Dear Pharmacist,

I listened to your Thyroid Summit last June and heard the different doctors talk about medicine but I'm still unsure what I should be taking. I have Hashimoto's and don't do well on Armour. Can you tell me what is best for me?

—J.C., Chicago, Illinois

All parents want their children to be as healthy as possible and most parents do whatever they can to support their children. Many parents bring their children into see me not necessarily to treat specific medical conditions but to determine what they can do to support the health of their children. One of the most common questions they ask is, “Should my child take vitamin supplements?”

I typically recommend most infants and toddlers under the age of two get the majority of their vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other essential nutrients through breast milk and dietary intake. These are the most natural and pure sources of the essential nutrients. The exception to this is vitamin D, which all infants should get 400 IU/day. I typically recommend most children over the age of two take a daily multivitamin to enhance their nutritional intake.

Eating healthy, nutritious foods is the key to a healthy digestive system. It’s also very important to consider how we chew and break down food for proper digestion. The first step of digestion starts in your mouth. Teeth help break down foods and saliva has enzymes by which the digestive process starts. As you swallow food, muscles move it through the digestive tract. Food then is broken down and absorbed of nutrients needed by your body for health and development.

When one thinks of the word metabolism, it usually conjures up thoughts of either lean or obese individuals. From a scientific perspective, metabolism refers to the sum total of all the biochemical reactions that allow us to do everything we take for granted in a twenty-four hour period, however none of it would be possible without changing energy into a usable form at the cellular level and, of course, our energy comes from food.

This means we don't just feed the stomach when we eat, but instead our meals are broken down into the various fuels required by every one of the trillions of cells in our bodies. In order to get the best metabolic bang for our breakfast, lunch and dinner, we need to have a healthy digestive system.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), going back more than two millennia, all diseases involving the eye are closely related to liver health, as well as all your internal organs. Taking that into consideration, an imbalance in any of the internal organs may lead to diminishing eye health and eye disease.

In TCM the following organs are directly connected to the eyes…
  • the lens and pupil to the kidneys;
  • the sclera to the lungs;
  • the arteries and veins to the heart;
  • the top eyelid to the spleen;
  • the bottom eyelid to the stomach;
  • the cornea and iris to the liver;
  • the spleen and stomach to circulation in the eyes.

As a pointed example, we often do not know how much liver health can affect eye health. Yes, at first glance you’d think the liver has about as much in common with your eyes as milk and champagne.

Most people think of weight issues or fatigue symptoms when the topic of thyroid disease is discussed. It’s true, these symptoms are prevalent but there are other symptoms that are commonly experienced as well. Digestive problems, in particular, are intertwined with the complicated, body-wide effects of thyroid disease.

Hypothyroidism can have a negative effect beginning in the stomach. When thyroid hormone production and/or absorption is low, this restricts the stomach’s ability to manufacture a hormone called gastrin. Gastrin is responsible for the production of hydrochloric acid, also known as stomach acid.

Inflammation is a useful natural reaction that the body has in response to injury and certain other conditions. Chronic inflammation, however, can be more destructive than beneficial. Indeed, when we hear the word inflammation, we tend to associate with conditions like arthritis and other more serious issues. Nevertheless, there are many common causes of inflammation that are not associated with disease states. These include eating diets high in certain inflammation-promoting foods (e.g., polyunsaturated fats, simple carbohydrates— especially refined sugars1, common allergens like casein and gluten2), being in colder temperatures3, experiencing menopause (with hormone fluctuations)4, experiencing psychological stress5 and exposure to environmental toxins.6

One day several years ago, I had a powerful experience in which I understood how a person can impact for the better simply by the power of their presence. I saw how one’s inner feeling states projects an energy that can profoundly impact those around them. I grasped the meaning of Ghandi's words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If we want peace in our world, we must first be peaceful within ourselves and as we radiate our inner peace, others feel it and in response also become calm. If we wish for love, we must first embody the presence and fullness of love in our very own hearts and then this love can touch others. In this manner our sheer presence serves to affect and influence others. People who carry an aura of light and peaceful well being automatically lift the spirit of those around them and in doing so, create positive outcomes in any given situation. Others, who emit fear, paranoia, or hate, emit a dark energy that repels, instills fear, mistrust and discord.

Arthritis is a real pain in the joints — and nearly 30 million Americans have to deal with it.

Twenty-seven million of us deal with pain and stiffness from the wear-and-tear of osteoarthritis, where the cartilage that covers and cushions the ends of your bones becomes thin or disappears, and your bones rub together and hurt.

Another 2.5 million endure the red, hot, swollen and painful joints of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to mistakenly identify your cartilage and bones as foreign invaders (like viruses)— and attack them.

Water is important year round, and especially during the hotter, drier months of summer. And if we're staying fit with exercise and sweating, we need to maintain our hydration. When we eat more water content foods, as with fruits and vegetables also containing minerals, this keeps us better hydrated. Let's review the keys to healthy water balance.

1. Proper hydration with water is essential. Most of us need at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of good, clean drinking water daily. Coffee, alcohol, and sodas or other sugary beverages do not count toward our daily two quarts of liquids, as they do not hydrate our tissues well, and often have the opposite effect, causing dehydration.

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