There are many reasons why I consider myself lucky, particularly with regard to my health.
One of those reasons is that I have never had a problem with my thyroid gland.
But I’m willing to bet that at least one of you reading this will either a) have such a problem, b) have an issue, but haven’t yet realised, or c) know someone for whom a) or b) applies. If so, you might want to share this post with them.
In this post, I will tell you why such problems are commonplace, explain the reported shortcomings of the current mainstream medical diagnostic and treatment process and, best of all, I will share the 17 simple things YOU can do to help yourself (so long as your problem is not too severe).
In part two next week, I will introduce to you THE man in Britain who gets long-term thyroid patients back on track. And yes, he is a fully-fledged member of my own health super-heroes gallery, sitting just to the left of Dr Brian Clement.
But for now, and to clarify before we begin, here are the two main types of thyroid challenges (your thyroid being the butterfly-shaped gland located near your voicebox, btw).
Hyper-thyroidism: Caused by an auto-immune problem, the most common of which is known as Grave’s disease, or an over-active thyroid. In such cases, the thyroid goes into over-production of its five hormones. Symptoms include an inability to gain weight, a skinny frame that is unnatural to you, and, generally, being pretty hyper-active in daily life. On edge, if you will.
Hypo-thyroidism: Caused by auto-immune thyroiditis, otherwise known as Hashimoto’s disease. It’s an under-active thyroid, when insufficient amounts of the five hormones are produced. Symptoms include constant lethargy and a sluggish metabolism, often leading to unexplained weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.
The focus today is on the latter, – underactive thyroids – as they are by far the most common of the two.
Until I went on the Health Educator program at Hippocrates, I had no idea that it was such a widespread problem. We’re talking epidemic proportions here.
In one of our lectures, Dr Clement explained that 15 years or so ago, if he’d asked everyone with a thyroid problem to put their hands up, there would only be one or two.
But today, he says a sea of hands is not uncommon. The good news is that thousands of people who have stayed at Hippocrates under the Life Transformation Program have nipped even long-standing problems in the bud.
For example, one guest went to Hippocrates because her doctors wanted to remove her thyroid. She was told that if they didn’t she would die (Tactic No 241, taken from the “Medical Scaremongerer’s Handbook”. Well, it would be if such a tome existed).
Anyway, within months of following the Hippocrates diet, and with the support of Hippocrates’ own-brand, natural, vegan supplement Pinnacle (I can get source these for any non-USA readers – read details at the bottom of this post), her thyroid awoke from its slumber and began to fire on all cylinders once more.
FACT: The thyroid is the THIRD most important hormone-secreting gland in your body. Look after it, and it will look after you.
So, why is it so common today? And what can you do to prevent it or reverse it?
According to Hippocrates’ Head Nurse Tom Fisher, there are many causes:
- I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that most of them are a by-product of the ravages of modern-living and lifestyle choices.
- And yes, many of these are to do with what’s on your dinner plate. I’m sorry, but it’s a fact.
- Equally, however, we have become increasingly adept in the practice of voluntary self-nuking, for which there is more detail further on.
- Genetics also play a major factor. But as we were taught time and again at Hippocrates, just because nature loaded the gun, you don’t have to pull the trigger by making rubbish lifestyle choices.
- For many, the cause is a life-long lack of the trace mineral selenium because of our universally-depleted soils. Brazil nuts are packed with the stuff – just four of these beauties a day should serve you well. Or ditto a generous handful of walnuts.
- Auto-immune disease is another factor. This is when the body decides to turn on itself, in this case, the thyroid, specifically.
- And glandular fever is another nemesis, often resulting in a slow, insidious decline that is hard to notice day by day and therefore difficult to determine if a problem exists.
- Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition.
- Likewise, women who have had upwards of two children are at risk, as are those who have had major operations which have challenged the endocrine (hormonal) system, such as a hysterectomy.
- And then there’s our dear friend radiation. More details in a moment, but catch up with another post I wrote on this subject here and here.
- And let’s not forget the greatest of our emotional crutches: food. You already know that eating unwisely is giving your body nothing, thus depriving it of essential vitamins and minerals. And ditto eating more than 50% cooked food (that figure, by the way, is a VERY generous one for all you die-hard cooked consumers. You really need to lower that figure to 25%).
- And lastly, if your adrenal glands are playing up, the thyroid usually comes out in sympathy. Or vice versa. And why do your adrenals throw their toys out of the pram? Stress is the biggest cause, so do yourself a favour and do something to reduce it. As you know, my first port of call would be – and is – yoga.
So, what’s the score with treatment? Our mainstream medics have this common problem well and truly nailed, right?
Far from it.
And I hate to say it, but I would strongly suspect that dwindling public funds have a great deal to do with it, particularly given that thyroids are dropping like flies all over the shop.
The greatest problem is the NHS-decreed range, which is about as gaping as the widest section of the Grand Canyon.
According to the NHS, your T4 (thyroxine) count can be anything from 9-20. The mystery guest on my next post says that ideally, it should actually be between 12 and 14. But the only point at which you can hope to get treated on the NHS is when this count is WAY BELOW 9.
Your T3 (triiodothyronine) count should be 3.5 to 6. But again, you have to be WELL BELOW 3.5 to get treatment on the NHS.
Your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level should be 0.75 to 4. And you have to be 5 or above before an NHS doctor will admit you have a problem.
But if you manage to cheat the diagnostic odds and actually qualify for treatment, I am willing to bet my last penny that you will be put on a synthetic version of your body’s T4 hormone, thyroxine, also sold as Sythroid/ Levoxyl/Levothyroxine, as well as other brand names http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment/
If it’s your T3 levels letting the side down, you will probably be prescribed Cytomel. But given that your T3 levels are not part of the default test (another bone of contention for our next post’s mystery star), it’s far less likely you’ll be prescribed it.
But here, we are looking at synthetic thyroxine and all its namesakes, considered in the allopathic kingdom to be the ultimate panacea for an idle thyroid.
What’s wrong with that?
- For starters, according to research, this commonly-prescribed long-term “solution” has been linked to serious, long-term effects such as dementia and Alzheimers. But the doctors who prescribe it are either unaware of this fact, or choose to ignore it. I mean, how can anyone prove that link?
- These medications also lower dopamine in the body. A crucial neuro-transmitter, altered levels have been linked to Restless Leg Syndrome, ADHD, and schizophrenia. I’m not saying that this medication will cause it – I don’t know – but if, as in the case of people with Parkinson’s disease, you already have lowered dopamine levels, it’s unlikely to end happily.
- The third fly in the ointment is all down to numbers which don’t add up; your thyroid produces FIVE hormones. Thyroxine is just one of those. So how can replacing only one deficient hormone truly solve the problem? It doesn’t. More of that in the next post.
- And lastly:
FACT: If a patient taking synthetic thyroxine by whatever name is diagnosed with a tumour, in the USA at least, they are taken straight off it.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do yourself to take control and start feeling better, so long as your case isn’t too severe.
If you know you have hypothyroidism and you are unhappy with the synthetic prescription you are on, or you suspect that you have a problem which isn’t being diagnosed, the following tips will still help, but I strongly advise you to read my next post and book an appointment with the star of the show.
But as I said earlier, even if you’ve never had a thyroid problem, you still need to administer a little TLC in its direction in order to maintain the status quo; if you’re neglecting your thyroid, you never know when it’s going to throw a strop, down tools and go on strike.
So, take heed:
- Reduce your body’s toxic burden: minimise processed and non-organic food, avoid chemical household cleaners and toiletries and wear natural fibre clothing, such as organic cotton.
FACT: Synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon affect your hormones.
At this point, I feel the need to break the flow to remind you about the story of my fellow Hippocrates Health Educator and newfound friend, Eva Carceles Poveda, who did this Soup Sunday recently.
Eva: on the mend after years with an underactive thyroid which mainstream medication alone could not fix
More to the point, she can vouch personally for the positive effect that reducing your body’s chemical content and improving your diet will have on your thyroid.
When she arrived at Hippocrates, her TSH count was 2.9, and Eva was on Synthroid. But in spite of her own specialist doubling the dose, the count would not come down any further.
And to add a rather happy complication into the mix, Eva was pregnant.
“Doctors want pregnant women to have a reading of below 2.5, as there are studies suggesting that higher TSH readings are associated with miscarriage, and I had already had one,” explains Eva.
“Because I was already on Synthroid when I became pregnant, I didn’t want to mess around with my medication. Having already doubled the dose once with no effect, they were all up for doubling it again, but I said no.
“Instead, I went to Hippocrates on the Health Educator Program for 5 weeks, and through the dietary change, my count reduced to 1.4. I did not take any supplements for it, just wholesome raw, vegan food.”
2. Reduce stress through meditation and yoga: The latter is particularly excellent for thyroid conditions, especially those postures which put pressure on the thyroid gland.
3. Add sea vegetables to your food: Kombu, nori sheets (available here if you’re in the US), nori sprinkles (US- here), dulse (US- here) and arame. Or, for a quick fix, try Seagreens Food Granules (US- here) to sprinkle on just about anything heading in the direction of your mouth.
FACT: Pets need healthy thyroids too. And they know it.
Eric goes MAD for nori sheets (like Nathalie’s dog from another recent Soup Sunday). And as luck would have it, Seagreens do granules for pets too. Eric has this EVERY day.
4. Avoid cruciferous vegetables: This includes vegetables such as Brussel sprouts (there is a God), cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy and broccoli. Why avoid them? They contain a compound called glucosinolates, which has been shown in studies involving animals, to lower thyroid function. Yet they are supposedly excellent for thyroid cancer. Go figure!
5. Food allergies: many have been linked with thyroid problems, particularly dairy and wheat. Get yourself checked.
6. Take a FOOD-BASED (non-synthetic) B-complex supplement daily. (for US, click here) The entire planet should already be taking B12 anyway.
7. Pinnacle: Start taking this vegan, natural, food-based supplement, created by Hippocrates specifically for an underactive thyroid. Need some? Comment on this post and I will get you some (non-USA readers only). One of my fellow Health Educators was put on this during her stay because of a sluggish thyroid, and in 9 weeks, her TSH went from above 4 to normal.
8. Check your iodine levels: Add an iodine supplement (US- here) if your results are lower than 100mcg per litre. In mild cases, it is possible to treat an underactive thyroid by mixing 1 drop iodine with 2-3 drops castor oil (US- here) and applying directly to the neck in the thyroid area daily. As a general rule, 10-13 mg iodine a day should provide a level in the blood of 100-200 mcg per litre. But be careful: TOO MUCH CAN SHUT THE THYROID DOWN.
9. Check out your adrenal function: if it’s out of whack, it can interfere with your body’s conversion of T4 to T3. I highly recommend another specially-formulated, vegan, food-based supplement from Hippcorates, Adrena Support. It works by supporting adrenal function and is particularly helpful for those with high stress and anxiety levels. If you let this situation lie dormant, you could end up with Addison’s Disease, which JFK suffered from. Again, as long as you’re not in the USA, I can bag you some. Just holler.
10. Take selenium (US- here) and zinc (US- here) supplements daily: Sadly, you can no longer rely on foods to provide this because of our depleted soils.
11. STOP EATING SUPERMARKET BREAD: Just do it. There are far too many reasons to list here, but what is relevant here is the fact that in most countries, bromine has to be added to bread by law, instead of iodine. It makes the yeast rise or something. But whatever the reason is, it’s HIGHLY toxic. (And just think about the fact that you probably eat this infernal stuff daily right now. STOP!
12. Reduce radiation exposure: We’re talking about the stand-in-various-poses-while-we-nuke-you airport security scanners (you are LEGALLY entitled to opt out and request a body search). If you are having an X-ray or any kind of body scan, ask for a lead collar to put round your neck, thus protecting the thyroid area. And take SHEDLOADS of chlorella tablets before, during and after a flight.
13. Get off the phone: It’s also time to break the habit of having your mobile phone stuck to your ear at every given opportunity, and likewise curtail your usage of every wireless device you own. At the very least, don’t walk around with one of those daft Bluetooth ear-pieces wrapped around your lughole (you look ridiculously self-important anyway, IMHO). And make your bedroom (where you spend at least a third of your life) a wireless-device-free zone. And if there’s a landline available, use it instead.
14. And as for that bloody microwave. Still sat there, is it? Open your front door (or the back – you choose) and send it sailing. NOW.
FACT: Up to 50% of radiation exposure comes from hospital scans and X-rays.
15. Demand a full blood test from your doctor: You have to be firm with this one. If you feel constantly shattered, are struggling to lose weight and/or gaining it easily, or generally suspect that something isn’t right, get a FULL thyroid blood test done, including the following elements:
- A full thyroid panel (T3, T4, and TSH
- A thyroid antibodies test – of which there are 3
- Reverse T3
- 4-point Cortisol test – tested via a saliva swab
16. Read around the subject:
Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy: The Great Thyroid Scandal and How to Survive it (Available in the US here)
Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment (Available in the US here)
17. Book yourself in: if you’re suffering, the best possible thing you can do is book an appointment with the man who is arguably the UK’s leading alternative thyroid expert. And no, I’m not on commission. I just know he’s the man who can. Stay tuned for all the details you’ll need.
NON-USA READERS: If you have been diagnosed with an adrenal or thyroid problem, I am able to source the Hippocrates Life Give supplements I mentioned earlier. Get in touch by commenting on this or any post.
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