Erika Schwartz, MD, was consulted for a medical advice by an elderly man with serious health issues.
Namely, she examined the medications and treatments he was subjected to, and decided to consult his cardiologist whether he would agree to completely change his therapy.
Namely, the man suffered from excess weight, low testosterone and thyroid levels, sleeping disorders due to an advanced stage of eczema which caused unbearable itching.
She has been trying to reach his cardiologist for three weeks, and eventually, she succeeded. However, after suggesting the elimination of the medications which contributed to the eczema of the patient, she states:
“The guy said to me, ‘I can’t talk to you. You don’t know science.” After stating that they have the same medical degree, she adds “he hung up on me!”
Therefore, after this discussion, she explained all she had to her patient and he decided to change his cardiologist and try the plan she suggested. The treatments she had in mind consisted of boosting the level of the thyroid hormones and eliminating the medication for his cholesterol.
At the beginning, the patient believed that this treatment would lead to a heart attack, but Dr. Schwartz explained that the correction of the hormones naturally maintained the cholesterol low.
Thyroid hormones are a result of the function of the thyroid gland—which is an endocrine gland in the form of a butterfly found in the lower front of the neck.
The two thyroid hormones—triiodothyronine and thyroxine—are also known as T3 and T4. T4 is turned into the active T3 in cells, and it reaches the body organs through the bloodstream.
Its main function is to regulate metabolism and provide energy, but it also has a significant influence on the entire body, as it helps the organs to function optimally.
The most common issue linked to the thyroid is hypothyroidism—which is the state of underactive thyroid, that is the gland does not produce sufficient hormones to regulate the necessary body functions.
It can be a result of numerous internal and external factors, such as Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune condition in which the thyroid is attacked by the immune system itself.
Hypothyroidism can be manifested by numerous different symptoms, including dry skin, brittle nails, fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, body temperature irregularities, feeling cold, poor reflexes, depression, brain fog, mood swings etc.
However, as these symptoms can also indicate other diseases or ailments as well, doctors mat often prescribe some medications that are not adequate, and do not even consider the thyroid imbalance as a potential cause.
Mary Shomon, a thyroid expert and author of numerous books on the theme, states: “People are going in with high cholesterol or depression and are getting handed cholesterol meds and antidepressants. And no one’s ever checking to see if the thyroid is at the root of the problem.”
She moreover says that there is a critical flaw in the conventional test to diagnose hypothyroidism. This test, known as the thyroid stimulating hormone test or TSH test, actually measures the level of a pituitary hormone, TS, in the blood.
However, this test does not show the amount of T3 or T4 in the blood, as the pituitary hormone directs the thyroid gland to produce and release thyroid hormones.
Hence, this is a flaw as numerous patients experience the symptoms listed above but still have a normal TSH result, so they consequently are prescribed to take medications that do not treat their root problem and even suffer from their side- effects.
Dr. Schwartz claims “At the end of the day, we suffer because we’re treating individual symptoms, and we don’t look at the body—at the person—as a whole.[The TSH test] is actually doing a disservice to anybody who wants to take care of themselves, or someone who actually wants to take care of the patient.”
For better results, the levels of T3 and T4 should be individually examined. Moreover, it is of vital importance to be sure that T4 is being turned into active T3 and that the T3 enters cells in order to regulate the function of the body organs.
The holistic treatment of Dr. Schwartz includes alteration of everything, including the diet, hormones, exercise and supplements. Her approach regards the body as a whole and does not examine just the symptoms, and consequently, it has given great results.
She says: “What I also found out was that giving those people thyroid to begin with—giving them T3, let’s say, to begin with, which is the active thyroid hormone—was actually the quickest way to get people to feel better. And once they felt better, then you could tweak their diet, exercise, lifestyle.”
Shomon agrees that understanding how thyroid hormones affect the rest of the body is an essential part of the healing process. “Our metabolism relies, in large part, on our thyroid’s ability to function properly. If we’re not getting enough oxygen or energy to the cells for digestion, for pancreatic function, for brain function, for all of the other hormone production processes and the glands that are producing those, then everything is going to be slowing down and not working properly,” she explains. “It’s the gas pedal, essentially, for everything.”
As mentioned, there are both internal and external factors associated with thyroid disorders—and many mistakes that patients are making are simply the result of them (or their doctors!) not understanding the relationship between hormones, diet, the environment, immunity, and other factors.
“We’re living in such a toxic world—and our lifestyles have changed so much,” says Greg Emerson, MD, founder of the Emerson Health & Wellness Center in Queensland, Australia. “And that’s a critical thing for us to realize when we look at our diets and we look at our daily habits. We have to put in place some strategies to compensate for the fact that we’ve moved so far from our natural evolutionary ancestral history.”
At the top of Dr. Emerson’s list of toxins are mold and mycotoxins, which are produced by some species of fungi.
“There’s a huge amount of scientific evidence that the poisons that the mold produce are terrible for the thyroid gland. And the other problem is that we’re consuming foods which are also high in mycotoxins. Or we’re consuming foods that are high in sugar, which makes the mold grow in the body. And we’re also not consuming foods which are protective against those mycotoxins,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve seen a patient with Graves’ disease—which is an overactive thyroid—who has not had a problem with mold, and then mycotoxins.”
Overactive thyroid—or hyperthyroidism—is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Whereas hypothyroidism indicates that there are not enough thyroid hormones circulating within the blood stream, hyperthyroidism indicates that there are too many. So, instead of feeling fatigued and gaining weight, the patient may experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat and sudden weight loss as a result of a revved up metabolism.
Taking an active role in your own health can help you both identify potential problems and get your hormones back in balance. First, set the foundation. Eat a diet rich in foods that are as close as possible to how nature made them; find some sort of movement or exercise that you enjoy and stick with it; foster healthy relationships; find a good balance between work and play.
Dr. Emerson is fond of saying that if you get the basics right, good health will follow. He proposes a series of questions to ask yourself: “Am I eating the right food? Am I drinking the right water? Am I getting enough sun? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I getting enough exercise? Am I getting medicines in my food?”
Dr. Schwartz echoes these thoughts: “Listen to what your body’s saying. If you can’t sleep at night, why don’t you sleep at night? Did you drink too much and it woke you up in the middle of the night? Are you eating too late? Are you eating the wrong foods? Are you exercising too late? Do you have all this electronic equipment sitting right next to you? Do you sleep with the TV on?”
Addressing these concerns prior to meeting with your doc could help you pinpoint the source of your symptoms—which may very well be rooted in the thyroid—and make it easier to address those issues naturally.
“There are a million reasons why you may not be sleeping at night,” Dr. Schwartz says. “And you need to look at them and take responsibility for improving.”
How to restart your thyroid
Try combine iodized salt and selenium rich foods to restart your thyroid such as:
– Eggs (up to 3 per day)
– Mushrooms (button, crimini, shiitake)
– Fish (wild salmon, halibut, sardines, flounder)
– Sunflower seeds
– Poultry (chicken, turkey)
– Shellfish (shrimp, clams, oysters, mussels, scallops)
– Meat (Beef, liver, lamb, pork)
– Brazil nuts
– Whole grains (wheat germ, barley, brown rice, oats)
– Veggies (Artichokes, Greens, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Arugula, Collard Greens, Cucumber ,Asparagus, Avocado, Bean Sprouts, Beet Cauliflower, Celery, Chives,)
– Fruits (all types of berries and lemons)
– Beans and other legumes
– Fried food
– Processed foods
– Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners
Increasing activity levels supports the immune system (thyroid included) in every way. Any exercise will do, as long as it’s regular.
Prescribed diets are antithetical to restoring immune system balance; simply cutting out the stuff we know is detrimental and replacing it with fresh organic produce and healthy sources of proteins and fats will give your body what it needs.
Do low intensity exercise for at least 1 hour per day like:
– After a month you should start doing high intensity exercise from 1 to 3 times per week, like:
– Body Weight Exercises
– Weight Lifting Exercises