Thyroid—you might have a problem and not know it

All estimates I’ve read are that 25 to 50 percent or more of American women have significant thyroid issues. Possibly over half of women over 40. Most of these women are undiagnosed. If you have low thyroid, which is the most common thyroid problem, symptoms may be low energy, slow metabolism / weight gain, dry skin, bags under your eyes, fatigue, hair loss, depression, poor circulation, low immune function, and insomnia.

My best friend since childhood, on the other hand, has the “auto-immune” condition of hyperthyroidism, which is just as miserable. Her thyroid is always revved and overproducing. She goes the drug route. The symptoms are a racing heartbeat, weight loss, increase or decrease in appetite, insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, mental disturbance, infertility, thinning hair, itching and hives, heat intolerance, and tremors / shakiness.

All the endocrine disruptors in the environment and food supply affect thyroid function. Don’t eat soy! Don’t expose yourself to pesticides, or plastics, or heavy metals. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and unchecked stress.

Doctors will likely put you on synthetic hormone. Remember that the drug thyroid is not bioidentical to the thyroid produced in your body. It’s been molecularly altered, each drug different from each other, to earn a patent.

If you find a clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone, the cost is far less, and your body can assimilate and utilize the hormone effectively, like the hormone your own thyroid produces.

I spent four years on a synthetic thyroid drug, many years ago, before I knew any better. It helped me drop the 40 lbs. I’d gained in a year since I became hypothyroid. But it increased my risk for cancer. I happily transitioned to bioidentical and have been on it ever since. Recently I went completely off thyroid to test whether perhaps my good diet compensated, and maybe I could produce hormone effectively by myself.

The good news is, my baseline was much better than it was 10 years ago when I first was tested. The bad news is, I got ugly bags under my eyes. I made some videos last summer in Denver when I was completely off thyroid, and I can’t even look at them. Ugly. My body makes about 60% of the thyroid I need. I take a few drops of nascent iodine each day, now, and my bioidentical thyroid keeps me happy and balanced.

You can read whole books on the thyroid phenomenon by Mary Shomon, a bestselling author. Too many women are hypothyroid and going without treatment. Remember to google “bioidentical hormone” rather than starting with the standard M.D.’s practice of automatic drug-oriented HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

And remember, having an M.D. check you for T3 will not give you the whole answer. When I gained 40 lbs. because I was very hypothyroid in my mid-30’s, I was tested for that and the doc told me it was “normal.” I knew I was NOT feeling normal, but what was I to do?

You must get the full blood panel and have a highly specialized bioidentical practitioner look at the interplay of T3, T4, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and a variety of co-factors. When I did that, my life changed dramatically because they could treat my whole body, rather than just drug one element, throwing other critical elements into imbalance.

If you’re feeling healthy but want to make sure you’re getting enough iodine, using refined salt with chemical, synthetic iodine enrichment, is harmful. If you want ways to get more natural, bioavailable iodine in your diet, to enhance your body’s ability to make and utilize thyroid hormone?

Talk to your holistic practitioner about whether you should take nascent iodine (available online, google it) or Lugol’s solution (prescription). My practitioner had me paint a 1”x1” patch of my inner forearm with drugstore iodine, and if it disappeared in an hour, she said that was a sign my body needs iodine. (However, I believe others dispute this test as valid.)

Food-based sources are kelp (which you can take in tablets, or it’s a wonderful salt replacement seasoning), or dulse, or nori sheets (seaweed). Those are high-iodine sea vegetables. If you take too much, you would notice being jittery, anxious, shaky, so if so, you could back off those foods. But generally, you’d have to eat an awful lot of sea vegetables to create an imbalance.

Green Smoothie Testimonials, Part 11

More Green Smoothie testimonials from my research:

My husband and I have been enjoying green smoothies 6-7 times a week for the past 9 months. We are hooked! In fact, we went on vacation for a week and missed our BlendTec blender and green smoothie so much, we could hardly wait to get back home to start again. My husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer three years ago, and the doctor consistently was removing new tumor sites every three months.

Once we found the Green Smoothie Girl.com site, got our blender, and started making the smoothies, he has consistently been clear of any new tumors. His latest colonoscopy this year was also clear, he has more energy, and feels healthy and strong. We will not go without our healthy green start each day! We can’t thank you enough!

–Nancy K.

I have hyperthyroid (Graves Disease) and have been on Propyl-Thyracil (PTU) for the past 15 years. During this time, doctors and specialists have urged me to go on radioactive iodine, and some of them have even ridiculed me for wanting to consider alternative methods.

I knew instinctively that an answer lay for me in something else besides pills. But I was told that they knew of nothing else and that the iodine treatment was pretty standard. (Well, not for me, thank you very much!) I have searched and searched for years. I even went off PTU for three months thinking that I could use positive thinking and visualization to heal myself…but to no avail.

So when I came across green smoothies in about June 2008, I knew that it was more like a liquid salad, full of nutrition and basic goodness. So together with beginning a high raw foodstyle, I was able to decrease my PTU intake every 3 months since then, when having an appointment with my endocrinologist to check out blood work. I had been on three PTUs per day.

So after the first three months, I decreased it to two, thinking that there would be some changes to my blood work results. Since there was none, again after three months, I decreased it to one PTU per day. Again no changes in T4, Free T3, and sTSH results. My last appointment with the endocrinologist was in January 2009. Again no changes.

She was delighted and suggested that I come off PTU completely. I almost fell off my chair that a doctor would suggest no pills. Of my own choice, and with her approval, I asked if I should consider half a PTU per day until my next appointment. She agreed. To date, I feel fine with no increased palpitation and an abundance of energy. Thank you so much green smoothies, and most of all, thank you to Robyn for her relentless pursuit of research.

–Hal Walter (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

your body needs IODINE . . . part 2 of 3 on thinning hair

I have been reading a bunch of scientific papers by David Brownstein and G. Abraham on iodine, as I have suspected that iodine deficiency may be partly to blame for the fact that 1 in 4 American women has a thyroid problem (countless men, too), and most of those are undiagnosed.

 

You may know that your thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolism.   If you have hypothyroidism, among a host of other symptoms, you are likely to have low energy and gain weight easily (and have a hard time losing it), regardless of your caloric intake.   (And hyperthyroidism, which is  that gland revving and eventually burning out,  often manifests with buggy eyes and manic energy.)   If your way of testing your thyroid is to go to an M.D. and ask for a test, you likely tested only T3, and that doesn’t show anywhere near the whole picture.   Also, the M.D.s accept a “normal” range that is inappropriately huge.

You need to go to a clinic specializing in hormones, and usually those are run by nurse practitioners.   Locally (Utah County), three clinics specialize in this, but I recommend Francine at Wellnique in Orem, who prescribes only bioidenticals rather than synthetics.   Get a full-panel blood test and have her analyze the interplay of a variety of factors including T3, T4, progesterone, and testosterone.   (Unfortunately most insurance companies won’t pay for this.)   You have to have iodine to synthesize T3 and T4.   And iodine is frankly hard to come by in food sources.

North Americans and Western Europeans have a high rate of goiter, or thyroid enlargement as felt by palpating the neck.   That’s a classic sign of iodine deficiency.   The studies I reviewed showed anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of Caucasions to have this disorder, rather easily rectified for most with iodine supplementation.

I’ve included a link below to quite a few iodine studies, for the meticulous, analytical, and detail oriented among you. 

You won’t be surprised to hear me say that the best way to get highly bioavailable iodine is through plant food:   the Japanese get it through sea vegetables, like seaweed, kelp, and dulse.   They have very low rates of breast and reproductive cancers and other iodine-deficiency problems, whereas we have high rates of all those problems.   If you like nori sheets, eat a few every day.   Roll hummus and/or veggies in it, or tear it up and put it in soup.   I personally don’t like it, so I season food with kelp, but that’s not enough.   I am using a Lugol solution of iodine and potassium iodine to try to achieve the average Japanese rate of iodine through seaweed consumption.

These are some papers regarding research on iodine:

http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/opt_Research_I.shtml