. I had like over 30 of them and life was absolute hell and no one was helping me. And I kept going to doctors and I kept going to doctors. And finally, thank God I found the natural thyroid hormones, Yahoo group which was started, and this was like 2006 by Janie Bowthorpe, she's the author of Stop The Thyroid Madness, one of the only other books I recommend and also a website of the same name.

Elle Russ:
And before she had written the book or had the website, she had this forum where patients were there sort of helping other patients and they led me down the right path to understand the connection between iron storage ferritin and thyroid hormones. And what happened was, is because I had been left in the dust in Los Angeles by over two dozen endocrinologist, doctors, experts, specialists. Finally, when I realized it was a thyroid problem because someone finally tested me correctly, I said to myself, that's it. These mofos don't know what they're talking about. They're hurting me, not helping me. I got misdiagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome over here or dip dip over here. Oh my God, Melanie. And I said, that's it. Clearly these patients online who've been through it, no way more than my doctors do. So I'm going to listen to them and see what they have to say.

Elle Russ:
And then I went down my own journey to heal myself, which I did. So I would order my own thyroid hormones. I would use doctors and my insurance to get blood work and then not listen to anything they had to say. And so essentially my story is that twice in a decade I battled two severe bouts of hypothyroidism. One is a Reverse T3 problem, which is even less known and less understood by doctors. And both times living in a big city like Los Angeles, having good insurance, I had to solve it myself and be my own doctor. Not cool now, super cool because great, now I can help try to figure out if the doctors are uninformed, but it was worth every moment of suffering to be at this point to help thousands of people around the world. But at the end of the day, that shouldn't be the case, Melanie, because this is simple [shiz 00:08:17].

Elle Russ:
It's simple when it comes down to it. These doctors should know better. Why don't they? Because they are still dealing in 40 year old outdated protocols and thyroid wisdom, which is totally wrong now. And essentially keeping patients sick. Hypothyroidism is a worldwide epidemic. There's 200 plus million people in the world. It's only one of the hormones, is the number one prescription selling drug in America. 23 plus million Americans have a thyroid problem, but even more than that because 60% go undiagnosed and it is disproportionally a women's disease. But there's a problem there because men get it too and then they're really overlooked. 

Elle Russ:
So when they get low testosterone and are starting having all these energy issues, and of course because the thyroid ... And we'll get into this later, is the master gland and is the producer and regulator of your sex hormones so that a guy will get low testosterone. And then the doctors, again, like the pill, trying to patch work it up with giving this kid testosterone when all you need to do is correct the balance or the status, I would say of the thyroid hormones that you have. And then the whole symphony of the body gets turned around.

Elle Russ:
Constipation goes away, skin clears up. I used to wake up and my whole entire face and eyes would be so puffy as if like I drank a bottle of MSG, not at all the case anymore. You get skin thickening when you have hypothyroidism. There's so many crazy symptoms from enriching of the ears to again, hormonal issues, either issues with period, painful, heavy bleeding periods, infertility, miscarriages, just anything gynecologically that's often where it manifests itself with women sometimes first. So anything off in that arena, you go right to the thyroid.

Elle Russ:
As well, depression, we have more receptors in our brain than anywhere else for T3 hormones. You can go to the doctor and they'll put you on Prozac, but it only lasts a couple months. It won't work because you still have no T3. So our whole body and life is run by our thyroid. That's why it's called the master gland. And if you are on a stranded Island and you don't have a thyroid gland because it was removed, let's say because of thyroid cancer or something, you're going to die pretty quickly. And if you are on a stranded island, you have the gland, but you're still hyperthyroid it's going to be a slow death. You cannot live without this gland, AKA, you cannot live without these hormones. That's why when people have their thyroid glands removed, they have to be put on thyroid hormone replacement immediately.

Elle Russ:
It's why when the one in a billion times that a baby is born without a thyroid is a very rare occurrence. But when it happens, that baby will become mentally retarded very quickly if they don't catch it and administer thyroid hormones because of the way that it affects the development of one's brain and also just the continuing production. I guess I would say movement of your life. I mean, thinking everything that you do from there on out is going to be affected as well. It's why when people are hyperthyroid, they sometimes get dyslexic of the mouth or they have to read a paragraph over and over again, or they can't comprehend something or they're forgetting numbers and then you feel like you're getting stupid. You're not getting stupid, you just don't have enough thyroid hormone. It affects our temperature, our heart rate, everything.

Elle Russ:
And also when you're hyperthyroid, meaning underactive, you can't hold on to nutrients. That's why hypo patients classically get low in iron, in vitamin D, B12 lots of things, because your body can't hold onto this and the digestion is compromised. I know that's a big introduction to answer that simple question you asked me, but that's sort of how I came to be a subject expert in this. And for those that are listening, I don't have Hashimoto's, which is an autoimmune form of thyroid disease. I just have hypothyroidism. I have been hyperthyroid before, meaning on too much. So I also understand how that is affected by diet and lifestyle and just life. And the bottom line is that we're Goldilocks situations here as humans, not too hot, meaning hyperthyroid overactive, not too cold, hypo underactive as why people who are hypo are often freezing all the time and their temperature adjustments are screwed up.

Elle Russ:
Or if you're hyperthyroid, you're hot and sweaty all the time. It's this delicate balance that needs to be nourished in the proper way for the people that don't want an issue because it is your main fat burner and it's your main brain igniter and it's everything that you need to stay happy and healthy is your thyroid. And the same time to, if you're having an issue you have to resolve it quickly because you will get something that you otherwise would not have gotten if you weren't in the hyperthyroid state. And I tell the story about polycystic ovarian syndrome because people say, well, how could you not know were you just with some dumb doctor that just misdiagnosis you? No, if you looked at the ultrasound, I looked exactly like someone who was the profile of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Elle Russ:
I technically textbook kind of had it. The question was why? Why the F is this going on? No one asked that question. And so I had to deal with a fibroid and a polyp in my uterus. The fibroid was removed by actually an acupuncturist who told me, I can get rid of that, but I can't get rid of the other because of the way that it is, and so I had to get a polyp removed from the lining of my uterus all because of this. I've never had a problem since. I never had a problem beforehand. So you can be led down this patchwork system thinking you have some hormonal issue, but the hormonal issue was caused likely by the thyroid and that is what's going unchecked or they're checking her wrong and going, well, it's not that, must be this. That is why patients are being kept sick.

Melanie Avalon:
There is a lot there. It's so interesting because they'll often say ... So when people have a specialty in a certain medical issue, for example, that they often think everything relates to that. If somebody is like a Lyme specialist, they'll say everything's due to Lyme disease. If somebody is a specialist in methylation, they'll say it's all about methylation. That said, the thyroid, as you discussed in your book, really truly is the master gland, which really truly is driving the metabolic processes and the functioning of everything in the body. So I think if there is one case where you could safely say that everything could oftentimes relate to a thyroid problem, I think it would be the thyroid.

Elle Russ:
Well, here's the thing, even if it's not, okay, so let's say that ... Like you said about the Lyme disease or someone's like, EBV causes everything. Even thyroid problems. Okay, that's fine. That could be possible in certain cases. Here's the thing though, it's still always go back to that. You must check it because if the thyroid is off, something else is wrong. It doesn't mean you have an inherent thyroid problem. Okay. But it's the major indicator to look at first regardless to go, if this ain't work in right, other stuff's off. So yes, you could have Lyme disease and have a thyroid screw up during that time, have it be off, somehow maybe fix the problem and thyroid comes back normally, or you have heavy metals, right? In silver fillings in your mouth. Maybe that's affecting your thyroid. You get that removed, blah, blah, and then clean out and great the thyroid recalibrates excellent. It's still all about the thyroid though, know what I'm saying?

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I do. I think that's like a nuance that definitely needs to be understood in the picture. Just because if I just said about people thinking it's one thing I think a lot. So when people are going to resonate because you brought up the PCLs and the hormones thinking that it's this one thing when the thyroid is such a key factor. And I will just say as a side note, Elle, so I actually in high school was put on birth control for acne. Because it helps acne, which looking back it's similar to, it's like why? Like I was getting acne. I mean it could have been hormonal, it could have been diet, it could've been a lot of things, but going on birth control I do not think was the answer.

Melanie Avalon:
And looking back, if you look back at my pictures throughout high school, I mean I've never been overweight by standards, but definitely when I went onto the birth control, substantial changes in my inflammation, my weight, things like that. So I definitely relate to you there.

Elle Russ:
Well, I want to highlight something you said there about the skin. This is really interesting. And this is again, where doctors are learning even where you don't suspect it, which is wonderful. Where I went to my dermatologist recently just to do a yearly like, Hey, check my body just in case, not worried, but like, let's just do this. And then I was to get a facial there and I was talking to him because he knew I wrote a thyroid book and he said, I've got this patient, she's suffering with horrible acne and I just saw her thyroid.

Elle Russ:
He said, what thyroid test do I need to do, I want to make sure I gave her the right ones. First of all, thank God he had a great ego at a nice balance to be able to ask me who's not a doctor. Hey, you seem to know a little bit more maybe than I even do about this part of medicine. So, and I checked the test, I go, yes, these are the correct tests. And then if you need help interpreting, let me know. Anyway, I go back then, this was like a year ago, but then I recently went back and he said, Oh my God, do you remember that patient? Because she happened to be in there the same day again. He goes, remember that patient that was in the next room?

Elle Russ:
She is just beat on thrilled for the first time her life she's suffered ever. And everyone tried to treat her as an allergist. She was allergic to these foods and giving her shots and that's what ... He was doing even in the office, because he's an allergist as well. It was just amazing that he was like, she had a thyroid problem. They put her on thyroid hormone replacement and now her skin is completely cleared. It's absolutely miraculous. And I said, Oh, when I go listen, see, I go, please know from now on you have anyone that comes in here with horrible skin problems, check their thyroid first, check their thyroid. And in that case, my gosh, this woman was I think like 35-ish or something. She's been suffering for 20 years. She's like overjoyed, but also imagine going, wait, what? So no one thought of that?

Elle Russ:
I mean that's the situation you're in as a patient. Are you effing kidding me? So 20 years I went to all these specialists, all you MOFA, and then you didn't find this out. And I had ... You know what I mean? It's amazing. And the way that she really found out is through my doctor who was just attentive to thyroid because I had said that to him when I wrote a book. Right? How wonderful. That's what we got to keep spreading this information, because you never know where it's going to get the right hands and affects someone where you did not think, I never thought that in the office of my dermatologist, I'd be helping a patient in the other room who has been suffering for 20 years just because all of a sudden the doctors a little bit new hip to the fact that thyroid ... Oh yeah. Like, Oh yeah, thyroid, I forgot about that one. You know what I mean?

Melanie Avalon:
It's insane. It's going back to what you were saying in the beginning about how thyroid issues are so prevalent, and then at the same time, how do you say it? Levo-

Elle Russ:
Levothyroxine. Synthroid. That's T4 only by the way that to people listening real quick. Don't ever do the generic if you're on it.

Melanie Avalon:
We'll be going into detail on the hormones, but it's kind of crazy that you said that's the most prescribed medication. Correct? In the US?

Elle Russ:
Synthroid. Yes. Which is the brand name. So number one.

Melanie Avalon:
It is crazy to me that it's the number one medication. This condition is rampant and yet the conventional approach to it looks at only two factors to indicate which would be TSH and T4 in general, when the picture is actually insanely more complicated than that. So, Elle, would you like to provide a general overview of how the thyroid works and how the actual thyroid hormones work, what they indicate, as well as TSH, which a lot of people think is a thyroid hormone, but it's actually not a thyroid hormone. Would you like to give listeners a foundation so we can jump in?

Elle Russ:
Sure. Yeah, I'm going to do the foundations. And then if something's not clear or needs to be clarified from you listening on your own let me know. All right, so here's the thing. Thyroid for people that don't know, is at the base of your neck? Okay, so if you're a man, it's under Adam's Apple. So we can all picture a man's Adam's Apple and kind of see where it might be. And it's a butterfly shaped organ. And what happens is we have a pituitary gland in the back of our brains and it's sort of like a sensor. That's how we can look at it. And when it senses that our body is low in thyroid hormones, it shoots out a wake up call, a signal called the TSH. And that stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.

Elle Russ:
It's not a thyroid hormone, it's just a signal. And so it says, yo, thyroid, please wake up. This person needs some thyroid hormones. Start doing your job. The thyroid when it's working normally goes, okay, got the message and produces about 80 to 90% of a hormone called T4 and about nine to 20% of a hormone called T3. And I'm going to explain why there's two. What the deal is, and it sounds complicated if you're listening at first, but trust me, this actually is really logical and easy to understand.

Elle Russ:
So the body pumps out mostly T4 a little bit T3 and then throughout the day as you need it, the T4 converts into T3. Why does it do that? What's the difference between the two of them? Okay. T3 is the biologically active thyroid hormone. It's the only one. There's no other thyroid hormone that keeps you alive at all. You can live your whole life without T4. I've lived eight years without T4 in my body pretty much. You don't need it because unless it converts into the thing that matters.

Elle Russ:
So let me explain. T3 is the biologically active, like direct, powerful. That's the fat burner. That's the stuff that bodybuilders jam themselves with for eight weeks to try to burn fat before a competition. That's where it's abused is in that situation, and that's a very powerful hormone. T4 is the storage hormone for that. So T4 is useless unless it converts into the powerful thing that matters. T3 is the thing that matters. Why is it pumping out these ratios and why does it even bother converting? Like why not just give me the thing that I need? Right? Why did this whole conversion thing, what's up with that middlemen situation?

Elle Russ:
The reason is because T3 is so powerful and so direct that T4 sort of acts like a slow release mechanism. You can almost imagine it. It builds up and then it sort of decides. Let's say you go on like a 10 hour walk one day and it's like, Oh damn, okay, we need to convert more of this T4 into T3 for her, right? Or it needs to dial it back, such as you've been starving or you're without food for a while, or you're starving yourself or you're in a wrong paradigm, I'll get to that later. And then the body and the primal response is, Oh, this chick's starving. We're not going to actually convert any more of this T4 to T3, the more of the innocuous nothing into this powerful fat burner because she's in danger right now, right? She's not getting any food. So we're going to dial it back.

Elle Russ:
The way that it dials it back is through something called Reverse T3. So here's the thing, the brain sends a signal, wake up, that's the TSH to the thyroid. Thyroid says got it. Pumps out mostly T4, little bit of T3. As you need it throughout the day, the T4 is there sort of doing your deciding for you and it's converting into T3 as you need it. When a threat happens or a wrong message is sent or lime or heavy metals, I'll get into that later. All of that stuff if they senses any threat whatsoever or it has too much for some reason like a hyperthyroidism disease, it will do its job to save your life by dialing it back through an emergency brake called Reverse T3. Reverse T3 is the inactive form of the powerful T3. And so throughout the day, this is a natural process, meaning everyone with normal thyroid hormones who aren't on thyroid hormones have this process every day.

Elle Russ:
The body, dah, dah, dah, it converts the T4 that's not used, that's not converted into T3 for that day will kind of wash itself out throughout the body, sort of by converting into the inactive form. You can run into problems though when it over converts into the inactive form. That's called a Reverse T3 form of hypothyroidism. I experienced that. Or you can just have regular hypothyroidism that doesn't involve Reverse T3 in terms of it being a problem. But it does involve you not getting enough T3 in whatever way that is.

Elle Russ:
Sometimes that could look like the TSH signal being extremely low already, meaning signals not even being sent. If something wrong with the pituitary, it's not even waking up the gland. There's could be that connection. The connection could also be, well, it's pumping out the stuff, but it's not converting. That's the Reverse T3 or it's pumping out this stuff and it's converting but not into enough. Ir it's pumping out and converting, but there's a problem based on how it's being metabolized because of what this person is or isn't doing in their life or what their nutrient profile is, et cetera.

Elle Russ:
And so there's a million ways that can cause and dah, dah, dah, and thyroid problem. But that's it. Signal is sent. So when doctors only test the TSH, they are not testing the thing that matters. And I talk about this in my book, you don't go on Amazon and order something and then if you don't get it, you don't keep ordering it.

Melanie Avalon:
I love you telling the story in the book. Listeners, it's so funny just like thinking about it this way.

Elle Russ:
Because you call tracking, right? Like call up for tracking. You need the packages, the package is T3, should I get the package? So the signal, it doesn't matter, you can bang on the door all you want of your neighbors. If they don't wake up I mean, you can't force it. It's not forcing. The thyroid's not responding. So it doesn't matter if you're checking the signal.

Elle Russ:
Also the signal fluctuates greatly. So people have been even misdiagnosed with a thyroid problem when they don't have any symptoms because they ... Let's say are fat adapted in the world that we're talking about, with health, and they go workout fasted and then they go to their doctor, get their blood drawn and their TSH is like 3.7, let's say the top of the range is five. Let's just go zero to five to make it simple and maybe it's up there and the doctor's like, Oh my God, I'm concerned your TSH is high, we need to give you Synthroid. This has happened to a couple of people I know in our industry who are so fit, never have had a symptom. So in that case, the doctor's doing another great misservice by claiming someone has a problem when they don't, because they're gauging it chest on the signal at that time he just worked out, he was fasting, then the brain is gone. Great, okay, this guy needs some stuff now that's all that is on a blood test.

Elle Russ:
So here's the thing, if it's really high, it's super indicative. So like I have seen a TSH to top the range is five at 150. When it's like that, that means the brain is screaming. It's screaming like, please, please save this person's life. The person whose TSH was 150 that I saw was my friend's wife and I said, "Oh my God, how are you alive?" She said, "That's what my doctor said." And so in that case it's very indicative. But if it's just within this range, it doesn't matter regardless of even if it were 150, you still have to take these other tests.

Melanie Avalon:
So to clarify for listeners, because I think it's an easy concept once you grasp it, but just to make it super clear for listeners who are completely new to this, so when TSH is high, that in theory from conventional approach seems to indicate hypothyroidism because it's the pituitary screaming for the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. And then when it's low it seems to paint a picture that your body's not asking for more thyroid hormone. So just to get that in there.

Elle Russ:
I'm actually glad you said that. So here's the thing. When I first had a thyroid problem, my TSH was very low, but because it was within the range, right? They were like your thyroid's fine by just testing the TSH. Well that was low and so was my T4 and so is my T3. I had nothing. So again, they were judging it by something they should never judge it by that was used in 1973, the TSH test. Okay. It's a frickin 46 year old outdated test that is used in conjunction with the others because here's the thing, if you're having hyperthyroid symptoms, meaning like your heart's racing, you're sweaty, I mean it's over act, you're freaking out. You're pooping all the time. You can't lose weight, like can't gain weight. It's a terrible place to be. It's a level of incredible anxiety. 

Elle Russ:
At that point, your TSH on a test would look low because the body's like, Oh, you're good, you're over good. Too much. So it depends. I don't want anyone out there like ... And this is where symptoms obviously go hand in hand by just the person of hypo symptoms. Okay, well then a low TSH probably will correspond with low free T3 and low free T4. If the person has hyper symptoms and they go in and their TSH is low, then that's also indicative too, because it should be somewhat within the middle of the range for normal people usually with, again a span, but it depends.

Elle Russ:
Do they have symptoms or not? And that's where that person who went in for their blood test, even Marxists and happened to him too. He was fasting, he went to workout, went to get the blood test, the doctor was like, I'm worried about your thyroid because the TSH, everything else was fine. So what do we have to test? We have to test the free T4 and the free T3.

Elle Russ:
The free T3 tests, which is what doctors and uninformed doctors had been missing all these years, and it's finally the test that made me go, Oh, okay Yeah, I'm severely hyperthyroid. I don't have a hormonal problem, I have a thyroid problem. Thanks everybody for nothing. You know what I mean? Thanks for all the money I lost on you. Lame ass doctors. So my free T3 was like below the range, like the bottom of the range. I was like, Oh, that makes sense. The free T3 test usually corresponds with how someone's feeling. It just does. And from what I just told you about this whole feedback loop, that's what we call it, right? Signals sent TSH signals for the T4 and the T3 to be released. T4 converts into T3 throughout the day as you need it. Whatever's not used will convert into the inactive form. Boom cycle starts all over again. Your body levels drop and thyroid hormone TSH sends a signal and again, there could be something wrong in any level of that, but that's the feedback loop.

Melanie Avalon:
So like in a perfectly functioning thyroid situation person, and I am very jealous of these people. In that situation with T4 because you're saying that the body creates a certain amount of T4 and T3 each day. I think you said it was 80%, around 80% T4 and then around seven to 20% T3. So every day and even in that person who is not having the right thyroid issues is some of that T4 still becoming Reverse T3 anyway on a daily cycle?

Elle Russ:
Yes. Yes, totally. Totally. Again, just whatever's unused, right? It depends on their activity level, their metabolism, what they're eating, like all of that stuff. But it also would be like, what if they get the flu? So now they have a fever. Now the body's like, Ooh, let's dial it back a little bit today. Get what I'm saying?

Melanie Avalon:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Elle Russ:
I liken it sometimes to Type 2 diabetes, which is the diabetes given to yourself even if it's unbeknownst to you, but it is self-inflicted. I was pre-diabetic, happened to me too. Sometimes you just don't know better. But it happens. And the only way to really reverse it is the diets and lifestyles that you and I talk about. But one of the things about that that's really sad to me, when people are just okay with like, well, I'll just go on insulin, and not get out of it another way.

Elle Russ:
Now we have just introduced the human brain to another feedback loop. And you know what? The pancreas, that's what it's there for because that's its damn job. And you want that to do its job, right? You don't want to go in and take it over because you might overshoot or undershoot at any given time on the insulin, because you're a human being trying to decide what you cellularly need. And while we have calculations of glucose monitors and all that kind of stuff, to be able to try to exact that science, Ooh, you know where I'm going with this, Melanie? So the thing is like when it comes to thyroid and everything else, again, this is why you want it to work right. You want this loop to work right, because it's deciding and not deciding for you versus completely taking it over. Which is the case of me because I take thyroid hormone every day, but I take the last resort choice of thyroid hormone replacement and that last resort choice is almost like the insulin where now I have to decide and be the barometer.

Elle Russ:
In the case of a normal person or in the case of a person who's on thyroid hormone replacement where they have T3 and T4 in their dose, in that case where things are still ... The signal won't be sent. Okay, so the TSH will kind of go away because the signal won't be sent anymore once you've completely replaced the body with thyroid hormone replacement now because why would the signal be sent? Because your blood's filled with it. So the pituitary goes, cool, I'll shut up. I guess that thyroid doesn't need to wake up call is good. And so that goes over there. Then you still want that conversion to happen, right? With the T4 and T3 that you're swelling every day.

Elle Russ:
But when it doesn't, meaning you get a Reverse T3 problem like I did, and there's ways to correct this, but when you can't correct it, like I've tried a million times to do and some people are just poor converters. Okay? Or maybe missing the enzymes or have a genetic defect and the enzymes responsible for that conversion. However way it happens, now I have to take T3 only. Why is that problematic? Well, it's not really, I could live my whole life fine, but it is a pain in the ass and requires a lot more tinkering because it is fast and direct and I do not have the storage hormone sort of deciding for me. Does that make sense?

Melanie Avalon:
Completely. I am so glad you brought that up and just speaking honestly for me and my experience, so Elle knows this, but I've been working through my own thyroid issues. Then I've had hypothyroidism for a while and that actually just from like everything that you just said, just from ... Not a philosophical perspective, but it is like going on thyroid hormones. I mean it can revolutionize people's health and we definitely need to address the thyroid issue because like we said, and we've been saying, it drives so many factors for really everything that you're experiencing and all of the other potential health conditions that you might experience. There's that. Then there's what you just said, by taking thyroid hormones you are sort of taking over rather than letting your body naturally call the shots with the thyroid hormones and stuff. And I think for me personally, that's just been something I've been struggling with because I'm like, "I don't want to be on thyroid hormones."

Elle Russ:
I'm so glad you mentioned this though. This is good you said this because this is a sentiment that everybody says and that I once said too, and I want to clarify the difference that I just said like with the insulin example, it's not synonymous with T4, T3 and we'll get into the hormone replacement, but it's not really the case with that as much as it's the case with what I take because I have now completely taken out the middleman in every way. So you want the middleman of T4 in a way. If you can, if your body can do that. Great. And I used to be on a T4, T3 combo.

Elle Russ:
So moving into medication for a second. You talked about level thyroxin at the beginning and we talked about that being the number one prescription. So now that we all know how the thyroid hormone works, here's the bottom line, the packages T3 you can give a patient all the F and T4 you want, is it converting into the thing that matters, keeps them alive, it keeps them at a good metabolism, healthy, all the stuff that's all that matters.

Elle Russ:
So classically endocrinologists from this 1973 BS have been testing, like you said, just TSH and T4 so now that we know how that works, how stupid is that? Is the dumbest thing. You don't even have to ever go to medical school to have just listened to what I just said about the feedback loop, how it works, and to know that that is the dumbest, illogical move on planet earth. Number one, it has to convert. It has to convert into the right amounts. So if you don't even know, if you're not checking the T3, if you're not checking to see is this stuff converting into the thing that actually matters, because they are old school, 40 year old, outdated BS, think that T4 is the only thing that matters and it's not, it's steadier. It's a storage hormone. It's part of this lovely elegant feedback loop.

Elle Russ:
Okay, let's get back to just T4. There's four types of medications to take for hypothyroidism. The main one that's over prescribed that endocrinologists are like total Synthroid, T4 Nazis, here's why. In the late 1800s there was this genius English physician where people had a bunch of goiters, meaning in large thyroids like basketball size, grapefruit size stuff on their neck and he extracted sheep, thyroid gland and injected into these people. Oh, it worked. So thus came a medication called natural desiccated thyroid, which is essentially like chopped up dried pig land. Okay. That's what it is. And that was the go to treatment for hypothyroidism for years and in chopped up desiccated pig thyroid gland, which is called NDT for short or Natural Desiccated Thyroid. Now people might hear Armour Nature-Throid, Canada [Eartha 00:37:56]. Yes, that's all NDT. It's all desiccated pig thyroid gland, so we're just going to talk about it universally.

Elle Russ:
This is a combination of T4 and T3 okay. That is a combination. Now, let's go back to my discussion of the thyroid. 80 to 90% of T4 we're not exactly sure, roughly though the thyroid will produce when it's normal, 80 to 90% T4, nine to 20% T3, so our own bodies are not relying on conversion alone. Our bodies don't just pump out T4. They don't. It also pumps out some of the other, so back to this English physician who was genius, he discovered NDT. Perfect, has a combination of T4 and T3 in it. Boom. People are getting better. 1950s rolled around. You cannot patent desiccated thyroid, the gland. So they came up with Synthroid, which is T4 only and they touted it as being the best thing on planet earth. Got every endocrinologist behind them, took all the patients off of NDT, started doing propaganda against NDT, talking about it being unstable, all this type of stuff.

Elle Russ:
The only time NDT has been unstable is when the pharmaceutical companies changed the fillers and things like that in it that affect patients negatively. It's not because of anything else other than their formulation. It's always stable in terms of it's got the right amount of T4 and T3 in each pill. It's standardized. So they put all this propaganda against and then they came out with T4 and they're like, this is the end all be all treatment for thyroid patients end of story. Well, again, you don't have to be a doctor to understand that. That's really dumb. It's not even endocrine mimicry. It's not. Which is why Synthroid and T4 often fails patients. It felt notes. It works for some and they're doing great. I've just seen it fail more often than not, where someone's been on Synthroid for a long time and they left in the dust by it.

Elle Russ:
Is that because maybe they need some direct T3 too in their lives? Because that's how our bodies work. All right. Yeah. You know where I'm going with that. That's kind of what I think. All right, so the next choice that's optimal is anything that's a T4, T3 combo, and it can be done in a variety of ways. You've got NDT, which is in and of itself. You can't separate the hormones in each certain milligrams. You've got an exact amount of T4 and T3 in each pill, but if you're Jewish or you have other issues with eating, anything that comes from an animal or pork, then you can do a combination of like a Synthroid and T3 that would be in those similar amounts or an amount that's right for you. So that's usually the best choice of treatment. And that's the treatment that no one should even really be afraid ... Well, no one should be afraid of any treatment.

Elle Russ:
But that's the one that's the easiest because that's the most endocrine mimicry. And so therefore, the T4 is doing the job for you. It's not like the thing with the insulin where you have to worry about your human brain, you just need to get to the right amount, check your tests every now and then, check your symptoms and be like, okay, great, smooth sailing for life. Done. You have pregnancies, do whatever, live your life normally. Is great. You're a normal person. The trouble you run into is where me, where ... It's not trouble, but it's just the pain in the ass of the last choice of thyroid hormone replacement, which is by the way, you can also do T4 and T3 compounded, meaning a doctor has to know how to use a compounding pharmacy.

Elle Russ:
And compound is basically probably the cleanest version of T4 and T3. So if people are sensitive to certain fillers and Synthroid or certain fillers and Cytomel. So Synthroid is the brand name for T4 and Cytomel is the brand name for T3. They all have generic names, levothyroxine, right is generic for that. And liothyronine is the generic name for a T3 or Cytomel. So both of these things might have fillers in it that could affect people or their allergies or whatever. So in that case, compounded T4, T3, so essentially of Synthroid, then you have an NDT natural desiccated or a T4, T3 sort of synthetic combination, whether it's Cytomel and Synthroid or compounded to T4, T3. Then the last resort choice, which is what I've been on for eight years now is T3 only, meaning I do not take any T4.

Elle Russ:
So here's why that's the case, T4 in that process of, Hey, great, Melanie, needs a little bit T3, we're going to convert here up. She just did a two hour hike, we're going to convert some more. And then it flushes out through a Reverse T3 process, whatever's not used. That's lovely, but when you have a Reverse T3 problem like me that can't be resolved, T3 is the only thing that doesn't convert into Reverse T3. It's a lifesaver. It's a lifesaver to be able to have that hormone isolated because now I have said, well, you know body, I don't care if you don't want to convert it, don't have to. I'm going to give it to you directly, F you, but that means that my mind and my attention to it has to be way more focused than somebody who just takes NDT every day or a T4, T3 combo is pop that and not even think about it and go about your life.

Elle Russ:
I have more adjustments, whether it be during times of year, activity levels or let's say I did get the flu tomorrow, I would consciously know to maybe dial back my dose a little bit or ... You know what I mean? Because your body would be naturally doing that because you're taking T4 and T3 so no one should ever worry about being on thyroid hormone replacement. The only reason I say the trouble you run into is when you're on T3 only. If you don't have to go there, you don't want to, you want the feedback loop to work whether you're taking thyroid hormones or whether you're a normal person. Now, normal people get Reverse T3 issues. Meaning you don't have to take thyroid hormone replacement to be a normal person in this world and have a reverse T3 issue. It happens all the time.

Elle Russ:
Stress, lifestyle, everything, heavy metals, lime, all this stuff. It can make your body go, I'm not converting, I'm not converting, because it's sensing a threat of some kind. Doesn't matter if that threatens inflammation related or I guess we would say a stress is inflammation or that kind of inflammation. It can be going through a really rough divorce for a year or it could be staying up all night being a medical student freaking out. You can get a Reverse T3 problem for any ... It could be nutrient deficiencies like selenium.

Elle Russ:
Everyone can have all variations of this. I know someone who had a tooth infection they didn't deal with and they got hyperthyroidism. They kind of got a terrible bout of an autoimmune reaction to whatever was going on with this infection. And then once they finally took care of their tooth and healed, and luckily they knew a lot about health and nutrition, their thyroid went back to normal.

Elle Russ:
The messages we send ourselves, food, drugs, vitamins, everything affects movement, affects how sleep, how our thyroids are going to act or not act. And then sometimes like me and another author, Paul Robinson, who wrote the definitive book on T3 dosing, he's another patient who for his whole life, he could never tolerate T4, no one could figure this out for years. And then he finally wrote this book about and he got to the bottom of it. He's now in his sixties and he's been on T3 only like me for many years. And he helped me save my life when I was in that situation because very few doctors understand T3 only dosing or a chronic Reverse T3 problem. And he finally discovered like once genetic tests became popular a couple of years ago, he finally took the genetic test for these two enzymes, D1 and D2, deiodinase that are responsible for the conversion of T4 to T3 and he found out that he had a defective gene from both of his parents on that.

Elle Russ:
No wonder Paul Robinson for his whole life could never tolerate T3. So all these doctors were giving him T4 his whole life, Synthroid. He was a mess. His life, he lost his job. He's still repairing the relationship with his kids. I mean this can ruin an entire life sometimes, this disease and it has. It's amazing because his contributions are incredible, but they're also go to show you, so what the hell are you doing? Just testing this TSH and this T4 man, what? No, are they getting the package? Not only that, if your doctor's not testing Reverse T3 then they really don't know what's up.

Elle Russ:
I had a doctor tried to give me more T4 when I was in a Reverse T3 problem and I said, you don't understand. You're going to hurt me. You're giving me more of the thing that's converting into the thing that's not converting into the thing. Like you're giving more of the thing that doesn't matter. The innocuous form of it, you're going to make it worse. And they didn't understand that. So the only thing that doesn't convert into Reverse T3 is T3 by itself. So that's the only reason to be on that last resort choice. And it doesn't mean that's forever. I also want to say that being on thyroid hormone is not a life sentence either. Sometimes you got to get on it in order to get to the right primordial platform base of your body to be able to detox, handle, repair, correct, get back into a state of normality. Then you can attempt at some point when you're like, okay, feel awesome. Maybe you've been on it a year, maybe it's been a couple years, and then you're like, all right, you know what, I'm going to try to get off it. You can do that.

Elle Russ:
You can see for thyroid will recalibrate after three months. So it's not a life sentence when you go on it and if you have to, and it's a life sentence, it's okay. There's millions of people that have plenty of healthy pregnancies and wonderful lives and everything's great. I'm even on the last resort choice that most doctors are looking at my blood work and be like, Oh my God, what? They wouldn't even know what to do with it because they won't understand it. And yet I'm living this amazing life and thank God for that. They got my life, got saved.

Elle Russ:
But at the end of the day, T3 is really all you need. I'm here to tell you because I have a really healthy head of hair. I have great skin. Everything is completely normal. My brain's on fire all the time and high level of output and capacity and exercise, stamina and toleration and normal metabolism. Now I'm just like a normal person. I eat too much crap, I get low fat. It's just normal. Now, life is normal because I take enough of the thing that I didn't have. No one should be scared about it because unlike the birth control pill, which manipulates your body into doing something, it wasn't even meant to do. That's why that sucker comes with 10 pages of really harsh possible side effects and it also robs you of your thyroid by the way. So if someone was on birth control pill for many years as I was back in the day, that also could be an igniter of it too because it really robs you of testosterone and your thyroid.

Elle Russ:
Thyroid hormones are not manipulating your body into tricking it into ... It's not the commercials we see on television. That's all stuff that like is really meant to F with however your body was naturally supposed to work. Thyroid hormones aren't, they're giving you what you need to live.

Melanie Avalon:
That was a beautiful picture in that somebody said that. It kind of was making me think that it's like the difference between if somebody is struggling with insomnia, for example, the difference between taking a pharmaceutical drug that just completely knocks you out and doesn't even support the sleep state compared to maybe taking natural supplements, which encourage your brain to naturally instigate the sleep process and then you might not need to be taking those for life. But once you get your sleep habits back to normal, you might not need to take those every night. I'm thinking for example, if like Dr. Kirk Parsley sleep remedy, which is all natural ingredients and it helps you naturally fall asleep. So I feel like that might be like a similar comparison where you're supporting the natural system. You're not taking over with a pharmaceutical drug that just completely wiping everything out.

Melanie Avalon:
And then ultimately you might not even need to be on that longterm. So it seems like people who have thyroid issues that ... Because we've said a lot here that there's a lot of different routes you can go and there are potential cost benefits to each of them. Let me say this and you can let me know if this is like a correct picture. So an individual, obviously I have to find the thyroid supplementation protocol that works for their body and like Elle's been saying, it's very complicated. It depends on so many things. It depends on where the issue is. So the, the go to thing that most conventional doctors do is the T4 only, if that works for you, the benefits are that you're giving your body the storage hormone and then it's converting it when it needs it to T3.

Melanie Avalon:
You do have the potential problem of T4 converting into Reverse T3 which could block T3. So there's a potential problem there. And then if you have conversion issues that it's not even like Elle was saying it's not going to do anything. Then you have the T4, T3 combo or NDT, which that brings in. You have the added benefit of actually having the T3. So if you have problems with the T4, there's that there. If you go the NDT route, you have the approach of it being "Natural" which when I first started getting into researching the whole thyroid thing, I started initially on NDT and I did have those fears, like I was saying about it being not natural or me taking over the system or something like that. But I was reassured in a way by the idea of NDT because I was thinking, A, it's sort of like a food. I mean, not really, but it's coming from an animal.

Elle Russ:
My well view if you pork ribs, I mean really no different.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I was reading that historically we would actually be in theory naturally getting some of the thyroid gland when we were eating nose to tail. So that sort of reassured me. I actually went to whole foods. Did I tell you this about the thyroid gland?

Elle Russ:
Did your boss buy some desiccated thyroid gland or something?

Melanie Avalon:
No, so I was like researching all of this. I realized that there are thyroid glands in chicken necks. So I went to whole foods and they actually had chicken necks, but apparently sometimes they take the thyroid gland out of the chicken neck. So I went up to the whole foods guy and I was like, do these chicken necks have the thyroid gland in them? And he looked at me like-

Elle Russ:
I think you told me that. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon:
... who are you? And then his response, he was like, I've worked here for 10 years and nobody has ever asked me that.

Elle Russ:
Well, because it actually has hormones in it too. Right? So it can be ... You don't want to like ...

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. So I imagine they probably do take it out. I don't think he ever got back to me. But coming back to the discussion. So ...

Elle Russ:
I want to clarify something about the NDT. So here's the thing, when you're taking any of these things, you are overtaking the feedback loop. It's just in what way are you overtaking it and making sure that when you do, you're looking at the right way so that you get optimized. Do you know what I'm saying? So essentially when you're taking NDT, you're somewhat shutting down the feedback loop and here's the thing. So the TSH signal gets more suppressed, meaning quieter when it has direct T3, which why labs look different on all of these things. And so that signal is going to start to get suppressed. The problem is that doctors are basing patients health and wellness based on where the TSH is or the T4. Either way, doesn't matter if it's one or the other both.

Elle Russ:
A success story in my book, Kara, her endocrinologist, she went through two miscarriages, all sorts of junk then her chronologist will look back eight years. He only tested TSH and T4 that's it. And never tested for Hashimoto's and just kept saying, well it's not your thyroid. Just keep working out. She's like, I'm training for a marathon asshole. This is standard endocrinologist practice is to look at the feedback loop in the wrong way. Again, judging everything based on the signal, not the package, and the package is T3. So it doesn't matter how you get it. If you can do it off Synthroid, okay, that'd be really easy and it's super cheap. Great. That's great for you. But the more optimal and not because, Oh, T3 is there in case the T4, it's more like, well you have some T3 there because that's how natural thyroids work. They don't rely on T4 conversion alone. Otherwise our thyroids would only pump out T4.

Elle Russ:
Then the argument could be made. The T4 only is the ideal medication for sure. But it's not the case, our thyroids don't. And that's why NDT or a T4, T3 through combo is the most ideal and usually works the best for people because it is a combination of both.

Melanie Avalon:
Oh, and quick question about NDT, while we're talking about it. So it also contains NDT, not compounded, but NDT also contains T1 and T2. What are your thoughts on those hormones? And how they relate.

Elle Russ:
Right. T1 and T2 calcitonin, it's almost not worth going through the discussion of them. I mean, anyone could just look them up. People say like, Oh, it's good. You're getting the full spectrum. There's no studies or anything from any of the doctors or research that I've done that shows that those things are needed. You know what I mean? To live a great life. And clearly we have tons of examples of millions of people who've gone through life on thyroid hormone without those things desiccated.

Elle Russ:
But some people were like, well, this is the whole thing. Right? It still has been shown that T1 and T2 and calcitonin, while important, are not necessarily things that your thyroid might not already be pumping out a little bit anyway, even if you're not taking NDT and also not critical. It's almost like, well, T4 is great and it's there, but clearly it's not critical because I've been living without it for eight years and thriving. So it's like, is there some value in it that we may don't know? Is it good to have a little bit of it? The only reason that it would be good to have a little bit of in case that, okay, you're on a stranded Island and then you're like, all right, well I have some T4 in here for a while before I die. It's like, well, okay, we're talking about an extreme survivors scenario, which those are the only times where that would be applicable, if that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, that's perfect. And then just to wrap up those three things. So then there's the T3 only, and that you are like Elle said, you're just applying the T3, you don't have to worry about it converting to Reverse T3. But like Elle said, you are driving everything.

Elle Russ:
And you have to dose more. Patients on T3 only dose like three to five times a day. I dose three times a day, but I used to dose five. Now, that's because I'm using direct T3. So within T3 there's two choices, you have direct T3, which is the fast acting, just direct stuff. That also is an NDT. It's direct. The other is like slow release T3. So a doctor might prescribe slow release T3 taken once or twice a that releases a steady stream of T3.

Elle Russ:
The reason that's not necessarily considered ideal or I don't think it is, although it's worked for a lot of people, it's hard to get that one right because see if you can't feel it directly as the patient, then it may peak and drop where you don't need it. For example, I do a tailored dose strategy where I do more in the morning and then less throughout the day. And that's usually how the thyroid hormones work anyway. Our adrenals need T3 to make cortisol and work. So that's why you usually need more of a morning dose or a larger dose in the morning. Patients on NDT, depending on their dose, either do once or twice a day. People in Synthroid usually do once a day. And then people in T3 only again, if you're doing direct T3 like me, then you got to bring pills with you everywhere you go.

Melanie Avalon:
I know this can seem a little bit overwhelming for listeners or might seem really complicated and we could go into the details of looking at your labs, then what that would indicate, but in the interest of time and topics and because it is so individual. So in Elle's book the Paleo Thyroid Solution, guys it's all there. It's all there. So what labs to get, what to look for, what it means. And then you do like temperature testing to check how you're responding to things. I think I'm going to refer you listeners if you want to address your thyroid issues with the labs and everything like that. Definitely get her book because it is all there. So I will say that because I'd love to tackle some other topics surrounding the thyroid if you're open to it.

Elle Russ:
Yeah.

Melanie Avalon:
Do you want to say anything at all about the temperatures and all of that stuff or should we just have listeners get your book, which it's such a valuable resource.

Elle Russ:
Yeah, I mean you can really self-diagnose sort of impending potential thyroid issue from just doing temperatures at home and so that's really important thing to start. You can start there and then get the blood work, but the blood work's really important and I also do have a free thyroid guide on my website. You can click it and it has all the tests to get what time to take it. It's a really in-depth thyroid guy that's like, Hey, listen, this whole thing is expensive, right? There's a lot of costs to getting better in this world, especially when it comes to thyroid and all of the tangential factors that I'm assuming you'll touch on in a minute.

Elle Russ:
And so it's really important for me to give out the information I hate when I listen to a podcast. I'm like, just tell me what to get tested. Don't make me go buy your book. I mean, Hey, buy my book, you'll be inspired. And it's really wonderful. It has incredible Q&A with Dr. [Forssmann 00:59:20] who's a functional paleo doctor in the back. But other than that, I mean, go get the free thyroid guide on my website, elleruss.com and then you can boom, at least start with getting tested properly. From there you'll get your answers.

Melanie Avalon:
That is perfect. So for listeners, the show notes for today's episode will be at melanieavalon.com/thyroid I will put a link there to that guide that Elle has. Wonderful. 

Elle Russ:
Wonderful.

Melanie Avalon:
Okay. I'm so happy. So definitely listeners, definitely check that out. So moving on to a few other topics surrounding the thyroid health and lifestyle and nutrition. What are some of the key dietary approaches and nutrients that are very important for thyroid health? This is another question, do you think that somebody could completely reverse their thyroid condition through dietary means alone or do you think there are cases where supplementation is necessary?

Elle Russ:
Oh, it's happened through diet many, many times. Listen, I've seen someone turn around Hashimoto's in like six, eight weeks and let me tell you what it was. It was a friend of mine who has seen me go through all this thyroid stuff over the years. She never has had a thyroid issue that I knew of, couldn't tell, great fit, whatever, like no problems, never complain about. She went through all the tragedy. That was my experiences. She would've clearly at some point had been like, Oh, that's happening to me too. Nothing like that. Then years go by. We were friends for a very long time. But like then, I don't know, it's like 10 years go by and she hears me talking to somebody in an interview after my book is published where I'm talking about the mental state of the kind of depression in general malaise or the mind stuff, the cognitive things that happen and emotional things that happen.

Elle Russ:
And I get off the phone call and she's got tears in her eyes and I'm like, Oh my God, what? And she's like, you just basically described how I'm feeling in my head. And so we had this talk and I started to realize I had asked her over the past year, I had been worried about her being depressed because I noticed this listlessness in her and this way of me talking to her and her just sort of not comprehending, almost like sort of a drunk person where like you're talking through them, they're not even like ... And she wasn't drunk though. And I noticed her sort of gaining a lot of weight, but I wasn't going to fat shame my friend. I was more worried about the fact that she didn't seem to be interested in health and wellness, like she hadn't been in terms of, she always did yoga or exercise. She was very active and so I thought, well, she's really given up on herself, what's going on? So I just thought is she depressed? That was my thing. I did not think thyroid.

Elle Russ:
So anyway, finally she says that and I said well listen, let's just do some basic tests. And we got our thyroid tested, we tested ferritin and you know B12 and some other things. But now here's the weird thing. At the time I wasn't even thinking like Hashimoto's so I don't know why but I must have checked it because I checked to get tested for Hashimoto's and it turns out she was positive and her thyroid was off, but she was positive for the antibodies. And then I said, "Hey, have you been eating a lot of gluten? Just be honest." And she was like, actually I've been eating a shit ton of like bread and carbs and stuff actually. And I'm like okay. I was like, okay, because that ignites Hashimoto's antibodies.

Elle Russ:
So talking about health hair, grains, gluten especially, and I can explain why if you want later. And so then I said, all right. And then her ferritin was kind of low. The iron storage and B12 was really low. It was just like, Hey, cut the shit with the diet. I'm a primal health coach, I'm like her best friends. So boom. I was like, she already knows, she's heard me enough. She knew what to do. She has all the bugs, she's got Marxist as bugs. It's like just, you know what to do. So she did all of that and within eight weeks, Oh my God, she had deflated like 15 pounds probably of inflammation, her skin and her eyes, her brain was lit up. You were talking to her, she was there, her hair, which had always been like a bane of her existence in terms of being like flat and nobody, and nothing was like poofy and like just alive. And I was like, what happened? Oh my God.

Elle Russ:
Several people have come up to me at events like Paleo FX and elsewhere, or success stories of mine who let's say had a child or just weren't eating the right way or something kind of threw them off and they just needed to go paleo primal and clean up their diet and that totally turned it around. So absolutely you can turn it around. There are people that keep their Hashimoto's at bay due to diet and lifestyle and don't even have to go on thyroid hormone. Now, Hashimoto's is different. So the reason that's kind of controllable or if you catch it early enough and can control it through diet and lifestyle is Hashimoto's is an autoimmune form of hypothyroidism. And so the immune system makes a mistake and it starts attacking the thyroid gland.

Elle Russ:
One of the reasons it'll attack it more, meaning antibodies higher, is when you introduce gluten or grains and some of the things can be offensive to it too, like dairy and other inflammatory, anything inflammatory because again, antibodies equal inflammation, right? So anything that's going to trigger inflammation is going to trigger something that already was brewing with antibodies somewhere. You know what I'm saying? And so Hashimoto's, the gluten, there's the protein and gluten almost mimics some of the thyroid tissue. So that's why when you eat gluten, the antibodies raise and the immune system starts attacking, essentially trying to murder the thyroid and kill it and it'll eventually completely kill it. You want to catch it because you don't want it to completely ... Like my thyroid is probably mostly atrophied by now after many, many years on thyroid hormone replacement, it could kick back then recalibrate maybe someday if I tried again to get off.

Elle Russ:
But I've tried enough times and I'm like, all right, so that's fine. But at the end of the day, like with Hashimoto's, you just don't want the immune system to keep attacking it. Also, you don't want the antibodies high because again, equal inflammation equal begetting more inflammatory and more autoimmune issues. So you could have Hashimoto's out of control. And what that could look like is you're allergic to everything. Like the success story in my book, Kara, again, the one who was not tested all those years, never knew she had Hashimoto's, didn't know anything about grains with skinny, tall, living a great life on thyroid hormone replacement, uncompounded T4, T3 for years after we finally figured it out and doing really well. But then her antibodies, the TPO antibodies were always like 300 and let's say the top of the range is 35.

Elle Russ:
People can get them up into the thousands but hers were like 300 and she couldn't feel them per se because she's on thyroid hormone replacement so she couldn't feel them in the background. But you're not getting away with it because that's still inflammation. And the goal with Hashimoto's is to get those antibodies as low as possible and even to undetectable levels. So again, immune stuff is like you got to get rid of sparking it in any way. And people if it's been sparked and they catch it through diet and lifestyle quickly can avoid going on thyroid hormone replacement and kind of feel well, but when they get off track then they start to feel like crap.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. I'm so glad you brought that up because I was thinking we needed to definitely clarify about the Hashimoto's because it's actually ... Is it the most common form of hypothyroidism today?

Elle Russ:
I'm not sure what the current statistic on that is. I mean, I think it's like at least 30% of cases, but I mean it's on the rise actually and again, just because of our lifestyle and toxicity and people's diets. So let me back to the original question. You absolutely can control this and that's part of it. I mean, look, the main goal is do everything you can to naturally get this whole feedback loop and all of the information come into your thyroid in sync. Okay. Selenium, zinc, iodine. But I say those things and you don't go out and buy Lugo's iodine and take five milligrams of iodine a day and all that kind of stuff. People will look up iodine and go, I'll just take iodine. No, no, no. Just take a natural maybe thyroid support formula or something. Clean out the diet, get to sleep, do all of the things you talk about in your book and mine as well.

Elle Russ:
And when you do those things and you start to get metabolically efficient and calorically efficient, it can turn around. And if it doesn't, well then at least you have done your best to clean up this meat suit that will now need to accept and metabolize thyroid hormones properly because you've got to take them.

Melanie Avalon:
It's a win-win situation really, because the dietary and lifestyle approach that does best support thyroid help, it's really supportive of health in general. You can't really go wrong there. So in general, nutrients wise, I'm not necessarily saying listeners should specifically supplement with certain amounts or anything like that. But in general, the thyroid nutrients, it's things like selenium, iodine. What is the role of iron with the thyroid?

Elle Russ:
The reason we test ferritin, which is iron storage and is different than hemoglobin and the other iron tests is when iron storage is low ... Basically here's the way to think about it. You need iron to have your thyroid hormones get to where they need to go. I mean, you need it for a lot of both, but that's really how it relates to thyroid. So if it's really low, then it could cause a thyroid issue or essentially like a backhanded one, right? Or it can prevent you from being able to raise your thyroid hormone dose and get to where you need to go and have the thyroid hormones that where you're taking properly be metabolized and again, affect the cells that you can get better.

Elle Russ:
So it's a key component and it's an often forgotten one. So let's say someone has really low ferritin, their doctor's an idiot. They get put on thyroid hormone, they're starting to have symptoms. Maybe it's like their anxiety, shaky, whatever. Or it could be just a bunch of other weird things. And then they're like, Oh, it's not working. I feel worse. And it's because their doctor gave them too high of a dose and didn't factor in that they also needed to up their iron. And this happened to me.

Elle Russ:
So when I first started taking NDT, I had extremely low iron. It was the bottom of the range. My ferritin anyway, on a scale of 10 to 150 it was like 13 and I was like passing out. It was just like off wide heavy legs, restless legs. It was a disaster. And those are symptoms of low ferritin. And as I was taking the NDT, I had to continually take iron in order for it to do its thing cause it can't.

Elle Russ:
So that's another pitfall of these idiot, uninformed doctors who are just going to be dispensing thyroid hormones without looking at some of the underlying critical factors. And ferritin is one of them. Why do we get low in it? Well, women who disproportionately hypothyroidism, is the disease of we are menstruating females, that can be part of it, but the other part of it really is that when you're hyperthyroid, you can't hold on to nutrients. So it doesn't matter if you're in liver all day long, you have compromised digestion, you're not breaking down the nutrients, you aren't absorbing them. And so classically hypo patients get low in ferritin, B12, Vitamin D and other things like that.

Elle Russ:
So that's why it's a key component to always test that. And that's also in the free thyroid guide with the test because there's six main thyroid tests. Well, there's a million ... Well not a million, but there's a bunch more than that. But the six like primary, like this is really all you need. Plus these others and the others include ferritin. So selenium is something that everybody listening, if you're like, Hey, I just want to make sure my thyroid doesn't get screwed up, great. Go get yourself a bottle of like life extension selenium. The reason I mentioned the brand is not because I'm affiliated with them, but because they sell the most absorbable form, which is Se-methyl-seleno-L-cysteine.

Elle Russ:
And take 200 micrograms a day for a couple of months and then after that maybe fractally dose it, right? Make sure you're getting into your life or eat a couple of Brazil nuts here and there. But two Brazil nuts aren't going to work on someone who's hypo with compromised digestion, just like 500 burgers and liver isn't going to work on the ferritin.Again, sometimes supplementation is key. It's often a big factor in thyroid patients getting better.

Melanie Avalon:
And for listeners, I'll put links to everything that Elle is discussing in the show notes so you can easily go there. And then obviously you are a proponent of like the primal paleo diet, paleo-ish. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but diet to support health in general and thyroid health. What are your thoughts on ... Because that often manifests as a lower carb diet and people often say or studies might seem to indicate that a lower carb approach or a ketogenic diet leads to reduced thyroid performance. I mean that's like a whole discussion that's out there. What are your thoughts on how low carb versus higher carb diets affect the thyroid?

Elle Russ:
Oh my God, I talk about this a lot because this is the bane of my existence that anyone would claim.

Melanie Avalon:
I know. I know. You don't have to-

Elle Russ:
That anyone would claim that. We have to look at it in a variety of ways. Okay. First of all, the bottom line is this low carb keto carnivore, all these diets, these levels of essentially ancestral paradigms do not cause thyroid problems end of story. And I'll explain though why people would think they are or they would maybe conclude that or why they're falsely claiming that.

Elle Russ:
Number one, let's talk about just people who are going to be going to these diets to begin with. I myself, when you're hyperthyroid, when I was undiagnosed, right? You're gaining all this weight. That's a big symptom of it, by the way. Some people don't get anyway, but most people gain a ton of weight. That's one of the symptoms. You have no metabolism and it's really tough and you get fatter and fatter and fatter, which is what happened to me.

Elle Russ:
And so what does one do when you have uncontrollable weight gain? You do whatever the hell you can to get rid of it. And so what does that do? I mean, it's like going out there and figuring out everyday ... Like that's what I did. I was like, I even did Atkins at one point and I got fatter on Atkins. That's the other thing too. People that go, I went keto and I got fat. So here's the thing, I am not convinced that your low carbo-keto diet made you hypothyroid unless I see your thyroid results before and then you tell me what you're eating the whole time, because here's another factor. Keto and low carb diets when you're brand new to them are really amazing. If you've gotten to the point, pass, like that 21 day beautiful mark where you really have turned over those fat burning genes and you're done. You're like, Oh my gosh, I don't even think about food anymore.

Elle Russ:
And when that happens, it's really exciting. And so a lot of people have this amazing appetite suppression, which is incredible. But then what they do is they kind of go with that and almost like they kind of get high off of that. And I get that. I've been there. But the thing is that then that leads to them really restricting calories too. So there are people that are in low carb diets that are maybe restricting calories too low to the point where ... You know what I mean? They're having an issue in some way. They're sending a starvation signal of some kind, that can happen, or like not the right macros per se. That sometimes is a pitfall. When they say they show blood tests, they'll be like, Oh, this person went keto or low carb and they're T3 levels dropped or whatever, right?

Elle Russ:
Yeah. So here's the thing. When you go low carb, when you start to clean out and you get off of the carbohydrate dependent sugar burning train, and you go down towards fat burning in having your body primarily fueled on that paradigm, like a high fat, moderate protein, low carb paradigm, which is what we're talking about, gets super lower or when you go keto extra lower. When you go carnivore. When you're going in that direction, you become calorically efficient, meaning down the road you eventually need less calories than you needed to function on. You become metabolically efficient in every way in terms of how you're burning and storing fuel and as well you can become T3 efficient, which is what I coined. You might need less T3 to operate than others. So the question is, are you having symptoms? And if you are, were you before, because I've never seen a normal person who was doing great, go low carb keto and then claim it caused a thyroid problem.

Elle Russ:
And if they said it did, I need to see before and after test. And also how were you doing the keto and low carb. And what else was the factor? Did you have some other nutrient deficiency there that was already a problem that was creeping in? Because a lot of people are going to these diets and stuff like anyone would because they're trying to lose weight. But sometimes that uncontrolled wave is already a thyroid problem brewing. Do you get what I'm saying? So there's no definitive studied all that can tell me definitively that it actually caused one. And by the way, I would say likely not our ancestors barely ate any carbs, population would have never happened Melanie, because you can't get pregnant and you have miscarriages when you have a thyroid problem, by the way, that's another part of your body trying to save your life because it's going, she can't afford to have a child right now, she's starving.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. It reminds me of when people say that a paleo diet is too restrictive or not supportive of health. And I was like, it's what we were eating for millions of years.

Elle Russ:
What's not supportive about a slab of beef ribs.

Melanie Avalon:
Actually I was thinking, I don't know if you saw the recent ... This is not about hypothyroidism or anything like that, but I was reminded of there was a really recent study in August in cell metabolism looking at alternate day fasting and 36 hour fast specifically and how it affects different biomarkers in the body. Something I found really interesting in it was that they found that patients on this ADF approach for the fasting for 36 hours, I think twice a week that, yes, it actually did lower their T3 hormone.

Melanie Avalon:
So if you see that, you would think, Oh no, the metabolism is slowing down. This is a bad thing. But they saw no changes in the participants basal metabolism and resting energy expenditure. So that right there alone shows that even lower T3 ... It would indicate to me that the body's clearly becoming efficient with T3 and there is no metabolic slow down. So you can have reduced levels without your metabolism slowing down.

Elle Russ:
Yeah. Do you ever do slow levels? How are you doing? That's all there is. Like are you able to like, okay, if you have a hundred hypothyroid systems, yeah, that's a problem. But if your levels are where they are ... That's why we don't ever rely on blood test alone, because for example, I used to be on a hundred micrograms of T3 a day when I first started T3 only many years ago. I now take between 20 and 25, because over time that's when I first started ... Over time I'm cleaning out, I'm doing these things. I'm becoming calorically efficient, metabolically efficient, blah, blah, blah. Next thing you know, I now only need 20 to 25 a day to function versus a hundred.

Melanie Avalon:
As with everything we're saying, it's a much more complicated picture than we're often-

Elle Russ:
Yeah, it's individual and also it's like, how are you feeling though? The doctor who told Mark Sisson like, I'm worried about your TSH, Mark's like I've never had a hyperthyroid symptom in my life. I feel great. My waist great, my temperature ... Because the doctor was wrong. That's why, because there was nothing wrong. Because again, it was just that snapshot, just that TSH that happened to be elevated after he went working out fasting and wins the blood draw at 10:00 AM and the TSH happened to be sending a signal at that time. It was just a snapshot of the wake up call, get it. You know what I mean? The question is how are you feeling? You know what I mean? And then goes here in a way.

Elle Russ:
Well, your labs look fine, but I feel horrible. Well, it's probably an uninformed doctor then who's not checking Reverse T3, checking free T3 and looking at it in the right way and they're treating you on some thyroid hormone evaluating in a certain way and going, well, it's not your thyroid, that happens to patients all the time who are on thyroid hormone, not your thyroid. No, it is dude. You just don't know how to manage the thyroid. That's the actual problem with the thyroid is your management of it not ...

Melanie Avalon:
I remember I went into a doctor once and I was on NDT and she looked at my results, which my TSH was like really suppressed and she was like, Oh you're hyperthyroid. And I was like, no, I'm on NDT that's why it's oppressed. She was like, no, you're hyperthyroid. I was like, okay, bye.

Elle Russ:
They tell people in NDT that ... So that's another thing too. So let's go back to this TSH thing. I make a big point in my book and I talked to the doctor in my book about it and it's a point that has to make because patients that are out there will get mistreated or under dosed by a doctor because they'll see that their TSH is getting low and low even to the point where it's 0.01 which is fully suppressed.

Elle Russ:
Nothing wrong with that. In fact, most patients feel best when their TSH is 0.01 so the doctors, why do they freak out about it? Why do they forget about it? Here's why. Because like 30 years ago, what they used to do, and they don't do it anymore. It was a really bad practice. But when people have nodules on their thyroid, it's like these little lumps, little sistie type of things on their thyroid gland. In order to try to get rid of them, they would jam the patient with a ton of T4 and make them hyper and their TSHs would go down, right? Because again it's T4 only and they're giving them a high dose of it. And so the TSH goes all the way to 0.01 and they become hyper and then they start to have issues like heart issues and calcium and bone density issues or whatever.

Elle Russ:
And so they therefore concluded a suppressed TSH equals these problems. Okay. They're not factoring in though the fact that nobody on T4 only should ever really have their TSH fully suppressed because they're only on the storage hormone. They're not factoring in this other T3 component. Again, looking at it philosophically in the wrong way. So doctors that know what they're doing don't care about. In fact, the doctor on my book, the patients with the most suppressed TSHs have the best bone density scores ever. The TSH has nothing to do with that, doesn't cause heart problems or anything else. That being said, you really don't want to dose a patient on T4 only and get their TSH suppress. So people on T4 only have different labs and their TSH might be around two or in the middle of the range or a little bit. It'll look more like a normal person's thyroid TSH versus really lower, definitely not super high.

Elle Russ:
So again, that's why I said earlier, a suppressed TSH in a normal person who's exhibiting hyperthyroid symptoms, that is suspicious of hyperthyroidism. Also, you could have a TSH, very, very low like I did. And that's more indicative of like euthyroid sick syndrome, which is probably the lifestyle I was living by overworking out, not getting satiated enough, being on a terrible cortisol adrenal hamster wheel and basically sending probably a starvation or some kind of threat where the signal wasn't even being sent. So it can mean two things, but that's why doctors learned that and fear it and it's a false fear based on a BS protocol that's not even used anymore. I hope that makes sense. And if not, I want to clarify because this keeps patients sick all the time or gets their medications reduced and then it keeps them hyperthyroid because the doctor's afraid of a suppressed TSH.

Elle Russ:
I even was interviewed by a doctor on an interview and during the interview he said, "Well, I still like to see my patients have a TSH between this and this." And I was like, "What? No." I said, "Then you're keeping those people sick if you'd like to see it at this number." It doesn't matter that it's one. Most people who feel great optimized on NDT or a T3, T4 combo have their TSH fully suppressed at 0.01. It's classic. Now, the goal is not to do that. You don't take NDT to look for a suppressed TSH. It's just what happens.

Melanie Avalon:
Okay. So not to be feared-

Elle Russ:
Well in that circumstance, but to be feared in the others that I mentioned, those cases.

Melanie Avalon:
Right, right. Exactly. Speaking of fear, glad you brought that up. Something else that you talk about all throughout your book is lifestyle practices, mindset, stressors. You're mentioning stress, exercise. I mean there's so many factors and I'm sure we could talk for like another hour on that, but all of these do play such an important role in thyroid health. So there's the hormones, there's the diet, but then there are all these lifestyle factors as well.

Melanie Avalon:
Something that I found so motivational in your book was you talked about how you went through two bouts of these thyroid struggles and how it was actually easier the second time because you had been there before. I was wondering if you could just talk briefly about what that was like and just providing motivation for listeners if they do find that they're struggling with thyroid issues, that they can get through it. Because I found the way you wrote it was just so motivating.

Elle Russ:
Yeah. It was very upsetting to be left in the dust by doctors the first time around. When I had a Reverse T3 problem the second time around and ... Well, I'll just tell the story I tell in my book. I thought I had found an informed doctor who had been treating men NDT. Like I did it myself and then I finally found a doctor and I was like, Oh my God, great. So wonderful. I don't have to do it on my own anymore. She gets it, she gets ferritin, she gets NDT. She's not afraid of the TSH being suppressed. Excellent. Wonderful. I'm done. I'm good to go. Then I started having problems. I'd go in, she tried to give me some like weight loss drug even because I was like I have horrible appetite. I can't focus. Again, all these hypothyroidism, but it didn't seem possible to me because I was on thyroid hormone replacement.

Elle Russ:
Why would I have hypothyroidism? Right. I didn't know about the Reverse T3 at that time. So then I found out about it and then I had her test me for it. Then I did my research and I realized, Oh my God, I'm pretty much going to be alone in this one. But I thought she is really smart and open and seem to be like the best doctor I've met in all those years. So I went to her and I was like, here's what needs to happen. And like this is the problem. And she literally like threw her hands up and she was like, Oh, this is too complicated. And I said, "This is too complicated, but medical school wasn't?" But organic chemistry on the M Katz was not complicated. This is complicated, but that wasn't, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? I was livid.

Elle Russ:
I walked out of that office, I bawled my eyes out in my car and I knew I was alone again and now alone again in something that even very few doctors even have any clue about and will not prescribe T3 only. So I was like, I don't even know. And it was so depressing. I've spent so many years crying my eyes out multiple times a day. And the second time though was quick and sooner because I did have the memory of, hold on a minute. I was once in this despair before and I got out of it. So let's just go with that. Yeah, may suck, but I'm going to figure this out. I'm determined, but it was so painful to have to do it myself. Now, every minute I suffered is worth it to be able to write this book and talk to people like you and share this message and save people's lives.

Elle Russ:
Are you kidding me? Worth every day that I suffered, but at the time, wow, it seemed real unfair. It seemed like, are you kidding me? This is happening to me again. Are you effing kidding me? But you know what? I didn't know the larger plan of where I am now, right? That's a couple of things too, some of the biggest gifts in life are wrapped in shit. One of the best things that ever happened to me was hypothyroidism. And some of the best things that happen to people are elements like this. You really learn so much. You go by yourself and triumphantly, thank God I fixed it myself and now can help others. But the perseverance pays. It really does. And I'm here to tell everyone because I don't care what your doctor tells you. Don't ever listen to anyone that says, "Well, you're always going to suffer from X because you have hypothyroidism."

Elle Russ:
No, because hypothyroidism is solvable in a variety of ways. Naturally or through thyroid hormone replacement. It's totally solvable. Will go away forever. No, I might have to take thyroid hormone the rest of my life, but I'm not hyperthyroid as I speak to you, and I'm not hyperthyroid on any day because I take the thing that my body needs, that's all. It was empty. I'm topping off the tanks and doing that for itself. So great. That's all. That's all that matters is that you're not hyperthyroid or hyper, but that you're not hyperthyroid. In whatever way that you get there is the goal, but it's achievable. And if it's not achievable or you think it's impossible, it's because you're on the wrong path, you're with the wrong doctor or you're not stepping up and learning what you need to learn about it or you just got to try harder.

Elle Russ:
Like, you know what, it just might take some time like me. Now because of podcast and everything that's out there, the information is out there that wasn't there when I was going through it. Now everyone has so much of a better chance and then people have me. So it's like you have me, you have Janie Bowthorpe, you have Paul Robinson. Those are the other authors I really recommend. And the information is out there. You just have to get on it and go for it and do it. Or get a coach like myself who coaches privately. And I think Janie still does as well. Maybe even Paul.

Elle Russ:
This is solvable and it's solvable quickly once you're on the right path. The thing is the reluctance to do things. There's depression along the way and there's money factors involved. But I will tell you this, there was nothing I wasn't going to do to save my life because there was a point of which I thought ... I've never been suicidal, but I had a thought during the the first bout, which was this is so bad that if I don't find an answer, I'm going to have to start thinking about killing myself.

Elle Russ:
That's how bad it is to live inside of a body that has 30 plus symptoms constantly. The way that I lived, it was a disaster. It's a horrible life and it's so tragic that it's so simple to fix. The problem is that there's too many uninformed doctors and unfortunately too many uninformed patients and that's why I'm here. So if you're out there and you're suffering, you cannot get away with not learning this yourself. And you may not know it as well as I do right now, but I behoove you to get on it and do that because you need to solve your problem and no one's going to solve it for you. You have to do it yourself. That doesn't mean you have to do what I did. And like, black market, order your medication and do it at home. Although, Hey, listen, that saved thousands of people's lives to do it that way. And I'm glad I did. I say my own life. Thank you very much. But I don't want anyone to have to do that.

Elle Russ:
That's the whole point of writing the book is so that doctors can be informed and patients can be informed and listen, how valuable is your life? You might have to spend every last dime to get to the right doctors or to do what you need to do to get the right prescriptions. You just got to keep pushing on. No one cares more about you than you. No one cares more about your health. That's the saddest thing about this is that when you're going through it, you're trusting all these people. We walk into their office, you have a Harvard degree, I trust that you're going to just save me, help me, and they don't. And then the next one doesn't. And then I'm now through 20 plus doctors and I'm going, are you kidding me? And that happens to people all the time. So I don't want people to go through 20 doctors. Get armed with the information now.

Melanie Avalon:
So much for what you're doing. It is honestly life changing, revolutionary. It actually brings me to, I swear, I promise my very last question and it's the question that I ask every single person on this podcast and it's because I do realize how important mindset is with everything, with all of these journeys. And so that is what is something that you're grateful for? Doesn't have to be the biggest thing or ... It can be anything.

Elle Russ:
Oh my God, I kid you not. Today I was driving to the gym and I saw someone in a wheelchair and even though this a whole another topic, but for those of you who don't know, I had my arms injured when I was like 22 years old. I look normal. Like I can use my arms normally, but I have inflammation issues and chronic tendinitis and have for many years and I live a pain free life. Like don't feel sorry for me. I'm doing great. But I'm very grateful that even have my arms. But then when I see some things like that, sometimes how soon we forget. Like if you're walking today and you're complaining about a broken nail, you can tell yourself to F off and get down to earth for a minute.

Elle Russ:
I think sometimes even that, and I'm really moved by that, especially people who are disabled because I am myself technically so and physically. But when I see other people in those circumstances, someone always has it worse than you, and it's not to look at a situation like that as above something and therefore it's better because everyone has their own journey. No one can say it's worser or better, that person in the wheelchair maybe way happier than me. I don't know. Maybe, but at the end of the day if you're having a problem, are you alive and can you move a step forward? And sometimes that's all you can be grateful for is that you just have a day to even hope to fix it.

Elle Russ:
Listen, you may be exhausted in a hyperthyroid mess, but do you have your arms and your legs? And if you don't have your arms and your legs, do you have your brain? Do you have a friend? You have to look for anything and everything. And sometimes just the basics. I like to wake up sometimes just the basics. Anyway, I saw that today and when I see things like that, I really get prompted to get back to the basics. I'm like, Oh my God, I have my arms and my legs. Oh my God. Holy smokes. Amazing. Right? How much I take that for granted.

Melanie Avalon:
Thank you so much. Speaking of gratitude. So thankful for you for the work you're doing, for your friendship, for everything. You are just an amazing, wonderful woman and the world is a better place because of you.

Elle Russ:
Oh, right back at you.

Melanie Avalon:
Thank you. How can listeners best follow you? I'll put links to everything in the show notes, but anything you would like to plug in particular?

Elle Russ:
Well, I'm most active on Instagram. Every Monday you can hear me interview people on the Primal Blueprint podcast, New York times bestsellers. Although some of the similar folks, I'm sure Melanie has interviewed as well. All about mind body and primal paleo living. And then also you can go to elleruss.com and find out information about me. You can find my book, The Paleo Thyroid Solution pretty much everywhere. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, et cetera. And as well I do private thyroid coaching and life coaching in general. So if you're curious about coaching with me, you can just reach out through my website, elleruss.com.

Melanie Avalon:
Awesome. Awesome. So again, listeners, I will put links to all of that in the show notes. There'll be at melanieavalon.com/thyroid and this has been absolutely wonderful. Thank you Elle. I can't wait to talk to you soon and next time and you're just amazing and yay for tackling hypothyroidism and taking things into our own hands.

Elle Russ:
Yes. And you know what, just don't give up. People don't go. I'm telling you, I used to be such a mess and you will be grateful for this later because most people don't know what it's like to go through something like this. So when you're on the other side, which you will because I told you is fixable, you're going to have such a deeper appreciation for life than most people. It's a strange thing. You do have a deeper level of gratitude. It's hard to think about looking forward to that sort of ethereal concept. But I'm telling you right now, someone will remember it later and be like, you know what? I heard this chick up on podcast and she was right. It's true you will have this profile, like once you get beyond this life is like, Oh my gosh, because you're not suffering anymore. And the contrast is so incredible that it kind of is a gift that keeps on giving the wellness. Do you know what I mean? If that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. No, 100%. So much. Thank you. All right, well I'll talk to you next time. Bye. 

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