Two people asked me questions about Thyroid numbers on their tests. One person had a high TSH, the other a high T3. I only have INFORMATION for them to bring to their doctors, not a diagnosis, but it’s important information. Often when doctors see these numbers, they throw “typical” pharmaceuticals at it; but there’s a much bigger picture to these numbers. The thyroid doesn’t “stand alone”; nothing in our body works in isolation, everything works ( or doesn’t work), in tandem with the rest of our body. Modern medicine/pharmaceuticals treats problems in very isolated ways which explains why so often, health issues aren’t resolved by band-aiding symptoms.
Thyroid Facts: the Pituitary gland makes TSH, the Thyroid gland does not. A low or high TSH is something the Pituitary is doing, not the thyroid. The pituitary is taking a measure of the level of T3 and T4 (the hormones the thyroid DOES make), and then sending out the TSH accordingly. Here’s the problems: the pituitary is looking at the amount of T3 and T4 in the blood. There’s so many reasons for a “mis-reading”: you don’t have enough Iodine in your diet ( that’s a common deficiency) to knock a T4 down to a T3; you don’t have enough selenium which keeps T4 low in the blood and reduces reverse T3 ( RT3). Maybe you don’t get enough zinc and copper – which have vital thyroid functions, or maybe you get these nutrients, but don’t absorb them well because your stomach acid is too low? How’s your Vitamin D status, studies show it’s EPIDEMICALLY low, and vitamin D has a HUGE role to play in thyroid function, and auto-immune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s). What if you don’t have the enzymes that help knock that 4th T (tyrosine – which is an animo-acid from protein – do you get enough protein?), down to T3, which is the thyroid hormone that actually is USED by our cells, unlike T4, which is basically just a pre-cursor to T3. What if everything works up to the point of your cells using the T3, but most of your T3 is bound by “globulins” – which makes it Reverse T3 (RT3) and UNUSABLE.
Are you getting my point? There’s many reasons for your “off” thyroid numbers, and throwing the typical meds (synthroid or armor) at it may not even come close to solving your problem.
Oh! Stress/Cortisol has HORRIBLE effects on the whole chain of thyroid function – how’s your stress hormones? Because if they’re shooting off like rockets, no thyroid drug in the world is going to fix that.
I bet I’ve confused you more – Good. Get unconfused! Here’s some great resources to read before you let anyone determine a course of action for you. Dr. Brownstein is a renowned authority on thyroid, he has a great blog and books. Dr. Izabelle is an expert – and she deals with it herself. And then there’s the famous site: Stop The Thyroid Madness.
Next, I had a chance to review 2 blood work panels this week. Interestingly, each of these people had very similar results: slightly high total cholesterol, great/high HDL, “high” LDL, low triglycerides, and low VLDL. Each was slightly worried about the TC/total cholesterol number. I wouldn’t worry about either, and here’s why: We now know CONCLUSIVELY that TC is a pretty useless, meaningless number when it comes to heart disease. Even high LDL isn’t a sure thing, there’s 5 kinds of LDL and some are necessary and good. Our body makes cholesterol in EVERY SINGLE CELL because it’s vitally important to life, health, and well-being. We’d die without cholesterol, and low cholesterol is NOT linked to health and vitality, but to illness, shortened lifespan, and mental disorders. Honestly. Read This for an Expert Researchers/Scientist explanation of why we need cholesterol.
If you’re worried about risk factors for heart disease, look at your Triglycerides, your VLDL, your HDL to TC ratio, and your Triglyceride to HDL ratio. Look here for the facts and equations. Read Cholesterol Clarity if you want to hear what 28 serious experts make of the latest cholesterol and heart disease information.
What I love seeing? That 2 different doctors ran the VLDL numbers. Very Low Density Lipoproteins are indicators of heart disease risk. VLDL is small and dense, the “bad kind of cholesterol”. It’s prone to oxidation and causes much artery damage. Here’s the “good” thing: our body only makes VLDL when we eat too many CARBS-SUGAR-GLUCOSE and has to convert the excess to TRIGLYCERIDES. VLDL is made by the liver to carry these triglycerides through the blood to their designated destination ( usually, your abdominal area). Want lower VLDL?? Eat less crappy carbs and watch your blood sugars. It’s simple.
Thyroid and Cholesterol, two seemingly different subjects, but one single point: quit trusting your Doctor to automatically determine the best course of action for you. Read, learn, educate yourself about YOUR BODY. We shouldn’t let the pharmaceutical industry (which is where doctors get their continuing ed from) be our guiding light – they’re a BUSINESS who NEED TO SELL US DRUGS TO SUCCEED.
Drugs have serious consequences and side-effects. Put some effort into figuring this stuff out before you travel down the path of taking pharmaceuticals, and then adding more pharmaceuticals to counter the side-effects of those pharmaceuticals.
Next: I got asked what I’m eating for the Super Bowl. Hmm. That would just be my dinner around 6pm or so, and it’ll consist of meat and a pile of vegetables, maybe cheese. I’m not dreaming of a binge, or planning one, or subjecting myself to feeling stuffed, bad, and then hungover. Why would I do that to myself?
Last, I have to leave you with a few more facts, these are inspired from I don’t remember who in the Future of Nutrition conference: Inflammation, and the conditions for Disease (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, thyroid…) are developing YEARS, even DECADES, before the manifestation of symptoms. Actually, studies show that we build and nurture our diseases for an average of 20 years before they actually disrupt our lives. Even pancreatic cancer and Parkinson’s, which seem to “suddenly-onset” and progress rapidly – studies show they’ve been brewing for an average of 20 years before the symptoms. Take control of your life, your health, your eating, and your thoughts. You really, really do have power over these things.
Make the connection between your foods, your eating habits, how you handle stress, how much you sleep, and how much you move, to YOU. Your energy, your health, your general mood, your creativity, your vitality: You. What you do – every day, consistently, mostly, habitually – really, really matters. Become a Real Whole Foodie:)