Did you know that Thyroid disease, including the autoimmune disease "Hashimoto's Thyroiditis" is one of the fastest growing diseases in North America and that the synthetic thyroid hormone, Levothyroxine (sold as “Synthroid”), is the most widely prescribed drug in Canada? In this article:
what does the Thyroid do?
Despite its relatively small size, the thyroid gland is a critical organ that regulates heart and brain health, the digestive system, muscle and bone health, and the regulation of body temperature as well as energy production by burning fat and sugar. Thyroid disorders include:
Hypothyroidism (Decreased thyroid gland function): symptoms of constant fatigue, insomnia, listlessness, constipation, sensitivity to cold temperatures, cold hands and feet, weight problems, dry skin, and hair loss/change in texture.
Hyperthyroidism/Grave's disease (Overactive thyroid gland function): unwanted weight loss, diarrhoea, anxiety, palpitations, or panic attacks, bulging eyes, enlarged thyroid, swelling in throat, temperature fluctuations, sweating, and high blood pressure.
Hashimotos Thyroiditis (Autoimmune disease): In this case the over- and underactive thyroid function often alternates in short successions. Symptoms are often more varied and severe:
In addition, Hashimotos is commonly present in conjunction with other autoimmune conditions such as ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, celiac, eczema, psoriasis, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc. as well as other health complications such as, type 2 diabetes, acid reflux, plantar fasciitis, infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy complications, perimenopause/menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), chronic fatigue syndrome (including: chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, and systemic exertion intolerance disease), and more!
limitations of conventional medicine
If you go to the family doctor with these kind of complaints, they will likely measure your thyroid hormone levels (TSH) and if the results come back between 0.5 - 5, they typically assume that there’s no problem, no matter how awful you feel. Needless to say, this test is extremely limited in its ability to detect early and even advanced signs of a thyroid disorder. Unfortunately, conventional doctors are trained to treat the lab result (instead of the patient), so often dismiss the patient’s concerns unless the blood test “justifies” them.
Occasionally doctors may order an antibody test (TPO) to monitor the immune system's activity. Should these numbers be elevated, conventional doctors assume that the patient's own body is "attacking itself," at which point they diagnose the patient with an "autoimmune" disease. The theory that the body "attacks itself" is not only false, but has had devastating consequences, evidenced by tragic treatment outcomes (I will discuss the latest science about the true nature of autoimmune disease in a future article).
In fact, conventional doctors usually wait until the thyroid gland "can do no more," then rely on synthetic hormones, such as “Synthroid” (Levothyroxine), to take over the thyroid's job - For more than 50 years, holistic practitioners have widely thought this medication to be ineffective, a fact which is now being acknowledged by conventional medical doctors in Canada and around the world: In Recommendations for Subclinical Hypothyroidism published in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Thomas Agoritsas, an assistant professor of medicine at Hamilton's McMaster University, and other panellists concluded that thyroid medication (Synthroid/levothyroxine)
"consistently demonstrate no clinically relevant benefits for quality of life or thyroid-related symptoms, including depressive symptoms, fatigue and body mass index [...] From what we know, it's very likely [levothyroxine treatment] won't work."
In addition to questioning the benefits of synthetic thyroid hormones, increasing amounts of doctors are now concerned about the potential harms of Synthroid, which many believe are still not well understood. To make matters worst, conventional medicine still doesn't understand what causes thyroid disease - which is a major reason why treatment options are so limited and ineffective.
In short, the conventional approach often leaves patients feeling discouraged, confused, and hopeless, while delaying their opportunity to treat the disorder before it gets worst and prevent the need for harmful medications or even surgery.
A simple home test
Simply measure your axillary (underarm) basal body temperature in the morning while still in bed, before you start to be active:
The true causes of thyroid disease
In holistic medicine, the goal is to determine the causes of the problem, at which point, the solution becomes quite obvious. Here is what we know so far:
the Mind-Body Connection
From a Mind-Body perspective, the thyroid is related to communication and self-expression. When inner or interpersonal conflicts are not addressed and negative feelings are suppressed, blockages occur in the body’s acupuncture and chakra systems, which can eventually lead to a disorder of the thyroid gland itself. A broken heart, betrayal, caring for a sick loved one, and financial strains are also particularly common triggers for thyroid disease.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the thyroid is part of the stomach-spleen-pancreas meridian. The failure to fulfil expectations - one's own or those of others - often leads to exhaustion, not just of the thyroid, but of the whole person!
Organs situated on the spleen meridian include the maxillary sinuses, chest, stomach, spleen, pancreas, groin, hips, front of the knees, molars of the upper jaw (17-16-26-27) and the premolars of the lower jaw (35-34-44-45). Disorders in these areas should always be taken into account if the thyroid is malfunctioning
how to heal the thyroid
In this way, a truly Holistic, integrative, and individualized treatment protocol can be implemented ensuring very positive treatment outcomes.
Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified BodyTalk Practitioner