Why You Can be in Tip-Top Shape and Still Feel Terrible....

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD
July 31, 2018


Do you exercise, eat a healthy diet, and avoid unhealthy habits (like smoking) and still feel terrible?

You thought the exercise would make you feel strong, but instead, weakness and fatigue are the norm. Despite your great diet, you’ve gained weight and can’t lose it. And maybe you’re even suffering from hair loss, depression, and insomnia?

If that’s you, there’s one major reason. And it’s easy to fix….

As you may know, exercise should help you stay strong and live a long life. But when it doesn’t, there’s something else missing. And it’s usually a hormone deficiency.

The most important hormones in this regard are the thyroid hormones. I’ve been telling you the importance of metabolic testing for both exercise and thyroid hormonal replacement for years now, but here’s another reminder. I had a case that just showed up last week that illustrates how critical metabolic testing can be.

It is the case of Suzanne. Suzanne is a 43-year-old woman who was complaining of a 70-pound weight gain over the past five years. She also began to suffer hair loss, weakness, fatigue, depression, and insomnia.

“If I’m in such good shape, why do I feel so bad?”

Suzanne had done everything she could to get back in health. But so far nothing had worked. Her doctor gave her a million-dollar workup, and everything came up normal. She was exercising for an hour, six days a week. She had a healthy diet and a good lifestyle. She was not taking any drugs. Was it all in her head?

The first thing I did with Suzanne was to measure her metabolic function using a patented system I call Bio-Energy Testing. This is the first thing I do with virtually every patient, because unless you fix your metabolism, there’s no hope in getting well. Metabolism testing involves wearing a facemask that looks like a scuba mask. The mask connects to an analyzer that can measure how much oxygen the patient is consuming and how much carbon dioxide she is producing. In the second part of the test, the patient rests quietly in a chair. The second part of the test, the patient rides an exercise bicycle. It takes about 35-40 minutes. And it gives me the following information:

(1) Maximum metabolism – This measures mitochondrial function. It is the only way to accurately determine mitochondrial function in a clinical setting. It is the ultimate gauge of health. You are as healthy as your maximum metabolism. People with optimal maximum metabolisms will never come down with a chronic disease.

(2) Resting metabolism – This is the only way to accurately assess thyroid function.

(3) Carbohydrate effect – Some people have bodies that cannot tolerate carbohydrates. Others have bodies that require carbohydrates. Metabolism testing can determine which kind of body you have.

(4) Fat metabolism – Your overall health is maximal when your fat metabolism is maximal.

(5) Fitness – The best measurement of fitness is strength as a function of oxygen consumption.

(6) Exercise zones – I published a paper 15 years ago demonstrating that without knowing their metabolic exercise zones, 90% of people are not exercising properly.

(7) Calorie consumption – Without metabolic testing, guessing at how many calories your body needs is just that – guessing.

Here’s what happened when I checked Suzanne’s metabolic function.

Her maximum metabolism was perfect! That healthy lifestyle, diet, and all that exercise had paid off. She was one healthy specimen. No wonder all of her other tests looked so good. However, when I told her this, she was less than completely happy. “If I’m in such good shape, why do I feel so bad?” she asked. Of course, there was an answer. And that was obvious when I looked at her resting metabolism. It was very low – a full 17% below optimum. So, what does that mean?

Resting metabolism is controlled by thyroid hormones. In fact, that is all thyroid hormones do. As critically important as thyroid hormones are, the only function they have is to control metabolism. I told Suzanne that the most likely cause of her symptoms was low thyroid function. “But I’ve had my thyroid tested several times before and the tests are always normal. I know that all my symptoms are classic signs of low thyroid function, but how can that be if all the tests are normal?” It’s a great question, and here’s the answer.

Doctors are taught in medical school that the only accurate way to determine who needs thyroid hormone replacement and who doesn’t is with thyroid blood tests. But, it isn’t true. And here’s why.

Thyroid blood tests came into use during the 1960s. Before then, the only way to test for thyroid function was to, you guessed it, measure resting metabolism. Resting metabolism had been the gold standard for determining who needed thyroid replacement and how much they needed since the 1920s. But back in the old days, measuring resting metabolism was not as easy as it is today. So, when the new blood tests came out, doctors stopped measuring metabolism and started relying on the blood tests. After all, if you can directly measure the amount of thyroid hormones in the blood, it makes complete sense that it should be able to tell you who needed thyroid hormone replacement and who didn’t. But, as it turns out, it might make sense, but it’s not true.

Nobody has actually ever tested it to see if it was true!

Amazingly enough, in the past 50 some odd years since the thyroid blood tests have come out, there has not been one published study that looked to see if the patient’s blood tests actually corresponded to the patient’s metabolism. Remarkably, it was just assumed that there was a correlation. Nobody has actually ever tested it to see if it was true! But I do it all the time!

And here’s what I’ve found. Since I have been checking the metabolisms of thousands of patients over the past 20 years, I can tell you that when the patient’s resting metabolism is significantly low, as it was with Suzanne, 90% of the time the blood tests are in the normal range. In other words, the blood tests are completely useless when it comes to determining who needs thyroid hormone replacement.

After I explained all this to Suzanne, she understood why her other doctors had misdiagnosed her. Her blood tests were normal even though her resting metabolism was significantly depressed. So, based on her metabolic study, I gave her a fairly stiff dose of the three most potent thyroid hormones: T4, T3, and T2. I estimated the proper dose from the metabolic testing results.

When she just came back to the clinic today for her eight week follow up and repeat metabolic testing, her resting metabolism was now 93%. With some exceptions, anything over 90% is usually adequate. So, this result looked pretty good. With this metabolic rate, she was going to live longer and be much more resistant to disease. In fact, with her maximum metabolism so good, I would be extremely surprised if she ever came down with anything serious. But, that was not all I was interested in. The bottom line was (and always should be), how was she feeling?

“I am so happy”

The fact was, that you couldn’t wipe the smile off Suzanne’s face. “I am so happy,” she said. "My hair is no longer falling out, my energy is great, I am sleeping, and I have dropped six pounds without doing anything different except taking the hormones.” For the past five years, while she was having all of these symptoms and gaining all the weight, she was misdiagnosed and deprived of what she really needed.

And the reason is that her doctors simply relied solely on thyroid blood testing!

Understand this, there is no way to properly diagnose and monitor thyroid function without metabolic testing.

So here’s what you should do. Look up the symptoms of low thyroid function. The Mayo Clinic website (www.mayoclinic.com) has a good list. The list is long and varied because thyroid hormones are so fundamentally important. Low thyroid function is completely common and almost always overlooked. If you have any of these symptoms, and your doctors don’t have an answer, let me suggest that you have your metabolism checked. You can find a list of doctors doing this at www.bioenergytesting.com. These doctors can test your metabolism and tell you whether your thyroid is functioning properly. If it’s not, they will know exactly how much thyroid medication you should be taking.

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