In this Episode of Love your Diagnosis, I talk with Angela Lago about her diagnosis of Hashimoto's Disease.
Hashimoto's is a chronic auto immune disorder which for some reason 7x more likely in women than men. Love to know that reason but haven't done enough research yet to find out.
Angela was living life under extreme stress and was showing symptoms that were making her feel something wasn't right.. Medicine came first and then she stumbled across research into the microbiome and the gut and brain connection.
Changed her life, her diet and found pro and prebiotics and has been symptom and medicine free for two years.
After her own self healing journey, Angela has made it her mission to help others feel and function optimally using holistic nutrition and lifestyle solutions.
Links to Angela's website:
This is her Instagram: angelalagonutrition
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You can get my book here which is a raw and honest dialogue of how I went from completely using allopathic medicine to manage a diagnosis of epilepsy, to only using a small amount of medicine and managing the rest with lifestyle choices and other wonderful plant medicines and supplements
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A little side note:
These shows are meant to create food for thought for people going through similar situations. Planting seeds of information about things that perhaps you never knew could and might assist in treating and managing the symptoms associated with your diagnosis.
Alternative treatments are out there to be used, alongside allopathic medicine, or instead of.
That part is completely up to you, but gaining knowledge is the first part in empowering yourself back to health.
Good morning. Well, it's good morning on my side of the fence. It's probably good evening on your side of the fence that we have today on the lovely diagnosis podcast. Angela Lago. Good evening morning.
Hello. Yes. Good evening.
Where are you in the world?
I am in Wilmington, North Carolina. So on the south east coast of the United States.
Alright, fantastic. And it's Friday afternoon for you
Yes, thank you, thankfully.
Now, another person I interviewed Kelly Kessler basically got my attention to you because you've got a really interesting story about hashimoto's so I'm not going to explain it I'm going to let you kind of answer these questions is, what was your diagnosis? And if you've still got it, and what age were you diagnosed? And yeah, does it still affect you now?
Angela 1:02iagnosed with this in July of:
And what was some of the symptoms that you were experiencing with Hashimoto's? Oh, firstly, what what actually is it?
So like I said, it's an autoimmune condition. And basically, you know, when you have problems with your thyroid, such as hypothyroidism, inflammation in your thyroid, prevents it from making the hormones that your body needs. And so with Hashimotos, your immune system actually makes antibodies that attack your thyroid. So your body is basically going against itself. And there's, of course, a backstory to all of this. But when I was diagnosed, I was gaining weight. So I was having a hard time maintaining my weight, I was extremely fatigued, I had insomnia. I was anxious, I was depressed. And for a highly functioning person, I just I felt like I was falling apart.
Lainie 2:34toms were you experiencing in:
so I had been having chronic stress for, I mean, I'm embarrassed to say probably a decade before I got this diagnosis. And I did want to make sure that I mentioned that today. Because you know, I'm a registered dietician. So I mean, I have had a healthy lifestyle. But my stress was something that I was not controlling. And so I feel like while I probably would have eventually gotten Hashimotos, because there is a genetic component to it. I feel like I got it a lot sooner than I would have because of my chronic stress. So I feel like the stress kind of pulled the trigger on the diagnosis much earlier than it should have. So, you know, stress plays into so many things. And that's one of the things I really wanted to mention for your listeners. It's so important to control it, because even healthy individuals can can get an autoimmune diagnosis, just from not taking good care of them themselves holistically.
That's an important thing to to keep in mind that that just because you are healthy, one day, if you don't take stock of your stress levels, your your metabolism, your thyroid can change your life just like that.
Yes, yeah. So I had gotten to a point like I was saying where I wasn't sleeping. I had basically, I was very depressed, to be honest, and I lost motivation to do things that I normally just did as part of my life, I have two teenagers. So, you know, I would come home from work, Put on my robe, sit on the couch, drink a glass or two of wine. And I was like, I'm done. I had no interest in cooking dinner, I couldn't even actually decide how to put a meal together at the time. And that's when I knew like something's wrong. Because you know, I like cooking. I like nourishing my family. But I got to the point where pretty much all I could do was go to work and come home. And and I just, it was taking a toll. And that's when I was like, I need to get the shutdown.
Was there a particular story that you remember that happened that freaked you out? That freaked you out that made you want to look more into it? Or was it just an accumulation of all these symptoms and the fact that all this brain fog that was happening?
I would say both? That was that was one thing. And then I was thinking about this this question today. And you know, there is a particular time I was on the way taking my son to school. So my kids go to a Christian school, you know, and so I'm trying to do all these things to be a great mom. And I'm taking him into school, which is only about three miles from where we live. And I completely lost it on my son, who at the time was 11 or 12. And so I was crying, I was screaming, we're like, on the way to school. And he gets out of the car. And I'm just like, What is wrong with me? Like, this is not the type of mom that I want to be like, and I remember calling my mom saying I'm like, something's wrong. Like I'm not doing well. And that was really one of the turning points where I was just like, okay, like, I need to get myself back on track. Because if you knew me in person, you would know that that's not like me to be like that. So that was really one of those moments that stands out. Yeah, it's
it's good. These epiphany moments are important. So you've gone to see a doctor, did you? Was it a GP that you first visited and then they sent referred you to someone?
Well, I have traditionally preferred more holistic care. And unfortunately here in the United States, at least insurance generally does not pay for holistic naturopathic providers. Is that Is it similar to that? And Australia?
Some you can, but it's harder. It's a lot. Yeah, it's a lot more expensive to go down that route of particular practitioner.
Yeah. So I had a particular provider that I was going to, and she was accepting insurance, but then all of a sudden, she something happened and she quit accepting insurance. So then I was on the quest to try to find someone else. And I was going to a physician that was kind of partly holistic, partly conventional medicine, because my insurance would pay for it. But to be honest, like I didn't feel heard, I didn't feel seen. I just I was getting prescriptions thrown at me. And I was like, there has to be a better way. Like I don't want to start out. That'd be the first line of defence going straight on a prescription. So I did start on prescription
you did and Was that for Hashimoto's? Did they diagnose you straight off the bat with Hashimotos? Or were they just did they just prescribe you with medications for other things like the symptoms?
So the first provider that I was going to that was the holistic provider, she did diagnose me with hypothyroidism. So I was on a natural supplement, or is a prescription but it's more of a natural prescription called Nature, thyroid, or nature thyroid. And so I was on that. But when I went to this new provider, she was basically treating the symptoms. So she wanted to put me on an antidepressant something for anxiety, something for sleep, and, and at the time, I was like, Well, I have to function. So I guess I'll start taking them. But, you know, it didn't. It didn't take long before I was like, okay, like, I'm not going to continue on with this because it's like a never ending one prescription leads to another and, and that's kind of where I started doing my own research.
Can I ask how long in between you started taking the meds? And when you kind of woke up and went, you know, actually don't want to go down this path. What was the timeframe in between?
I would say a guestimate would be about a year and a half, maybe a year.
And did you originally want to just take the pills because you wanted to trust the doctors. I know a lot of people say this is that When you're diagnosed with something, you kind of fall into the hands of this person who has a degree that doesn't necessarily know you, but knows, you know, the system. Right? So what was the reason that you took the pills initially, because you wanted to believe that he or she knew what they were doing.Angela:
I think it's just because I wanted to be able to function, you know, because I knew I was like, I have to do something. And, you know, I know that nutrition plays a lot into it. But at the time, I was like, that's not enough. Like I need, I need help. You know, I was at that point where I was like, I need help. And so I don't even really think that I trusted that provider at the time, but I just needed to feel better to be able to take care of my, my family.Lainie:
Were you getting some of the external symptoms with Hashimotos as well? Or was it just the depression and anxiety andAngela:
I did have constipation, and definitely extreme fatigue. Thankfully, I did not have or get to the point of having the thinning hair and some of the the other symptoms that come along with it.Lainie:
Yeah, there's fertility issues. I looked into it. It's. So when you started, so that year and a half later, when you started to look deeper into, you know, there's got to be another way. Did you tell your doctor, you're coming off or Did you take yourself off the medication?Angela:
Yes. I'm embarrassed as a healthcare provider to admit to that, but yes, I did.Lainie:
Happens all the time. Angela. Happens all the time. Don't be embarrassed. yes, they play a part, practitioners play a part in in, in your health, they're not the gods of your health. So yeah, I mean, and this is why I do the podcast is I want to give back the power to people to understand that the more research that you do for yourself, and the more you understand, what were your kind of, I don't know where your levels are of being able to function and not function, you can play a part in that. It's just you've got to be careful. So what did you What did you research? This is exciting. What did you research?Angela:
So around this, so some of the things I was describing to you with the holistic provider, the non holistic provider, all of those things were before the Hashimotos diagnosis. So I had hypothyroidism, I was having all the symptoms. And then I finally went to a an endocrinologist, because my sister has several autoimmune conditions, and she was like, You need to get checked, you probably have an autoimmune disorder. And I was like, okay, whatever, I'll go. And so that's when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto. So all that other stuff happened before the actual diagnosis. And when I got the diagnosis, that's when it was like, Okay, this, this is all making sense. And it kind of led me down to like, now I know more about like, what I need to be looking into. So I was actually coming home from a business trip. And I have, there's another favourite podcast that I listened to a lot. And she was talking about the connection between your gut and your brain. And like the, the health of your gut, and the way that you feel, your gut health and your hormones like all of these connections about your microbiome, and I was like, I've been a dietitian at that point for 17 years. And I had not learned about the microbiome. I had not learned about the connection between your gut and your brain. And I think it's just because I was in the inpatient Clinical Hospital world and not in the functional medicine world. So I started researching into that I had some of my dietician friends, looking into it, just to make sure that I was like, not being crazy. And then I reached out to her, and I just said, Hey, you know, I've been listening to your podcast, I basically feel like I'm falling apart. But I really want to know, you know, what are you doing? What supplements are you taking? And so she told me,Lainie:
and so can you share some of those supplements, I mean, that you're not diagnosing or telling anyone, anything to take. It's just I'd love to share what you took yourself if that's possible.Angela:
Yeah, yeah, I won't share any specific brand. But so the, the supplements that I took, were all around the gut brain axis is what it's called. So specifically, one of the products is probiotics. And one of the things that a lot of people don't know about probiotics is that there's specific strains for specific symptoms. So if you have chronic, you know, if you have constipation, or if you have diarrhoea, there's specific strains of a probiotic that you would take, if you have anxiety, mental wellness, issues, stress, brain fog, there's other strains that you take. So this probiotic is a mixture of several strains that are all around mental wellne ss. It's a probiotic, and then there's also a prebiotic with it, which is basically like the, the food that helps the probiotics grow in your, in your gut. So it just kind of helps everything, repopulate and get your gut healthy again. So it's giving the signals and and all of that, that you need to clear up those mental wellness issues like stress, brain fog, even insomnia. That was there's a certain grouping that I took, but that was one of the main supplements that I really feel like made the biggest difference for me,Lainie:
have you written a blog about the difference between those two things and the supplements that you took and the specific things because that's pretty well, if I can lead people there,Angela:
I do have a blog. It's called the mental wellness dietitian. And it's Angela. Lago nutrition.com. And, yeah, and so I've written so this was one of the things that kind of stemmed from from all of this is that I became super passionate about helping other people, like discover how they can help heal themselves, or at least help make their symptoms better. So I started a blog. And I've, I've written about probiotics for anxiety, the difference between prebiotics and probiotics. I've written about Hashimotos, the best diet for Hashimotos, anti inflammatory diets, all all stuff around gut health and mental wellness,Lainie:
when you started on these probiotics, and prebiotics, had you already come off all the allopathic medicines,Angela:
no, so I kind of I gradually weaned myself off of this. So I had that probiotic prebiotic mixture, I also had a supplement that contained ashwagandha. And, you know, there was, if anyone wants to know specifically what I'm taking to, they can, you know, reach out to you or reach out to me, and I'll be happy to tell them offline. But so I started this regimen. And then I would say it was about four months later, that I started kind of slowly cutting my doses of everything down, and just slowly weaned myself off.Lainie:
Yeah. Okay. So how long? Have you been completely medicine free? And just working with your own protocols?Angela:
I would say it's been about two years.Lainie:
And can you ever say that you cure yourself of something? Or do you manage it? What's your opinion on that?Angela:
Oh, that's a good question. So I know that I will always have Hashimotos. But I don't I don't like really the word healing or cure, because it seems so definite, but are but I feel like, I feel like it's probably more managing, and it's more lifestyle and just choices that you make every day. Like, I could quit doing everything that I'm doing, and I could, you know, eat terribly and the, the symptoms are gonna come back. So that would mean that I'm not cured or healed, but I'm, I'm healed from the symptoms, I can tell you that for sure.Lainie:
Yeah. And that comes with all the changes and the support that you're giving your, your body and your thyroid to function in a normal in inverted commas. In a normal way. Yeah, it's a good it is a good question. Because I've with my own journey, do you manage or do you cure, I tried to cure myself. And it was I found that a lot of pressure, I put a lot of pressure on myself to think that I could cure myself of epilepsy, it's quite amusing, really, but at the time, I was like, my ego was so immersed into that, but the moment that I realised that, okay, it's not about the cure, it's about managing and treating and living like functioning, like a functioning well in, you know, you know, in life, the pressure was off, and it was just so much easier to accept.Angela:
I agree. And I like to think of things on a spectrum. So, you know, there's always things that we can do to move ourselves, you know, up that spectrum or down that spectrum. So with with mental health or mental wellness meant with, even with epilepsy, I'm sure, you know, you have I have complete burnout, and then you have completely thriving and so my goal is always to kind of keep myself on toward the thriving end, sometimes I'm going to be thriving more than others. But it's just it's really a lot of awareness of where you are and just kind of keeping yourself going in the right direction.Lainie:
So what specific lifestyle changes besides the protocols of supplementation and things like that? What lifestyle changes did you need to make, in order to assist you being able to get off the medicine and use these protocols?Angela:
Well, definitely stress management, as I mentioned earlier, and sleep, sleep is much more important than I think most people give it credit for. There's just so much repair that happens while we're sleeping, you know, we're our bodies resetting and kind of clearing everything out and having had insomnia, chronically. Like, I think that's one of the things, you know, to really, that I really had to focus on. Obviously, nutrition. I mean, we can always do better, right. But, you know, making sure that I'm paying attention to that. And then exercise and I haven't been a huge yoga or meditation person, but I think those are amazing for people that, that practice those, for me, usually, it's more of just exercising. So it really is a lifestyle. You can't just go one on one on any one piece of all of that.Lainie:
Try to meditate, but I do love exercise more, I think so yeah. drops me into my body, I focus on way my, my, my body is positioned while I exercise. So that's kind of a meditate that keeps me coming back. So when they you know, when you talk mindfulness, and you're sitting and meditating, it's not attaching to your thoughts and coming back. But when I exercise, I do that with the way my body is working. And Pilates taught me that #Pilates amazing. Would you say, Angela, that you love your diagnosis? Would you say it's just a pain in the ass? And, and you wish it never happened?Angela:
Well, I was thinking about that question being that it's the name of this podcast. And actually, I do have to say that I'm thankful for it. Because I don't think I would have ever spoken so openly about things like anxiety and depression. You know, I talk about that on my platforms very openly, I share my personal experience. And I don't think I would have ever started my blog where I'm, you know, educating people and giving them solutions and suggestions and free downloads and things like that, like, I don't know that my life would have ever gone down that path. Had I not had this diagnosis? And had this journey that I've been onLainie:
plus as a as a clinical dietitian, is that what you're Yeah, it opens your world up to a whole other other avenue, which by the sounds of it is, you know, a bit of a godsend to?Angela:
Yes, for sure.Lainie:
Do you know people that have gone through the same that have Hashimotos personally, like in your in your social circle,Angela:
I don't think I can't say that I have any close friends that have Hashimotos. But through the journey that I've been on, I've definitely come in contact with a lot of people that are struggling. And it is it's really hard when you see those people that are you know, on the lower end of that scale, and you're like, come on, like come on, you can do it. You know, and and I know that there's hope for those people. And there's there's obviously people that that are there Hashimotos is more significant than mine. I don't know if that's because I've had my interventions or if it's a genetic, or other lifestyle component, but I don't have you know, many people in my immediate circle that have it, but I have made, you know, friends and acquaintances that habit since I started on my blog and everything,Lainie:
and what have you done to try and look into whether your kids have this? Or, or you just got? Are you using preventative modes with them now to avoid educating them about stress and things like that. So if this doesn't happen to them?Angela:
Yes, I would say it's definitely more preventative with them. They're currently almost 16 and almost 18. And so they've been on this journey with me. They've seen it all unfold, and they know how passionate I am about mental wellness. And, you know, they take supplements and you know, we're trying to do things as naturally as possible. But, but yeah, it's been it's been an interesting conversation. And I'm hoping that they'll have positive memories when they look back on this whole journey that we've been on. WhatLainie:
What is the difference between the genetic version of Hashimotos and actually just acquiring it from lifestyle?Angela:
To be honest, I'm not sure that there isn't difference. I think, you know, whenever you when your thyroid is damaged, whether it's from genetics or from something else that occurred in life, I think you know, the function of it or the lack of function is going to be the same.Lainie:
And why do you think there's so many different auto immune diseases? Why can they why isn't it just one? I mean, this is? And I know this is an ignorant question, because this is the same with epilepsy, there's 40, something different kinds of epilepsy. So why shouldn't there be different kinds of other kinds of conditions? Yeah, it's just astounding that the the one part of your body, the thyroid, can just wreak havoc in so many different ways, with so many different conditions.Angela:
And now, and I, to be honest, I don't know, I know, there are like, my sister, I said, has an autoimmune, she has sjogrens, which is another autoimmune condition. And, you know, she, of course, she wants me to get tested for that, too. But my, my endocrinologist said, You're not having any symptoms, there's no need to get tested. And to be honest, there's really nothing that you can do for it except for lifestyle. Yeah, I wish that I knew while there were so many. And, and it's hard, because sometimes I'm like, does it go back to the quality of our food, the way you know that America, in particular has a very high quantity of ultra processed foods in our diet. And it just, I'm just thinking back to my grandparents, and like, they didn't have all these issues. I mean, they raised their food, they raised their, their meat, their vegetables, they made things from scratch, and they were healthy. I mean, and they ate things that, you know, they ate bacon and biscuits and things like that, but but they raised it and made everything from scratch. So I don't know. But it doesn't seem to be getting any better. So that's unfortunate.Lainie:
And if there's one tip that you could give to people listening, that you've that you can offer some, some advice for people going through it, that you maybe didn't know, when you first got diagnosed?Angela:
Well, I would just say, to advocate for yourself, you know, and I think it's important to realise that, you know, just like there's, you know, home contractors or builders that are more skilled at what they do, and there's some that aren't as good. The same goes for every profession. So there's some providers, medical providers that are going to be better than others. There are some that are going to know more about holistic medicine than others. And I just think that we need to ask questions, we need to get answers, you know, that answers to those questions. And if we're going to provide or that can't answer them, then, you know, just keep searching and keep seeking and don't give up. Because, you know, you really can live a life that you feel good about, even though when you're in the throes of everything, it feels sometimes hopeless.Lainie:
Beautiful, thank you. And you've congratulations, because you've won an award the Wilmots I saw the Wilmers, which is the annual Women to Watch award in 2020. So, that's what an honour, you know, the film is a an is an award for movers and shakers. What are the movers and shakers, the disruptors the inspirations for successes to come. So that is significant, which means the work that you're doing is has been acknowledged, which is amazing. And, and if anyone wants to find you, they can because you're I'll put everything in the podcast notes, especially about targeted supplementation, which is, which is what your against one of your main main things is?Angela:
Yeah, so it was definitely one of the things that that turned me around and was helped me get off of my prescription medications, and really thrive to be honest, though,Lainie:
right. So you're doing better than you were before, which is fantastic.Angela:
Yes, yes, for sure.Lainie:
Thanks so much, Angela. It's been really lovely to talk to you and sharing your successes and wins and how you're helping other people. That's magnificent.Angela:
Thanks so much for having me.Lainie:
My pleasure. We'll be in touch. All right. Bye bye.