Welcome to 2012! Another New Year and what a way to start without any resolutions or goals for that matter…just plan on ‘being’……and some ‘doing’ …so let’s see what this year holds….
In January I tend to get a surge of new year resolutioners (is that a word?) from the typical ‘improving overall fitness’, weight loss to ‘conquering’ addictions. However, this month I am sticking with the thyroid in relation to weight loss and it’s also Thyroid Awareness Month. I am going to share some info for all those wonderful people out there who have tried the DIEts (yes DIE in capital bold), the gyms, the lifestyle changes, thyroxine medication ..but that stubborn fat will just not budge and the bursts of energy remain pretty short lived.
The thyroid is a gland that is considered the ‘engine’ of your metabolism. So if your thyroid (located near your throat) is a bit ‘shattered’ (also known as hypo-thyroid or under active) you can experience a plethora of symptoms from fatigue, low moods, hair loss, dry skin, weight gain OR inability to lose weight, un-explained infertility, joint aches, carpel tunnel syndrome, tinnitus, re-current sinus infections, low sex drive …actually the list is endless.
However, being hypo-thyroid, one can also be thin! ….Yes, not just over weight..so keep that in mind, and I will share more on this in February’s blog but it is all linked to the adrenals, our ‘fight or flight’ glands… ..but back to January…
Did you know that you can be diagnosed as ‘hypo-thyroid’ in the USA and with the same blood test readings be diagnosed as ‘normal’ in the UK? …It is quite dis-heartening for those who come January are being ‘good’ with their DIEt and exercise and any other form of self punishment and have nothing to show for it as far as weight loss.
So what is the answer? Firstly, the thyroid thrives on fat and protein and I am not talking about the toxic synthetic protein ‘vegetarian’ sources such as quorn and soy protein but meat, eggs, fish, cheese etc. Some low thyroid folk do OK on just vegan sources of protein, but not many. To date most hypo-thyroid clients have turned out to be metabolically protein types, much to the ‘unhappiness’ of the vegan clients.
Also if you are on thyroid medication, it is worth finding out exactly what type you are on. Is it the T4 or T3 or T4 with T3, etc? For ‘optimum benefit’ from most synthetic thyroid medications (most commonly T4) one needs a happy liver and healthy kidneys. Why? Because the T4 is converted to the actual active form (which is T3) with the help of the liver and kidneys. So some milk thistle and/or dandelion with some anti-oxidants may just boost thyroid efficiency.
It is also common for most individuals that have been on T4 medication such as Levothyroxine to become ‘resistant’ to their medication. ..let me explain….
In clinical practice it is pretty much the ‘norm’ to see clients on T4 medications such as levothyroxine after having had previous blood tests that indicated an ‘under-active thyroid’. Once on medication, the individual tends to feels better, especially mood wise, anywhere from several months to several years..but then the moods starts to drop again and usually the mainstream medicine ‘habit’ is to increase the dose of the thyroid medication. This ‘phenomenon’ is also known as thyroid resistance.
However, on a more naturopathic level, we look at what has happened even before the original medication was prescribed, any stress, physical or emotional ..such as a death in the family, giving birth, new job, loss of job, an infection for which medications such as antibiotics may have been prescribed etc etc …
We also look at nutrient intake, most hypothyroid individuals do not eat enough protein and/or fat, actually they tend to crave carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta and the ‘sweet stuff’ which further depletes the thyroid. Iodine status, adrenal status, iron status, zinc, selenium and magnesium are all key in addressing thyroid issues. Medication does not address the underlying cause and the longer one is one is on thyroid medication the less the thyroid performs or has to perform.
Also let’s not forget, the link between the health of the body and the teeth, especially the link between mercury and thyroid function. About a year ago, (one of many AHA moments in clinic), I was working with an overweight 34 year old lady. She was on levothyroxine and had been on it for a year. She had no main symptoms apart from being over weight (although she had been on various DIEts ‘on and off’ over the last 10 years….not great for the thyroid). She had implemented her nutritional plan brilliantly, was going for brisk walks daily , took more time out ‘to be’ than just ‘do do do’ and still something was not quite right. Her weight had only shifted by 5kgs in 3 months and then she hit a wall with her weight, although her energy levels had improved as well as the condition of her hair, skin and general overall well being. Even the homeopathic remedies along side the nutrition and nutrient supplementation were not shifting her weight.
She kept coming up for mercury in the naturopathic sense, so we looked at her two teeth that were filled with mercury and bingo! They were the ones linked to the thyroid gland.
See this link (http://www.resourcesforlife.net/meridian-interactive-tooth-chart.asp ) and click on a tooth and you can see which organ each one is linked to….go on have a nosey.
Over the next four weeks she had her fillings removed and replaced with more bio-compatible and non-toxic material. She started losing weight again AND she also had to reduce her thyroid medication. After completing her mercury detox and continuing with her nutritional plan she started experiencing ‘hyper’ thyroid symptoms…from heart palpitations, feeling too hot and a bit hyper! …so her doctor took her off the thyroxine completely. 6 months later, she is not only medication free but free from DIEting, and is a healthy fit 62kg in weight.
The thyroid gland is not to be taken lightly, after all it determines our metabolism in numerous ways, weight being one aspect,. Generally, the slower the thyroid the slower the body detoxes, the slower the mind, the slower the healing processes and so on.
So next time anyone embarks on some new year’s resolution that involves losing weight, remember to be kind to the thyroid as well as eating according to your metabolic type/needs.
To a vibrant and healthy New Year!