Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The trouble with thyroid.

ThyroidImage via Wikipedia" I am pregnant. That's all it is. Being tired, gaining ten pounds in one week and having strange symptoms like this itchy skin, it's all part and parcel of pregnancy right?" So went my conversation with my midwife. My mom is in the room and suggests a thyroid test since hers went out of whack sometime in her early 30's. "Yes that could be it says the midwife let's run a test." I obligingly hold out my arm for a blood draw and think nothing more of it. About a week later my midwife calls me and tells me I need to make an appointment with a doctor or naturopath to have follow up since my TSH levels are high indicating my pituitary gland is working overtime to increase production of thyroid hormones. My thoughts were "what me? thyroid problems? I have always been so healthy,and energetic. Really?" I envisioned myself gaining 50 more pounds and promptly called the naturopath.
It is now a year later and I am still on thyroid medication. Part of my journey into all things organic has been in an effort to reduce my exposure (and now Olivia's) to "endocrine disruptor's", triggers for thyroid disease. The more I research the more I realize we are surrounded by them. No wonder thyroid problems are on the rise in the US. Not to mention other nutritional deficit factors. Here is a little bit of what I have learned.

Are you fatigued, depressed, lost your drive, do you have dry, itchy or coarse skin or hair, gaining weight for no apparent reason,brittle nails, thinning hair, constipation, aches and pains, are you chilly, feel run down or sluggish, difficulty concentrating or brain fog, more frequent or heavy flow periods, infertility or miscarriages. One or more of these symptoms might be a good reason to ask your doctor to check your thyroid. Maybe you had a doctor check your thyroid and tell you the numbers are normal. You could still be deficient in thyroid hormone depending on what lab test the doctor drew to check you. The standard test is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). If it's above normal range your body is not producing enough thyroid hormone and the pituitary gland is sending messages to the brain to make more. Many doctors stop at this test. The problem with only having this test is that it does not tell you what the circulating thyroid hormones in your body are actually doing. many experts believe you need a full thyroid panel: TSH, free circulation T4, T3 and reverse T3. 
What do the "experts" think is causing the increasing hypothyroidism in the USA?
  •  Check your iodine intake. When your body is lacking iodine it can cause the thyroid gland to malfunction leading to thyroid cancer, and hypo or hyper thyroidism. Make sure you have your doctor check your iodine levels before taking it. Too much iodine can also cause thyroid issues.
  • Cut bromine from your life. In the 1970's bromine replaced iodine as a dough enhancer in flour. Not only that but bromine actually inhibits iodine's effects in the body worsening deficiency! Avoid bromine by sticking to sprouted wheat breads like food for life or Ezekiel bread (Costco sells a version of sprouted bread). Bromine is a common substance in pesticides so stick to organic produce. It can also be found in citrus flavored soft drinks, brominated vegetable oils, substitutes for chlorine in some pools and is a common flame retardant in cars, electronic equipment, clothing and home furnishings. ( Right before I became hypo thyroid we bought a foam mattress off overstock. I got sick from the fumes and all my thyroid symptoms started after this. I think the flame retardants in this mattress were the "straw that broke the camels back" so to speak.)
  • Make sure you have enough selenium in your diet. The highest concentrations are found in brazil nuts, tuna, cod and light colored meats.
  • Reduce stress. Stress affects how your body absorbs thyroid hormones. Meaning your body is making enough but your body is actually resistant to it! Stress less. 
Next month I am going back to the naturopath to recheck my thyroid levels. Hopefully there is some improvement and we can slowly cut back on the medication. In the past year the accountant and I have significantly reduced our exposure to endocrine disruptor's (which affect more than your thyroid by the way). I am hoping it shows up in my thyroid testing. I hate taking medication!

Please note this blog is not intended to diagnose or treat it is merely an explanation of my journey to treat my hypothyroidism. 

Natural Health Magazine Dec 2010 issue

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  1. Also check out T-Tapp. She focuses on thyroid issues a lot. Her workouts are fantastic! And really truely work. When I'm dedicated with it (which I haven't been in a while), I can lose a few inches in a week just doing the 15 minute workout. And it helps my whole body function splendidly! Check out ttapp.com.

  2. Also, in case anyone is looking into it, the thyroid and adrenal glands are related and if your thyroid is off, most likely your adrenal glands are too.
    I have now realized that after suffering w/thyroid problems most of my life, that my adrenals need attention! They are "connected"!!!
    Take care of them both! =)



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