According to Dr. David Pollack, of Pollack Wellness InstituteMore than 20 million Americans have a thyroid condition. Sixty percent of us do not know we have this insidious problem. Those taking the typical medical treatment of levothyroxine or similar compounds find they do not feel the way they expected to. Often still tired, still gaining weight, with brain fog, hair loss and digestive problems. Despite these staggering statistics and life-draining symptoms, there are solutions—many of which are completely natural. These methods can be used for those that are and are not on prescription medications.
Fix the gut! The far majority of hypothyroid sufferers have a specific type called Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune thyroid condition. If you think about that, it actually isn’t a broken thyroid, per se, it is a broken immune system. So we ask, where does your immune system live? It is said that anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of the body’s immune system lives in the gut—the small intestines in particular. Considering that approximately 70 million people have digestive problems, it’s no wonder there are so many autoimmune issues in this country. Working on ridding the body of heartburn, reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), bloating and bowel issues can be the most powerful way to reduce thyroid symptoms and need for medication.
Eat real food. It sounds so simple, but most food in the U.S. is not so real. A simple way to think about it is that real food looks as close to its original form in nature as possible. As an example, bread and pasta don’t really look like the wheat plant or whatever alternative grain used. Even orange juice doesn’t really look like an orange. These are slightly extreme examples on purpose, but they really represent the concept. Eating real food tends to be easier to process, is less inflammatory to the immune system, and generally causes less allergic-type response in the body.
Get the right bloodwork. As previously stated, 60 percent of Americans that have a thyroid problem do not know it. The irony is many of them have had some limited thyroid testing but often not the right ones. For whatever reason that I personally do not understand, most internists and endocrinologists only marginally test for thyroid problems, knowing that Hashimoto’s is the most common thyroid problem. Many people only have the TSH test performed, which actually isn’t even a thyroid hormone. It is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that controls the thyroid. Some lucky patients get another test or two performed—often T4 and/or T3, which can provide slightly deeper insight. Remember, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease. It may actually appear with “normal” TSH, T4 and T3 levels. Upon deeper testing of the autoimmune process, many find imbalances of the thyroid antibodies (markers of the autoimmune process) and an increases in a broken thyroid hormone called reverse T3. Reverse T3 is a malformed thyroid hormone that reduces the overall thyroid function and blocks receptors, further reducing regular T3 effectiveness. It will show as T3 in the standard blood tests, however, and even influence normal TSH levels. It is paramount that these tests are performed to truly evaluate thyroid function and really find out if someone has a thyroid imbalance or not.
Even if you have a known or unknown thyroid issue, there are really great solutions to heal the thyroid system. It starts with finding out what is really happening in the body, then taking simple steps to assess and repair the systems that are causing the dysfunction. Often employed is a combination of nutritional adjustments, appropriate supplementation and ancillary therapies, such as acupuncture and detoxification, to help assist the healing of the body’s myriad systems. I always suggest the assistance of an experienced holistic functional nutrition specialist when making significant changes in a person’s health program.
Source: Dr. David Pollack, of Pollack Wellness Institute, located at 66 Commack Rd., Ste. 204, Commack. For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit PollackWellness.com.