Fertility after 40 and miscarriage prevention, a podcast with Iva Keene

Recently I had a chance to interview Iva Keene from Natural Fertility Prescription and she shared a lot of her wisdom with us!

We discussed:

1. The basics of a fertility diet and simple ways to add nutrients to the way you currently eat.

2. Fertility after 40, a few of the factors that come into play

The reproductive system is not crucial to your survival, so as such, the body will not give a lot of energy and a lot of nutrients to it unless it has a lot to spare. The heart, the lungs, the brain, these are all the key organs that get the nutrients first.”

3. Tests that are important, things like –

  • heavy metals
  • hair mineral analysis

4. How to decrease the negative affects associated with artificial reproductive technologies, including the nutrients that are really important to sustaining the health of the egg and sperm.

5. We discuss a couple ways to reduce the possibility of a miscarriage as well as what you can do after a miscarriage to facilitate balanced hormones and fertility.

Iva is also doing a fertility retreat at Sanoviv Medical Institute in Baja, California from September 19-25, 2013. It’s a five star health resort that serves all organic foods and some of the latest testing, where medical doctors and naturopaths work together. As a bonus, it’s also very much a resort and offers many spa services. Couples will be able to work with Iva and the staff to be able to get to the bottom of their fertility issues.

Listen in HERE: Iva Keene, part one

Iva Keene, part two

(click on the link above to listen in or right click and save to your computer)

 

 

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.

Naturally Healing the Thyroid, part four: the adrenals

We’ve already talked about how blood sugar balance, digestion, the liver and detoxification can affect the thyroid, but there is one glaring fact that I’ve meant to get to. Except that the last couple of weeks have been a bit more stressful than normal and I’ve been dealing with some crashes myself due to…..

Adrenal Fatigue.

If you’ve been a reader here for a couple of years, you may remember when I was actively trying to heal my adrenals. For six months I worked with my chiropractor and supplementation as well as dietary and lifestyle changes.

I saw great results and within about 6 months I was feeling a million times better, had plenty of energy, and all around felt good. That all ended a few months later as I dealt with the physical and emotional stress of a miscarriage and has carried on for over a year.

I tried my darndest to get my health back, but I just couldn’t fix myself this time. I tried everything I had tried before; desiccated adrenal supplements, vitamin C, no caffeine or sugar, lots of rest, reducing stress. Last fall I kept trying to make it in to my doctor’s office, and in November and December I took most of that time and stayed away from my computer, focusing on my health and my family, but something was still not right. I just couldn’t get over my fatigue.

And while my original lab tests (for vitamin D and B12 and a full thyroid panel) were back at an earlier date, I was just able to meet with my new holistic doctor and go over my lab results for the 24 hour adrenal saliva test. The appointment in which she told me that my adrenals suck.

 adrenals


Ok, so maybe those words are mine.

But my cortisol levels are extremely low throughout the entire day, which is the reason that some mornings take what seems to immense strength just to get out of bed. Or you know….deal with people.

So, soon we’ll be getting into a bit more about recovering from adrenal fatigue and I’ll share a bit more about what I’m doing, but today let’s just chat a bit about why the adrenals affect the thyroid.

Because sometimes the thyroid is low, or not functioning properly, and it can instead be traced to the adrenals. And most medical doctors don’t test the adrenal hormones.

In fact, mine thought it was silly that my new doctor requested the lab test and said it wouldn’t really help, so there wasn’t a lot of reasons to spend the money to get it done. (at $175.00 I was actually going to skip it, but for some reason decided on day 20 that I would. It’s a test you do on day 21 of your cycle if you want a bit more accurate results for progesterone/estrogen, etc) This is probably because adrenal fatigue is not a recognized medical term, with medical doctors only looking for true adrenal shutdown, known as Addison’s. So adrenal fatigue is often called a “theory” that mostly alternative health practitioners “diagnose”.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenals are two small glands, one on top of each kidney, and they help our bodies react and deal with stress through the production of adrenaline and cortisol. They also produce other hormones that are precursors to reproductive hormones.

Dr. James L. Wilson coined the term ‘adrenal fatigue’ back in the 90’s and it is basically an issue with the adrenals, whether they produce too much cortisol or too little, and the major symptom is fatigue. The direct cause is different for everyone, but it’s brought on by frequent stress, either physical, emotional, or mental.

It’s our bodies fight or flight reactions gone awry.

On Dr. Wilson’s website AdrenalFatigue.org (a wealth of info) he states that:

“With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue. Your body does its best to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.”

Some of the basic symptoms listed on the AdrenalFatigue.org website:

  1. You feel tired for no reason.
  2. You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
  3. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
  4. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
  5. You crave salty and sweet snacks.
  6. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.

Other symptoms that could point to adrenal fatigue:

  • weakness
  • low libido
  • everyday tasks take a lot of strength and effort
  • little annoyances can drive you bonkers
  • mild depression or anxiety
  • PMS
  • thoughts are fuzzy/hard to put them together
  • decreased memory
  • allergies
  • decreased immune response
  • insomnia

Adrenal fatigue usually begins with frequent stress and ramps up the cortisol production. “As the adrenal glands become increasingly compromised, it’s harder for them to make cortisol. Instead, extra adrenalin is produced to compensate, which can make us irritable and shaky.” (source)

Adrenal and Thyroid function begin in the brain.

These glands are being told what to produce and how much of it to produce by a gland in our brain called the hypothalamus. I love how WomantoWoman.com describes this action:

“Hormones are molecules released by one area of the body to carry messages to another area in the body. The thyroid’s main job is to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone to “tell” your cells how fast to burn energy and produce proteins. The adrenal glands’ primary job is to produce the right amount of stress hormones that allow you to respond to stress of a zillion kinds.”

You can also check out their info picture and description to get a better idea of how this all works.

When the body is exposed to stress of any kind, the hypothalamus sends out a signal (the corticotrophin-releasing hormone) to the pituitary for the adrenals to increase cortisol. Both the signal hormone and the cortisol can then inhibit TSH as well as block the conversion from T4 to T3, causing symptoms of low thyroid.

In some women, they may also have decreased progesterone levels due to adrenal fatigue as some sources mention that the precurser to progesterone, DHEA (dehydioepiandrosterone). DHEA is used to metabolize cholesterol and make the conversion to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, so poor adrenal function can directly affect the reproductive system.

If you have thyroid problems, most alternative practitioners recommend testing the adrenals and if they are not functioning properly, that the adrenals be properly treated before the thyroid. (of course, thyroid support is essential depending on its function – always work with a doctor or health care professional.) Because the thyroid wont’ function properly no matter the treatment if the adrenals aren’t functioning well.

The issue of adrenal fatigue is one that is, thankfully, getting more and more attention over the last few years. Here are some other resources to help you learn more:

  1. AdrenalFatigue.org
  2. Adrenal Fatigue, the 21st century stress syndrome a book by Dr. James L. Wilson
  3. How adrenals can wreak havoc – Stop the Thyroid Madness
  4. Eating to support adrenals
  5. Low metabolic energy therapies – an in-depth look at the adrenals and thyroid, the differences in symptoms, and the treatments.
  6. Adrenal Fatigue Signs and Symptoms – a metabolic chart
  7. The truth about adrenal fatigue – a look at the connection to the brain (it’s a great article, but please be aware of the scantily clad woman on the screen about halfway down…..wouldn’t want y’all to be shocked!)

I know many of you have dealt with adrenal fatigue, so I’d love it if you could share your story here in the comments of your symptoms and maybe how you began to heal! Patient wisdom is a helpful thing for everyone when we share and get new ideas to research for ourselves.

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.

Overcoming Thyroid Disorders {book review}

natural help for thyroid disorders The more I read about thyroid disorders, the more I believe that they can be healed. So many of the books I’ve read have some of the same information, but they all seem to build upon each other as well, offering informational tid-bits that compliment the information in another book.

The most recent that I’ve read is Overcoming Thyroid Disorders by Dr. David Brownstein, M.D. and again I found myself getting excited about different ways to help heal my body.

Dr. Brownstein’s NEW Book, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, 2nd Edition has been completely updated. This book shows how a holistic treatment program can effectively treat: Hypothyroidism Graves’ Disease Hashimoto’s Disease Fibromyalgia Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Arthritis And Much More!

Overcoming Thyroid Disorders provides information on safe and effective natural therapies to help the body heal itself. Dr. Brownstein provides over 30 actual case studies of his success in treating thyroid disorders.

Overcoming Thyroid Disorders contains information on:

  • Natural Thyroid Hormone
  • Bioidentical Natural Hormones
  • Diet
  • Vitamins and Minerals Important for Thyroid Function
  • Detoxification and more.

Some of the chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Hypothyroidism
  3. Poor T4 Converters and Thyroid Hormone Resistance
  4. Thyroid Replacement Options
  5. Hyperthyroidism and Autoimmune Disorders
  6. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  7. Adrenal and Gonadal Hormones and their Relationship to the Thyroid
  8. Diet
  9. Detoxification
  10. Coagulation Disorders
  11. Iodine and the Thyroid Gland

My copy is full of yellow highlighter already and I’m on my way to experimenting with some of his ideas. Just a few of the many things I learned from his book:

“When adequate amounts of thyroid hormone are produced, the metabolic machinery inside each of the billions of cells runs at a normal pace. One by-product of this metabolic machinery is heat………..

Maintaining a steady body temperature is one of the most crucial functions of the thyroid gland. many of the enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and chemical reactions that are utilized in the body are temperature sensitive.” pg 48

So when our bodies are in a normal temperature range, 97.8-98.2, all of the enzymes, vitamins, etc. can be fully optimized. When our body temperature is to low (or to high) our body has a harder time utilizing them.

natural remedies for the thyroid

“In evaluating individuals with chronic illness, physicians must keep in mind that we are not treating laboratory tests.” pg 64

“It is impossible to have a properly functioning thyroid gland without adequate Vitamin B12 levels in the body.” pg 88 (something that I’m currently dealing with is low B12 levels!)

He also talks quite a bit about Fibromyalgia, and on page 150 states that

“The diagnosis of fibromyalgia became much more prevelant after conventional medicine n=began to rely on the TSH test to diagnose thyroid problems. Before this reliance on the blood tests occurred, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism was primarily a clinical diagnosis. In other words, the physician was treating the patient and not the laboratory test. By relying on the blood tests, many cases of hypothyroidism began to be missed. As time progressed those individuals with untreated hypothyroidism began to develop signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia.” pg. 150

So he believes that in some cases, untreated hypothyroidism (where all the lab tests are normal but the people still feels ill) can show up as fibromyalgia while the blood tests won’t show hypothyroidism for years.

“At times of added stress on the body, the weakest part of the body will be affected first.” pg. 161

This is why some people show symptoms of hypothyroidism, or fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue symdrome, or infertility……

Dr. Brownstein also talks about the importance of adrenal health in relation to the thyroid, how estrogen dominance causes the body to not be able to properly convert the inactive T4 hormone to the active T3, and also how important detoxification is to help thyroid healing and function.

I really enjoyed how easy to read this book was, yet extremely informative. I feel like I should grab another copy of it to hand out to others as I like to keep one on my shelf for easy reference!

You can purchase Overcoming Thyroid Disorders from Dr. Brownstein’s website for $15.00 and if you sign up for his newsletter, I noticed that you can receive 10% off your first order.

Have you read this book? What did you think and what changes have you made?

*you can read more about thyroid disorders here: Natural Help for Thyroid Disorders

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.

Healing the Thyroid part three: the liver and detoxification

Part of overcoming and healing thyroid disorders (as well as any other health issue) is that sometimes you see setbacks. You get better, and then for some reason you may start to feel crummy again.

For me this happened last week. I’ve felt a lot better since my lab tests right before Christmas, more energy, better frame of mind, and my thoughts and projects were much more organized. But after a couple of days of eating some indulgent foods and a couple of late nights, I again began to feel very tired and fatigued.

But I also know that my body is healing, because even after a setback, I’m bouncing back better than I had before. And as an added bonus, I’m beginning to really understand what’s going on and listen to my body. When I’m tired, I rest.

So on to the slightly delayed third part of our series on healing the thyroid. (If you’ve missed the others, you can check them all out here: Healing the Thyroid)

natural heal the thyroid

photo credit

Toxins

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you that our fallen world is a bit toxic. Well, depending on where you live it might be more than a little toxic. We’ve discussed much of that here on the blog and in my book I go into a bit more detail on some specific toxins and how they affect our bodies, so I’m sure most of you have a basic understanding of how our bodies become overloaded with toxins.

For those of you that are new to this information, we are often exposed to toxins and chemicals in our environment and they get in to our bodies. Just a few of the ways our bodies are exposed:

  • Mercury from amalgam fillings, coal plants, and sometimes fish.
  • Aluminum from personal care products and cans
  • BPA and xeno-estrogens (synthetic compounds that are similar in structure to our natural estrogen) from plastics, hygiene products and household materials.
  • Synthetic hormones, chlorine, and fluoride in our water supply
  • Pesticides from produce

Our bodies were wonderfully created and have a natural cleansing system to get rid of these things, in small amounts. We detoxify everyday through sweating, breathing, urination, and defecation. The problem comes when we’re exposed in large amounts, or our detoxification pathways aren’t working properly due to poor diet.

The liver is one of our largest organs and its main responsibility is to break down chemicals and toxins through it’s two stage detoxification process, which renders them harmless and secretes them out through our digestive system.

“When the detoxification system is overwhelmed, the liver is unable to remove these harmful substances from our body. These dangerous substances then begin to accumulate in different cells of the body. As more and more cells of the body accumulate these harmful substances, the cells begin to lose their ability to work and communicate properly.

It has been my observation that it is impossible for someone to overcome illness and achieve optimal health without optimizing their detoxification systems.” – Overcoming Thyroid Disorders by Dr. David Brownstein, MD

Dr. Brownstein also writes in his book that he finds heavy metal toxicity in a large percentage of his patients (>80%) and in the case of autoimmune disorders, that percentage is almost 100%. It’s suggested that the metal toxicity causes the immune system to malfunction.

“Mercury has been shown to bind to the thyroid gland and disrupt it’s functioning. Mercury binds very tightly to fatty tissues of the body (i.e. the brain) and to cells with sulfhydryl groups. Many enzymes contain sulfhydryl groups that cause many crucial reactions to happen in the body. One of those is the enzyme that converts the inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3, iodothyronine 5’deiodinase*.”Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, pg 256

This enzyme is also dependent of adequate selenium levels, but selenium is also one of the most potent chelators of mercury, meaning it binds to it to assist it’s removal from the body. Sop not only does mercury affect the thyroid directly, it may contribute to selenium deficiency and the lack of T4 to T3 conversion.

(*the book Autoimmune, the cause and the cure also mentions this specific enzyme)

So how do we help our bodies let go of toxicity?

Let me first say that heavy metal toxicity should be handled by a holistic health practitioner. This way they can test you (usually through hair and urine analysis) and observe and guide you through the process. Some doctors choose to use chelation, others may take different steps with supplements and herbs.

1. Get away from the toxins

Reducing our exposure to toxins is extremely important and one of the reasons I choose to use as many natural and homemade products as I can. This helps me to lower the amount of toxins I’m exposed to on a daily basis, because there will always be toxins around that I can not control.

So choosing natural cleaners and beauty products along with getting rid of things like non-stick pans and plastic food storage containers will help lessen the toxic load on the body.

(You can also check out the 31 Days to Cleaner Living if you need some help and/or encouragement in making changes)

2. Focus on food

It always comes down to food for me, it’s the foundation to health! If you can lower the amount of toxins you ingest in the foods you eat by choosing organic produce and meats, you’ll be leaps and bounds healthier in this aspect. But you can also use foods to help support your natural detoxification system as well.

I’ve talked about cleansing with whole foods before, but as a quick overview you can decrease the foods that are either harder to digest OR take longer to digest, (foods like grains, sugar, and animal proteins) and instead increase your consumption of foods that support the liver and bile production (foods like beets, lemon, garlic, and asparagus).

Making sure you’re eating a nutrient dense diet will also help build nutrients that are important in detoxification.

3. Work on digestion

We’ve already covered healing the digestive system, but it’s also important to note it here as well since our digestive system helps us rid the body of toxins, in probably the largest amount compared to our other outlets. When our digestive system is working properly, and we are urinating multiple times per day and having at least one or two bowel movements in the same period of time,  we can be sure that any toxins we take in are being moved out in a timely fashion.

Dr. Brownstein also recommends adequate water intake (between meals) to helps flush out toxins as well as carry nutrients into cells.

Other important aspects

  1. Sweating also allows the body to clear out toxins as well as clear the lymph system. Dr. Brownstein recommends a sauna, especially if a person doesn’t normally sweat.
  2. Herbs can also be effective at helping the body rid itself of toxins and there are multiple herbs to look into. A couple of my favorites for liver support are nettle and milk thistle, though you can also find packaged blends specific for liver cleansing.

Depending on your state of health, cleansing the body may take weeks or even months. And the sicker you are, the more you should work with a holistic health practitioner to guide you through the process.

Have ever done a specific detoxification program or been tested for toxins/heavy metals? Please share you experiences!

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.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the Treatment of Thyroid Conditions

{guest post by Dr. Drew Nesbitt}

I asked Drew to guest post today as I’ve heard multiple times from people I know, how TCM and acupuncture have been helpful in their journey to healing the thyroid. For those who have struggling with thyroid health and unable to overcome their issues through just diet and lifestyle changes, TCM may be helpful in your healing.

Thyroid conditions affect an estimated 200 million people worldwide, many of whom may go undiagnosed. As a Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCMP) who works in the field of natural fertility enhancement, I often see people suffering from thyroid symptoms (i.e. hypothyroidism can lead to miscarriage). In this article, I will go over the basics of the most common thyroid conditions as well as how they are interpreted and treated from a TCM perspective.

Hyperthyroidism – The Hot Type

From a Chinese medicine point of view, hyperthyroidism is often referred to as the “hot” type and is often grouped into the “Yin deficiency” or “Empty Heat” category in Chinese medicine. Yin is the cooling, moistening element in TCM (as opposed to Yang which is warming). When someone is deficient in Yin, sufferers therefore experience a relative excess of heat (see chart #1 below). This excess in heat can create symptoms such as:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Palpitations (racing heart)
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight loss (despite a high appetite)

To treat Yin deficiency type hyperthyroidism, a practitioner must nourish Yin with the use of acupuncture, foods and most importantly, herbal medicine. A common Chinese medicine formula to tonify Yin is called “Six Ingredient Pill with Rehmannia” or “Liu Wei Di Huang Wan”.

Chart #1

tcm and thyroid

Image from www.massagetoday.com

 

Hypothyroidism – The Cold Type

On the other end of the thyroid spectrum is the more commonly known hypothyroidism. This is more commonly seen in my fertility practise than hyperthyroidism and in my opinion, often goes undiagnosed. People can suffer for years with what is called sub-clinical hypothyroidism which is when your blood work appears in the normal range yet you still seem to exhibit typical symptoms of hypothyroidism. Since your blood work is normal, you generally do not receive treatment – often leaving people frustrated and looking for alternatives.

First, let’s look at some of the more familiar symptoms of hypothyroidism:

In chart #2, you will notice that with hypothyroidism, there is a deficiency in the Yang energy which creates a relative excess of Yin – resulting in more “cold” associated symptoms, also referred to as a “Yang Deficiency” or “Empty Cold”. Yang energy is the hotter, faster energy when compared to Yin and when one is deficient in Yang, body processes tend to slow down and feel colder.

To treat the Yang deficient type of hypothyroidism, a TCM practitioner would use warming herbs such as cinnamon bark and aconite as well as acupuncture with the help of moxibustion (the burning of the herb mugwort on or around acupuncture points). As always, diet and supplement suggestions are essential.

Chart #2

tcm and thyroid health

Image from www.massagetoday.com

Hypothyroidism and Acupuncture – Study

A recent Russian study (September 2011) examined the effects of acupuncture and other TCM therapies on subclinical thyroid syndrome and discovered that TSH levels were reduced to normal levels in 74% of the treatment group. It went on to conclude that acupuncture could be an alternative to substitution therapy in subclinical hypothyroidism. More participants in future studies would make these finding more significant but the results are certainly encouraging.

In summary, most people with hypothyroidism are in need of more Yang (warming) energy and most people who suffer from hyperthyroidism need more Yin (cooling) energy. Clinically, we often see a mixture of the two in the one individual and it’s up to a seasoned practitioner to decide the best course of treatment.

Don’t let the often mysterious language of TCM stop you from considering this growing healthcare profession…particularly when it comes to your thyroid health. Consult with an experienced TCM practitioner and see if your thyroid condition is the “hot” type or the “cold” type and start feeling better today.

Drew Nesbitt is a Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCMP) and a Nutritional Consultant in Toronto, Ontario who specializes in natural fertility enhancement for both men and women. Visit www.drewnesbitt.ca for more information today.

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.