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thyroid hormones

  • Eat Fat Lose Weight by Ann Louise Gittleman

    1. Rule out thyroid-impacting dental and/or sinus infection. Find a biological dentist who can do a thorough examination of your mouth with a low-level radiation panoramic X-ray. Since many biological dentists also specialize in mercury-free dentistry, have the dentist check your mouth for mercury and/or high copper amalgam fillings as well as for conflicting metal interference in your mouth. Many offer a bio-compatibility blood test, which assesses the most suitable dental materials, crowns, glues, and cements for your unique system. Check out the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine online at iabdm.org to find a practitioner in your area. Check with a local Ear, Eyes, Nose and Throat specialist for sinus issues.

    2. If you do find mercury or copper in your mouth, then keep in mind that mercury and/or copper can be deadly to the thyroid. They both incapacitate thyroid hormones and impact metabolism. To fix this, go to glutathione. It is the primary chelating agent to detox heavy metals. The best way to accomplish this is with the Detox & Liver Health Reg'Activ product. This product contains Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3, which is a unique strain of probiotic bacteria that produces glutathione in humans.

    3. Substitute coconut oil whenever you can to nourish the thyroid. Use the oil and all coconut-derived products like full-fat milk, cream, and unsweetened coconut in cooking, smoothies and desserts. Make macaroons your sweet treat. There are many novel ways to get coconut in your diet. Adding it to your morning cup of coffee or tea will energize you from the get-go.

    4. Get your thyroid checked. If you can't get a full thyroid panel with a TSH, T3, T4, and T7, then do consider a hair mineral analysis. The calcium to potassium ratio that is revealed on that test can tell volumes about the functioning of your thyroid and how it might be contributing to your weight loss plateau. Typically those with hypothyroidism have too much calcium in relationship to potassium. And those that need to rev up their thyroid may need more potassium-containing foods and/or supplements. Excessive amounts of calcium from dairy foods or supplements tamp down thyroid activity. In contrast, potassium can speed up thyroid activity. So load up on potassium-rich spinach, squash, salmon and avocados. By balancing the thyroid gland alone and supporting your mineral balance, you can expect to finally jump off that weight loss plateau!

    5. Give up gluten. Completely eliminate gluten-containing grains from your diet to naturally reset thyroid hormone production. Wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, couscous, triticale and barley should be avoided. Gluten-free alternatives that I highly recommend are also grain free options as well. These include the grain-like seeds such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet. Instead of flour, consider using arrowroot or tapioca for thickening. If you are really serious about weight loss, you should also eliminate all other reactive foods—primarily foods containing sugar and yeast, both of which often accompany gluten.

    6. Power up on protein. Consume at least 20 grams (as found in three to four ounces of fish, poultry, or meat, a serving of whey or vegan protein powder equating to 20 grams, about three eggs, and four ounces of fermented soy). Protein boosts metabolism by up to 25 percent for about 12 hours. They are the tissue and muscle builders par excellence.

    7. Cook cruciferous. Since raw cruciferous veggies (cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower) contain possible thyroid-interfering goitrogens, your best bet is to cook them. With regards to soy products, only consume fermented GMO-free soy products or GMO-free lecithin, which does not contain the goitrogenic element.

    8. Address the adrenals. Well-nourished adrenal glands will help to support a weakened thyroid so do consider adrenal glandulars, which contain the RDA/DNA blueprint for regeneration. In addition, or if you are vegan or vegetarian, try adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola and ashwaganda. Good old fashioned pantothenic acid, which I learned to revere thanks to Adele Davis' books that I voraciously read when I was in college in the '70s, is a long forgotten godsend for worn out adrenals and the inability to cope with stress. It can help to balance the adrenal's output of cortisol, a major fat-promoting hormone. In general, 500 mg up to four times daily, either alone or in conjunction with the other adrenal nutrients—can make a huge difference in energy levels. So can more sea salt.

    9. Pop some probiotics. High probiotic-containing foods like yogurt and kefir contain millions of friendly bacteria, but a well-balanced probiotic with a variety of different strains including the gliadin protecting B. lactis BI-04— will contain billions of probiotics. This is just what you want to populate your microbiome. The right strains and numbers of friendly flora will support thyroid function and many other immune-enhancing processes.

    10. Avoid fluoride, bromide, and chlorine like the plague. Without sufficient iodine to kick them out, these three chemicals can stockpile in your body and impede thyroid function. So become a diligent label reader. A good water filtration system, which blocks fluoride and chlorine, may be essential for home use. About 2–3 mg of the trace mineral boron can help to neutralize fluoride.

    11. Seriously consider supplementation of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are thyroid friendly. Some of these nutrients help the inactive T4 hormone convert to the more activated T3 while others support overall gland functioning. Typically, integrative practitioners will suggest daily totals of 50 mg of a methylated B complex, 25,000 IU of Vitamin A, 400 IU of Vitamin E, 45 mg of zinc, 18 mg of iron, 200 mcg of selenium, 500 mg or more of tyrosine. There are also a variety of whole food sources that will naturally provide all these nutrients, but most likely not in the high enough therapeutic dosage that a tired thyroid needs to heal.

    When it comes to iodine, it is important to keep in mind that iodine is able to restore balance whether the thyroid is high or low, although in the case of Hashimoto's, iodine may not be recommended.

    While the recommended daily intake (or RDI) of iodine for adults is 150 mcgs per day there are many benefits to taking more, especially for women. In higher amounts iodine acts as an adaptogen, a substance that increases the body's ability to adapt to stress, and plays a significant role in treating the thyroid as well as preventing such disorders as polycystic ovary disease, fibrocystic breast disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension and hormonal imbalances. Iodine can also increase your stomach acid levels, which will improve your digestion.

    I like a supplement called Iodoral, which combines 5 mg of iodine with 7.5 mg of potassium iodine for a total 12.5 mg of iodine. Although this may seem like too much of a good thing, it has done wonders in turning up the metabolic fires of many hypothyroid sufferers. The typical iodine sources that I used to recommend would be sea veggies like hijiki, wakame, Kombu and nori. However, since Fukushima I no longer recommend them because I simply can't be assured that radioactive residues, let alone mercury, is not an issue.

    12. Don't be a victim of virus. Coconut comes to the rescue again. The purified lipid extracts derived from coconut oil turns out to be a virile virus killer. Look for products called Monolaurin or Lauricidin. The amino acid l-lysine can stop the virus from replicating along with a diet that is low in lysine's antagonist amino, arginine. That means you will need to limit all nuts, seeds and chocolate for the time being to avoid too much arginine at the expense of anti-viral lysine. Herbal viral remedies include cat's claw (processed without the TOA chemical), lemon balm, lomatium, osha, and/or olive leaf extract. These are all available in either tinctures or capsules. Look for tinctures preserved with non-GMO grape alcohol or grain-free alcohol. Some individuals do very well with colloidal silver—especially the advanced nano- based ones now on the market.

  • Common uses include cancer and shedding

    Selenium is a trace mineral that our bodies use to produce glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that serves as a natural antioxidant. Selenium is also required for normal pancreatic function and lipid absorption. Glutathione peroxidase works with vitamin E to protect cell membranes from damage caused by dangerous, naturally occurring substances known as free radicals. Adequate amounts of selenium can spare vitamin E, and adequate amounts of vitamin E can reduce the selenium requirement. By ensuring that pets receive adequate amounts of both E and selenium, these important nutrients will not be deficient and will work together to help fight oxidative damage in your pet’s body.

    Selenium also has an important role in maintaining normal levels of thyroid hormones and in the metabolism of iodine, which is involved in thyroid hormone metabolism. Supplementing the diets of pets and plant enzymes can increase the selenium levels.

    Therapeutic Uses
    Many pets with excessive shedding will show decreased shedding as a result of enzyme supplementation. This may occur as a result of increased selenium levels and the impact selenium has on thyroid hormones.

    In pets selenium is often prescribed (along with other antioxidants) for pets with a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus and cancer.

    There is some real evidence that selenium supplements can provide some protection against several types of cancer. This chemopreventive effect isn’t fully understood. It might be due to the protective effects of the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase, but other explanations have also been suggested.

    In people, selenium has been recommended for cancer prevention, AIDS, acne, cataracts, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, cervical dysplasia, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety, gout, infertility in men, psoriasis, and ulcers.

    Treatment with corticosteroids may induce selenium deficiency; supplementation may be recommended in pets receiving long-term corticosteroid therapy.

    Scientific Evidence
    A large body of evidence has found that increased intake of selenium is tied to a reduced risk of cancer. The most important blind study on selenium and cancer in people was a doubleblind intervention trial conducted by researcher at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. In this trial, researchers saw dramatic declines in the incidence of several cancers in the group taking selenium. The selenium-treated group developed almost 66 percent fewer prostate cancers, 50 percent fewer colorectal cancers, and about 40 percent fewer lung cancers as compared with the placebo group. Selenium-treated subjects also experienced a statistically significant (17 percent) decrease in overall mortality, a greater than 50 percent decrease in lung cancer deaths, and nearly a 50 percent decrease in total cancer deaths.

    Further evidence for the anticancer benefits of selenium comes from large-scale Chinese studies showing that giving selenium supplements to people who live in seleniumdeficient areas reduces the incidence of cancer. Also, observational studies have indicated that cancer deaths rise when dietary intake of selenium is low.

    The results of animal studies corroborate these results. One recent animal study examined whether two experimental organic forms of selenium would protect laboratory rats against chemically induced cancer of the tongue. Rats were given one of three treatments: 5 parts per million of selenium in their drinking water, 15 parts per million of selenium or placebo. The study was blinded so the researchers wouldn’t know until later which rats which treatment. Whereas 47 percent of rats in the placebo group developed tongue tumors, none of the rates that were given the higher selenium dosage developed tumors.

    Another study examined whether selenium supplements could stop the spread (metastasis) of cancer in mice. In this study, a modest dosage of supplemental selenium reduced metastasis by 57 percent. Even more significant was the decrease in the number of tumors that had spread to the lungs. Mice in the control group had an average of 53 tumors each, whereas mice fed supplemental selenium had an average of one lung tumor.

    Putting all this information together, it definitely appears that selenium can help reduce the risk of developing cancer.

    Sources
    Wheat germ, brazil nuts, other nuts, oats, fish, eggs, liver, wholewheat bread, bran, red Swiss chard, brown rice, turnips, garlic, barley and orange juice contain selenium. There is some concern with conventional farming practices that mineral levels in the soil are inadequate. This means that the soil used for growing vegetables and fruits may be deficient in minerals such as selenium. According to information from the Organic View, 1:17 (www.purefood.org/organicview.htm), there is great variability in the nutrient contents of foods raised by industrial agricultural practices when compared to organically raised foods. For example, they report that in an analysis of USDA nutrient data from 1975 to 1997, the Kushi Institute of Becket, Massachusetts, found that the average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables declined 27 percent; iron levels dropped 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent and vitamin C levels 30 percent.

    They also report that a similar analysis of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980 published in the British Food Journal found that in 20 vegetables, the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. In addition, a 1999 study out of the University of Wisconsin found that three decades of the over use of nitrogen in U.S. farming has destroyed much of the soil’s fertility, causing it to age the equivalent of 5,000 years. Finally, a new U.S. Geological Survey report indicates that acid rain is depleting soil calcium levels in at least 10 eastern states, interfering with forest growth and weakening trees’ resistance to insects. Findings such as those reported here prompt many owners to search for the most wholesome produce available to include in their pets’ diets.

    Check with stores in your area to see whether they offer organically raised vegetables and animal meats. Also, ask them what they mean by the term “organically raised,” as many producers may make his claim but still use conventional agricultural practices. Find out everything you can about the farmers who supply the stores where you shop.

    Since most of us have no way of knowing what kind of soil our food was grown in, supplementing pets with selenium and other vitamins and minerals may be a good idea.

    The two general types of selenium supplements are organic and inorganic. However, these terms have nothing to do with “natural” but rather refer to the chemical form (the terms have very specific chemical meanings and have nothing to do with “organic” foods).

    The inorganic form of selenium, selenite, contains no carbon atoms and is essentially selenium atoms bound to oxygen. Some research suggests that selenite is harder for the body to absorb than organic (carbon-containing) forms of selenium, such as selenomethionine (selenium bound to methionine, an essential amino acid) or high-selenium yeast (which contains selenomethionine). However, other research on both animals and humans suggests that selenite supplements are almost as good as organic forms of selenium, and both forms are equally effective in supporting glutathione peroxidase activity. In pigs, studies have shown that selenium stores in the liver and muscle tissues were greater when organic selenium was fed. Supplying selenium in whole food supplements is the most natural way to supply selenium and is recommended for maintenance.

    Dosage
    The AAFCO recommendation is 0.11 mg/kg of food (dry matter basis) for dogs and 0.1 mg/kg of food for cats. However, recent research in puppies has shown that the level of dietary selenium needed to maximize glutathione and selenium levels is 0.21 ppm, which is double current AAFCO recommendations. Therefore, supplementation with a natural vitaminmineral supplement containing selenium might be indicated for all pets eating commercial diets.

    Safety Issues
    Selenium is safe when taken at the recommended dosages. However, very high selenium dosages in people are known to cause selenium toxicity. Signs of selenium toxicity include depression, nervousness, emotional instability, nausea, vomiting, and in some causes loss of hair and fingernails. Similar precautions are probably warranted in pets taking supplements, although toxicity has not been noted in pets despite concentrations greater than 4 mg of selenium/kg of food in cat foods containing fish or other seafoods. (Cats may be able to tolerate higher selenium levels as their higher dietary protein foods are protective against high selenium levels; the low availability of selenium in pet foods may also contribute to rare reports of toxicity in dogs and cats fed commercial diets.)

  • 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.

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