Vitamin D with Dr. Mayer Eisenstein at the GFAF Expo

Just over a week ago, I was able to head to the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in Chicago and had the chance to listen in on some great sessions. This is one thing I loved about this expo, you got to see some of the companies working to give people with food allergies safe food to eat, but you also get to hear fantastic health information at the same time. My favorite session was with Dr. Mayer Eisenstein where he talked on the importance of Vitamin D.

We’ve talked here on the blog about vitamin D’s connection to fertility, and I recently wrote about how my vitamin D level was quite low (32), and while he only touched on the topic of fertility just a bit, I walked away feeling good about what I’m doing, as well as added inspiration to do more.

vitamin d and infertility

photo credit – daviddehetre

“Vitamin D is NOT a fat soluble vitamin – it is a pre-hormone.” – Dr. Eisenstein

So very true, and yet I always talk about it as a fat-soluble vitamin because, well, it’s just easier and how most people are used to hearing it. One of these days I need to do a lot more research in this area so that I can fully understand it and talk about it intelligently.

“Vitamin D levels should be around 100.” – Dr. Eisenstein

Most medical doctors consider levels below 30 as deficient, and more often than not, functional or holistic doctors consider the correct range to be from 50-100, with a recommendation to get to at least the middle of that range. It was very interesting to hear that he thought a level at or above 100 was actually best!

“We can find vitamin D in wild mushrooms, fish, sun, and supplements.” – Dr. Eisenstein

He seems to be a big fan of supplements, but as he states, nobody eats enough of these foods anymore! I’d also like to add that we can find them in grass-fed animal products as the exposure to the sun also helps the animal build up levels in their bodies.

He also talked a lot about how when you live above 37 degrees latitude, you don’t get any vitamin D from the sun from November to February. So if you live in the northern half of the states like I do, we may become very deficient in the winter months. (I was tested in December, a couple of months in to our cold weather) We’re also only able to get vitamin D from about 10am to 2pm each day.

vitamin d and fertility

When you’re outside, he said that we can get about 5000 IUs of vitamin D if we’re outside with half of our body exposed to the sun for about 15 minutes. And that if you’re outside all day at the beach or park, you are probably getting about 50,000 IUs per day when you don’t use sunscreen. Which lead to …..

“The vacation doesn’t get you pregnant, the sun does.” – Dr. Eisenstein

The part of his talk where he spoke about fertility issues, he mentioned that it was common for doctors to send couples on vacation, south, to a beach. And that this was where the whole “if you relax, it’ll happen” speech probably came from. because doctors noticed that couples were more likely to get pregnant after a beach vacation, so they thought it was just the lack of stress. But Dr. Eisenstein thinks it has more to do with the extra vitamin D that they were probably lacking. He also mentioned that

“The higher the vitamin D levels, the faster the sperm swim.”

His recommendations for vitamin D supplementation were 5000 IUS per day if under 100 pounds and 10,000 IUs per day if over 100 pounds. During pregnancy he increases this to 20,000 IUs per day after the eighth month of pregnancy and through the first year of breastfeeding. (to make sure the breast-milk is not deficient in vitamin D)

Of course, I don’t think any one doctor will have all of the answers all of the time, but he was pretty convincing. It’s also a good idea to base your supplementation on your own test results, so getting a lab test to see what your vitamin D level is, at least a couple of times per year (once in the summer, once in the winter) will help you figure out how much you need to be supplementing. Plus, as we already know, we all live in different areas and have different levels of sun exposure.

Here are also a couple of videos from him:

 Take Vitamin D and Live Longer

Low Vitamin D as a Root Cause of Chronic Illness and Cancer

I also found this podcast from Sean at Underground Wellness, where he talks to author T.S.Wiley about vitamin D deficiency and she goes on to say how it’s not so much about the sun we’re exposed to, but that our receptors never get a chance to reset in the darkness. Awesome information! (Listen to it here – Is Low Vitamin D a Darkness Deficiency?)

As you can see, my time at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo was time well spent! There are a couple more coming up this year, and if the Chicago speakers are any indication of the others, go check out who is on the speaker list near you!

Have you had your vitamin D levels checked yet? Are they adequate?

The Thyroid Tests You Need to Ask Your Doctor For

natural treatments for thyroid disorderAfter all of this research on how to heal the thyroid naturally, I keep coming across the idea that most doctors don’t order the tests that you really need. I’d been having a hard time believing that, I mean…….MOST doctors don’t know what lab tests to run?

Hmmmmm.

But as I kept reading, I’ve found out that it’s because it doesn’t matter what some of the other numbers are. All the treatment options are the same; medication until the organ completely stops working. And then more medication for life. Or until your diet and lifestyle help heal your thyroid and the medication is no longer needed.

I’ve also had many, many conversations with all of you through email and facebook, frustrated because you also feel like junk, but either your lab tests are “normal” or because you’re not feeling better even under the care of a physician. And in those conversations I’ve found that what I’m reading is true! (I’ve even had multiple people tell that that their doctors told them to stop coming back over the issue because there was nothing wrong with them!) Many doctors aren’t testing the thyroid the way it needs to be tested.

Not MD’s, not OBs, and not even RE’s.

That doesn’t mean that your doctor wouldn’t think to run them – it just means that there are doctors out there who don’t.You can also ask your doctor to run specific tests and any good, patient-minded doctor, should be more than willing to help you get to the bottom of your issues.

After our first post in this series, I hope you’ve called your doctor’s office and gotten your lab test results and written them down, because today we’re going to talk about WHAT you need tested. And if it hasn’t been done, it’s time to call them back and ask for more labs. We’ll also look at what the functional ranges for each are, as most doctors look only at a pathological range. (meaning that you could be within a range where you aren’t totally diseased, but also not feeling well)

Five tests for thyroid function

1. TSH

The Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is released from the pituitary gland when the levels of T4 drop. It’s one of the most sensitive markers for thyroid function and is commonly the only one tested. Though since it’s the pituitary gland that secretes TSH, it’s more of a marker on pituitary function, and how the pituitary is reacting to overall health. From many women I’ve heard from, by the time their TSH was enough out of range to get treated medically, they were in really bad shape.

Functional Range – 1.8 – 3.0 mU/L

Typical Lab Range – 0.5 – 5.5 mU/L

Most laboratories also give different ranges, as they all take an average of the tests from other people that come to their lab. So if you live in an area where hypothyroid is quite common (like here in Michigan!) the ranges could be quite wide. My labs range was actually .35 – 4.94. I have noticed though that many doctors are starting to look more at the functional ranges, which is a good thing. But again, just testing TSH is a poor indicator of overall thyroid health.

2. Free T3

This tests for the available T3 in the body, and since it is active thyroid hormone, is a good marker for how much of the hormone is accessible to your body and its cells. “Free” refers to the hormone in it’s unbound state, instead of when it is bound to proteins and being transferred through the body.

Functional Range – 300 – 450 mU/L

Typical Lab Range – 3.0-4.0 pg/ml

3. Free T4

Again, this tests for the unbound T4 in the body. While inactive, this hormone is converted by the body into the usable T3 hormone.

Functional Range – 1.0-1.5 ng/dl

Typical Lab Range – 0.7 – 1.53 ng/dl

4. Reverse T3

This lab test checks for any reverse T3 that the body produces; this can take place because of extreme stress or trauma.

Functional Range – 90 – 350 pg/ml

Typical Lab Range – 90 – 350 pg/ml

You can then figure out the ratio of free T3 to reverse T3 at Stop the Thyroid Madness. This way you can make sure that even if your labs show up as “normal”, that everything is functioning as it should.

5. Antibodies

Usually checking for multiple antibodies TPO (thyroid peroxidase) TGB (thyroglobulin). Sometimes a lab is run for thyroid stimulating hormone antibodies if Graves disease is suspected.

An antibodies check is HUGE. Why?

Because if it shows positive, you have a confirmed auto-immune disease. Your body is attacking itself and causing major damage to the thyroid. And some experts state that up to 90% of all cases of hypothyroidism are due to Hashimotos. Dr. Kharrazian also mentions that he will test a person twice (especially if they are on a gluten free diet already) if he suspects Hashimoto’s because the immune system fluctuates.

Other Important Labs

Thyroid labs: There are a few other thyroid labs that Dr. Kharrazian lists in his book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?”, though the ones listed above are a really good start.

Adrenal Cortisol Levels: done by a saliva test, not a blood test.

Vitamin B12: B12 is a vitamin which has a key role in red blood cell metabolism of your entire body, giving you energy, sharpness in your brain, and healthy nervous system functioning. (source) Functional ranges in the US are from about 200 – 900, but other countries use 500-600 as a minimum. (mine was 380 and my DO wants to see it at 700)

Vitamin D3 (25-hydroxyvitamin D lab test…): We’ve talked a little bit about the role of Vitamin D in fertility and this is an overall good thing to check for everyone. Especially those who live in the mid to upper states or spend most of their days indoors. Functional ranges are 50-100, with most people feeling better around 75.

You can also find a few more recommended lab tests at Stop the Thyroid Madness.

Finding a lab

Many of us have decent medical insurance where many, if not all, of these lab tests are fully covered. Or at least covered with a copay. Not me, I have to pay for diagnostic tests. And I’m sure many of you may have issues paying for all of these lab tests too!

One of the online groups I’m part of mentioned a private lab, located throughout the states, that will run lab tests without a doctor’s prescription. Here’s a list of labs you can check with – make sure to call as I found out there were more locations than stated on a couple of these sites! Another bonus is that most of the time these labs are much cheaper than the laboratories your doctor may send you to.

HealthCheck USA – 1-800-929-2044

This was one I was referred to and they had a location closer to me than listed. While I didn’t use them (over an hour and a half away, I may use them when I want to get everything rechecked in a few months to save some money)

They have labwork specifically designed for readers of Stop the Thyroid Madness, as noted by STTM before the test name. Click here and find a discount code on STTM!

My Med Lab

You have to sign up to view the site, but comes recommended by STTM. Also has STTM specific lab tests.

Direct Lab

A discount lab where you can view your results online. Again, has STTM tests.

 

So for those of you who have your test results – did you have the proper tests done? And if so, how do your numbers look on the functional range guidelines compared to the pathological/typical lab ranges?

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Symptoms of Thyroid Disorder

natural treatment for thyroid disordersThyroid disorders seem to be on the rise in modern civilization, but why? And how do we know if it’s something we deal with?

As many of you know, I’ve been basically feeling like crud for the last year. I’ve very much had feeling of depression and anxiety along with major fatigue and insomnia. I also think it’s probably something that’s been lingering for many, many years, yet only showed up in full force after my miscarriage.

I now am a believer that stress can cause or multiply health issues.

I’ve always dealt with many of the symptoms, but they’ve never interfered with my life before. Or they came and went within weeks/months. When I switched to a whole foods diet most, if not all of them, went away. But then I got too busy for my own good and had to have the help of a chiropractor friend to help pull me out of adrenal fatigue, and felt well afterwards.

But this last year has been a bugger of a year, as symptoms of a thyroid disorder showed up more and more. As a mom of young children, I shrugged off the fatigue. I mean, all moms are tired right? And the feelings of depression and anxiety could be related to the miscarriage and grief. Yet deep down I knew there was something else wrong.

My much awaited lab results showed me just that. And I have a feeling that many of you may also deal with thyroid issues and just don’t know it. Or maybe you’ve been tested and your doctor told you that everything was “normal”. Even when you feel that it’s not.

Thyroid Basics

We will just discuss the very basics of thyroid function, as to cover it all, we’d need to write a book!

The thyroid is a small endocrine gland, just above the adam’s apple in the throat, consisting of two parts. To me it sort of looks like a butterfly. An ugly one. This gland takes in iodine and produces thyroid hormones. Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their own metabolism. It detects shifts in body chemistry (chronic blood sugar imbalance, hormone imbalances, chronic inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, toxicity, liver congestion, poor digestive health, or even the use of hormones, synthetic or bio-identical) and helps the body compensate for them.

But the thyroid does not act alone. As with everything in holistic health, we must also look at how it functions along with other parts of our body. According to Datis Kharrazian in his book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?“:

  1. The hypothalamus sends thyroid releasing hormone (TRH) to the pituitary. (this is basically the thermostat regulator in the body)
  2. The pituitary gland releases thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid gland, giving it the signal to produce more hormones.
  3. TSH stimulates thyroid peroxidase (TPO) activity to use iodine to create T4 and T3 hormones. 93% of the thyroid hormone production is T4, an inactive form which needs to be converted by different organs in the body. 7% is the usable T3. These hormones hitch a ride in the bloodstream on thyroid-binding proteins to the cells that need them and can convert the T4 to T3.
  4. 60% of the T4 produced by the thyroid is converted to T3 in the liver by an enzyme called tetraidothyronine 5’deiodinase. Another 20% of the T4 is converted in the digestive system via the sulfatase enzyme which is present in healthy guts.

Common Symptoms of HYPOthyroid (under active thyroid)

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low basal body temps and/or low temperatures throughout the day
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Morning headaches that go away throughout the day
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Cloudy thinking
  • Weight gain or inability to lose weight easily
  • Sensitive to cold weather
  • Constipation
  • Digestive problems
  • Poor circulation
  • Slow wound healing
  • Need excessive amounts of sleep
  • Gets sick often (colds or viral infections)
  • Itchy and dry skin
  • Dry hair that breaks often, or thinning hair
  • Thinning of the outermost part of the eyebrow
  • High cholesterol

What happens in the body when you have hypothyroidism

There are actually different ways that hypothyroid happens in the body. Sometimes it’s because the pituitary senses the thyroid isn’t doing it’s job correctly and produces more thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Other times the pituitary is fatigued and not able to produce the TSH to signal the thyroid how many hormones to produce. Another pattern of hypothyroid is the inability of the body to convert T4 to T3 because of excess cortisol or chronic inflammation.

Some women with high levels of testosterone may also find that too much T4 is converted to T3, causing the cells of the body to become resistant to the hormone and not allowing it entry to do its work. (most often found in those with insulin resistance and PCOS- per “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?“)

Symptoms of HYPERthyroid (overactive thyroid)

  • heart palpitations
  • heat intolerance
  • nervousness
  • fast heart rate
  • hair loss
  • muscle weakness

What happens in the body when you have hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a medical term that basically means your thyroid is producing to many hormones so you have to many thyroid hormones for the cells. This could be due to the thyroid getting the signal to produce too much, or the inability of the cells to absorb the thyroid hormone.

The following may also indicate Hashimotos, an autoimmune thyroid disorder:

  • heart palpitations
  • inward trembling
  • increased pulse rate, even at rest
  • feelings of nervousness and emotional distress
  • night sweats
  • difficulty gaining weight
  • people with Hashimoto’s also tend to go back and forth between the symptoms of hypo and hyper thyroid.

What happens in the body when you have Hashimoto’s

This is an autoimmune disease where your immune system is actively attacking your thyroid, destroying it. It is also the most common cause of hypothyroidism, some sources stating that up to 90% of hypothyroid cases are due to Hashimoto’s. This causes the thyroid to continue to lose function, eventually not working at all. It can cause hypothyroid symptoms  and then can change to hyperthyroid symptoms as a “flare-up” destroys the thyroid tissue and hormones stored in the gland flow into the bloodstream. Once these hormones get into the bloodstream, the body’s metabolism speeds up, and a person will experience the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

The good news

You don’t have to live your life feeling like junk; depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, and overweight. There is hope for fixing thyroid issues without lifelong medications, and in the following days/weeks, we’ll be talking about ways to heal the body and focus on supporting your thyroid.

Have you had your thyroid checked? Your homework for the next couple of days is to call your doctor and get your test results. I cannot stress this enough! You need to find out your numbers and have them tell you exactly what thyroid hormones were tested and what ranges they used to decide what “normal” function is.

We’ll continue this conversation!

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Why I stopped taking all of my supplements

We have talked about using supplements before, using them for both increasing fertility and overcoming different health issues. I also think that our food just isn’t what it used to be, and taking supplements can help fill that nutritional void. So why then have I not taken any supplements in the last few months?

To make a somewhat long story short, I wanted to see how my body was being supported by food alone.

You see, I’ve actually been trying to get in to see my doctor for the last few months, just for my yearly physical that I’m two years late for, and I also wanted to get a few different tests run. So I also wanted to see how my body was performing without supplements helping it along.

Now, I had planned on taking a hiatus from supplements for about a month or so. As it turns out, getting an appointment has proven to be difficult. Once I made the call in July, it took almost 8 weeks before they could get me in. Then I had to cancel, with the next time they could fit me in being 6 weeks away. Since I didn’t like my OB anyways I decided to go back to my MD so I could just get it over with already……and they couldn’t fit me in for 6 weeks. *sigh*

So I made the appointment and waited. Shaved my legs the night before and woke the next morning to a voicemail saying the doctor was sick and I had to reschedule. Not wanting to wait until the end of January for testing I called up one our holistic DOs in town and made an appointment.
Untitled

Eight vials of blood, a nasty bruise, and sore arm later, I finally got the tests I’d been wanting done. And I’ve begun taking a few of my supplements again.

Because if the last few months have shown me anything, it’s that I do feel better taking some of them! I have fewer headaches and less dry skin when I take them regularly.

I’m glad I took a break from them though. It was helpful in training myself to look to food to cover all of my bases and not rely on supplements. I was also able to see which ones were helping me feel less fatigued and so I’m interested to get my results back and see how that all matches up. And then hopefully we can get my body to a place where I don’t need supplements to keep myself feeling normal.

 Have you ever taken a longer break from supplementation?

Can I also mention a moment how …..annoying it can be to not have a doctor’s office work with you? I try to keep a healthy respect for the medical community, for it is because of them that many people are alive today. And if I break my leg or need stitches and surgery, I’ll be limping my way to their office post-haste. But trying to get an appointment for preventive measures (a yearly exam) that fits in my schedule has just been quite difficult!

It’s been five months since the first call and I still have not been in.

And then my doctor’s office called me yesterday wanting me in by the end of the year, said it was really important that I been seen right away and that my insurance company was requesting it. (This after not working me in earlier when the doctor had to cancel on me) All of a sudden they had an appointment for me next week, and I declined. The girl was adamant that I come in by next week and so I just couldn’t leave it alone. I asked why it was anybody’s business but my own when I get my yearly exam. (Yea, I’m kind of a brat sometimes – I’m pretty sure they have that in my file.) And after much talking in circles about how it was the insurance company requesting it, I just let it go. And called someone I knew who worked in a doctor’s office to verify what I was thinking.

That the practice most likely gets bonuses from the insurance company depending on the percentage of patients they see for things like yearly visits. (and vaccinations by the way……) So it feels fabulous to know, that in my case, a doctor will work with you more when it’s financially beneficial.

I digress.

I also wanted to make sure I let you know about a few things I’ve come across over the last couple of months, since I haven’t been blogging regularly lately due to taking a much-needed break.

Three things to check out:

1. My virtual friend Kristen, the one who created the Gluten Free Beauty product line (which I love and will be ordering more soon as I’m almost out!) is beginning a brand new makeup line called  Intuitive COLOR. She sent me a review sample that I’ve used and I truly do love how it make my face feel during the day. The makeup is handmade and free from titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and mica. And it’s natural! But it’s also not cakey (looks like I’m not wearing anything) and it’s not a mineral makeup either.

Intrigued?

You should check out her project on Indigogo! It’s a site that helps raise funds for all sorts of campaigns and Kristen  is trying to take her business to the next level. And in exchange for helping fund her business she has a variety of goodies for those who help out. Plus you can learn more about her new makeup line.

I get excited talking about this kind of thing, because I love the doers. The people who actually get out there and make things happen – make my body (and environment) a healthier place.

2. If you haven’t read the guest post about thyroid health that went up earlier this week, get thee to it pronto. Magdelena shares some great information on the basics of thyroid health, what tests to run, and some tips on healing. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve learned so far from her free video series and look forward to seeing what else she has to offer. I haven’t had a chance to review all of her products yet, so if you have purchased ay of the guides or taken a class – let me know what you think! Elimination diet guide1 How To Promote Gift CertificatesElimination diet guide Free your body from food intolerances impacting your digestion and your thyroid with this DIY Guide. Liberating results. Price: $17.00.

 

 

 

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Fire up my thyroid How To Promote Gift CertificatesFire up my thyroid A complete DIY 4-Step Healing System for hypothyroidism. Very content-rich and transforming. Regular Price: $147.00 Take advantage of 35% OFF Christmas coupon: Xmas35 and save.

 

 

 

Thyroid detox How To Promote Gift CertificatesThyroid detox home-study program Kick-start your thyroid in 12 days with a thyroid-specific detox protocol. Very popular. Price: $97.00

 

 

 

3. And good old number three, which ties in perfectly to our previous mentioning – the thyroid. I’d like to focus a bit more on thyroid health next month as I do feel it’s quite important AND not all physicians A)know what to look for and B) know how to test.

So if you have overcome issues with thyroid health, I’d love to hear your story as well as good resources for learning more about overall thyroid health, diagnosis, and treatment. Leave a comment and let us know how you worked through it – or even what hasn’t worked for you. If you’re currently struggling with a thyroid disease but are also looking for answers, let me know if you have any questions that I can somehow get answered for you!

(You can totally use a fake or anonymous name, but please use your real email address! It won’t be listed anywhere, but I’ll be able to email you for further info if needed.)

 

Thank you all for your incredible support this last year! From my family to yours, have a wonderful and blessed Christmas season. May it be restful and full of peace.

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Undiagnosed Thyroid Conditions #1 Reason for Infertility?

{a guest post by Magdalena of  Thyroid Diet Coach}

I went for dinner with my single male friend just the other day and as we just sat down he said: “You know, just about every other woman I go on a date with has a thyroid drama going on.” Yes, he is a serial dater and yes, thyroid problems have become nothing less than a pandemic. “At least these women have a diagnosis”, I said.

They are lucky girls (to have a diagnosis) as once you know the enemy you can derive a plan of action; be it medications, diet, herbs, acupuncture or lifestyle changes. Whatever it is, it’s in your hands.

It’s the worse thing when we experience a list of symptoms and nobody can tell us what is really going on. This sounds like a typical undiagnosed thyroid story; infertility, miscarriages, fatigue, weight loss resistance, low-grade depression, anxiety, hair loss, brittle nails and the list goes on.

There are plenty of studies showing a connection between the thyroid function, fertility, miscarriages and a healthy pregnancy. An underactive thyroid function can prevent ovulation even though you are menstruating.

If you have been struggling with these and have been told that “your thyroid is OK”, I recommend getting your thyroid tested or re-tested even if you have done so already.

This is why: in spite of a mountain of evidence that the “standard thyroid tests” of TSH, Total T4 and Total T3 hormones are insufficient and inconclusive, very few doctors test for more.

And this is where the problem begins.

As a Thyroid Diet Coach, I see too many women with TSH, T4 and T3 within “range” even though they display every symptom described above. Take the TSH as an example. The conventional medicine range is 0.5 to 5.5 whereby the functional medicine practitioners will not accept anything else than 1-2 range. Furthermore, many women show a perfect TSH even though they are still suffering from many symptoms. As a former Hashimoto’s (hypothyroidism caused by an autoimmune disease) patient, my TSH was also “perfect” even when I felt at my very worse.

So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions for you:

1). Find an open-minded doctor

This might sound easy but it’s not. I’ve had many of my clients being dismissed and laughed at by their physicians when they request for a full thyroid panel. Sadly, most endocrinologists are very set in their ways and you might have more luck with internists and naturopaths.

Besides, of course, doing a Google search in your area, you can also try another great trick: ask your local pharmacy about doctors who order compounded thyroid medication. These doctors tend to be far more open-minded and willing to work with you.

2). Insist of getting a full thyroid panel

This is THE key. Forget the standard TSH, T4, T3 alone. This is what you would need to test to get a full picture of what is going on:

  • TSH
  • Free T4 (not just Total as we want to know what is “free” and available for your body receptors to use)
  • Free T3 (same for “free” as above)
  • Reverse T3 (it’s a type of T3 that mimics T3 but it only blocks the receptors and does nothing for us)
  • TPO antibodies
  • TGB antibodies
  • TSI antibodies (if you suspect an overactive thyroid)

This is a good start. However, the thyroid does not function in isolation from all other hormones therefore I also like to recommend testing for sugar levels (glucose, insulin and HA1C), cortisol levels (especially if you have been experiencing stress), estrogen, progesterone and DHEA-S.

Since the conversion of T4 hormone to T3 is dependent on many factors, including vitamin and mineral deficiencies, I would also recommend testing for Vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, D and ferritin (bio-available iron), zinc, selenium and copper.

3). Reduce your antibodies

90% of thyroid conditions are caused by the immune system’s attack on the thyroid. This means that it’s not the thyroid that originally fails to function well, it’s the immune system’s attacks that causes the thyroid to become under- (hypo-) or overactive (hyper-).

This is why most people with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s Disease which is the autoimmune condition and people with hyperthyroidism (more rare) have Graves’ Disease.

How do you know you have it? It’s pretty simple – you need to test for the TPO, TGB and TSI (in case of hyperthyroidism) antibodies.

Elevated antibodies have been connected to infertility, miscarriages and children with learning disabilities and even autism.

Taking thyroid medications like Synthroid, Armour or Levoxyl will NOT lower the antibodies completely as they will not do anything for the immune system.

So what does? This is where your diet comes in.

What many of us don’t realize is that 70% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract (aka “the gut”) in the form of a complex and vast network of lymph tissue referred to as GALT (gut associated lymphatic tissue).

You might therefore not be surprised to hear that most women with thyroid conditions also experience many digestive issues such as frequent bloating, constipation, gas, acid reflux, burping or diarrhea. In fact, for many, it’s so common that they assume it’s “normal”. By no means it is normal or acceptable if you want to live a healthy live.

The key things you can do to start addressing and repairing your immune system and your digestion are:

  1. Find out what your food intolerances are

It’s estimated that 70% of people in developed countries suffer from food intolerances (they are different from allergies) which create havoc in the digestive tract and therefore the immune system. The common culprits (although this is not an exhaustive list) are: gluten, eggs, dairy, soy and corn.

Blood tests are often not accurate therefore it’s best to go on an Elimination Diet to gain full clarity and control. If you need help in doing one, you can get The Elimination Diet Guide which was written specifically for thyroid patients. 

  1. Introduce probiotics

Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that will push out the pathogenic bacteria, virus and parasites that are aggravating the immune system. Beyond commercial yoghurt (which is very poor in good bacteria and most often loaded with sugar and additives), try incorporating lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, pickled cucumbers or kombucha tea.

  1. Support your liver

The liver plays a huge role in detoxifying our body, storing vitamins and minerals, balancing our hormones and converting the T4 thyroid hormone to T3. We will never be healthy if we have a sluggish liver. One needs to be careful, however, about many bogus detoxes, especially the ones promised by pill and powders. It’s best to focus on really freeing the liver temporarily from animal fats, meats and toxins by fasting and adding cleansing foods like dandelion, parsley, lemons, flax seeds, etc. For more details on how to do a detox that is thyroid-centric, you can check out Thyroid Detox home-study program.

I’m a big believer that we eat our way into many health problems, often times unknowingly. But, I also believe we can eat our way out of these problems.

Give food a chance. Our body is an amazing machine; designed to self-heal and self-regulate. Just give it the right environment and you will be amazed what might happen.

You can also sign up for the free video classes. I’ve watched the first video on what foods could be sabotaging your thyroid and from what I’ve been reading, aligns very much with what I know of healing the body.

Magdelena’s also has a  Fire Up Your Thyroid class that Is currently 35% off until December 31, 2012. Just use the code: THYROID2013.

And until the end of January 2013, you can take $20.00 off the Thyroid Detox home study program with the code: TD20OFF

The author of this article, Magdalena Wszelaki is the founder of Thyroid Diet Coach; a nutritional practice dedicated to empowering women with thyroid and autoimmune conditions to self-heal and reclaims their lives.

Magdalena is a former Hashimoto’s patient (autoimmune disease causing underactive thyroid) and she has been in remission for several years now. You can watch her videos, listen to her FREE Thyroid Community Calls and read her articles on Thyroid Diet Coach website.

 

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