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Tricky Thyroid Tests: Is there something wrong with my thyroid in spite of “normal” tests?

Overview of the thyroid system (See Wikipedia:...

Image via Wikipedia

Suffering from fatigue, constipation, weight gain, depression, brain fog, cold intolerance, hair loss, irregular menstrual periods, low libido and perhaps a host of other unexplained symptoms? Had tests for thyroid and results come back normal? Could it be that the “thyroid tests” only consisted of TSH (a pituitary hormone) and T4? Let’s say that “all” the thyroid tests were done and everything came back “normal”, is it still possible to have some underlying thyroid issues? Have you been tested for free T3, thyroid antibodies or reverse T3? Is there a family history of thyroid problems? Any history of sub-normal body temperatures (average body temperature less than 98.6)? Are you “freezing” all the time? Do you ever get a fever when you’re fighting off an infection? If any of the above questions got you thinking “could I possibly have thyroid issues?”, then you may be right. It’s always helpful to listen to your body (or intuition) coz in this society, we are brainwashed to think that medical authorities know our body more than we know it ourselves (although in certain instances, we need “expert’s”  opinions).

Back to making a diagnosis of thyroid issues. Free T3 is the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone. If it’s “low normal” and if a person has concomitant low thyroid symptoms, then it will be helpful to support the thyroid. In a holistic practice, one may start with nutritional support of the thyroid and if that doesn’t work, a trial of actual thyroid hormone could be used. The use of animal glandulars with both T3 and T4 such as Armour thyroid is preferable since some people who use synthetic T4 alone may not be able to convert it to T3 due to nutritional deficiencies including that of the mineral selenium. By the way, it’s also important to address adrenal dysfunction if a person has thyroid issues in the first place. In Chinese medicine, these are considered yin yang organs and are supposed to support each other. Substances that help the adrenals are called adaptogens and include rhodiola, ashwaghanda, ginseng, cordyceps and holy basil. Nutrients such as vitamin C and pantothenic acid also support adrenal function.

Anyway, for those with auto-immune type of thyroid conditions, it would be helpful to test for food sensitivity as well. Sometimes, getting off offending foods could resolve the thyroid issue. Interesting, huh?

Why is it that we’re seeing a lot of thyroid problems nowadays? The thyroid is one of the most vascular organs in the body. Toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis usually affect our thyroid. Some of these toxins are so ubiquitous in the environment that it’s sometimes difficult to avoid them. Some could be avoided entirely though (such as water that’s been purified with halides such as chlorine, bromine or fluoride). They all compete with iodine in the formation of thyroid hormone. Stress also affects thyroid function (elevated cortisol preventing the conversion of T4 to T3). Nutritional deficiencies also plays a major factor in the prevalence of thyroid disorders nowadays.


New Year’s Resolutions

Here we go again making new year’s resolutions. Among the
most common resolutions include losing weight, stopping unhealthy
habits such as smoking or drinking, and starting an exercise
program. Whatever a person’s new year’s resolution is, it is
important to be patient and give ourselves a break when things
don’t go as planned. Anyway, I’d like to discuss the issue of
addictions, whether it’s smoking, drinking, gambling, you name it.
Oftentimes, these addictions are brought about by nutritional
imbalances. To put it simply, people oftentimes crave certain
things because they lack nutrients such as vitamins, minerals,
amino acids, essential fatty acids, and trace elements.
Fortunately, there are tests available that could tell us exactly
what we’re lacking. These tests could be done through the blood,
hair, and the urine. Of course, these tests are not mainstream yet,
so your conventionally-trained doctor may not be aware of these
tests. However, a simple CBC and serum chemistry can tell us what’s
going on with a person nutritionally, although indirectly. A CBC
for instance, can tell if there’s iron, B12 or folic acid
deficiency. High blood sugar could be due to lack of vitamin B1 or
thiamine. Low creatinine could be due to protein insufficiency or
impaired digestion. Low uric acid could be due to copper or
molybdenum deficiencies. Low CO2 can also be due to a lack of
vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency. Low albumin could be due to a
need for more vitamin C. Low AST/SGOT and low ALT/SGPT could be due
to vitamin B6 deficiency. Low GGTP could be due to B6 or Magnesium
deficiency. High total/free T-3 could be due to iodine deficiency
while low total /free T-3 could be due to selenium deficiency. Low
total/free T-4 could be due to iodine deficiency. In summary,
“normal” tests don’t really mean anything because it’s mostly based
on statistics. Low normal or high normal mean something, especially
if a person is symptomatic. It goes back to individualizing
treatment or a more personalized medicine.

Super Bugs: No Problem! Supercharge Your Immune System!

Ebola, AIDS, MRSA, Vancomycin-resistant Pseudomonas, chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium (cause of Malaria). These are just a few of the super bugs that we could all possibly encounter in our world that’s rapidly getting smaller every day due to air travel. In recent times when sea travel was the main mode of transportation, people who were still asymptomatic would usually show signs and symptoms before they arrive at their destination. In today’s world of faster air travel, people infected may not show signs and symptoms until they arrive somewhere. This can cause the rapid spread/transmission of communicable diseases. This is especially true in a stressed-out, nutritionally-deficient, and unhealthy population.

What is the traditional answer to this issue? I think that we all know the answer to that. Suffice it to say, this reactionary approach (the race to find cures) doesn’t work well because these bugs are smarter than we think. By the time so-called cures are available, they’ve already mutated to a form that’s resistant to the “cure”. That’s one of the reasons why we have MRSA and Vancomycin-resistant Pesudomonas, among many others.

There is no one to blame for this scenario. Health care practitioners (by indiscriminate use) and patients (by insisting that they be given a medication) alike are responsible for the proliferation of super bugs.

What then can we do about it? I would say that we adopt what the traditional Chinese medicine practitioners did in earlier times. A doctor at the time would only get paid or compensated when their clients are healthy. If their clients get sick, the doctors don’t get paid. It does make a lot of sense to do this. This preventive approach would save billions of dollars in health care.

What are the things we can do to fortify our immune system? Let’s start with the basics before we even discuss specifics. Having a healthy diet, adequate water intake, enough exposure to sunlight and the earth’s electromagnetic energy, rest, exercise, good relationships and stress reduction all go a long way in building our immune defenses.

There are ways to strengthen the immune system with the use of dietary supplements. Here are just a few examples;

mixed carotenoids (natural vitamin A)- good for the mucous membranes (respiratory and intestinal tract protection)

vitamin C complex (natural vitamin C with bioflavonoids)- traditionally used to boost the immune system against infections and tumors but also good for formation of collagen, along with L-lysine and L-proline

vitamin D3- studies show that it could protect against the flu (low levels of exposure to sunlight during the winter months make one vulnerable to the flu) and against certain forms of cancer

selenium- one of the co-factors in the formation of glutathione, which is abundant in the spleen and lymphocytes, both involved in immune system health

zinc- has antimicrobial properties and also good for prostate health in men

manganese- helps in the production of SOD, one of the antioxidants endogenously produced in our bodies

probiotics- an essential nutrient especially if one has taken antibiotics in the past, helps prevent bacterial and fungal overgrowth in the intestine

clove- has the highest ORAC (antioxidant levels) level among all natural substances, has antimicrobial properties as well

thyme- its constituent thymol has antifungal properties

lemon- has d-limonene which has anti-carcinogenic properties, has anti-viral properties as well (along with other citrus oils)

cinnamon- has antibacterial properties, also regulates blood sugar

rosemary- antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory

oregano- antimicrobial

chlorella and spirulina- immune stimulants

raspberries- rich in ellagic acid, which has anti-carcinogenic properties

apricots- rich in vitamin B 17, also has anti-carcinogenic properties

wolfberries- also stimulates release of HGH from the pituitary

broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables- lowers xenoestrogens, cleanses liver

frankincense- helps repair DNA

Flu Fighter


Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Image via Wikipedia


There’s more to preventing the flu than just getting your annual vaccine (which actually doesn’t protect against the current strain of the flu). A healthy immune system is always our best defense against any type of bug, whether it be a virus, bacteria, fungus or parasite. To achieve and maintain a healthy immune system, a person has to take care of the basics. That includes having a healthy diet, adequate water intake, deep breathing, stress reduction, adequate rest and exercise, quality sleep, healthy relationships and last but not least, spirituality. Besides these general recommendations, there are specific nutrients that could help in the fight against the flu. These include certain vitamins, minerals, herbs and essential oils. Vitamin D (D3 in particular), the so-called “happiness” vitamin because of it’s role in preventing SAD or seasonal affective disorder, is more than a vitamin. It’s a pro-hormone and and an immune modulator as well. Doses from 1,000 to 10,000 IU daily may be given to achieve an optimal level of 60-80 ng/ml. Vitamin A can also be used for short periods to help increase secretory IgA and improve the immune system. Doses from 50,000-100,000 units have been used for short periods to help against viral infections. Make sure that a person has a healthy liver prior to initiating high doses of vitamins A and D. Vitamin C complex (with bioflavonoids) can also be given at 1,000-6,000 mg daily. Adequate water intake is suggested when taking higher doses of vitamin C. Minerals such as zinc and selenium, and herbs such as astragalus and garlic, do help as well. Finally, there’s essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary and thyme. I specifically recommend a therapeutic-grade essential oil blend from YLEO called Thieves. It works!

Balance Bars……

Fire and Ice

Image by ecstaticist via Flickr

That’s one of my favorite Olympic sports. I remember as a kid trying to balance myself on our “pader”, which is the Tagalog word for wall or a tall fence made of cement basically. It is a delicate balancing act. One wrong step and you’re off to the ground (just like Humpty Dumpy). Anyway, it’s the same balancing act that goes on with our hormones. Factors such as nutritional deficiencies (lack of selenium prevents conversion of T4 to T3), heavy metal toxicity (mercury attacks some hormones), or oxidative stress (excessive free radical formation could affect every cell in the body including our endocrine glands) could influence hormonal balance. Hormones by the way, are chemical messengers (secreted by endocrine glands in our body) that act on different target organs. Our hormonal/endocrine system is intimately connected to the nervous and immune systems (which secrete neurotransmitters and cytokines, respectively). These three systems work together bringing optimal communication among every cell in the body. There is such a strong connection among these systems that it’s difficult to treat one system without messing with the others. That’s the reason why we need to be careful about what we take in (whether it’s food, drugs, supplements, water, and yes, even our thoughts) because it affects everything. We cannot isolate one part of the body from the rest of it. In fact, I’m reminded of one Biblical verse which says that, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” Just thought I’d mention that. Hope everybody’s having a great week!

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