Archive | November, 2010

Hidden Cause Of Low Thyroid #3 – Iodine | Arizona Thyroid Institute in Scottsdale, AZ

Dr. Chris Heimlich, DC, Scottsdale Phoenix Metro area  Doctor Shares The Third of 7 Low Thyroid Mistakes Patients and Doctors Make….

As I consult with patients that suffer from hypothyroid symptoms on a daily basis at the Arizona Thyroid Institute located here in Scottsdale Arizona, I see 7 common mistakes that keep hypothyroid patients from experiencing relief from their thyroid symptoms. The third reason is this series is: Iodine Supplementation

 

Your Iodine Supplements May Be Making You Worse

When a patient has been diagnosed with low thyroid production, medically referred to as hypothyroidism, one of the first things commonly prescribed is iodine supplementation.  You’ve probably been told that iodine is necessary for thyroid hormones synthesis.  And it is, but here is the problem…taking supplemental iodine can be dangerous, and here’s why.

Worldwide iodine deficiency is a widespread problem. In areas of the world where iodine is deficient, iodine is the cause of many if not most cases of hypothyroidism. In areas where iodine is not deficient in the food supply, including the United States, iodine is not usually the cause of low thyroid.

In areas of the world with adequate iodine in food, or where salt is iodized, the most common cause of low thyroid is Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of cases of hypothyroidism in the United States is from this autoimmune mechanism. Autoimmune thyroid is not primary hypothyroidism; instead it is a form of hypothyroidism that is caused by immune destruction. The amount of iodine that is contained is iodine supplements and thyroid natural support products act like gas on a burning fire.

In a 2004 article in the journal Thyroid, the author stated “…the explosive mix of iodine, TPO Ab, and H202 necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis, inadvertently provide the trigger for the autoimmune thyroid response.” It is this misguided inclination to give every hypothyroidism patient high doses of supplemental iodine that leads to increased thyroid gland destruction, and more suffering on the patient’s part. Most natural healthcare practitioners possess a very limited understanding of autoimmune physiology and continue giving iodine supplements for all cases of hypothyroidism, in the same way as the medical community uses thyroid replacement hormones as a “blanket” management for all low thyroid conditions.

What that means is iodine is a trigger. It’s a trigger for Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid.

Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid is the number one cause of low thyroid in America–not iodine deficiency.

This whole issue of iodine exposes a nasty similarity between traditional medicine and “alternative” medicine.

Traditional medicine is looking at TSH and T4 and T3 and they didn’t really care about iodine.  They’re not even going to give you iodine because whatever the real cause of your low thyroid symptoms might be.  The only thing you’re going to get from them is replacement thyroid hormones. No matter what. It’s pretty much the only tool they have to offer. (And you know the old saying…”If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails.”)

They don’t care if  the cause of your symptoms is

  • Hashimoto’s…
  • T4 to T3 overconversion problem…
  • Under conversion problem…
  • Thyroid binding globulin problem

—doesn’t matter.  You’re getting thyroid hormones from the traditional medical doctor. This is why so many women STILL feel terrible.

So traditional medicine has nice little box. You’ve heard of thinking “outside the box?” Well Traditional medicine has their nice little dusty box, been sitting here for 30, 40 years and that’s how they do it.

Over here we have the not so alternative-alternative medicine approach.  And what they do is they also have their sad, outdated box way of thinking. Inside their box is the idea that everyone with low thyroid needs iodine supplementation, or tyrosine, or broad immune system support ,or they need to take thyroid glandulars.

Here’s what the not-so-alternative medicine doesn’t know…conventional medicine, they do some testing. Not-so-alternative medicine does almost no testing at all.  They’re still doing things like the Barnes underarm thyroid test and that is an ancient, prehistoric, non-useful way of evaluating the thyroid.

There are also people in this camp that are doing the iodine absorption test as if that had any real relationship to your need for iodine (it doesn’t).

The craziest thing is that these not-so-alternative practitioners ignore the fact that iodine is a trigger for Hashimoto’s.  If you wanna give yourself Hashimoto’s, keep taking the iodine that one of the not-so-alternative medicine doctors gave you. They mean well,  by the way. I’m not trying to slam them.

But that well meaning “alternative” doctor doesn’t understand the fact that what we’re really dealing with, almost 90 percent of the time, is not low iodine. The problem is an autoimmune problem.

If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism but are not sure whether is is autoimmune, then it is in your best interest to have your thyroid doctor check your thyroid antibodies. This will indicate whether your hypothyroidism is from an immune cause and will help guide you in your decision of whether to include iodine supplementation in your diet.  There are natural thyroid treatment options in the Scottsdale and Phoenix Metro area. 

In my next post I am going to discuss Low Thyroid Mistake #4: Hashimotos

Dr Chris Heimlich, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician

Hidden Causes Of Low Thyroid #2 – Cortisol | Arizona Thyroid Institute in Scottsdale, AZ near Phoenix

Dr. Chris Heimlich DC, Scottsdale Phoenix Metro Area  Doctor Shares The Second of 7 Low Thyroid Mistakes Patients and Doctors Make….

As I consult with patients that suffer from hypothyroid symptoms on a daily basis at the Arizona Thyroid Institute located here in Scottsdale Arizona, I see 7 common mistakes that keep hypothyroid patients from experiencing relief from their thyroid symptoms. The Second reason in this series is: High Cortisol Levels.

High levels or cortisol is another hidden cause as to why you still have thyroid symptoms even though you’re taking thyroid hormone or even though your lab numbers are normal.

So what is cortisol?  It’s a hormone made in your adrenal gland.  I know you have heard of them.  They are known as the  “stress” glands.  They sit on top of your kidneys.  They make the hormones aldosterone, cortisol, and androgens.  The adrenal glands are crucial for your good health.

So what does cortisol do?

Cortisol is responsible for regulating your blood sugar.   When cortisol is release by your adrenal glands, it is accompanied by cytokines.  Cytokines are messengers used by your immune system.  This creates an inflammatory response.  These cytokines suppress the ability of your pituitary and your hypothalamus to make TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone.

When that happens you start to get some or all of the low thyroid symptoms below:

Fatigue

Weight Gain

Depression

Constipation

Hair falls out easily

Dry skin

Poor circulation and numbness in hand and feet

Morning headaches that wear off as day progresses

So follow me as I explain cortisol and low thyroid symtpoms….

Your adrenal glands make cortisol in response to stress.  There are different kinds of stress.  Anything that promotes inflammation or that causes inflammation, will make your adrenal glands pump out more cortisol.

As that cortisol is released, those cytokines are going to come out as well—that is what’s going to suppress your pituitary and give you low thyroid symptoms.

The most common causes of elevated cortisol are:

  • Blood sugar regulation problems (high or low blood sugar, insulin spikes and valleys)
  • Hidden gut infections or infections you haven’t been able to eliminate
  • Chronic stress.

Well, let me say a couple words about each one of those.

When you have a “blood sugar problem”, it means that your blood sugar is not regular.

Your blood sugar is going up and down….

When your blood sugar goes up and down, your cortisol levels are going to go up and down…

…and the cytokines are going to go up and down….

…and then we have this whole pituitary getting squashed…

…and you not making enough thyroid hormones and you’re starting to have symptoms.

The key point to remember here is:  You do NOT have to be diagnosed as a diabetic to have blood sugar problems.

There are  two varieties of that blood sugar problem.  You don’t have to be diabetic to have this.  You can have hypoglycemia (reactive hypoglycemia), which means your sugar drops between meals…or you don’t eat when you need to and…when you do eat the next time, you get these big surges of insulin, big surges of cortisol.

It doesn’t matter to your body whether you have low blood sugar or high blood sugar; in both cases the blood sugar is not regular.

So, for example, if you get shaky, light headed or irritable in between meals and you have a thyroid problem…this could be one of the reasons why because that blood sugar going up and down, that fluctuation causes this fluctuation in cytokines and inflammation.

The second thing that can cause excessive cortisol is infection.  It’s not necessarily like getting strep throat.  We’re talking about, many times, hidden G.I. infections that you have no idea you have because you may not have any G.I. symptoms that cause high cortisol…and then low thyroid symptoms.

There’s a test that you can do that is a DNA PCR test of stool.This test is definitive as to whether you’ve got a parasite, a fungus or a yeast or some sort of pathogen living in your gut that’s driving – and that’s the word I use – driving your adrenal glands to keep pumping up cortisol—which makes increased levels of cytokines, which suppresses your pituitary.

Mental  stress is the third thing that can cause these adrenal glands to keep pumping out cortisol.  Many low thyroid sufferers are stressed by many different parts of their life. They feel bad.  It’s the classic stress response.  So, for those people – and this is part of what we do for my management program – we have to teach them how to deal with their stress.

I’m not talking necessarily about being a therapist.  I’m talking about teaching you a very powerful but simple way of helping your body not have a stress response but have a relaxing response.  If whoever’s taking care of you right now, if you’re under care, if they’re not addressing this stress component, you’re being underserved.  I believe you’re being underserved.  There are natural thyroid treatment options in the Phoenix Metro area. 

If your stress levels are still high, your adrenal glands are still going to pump hard.  Cortisol levels are going to increase to excess.  Cytokine levels are going to increase, and it’s going to squash your pituitary.   Remember, your pituitary is a key component if thyroid health.

In my next post I am going to discuss Low Thyroid Mistake #3: The Dangers Of Iodine

Dr Chris Heimlich, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician

Why Doctors Don’t Check Antibody Levels in Hypothyroid Patients?

Dr. Chris Heimlich DC, Scottsdale Phoenix Metro Area  Doctor Shares The First of 7 Low Thyroid Mistakes Patients and Doctors Make….

Research shows that the most common  reason for hypothyroid symptoms is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  It is estimated that 80% or more of people suffering with hypothyroid symptoms have this autoimmune disease.  If this is the case, why don’t doctors check antibody levels.

Before we talk about that, let’s look how bad  an autoimmune disease  really is.  An autoimmune disease is where the body is attacking itself.  The body tries to destroy different tissues inside itself.  That is a serious problem.

Now the biggest reason doctors don’t check the antibody levels is because it does not change their management protocol.   For thyroid treatment most doctors are going to give you synthetic thyroid replacement hormones, intermittently check your TSH, and call it a day. If you continue to suffer with the same symptoms as before they will be attributed to some other ailment, usually depression or anxiety, and be treated accordingly.

The second reason is that it is seen as a “medical waste” in the eyes of the insurance company.    I do agree with the insurance companies on this.  Why pay for a test if it isn’t going to change the course of management?  The payment for a test that will not alter the course of management is in a way wasteful, but the real waste is in ignoring the underlying cause of the problem and leaving the patient to suffer.

Having no alternative management plan for Autoimmune thyroid, and the resultant medical waste of a test ordered but that has no bearing on the patients management are the two main reasons many Hashimoto’s patients go undiagnosed and ignored in the system.

It is critical to determine if your hypothyroid symptoms are  from an immune mechanism.   If it is from autoimmune disease,  it  should absolutely be managed in more comprehensive way, not only including some type of replacement hormone, but it should also include management of the immune systems destruction of the gland itself. A more comprehensive approach by a natural thyroid doctor in Phoenix AZ gives the patient a better chance to feel and function normally.