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Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomnia

Has the Ray Peat way worked for you? Or not? Please share your experiences with the community. Or, log your journey.
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Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomnia

Unread postby stevensmith » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:47 pm

I was 17 years old when I became overwhelmed with a horrible case of secondary hypogonadism, or low testosterone. I also had insomnia and general fatigue and malaise throughout the day. Every day was a struggle and getting through 9 hours of classes day in and day out was hell. I became a social recluse. I didn't want to talk to anybody, and my embarrassment with hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, and low libido, made it even worse. So attached to my male ego, I didn't want to tell anybody the truth. But I was hurting inside. I was alone and felt that nobody could help me. After 6 months of depression and feeling like I was not fully attached to my body (I seemed to lose feeling and awareness of the world around me by being immersed in my illness), I finally broke down in tears to my mother and told her everything.

She took me to several doctors, but all of them pushed me away because they thought I was "too young to have these problems." After I saw 3 MD's, I went to a urologist and had my testosterone levels checked. Yup, I was extremely deficient in testosterone. My levels measured that of an 80 year old man. Over the course of several months, they consistently measured in the 212-240 ng/dl range. At 17 years old, they should have been close to 1000 ng/dl!!! My urologist told me to come back in a year and that if my levels didn't improve, he would put me on TRT. Testosterone replacement therapy at 17 years old? And for the rest of my life? Nope, that picture didn't seem right to me. How could I go from being a completely healthy 17 year old, happy, horny, and energetic teen, to feeling like a piece of s*** everyday with no will to fight back, no longer any interest in sports, no virility, and no sex drive or function?

The turning point for me was when I became very angry that not even professionals could help me, and I decided that I was on my own in my journey back to health. As a result, I grew a strong will to succeed and overcome adversity.

Jump ahead four years, I am now 21 years old (almost 22) and have finally defeated my arch nemesis (hypogonadism). It took me four years to do it, but I did it. However to get here, I suffered many pitfalls. I followed many diet gurus, and in some instances, actually went backwards in my journey back to health.

Over the course of the last 4 years, I....
- spent nearly $2000 on supplements in any attempt to correct my illness. I would try anything and everything, as long as it promised me a full recovery, or even a temporary escape.
- tried dangerous therapies, such as a shot of intramuscular triptorelin, which probably wasn't even the real thing.
- tried zinc and copper electrotherapy on my testicles
-tried ozone therapy
- went on a "standard" low carb paleo diet for 2 years, then a low carb raw meat paleo diet for 1.5 years (which 6 months of this time was a ketogenic, all-meat diet).

With all of the money and time I spent, nothing worked, and I had mixed results all the way through each experiment. For example, sometimes my testosterone would raise all the way up to 500, and then a few months later, it went down to 300. Libido and sexual function improved, but was also incredibly sporadic and unpredictable, and my insomnia barely got better, with marginal results at best. Though I would get mixed results with everything I tried, I always kept my strong will to succeed, which was instilled in me when I first became outraged with the way the current medical system is, turning away 17 year-olds with real problems. I always kept faith, and faith that I would beat my enemy.

Then it finally happened. I picked up a book by Broda Barnes called "Hypothyroidism; the Unsuspected Illness." I was astonished how so many health conditions were remedied by fixing the thyroid and metabolism. I began studying physiology and its relationship with the endocrine system, and how food could change the direction of the endocrine system to favor a positive or negative outcome, depending on which food was consumed. I also studied circadian rythms and other lifestyle factors that correlated with a healthy endocrine system.

On one chance afternoon, I came across a man by the name of Stepan Stastny. He was eating like 300-400g of carbs per day, which at the time I thought was totally crazy... I was still following the low carb dogma of sisson, lustig, kresser, vonderplanitz, carl lanore, etc, etc....

However, while I ignorantly argued my viewpoints with Stepan, I couldn't help but realize that this guy was the picture of health. His testosterone was at great levels (not always associated with good health, but still a possible indicator), his vitality was apparent, and his attitude was admirable. Stepan, along with Danny Roddy also had hypogonadism at one point in their lives, and overcame it in the same fashion (following Ray Peat). One day when I was arguing with Stepan and wondering why my low carb diet wasn't working, he told me to shut the F**k up and eat some carbs, and get a boner!!! Not many people may respond well to this kind of behavior, but I responded well to it. He also directed me to the works of Ray Peat, who I later realized followed Barnes' work. After following the Stastny and Peat way of eating, I made a complete recovery in about 5 months time. Because I was able to help my thyroid come back to normal, and subsequently normalize my steroid hormones, my hypogonadism was defeated, and my testosterone was restored.

I now enjoy all of the benefits of a fully fertile and virile male. I no longer have insomnia because not only do I get enough sleep (8-10hrs) every night, but my quality of sleep is also better, due to the fact that since my thyroid is good, my nerves are able to fully relax. This can be seen in a achilles reflex test. If your nerves are slow to relax, chances are, your thyroid is bad, and you probably have poor sleep.

After all of these years dealing with this issue, I gained a lot of knowledge and wisdom. In my studies, I realized that sleep is probably one of the most important things to consider if you have endocrine problems. A full nights rest can restore your thyroid hormone (T3) to normal levels, and of course, you can't have a full nights rest, of quality restorative sleep without a good thyroid. So in a sense, the system works in a positive feedback mechanism and is regulatory in an upwards or downwards fashion. In other words, if the thyroid is good, then your sleep quality will be good, and because of the good quality sleep, your thyroid hormone will be restored, resulting in a good thyroid, and then the process starts all over again. What else besides a good nights rest dictates whether your thyroid is good or not? Proper nutrition, which supports a good thyroid. Duh!!!

Thank you Ray Peat, Stepan Stastny, and Danny Roddy.... I salute you...

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby j. » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:54 pm

great story!

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby Charlie » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:07 pm

Wow! Steven you are a total inspiration! And you absolutely give me hope that I can turn my health around with the right approach. I sincerely appreciate you telling your journey, and a big congratulations to you for healing yourself. Your story I am sure will help a lot of other people realize that they can do it to. You have truly inspired me. Thank you.

Being so young and pulling yourself out of the hole that you did, and by yourself, man I just can't express how awesome that it. Realizing that modern medicine is not much help these days, and finding the way for yourself, right on!

I have 3 questions for you.

What time do you usually go to bed and do you try to stick to it every night?

What do you consider proper nutrition? Do you mind posting a sample menu for a day along with supplements to? If not the supplements, definitely the meal plan for a day would be awesome so I can gauge if I am heading the right way with nutrition.

And do you use any of the lights that Ray Peat suggests?

Again, many thanks. Big pat on the back to you my friend. :)

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby stevensmith » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:47 am

Thank you for your kind words Charlie. I think the most important thing is what you're not eating as opposed to what you are.

Peat suggests to "eat to increase the metabolic rate rather than any particular food," and I wholeheartedly agree. It's important to consider the temperature and pulse. If the pulse is high and you have a normal temperature, then your adrenalin is probably way too high. Typically this goes in hand with a low peripheral temperature, and high internal temperature, such as cold hands, feet and genitals. However, if this is you, then your temperature reading might read 98.6. This is a false reading for thyroid because adrenalin acts by pulling heat away from the periphery to heat the core.

However if your pulse is really low, like in the 60's, 70's, or lower, then its apparent that your thyroid is not working properly to cause the heart to work adequately. Running and other endurance exercises, even long marathon weight lifting workouts, can easily cause the problems of high adrenalin/low pulse, low thyroid, etc.... Ideal temp and pulse, suggestive of a good thyroid is 98.6+ and a pulse of about 80-105.

Since thyroid hormone is restored with rest, ideally, if somebody is in need for recovery, homeostasis, or needs to fix themselves of their maladies, probably one of the best things they can do is stop working out all together. Working out is a stress by itself and should be taken seriously. Before one works out, they should consider how they are going to recover their T3 quickly, and also consider how much the workout will lower their T3. If 2 hours after the workout, the temperature is lower than before, then the workout is not helping you, its hurting you. The lower metabolic rate will prevent muscle gain and fatloss, so all this hype about working out hard, and for long durations is bull****.

Then on to sleep. I don't really practice what I preach when I talk about sleep. This has always been one of my hardest things to work on. I am a night owl, and it is my biggest problem. Sometimes when I go to bed way too late, like last night (2am), my morning temperatures are a tad too low (today- 97.7). When I go to bed early (9-11pm) my temperatures are always high (97.9-98.6). Its usually going to be lower in the morning, and then once you get food in you, by mid morning, it should rise to 98.6 or higher ideally. Rest and sleep restore thyroid hormone, which help you sleep easier the next day, so its a revolving cycle that has to be tweaked.

Then onto diet. There are several things that are controllable when it comes to diet. Since these things can be measured and the results can be measured, this gives you power and increases your will to continue, rather than following some stupid paleo diet or vegan diet, which is supposed to work on the premise that simply avoiding "unnatural" foods will heal you. Those kinds of diets are frustrating because they leave you broke and wondering when they will make you healthy, when they'll miraculously and magically work. The answer is never....

Peat eating gives one hope because it produces MEASURABLE results rather than arbitrary whims of health.
The things that can be controlled are.

1) PUFA- Peat believes there are no essential fatty acids. This is true. They are present in just about everything and small amounts is all that's needed. You could probably be fine on .0001g PUFA per day, and this is always unavoidable no matter what you do. Excess PUFA causes most of the problems diet related. It does this by many actions, but the main ones are prostaglandin stimulation, PGF2, Serotonin upregulation, estrogen upregulation, prostaglandin mediated aromatization, toxic lipid peroxidation, lipofuscin, oxidation and high reactability with other compounds, free radicals, etc..

When talking about testosterone, PUFA stimulates prostaglandins, which not only create excess inflammation, but cause aromatization in the body, which would otherwise not happen so intensely. Aromatase is the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen, and PUFA is largely responsible for the bulk of it. When adopting a Peat type diet, it can take up to 4 years to rid the body of stored PUFA, so patience is needed.

2) Serotonin- decreases testosterone and works with estrogen to do this. It also antagonizes dopamine, which in turn decreases testosterone.

3) Fiber- increases endotoxin and gut serotonin and subsequently total body serotonin. Serotonin works to increase estrogen and lower testosterone. Fiber also causes constipation and colon issues. It's good to avoid it for the most part.

4) lactic acid- prevents proper cellular respiration and depletes the liver of glycogen. You need liver glycogen to make T3. Lactic acid is an energy waster.

5) phosphorous- too much causes a catabolic state and anti-bone/protein state, which in turn lowers thyroid, inc estrogen, etc...

How do we fix these issues? PUFA problems can be remedied by increasing the ratio of saturated fat to PUFA, and by also lowering the amount of PUFA one eats. A good goal is to get to less than 2g PUFA per day. And if there is more, it should be balanced by a higher consumption of saturated fat. Eating mostly low PUFA meats like red meat, and white fish/shellfish, and ommitting chicken, pork, seal, and other high PUFA foods helps. Never eat vegetable oils, or other high PUFA oils like mayonnaise, and never eat nuts, seeds, grains, etc...

Serotonin issues can be fixed by adequate nutrition, getting enough B6, found in fruit, meat and liver, and also by limiting the amount of tryptophan (converts to serotonin) in the diet, which can be achieved by NOT eating muscle meat, and by eating collagenous meats like shanks, oxtail, beef neck, gelatin, etc...

Fiber issues can be fixed by both omitting high fiber foods like grains and green vegetables. Starches should be limited, and should always be eaten with a raw carrot or bamboo shoots, because the fiber in them prevent bacterial endotoxin, and is "good" fiber in context.

Lactic acid issues can be fixed by limiting exercise to an appropriate level, and omitting high lactic acid foods like cottage cheese and other fermented dairy products like yogurt, Kifer, etc...

Phosphorous issues can be fixed by having a high calcium to phosphorous ratio. This is achieved by drinking lots of milk and eating calcium rich foods. Possibly also adding a calcium supplement of pure oyster shell calcium.

Other important notes: its important to get adequate carbohydrates, typically greater than 300g per day, to ensure adequate liver glycogen to make adequate T3, and also ensure that you are using primarily glucose for energy, since free fatty acids can lower thyroid function. Its important to consume liver once per week to get adequate vitamin A, and other fat soluble vitamins, especially if one is on a low fat diet. Its important to get enough minerals like sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc... Get adequate protein to ensure proper liver glucoronidation and detoxification of estrogen. Low protein diets also cause hypothyroidism.


What do I eat on a daily basis?

I regularly eat/drink:

-1/2 gallon to 1 gallon of 1% milk per day, mixed into a shake with 2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup cane sugar, 1/2 cup beef gelatin. Shake well to mix the contents. Whole milk is okay, but sometimes the extra fat is very fattening.
- some animal protein: such as collagenous meats, like oxtail, shanks, beef neck, and sometimes chuck roast,
- some oysters every week due to their high zinc/copper/tyrosine levels, good for testosterone and thyroid. Oysters are probably the best natural mineral supplement. All other shellfish are inferior, so my philosophy is "don't bother, spend your money on oysters." Crab and other white fish like cod and solefish, are good choices.
- 1/4 -1/2 gallon of orange juice. Very good magnesium and potassium levels.
-1 tbsp of coconut oil, with coconut oil added to my food for frying purposes.
- 1 raw carrot per day

- liver once per week

I drink all of my liquid food before 5 or 6pm, to ensure that by 11pm, I don't need to pee anymore, which ensures good sleep. I save my solid foods for dinner, which also helps me sleep better due to slower digestion.

I supplement with unique e vitamin e, especially if I am going to go out for dinner and I know the food will be cooked with PUFA. I also supplement with dessicated thyroid (thiroyd) if I need it. Its always ok to take as long as the thyroid doesn't get too hyper, in which case, you would stop taking it. Traditional cultures always ate the thyroid gland frequently, along with progesterone and pregnenolone-rich brain, so the whole bit about "taking dessicated thyroid is cheating," is bull****.... If you need it, take it!

Once in a while I'll make a kale broth to get enough vitamin k.

That's pretty much all I take for supplements. I try to make food my true supplements, like oysters, and liver.

There is an androgenic steroid that can possibly help to reverse androgen deficiency. It's called proviron, and it actually doesn't suppress your HPTA, which is what most androgenic steroids do. It's basically oral DHT, and DHT isn't as suppressive, if at all, as testosterone. I suppose this is because testosterone can aromatize to estrogen and DHT cant'. Estrogen is said to be like 200x more suppressive to the HPTA axis, than testosterone, and that's probably why steroid users have shrunken testes, and low endogenous testosterone. If you can find REAL proviron, try it temporarily, but I think its really hard to find the real thing, and there are plenty of counterfeits. It's used in Europe though.

But I think in the long run, dessicated thyroid is a better supplement than proviron, and proviron might possibly be good short term to reverse hypogonadism.

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby DMF » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:48 am

Alot of stuff going on there Steve. Thanks for sharing it. I'm still in the process of repairing my broken life(health).

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby nwo2012 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:32 am

Yes thanks for posting and glad its going well for you. I will put up one myself and for mrs nwo2012 when I have the chance.

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby gummybear » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:38 pm

Great story!!

Who is this Stepan Stastny? I googled him but didn't find anything.
"The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." - H.L. Mencken

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby lazz » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:25 pm

bump...great story and info however PROVIRON is and AAS (Steroid) and it will supress your HPTA..hes wrong about it..

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby zorrich » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:01 am

"-1/2 gallon to 1 gallon of 1% milk per day, mixed into a shake with 2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup cane sugar, 1/2 cup beef gelatin. Shake well to mix the contents."

Do you add that amount of salt/sugar/gelatin in total or to each shake you make? How many shakes do you typically make with 1 gallon of milk?

The reason I ask is because I have been salting my beverages to help with fluid intake, but have not been anywhere near 2tsp.

EDIT: And BTW, great story :) Glad you've found your way!

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomni

Unread postby Jenn » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:33 am

Not my recipe, but the salt is in relation to the sugar...at least in my own eating.

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Need help with similar condition as OPs.

Unread postby Aragorn » Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:03 pm

Hello. This is my first post here. I know this is an old post. But I hope the OP can reply.

I'm having low testosterone as well and I'm told that I have Secondary Hypogonadism, meaning that my pituitary is not releasing enough hormones to stimulate testosterone production. I'm 36. The problem started to be unbearable 4 years ago. But there was a slow progressing fatigue for many years prior that.

What should I read, exactly, to follow the OPs path to fix my metabolism (assuming that my testosterone problem is caused by low metabolism)??? OP mentioned Broda Barnes' book. Anything else???

Besides, if I do the thermometer test as soon as I wake up in the morning and it turns out that my temperature is within 97.8 and 98.2 - does that mean that my metabolism is ok and I don't need to try to fix it anyhow?

OP, please respond. Or anybody else!

Thanks.

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Re: Need help with similar condition as OPs.

Unread postby tara » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:48 pm

Aragorn wrote:What should I read, exactly, to follow the OPs path to fix my metabolism (assuming that my testosterone problem is caused by low metabolism)??? OP mentioned Broda Barnes' book. Anything else???

Besides, if I do the thermometer test as soon as I wake up in the morning and it turns out that my temperature is within 97.8 and 98.2 - does that mean that my metabolism is ok and I don't need to try to fix it anyhow?

:welcome Aragorn
Just noticed this post went unanswered last month.
I'd recommend reading/listening to Ray Peat's articles and/or interviews. The interviews are usually at a simpler level than the articles. I find I get more out of both when I read again - he packs in a lot of information.
http://raypeat.com/articles/
viewforum.php?f=18

I gather that measuring both temps and pulse gives a better picture of thyroid function than either alone. Noting temperature of extremities as well as core can be part of the picture, as well as other symptoms. Together you can get a better idea of whether temperature and/or pulse are being elevated by stress hormones or are being sustained by healthy thyroid function or are low because of low thyroid.

If you want more opinions from us here, you might get more if you post a bit more info - eg what are you eating, and how is your health in other ways, and maybe a bit of health history? If you want to you can post lab results - some people here are good at spotting useful patterns in the numbers even if they are within the ranges the endocrinologists consider 'normal'.
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"I don't know the meaning of between meals."

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Re: Overcoming a 4 year battle with hypogonadism and insomnia

Unread postby Aragorn » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:45 pm

Well, basically I'm at the end of the rope, so to speak. I'm experiencing gross, unbearable fatigue which makes me unable to function in life. It's a miracle that I still didn't lose my job since I can barely work. I feel like I'm 95 and dying. It's even hard to talk and my speech became slurred, brain fog, panic attacks... I'm now 36, first symptoms started when I was around 16- 19 and it has been a very gradual decline since.

I've tried many natural approaches, herbs, diets, spent all my savings on those and they got me nowhere. Every natural "group" condemns all the other ones.... but none gave me any results. The ONLY case of naturally curing symptoms of low testosterone I found was this OP's story here.

Yes, I can assume that it may be thyroid that causes my troubles, but I can't get clear info on Ray Peat's approach, the articles and interviews are all scattered all over the subject of health.... What I've been able to understand so far is that sugar is needed for metabolism of proteins, proteins are needed for proper thyroid function and proteins should be of right kind - and that seems to be the base of Ray Peats approach. But, as any newbie to Peataterism, at this point I DO have huge reservations about eating tons of sugar. I get candida overgrowth when eating too much carbs. My current blood glucose is 101, borderline high, and I lost many teeth due to eating sugar when I was a kid (I THINK that's due to sugar). That being said, I do currently eat plenty of honey and organic meat as well as butter.

5 years ago I went on a wrong diet because someone convinced me that my tiredness is caused by eating meat. I basically became vegetarian for 2 years. It could be a coincidence, but during this time my decline in energy was more rapid, followed by initial boost in energy. Later on, being on that diet I did notice that I started breathing slower, and I think (but never measured) that my heart rate slowed down. I was also having trembling in my hands sometimes and some sudden fast hands movements which were not noticeable by other people but that scared the hell out of me and looked like I was having neurological problems... I also had numbness in my arms. I went back to my normal diet 2 years later. Trembling, numbness and sudden movements stopped, but the fatigue remained and is now actually getting worse slowly, despite of return to my normal diet. I don't digest food without supplementing with HCL and enzymes. Without those supplements I get alternating diarrhea and constipation all the time. I do have H. Pylori which I'm afraid to treat with antibiotics and don't know any other way.

I know you may not approve my current diet but let me give you an idea of what it is. Organic meat, broth, some fish, eggs, potato, green salads with olive oil, some flax seeds oil, homemade kefir, butter, honey, brown rice and spelt crackers. Sometimes chocolate. Green tea. Chicory. It's interesting that my fatigue does not seem to be dependent on diet...

A "controversial" natural practitioner (I'll leave it at that) said I have a small brain tumor that prevents release of hormones from Pituitary. A brain MRI in 2012 showed all fine. One doctor wants me to get a new brain MRI due to low LH and FSH but I don't want to do it since there's no cure for these things anyway so I don't want to know if I have a brain tumor. Besides chronic fatigue, I don't have any major diseases.


I can't say that my hands/feet are cold. Sometimes I do experience some "hot flushes". But I don't know how that compares to a healthy person so maybe that's normal to feel that way.

- Currently my average level of total testosterone is around 250 (normal range: 350 - 1080).
Free T - 128 (47 -244).
Bioavailable Testosterone - 372 (131 - 682).
Sex hormone binding globulin - 19 (11 - 80).
Follicle stimulating hormone - 2.8 (1.6 - 9.7).
Estradiol - 23 (14 - 43).
Cortisol - 20.7 (2.3 - 19.4).
TSH (Nov 2012): 3.07 (0.450 - 4.5)
TSH (May 2013): 5.21 (0.51 - 6.27).
TSH (July 2013): 3.0 (1.1 - 12.5).
TSH (July 2013): 2.20 (0.51 - 6.27).
TSH (apr 2014): 3.36 (0.450 - 4.5)
(so TSH tends to be on the higher side).

LH and FSH are always on the low side: LH around 2.5 to 5 (1.7 - 8.6).
FSH around 3.0 (1.5 - 12.4).

My White Blood Count is low: 3.6 (3.4 - 10.8) and no doctor knows why. I don't know whether it was always low or just during recent 3 years.

My heart rate is usually 75 - 80. Body temperature during the day is usually 97.8. Never measured early morning.

Also 2 out of 4 blood tests for Lyme disease came borderline high but all doctors are saying I don't have Lyme. The only diagnosis doctors came up with was Hypogonadism (low Testosterone) and they want me to get on Testosterone replacement for life but I'm still refusing it.

Is there a way to know for sure that my thyroid is not doing well and is the cause if my condition? Is there a way to make sure I don't get diabetes if I jump into Ray Peat diet?

Please let me know if you need more info from me.
Thanks!


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