hypothyroidism

  • Iodine A Forgotten Nutrient Essential for Health

    Test your Nutrient I.Q.

    WHAT NUTRIENT…

    • was considered universal medicine for destroying bacteria and viruses before the onslaught of synthetic drugs?
    • has been used for centuries for wound healing; especially during war time?
    • was amply added to a substance we mostly use in our daily diet since the 1920s to reduce the rate of goiter disorder?
    • was considered helpful in ridding the body of toxic buildup?
    • was used to purify water before chlorine?
    If you answered iodine, you’re correct. Before the widespread use of synthetic drugs, iodine was practically a universal medicine for everything, even in assisting the body to fight off cancer. Today, we find ourselves with skyrocketing cancer rates, an epidemic of thyroid dysfunction and auto-immune disorders, and toxic build-up in our bodies—could an iodine deficiency be to blame? I believe it is!

    HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE…

    Iodine was discovered in 1811, isolated from the soda ash of seaweed, by the French scientist Courtors and used as a medical tincture in the Civil War. By 1874, it was found to be one of the most efficacious antiseptics, due in part to its low reactivity to proteins—allowing its I2 molecules to rapidly and thoroughly penetrate the cell wall of microorganisms.

    Credit of its discovery also goes to an East Indian, Sunker Bisey, who ushered iodine into the Medical Hall of Fame. Iodine is one of the four elements in the body that also include water, salt and soda—the basic elements and from these all the rest are made in one form or another.

    IODINE—ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTH…

    Iodine is a “trace element”— modern science and medicine consider it to be essential for healthy maintenance of life. The single most important use of iodine, in animal and human biology, is for the formation of two hormones in the thyroid gland (actually an endocrine gland). The hormones are thyroxine (called T4) and triiodothyronine (called T3). T4 and T3 contain four and three atoms of iodine per molecule of hormone respectively.

    The thyroid gland absorbs iodide from the blood to form these hormones from the amino acid tyrosine. They are then stored prior to being released into the bloodstream in an iodine-containing protein called thyroglobulin. The production and release of hormones T3 and T4 by the thyroid gland are regulated by another hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)—produced by the pituitary gland located in your head.

    THYROID MATTERS…

    Both T4 and T3 hormones perform several important functions including the regulation of the body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR), which determines the amount of energy the body uses simply to function. Therefore, insufficient or excess quantities of these hormones can lead to weight-related as well as many other chronic health disorders.

    IODINE SABOTEURS…

    These days, most of the iodine we get in our diets is from table salt. Iodine was actually added to salt to reduce incidence of goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) in the 1920s. And that worked for a while. Currently people are cutting back on table salt for other health reasons so they aren’t getting much, if any, iodine. What little they do consume may not work effectively, either, even when it’s natural sea salt. Iodine depletion has occurred because other minerals like chlorine, fluoride, and bromide, which lower iodine levels in the body by blocking iodine receptors, are increasingly consumed through foods and environmental exposure. Chlorine is now used to purify water instead of iodine. Fluoride, almost universally found in toothpaste and drinking water, blocks the ability of the thyroid gland to concentrate iodine. Bromines, which began replacing iodine in commercial baked goods over 30 years ago, can cause depression, headaches, and even hallucinations.

    REBIRTH OF ANCIENT METHODOLOGIES…

    Luckily, not everyone has forgotten what this amazing mineral does for our health. Integrative medical practitioners are bringing iodine back in their clinical protocols. And researchers suggest that boosting iodine consumption improves thyroid health, lowers incidence of breast and fibrocystic disease, prostate dysfunction and promotes overall well-being. The current minimum daily requirement is 150 micrograms (mcg). Typically, we in the United States consume 240 mcg per day— just enough to prevent goiter, but not enough for other truly beneficial health effects. In my practice we do an easy patch test that’s been done for centuries to determine if the current amount of iodine is sufficient in the body…remember… what goes ON the skin goes IN the body so this test is extremely accurate as a guide for natural supplementation. I use approximately 12,000 to 10,000 mcgs daily in a homeopathic blend when hypothyroid is indicated. My book, “Your Thyroid” that explains the home testing method as well as suggested amounts for supplementation depending on your results.*

    SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROID…

    Basically, when the thyroid gland doesn’t receive the “fuel” that it needs to function, a thyroid deficiency called hypothyroid develops. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates over 2 billion people are iodine deficient—with up to 50 million experiencing serious symptoms of imbalance that go undiagnosed and untreated.

    Iodine is especially vital for pregnant women, their unborn babies and young babies as a deficiency can lead to severe developmental issues. Recently, iodine deficiency has been linked to autism in children.

    When you consider that industrial farming methods, lack of minerals in the soil, and environmental pollutants have all robbed the soil of natural mineral resources, it translates into poor iodine-content in foods and equates to health disorders that have their roots in iodine deficiency.

    THE FOLLOWING ARE THE MOST COMMON DISORDERS/ DISEASES KNOWN TO INCLUDE IODINE DEFICIENCY:
    • Thyroid enlargement—often called "goiter"
    • Mental/emotional imbalances such as depression, anxiety, quick temper
    • Fetal hypothyroidism (improper thyroid function in unborn children—leading to brain damage)
    • Slow metabolism/weight gain or inability to lose weight
    • Autism
    • Immune system disorders (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Lupus, Scleroderma, etc.)
    • Hormone disorders (anxiety, lack of sexual interest, and insomnia/lack of restorative sleep)
    • Breast cysts, soreness, and heaviness
    • Inability to properly and completely detoxify
    • Swelling in the body
    • Sensitivity to cold
    • Hair loss or severe thinning
    • Brain fog, memory impairment
    • High cholesterol even resistant to dietary changes and/or prescribed medications
    • Gastric forms of cancer
    • Constipation
    • Stiff joints

    OUR JAPANESE NEIGHBORS...

    By comparison, people in Japan consume more than 12 mg (12,000 mcg) of iodine per day, 50 times more than the average American. Life expectancy in Japan is just over 82 years old—in the United States it's about 78 years and infant mortality there is half of that of the United States. And...American deaths from breast cancer are three times the number in Japan.

    One in seven American women today will develop breast cancer. Thirty years ago, when iodine consumption was much higher, only one in 20 women developed breast cancer. Women in Japan who consume high amounts of dietary iodine have much lower rates of breast cancer and thyroid problems. However, when women emigrate from Japan to the United States and begin eating a Western diet, with its fractional amount of iodine, their incidence of breast cancer and thyroid disease increases dramatically.

    SCIENTIFICALLY SPEAKING...

    Beyond thyroid support, iodine's anti-cancer functions may be among its most important benefits. Scientific tests exposing estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells to iodine show the cells are less likely to grow and spread. Fibrocystic breast disease is a common condition involving swelling, tenderness, and discomfort of the breasts. In one study, 98 percent of women receiving iodine treatment were pain-free by the study's end, and 72 percent had improvements in breast tissue.

    IODINE, NATURALLY...

    Iodine is available in various forms, each of which affects specific tissues in the body. If thyroid issues are your concern, potassium iodide is best absorbed by the thyroid. Breast tissue uses iodine most efficiently in the form of molecular iodine. Consider a supplement that includes more than one form like that found in a homeopathic blend. The most effective formula I've used and recommended is a homeopathic proprietary blend called Wholistic Thyroid Balance.** If you're extra-sensitive to cold, put on weight easily, have dry skin, or feel "foggy", you may be deficient in iodine. Other easy-to-recognize signs include a thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows, stiff joints, and dull, lusterless hair. If these sound like common symptoms, it's no surprise—most people don't get the iodine they need! 

    * "Your Thyroid" available in eBook and paper version both $9.95 at www.gloriagilbere.com

    ** Wholistic Thyroid Balance available at http://www.gloriagilbere.com

    Resources:
    1. http://www.ivy-rose.co.uk/Chemistry/Elements/Iodine-Uses.php
    2. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/symptoms-of-iodine-deficiency/
    3. http://www.who.int/nmh/iodine/en/
  • Natural Remedies that Help From Head to Toe

    I've been a pharmacist for 25 years now. Let's face, I know the good, the bad and the ugly drugs. I know we need some of them, and I know that others are not useful, or worse, they are harmful. So today I've decided to share the best remedies that help from head to toe:

    Headaches- Taking butterbur (Petasites hybridus) at a dose of 75mg twice daily helps reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. You can take all the triptan drugs you want (ie Imitrex, Zomig or others) but these drugs usually just reduce pain, sometimes they abort a headache. The butterbur may slash the number of attacks in half. This is HUGE if you have to hold down a job or take care of kiddos. I discussed butterbur and dozens of other solutions my book, Headache Free.

    Hypothyroidism- It's impossible to have healthy thyroid function without selenium. Not only will it hinder your ability to make thyroid hormone, it will also stifle your ability to use the hormone inside the cell. There's more about selenium, iodine, B12 and ashwagandha at my website where I archive other articles on thyroid health.

    Heart Failure- Niacin (vitamin B3) was found to reduce heart attack and stroke risk in a 2010 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Doses vary tremendously, so please do nothing until you have your physician's approval. Niacin causes vasodilation (opens vessels) which reduces arterial pressure. I would be remiss if I didn't mention CoQ10 while discussing the heart or heart failure. CoQ10 also lowers blood pressure. I like about 100 to 200 mg daily but again, please always ask your doctor what's right for you.

    Digestive disorders- My number one go-to supplement is probiotics. These improve digestion and support a healthy immune system and mood. Digestive enzymes break down the food you eat into absorbable molecules. For heartburn, I recommend slippery elm or marshmallow root. As for nausea and vomiting, ginger tea is gentle and popular. It's a mild blood thinner though, so be careful. And finally peppermint supplements can help with irritable bowel syndrome. The value of peppermint has been discussed many times, even in the British Medical Journal in 2008.

    Bone loss- We all know about calcium. But did you know without enough magnesium, vitamin D or K2, you don't even incorporate the calcium into your bones?! So keep in mind the best bone-building supplements contain key minerals, you don't just push one like calcium all by itself. Natural strontium is another over-the-counter mineral used for bone integrity.

    Painful knees- Glucosamine sulfate promotes cartilage formation. Collagen is another supplement that reduces pain in the knee joint of osteoarthritis sufferers. A 2012 study in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease found that losing weight helped reduce the amount of cartilage loss while increasing proteoglycan content (squishiness).

    Toenail fungus- Apply essential oil of tea tree, and eliminate all sugars. You should also be checked for diabetes if you have a lot of toenail fungus.

  • Refining Fat Flush

    Fat Flushing has always defied conventional wisdom.
    Its novel approach to weight loss first made waves in the Fat Flush Plan when I suggested there are “hidden” weight gain factors, beyond diet, exercise, and your own willpower, that are making you fat. Research now confirms weight loss is also about an array of newly uncovered concerns that are contributing to the unrestrained obesity epidemic. When you address and correct seemingly unrelated factors like microbes, fish oil, iodine deficiency, and copper overload, you can drop those pounds for good. You’ll restore the body’s natural ability to regulate metabolism and detoxify. Controlling what is really weighing you down might just change your total outlook and your outfit.

    So let’s take a more careful look at the new research that has enhanced many of the fundamental Fat Flush protocols.

    Gut Bacteria Tied to Weight Loss
    Counting on supplemental probiotics (beneficial bacteria or friendly flora) may be the real deal when it comes to losing weight. A newly introduced probiotic, which can also be used as a natural sweetener, is the Fat Flushing response to the research published in Nature (December 2006), which suggested there is a strong connection between obesity and the levels of certain types of bacteria in the gut. The researchers basically found that without the right amounts of friendly bacteria, animals got “twice as fat” and utilized more calories from the same amount of food than those with the more normal bacteria ratio.

    For years, beneficial bacteria (or friendly flora) have been well known to fight yeast, combat disease-causing bacteria, help clean out parasites, and break down toxins. A lack of the beneficial bacteria has been connected to ulcers, digestive difficulties, bad breath, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, menopausal discomforts, acne, eczema and psoriasis, arthritis, persistent aches and pains, as well as asthma, sinusitis, and kidney stones. And now there is a connection to weight.

    Probiotics, which means “for life,” play an important role in the digestion of foods and help to produce B vitamins, vitamin K, as well as digesting fiber—the short-chain fatty acids upon which your colon desperately relies. These friendly flora assist your system in the production of digestive enzymes and stomach acid while helping to transport nutrients.

    In the right balance of power, a ratio of 85:15 in favor of the “good guy” bacteria, probiotics are so vital to good health they are considered an “organ” by many experts. In reality these friendly flora also make up most of your immune system because 60 percent of your immune system’s receptor cells are in your large intestine while another 15 percent reside in the small intestine.

    Probiotics represent the next wave of health and healing and are intimately involved with every organ, tissue, and health concern of the body. It should come as no surprise that researchers made a link between weight and gut bacteria in two studies published in the journal Nature.

    This groundbreaking research, conducted at Washington University’s Center for Genome Sciences, initiated a whole science called “infectobesity” that looks at obesity from the microbial and viral standpoint. Simply put: viruses and bacteria may impact the absorption of food and influence gut hormones that regulate appetite and metabolic rate.

    The lead author of the study, Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., stated, “Our studies imply that differences in our gut microbial ecology may determine how many calories we are able to extract and absorb from our diet and deposit in our fat cells.” Gordon’s studies showed a significant difference in the bacterial balance in the guts of animals and humans, noting decreased microflora in the gut of those who were obese. While it is still unclear whether this imbalance is a cause or consequence, the potential implications for obese humans to reduce weight by balancing gut bacteria is downright fascinating.

    For years, probiotics have been an integral part of my dietary protocols in books like Guess What Came to Dinner, The Fast Track Detox Diet and The Gut Flush Plan. For the basic weight loss and cleansing purposes of Fat Flush for Life, I am recommending a powdered probiotic supplement that I have been using in private practice for over a decade, Flora-Key. It can do double-duty as an immune booster and natural sweetener since we are cutting out sugar, sugar alcohols, and even artificial sweeteners like aspartame or Splenda®. My one exception is the legal cheat Stevia.

    In Fat Flush for Life, Flora-Key is a key dietary ingredient in no-heat foods like frappes, fruits and the Green Life Cocktail (more about that in a moment). It contains a basic combination of lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) from complex sugars that function as a prebiotic. A prebiotic is a food that feeds the beneficial bacteria while discouraging pathogens. FOS is a naturally occurring sweetener in fruits and some vegetables, which provides the taste buds with the sweetness of sugar but the molecules are too big to be digested by the body as sugar. Since FOS is digested, this sweetener doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. It also can’t be utilized by Candida albicans, other yeasts and some bacteria. The best news about FOS though is that it provides a benefit that none of the other sweeteners do: It nourishes and promotes the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria such as bifidobacteria in your large intestine without feeding pathogenic bacteria.

    This makes it a potentially good-for-you sweetener for people struggling with weight, yeast infections, and other GI disorders. With Flora-Key, you get the best of both worlds: a probiotic fed by a prebiotic. You can take two to three teaspoons per day.

    For heavy-duty immune enhancement, I stand by Dr. Ohhira's Probiotic 12 Plus™, found in health food stores all over the country. It contains all the beneficial lactic acid bacteria found in humans. Perhaps its major claim to fame is its patented TH10 strain that neutralizes the smart bugs (like salmonella and E. coli ) that spread food borne disease and are resistant to antibiotics. More than a probiotic, this product represents a flora-balancing system. It improves gut pH for the benefit of other friendly flora while requiring no refrigeration and is dairy, soy, and gluten-free. Best yet, the product is backed by nearly 15 years of university backed scientific research.

    Aiding the probiotic process, are even more potent fat-flushing elements like chia seeds and the Green Life Cocktail, a green superfood drink. Chia seeds are the richest known source of omega-3s and blood sugar controlling soluble fiber which act as a fuel that probiotics ferment into healing compounds strengthening the GI tract and boost immunity. The Green Life Cocktail provides purifying chlorophyll that also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria to assist in longer lasting weight loss while tamping down inflammation. Chlorophyll carries significant amounts of oxygen that zaps disease-promoting anaerobic bacteria in the gut.

    Fish Oils Linked To Tummy Fat Reduction
    While mainstream media and mainstream products are thankfully taking a more reasonable approach to fat in the diet, gaining an awareness of bad and good fats is critical to maintaining health and achieving weight goals. Along with high lignan flaxseed oil, fish oil is another option. This is because of the reams of research demonstrating how fish oil can make you thinner, soothe arthritis, improve focus, protect the eyes, lower cholesterol, balance out blood sugar, prevent heart disease and boost brainpower. An earlier weight loss study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 suggested the EPA and DHA essential fatty acid components of fish oil were responsible for the increased oxidation of fat, the activation of genes that break down fat in the mitochondria, a reduced number of fat cells especially in the tummy region, and an improvement in insulin response.

    In terms of weight loss alone, in another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, individuals who consumed fish oil and walked 45 minutes three times a week, lost up to five more pounds than the control group! Researchers noted the combination of fish oil and exercise significantly reduced body fat, which indicates the potential benefit of a combined treatment strategy for optimizing body composition in overweight or obese subjects. Fat Flush for Life reflects this research with the addition of a fish oil option to the original protocol.

    Iodine Deficiency and Hypothyroidism
    Hypothyroidism (under activity of the thyroid gland, your body’s energy burner and thermostat) is epidemic. I hear from women of all ages, starting in their late 20s, how the doctor has put them on thyroid meds like Synthyroid® and Armour®. Although the latest statistics suggest that four out of ten Americans have hypothyroidism, I think the number may even be higher due to subclinical thyroid conditions. Next to diabetes, hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder in the country these days. A low-functioning thyroid will slow down your body’s metabolism as well as influence your heart and muscle strength.

    Besides the inability to lose weight, hypothyroidism is linked to depression, hair loss, poor eyebrow growth (especially the outer third of the brow), dry skin, irritability, aching wrists, fluid retention, constipation, a coarse voice, decreased blood pressure and premature graying of the hair.

    The connection between thyroid function and iodine levels became clear about 60 years ago. The thyroid gland depends upon iodine to make its hormones. T4 has four iodine molecules attached to it and T3 has three iodine molecules. If your body lacks adequate levels of iodine, your thyroid gland can’t produce those all-important T3 and T4 hormones. Why are they important? T4 is a hormone that regulates energy metabolism; it determines how fast your body burns food for energy. T4 is converted to T3. T3 is the active, intracellular thyroid hormone that stimulates energy burning within a cell. And you need 20 times as much T4 as T3 to operate normally. The bottom-line is that iodine is able to restore balance to thyroid hormones whether they are high or low.

    According to David Brownstein, M.D., over the past three decades, iodine intake decreased fifty percent while thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroid disorders, and thyroid cancer) increased significantly. Brownstein tested more than 1,000 people at his Michigan clinic and discovered that 95 percent had low, inadequate iodine levels. His findings mirror results found by a national laboratory that tested more than 4,000 individuals.

    So how can you tell if your thyroid level is low? Other than the symptoms I describe above, the best way to know for sure is to get tested. You can test and effectively treat your iodine levels by doing a special, iodine loading test pioneered by Guy Abraham, M.D. the visionary endocrinologist. Dr. Abraham’s 24-hour urine test found that most individuals need about 50 mg of iodine per day — far more than the RDA’s recommendation of 150 mcgs.

    In higher amounts, iodine acts as an adaptogen and plays a significant role in disorders like polycystic ovary disease, fibrocystic breast disease, sleep apnea, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, and hormone imbalances. As my friend and colleague Nan Fuchs, Ph.D. points out, while 150 mcg of iodine per day is adequate in preventing goiter there are many benefits to taking more— especially for women. Since women have larger breasts than men and iodine is concentrated in the breast tissue, women simply need more iodine to protect against disease and possibly cancer.

    It is important to also note that a low hydrochloric acid level (HCL), healthy stomach acid, can be triggered by an iodine insufficiency because we need iodine to enable chloride to enter the stomach cells. Without enough HCL, the body won’t digest protein or use iron or calcium and magnesium. As we hit the age of 60, our HCL levels decrease by almost half. Increasing your iodine is one good way to increase HCL production naturally, thereby improving digestion.

    In light of the importance of iodine to so many bodily functions, you will be shoring up your iodine levels with iodine-rich sea vegetables (hijiki, wakame, kombu, agar, and nori) at least twice a week on the Fat Flush for Life menu plans and incorporating an iodine-rich seasoning (Seaweed Gomasio) for flavor and health.

    Copper Overload and Hypothyroidism
    Besides being affected by iodine, your thyroid can be suppressed by an elevated copper level. Copper, like iodine, can also inhibit the conversion of the thyroid hormone thyroxin (T4) resulting in a slow down of metabolism on the cellular level. In my experience with Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) over the past two decades, I have observed that an elevated tissue level of copper is frequently linked with hypothyroidism, especially when the zinc/copper ratio is higher than ten to one (ideal is eight to one in favor of zinc). In fact, women with low zinc levels also tend to have high copper, a connection that I’ve found in 70 to 80 percent of women. Zinc is typically very deficient in vegetarians, individuals under stress, and those who don’t eat zinc-rich sources of foods like red meat, eggs, and pumpkin seeds.

    A copper/zinc imbalance also affects the liver’s ability to detoxify. Copper and zinc are both needed to activate key liver enzymes, so if they are out of balance then your liver is out of balance. This leaves the liver less able to eliminate toxins, including excess copper. The result is high copper and poor liver function.

    Copper levels seem to rise and fall in tandem with estrogen levels. So if you are deficient in zinc, the balancing mineral to copper, and/or lacking in progesterone, the hormone which balances estrogen, copper levels tend to rise. Weight gain as well as frontal headaches, menstrual irregularities, food cravings, mood swings, fatigue, depression, and yeast are all common symptoms of copper overload.

    Lowered adrenal gland activity is another key reason behind high copper levels. Interestingly, TMA results from my clinical experience show that seven out of ten women have weak adrenal glands. Adrenal gland activity is required to stimulate production of ceruloplasmin, the leading copper binding protein. With diminished adrenal activity, the liver makes less ceruloplasmin and unbound copper starts to gather in various tissues, organs, and glands—like the thyroid.

    There are a myriad of external sources for copper exposure. Drinking water (occurs naturally in drinking water in some areas and in some areas it is actually added to municipal water sources as copper sulfate), copper water pipes, copper cookware, birth control pills, copper IUDs, dental fillings, and crowns, put you at risk for copper overload. But the interesting thing is that the typical vegetarian menu contains a high copper and low zinc assortment of foods. Add to this a diet high in phytate-rich grains (like whole grains) known to lower zinc levels and the trouble becomes two-fold.

    The truth is we need just a pinch of copper in our bodies. The average person ingests 2.5 to 5.0 milligrams of copper per day; those who eat vegetarian diets typically take in more. The range that is considered safe and adequate to meet our needs is 1.5 to 3.0 milligrams per day; the recommended dietary intake for adults is 2.0. In light of the copper overload from the environment, controlling dietary copper is paramount.

    As mentioned earlier, these newly uncovered concerns that are contributing to the unrestrained obesity epidemic. When you address and correct seemingly unrelated factors like microbes, fish oil and iodine deficiency, and copper overload, you can drop those pounds for good. You’ll restore the body’s natural ability to regulate metabolism and detoxify.

  • Uncover the Root Cause of Your Depression

    Dear Pharmacist,

    I am saddened by the suicide of Robin Williams. I've dealt with depression on and off for years, and I was wondering if you have any natural suggestions for me to ask my doctor about?

    —L.C., Gainesville, Florida

    Answer: When I hear a person say they've battled depression "on and off" for a long period of time, I ask the question why it is on and off? Something you are eating, doing, or taking is impacting you so much so, that your mood is affected. Hormone imbalances are frequently the problem, especially estrogen and testosterone. Thyroid hormone is my specialty, and if it drops too low, you get depressed. When it moves into a healthy range, you feel happy and content. When I say "normal range" I don't mean the normal reference range indicated on your lab test. My opinion is that the so-called normal range is based upon a sick and hypothyroid population. This may explain why you feel terrible but your levels are "normal." I don't go by labs, I go by clinical presentation.

    I adored Robin Williams, he was brilliant, and behind his smiling eyes and hysterical jokes, he battled depression for years. You may feel the same way as you read this today, and I am glad you're still holding on. Depression is one of those conditions that people judge. Here are some reasons for depression that you might explore with the help of your physician:

    Hypothyroidism and hypoadrenia—I've mentioned this one already, however, I want you to get a copy of my Thyroid Healthy book so you learn how to test properly. Testing and treatment is the key to your happiness. Also, do not take thyroid medicine until your adrenal glands are strong and healthy. You may need to be supported adaptogenic herbs, a healthy diet, relaxation and other stress reducers.

    The Pill—Synthetic hormones for birth control or menopause reduce your body's levels of B vitamins and minerals to the point where you cannot manufacture happy brain chemicals. A reduction in key neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin causes depression. It could be on and off as you describe.

    Statins and Binders—We know these drugs reduce CoQ10, but do you realize they crash your ability to activate vitamin D? Ever heard of seasonal affective disorder or SAD? That is often related to low D levels so you might need D if you take cholesterol reducers.

    Medications—Drugs mug life-sustaining nutrients. Ibuprofen steals folic acid, and diabetic drugs steal B12. Read my Drug Muggers book for more drug-induced nutrient depletions. If you take medications periodically, then you can't make neurotransmitters, then you deal with that "on and off" situation you describe.

    Infections—Last on my list but huge news. Certain infections that we carry in our body can affect the brain. You can have bipolar, depression, insomnia and/or anxiety because of Bartonella, Lyme, syphilis, HIV, fungal infections (and their mycotoxins), herpes and many others. Clearing the infection improves mood better than any prescribed antidepressant.