In the past doctors got little to no training in nutrition. Maybe now more doctors are looking at nutrition as a healing property, but up until now, there is little to no knowledge of how food can change your health condition.
Maybe that’s why it’s taken 10 years for me to find out that I can control my hypothyroidism (or Hashimoto’s) with food. I don’t know if I have Hashimoto’s because doctors don’t generally test for it. Doctors don’t test for Hashimoto’s because if you test positive for hypothyroidism than it doesn’t matter, the treatment is the same. But the disease isn’t the same. Hashimoto’s destroys your thyroid gland. Your doctor might tell you that your thyroid isn’t producing enough T4 so you need to take a T4 supplement. Easy enough right? Like if you are short on Vitamin C then you just go to the store and buy vitamins and take them every day. But what if your doctor told you that your body is actually destroying itself? Wouldn’t you be more concerned? Wouldn’t you want to find out why this is happening and how you can stop it?
I know I would. I would love to have known 10 years ago that my body could be destroying an important gland in my body. I would love to have known 2 years ago when I got a new family doctor that my thyroid was destroying itself. Or when I went to go see an endocrinologist 2 years ago. A specialist on thyroids. And he never questioned whether or not I’d been tested for Hashimoto’s. I’m confused, wouldn’t you be? How is it that almost 90% of people with hypothyrodism have Hashimoto’s, yet there isn’t more information being told to patients on how they can reduce or even completely avoid the destruction of their thyroid gland.
I went to a seminar recently on hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, presented by the owner of The Living Proof Institute. First of all, I’m excited to have found out they were trained by Dr. Kharrazian, author of the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests are Normal, which I highly recommend. Second of all, it was great to be able to get to one of these seminars so that I could ask a trained professional all the questions I had from reading Dr. Kharrazian’s book, plus all other questions since reading more about my thyroid.
The seminar opened with this question from Dr. Patel that should be asked by everyone to their doctor: What is your definition of health? This question makes so much sense. If your doctor’s idea of health is not in line with yours, than how is your doctor supposed to help you get to your optimal health. If your doctor’s idea of health is to suppress all pain through medication, but you are looking for a way to naturally heal your body, than your doctor clearly isn’t right for you.
Another eye opening question Dr. Patel asked was about your symptoms, aches and pains. When you have a headache and you take an Advil, you aren’t helping the situation. It’s a bandaid for the problem. Do you think you got that headache from an Advil deficiency? Definitely not. There’s a reason you have a headache. Your body is trying to signal you to take notice that something isn’t right. But instead we dull the signal with an Advil and the body continues to scream inside and there’s no hope for change.
*The following information is my takeaway from the seminar that I went to on the weekend. I plan on implementing this information in my own life, and I am sharing it with others like me who might need a place to start. I am not a doctor, just a thyroid patient looking for answers to heal my body.
The next time you go to your doctor to get blood work to check your thyroid levels, make sure you don’t just get the TSH and Free T4 levels checked. Specifically ask your doctor to check the following:
- Ferritin – shows your iron storage levels
- Thyroglobulin antibodies
- 25 hydroxy Vitamin D – checks your vitamin D levels
- Thyroid peroxidase antibodies
All of the above will help the doctor, or a functional practitioner get a better idea as to the cause behind your thyroid disorder. Thyroid disorders are not caused on their own. They are a product of an imbalance in your body. And you generally don’t have one autoimmune disorder. You will have two, or three or more. Ie. diabetes and thyroid, or diabetes and arthritis. They are like a terrible two.. or triple threat.. or fearsome four.. you get the point! 🙂 What it is, is there can be multiple things going on in your body at once creating the perfect storm. So it’s obviously beneficial to get a clear idea of what you’re up against. Then you know where to start in order to start healing.
What I’ve learned since starting my journey is that there are multiple different cells in your body that look similar to the thyroid. For example, gluten looks very similar to the thyroid cells. Everyone who has Hashimoto’s should be gluten-free. If 90% of hypothyroid patients have Hashimoto’s, and you don’t know if you have it, just assume you do and go gluten-free. I figure rather than going to the doctor to find it out – because at this point it doesn’t matter to me – it’s better for me to go gluten-free. Gluten and thyroid look the same, so when your body goes to destroy the “intruder” that is gluten, it also destroys the thyroid cells because it can’t differentiate between the two.
At this seminar, I learned that cerebellum also looks like thyroid tissue. So, my body is fighting hard every day to destroy the gluten in my body and now I found out thyroid AND cerebellum are being destroyed in the crossfire? Yikes!!
I can go on forever with all the information I learned and branch off issues that accompany the condition, but I will save that for other posts for the sake of the length of today’s article.
To finish off for today, here were the questions I asked at the seminar that you should know the answer to, and if you so choose, ask your doctor as well.
- Q. Is gluten bad for just Hashimoto patients, or all hypothyroid patients?
- A. All patients
- Q. If I’m on Synthroid and I go to the doctor and ask for the blood panel mentioned above, will the Synthroid skew the results?
- A. No, Synthroid only helps the T4 and TSH levels so the results will appear in all the other parts
- Q. Does birth control mess with Synthroid and with my thyroid?
- A. My wife is a pharmacist and you couldn’t pay her to take birth control pills. AKA I guess I am now getting off my birth control pills #majorlifechanges