What Is Sabotaging Your Thyroid Hypothyroidism Treatment
Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery Free Chapter b y Petra Mitova ThyroidDiseaseSucks.com DISCLAIMER No part of this publication may be repro duced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without prior wr itten permission of the Publisher.
“Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery” Free Chapter by Petra Mitova ThyroidDiseaseSucks.com DISCLAIMER No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without prior written permission of the Publisher. While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. Copyright © 2012 ThyroidDiseaseSucks.com What’s Sabotaging Your Thyroid? Most doctors nowadays want you to believe that treating hypothyroidism is as simple as taking a pill every morning. The body doesn’t really work that way, however. There’s always a reason behind a condition and there are many different factors that affect the health of your thyroid. Even though your hypothyroidism might have been caused by one initial problem, that one problem quickly creates a domino effect and before you know it, you could be dealing with a number of problems that all need to be fixed in order to heal your thyroid. Here are some common factors that play a role in developing hypothyroidism: 1. Leaky Gut The leaky gut syndrome is a name given to a very common health disorder in which the basic organic defect is an intestinal lining which is more permeable (porous) than normal. The abnormally large spaces present between the cells of the gut wall allow the entry of toxic material into the blood stream that would, in healthier circumstances, be repelled and eliminated. You might think you don’t have leaky gut because you have no digestive problems. I’m here to tell you that if you have Hashimoto’s, you do have a problem within your digestive system. You might not realize it but there is a connection between your thyroid and your digestive system, and a food intolerance can also present with inflammation in the joints, skin, respiratory tract and brain, without any obvious gut symptoms. The gut becomes leaky in the sense that bacteria, fungi, parasites and their toxins, undigested protein, fat and waste normally not absorbed into the bloodstream in the healthy state, pass through a damaged, hyperpermeable, porous or "leaky" gut. This can be verified by special gut permeability urine tests, microscopic examination of the lining of the intestinal wall as well as the bloodstream with phase contrast or darkfield microscopy of living whole blood. The leaky gut syndrome is almost always associated with autoimmune disease and reversing autoimmune disease depends on healing the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Any other treatment is just symptom suppression. Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery Physicians are increasingly recognizing the importance of the gastrointestinal tract in the development of allergic or autoimmune disease. Understanding the leaky gut phenomenon helps us with safe and effective therapies to bring the body back into balance. Due to larger than normal spaces between the cells of the gut wall, larger than usual protein molecules are absorbed before they have a chance to be completely broken down as occurs when the intestinal lining is intact. The immune system starts making antibodies against these larger molecules because it recognizes them as foreign, invading substances. The immune system starts treating them as if they had to be destroyed. Antibodies are made against these proteins derived from previously harmless foods. Human tissues have antigenic sites very similar to those on foods, bacteria, parasites, Candida or fungi. The antibodies created by the leaky gut phenomenon against these antigens can get into various tissues and trigger an inflammatory reaction when the corresponding food is consumed or the microbe is encountered. Autoantibodies are thus created and inflammation becomes chronic. If this inflammation occurs at a joint, autoimmune arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis) develops. If it occurs in the thyroid gland, autoimmune thyroditis may be the result. If it occurs in the brain, myalgic encephalomyletis (a.k.a. chronic fatigue syndrome) may be the result. If it occurs in the blood vessels, vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) is the resulting autoimmune problem. If the antibodies start attacking the lining of the gut itself, the result may be colitis or Crohn's disease. If it occurs in the lungs, asthma is triggered on a delayed basis every time the individual consumes the food which triggered the production of the antibodies in the first place. It is easy to see that practically any organ of the body tissue can become affected by food allergies created by the leaky gut. Symptoms, especially those seen in conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, can be multiple and severely debilitating. For example, Hashimoto’s sufferers are often advised to eliminate gluten from their diet. Several studies show a strong link between autoimmune thyroiditis (both Hashimoto’s and Graves’) and gluten intolerance. The link is so well-established that researchers suggest all people with thyroiditis be screened for gluten intolerance, and vice versa. What explains the connection? It’s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. One reason gluten intolerance goes undetected in so many cases is that both doctors and patients mistakenly believe it only causes digestive problems. But gluten intolerance can also present with inflammation in the joints, skin, respiratory tract and brain – without any obvious gut symptoms. I show you exactly how to fix your leaky gut in the “You Are What You Eat” Chapter. 2. Dysglycemia Dysglycemia refers to abnormal blood sugar levels from any cause which results in disease. Hyperglycemia is a condition in which glucose levels are higher than usual; hypoglycemia is a condition in which blood glucose levels are lower than normal. Low blood sugar decreases the conversion of T4 to active T3 in your liver, and it signals your body to increase the stress hormone, cortisol, which breaks down your muscle tissue in order to keep your blood sugar from dropping to dangerously low levels. Insulin resistance is a condition where the natural hormone insulin, becomes less effective at lowering blood sugars. The resulting increase in blood glucose may raise levels outside the normal range and cause adverse health effects. Insulin is a thyroid growth factor that stimulates proliferation of thyroid cells in culture. A 2008 study of 111 euthyroid women determined that higher circulating levels of insulin cause increased thyroid proliferation. The clinical manifestations are larger thyroid volume and the formation of nodules. Thus, the thyroid gland appears to be another victim of the insulin resistance syndrome. In order to improve thyroid function, dysglycemia must be addressed. An easy and healthy way to maintain your blood sugar levels steady is to eat plenty of ripened fruit. It’s naturally high in potassium, which helps regulate your blood sugar by reducing the amount of insulin that your body needs to properly absorb the sugar. In fact, the sugar from fruit is a powerful blood sugar regulator. And this is because it has the unique ability to either increase or decrease your blood sugar depending on what your body needs. It also reduces your tendency to store fat. Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery Sugar from fruit is different from other forms of sugar which cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly, and this in turn causes your body to secrete a large amount of insulin in order to remove the sugar from your bloodstream. Another important factor in managing your blood sugar levels is to reduce to a minimum polyunsaturated fats from your diet, which can lead to insulin sensitivity and eventually, diabetes. Another useful tip is that many people need to eat something before they go to bed in order to help them maintain their blood sugar levels throughout the night. In fact, low blood sugar is an extremely common cause of night waking and insomnia. This is because when blood sugar is low, stress hormones rise. And oftentimes, adrenaline will rise high enough to wake you up. Some people might argue that eating before bed might cause weight gain. I don’t agree with that, I always have a snack before bed and sleep throughout the night without waking up whereas before, when my last meal was around 6pm I used to wake up hungry several times a night. I follow a special diet and even though I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I have not gained a single pound. In the chapter “My Diet” I give you my exact meals schedule and tell you how to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, what foods to avoid and what foods to include in your daily diet. 3. Unbalanced Estrogen Levels Estrogen dominance is a metabolic state where the level of estrogen outweighs the level of progesterone in the body. Estrogen is everywhere in our environment – you’d have to virtually live in a bubble to escape the excess estrogens we're exposed to through pesticides, plastics, chemicals, birth control pills, industrial waste products, car exhaust, meat, soaps and much of the carpeting, furniture and paneling that we live with indoors every day. It applies to both men and women, as men accumulate estrogen as well. Excessive estrogen has been shown to play a role in the development of hypothyroidism. Estrogen inhibits the thyroid’s ability to secrete hormones, and these unsecreted hormones tend to build up in the thyroid. Your body doesn’t get the hormones you need and you become hypothyroid. So you can see how important it is to not only treat your thyroid but address all the other issues you’re having. There are several things you can do to reduce your exposure to estrogen that comes from the environment. Avoid plastic containers for storing food, and especially if you are heating or freezing it – that’s when the largest Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery amounts of toxic chemicals leach in your food. Avoid phyto-estrogenic foods such as broccoli, soy bean products, certain teas, chocolate, coffee and wine, sesame seeds, wheatberries, fenugreek, oats, barley, dried beans, lentils and yams. Consider a different form of birth control pills - women who use estrogen-containing birth control pills are at a 3- to 6-fold increased risk of developing blood clots. Blood clots may lead to deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, or stroke. Try to buy organic food as much as possible – herbicides and pesticides are big sources of environmental toxins in our bodies. There are also foods that act like a sponge, soaking up the excess estrogen within your digestive tract and preventing your body from reabsorbing it. I talk about this in more detail in the “What to Eat” chapter. 4. Congested Liver The liver is one of the most vital organs in our body and also one of the hardest working ones. The main symptom related to any liver disease is tiredness. The main function of the liver is to remove toxins from the body, which can include varied chemical as well as physiological substances. When the liver is overloaded with work then it can face problems in clearing toxins from your body, which results in congested liver or liver congestion. Your thyroid makes mostly T4 (the inactive hormone) and a little bit of T3 (the active form). About 70% of T3 in your body is converted from T4 by your liver, so if your liver isn’t functioning properly, it wouldn’t convert these hormones efficiently and that leads to hypothyroidism. T4 then accumulates in the body, and a signal is sent to the thyroid to stop producing so many hormones, slowing it down even further. Another issue with a congested liver is that it can no longer properly store sugar. This stored sugar plays an important role in your ability to maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day. When that happens, your blood sugar level drops, your body gets stressed and sends a signal to your adrenals to release stress hormones. In order to keep your liver healthy, try to reduce your exposure to toxins as much as you can. Your liver also needs nutrients in order to convert thyroid hormones. One such mineral is selenium; 200 mcg of selenium per day has been also shown to reduce TPO-ab and TG-ab in Hashimoto’s patients in Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery several studies. I show you what other vitamins and supplements to take to maintain proper thyroid function in the “Vitamins and Supplements” chapter. 5. Stress Stress produces an adrenaline rush in the fight or flight response. Chronic, prolonged stress suppresses our immunity and makes us vulnerable to illness and disease. Under normal conditions, your body maintains a balanced state of health. But, when exposed to constant and chronic stress, the system breaks down. You become vulnerable - not only to stress symptoms like headaches or nausea, but also to long-term immune system disorders and other diseases and illnesses. In fact, nearly 70% of all illnesses and diseases can be attributed to stress, says StressAffect.com. But stress isn’t confined to just emotional stress as many people think; stress can be physical, dietary, environmental, etc. So how does this affect your thyroid? Stress hormones inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3, and increase the production of Reverse T3 (rT3) which stops your body from using T3 (the active thyroid hormone). When under stress your body naturally slows down your thyroid and shuts down non-essential body functions – for example, digestion is slowed, and your immune system is weakened. Your body does this so you can “survive” or outlast the stress, which is actually helpful if you really are in danger. But in modern society stress is an integral part of life, and we don’t know how to turn it off. When stress is excessive, prolonged and chronic, it actually breaks down our body’s defense mechanism and leaves you open and vulnerable to disease and illness. You may find that you get colds more often, or you come down with the flu. I discuss the effects of stress in more detail in the “The Role of Stress in Hashimoto’s Disease” chapter, as well as some methods and techniques to help you relieve and reduce stress. 6. Too Much Exercise While exercise is essential for maintaining your health and well-being, too much exercise can have the opposite effect. In fact, many professional athletes suffer from hypothyroidism, because the physical stress they place on their bodies leads to adrenal fatigue, which in turn leads to Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery hypothyroidism. Oftentimes hypothyroid patients have issues with weight gain, so they think that exercise will help them lose the extra weight. But too much exercise or the wrong kind of exercise only makes you even more hypothyroid. Intense exercise requires your body to use up a lot of sugar rather quickly but if your liver can’t properly store sugar then you don’t have enough sugar to burn. In that case your body will have to increase stress hormones to break down your muscle tissue to use as sugar. In the end you’re left with even less muscle and more fat, especially around your abdomen. Several studies have even showed that over-exercising can stop your body from producing the active thyroid hormone immediately. So if you’re considering an intense workout, you might want to reconsider that. You should never exercise on an empty stomach or early in the morning. That’s when your stress hormones are highest, and exercise will cause them to rise even higher for longer periods of time. Eating breakfast in the morning and balancing your blood sugar is generally when your stress hormones return to normal. Walking, Yoga, bike-riding, swimming, deep breathing, meditation, or stretching are fine. Don’t engage in vigorous or intense aerobic exercise, which depletes the adrenals. I discuss this subject in more detail in “The Importance of Sun, Fresh Air and Exercise” and “The Adrenals – The Workhorses of Your Body” chapters. 7. Dental Problems You’re probably wondering what your teeth and dental problems have to do with your thyroid. Most people don’t realize that bacteria from your mouth, untreated cavities and root canals can spread throughout your body and make you very sick. Failing to brush your teeth twice a day can significantly increase the risk of developing heart disease, according to a new study, led by Professor Richard Watt from University College London. What’s more, approximately 80% of the population has inside their mouths the most toxic non-radioactive substance on the planet. This known poison is mercury, and it comprises 50% of all "silver" amalgam fillings that are placed in people’s mouths during routine dental procedures. According to scientists Sharma and Obersteiner at Utah State University, mercury is even more toxic than aluminum, lead, cadmium or arsenic. They state that mercury is "a strong protoplasmic poison that penetrates all living cells of the human body. Mercury is a powerful biological poison with no necessary biological function." The harmful effects of mercury on the body are almost Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery too numerous to count. In many cases it can take up to twenty-five years for disease symptoms from mercury poisoning to manifest. I myself had 5 mercury fillings which were placed on my teeth 20 years ago. I had all of them removed in May 2012 by a holistic dentist, and noticed a considerable improvement in my health in the following months. Surface particles of elemental mercury from amalgams are acted upon by oral and intestinal bacteria to produce methyl mercury, an even more toxic form of mercury that targets the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, and the brain. Research has implicated amalgams (silver dental fillings) as a contributing factor in developing Hashimoto’s. Dental amalgam is the largest source of mercury in most people with amalgam fillings and it is well documented: www.flcv.com/damspr1.html. That most with many chronic health problems significantly improve after amalgam replacement is also well documented: www.flcv.com/hgremove.html & www.flcv.com/hgrecovp.html. A new study concluded that “Removal of dental amalgam decreases anti-TPO and anti-Tg autoantibodies in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis.” Research conducted as early as a decade ago reported that old fillings viewed under an electron microscope showed holes where the mercury had evaporated, releasing 40% of the mercury into the body over a ten year period. The U.S. environmental protection safety limits for mercury exposure are 10 micrograms per day, yet mercury released from fillings can contribute up to three times this amount, just from the simple acts of chewing, brushing the teeth, or drinking hot liquids. Studies show that the average person makes and swallows 1.5 liters of saliva a day. Yet, if they have as few as four amalgams present in their mouth, their saliva is so high in mercury they cannot legally spit into the toilet in the USA. In fact, amalgam that has been drilled out of teeth must be collected by a special toxic waste disposal company in three airtight metal containers locked one inside the other and labeled with a skull and crossbones. Yet this material is considered safe when placed in our mouths? Mercury and toxic metals block enzymes required to digest milk casein and wheat gluten, resulting in dumping morphine-like substances in the blood that are neurotoxic and psychotic. That might explain why some hypothyroid patients report “feeling like crazy.” Another interesting fact is that selenium helps remove mercury from the body, as well as it lowers TPO-ab (thyroid Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery peroxidase antibodies) and TG-ab (Thyroglobulin antibodies) count in Hashimoto’s patients. I discuss this matter in more detail in the “It All Comes Down to the Gut” chapter. I hope you enjoyed reading this free chapter and decided to take the first steps towards reversing your hypothyroidism. If you’d like to download the book “Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery” head over to ThyroidDiseaseSucks.com and order your copy to get instant access to all the information that helped me regain my health. If you choose not to order it, at least apply the things you learned in this free chapter, and I’m sure you’ll see positive results. To your recovery, Petra Mitova Copyright © 2012 Overcoming Hypothyroidism: The Ultimate Guide to Recovery