How Much Soy is Too Much Soy?

July 3, 2010 by Terri  
Filed under Thyroid

While deep-pocketed soy marketers cook up even more ways to ingest the bean, there is, unfortunately, little data as what constitutes an appropriate level of soy intake. Soy Online Service cautions that even 30 milligrams of soy isoflavones a day can wreak havoc on the body’s hormonal balance. It advises anyone with a predisposition to thyroid dysfunction to be particularly careful. If, indeed, the Asian diet is one to be emulated, then why not use soy the way they have for thousands of years: in moderation.

Thirty milligrams of soy isoflavones can be found in:

  • 7 ounces of soybeans
  • 4 ounces of tofu
  • 8 ounces of soy milk
  • 1.6 ounces of miso
  • 2.8 ounces of soybean sprouts

> Read the full article by Dr. Gillespie

A Holistic Approach to a Thyroid Problem

April 13, 2010 by Terri  
Filed under Thyroid

One of the most common forms of thyroid problem is hypothyroidism or an under active thyroid gland. The most prevalent form of hypothyroidism is Thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s Disease, an auto immune disease affecting the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism can also be caused by a thyroid gland that is inflamed or sluggish. Thyroid problems can be due to iodine deficiency, an after effect of surgery or medication, or dysfunction of the pituitary gland.  There are various herbs and natural remedies available that are believed to actively treat a thyroid problem.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Weight gain, especially if the pounds pile on quickly and are almost impossible to remove.
  • Dry and rough skin.
  • Dry and coarse hair.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • There could also be memory loss, cramps and constipation.

All of these symptoms or just a few can be present, which means diagnosis of a thyroid problem by your physician is highly recommended.

A blood test for levels of thyroid hormones TSH and T4 is the most precise (but not necessarily VERY precise) way to diagnose a health problem.  What may be a “normal” thyroid level for one person may not be normal for another.  Thyroid problems can appear in someone who has the same levels as someone else who seems perfectly fine. The range of thyroid levels considered normal is quite wide, and can also depend on a particular lab report.  Nevertheless, a blood test remains the best way to diagnose a thyroid health problem, such as hypothyroidism.

Conventional treatments for thyroid conditions included synthetic thyroid hormones.  These treatments can often very from person to person, making it a hit or miss situation with constant monitoring needed as to how drug levels are affecting the condition.  Ideally, the goal is to change thyroid hormone levels in order to treat causes of the thyroid problem, rather than just temporarily relieve the symptoms.

The  best way to maintain your thyroid for optimum health is by taking a holistic approach to nutrition.

  • Eliminate white flour (don’t be fooled by “wheat flour” as the first ingredient listed on the label; Wheat flour is really white flour), sugar, processed foods, and stimulants like alcohol, tea and coffee.
  • Food with additives and preservatives should be avoided.
  • Increase your intake of nutrient-dense foods such as dark leafy/green vegetables.  Plants contain three classes of micronutrients that are critical for optimal health: vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.   Phytochemicals are not “optional,” they are Essential in immune system defenses.

Strive for a plant-based diet that is rich in colorful vegetables and fruits. If at all possible, try not to buy ANY food product that has a label on it.

Is Your Weight Loss Canary Suffering?

April 12, 2010 by Terri  
Filed under Thyroid

There’s no doubt that thyroid disease is on the rise. Now the question is why?

The reason your weight loss attempts might not be working is because your weight loss canary might be suffering…let me explain.

From the research I’ve reviewed and the patients I’ve seen in the last 20 years, it’s clear to me that the thyroid gland is your body’s own yellow canary. It’s sensitive to many different influences—your diet, your lifestyle, and the world around you. And all of these influences can affect how well your thyroid functions.

Remember how miners used to detect toxic methane gas and carbon monoxide? They sent bright yellow canaries into the mines. Canaries are highly sensitive to these gasses—so much so that they die when exposed to them. Their deaths served as a warning system for miners so they do not enter and become exposed to poisonous air.

So, it’s not surprising that as we eat more toxic foods and are increasingly exposed to pollution, petrochemical and industrial wastes, and heavy metals that thyroid problems have also skyrocketed. In fact, more than 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men in the United States have thyroid dysfunctions—and half of them don’t even know it!

But exactly how does your environment affect your thyroid?

We now have substantial research to demonstrate that environmental chemicals have a direct impact on the thyroid gland. It’s clear that PCBs and other industrial petrochemical toxins can lower thyroid function, as well as other pollutants such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromide.

Since the thyroid produces hormones that manage your metabolism, anything that affects your thyroid will ultimately affect your metabolism. In fact, there’s evidence that toxins boost the excretion of thyroid hormones, leaving you with less of this hormone to control your metabolism—and a decreased ability to burn fat.

The truth is, your thyroid plays a huge role in weight control, and in determining your metabolic rate.

The question is not if, but how much is today’s obesity epidemic linked to the harmful effects of environmental toxins on metabolism.

I’ve seen so many patients struggle with their weight, only to have the pounds melt off when we addressed their thyroid problems.

True, not everyone’s weight problems are caused by thyroid dysfunction—but if you’re overweight, you should consider the connection. That’s why the best medical doctors always check their patients’ thyroid functions and will consider all the possible causes of subtle thyroid imbalance, including toxins, food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and stress.

Now let’s talk about some of those other factors.

For example, food allergies, like sensitivities to gluten and other foods, also negatively affect thyroid function—and are frequently undiagnosed. Likewise, deficiencies in nutrients important to good thyroid function—like selenium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids. and iodine and tyrosine—can also trigger thyroid problems.

With all of these factors that can affect your thyroid, it’s clear that we need a new approach to the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease. Many doctors can miss the subtle signs of thyroid problems, and conventional medicine often treats low thyroid function with inadequate, one-size-fits-all drugs like Synthroid.

However, thyroid dysfunction requires a more personalized, integrative approach—one that you can help control by becoming an active partner in your care. First, keep an eye out for the symptoms of a low thyroid function, including:

fatigue
• sluggishness
• trouble getting up in the morning
• depression
• dry skin
• dry hair
• constipation
• fluid retention
• menstrual problems and PMS
• hair loss
• cracked or chipping fingernails
• low sex drive
weight gain
• muscle aches
• cramps

Yes, a lot of those symptoms are pretty common and vague—which is one reason why thyroid dysfunction often goes undetected. But if you notice any of these signs, bring them to your doctor’s attention, and ask him or her to test your thyroid function.

If you are diagnosed with low thyroid function, the following steps recommended:

Remember, thyroid hormone is the master metabolism hormone. If your thyroid is out of balance, your metabolism is out of balance, too.

Do you have a dysfunctional thyroid?

Know that the problem can be fixed. By following the program here you can get your thyroid working properly, keep your weight under control and start feeling better today.

About the author…

Mark Hyman, MD is author of UltraMetabolism — The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss. In this ground-breaking book, Dr. Hyman, for the first time ever, identifies the 7 metabolic keys to weight loss and delivers a blueprint for how you can ignite the fat burning code hidden in your DNA. To download free sneak preview of UltraMetabolism, go to: http://www.ultrametabolism.com

Thyroid Disease, a Naturopathic Answer

March 23, 2010 by Terri  
Filed under Thyroid

Thyroid disease, malfunctions of the thyroid gland, hyperthyroid (overactive) or hypothyroid (underactive) are showing signs in our population of becoming an epidemic says a “The Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study.” This is a trend across the board in American health, where we are seeing many common diseases moving to an epidemic stage. You name a disease and it is probably an epidemic or moving toward becoming an epidemic like thyroid disease.

Why do we have this problem? Well, as a naturopath I say look at the basics, we are violating just about every natural law in how we take care of ourselves and our environment. But for you who have thyroid disease, solving your problem is the most important priority right now. I will be frank with you; the drug industry does not have a realistic answer to your problem. Drugs can be a way to stabilize your situation temporarily but to use those drugs does not address the root of the problem only the symptoms. Through your thyroid disease, your body is saying something is wrong with the way you are living. If you only address this disease signal your body is sending you with drugs, without addressing the real cause, it will breakout again as another disease and so on.

To get back to basics, take a look at an article I wrote titled “You Are Sick and You Need Help Now,”  also read “I am an omnivore, we are all omnivores.”  These articles will give you some real solid basic health suggestions and common sense knowledge that, when put into practice, begin to address those needs your body has. When you give your body what it needs, the whole body begins to normalize and all your organs begin to run like they were designed to. When they do that, even genetically weak organs begin to move toward normal function. I ask that you give these suggestions a fair shake of at least 3 months of diligent work. Remember it took years of abuse to develop thyroid disease, it is not going to be solved with a few good meals, you have to work with this. You will see changes just as I did. Read my biography. I had cancer, a genetic weakness, and many genetic problems all served up by an American life style. I really thought I led a healthy life until I was taught better by my sicknesses. If I had not changed my life, like I am asking you to do, I would be dead like my father and grandfather. As I have repeated over and over to students, “I have not drawn a sick breath since that time 18 years ago when I cured my cancer.”

While you are establishing a healthy foundation for your body there are herbs, vitamins and minerals listed below that can assist you with your thyroid issues. Also I would encourage you to take up a hatha yoga routine that includes the inverted postures (simple inverted, shoulder stand, and plow poses). These powerful yoga postures are known to cleanse and stimulate the thyroid gland to balance itself while encourage a balancing of all hormones.

The kind of Ingredients you should seek for thyroid disease.

Below are listed some of many foods that can assist the body when it is suffering from this disease. Some of these foods have a reputation for their thyroid remedial power. Why is it important that the ingredients in the herbal formulas you take be from food? Why couldn’t they be from chemicals? Scientists would like to think that we can treat our bodies with chemicals, that chemical medicines will cure us. But that has never happened and it never will; that is why there are always dangerous side effects. This is just plain common sense; our bodies do not recognize chemicals because they are not from nature. Below are simple natural food complexes which have been shown to be better for our internal human environment. Our forefather’s and mother’s have been using some of these same ingredients for thousands of years with no ill effects.

Why so many different ingredients? This is also just plain common sense as are all nature healing remedies and philosophies. Every single ingredient we are suggesting will all encourage a positive result in your body. But our bodies are uniquely individual and what will encourage dramatic healing results for you might not be as beneficial for someone else with thyroid disease. So we suggest many herbal foods combined together to create a healing synergy that will fit with each unique individual. Again this is common sense when you are given the simple answer.

Chemicals can react against each other causing side effects while foods tend to work together; we all know that.

Food Nutrients for the Thyroid

Listed below is information on different food complexes that assist the thyroid to regain balance and function. This information was compiled by Doctor Robert Thiel, N.H.D. who also holds a Ph.D. in nutrition science; he heads the research group at Doctors’ Research. Adrenal glandulars are a Food which has been used for decades by nutrition-oriented doctors when adrenal concerns are suspected. The adrenal glands help the body deal with stress, but high stress weakens the adrenal glands. Fatigue and metabolic problems are common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency. It should be noted that it is well accepted that hypoadrenalism results in  increasing the frequency of hypoglycemia as well as  hypothyroidism. Salt craving is a common symptom of hypoadrenalism; it can also be involved in hypothyroidism. The adrenal cortex produces the hormone cortisol which helps control organic metabolism and responses to stress.

Alfalfa is believed by some herbalists have a beneficial effect on the pituitary gland and helps in chemical imbalance, neutralizes uric acid for arthritis, and is useful as a Food to prevent cholesterol accumulation in the veins; this last point is supported by several animal studies.

Brown Kelp is a Food source of trace minerals, and an excellent source of iodine. Kelp has long been used (since 3000 B.C.) to provide nutritional support for the thyroid gland. Gary Null, Ph.D., has written, “Kelp can rebalance thyroid metabolism, resulting in successful weight management and the reversal of many conditions which are caused by a thyroid imbalance, including stomach and respiratory disorders.”

Burdock is believed by some to be helpful in fortifying the immune system. It has several historical uses including helping with skin disorders; particularly when they are caused by a system imbalance. It stimulates the digestive juices and bile secretion and therefore is useful in treating anorexia nervosa and digestion and appetite problems. Some believe, in addition to helping with digestive concerns, burdock aids the pituitary gland to help adjust hormone balance. Burdock has sometimes been recommended for thyroid health.

Carrots contain a variety of carotenoids, which is a vitamin A precursor. Low levels of vitamin A are associated with increased risk of thyroid goiters and deficiencies affect thyroid metabolism.  A decade-long Harvard study indicated that by getting 50 milligrams of carotenoids in every other day significantly reduced the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataracts.

Copper is a mineral which, in proper dosages, is essential to the human body.

Irish Moss Chondrus crispus contains humic and fulvic acids (FAs) which increase the solubility of toxic metals, thus it is sometimes used to detoxify. Detoxification can be an issue with thyroid health as some believe that substances like chloride and fluoride can bind with the thyroid and interfere with iodine absorption.

Rice bran is a Food source of B vitamins, which are often used for stress and anxiety.

Scullcap (also spelled “skullcap”) is a member of the mint family and is often used as a tonic for female weakness.

Selenium seems to support thyroid hormone production, function as part of many enzymes, have antioxidant effects, and supports cardiovascular health. Food selenium is about twice as well retained than non-food selenium.

For additional information and full article, visit the Author’s Website.
NOTE: This article was contributed by Paul Blake, and condensed down from its original length.

Paul Blake is a doctor of herbal medicine and a master herbalist. He used naturopathic medicine to treat his own case of cancer eighteen years ago. Visit Paul’s website on Herbal Remedies, Natural Healing Herbs for more interesting information on improving your health.

Alternative Therapies for Hypothyroidism

March 12, 2010 by Terri  
Filed under Thyroid

In recent times, there has been so much focus on the effect of alternative remedies in treating ailments generally.  Some even make claims that orthodox medicine cannot make. This has of course led to most people looking for alternative medicines and solutions to their ailments. Fortunately, some who have used these alternative remedies and have had good success with it.

Hypothyroidism which is an illness stemming from the malfunction of the thyroid gland leading to the inadequate production of the thyroid gland’s hormone called thyroxine. The thyroid gland is found at the lower end of the neck just below the “Adam’s apple.”  The thyroid gland like any well functioning organ does not just suddenly cease to function. Its malfunction is a product of certain unfavorable conditions. So, if certain steps are taken earlier, there won’t be any need in the first place to start treating hypothyroidism. There are some ways to effectively keep the thyroid gland in normal healthy condition.

The very first move an individual can make is to be mindful of his diet. An individual’s diet is capable of either prolonging his existence on the surface of the earth, or helping him move faster to the grave than he ought to be moving. Watching what you eat is not only important in keeping away hypothyroidism, it is an effective way of keeping most diseases away. What you throw inside your belly is partially responsible for your general well being. So if you consume all that comes in your way without ay regards for your insides, then you might as well realize that your internal organs will be adversely affected rendering them ineffective.

There are certain foods that will inhibit the production of thyroxine. Some of them are mustard greens, broccoli, soybeans, cauliflowers, cabbage etc. Foods like sugar, refined foods, dairy products should be avoided in excess.  If you discover that you’ve got hypothyroidism, avoid caffeine, wheat and alcohol. Start including fatty acids in your diet. Taking about 1000-15000mg of these essential fatty acids three times a day helps the thyroid glands in its production of thyroxine.

Research has also shown that vitamins A, B complex, C and E are important in thyroxine production and in generally improving the thyroid’s health. Before taking tgem however, consult with your doctor as he would know in what quantities you should take them and for how long.  Supplements like calcium, iodine L-tyrosine and selenium are also recommended by dieticians.

Try all these, but ensure you run them by your doctor before you begin to use them.

Iodine and Hypothyroidism

July 1, 2009 by Jen  
Filed under Thyroid

More Than a Pinch of Salt

If you are a woman with thyroid problems that don’t seem to stay in control, look for a major suspect in your kitchen cupboard: iodinated table salt. Once thought to prevent thyroid problems, little attention has been paid to the impact of constant iodine in our diets, especially for women. Read more

Hypothyroidism Foods to Avoid

April 22, 2009 by Jen  
Filed under Thyroid

If you suffer from hypothyroidism, do you know which foods to avoid so you don’t stop your medication from working as prescribed?

Foods are like medication - and the following list contains those that are stuffed with goitrogens, nasty little chemicals that can block your thyroid (and medication) from producing thyroid hormone properly, especially when eaten raw. Lower your thyroid function and you could develop a goiter, or swollen, enlarged thyroid tissue.
Read more