Dr. Laura: How does your thyroid function?

Feeling tired, loosing hair, bring fog, brittle nails, constipated,  periods heavy and cholesterol rising? Perhaps your thyroid is to blame.

What does thyroid hormone do?

Thyroid hormone keeps:

  • our metabolism humming
  • hair and skin smooth and silky
  • muscles and tendons well lubricated
  • mood bright
  • digestion moving along
  • brain firing on al cylinders
  • LDL cholesterol at healthy levels

How do you measure thyroid function?

General practitioners assess Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), and if it is out of range, T4 and T3 is measured. Sometimes an ultrasound is done to visualize the size and health of the gland, to assess nodules or help diagnose thyroid cancer.  Naturopathic doctors, functional medicine doctors and endocrinologists will be more likely the ones to run a full thyroid panel (freeT4, freeT3, TSH, TPO, Anti-Thyroglobulin and reverse T3).

How does the body naturally balance thyroid hormone?

T3 is the active hormone in the body and is made from T4. Although the T4 is made in the thyroid, conversion to T3 happens mostly in the liver and the gastrointestinal tract.   A normal functioning thyroid gland works with the hypothalamus in the brain using a negative feedback system to indicate when there is enough active thyroid hormone in the system.

How does the medical doctor balance thyroid?

Traditionally synthroid or levothyroxine is prescribed to treat inadequate levels of thyroid hormone and treatment is geared to reach a desired TSH level. Direct T3 therapy (Cytomel) is rarely prescribed due to lack of research and clinical experience. Typically the family doctor will  treat to normalize the TSH, but recent research, and numerous patient complaints may indicate that this is not enough.

More research is required to support T4 and T3 combination therapy, whether it is levothyroxine plus cytomel or natural desiccated thyroid, alone or in combination.

Research finds TSH monitoring is not enough to determine adequate thyroid functioning and some medical doctors agree a 4:1 ratio of T4:T3 predicts patient satisfaction and better health.

What does the naturopathic doctor do to balance the thyroid?

Naturopathic doctors seek to support the thyroid in making T4 and the body’s ability to convert the T4 to the active form of thyroid known as T3.   A naturopathic doctor offers support to people on pharmaceuticals like synthroid or levothyroxine, and is also able to additionally or solely prescribe advice for nutraceutical  support and natural desiccated thyroid.

A naturopathic doctor will:

  • look at the full thyroid panel
  • adrenal health
  • cholesterol panel
  • sex hormone health
  • the function of the liver
  • health of gastrointestinal tract,
  • nutrient balance of things like selenium, zinc, iron and iodine

How is cholesterol linked to thyroid function?

T3 levels are also inversely linked to LDL Cholesterol. When thyroid levels are low, LDL cellular reception is reduced, leaving more LDL in the blood stream.  Emerging research finds treatment with T4 alone (synthroid, levothyroxine) does not always correct the high levels of cholesterol induced by poor thyroid function. Rising levels of LDL cholesterol in peri-menopausal women with symptoms of fatigue should trigger an investigation into the balance of T4 and T3, not just TSH.

What drives T3 levels down?

  • Body shuttles T3 to reverse T3 in times of starvation and stress
  • Poor feedback function in the hypothalamus
  • Thyroiditis
  • High levels of natural and environmental estrogens
  • Epstein Barr Virus

T3 levels are increasingly challenged as xenoestrogens (environmental contaminants) rise in developed countries.  Peri-menopausal women also experience challenges. This is because estrogen (unopposed by progesterone as ovulation slows down), or estrogen mimickers like xenoestrogens (from plastics, pesticides and insecticides) have the ability to bind up Thyroid Binding Globulin and somehow affect the T4 to T3 conversion ratio. Some research points to Epstein Barr Virus impacting the genome and ultimately the function of the thyroid.

For more help optimizing your thyroid function, book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 

Dr. Laura – The Sunshine Vitamin

What you don’t know about vitamin D

If you live in Canada and don’t supplement, you are likely deficient in vitamin D.  How much to supplement and for how long is very individual. It is based on things like the  natural colour of the skin, immune status, food intake and time spent outdoors in the summer.

The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunshine or ultraviolet light. About 20 min of unprotected exposure mid day in the summer months in Ontario will produce about 1000IU of vitamin D.

Small amounts of vitamin D may be found in food sources such as fish, egg yolk, beef liver, however, when sunlight is inadequate (no exposure or seasonal variance), supplementation is essential.

Vitamin D helps:

  • the body absorb calcium and phosphorous
  • build bone mineral matrix
  • the nerves and muscles function
  • boost the immune system
  • modulate autoimmune diseases

Vitamin D deficiency can be suspect in multiple sclerosis, cancer, pancreatic deficiency, Crohn’s, Colitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic low back pain, or severe muscle weakness.

Check your Vitamin D Status

Vitamin D levels have an optimum range, with increased risks for health disease when deficient or in excess.

OHIP no longer pays for vitamin D testing mostly because they found everyone to be deficient and suggest we all should supplement, at least through October to March. How much to supplement depends on the individual.

Recent research shows that people supplementing may have overdone it and now there are risks showing up for people who are taking vitamin D in excess. Protect from overdose by getting enough vitamin A (liver, organ meats, cod liver oil) and K2 (brie cheese!) in the diet.  Sometimes if levels are high enough, it means lowering the dose or stopping supplementation for a while.

Levels are best monitored by a blood test, then with the advice of your doctor you can be sure you are taking the amount that is right for you.

You may pay (about $45) for a basic vitamin D blood test with your Naturopathic Doctor. You may book your appointment (fees in addition to the blood test) today to investigate further.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: Surprising Number of Conditions Linked to Celiac Disease

I just received this post… hot off the press from the World Congress of Gastroenterology. We learn about all the conditions that are linked to Celiac disease. This means if you have migraines or anxiety attacks, more people with Celiac have them than not. Or, if you have a specific type of rash called dermatitis herpatiformis, you are pretty well guaranteed to have celiac. Have a look at the chart below and see if you have any of the following conditions and then look at the odds ratio that you may have Celiac Disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition related to the ingestion of gluten, or wheat. Wheat has over 100 proteins in it and gluten and gliadin are just two of these proteins. Your body can launch an immune attack to any of these proteins, then these could cross react with tissues in your body including your brain, liver, pancreas, skin muscles, or as in Celiac, your small intestinal villi. If your villi are damaged, then you are not absorbing vitamins, minerals and nutrients. So this can additionally lead to things like B12 deficiency (depression, brain fog, neuropathy) iron deficiency (dizzy, weak, pale), or osteoporosis.

Conventional medical testing will look at 2 markers for these proteins immune reactions. Functional Medical tests that I run will cover 24 markers, including these 2 from conventional means. You have to pay for both tests out of pocket, so I figure you may as well run the more complete test to get the bigger picture of what’s going on in your body. The broader testing means we can catch wheat related diseases – non-celiac gluten related disorders like cerebellar ataxia (problems with balance and walking) or wheat addiction (it’s like opioid addiction!) or tell it if is reacting with you muscles (polymyalgia?) or skin.

Table 1. Prevalence of Diagnoses in People With and Without Celiac Disease (P < .0001 for All)

Diagnosis With Celiac Disease, % Without Celiac Disease, % Odds Ratio
Migraine 18.6 4.1 5.5
Anxiety disorder 25.9 8.7 4.0
Arthritis 28.9 8.4 4.9
Dermatitis herpetiformis 1.3 0.0 4563.5
Liver disease 23.2 4.2 7.1
Gastroesophageal reflux disease 36.8 13.0 4.5
Eosinophilic esophagitis 0.6 0.1 8.8
Atrophic gastritis 3.9 0.1 8.0
Glossitis 0.4 0.1 4.4
Pancreatitis 15.8 0.7 25.0
Disorder of the pancreas 17.2 1.1 19.0
Cerebellar ataxia 0.1 0.0 4.1
Autism 4.0 0.2 19.9
Colitis 25.9 4.2 8.4
Turner syndrome 0.1 0 17.8
Down syndrome 0.6 0.1 8.1
Common variable immunodeficiency 0.2 0.0 10.2

Are you ready for an Emotional rEvolution?

Resolving to have more clarity of thought, speech and emotional composure?

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND, a Certified HeartMath Practitioner,

provides a 5 week stress reduction program that will revolutionize the way you experience life.

“Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a simple phenomenon that has been known for many years. I find it so fascinating that every emotion has a signature heart rate variability. The very fact that we can learn to shift this with focus and practice is so very powerful.  Through a series of step-by-step layered techniques, any one can learn how to engage and increase their HRV.  I loved this so much I became a HeartMath Certified Practitioner so that I can now teach others the techniques.” – Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Imagine being able to turn a bad day around or recover more quickly from an aggravating piece of news or a heated discussion. 

Breakthrough research has found that we can intentionally change our emotional state to find inner balance, and a feeling of ease which increases our resilience and allows us to bounce back more quickly from daily stressors.

The emotional state of inner balance is marked by a smooth heart rhythm pattern, called a coherent waveform.

5 weeks and you will learn:

  • how to retain calmness even in the most difficult times
  •  the power to self-direct and manage response and behaviour
  • how move away from negative and destructive attitudes and behaviours
  • how to move towards more positive and regenerative emotions
  • what heart rate variability is and how it relates to modern diseases
  • how to build and maintain loving relationships
  • HeartMath techniques for achieving optimal performance at home, work & sport
Here is what some folks in the top schools and business have to say: 
 

The [HeartMath] program has been tremendously helpful to me. … creating what I believe will be lifelong changes in how I respond to stressful situations. I am already experiencing better sleep, fewer frustrations at work, and a greater reservoir of patience and appreciation for the present moment. – Freya A. Sommer, Stanford University

 

… it is great learning how to deal with my stress and reduce it to be more productive. I use it every night and I am sleeping great. ..I am very impressed with this program and I would recommend it to anyone. –Margaret Lawrence, Team Lead, Travelocity Business

 

“It’s becoming clear that emotions are the primary drivers of activity in the body’s major systems, including the autonomic nervous and hormonal systems.”
~ HeartMath Institute Director of Research Dr. Rollin McCraty

No extra equipment required. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND will use the in-clinic emWave pro to monitor your physiological changes and provide live bio-feedback to monitor your progress.

Curious?

Watch a YouTube on The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence: A path to personal, social and global coherence

I want to get started! 

(Book initial appointment if new to Dr. Laura or a follow up if you are an existing patient)

 

Free Meal!

Well, free of gluten and perhaps more…

When Gluten Free Is Not Enough

Are you or someone you know sensitive to gluten and have cut it out and still have issues with pain, headaches, bran fog, joint pain, diarrhea, constipation, or general fatigue?

Not so nice…

Gluten is known to cross react with cow’s milk, milk chocolate, milk butyrophilin, whey protein, casein, yeast, oats, corn, millet, instant coffee and rice. That means if you eat any of these foods, even if you are gluten free, your body could be reacting to those foods as well.

Gut Permeability

If you have a gluten related disorder or Celiac disease and you have cut out gluten but not worked on healing the gastrointestinal lining, then you may have what is called “Leaky Gut”. There are steps to take to heal the lining and restore the natural mucosa. Sometimes once you heal the leaky gut, you are able to tolerate some of the foods to which you grew sensitive. If you are Celiac or gluten sensitive, gluten free will always be a part of your lifestyle.

Food Sensitivity Testing

Food Sensitivity testing is a great way to find out the resistance your body has to different foods. It provides the means for a guided elimination diet. Or you can simply cut out the potential offenders and re-introduce them one at a time and see how you feel.

 

Move forward with your health.

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is trained and certified to help those with gluten related disorders, Celiac disease and the related testing, diagnosis, lifestyle design, education and nutritional support.

 

References:

A. Vojdani and I. Tarash, “Cross-Reaction between Gliadin and Different Food and Tissue Antigens,” Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2013, pp. 20-32. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.41005.

Psoriasis and other Autoimmune Conditions

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder typically identified by reddened dry skin that becomes progressively flaky and scaly as well as painful and itchy. Usually the plaques are found on extensor surfaces such as elbows, knees and scalp.

psoriasis medscape

The immune system is involved in this inflammatory condition. Quite often once one autoimmune disease is had, others will evolve as well. Autoimmune means that the body’s defense system is attacking the body it lives in. It is hypervigilant. There is likely some genetic susceptibility in the individual, followed by an incident where the immune system launched a defense against a foreign molecule that had some resemblance to the molecules of the body. Now, when the immune system sees that near match it sends out its troupes and ends up destroying the tissues of its own body.

Autoimmune diseases can affect the heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, glands, the digestive tract, and blood vessels. Among others, it is the underlying mechanism of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Celiac, Crohn’s, Sjogren’s, Type I Diabetes and Psoriasis.

On Wednesday, July 27 at 6:30 in the Goodness Me! classroom at the corner of Gordon and Wellington St. in Guelph, join Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND to learn some of the underlying mechanisms of autoimmune diseases and the natural approaches for treatment. In this session, Dr. Laura M. Brown ND, will share her experience with research in Iceland’s geothermal psoriasis treatment centre and will address natural treatments options for those suffering with autoimmune diseases.

Register here.

picture from Medscape.com