The thyroid gland plays a vital role in countless functions. Hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid is one of the most commonly diagnosed and medicated conditions in healthcare today. It can leave an individual feeling mentally fatigued, physically tired, constipated, unable to lose weight, abnormally cold, or plagued with dry skin, brittle nails and hair loss; to name a few.
This desperate individual turns to a doctor for help and is usually provided thyroid hormones without a blink of an eye. Right off the bat we are witness to a flawed system and an antiquated way of thinking when it comes to health and our bodies.
The thyroid gland, just like every other organ in our body, does not exist and function in isolation. As such, its function or dysfunction is normally a consequence of some sort of additional dysfunction somewhere within the interdependent matrix that is the human body. The practice of supplementing thyroid symptoms with thyroid hormones is no better than a stop gap at best, as the underlying dysfunction persists and a dependency or worse is created by the external source of thyroid hormones.
Traditional medicine currently listens to symptoms, measures TSH, perhaps some form of T3 and T4, and diagnoses and prescribes from there. It should be known that TSH alone is great at telling you something is off along the thyroid, pituitary access, but is useless as far as telling us what or why. Adding some measurement of T3 and T4 to the panel is superior to the former, but again comes up short in shining a light on the why.
When the option of a more illuminating, complete thyroid panel (blood work) can be ordered, one must ask why it isn’t? Even further, with the number one cause of hypothyroidism in this country being an autoimmune issue, why would a test for thyroid anti-bodies not be included in the standard testing?
Perhaps all resources aren’t utilized due to the fact that it doesn’t change the cookbook approach allopathic medicine has to offer. If thyroid symptoms are present and the limited blood markers ordered signify that the thyroid hormones are off, another thyroid hormone consumer is created and left to life long dependency and/or incremental increases in dosage. This shotgun approach is nothing less than reckless and a prime example of sick care. Perhaps the thyroid isn’t the main issue that need be addressed.
Perhaps the adrenal glands are on overdrive from constant stress (physical, chemical or emotional). Did you know hyper-functioning adrenal glands will dampen thyroid function?
Perhaps a leaky gut or gut infection is present. Did you know that ~20% of thyroid hormones are converted in the intestines to an active form the body can use, BUT only in the presence of a healthy gut and proper gut flora?
Perhaps liver function is hampered due to a high fructose diet, long term statin use or toxic overload. Did you know the majority of thyroid hormones are converted to the active form in the liver?
These are just a few common examples of what can lead to hypothyroid symptoms and a skewing of limited, tunnel visioned lab numbers.
The most intelligent approach to the thyroid puzzle should at the very least include a COMPLETE thyroid panel accompanied by an antibody test. Some practitioners may deem this medically unnecessary and refuse to order it, and to some aspect they may be correct.
It may very well be medically unnecessary if the goal is to simply stick a finger in the damn of dysfunction by flooding the body with thyroid hormones. However, from an intelligently formulated functional standpoint, the complete panel (in addition to a comprehensive history, and a few other additional tests) can guide those interested in identifying the source of the dysfunction and provide the practitioner with the information needed to construct a plan. If this is the goal, than it is no doubt medically necessary.
An eye opening example of this rests within the fact that the number one cause of an under active thyroid in America is due to immune dysfunction (Hashimotto’s Disease). That makes this an immune issue, not a primary thyroid issue. The immune system can be and must be addressed and balanced in order to halt the attack on the thyroid gland. This attack is what leads to the symptoms and can be identified by, amongst other things, a test for thyroid antibodies.
That is just one instance of how ordering the proper tests and not immediately resorting to medications can clear the path to true health and wellness. If you have a practitioner who refuses to order the tests you request, maybe it’s time to ask why, or find one who will.
Personally, my patients have been met with reluctance and sometimes outright refusal when the additional tests are requested. However, they can be done and it is your right as a proactive, educated patient to receive the tests you desire; as well as to work with a professional who is open minded and willing to work together when it comes to your health.
That is the model we strive to achieve and implement on a daily basis. If it sounds appealing and liberating to you, feel free to contact us at anytime.
We’re ready when you are.
Make health happen.
Everyone wants to find the most efficient path to health, wellness, and longevity. This overwhelming demand creates an abundance of products and protocols claiming to be the best. One of the hottest buzzwords amongst these products is the detox. And while a true detox/cleanse can not be overlooked as an intricate tool to utilize during the construction or renovation of our health, there exists a separate targeted approach that is just as, if not more important when it comes to creating an internal environment that facilitates the ability to thrive.
What we are talking about is fortifying the site where the bulk of our immune system resides.
We are talking about ensuring that maximum potential is achieved when it comes to reaping the benefits of the foods we consume via absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals; and conversely minimizing the risk for nutritional deficiencies and infection.
We are talking about rebuilding the major barrier systems of our body that protect us from exposure and subsequent damage to our respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, and brain.
We are talking about optimizing and balancing the immune response and not ending up as a statistic representing the alarming growing number of seemingly idiopathic auto-immune conditions sweeping the country.
We are talking about setting the stage to grab control of glucose and insulin levels, weight and minimizing the stress response from within.
The foundation for health that we’re talking about is an optimally functioning GI (gastrointestinal) or digestive tract. Healing and sealing any intestinal permeability or a leaky gut is absolutely essential when looking to address a countless number of issues. Improving function on this level often times leads to an attenuation or outright termination of seemingly disconnected signs or symptoms. When we recognize, respect and comprehend the complex interwoven matrix that is our bodies, this holistic approach becomes not only understandable but mandatory for attaining true health from the inside out.
For a number or reasons (diet [food sensitivities or high sugar/carb], antibiotics, chlorinated water, excessive use of NSAIDs, etc.) our intestinal wall can begin to falter. This is problematic due to the fact that the majority of our immune system resides there and because it serves as a major barrier system in our bodies.
It’s relation to the three other major barrier systems (blood brain barrier, lungs, and skin) becomes blatantly obvious when gut dysfunction leads to mental fog, fatigue and forgetfulness, respiratory infections and asthma, or psoriasis and eczema, respectfully. Further strengthening of the relationship is seen when correction of the gut dysfunction leads to a change in many of the aforementioned conditions.
This is where full acknowledgement and respect must be paid to the holistic nature of our bodies. When one of these barrier systems is effected, damaged or dysfunctional, the effects can be seen amongst the others. Never is this so obvious as when healing and sealing the intestines, coupled with an elimination diet leads to massive improvements or outright resolution of what appears to be unrelated issues.
If a leaky gut is left unaddressed, undigested food particles and other organisms that would otherwise be refused access, freely enter into our bloodstream. This causes the immune system to do it’s job and launch an attack on the unwanted visitors.
The problem occurs as the immune system is called upon to perform this search and seizure so frequently that it becomes hypersensitive and begins to attack our own tissues, some of which have a similar molecular structure to the unwanted invaders. This can manifest as allergies, asthma, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), hypothyroidism; even MS depending on the tissue attacked.
The longer the door is open and an attack persists, the more tissues that can suffer as condition after condition can begin to mount. It is for these handful reasons, and countless more that fortifying the gut by way of clearing, replacing and rebuilding is at the core; the foundation of attaining optimal health.
More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates appeared to be onto something when he stated, “all disease begins in the gut.” In a relatively short time, the changes I’ve witnessed personally and clinically have been nothing short of game changing for all involved.
The knowledge and path to practical implementation exists and is waiting.
As always, we’re ready when you are.
ESSENTIAL SUPPLEMENT OF THE MONTH
As we’ve stated in the past, it would be ideal to keep the number of supplements to a minimum while obtaining all the externally derived nutritional support from our diet. However, due to poor quality of our food source as well as the hazards we are exposed to, certain supplements would be advantageous to our wellbeing. A couple of months ago we started this list with a daily dose of high quality Omega 3 fatty acids. (https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2014/03/12/supplement-series-the-good-fats/)
The second supplement that virtually everyone can benefit from is a high quality probiotic. This term has become somewhat of a buzz word in the mainstream as more and more research emerges backing the benefits behind making sure your “good” bacteria is at a premium.
As with all supplements, you want to make sure you’re spending your money and efforts on a quality product. Certain strains of bacteria are more likely to survive the stomach acid bath en route to your intestines, so you want to make sure those are included on the label.
You also want to be wary of certain foods (yogurts are notorious for this) that falsely tout the added benefit of various live cultures or strains of bacteria. If a product is pasteurized, which most dairy is, the beneficial bacteria which they use as a selling point have most likely been destroyed by the heating process. Unpasteurized is becoming a selling point like organic or gluten free so if it doesn’t make mention of it, assume it’s pasteurized.
In addition to the immune and digestive benefits (which should not be understated) the gut – brain connection is a major reason why a good probiotic makes my list of essentials. We carry and take the brand pictured at Clarke Chiropractic and Wellness. However, if you have questions about another brand or supplement, your inquiries are always welcome.