Archive | November, 2016

Low Thyroid Symptoms, Hashimoto Thyroiditis, Brain, and Gastrointestinal Connection

What’s the connection between your stomach problems, brain fog, and hashimoto’s? How are they related?

–>Click Here To Schedule A Consultation At The Arizona Thyroid Institute<–

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by new patients suffering from low thyroid symptoms is why we do a functional neurological exam on them.  There are several reasons why we do this.  First, the brain directly communicates with the thyroid.  The brain tells the pituitary to talk to the hypothalamus to tell the thyroid to release hormones.  Kind of like a domino effect.

The brain also directly communicates with the stomach and intestines (which is what we call the gastrointestinal system) through the vagal nerve.  In previous posts I have talked about how important the gastrointestinal system is in patients with low thyroid symptoms.  If you have been reading or watching then you know the number one cause of low thyroid symptoms in the United States is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  85 to 95% of all low thyroid conditions in the United States as an autoimmune condition of the thyroid.

The liver and spleen have a huge effect on the immune system, and are also directly connected to the brain through the autonomic nervous system.   Researchers have known for years that if you damage the vagus nerve, you will have dysfunction of the organs that we talked about.  When those organs don’t function correctly, the thyroid health is directly and negatively impacted.

The gastrointestinal tract and liver also convert inactive thyroid hormones into active ones.  So if they are not functioning correctly, you will not have enough active thyroid hormone to bind to the receptor sites.  That will translate into low thyroid symptoms like brain fog, constipation, hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and all the other low thyroid symptoms.

Another important reason why we do function neurological exam on all patients complaining of low thyroid symptoms is because we want to check and see how the brain is functioning, particularly the cerebellum and the basal ganglia.  Research has shown that these two areas in the brain can also be attacked just like the thyroid is attacked in people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

If you are still suffering with low thyroid symptoms, make sure you find a doctor that knows we’ve just talked about.  You want to make sure that you get more than just your TSH and free T3 and free T4 checked when you are trying to find the cause of why you are still suffering with symptoms of hypothyroidism.

–>Click Here To Schedule A Consultation At The Arizona Thyroid Institute<–

Low Thyroid Symptom: Weight Gain, or Trouble Losing Weight

Dr. Chris Heimlich, DC, DACNB FIAMA Comments:

If you’re suffering from the thyroid problems and can’t get off the extra pounds, we may have a solution for you.

One of the most frustrating symptoms associated with low thyroid is weight gain. Although patients may have several symptoms associated with low thyroid, this is the one they often look most forward to resolving with help and support. It is extremely frustrating to eat like a bird, exercise like an athlete, and still not budge on the scales.

Here is a real conversation one of my patients had with her doctor. (not for the faint of heart)

Patient:  “I can’t lose weight.  I am exercising every day, watching what I eat, taking my thyroid medication, but still can’t make any progress.  What can I do?”

Doctor:  “Did you ever see anyone come out of a concentration camp that was fat?”

Patient: “What?”

Doctor:  “Did you ever see anyone come out of a concentration camp that was fat?”

Patient:  “No.  Are suggesting I starve myself?  That isn’t healthy.”

Doctor:  “You are probably just eating too much.”

How about that for bedside manner?  That is the kind of recommendations that some patients are given. 

I realize that this is probably an isolated case, but there are many women are told to starve themselves to achieve weight loss.

Now I am the first to admit, starting off in practice I did not pay too much attention to the weight issues of our patients. I felt it was more important to get the body to heal itself so it could get rid of the other symptoms associated with low thyroid, and the weight would take care of itself.  My staff had told me that the weight was a very big issue and that I needed to be more sensitive to that aspect of the healing process.  I would ask patients how they were doing, and the first thing they would talk about it the weight loss.  After asking about their other symptoms, it was common to hear “oh I sleep better now, don’t have brain fog, my IBS is gone, not depressed, but I lost 18 pounds already.”  They would forget about the other symptoms they used to have, and focus on the weight loss.  It finally hit me, this is one symptom of major importance to the patient, and I needed to address it as such.

The inability to lose weight is often the symptom that prompts patients to seek out low thyroid treatment with their primary care physician. Unfortunately, the inability to lose weight isn’t always resolved once treatment begins.

If you’re in this situation, ask your physician or practitioner this question: why you are still having difficulty losing weight. If the answer is, “You just need to eat less,” or “You need to exercise more,” you should consider other support options and answers.

Although diet and exercise are important for everyone, there are many factors play a huge role in the weight issues.

Blood sugar, adrenal function, inflammation, GI function, and how the body is functionally working all could be contributing to your weight issue.   If you are suffering with hypothyroid symptoms and still cannot lose the weight, find a doctor that will listen you, dig deep to find out what could be causing your symptoms, and will work with you to achieve your health goals.