1. If you can’t lose weight no matter what you do, what should you have your doctor check?
a. your cholesterol
b. your iron and calcium
c. your TSH
d. your free T3
2. Your doctor says your cholesterol is too high. What is the best thing you can do?
a. Take a statin (cholesterol-lowering drug)
b. eat less cholesterol
c. eat less sugar
d. exercise more
3. True or False: Margarine is healthier than butter.
4. You’re not sleeping well, you’ve got raging PMS problems, and your anxiety is through the roof. Your doctor wants you to take an antidepressant. What is most likely the true culprit?
a. you need a good sleeping pill
b. you need to quit your job
c. you’re low in progesterone
d. you’re getting older
5. Gaining lots of belly-fat is a sure sign of:
a. water retention problems
b. failure to do enough abdominal exercises
c. too many carbs in your diet
6. Your daughter has a bad case of facial acne. The doctor put her on “hormones” to help and now she is in an emotional tailspin, and the acne is still there. Most likely the problem is:
a. she needs to grow out of it
b. she needs to try a different facial cleanser
c. her laundry detergent
d. something she is eating
7. You tell people you have “brain fog." You just can’t concentrate on things anymore, plus you seem to be tired all the time, even if you slept 10 hours the last two nights. Your metabolism just seems to be slowing down. What’s wrong?
a. you have ADHD and need medication to help your brain
b. your thyroid is low
c. you’re depressed
d. you need to exercise more often
If you flunk this test, you need to get more informed about your own health! These are not hard questions, but they do reflect basic misconceptions that can, in the long run, hurt you. Here are the answers with brief explanations:
1. d. your free T3, and yet most doctors will never test it. It is critical to make sure the T3 part of your thyroid is in the upper range—otherwise you can be doomed to being heavy for the rest of your life.
2. c. eat less sugar. The more sugar/carbs in your diet the higher your insulin will go. The higher your insulin goes the higher your cholesterol will be.
3. False. If you said true, you have been duped by the advertisers, and you haven’t kept up on the medical studies. You fall in the same category as the people who say eggs are bad for you. It just ain’t so!
4. c. You’re low in progesterone. Yes, this hormone can cause all of those problems. Best way to proceed: get your doctor to check your progesterone levels. If they are low, take bioidentical progesterone. It can change your life!
5. c. Too many carbs in your diet. That’s why we call it a “sugar belly.” Fat doesn’t make you fat. Nor does protein. But if you eat either one with a lot of carbs, you’ll get the sugar belly for sure.
6. d. it’s probably something she’s eating. I have seen more bad cases of acne clear up by taking things like gluten and dairy out of their diet than anything else. But remember: there’s no such thing as being “pretty much gluten free” or “almost dairy free.” You either are or you are not. Eating a small piece of bread once a week can cause the antibodies to rise, and voila! More acne.
7. b. your thyroid is low. Ahh, there’s that thyroid thing again. Fatigue is the number one sign of a low thyroid, but brain fog is right up there with it. It’s called “failing cognition” and can become a real problem. Again, get your free T3 checked by your doctor. If he/she says they see no need to check the T3, get another doctor.
So, how did you score? Many of these questions are the same ones asked in our clinic everyday by men and women who are not getting answers from their medical professionals. Why? Most doctors are too busy to take the time. Some doctors won’t think outside of the traditional medical box. As the patient, you need to be asking the right questions. I love it when a patient comes in an asks me “Why?” I love the well-informed patient who just doesn’t take my word for everything. They come back on the next visit with more questions. So I have to do my homework. But so do you . . . so keep reading, searching, asking and doing. It’s your body; your health; your life. Live it!
Dr. Robert Jones is the Clinical Director at the Utah Wellness Institute in Draper, Utah.