Hormones Matter TM

Thyroid Disease

February 22, 2012  |  Sergei Avdiushko, PhD

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Female doctor examining her patient.

The two main types of thyroid disease fall into hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease), and hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism causes increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, high body temperature and sweating, nervousness, diarrhea, heat intolerance, and weight loss despite high caloric intake. In other words, the metabolic processes are up regulated to dangerous levels. Also, it can lead to severe neurotic behavior.

Graves’ disease, a specific form of hyperthyroidism, is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies mimic the effects of TSH but are not constrained by the negative feedback system for turn-off and control; thus, they continue to drive the thyroid to release stimulating T3 and T4 hormones without letup.

This disease causes goiter, enlargement of the thyroid, and exophthalmos (bulging eyeballs caused by the build-up of fat behind the eye). Curing the diseases (often involving the destruction or removal of the thyroid followed by the lifelong administration of synthetic hormones) may not cure exophthalmos, which may leave the eyes open to injury. When talking about Graves’ disease and bulging eyes, the late actor, Marty Feldman almost immediately comes to mind.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Early symptoms include:

• Being more sensitive to cold

• Constipation

• Depression

• Fatigue or feeling slowed down

• Heavier menstrual periods

• Joint or muscle pain

• Paleness or dry skin

• Thin, brittle hair or fingernails

• Weakness

• Weight gain (unintentional)

There are two fairly common causes of hypothyroidism. The first is a result of inflammation of the thyroid gland which leaves a large percentage of the cells of the thyroid damaged (or dead) and incapable of producing sufficient hormone. The most common cause of thyroid gland failure, however, is called autoimmune thyroiditis (aka Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), a form of thyroid inflammation caused by the patient’s own immune system.

When it comes to maintaining the health of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, you want to address several key issues.

• Autoimmune problems

By using immunomodulators such as L-carnosine, Cetyl-myristoleate (CMO), and the Transfer Factor found in bovine colostrum, you can retrain the immune system to not overreact — which, as we’ve seen is one of the biggest factors associated with the onset of thyroid problems.

• Estrogen dominance

Constant exposure to chemical estrogens in our food, water, and environment creates a condition called estrogen dominance in both men and women. (Consider the fact that the average man by the age of 65 contains more estrogen than the average woman of the same age — the reason so many men develop breasts as they age.) In any case, the regular use of a men’s or women’s progesterone crème is advisable — not to mention their value in minimizing serious prostate, breast, and uterine problems.

• Nutrition &  Iodine

Again, if you’re not using iodized salt (and there are good reasons not to), you need to make sure you’re getting iodine in your food, or you’re using a supplement that contains your daily requirement for iodine (about 150 mcg a day). Seaweed, kelp, shrimp, lobster, and other shellfish are all good sources of iodine. Cod, sole, haddock, and ocean perch are also decent choices, and they are relatively low in mercury. Yogurt, cow’s milk, eggs, and many cheeses may also contain reasonable amounts of iodine — depending on whether or not the feed the cows lived on was grown in soil that contained iodine. Strict vegetarians may need to rely on supplemental sources, unless the produce they eat is grown in iodine rich soil.

• Thyroid gland extracts

Extracts derived from bovine thyroid glands can provide critical cell factors that help re-establish normal cell function.

• Body pH

Proper pH is required for the thyroid to access and utilize iodine. In fact, the higher the pH, the more iodine that accumulates in the thyroid, as the thyroid uses the iodine, as part of an exchange mechanism to regulate thyroid pH. pH can be raised using alkaline teas, potassium based water drops, and water ionizers.