Many people question whether their thyroid is working correctly due to their chronic fatigue, weight gain or foggy thinking. In this article, we’ll explore when and how to order a test for thyroid problems effectively so that you can address thyroid problems & symptoms.
Are you suffering with a thyroid problem? Did you know that essential oils can be a simple, easy and affordable way to protect your thyroid gland from damage? Learn my top 5 essential oils for the thyroid + learn to make your own thyroid blend at our new blog post!
Many people are experiencing the symptoms of hypothyroidism in their daily lives without even realizing it. As a result, their symptoms multiply for months or years. Educating yourself on thyroid issues can make all the difference. Read on to learn my best tricks to support your thyroid!
Dr. Eric Osansky is a chiropractic physician, clinical nutritionist, and Functional medicine practitioner. He is back on the show in the event of his new book coming out called "Hashimoto's Triggers". In this episode we talk about Hashimoto's disease & its triggers, the connection between thyroid & SIBO, and essential oils.
Here's what you'll hear:
Min 01:05 Introducing Dr. Eric Osansky's new book
Min 02:55 What are Hashimoto's triggers?
Min 04:25 Food triggers
Min 08:00 Estrogen dominance
Min 12:10 The connection between thyroid & SIBO
Min 18:10 Blood sugar as a trigger for Hashimoto's
Min 21:55 Blue light exposure
Min 23:45 Dr. Osansky's book
Min 24:05 Using essential oils
Here's a video version of the interview with Dr. Eric Osansky:
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Peri-menopause - the 5-10 years leading up to menopause - is a common time to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition.
In this article, I’d like to address these questions:
• Why then?
• Why more in women?
• What can be done?
Peri-menopause may begin in your late 30s or early or mid 40s. You may notice that your PMS is worse. You may have spotting between periods. Over time, your periods will likely get more dramatic, with missed periods and heavy periods.
Other symptoms may be popping up too, like anxiety, brain fog and weight gain. You may be thinking, “these sound like thyroid symptoms,” and you could be right!
But before we explore the thyroid connection, let’s cover what is normally happening during peri-menopause.
What is Peri-menopause?
Peri-menopause is, in short, the opposite of puberty. In puberty your ovaries are waking up to start your reproductive years. Your brain and ovaries are learning to work together to coordinate a monthly cycle, and often the first few reproductive years are hormonally unstable.
In peri-menopause, the brain-ovary relationship is starting to shut down. The ovaries are closing up shop, but the brain keeps knocking at the door, trying to get the shopkeeper working again.
The sex hormone that needs to rise sufficiently in the first half of the month is estrogen. It is produced by the ovaries as they also grow eggs. If you produce enough estrogen and release an egg, you’ll ovulate. And if that egg is healthy and hearty, you’ll produce a good amount of progesterone in the second half of your cycle. (The egg sac, or corpus luteum, makes progesterone after ovulation.)
How Your Thyroid Could Be Impacted in Peri-menopause
Even though both estrogen and progesterone are declining in peri-menopause, progesterone declines more dramatically in this stage. This leads to a condition called ‘estrogen dominance.’
Too much estrogen can prevent the thyroid hormone from getting to where it needs to go and can prevent it from converting to its active form. For some women, their thyroid symptoms are simply a result of this high estrogen interfering with thyroid hormone activity. We’ll talk about how to address estrogen dominance shortly.
Another thing estrogen effects is the immune system. Estrogen is associated with stimulating the TH2 branch of the immune system (1). TH2 is short for T Helper cell type 2, a lymphocyte (immune cell). TH2 is part of the adaptive immune system, which mounts a specific attack against pathogens.+ Adaptive immunity is usually a good thing, but it can also lead to autoimmunity if the antigen activity is directed towards itself.
As estrogen is the dominant sex hormone in women, this helps to explain why autoimmunity and thyroid disease is more common in women.
As we age, we also experience decreased immunity, and a tendency towards TH2 response.
“In the aged, however, naive cells are less likely to become effectors. In those that do, there is a documented shift towards a Th2 cytokine response.
The elderly have impaired ability to achieve immunization but much higher levels of circulating autoantibodies, (due to the lack of naive effectors) impaired response to viral infections, increased risk of bacterial infections, and increased risk of both neoplastic and autoimmune disease.” (3)
However, there is hope and action we can take to keep estrogen in check!
What To Do
1. Improve Gut Health
If you’ve studied the thyroid, you know that gut health is key to prevent an autoimmune response and to convert thyroid hormone effectively. Did you know it’s also important to clear estrogen dominance? One way your gut helps clear estrogen is through the estrobolome, “the aggregate of enteric bacterial genes whose products are capable of metabolizing estrogens.” (4)
You can be friendly to your gut by avoiding:
• Genetically modified foods (GMO) - These kill off friendly bacteria
• Sugars - These feed troublesome bacteria
• Unnecessary antibiotic use - This kills everything, with bacterial imbalance often resulting in its wake
You can be friendly to your gut by including:
• Small amounts of fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi
• A wide variety of fibers from salad greens, fresh spices, berries, etc.
• A long period from an early dinner to breakfast - lets your gut bacteria grow in peace!
2. Boost Progesterone
Progesterone helps keep estrogen in check, so boost it by giving your body ingredients to make hormones.
• Hemp Oil - I’ve been very impressed with how 1 T of hemp oil a day helps my own peri-menopausal hormones
• Borage Oil - This oil, usually in pill form, has gamma linoleic acid (GLA) to spark hormone production
• Maca- This adaptogenic root herb helps boosts hormone production and can benefit your energy levels and sex drive
3. Help Out Your Immune System
If aberrant immunity could be a problem in your case, add some components that can balance your TH2 activity:
• Fish Oil- Fish oil has a balancing effect on the immune system and decreases inflammation. (5) Quality matters with fish oil, so do research to find a good brand.
• Vitamin D- Vitamin D deficiency is found at higher levels in people with autoimmune thyroid disease. (6) Talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D tested and restoring it to a level around 60-80 NG/DL through sunshine and vitamin D3 supplementation.
Learn more about the thyroid at perimenopause from experts like Dana Trentini, Dr. Tom O’Bryan and Heather Dubé at the free, online Hormone Balance After 40 Summit!
The summit happens live June 5-11, 2017, but recordings will live on after the live summit.
Hormone Balance After 40 Summit
Dr. Aviva Romm is a Yale-trained medical doctor, MD, mid-wife, herbalist and the author of the new book "The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution". The book outlines the root causes of Survival Overdrive Syndrome (SOS), and guides you through a natural, holistic plan to reverse it, and rescue your metabolism, hormones, immunity, mind and mood. This book comes out today 31/01/2017.
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Here's what you'll hear:
Min 02:50 Aviva Romm's history
Min 06:30 Aviva's clinical experience with women and auto-immune diseases
Min 12:40 Survival Overdrive Syndrome (SOS) and the science that connects the immune system with the hormone system
Min 17:00 The three levels of adrenal thyroid revolution for women
Min 22:30 The 5 root causes of adrenal and thyroid dysfunction
Min 26:20 The Epstein-Bar virus (EBV) and Hashimotos
Min 35:30 Aviva's 4-week plan to heal adrenals and support thyroid function
"When sleeping women wake, mountains move" - Chinese proverb
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Dr. Aviva's Resources:
And when you buy the book you get two bonuses that she couldn't fit into the book:
1. A free cookbook.
2. A complementary 28-day journal that has a lot of self-care activities and exercises.
To learn more about Dr. Aviva Romm, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Thanks for listening,
Bridgit Danner, Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative
There are too many people walking around thinking that they have adrenal fatigue. This diagnosis was handed to them after a saliva test and a visit to a holistic clinician. I admit, I used to use this method of testing. I’ve ordered saliva tests on my clients and have coached them in recovering from the maladies of modern day lifestyles, and at that time I too called it adrenal fatigue. It was a good way to learn and it had some value, but the science of lab work is changing.
Many of my clients got better, because when we get adequate rest, deal with our stressors, eat nutrient dense food and take high quality supplements, our bodies usually respond well. But this didn’t mean that they had adrenal fatigue.
So if you don’t have adrenal fatigue, what do you have?
Most likely, you are experiencing a mismatch between your biology and your lifestyle. This shows up in two main ways. The first is nutrition. For the vast majority of our time on earth, we’ve consumed wild game, fish, vegetables, starchy tubers, nuts, seeds and fruit in season. Nowadays, the 6 most common foods in the modern diet are pizza, sugar sweetened beverages, beer, bread, grain based desserts, and fried chicken. This type of diet is inflammatory and is a factor in our modern day chronic unwellness.
The second, lesser known, mismatch between our bodies and our lifestyle is the activation of our stress response system. Our stress response system has two components, the sympathoadrenomedulary system (SAS) which is responsible for our immediate or short term stress response and the HPA axis, which is responsible for our intermediate or long term stress response. The HPA axis consists of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands (in the brain) and the adrenal glands (in the mid back). It helps us process threats to the body (whether those threats are a car accident or refined, nutrient poor food.)
Both of these stress response systems exist for our good. But the protective mechanisms they produce can become harmful over the long term if continually called upon.
Here’s the perfect scenario for understanding this: Imagine you're a hunter gatherer out for a walk on the savannah and all of a sudden a wild boar charges you. It's a good thing that your heart rate, blood pressure increase. It’s a crucial part of your physiology meant to ensure your escape and this your survival. But at the same time these survival mechanisms activate, your digestion and sex hormone production plummet. This is how it’s supposed to be, but it’s a problem when it rarely or never calms down.
Enter the modern lifestyle….traffic, work deadlines, inflammatory food, over-exercise, or its opposite, couch potato syndrome, smoking, OTC drug abuse, lack of rejuvenating activities. The list goes on…I’m sure you get it.
The constant activation of the stress response via the SAS and HPA pathways erodes resilience and paves the way for metabolic breakdown.
The loss of resilience is associated with the modern day disease epidemic and is why stress contributes to so many conditions.
SOME CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH CHRONIC HPA AXIS STIMULATION:
- Excessive exercise
- Central obesity
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid disease
If you’ve gone to a holistically minded doctor and you’ve got any number of these problems and a saliva test, you’ve probably been handed an adrenal fatigue diagnosis.
The adrenal fatigue model is loosely based on the work of Hans Selye and his general adaptation syndrome theory. Selye explained the progression of stress over time in 3 stages: alarm, resistance and exhaustion.
THE ADRENAL FATIGUE MODEL WITH THE THREE STAGES OF ADRENAL BURNOUT IS LOOSELY BASED ON THIS MODEL:
- Stage 1 of adrenal fatigue is high cortisol with DHEA on its way down.
- Stage 2 of adrenal fatigue is falling cortisol (which is sometimes in the normal range) and decreasing levels of DHEA
- Stage 3 is even lower cortisol and lower DHEA.
Not really. Consider two problems with the “adrenal fatigue” diagnosis:
Most people with “adrenal fatigue” don’t have low cortisol levels. The assessment of adrenal fatigue has depended on saliva measurement of cortisol taken at 4 distinct points throughout the day. Cortisol measured in saliva is only 2-5% of our total cortisol production. The vast majority (around 70%) of our cortisol is excreted in urine. This measurement is called metabolized cortisol. Free (salivary) cortisol is NOT the best marker for cortisol production. Metabolized cortisol, however, is a good marker for overall cortisol production.
This would not matter if free and metabolized cortisol was the same. But often, they are quite different.
It’s possible to have low free cortisol and high metabolized cortisol.
Some conditions with associated with low free cortisol and high total (aka metabolized) cortisol:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Insulin resistance
- Active stress response
- Long term glucocorticoid use
Also, it is possible to have high free cortisol and low metabolized cortisol. This is commonly seen in liver damage and hypothyroidism.
***Special note for hypothyroid sufferers: If you get a DUTCH test and it shows up as high free cortisol and low total (aka metabolized) cortisol, you might be getting overdosed on your thyroid medication***
Therefore, a saliva test is an incomplete picture of true cortisol production.
Even when total cortisol is low, it's rarely because the adrenals are tired and unable to produce it. The control mechanisms for cortisol production reside in the brain and central nervous system, not the adrenal glands themselves. The adrenals produce cortisol but the regulatory mechanisms are primarily outside the adrenal glands. Therefore we should not be calling the problem of low cortisol adrenal fatigue, but instead it should simply be called “low cortisol mechanisms”.
Here are two reasons why cortisol production can drop:
1) Down regulation of the HPA axis – when we are exposed to stress for a long time, there can be a down regulation in cortisol receptor sensitivity. This is the body’s attempt to protect itself from the damaging effects of chronically high cortisol levels. The problem with this is that it actually ends up hampering the body’s ability to produce cortisol. This is an adaptive short term mechanism that becomes harmful in the long-term.
2) Impaired cortisol signaling – High cortisol levels will lead to cortisol resistance. This can be caused by a decrease in cortisol receptor sensitivity and/or a decrease in cortisol receptor expression.
With the DUTCH (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) method of testing, which tests both free and metabolized cortisol, we have a greater understanding of the health of the adrenal glands. (We also get to look at sex hormone production and estrogen metabolite breakdown.)
True adrenal fatigue, if the term is to be used at all, should be reserved for those who have Addison’s disease, an autoimmune inability to produce cortisol.
But for the vast majority of us, our “adrenal fatigue” is simply a miscommunication between the brain/adrenals exacerbated by how we were designed to live (nutrient dense food, infrequent activation of the stress response, plenty of exposure to sunlight, connection with nature) and how many of us actually live (too much exposure to electronic screens, nutrient poor food and go-go-go lifestyles).
So what’s a woman to do?
You can get your adrenal hormones accurately (key word here!) and this is called the DUTCH test. This test uses dried urine to measure hormone levels. Precision Analytical laboratory in Oregon is the maker of this test.
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