Dr. Laura: Is your thyroid to blame?

One in eight women will develop thyroid disease in her lifetime and 15 Million women have a dysfunction, but don’t even know it. Men can have issues too, although at a less rate than women.

Environmental toxins are largely to blame for the rising rates of thyroid disease. Years ago, it was mostly iodine deficiency and this is why iodine was added to salt. Now we point the finger more often at the rising rates of hormone mimickers in our environment like BPA’s and their alternatives in plastics, cadmium, circadian light disrupters, pesticides, herbicides and more.

Untreated thyroid dysfunction can lead to feelings of:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Brain fog, difficulty focusing thoughts
  • Unexpected weight gain, and with it increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
  • High LDL cholesterol – the thyroid plays an important role in fat metabolism
  • Depression – as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the root cause of their depression –but their problem hasn’t been fully investigated. When I check thyroid I check more than the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).  I look sub functioning gland by checkin TSH, T3, T4, thyroid antibodies and look for how well cortisol is clearing on the DUTCH hormone test.
  • Anxiety – often because cortisol is not clearing
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of this hormone has on heart rate and rhythm.

Troubles in the digestive track and liver can lead to poor activation of the T4 to T3 hormones. When I work with patients I am always looking for clues in the skin, stress, and sleep and how well the micro biome functions. A good clue to micro biome function is the Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Doctors Data.

If you suspect you may have a thyroid issue, get it tested!  I’ll look at results from a functional medicine perspective, which mean optimal performance, not disease levels of lab markers.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Laura on Cold & Flu

The immune system works over time in the Christmas season.

Sugary treats and poor sleeping habits stress the immune system.

 People share more than good spirits. The furnace keeps us warm, but dries the air and our respiratory passages out, making us more susceptible to incoming invaders.  Cold and flu viruses can live on objects around the house like door knobs, computer keyboards, remote controls and sink handles.

Best prevention is to wash your hands well and often. That means lathering up for at least a few lines of  your favourite Christmas carol. Use your wrist to push down the tap or use the paper towel to turn the knobs off. Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. These are openings of our respiratory tract very susceptible to infection.

More remedies for cold and flu.

Think you might have something coming on? Here is a table that helps you understand if you have the cold or the flu.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Sometimes Usually. Higher in children
Headache Sometimes Usually
Runny Nose Usually Sometimes
Cough Hacking Severe
Sore Throat Early, Often Sometimes
Sneezing Usually Sometimes
Vomiting Never Children
Chest discomfort Mild Usually
Weakness & Fatigue Sometimes Can last up to 2-3 weeks
Muscle Aches and Pains Mild Usually severe
Extreme Exhaustion Never Early and often
Cause One of hundreds of viruses Influenza A, B, (several subtypes and strains) H1N1 (Swine), Enterovirus D68,
Contagious Day 1-3 Day 1-9
Duration 7-10 days 21-28 days
Complications Sinus congestion, Middle Ear Infection Sinusitus, Bronchitis, Ear Infection, Pneumonia
Prevention Wash hands often, avoid close contact with those affected Wash hands often, avoid close contact with those affected

Simplifying Stress

What is stress really all about?

 Dr. Laura speaks on the phases, feeling and ways to combat stress.

Phases of Stress



According to Hans Seyle’s Generalized Adaptation Syndrome, there are 3 stages of the body’s natural built-in response to demands made on an individual.

  1. Alarm reaction – “fight or flight”
  2. Resistance stage, which is the body adapting well and actually strengthening to a new level of stress.
  3. Exhaustion stage, when the body no longer has the means to continually adapt and strengthen, but rather breaks down in response as a result of the depletion in body.

As you can see, stress is normal part of living and what makes us stronger is a challenge to our system. It is important that periods of intense activity or stress on the body need to be followed by periods of intense rest.  If the stress persists without proper rest, then dis-regulation and illness may develop.


Long term stress usually manifests as anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety include mental, emotional, physical and cognitive.

  1. Worry
  2. Irritability
  3. Anticipation of the worst
  4. Fears
  5. Difficulty concentrating
  6. Poor memory
  7. Loss of interest, depressive state
  8. Troubles sleeping
  9. Digestive troubles
  10. Heart palpitation
  11. Feeling tension, twitches
  12. Aches and Pains
  13. Shortness of breath, constriction in chest

Learn to Relax

Easier said than done! Try to set out the intention for the following:

  1. Time with loved ones
  2. Regular routines for eating, exercise and sleep
  3. Create something
  4. Walk barefoot in the morning grass
  5. Focus on a steady breath, in and our of your heart area

More Information for Free

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND presents Simplifying Stress at Goodness Me! in Guelph on Tuesday, August 30.  Register Here. This session is for those curious about how we respond, adapt and can be overwhelmed by stress. Dr. Laura will share with you ways to clinically evaluate the state of stress, possible remedies to consider or avoid at different stages of stress and how to prevent future impacts.


Hoffmann, D. (2003) Medical Herbalism. The science and practice of herbal medicine. Healing Arts Press. Vermont.

Sarris J., Wardle. J. (2014) Clinical Naturopathy 2e. An evidence based guide to practice. Elsevier. Australia.

picture from diplolearn.com