• Adrenal Fatigue/ Autoimmune diseases/ Blood sugar management/ Exclusion diet/ Health/ hormones/ Hyperthyroidism/ Hypothyroidism

    Thyroid disruption and modern diet/lifestyle influence

    Thyroid Hormones

    A while ago I wrote an article about why I thought we needed to look at the treatment of low Thyroid  (Hypothyroidism and especially Hashimoto’s) in a more holistic way. Today I would like to discuss why we have an Hypothyroid epidemic that is also treated inadequately by mainstream medicine. Modern Lifestyle has created the perfect storm – stress, low fat, high carb diet and disrupted Thyroid/hormones. Nutrition and lifestyle changes can have a great effect, as I have proved by my own, so read on to find out…..

    The Functional Medicine approach of  an understanding of the root cause and lifestyle choices can lead to better outcomes with or without hormone replacement.

    I remember being taught that the Pituitary was the conductor of the endocrine orchestra… many years ago but analogies often stick in the mind. This basically illustrates that all the hormones in the body when healthy, work together  in a balanced and synchronised way and if one instrument was to play the wrong notes then the whole production would be discordant.

    Now let’s look one of the most common chronic problems – FATIGUE. Not just feeling tired because you have been over-working, over-exercising or ill but a chronic fatigue that means you never really have much energy, you might even wake up feeling tired and you mostly feel lack-lustre with no get-up-and-go and no incentive to do anything. You go to the Doctor and after some blood tests you are told you have low Thyroid function and they may suggest that you need to take Thyroxine – for the rest of your life.

    The Thyroid Gland

    The Thyroid Gland in your neck, controlled by a hormone from the Pituitary called TSH, produces hormones T3 and T4 that regulate your metabolism and that doesn’t just mean how many calories you burn and whether or not you put on weight – it means that the thyroid hormones regulate the way every cell in the body functions. Just to list some of the functions that are affected:

    • Heart Rate
    • Breathing
    • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Body Temperature
    • Muscle Strength
    • Menstrual Cycles
    • Blood sugar
    • Cholesterol levels

    Therefore when the Thyroid Gland is producing either too many hormones or too few the symptoms in the body can be very diverse and affect the quality of life.  Sometimes this prevents someone going to their Doctor because they feel they will be perceived as a hypochondriac and they are not sure how to describe the feeling they have “not being quite in control” or “out of sync” – which is exactly what, in fact is happening with imbalance in the whole endocrine system.

    Let’s revisit that Orchestra….. one musician is playing off key, so what are the choices? Remove them, replace them or find out why and try to correct the problem. Exactly the same in medicine. The Doctor might remove the Thyroid Gland (either by surgery or with Radiation), or the most common scenario is to replace the missing hormones with just artificial T4 (which frequently turns out to be an inferior player!) or, as in the Functional Medicine approach, investigate why it is out of balance and try to correct the problem.This can be complicated and time consuming because you have to look at all the hormone systems and how they regulate each other. It could cost a lot of time and money and a specialist to interpret all the results and we are really only just beginning to understand how things work on a cellular level.

    NB. frequently Hypothyroidism is preceded by a period of Hyperthyroid type symptoms. Hyperactivity, anxiety, poor sleep and stress because the body is pumping out lots of TSH from the Pituitary to try to get the Thyroid to work harder. If, at this stage you are treated aggressively for Hyperthyroidism then you will end up in an even worse situation, possibly even without a Thyroid Gland.

    The Nutritional Approach

    I like to take a different approach. I start with what we know –

    • Thyroid imbalance sometimes has an Autoimmune cause with anti-bodies present in the blood. Ask your Doctor to do this test.
    • There is often a history of chronic stress, sugar/caffeine cravings with resulting high Cortisol. Thyroid hormones help eliminate excess Cortisol but if the hormone Pregnenolone is low the body will be using too much thyroid hormone and the body may be struggling to produce more. See the OAT axis mentioned in the Medical advice section.
    • or a history of years of yo-yo low fat dieting, metabolic syndrome or Diabetes.
    • there may be a history of hormonal disruption, menstruation problems, fertility problems, Birth control hormones or HRT, oestrogen dominance symptoms. Oestogen can prevent the conversion of T4 to its active form of T3 in the body. All connected in the OAT axis.
    • look for clusters of symptoms – there are over 300 connected to Thyroid dysfunction but it is important to see beyond the symptoms and be aware of underlying nutritional deficiencies.
    • A Leaky Gut or poor gut microbiome may have caused or added to the problem – especially if thyroid antibodies have been found.
    • Coeliac Disease or a Gluten or Lactose intolerance could have caused nutritional deficiencies
    • or there may be deficiencies due to a restricted diet. Selenium, zinc and iodine are essential for the production and utilisation of Thyroid hormones.
    • There may be an underlying infection. Epstein Barr Virus has been implicated recently and this could also account for some of the more advanced symptoms such as tingling of the hands and feet, itchy skin, irregular heart rhythm and nodules in the Thyroid gland. There may be a history of infection such as Glandular Fever or ‘Mono’, Herpes virus, Shingles etc. These are viruses that can lay dormant for years but activating the immune system and it is believed that the percentage of people now carrying these viruses is extremely high.

    What can we do to correct the imbalances.

    1. Start with your diet. A Paleo Approach diet that includes plenty of leafy vegetables, Berries, healthy fats and enough quality (organic if possible) protein. Eliminate gluten, Dairy and Soy plus any other food you appear to react to. Good substitutes for Dairy exist in Coconut milk/yogurt products or Almond Milk but initially it is best to avoid all processed Gluten Free products to reduce inflammation as much as possible. Change to using Celtic Sea Salt as this contains iodine which is essential for Thyroid hormone production. Ordinary table salt is just sodium chloride, chemicals and some added iodine whereas Celtic Sea salt is natural, sun dried salt and has other important minerals including magnesium, manganese iron and zinc. Selenium is another mineral that is required by the thyroid and is often deficient in the soil and diet in many countries so it is well worth adding about 200mcg a day. Selenium works well with adequate levels of Vitamin D3 and therefore it is best to get levels checked and to take 4,000 – 5,000 iu per day during the winter.
    2. Reduce sugar in all its forms and do not use artificial sweeteners. It is very important to balance your blood sugar therefore make sure you have protein and healthy fat at each meal – this is NOT a calorie controlled diet, if you eat enough of the healthy proteins and fats you will not feel hungry but you will still lose weight because your body will adapt to burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Restricting Calories can lead to even more stress on the Adrenals and make losing weight harder. It can take a little while to adapt to this ‘keto’ diet and initially you may get some symptoms of detox which is because lots of toxins are stored in body fat and when you start to burn that fat you will start to eliminate those toxins. Drink plenty of water or coconut water (unsweetened) and add 2-3g of vitamin C if you get constipated. Warm Epson Salts baths may help as well so that all the detox pathways – skin, kidneys and bowels are working well. The liver will also have to work hard at first so be kind to it – start the day with warm water and fresh lemon juice and avoid alcohol until you are feeling much better.
    3. Healing the gut and reducing inflammation are very important and I have many articles (and an e-book) on how this is achieved and supplements that can speed the progress so I won’t cover it again here.
    4. Reduce Stress – examine your lifestyle/commitments and work out ways to reduce the stress. Yoga or Pilates can work wonders if practised at least every other day and there are some brilliant, free video courses on YouTube. this is my favourite teacher Yoga with Adriene

      She has a brilliant one for neck and shoulder relief and this is where so many of us hold our stress and tension.

    5. After 2-4 weeks I would suggest trying some adaptogenic herbs – these help to balance your hormones, can help with relaxation and sleep. They have been used for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic Medicine but research which sound best for you and whether they are safe to take with any pre-existing condition, pregnancy or breast feeding. Ashwaganda and/or Licorice root are good but try one at a time to see if they suit you.
    6. Then we can add some foods and supplements that can help reduce your viral load – if that is possibly a problem for you. I would start by gradually increasing the coconut oil/cream in your diet. Use Virgin Coconut oil in cooking or as a spread with nut butter and maybe add some MCT oil to your coffee in the morning. if you add too much too quickly you will give yourself stomach cramps and possibly diarrhoea. The beneficial fat in coconut oil is Lauric Acid which can be converted to the active ingredient Monolaurin in the body or for a stronger effect you can buy Monolaurin as a dietary supplement. Other supplements that can kill EBV are Lemon Balm, L-Lysine an amino acid, Olive leaf, Black seed oil or Scutellaria (the herb Skullcap). These may be natural remedies but they are strong and it is important to follow the dosing advice if self treating.

    My Personal experience…

    If you suspect that your Thyroid is not performing as it should you could take your morning temperature before you get out of bed.(This is called your Basal body temperature and will likely be low if you have low Thyroid function.) My worst symptoms were hair loss, tingling of hands and feet and poor sleep.

    • My Basal Temperature was about 34.2C when I first took it in July of 2017. My pulse 48 and irregular (sinus Bradycardia)and my blood pressure always low. Normal basal temperature would be 36.1 – 37C & a normal pulse is about 60 -72 beats per minute.
    • I started taking Selenium at this time because as I was already following a healthy Paleo diet, gluten, soy and dairy free,eating organic veg and taking additional minerals this was one mineral I knew I could be short of living in the UK.
    • I started taking Methyl B complex vitamins as they are better absorbed.
    • After just 2 weeks my Basal temperature had already risen to between 35C – 36C
    • I then tried adding a Tyrosine capsule a day but this gave me a headache and a discomfort in my throat – it is not recommended that people with auto-immune Thyroid (Hashimotos Hypothyroid) use this as it can trigger a bigger immune response. I stopped this on day 7 but noticed that my metabolism was up, I was actually feeling warm and the tingling in my hands and feet was much better.
    • After a few days I started taking Ashwaganda. This according to Ayurvedic medicine is best taken with milk (coconut or almond for me)and honey prior to bed.
    • I then thought I would try a protocol that would reduce any EBV activity. I have a strong history of Shingles x 3 with the first severe infection when I was 12 and a severe Glandular Fever aged 18 that left me with post viral fatigue for several months. I vary what I take to give maximum effect. L-Lysine first and I actually got herpes pain over the area of my back that had been affected and just a couple of blisters appeared! I then tried Black seed oil for 3 weeks and I started to feel much better. Everything improved except my sleep which was erratic – having some great nights followed by a few of not being able to get to sleep until 3 or 4 am.

    Now, January 2018, my Basal Temperature is 36.1C and my pulse 60 and regular. My blood pressure has remained similar 120/60. I bought Thyroid Healing by The Medical Medium because although not a medical man he has a great knowledge of healing with diet. I added freeze dried wild blueberries, celery, apple and papaya to my diet. Previously I had concentrated on raspberries, blueberries and strawberries but in the Winter in the UK these are imported and not tasty whereas freeze dried wild blueberries are more nutritious and there is no waste.

    What next for me? 

    Continue on my improved diet, continue to take supplements as needed. This year I am going to keep up my Yoga practice, spend more time in Nature and have the whole of February Free of social media if you want to join me #freefromFeb is the hashtag! Just need to improve my sleep so will give my brain a detox.

    Conclusion

    In six months I have managed to improve my Thyroid function to near normal limits and avoided prescription medication. I have no symptoms of parasthesia in my hands or feet and they are actually warmer than they have been in years! My sleep is still not right so I have just started taking Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese Skullcap) following an excellent webinar from Metabolic Healing on Thyroid management. This herb has many therapeutic benefits and references can be found here

    and even more science here 

    Described as the most powerful antioxidant owing to its 5 compounds and strong anti-inflammatory actions, ease of crossing the blood-brain-barrier and it has neuroprotective properties.

    It should not be taken by people on statins, diabetes medication or anticoagulants. It is not recommended for anyone with oestrogen sensitive conditions and  there is insufficient evidence to say if it is safe in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

    Medical Advice

    I am not giving medical advice here and in the first instance you should always see a doctor to get blood tests and rule out any other disease or problem. I did this and I would encourage everyone to do the same but the reality in the UK and in mainstream medicine generally seems to be that you normally only get tested for TSH and T4 and that the ‘normal’ range for these appears to be too high in relation to what is actually being observed as signs and symptoms. You could ask that your adrenal function and oestrogen and progesterone are tested as well as the Thyroid anti-bodies test. Peri-menopause can give many of the same signs and symptoms or a Hysterectomy may have prompted problems.

    Doctors not trained in Functional Medicine do not usually look at the OAT Axis for imbalance between the Ovarian-Adrenal-Thyroid hormones and at how a low fat, high sugar /carbohydrate diet and chronic stress can impact the body. This is what the information above is able to address.

    Most of us would rather avoid surgery, radiation treatment or a lifetime of taking prescription medicines, either natural or artificial hormones. If you can get the help of a Functional Medicine Practitioner then great or an Ayurvedic practitioner but whatever you do you will need to document your symptoms and take responsibility for your health. We live in an age where chronic conditions – that cannot be cured with a prescription- are increasing at an alarming rate but it has been proved that nutrition and lifestyle can give you your quality of life back.

     

     

     

     

  • Exclusion diet/ Healthy Food/ Leaky Gut/ Nutritional Medicine

    Confused by all the nutritional advice? What should you eat??

    Nutritional advice

    Are you confused by all the nutritional advice out there? It is hardly surprising! Nutritional science is moving at an unprecedented pace and much of what we were told in the past and even advised by our Doctors, has been proved to be wrong.

    Any diet given a name seems to be either praised or condemned by someone. Some are aimed at fast weight loss and others more recently at reversing conditions that we previously thought had no cure.

    Atkins/SouthBeach/Dash/Paleo/AIP/LowFodmap/LCHF/  Flat Belly/Slim-fast/Weight Watchers/Slimmers World/Clean/RealFood ……….

    The list goes on and on…  and these days Doctors and Nutritionist are talking much more about Personalised Healthcare and plans that suit the individual – not just the condition. After all, if you are overweight it might be due to diet, lifestyle, hormones, Digestive Problems, Thyroid function, Insulin Resistance etc. and the important thing is to get to the root cause.

    Functional Medicine

    The Functional Medicine approach is based on finding the root cause of your health problems and supporting normal healing by making individual diet and lifestyle choices. It is a system strongly backed by science, evidence and a belief that we all have an ability to heal ourselves and have less reliance on drugs. It is also a system of medicine that believes that health is not just the absence of disease but a state of vitality and mental and physical energy.

    See this article for more information

    What Nutritional advice would I give?

    Modern technology means we can be more aware of our health, our heart rate, quality of sleep, exercise levels, steps taken, energy burnt and we might be more aware of anything not right about our health. Monitoring people and treating the person, not the symptoms is the future of medicine.

    I believe that no one diet suits everyone. For health and vitality you need the most varied diet you are able to digest and you need to work to improve your digestion for the optimum benefit. To get this right we need to let go of any previous beliefs and become aware of what our individual bodies like and need to thrive. Science is telling us that a lot of processed food contains substances that are damaging our health and therefore the ‘trend’ is towards cooking and much more fresh food than has been common over the past few decades. Your diet should not cause inflammation in your body and stress to your immune system but modern processed food diets are proven to do so in a large percentage of the population.

    Canada has just bought out new Nutritional advice and food guidelines based on fresh food and they have a new food pyramid.

    This is based on eating healthy fats, low carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables and some fruit. Good nutritional advice compared to most Countries guidelines.

    In the UK the NHS promotes “The NHS Diet Plan – Science has a go at Diet Plans” – just the title makes me wince!  Out of date Nutritional advice. They are still promoting cereals, bread and wholewheat pasta as a source of fibre and as the bulk of the diet with the emphasis on low fat foods as in the Eatwell Guide which also stipulates vegetable oils and low fat spreads. Functional Medicine Practitioners have been trying to educate people away from these choices for years!

    I do not promote the Low Fodmap diet (often suggested for IBS) as this is one of the most restrictive diets to stick to and doesn’t address healing the digestive system first. No diet should be so restrictive as to take all joy out of eating. Many people that follow this diet might get some digestive relief but will almost certainly suffer from nutrient deficiencies if not carefully monitored and supplemented. Where possible I always favour real food over supplements.

    So what is out?

    • Calorie Counting
    • Low fat diets
    • Meal replacement drinks and Bars
    • Low salt (better to have sea salt than processed sodium salt)
    • Low Cholesterol diets
    • using only egg whites
    • artificial sweeteners
    • MSG
    • other processed food additives and colours
    • all day snacking (harms the normal digestive process)
    • Long exercise sessions (HIIT training was proved to more beneficial many years ago – research Loughborough Uni 2013)

    Conclusions

    If you are free from any digestive problems, achy joints, autoimmune disease, disrupted thyroid hormones, skin problems, heart or blood sugar problems then I would suggest that you look at incorporating more fresh foods into your diet, more healthy fats (natural saturated fats, meat, fish, butter, cheese, olive oil, olives, coconut oil, nuts and seeds), plenty of fresh vegetable and some fruit. As you increase natural fats into your diet you become hungry less often and you do not crave snacks or sweet foods as much. You may feel you eat more and feel more satisfied than previously. Cut out as much sugar and processed carbohydrates as you can  and drink in moderation (wine and occasional spirits but less mixers).

    If you have any of the health  issues listed above then I always recommend an Elimination Diet for 4 weeks and the addition of supplements to heal the digestive tract. Probiotics, L-Glutamine, omega 3 oils, Licorice extract, and possibly Silicogel or Aloe Vera until your gut doesn’t bloat or feel uncomfortable and your bowel movements are easy and regular. Following on by very careful reintroduction of individual foods to see if your body reacts to them. This is because the root cause of many of these conditions is a damaged digestive system that might have been caused by infection, stress, antibiotics or intolerance to certain foods. If you can find and afford a Nutritional Practitioner then it would be best to work with them. They may be able to do blood, urine and stool tests as well as allergy and sensitivity tests that may speed the process. It is easy to get confused when doing it by trial and error. I tried going gluten free several times over the years and always felt better initially but it wasn’t until I carried out a proper Elimination diet that I discovered I also had intolerance to Dairy, Soy and oranges! I personally favoured using the Paleo AIP diet initially but have since been able to expand my choice of foods to include rice, gluten free oats, nuts and seeds – all in moderation. That is why I use the terms Paleo Approach, Clean and Real food. No one single diet should define what you eat or restrict foods that you do not have a problem with.

    I have many posts on how to do this, which foods most often cause problems and with ideas for healthy foods  so that it is not about deprivation but about making choices that satisfy you and nourish your body, brain and immune system while giving you abundant energy and good sleep.

    My main tip is to learn to listen to your body. Every day your body will require different food depending on the weather, your activity, your emotional state…(that’s where the chocolate usually comes in)

    One day I might fancy a succulent salmon steak, one day lamb and bacon burger with guacamole and occasionally I fancy this…

           Gluten free seeded toast, baked beans and free range eggs with Celtic sea salt and black pepper.

    Variety is the spice of life:-)

     

  • Adrenal Fatigue/ Cancer./ Energy/ Environmental/ Health/ Hyperthyroidism/ Hypothyroidism/ Mineral Depletion/ Nutrition and Cancer/ Sizzling Minerals

    Interesting Iodine

    iodine deficiency

    Iodine deficiency is a global health concern. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 2 billion people may be iodine deficient with about 50 million of them suffering from deficiency disorders which can range from low energy, cognitive decline, thyroid and adrenal dysfunction to cardiovascular disease, fibrocystic breast disease and a variety of cancers, especially breast and stomach cancer. Research has linked Iodine deficiency with ADHD and Autism with rates rising dramatically over the last two decades. According to research in the USA Iodine levels have dropped by more than half since the 1970’s. Under production of the hormone thyroxine causes weakened neural connections in the brain/nervous system. Iodine is therefore especially necessary for pregnant women and the development of their babies.

    From about the 1920’s onwards many people were suffering the effects of iodine deficiency, sometimes developing a visible swelling at the front of the neck called a Goiter in adults and preventable mental retardation in children due to low levels of iodine in the soil and diet. Governments recognised the problem and decided to add iodine to table salt as a way of increasing iodine levels in the diet. Most salts do not contain enough iodine to rectify the problem and processed foods don’t have to contain iodised salt therefore coupled with the reduction in salt intake over the last 20 years we now have millions suffering deficiency disorders.

    Iodine and the amino acid tyrosine make up thyroid hormones that control metabolism, body temperature, heart rate and glucose and fat levels in the blood. Selenium, Zinc and iron are also co-factors for enzymes that contribute to healthy tissue in the body.

    Too much thyroid hormone results in hyperthyroidism – a high metabolic rate, rapid heart beat and often palpitations, feeling warmer than normal and excessive sweating. In extreme cases it can lead to muscle weakness and weight loss. Too little thyroid hormone results in hypothyroidism – with the opposite symptoms, slow heart rate, feeling cold, constipation, weight gain, dry skin and hair, muscle aches and weakness, depression and fatigue. Energy levels are affected via the thyroid adrenal axis  and so adrenal support is often needed as well as thyroid support.

    It is often confusing that Iodine deficiency can lead to both low thyroid function and hyperthyroidism but fortunately all iodine deficiency disorders and related health issues can be prevented and treated with adequate intake of Iodine. Anyone who has been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease or Graves disease should work with their doctor to assess and correct their Iodine levels.

    These actions, generally promoted as being healthy, can also reduce your available Iodine –

    1. decreasing your salt intake
    2. using salt that has little or no Iodine
    3. being on a vegetarian or vegan diet puts you in an at risk group because plants contain lower iodine than animal and dairy products. It is hard to get even the minimum daily 150 mcg without eating seafood, eggs or dairy but eating small amounts of seaweed would easily correct this imbalance.
    4. sweating profusely while exercising means iodine can be lost in substantial amounts and that also applies to those that work in hot, humid environments.

    How much Iodine do we need? Read More

  • Health/ Healthy Food/ Nutritional Medicine/ Organic produce/ Toxin free products

    Dramatically Different Dietary Advice

    Natural fresh healthy food Gluten Free

    Brazil has been making the headlines with their new guidelines for the nations Nutrition. The advice from the Government is dramatically different dietary advice to any other Governments  in that they tell people to ignore advertisements as that is just marketing and not sound nutritional information. They also emphasise the social aspects of eating and that cooking and eating together is a large part of our humanity and development of our culture and civilisation. They encourage people to shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods, to eat produce locally grown and in season and whenever possible to buy organic, ecological based foods from the producers. If you would like to read their guidelines in more detail then Brazil’s 10 Steps to a Healthy diet can be seen here.

    Their four food categories are also very different and are as follows:-

    1. Natural or minimally processed foods – freshly made dishes and meals over ultra processed foods and drinks. These should form the bulk of the daily diet.
    2. Oils, fats, salt and sugar – the guide states that as long as these are used in moderation in preparing healthy food without making them nutritionally unbalanced.  This is probably the only area that I feel needs some clarifying for a healthy diet. I personally always stress that it is important to avoid processed fats and oils and to concentrate on healthier fats like butter, coconut oil and olive oil, to buy Celtic sea salt rather than processed salt and to avoid sugar as much as possible in favour of natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
    3. Processed foods – include foods like bread, cheeses, cured meats and pickles and these can be eaten in moderation.
    4. Ultra-processed foods – to be avoided or kept to an absolute minimum.

    So this guide is advocating a return to eating freshly prepared, home cooked meals and passing on the traditions of cooking and eating as a family as opposed to grabbing fast food on the go or ordering Pizza. It is great to see a Government taking this strong stance that goes way beyond normal Governmental dietary advice and against the massive Food Production Companies.

    How do we get back to eating this way?

    There are degrees of how much you might need to change depending on how you shop and eat now but the rules for change are the same – Read More

  • Adrenal Fatigue/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Fibromyalgia/ Hashimotos Disease/ Hypothyroidism/ ME/ Nutritional Medicine

    HYPOTHYROIDISM vs ADRENAL FATIGUE

    Thyroid Hormones

    Tired or exhausted most of the time? Let’s look at the some of differences between Hypothyroidism (low functioning Thyroid Gland) and Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue symptoms can resemble low Thyroid function and can also suppress Thyroid function through the complex HPA Axis (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis). Therefore people with Fatigue can show symptoms of low Thyroid function (Hypothyroidism) but the main difference is that in Adrenal Fatigue the Circadian Rhythms (physical, mental and behavioural changes that roughly follow a 24 hour cycle responding mainly to light and darkness) are disrupted with energy crashes during the day and disturbed sleep patterns and it is extremely important to treat the underlying imbalances to the HPA Axis before treating the low thyroid activity.

    Both share symptoms such as low energy, cold hands, low body temperature and sluggish digestion. There is a strong link between the Thyroid and the Adrenal glands – both glands are involved in energy production – and this link is usually referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid axis.

    For more in depth information go to Adrenal Fatigue Focus.

    The advice is to address the Adrenal fatigue with Stress reduction, Blood Sugar control and healing Gut dysfunction (see previous post) while also ensuring that the Thyroid has optimal nutrition, which is:-

    • Tyrosine – made in the body from good quality proteins (approx 30g a day) and sufficient Vitamin B6. Tyrosine supports neurotransmitters in the brain and is a precursor to Thyroxine and pituitary and Adrenal gland hormones. Lack of tyrosine causes low body temperature and low blood pressure. Good sources in the diet are meat, dairy products, eggs, almonds, avocados and bananas. Do not take tyrosine as a supplement if you suffer from migraine, are on MAOIs antidepressants or are pregnant.
    • Selenium – a trace mineral essential to all bodily functions. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the bodies supply. Low levels can contribute to autoimmune problems such as psoriasis and Thyroid disease. the following foods provide selenium: brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish(tuna, sardines, salmon etc.) Shellfish, meat, eggs, mushrooms, grains (wheatgerm, barley, brown rice and oats) and onions.
    • Zinc – a very important trace element. Can be found in mushrooms, meat, offal, nuts, seeds, oysters, eggs and wholegrain products.(organic where possible)
    • Iodine – found in fish and seafood, seaweed products, fresh pineapple, Celtic sea salt and Spirulina. It is possible to absorb it through the skin therefore if you paint a two inch square on your inner thigh every couple of days until there is still an amount remaining after 48 hours then stop for a while. Lugol’s iodine is also a preparation that can be taken by mouth when added to water. For more information visit Regenerative Nutrition. If you are already taking Thyroxine then you may need to get your levels tested more often and have the dose adjusted.
    • Reduce toxic overload, heavy metal toxicity and follow the Detox Diet detailed in other Millenniumhealth Posts.
  • Adrenal Fatigue/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Fibromyalgia/ ME/ Nutritional Medicine

    ADRENAL FATIGUE – the road to recovery.

    Fatigue

    Adrenal fatigue – how to diagnose and get on the road to recovery. Adrenal fatigue is now more usually recognised as a dysfunction of the HPA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis) because of the complex influences and feedback between these three endocrine glands. The Hypothalamus sends messages from the brain to the Adrenal glands, the Pituitary gland and other organs and is responsible for energy levels, body temperature and Circadian Rhythms. The Pituitary Gland is a pea sized gland that produces hormones essential for growth, fluid balance and reproduction. The Adrenal glands sit just above each kidney and produce steroid hormones such as Cortisol, DHEA and sex hormones plus stress hormones like adrenaline and dopamine.

    Anyone who has been ill for a long time, suffered prolonged levels of high stress, has an autoimmune disease or diseases (having one predisposes you to getting others) or has Chronic fatigue syndrome always has a degree of Adrenal Fatigue and HPA Dysfunction. The Adrenal Glands make our natural anti-inflammatory, Cortisol, so when they are under-performing the body is likely to be suffering from severe inflammation and potentially degenerative disease,as well as poor blood sugar control and stress control. NB. If you have already been prescribed NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for your joint pain or inflammation then please read all this information and decrease the drug use asap. These drugs and the gastric protector drugs that are given with them, have many unwanted and even dangerous side effects especially to the digestive lining. They can also affect your absorption of vital nutrients and so lead to more disruption of body symptoms. It is always much better to treat the source of the problems and not just treat the symptoms.

    The symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue will vary with the degree of malfunction of these glands and also may involve some dysfunction of the Thyroid gland as well. (more on that later). You may have some symptoms but still be able to function on a daily basis or have extreme, bed ridden, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

    Symptoms:-

    • low Blood pressure and frequently Postural Hypo-tension – where blood pressure falls on standing up.
    • decreased tolerance to cold
    • Cold hands and feet – often turning white with bluish nail bases.
    • shakiness
    • dizzy spells, feeling faint
    • increased allergies
    • general feeling of exhaustion
    • weakness of ligaments and muscle fatigue
    • low mood/depression/mood swings
    • cravings for salty or sweet food
    • problems controlling blood sugar
    • lower immunity to infections
    • poor sleep quality
    • over-active brain late evening or at night
    • Adrenaline up/ sex hormones down – irritability, depression, anxiety and menstrual problems in women.
    • sensitivity to loud noises
    • palpitations
    • thin, easily broken nails, sometimes with vertical ridges

    If you have a good few of these symptoms and you go to your General Practitioner they may test you and tell you that you don’t have Cushing’s syndrome or Addison’s disease and so therefore there isn’t anything wrong. Most of us know when there is and you can do plenty to fix it either by yourself or with the help of a Functional Medicine Doctor or Nutritionist. It may be possible to obtain an ASI (saliva test) that will be an indicator of the degree of Adrenal exhaustion but saliva tests only tests for free cortisol which is about 3-5% and the amount within the tissues could high and therefore urine tests can be much more accurate. It is important to treat all aspects of this complex system

    • by stress reduction
    • blood sugar regulation
    • Gut dysfunction
    • nutritional supplementation.

    Treatment

    It is essential to get enough Vitamin C on a daily basis as a water soluble vitamin that is not stored in the body or made in the human body (but is in other animals). You need a good source of vitamin C that is easily absorbed and that comes with Bioflavinoids and you have to take a supplement of 2-3,000 mgs to reach a therapeutic dose and cannot initially rely on diet alone. Some people can tolerate the more acidic versions but others may need the buffered versions (sodium ascorbate) and the most neutral for acidity is Sodium Citrate. With some acidic Vitamin C you can reach a intolerance level where you get loose bowel movements and then you have to reduce the dose to your own tolerance level.

    Licorice Root an adaptogenic herb that increases the level of circulating cortisol by reducing its breakdown. We are dealing with people who generally have Low Blood pressure with Adrenal Fatigue so in this case it is OK to take the normal Licorice Root. If you have other underlying health problems that cause you to have High Blood pressure then you need to take the Deglycyrrhized (DGL) type which does not raise blood pressure. It is a good idea to monitor your blood pressure while taking Licorice Root, especially lying and standing B/P so that you can vary the dose according to your results. When your blood pressure is consistently at about 120/90 then you can reduce the dose and monitor the effect. If you have an infection or a relapse in your condition it is often wise to increase the dose for a period of time to help your body cope.

    Celtic Ocean sea salt and drinking enough water will help normalise Blood pressure and provide essential minerals for good glandular function. Or Sizzling Minerals from Simply Naturals that are 75 Plant based minerals.

    Vitamin B Complex 50 mgs which has already been included in supplements recommended but especially B5 (Pantothenic Acid) as a deficiency results in adrenal atrophy. This vitamin is also found in cauliflower, broccoli, salmon, liver and sweet potatoes that are encouraged on the detox diet. Latest research shows that people with certain genetic make-up or problems utilising artificial vitamins may be better taking natural, plant source B Vitamins.

    Probiotics are extremely beneficial for improving gut function and boosting the Immune System. I recommend a six day course of Elixa Probiotic that is much stronger and with more beneficial strains than other makes.

    Zinc and Magnesium may also be needed in doses higher than can be obtained in your diet. Magnesium is well absorbed through a spray onto the skin which is a good way to take it if you hate swallowing too many pills or are having trouble sleeping and it will act as a relaxant prior to bed.

    Some Siberian Ginseng or even Panax Ginseng(which is considered stronger) may help some people as these are adaptogenic herbs but they may not suit everyone and I would not introduce them until you have established the other treatments for a while and are showing improvement. Equally I wouldn’t recommend Ashwaganda or Rhodiola or Astragalus for people who have autoimmune disease because they are very stimulating to the immune system as a whole.

    Rest and relaxation are vital to lowering stress levels, reducing inflammation and improving Adrenal Function. Try some guided Meditation tapes or Apps and find one that suits you. Gentle yoga, Tai Chi or stretching or having a massage could be beneficial. Avoid bright lights or electronic devices in the evening to promote the hormones that aid sleep. Spending time with pets or in Nature and getting some sun exposure is extremely beneficial. Avoid anything that causes anxiety or stress like watching the News, taking on other peoples problems etc. and aim for extreme self care and calm.

    Controlling your blood sugar by eating frequently and including some protein with each meal plus eating more vegetables and less processed carbohydrates and less fruit and sugar is essential for helping your relaxation and sleep. Cortisol is one of the ways our bodies control blood sugar. When blood sugar drops because cortisol can no longer maintain it effectively the Adrenals produce more adrenaline which also activates the nervous system that makes us alert. Waking at regular times in the night (typically about 4am!) is frequently a sign of these rises in adrenaline. This should stabilise with the detox diet and supplements listed above and can be helped by eating some protein before bed and just a couple of Brazil nuts or a piece of cold meat might help.

    Also see the Post on The Thymus gland and the immune system where Licorice root and similar nutrients also help.

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  • Nutritional Medicine/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Help with Detox Diet – SUGAR

    blood sugar

    If you are thinking ‘well she gave me a big shopping list but what am I actually going to eat?’ in Healing Your digestive Tract, I don’t blame you, it is probably a huge change to what you are used to. In the next few posts I will help by giving you information, guidelines and links to help you through the first 2-4 weeks, as well as some incite into what we did.

    The main idea of a Detox is to take the stress off your digestive system and give your body the nutrients it needs to function well and repair itself.

    So, what are we doing? We need to exclude the foods that can cause the most problems for our immune system and digestive system and observe how we feel after we have done that. The main foods that can disrupt our health are wheat, dairy, whole soy, corn, citrus, yeast, sugar and processed food containing multiple additives.

    I am going to start with SUGAR.

    We need to eliminate sugar because it is not a food – it has no nutrient value – only empty calories that stress our bodies to produce more insulin in an effort to keep our blood sugar at a reasonable level and therefore minimise the damage it can do to our bodies. If you manage nothing else your long-term health will benefit from this step.

    if you normally have quite a lot of sugar on a daily basis you might think that this will be impossible to achieve but if you understand why you have a sugar addiction then you might find it easier.

    When do you most crave a sugar hit?

    • when you are stressed
    • when you are exhausted
    • when you have skipped a meal
    • when you are depressed
    • when you haven’t had enough sleep

    These are all the times when your body is struggling to cope because the minerals that are required by every cell in your body has been depleted and therefore the body is not coping. What it needs is rest, relaxation, a nutritious meal and time to recover. By giving the body a sugar hit we are pushing it further than it wants to go, we are giving it an adrenalin shot and literally the Adrenal glands kick in like kicking spurs into a an exhausted horse. For a while you feel better but if you don’t give your body what it really needs it will feel even worse the next time that blood sugar drops.

    Do you recognise that  pattern?

    1. You have a bad night and get out of bed late so there is no time for Breakfast – you grab a coffee….
    2. by mid-morning you feel a dip and you know you need to eat something but all you can get is a biscuit or crisps and another coffee……
    3. by lunchtime you are ‘starving’ and so you go for a high carbohydrate, high fat sandwich or roll and a high sugar drink or juice……
    4. by the middle of the afternoon you feel like crap, can’t concentrate and have a headache coming on….
    5. by the time you get home you feel like you have had a horrible, stressful day and you need to relax so you have another sugar hit disguised as a beer or glass of wine.
    6. If you can get out of this damaging cycle of eating and drinking the wrong things you will start to feel and function better within a very short time – why? because your body is crying out for the minerals it needs and when it gets all of those minerals…it will reward you.

    First change your salt. Bleached white salt contains only sodium and this is the form that does a lot of damage and can cause High Blood Pressure, Heart disease, Kidney disease etc. Table salt has iodine added back in because when white table salt was first introduced there was an epidemic of Thyroid disease.

    Celtic Sea Salt contains 82 vital trace elements eg. Magnesium,manganese, Boron, Copper, Silicon, Iron and iodine. The benefits of natural sea salt are :-

    • replenishes the body’s electrolytes
    • provides renewed energy
    • provides all 82 trace minerals to promote optimal biological and cellular function
    • balances alkaline/acid levels
    • restores good digestion – starting with stimulating more saliva
    • enables better detoxification
    • can stabilise blood pressure
    • reduces sugar cravings
    • makes your food taste much better!

    So with the detox diet being high in vegetables that will provide high levels of Potassium, Magnesium,chromium etc. and by using natural Celtic Sea salt you are giving the body just what it needs.
    The other way is to take a plant derived mineral supplement drink daily like Sizzling Minerals. For more information on how this product can improve your health and why please watch the video here Simply Naturals or go to the shop directly for free shipping and discount for auto-ship at SHOP

    Next eat some good protein at every meal and carry protein snacks with you when out or at work because these will help stabilise your blood sugar and stop cravings. I have some protein for breakfast like Paleo Pancakes and berries or I put a teaspoon of almond butter or some nuts into my smoothie and I always take either “nakd” date and cashew bites or a small bag of nuts and seeds out with me. A little protein or nut milk drink before bed might stop you waking about 3-4 am due to low blood sugar.

    Fruit and fruit juices can also raise your blood sugar and therefore only berries are recommended while on the elimination diet, firstly because they are less likely to raise your blood sugar than most other fruits and secondly because they contain essential nutrients and antioxidants that help clean up your body.

    Lastly Alcohol is the faster sugar to enter and disrupt your system so try to leave it out for the duration of the elimination diet. If you have a social function to go to a glass of water with lime and ice does not look out of place. If necessary a glass of wine, a Coronita beer or a Tequila shot  but remember that whisky and most beers contain gluten.