Wow! Another year has flown by.
We’re celebrating the second anniversary of launching our website and Facebook group.
I am a big fan of looking back at the data and the experiences and analyzing what we learned.
And, hopefully, we can continue to build from that and improve what we are trying to do.
And that is to help and educate people to heal their Hashimoto’s.
Over the course of these 2 years, I have had over 1,500 consultations with people with this disease.
I’ve listened as people described their symptoms, their struggles and their health histories and I’ve also taken a number of surveys and polls at our Facebook support group which has now reached 22,000 Likes.
I want to thank everyone who has joined us for their continued love and support!
This is something we could not have achieved without you.
You truly inspire me day in and day out!
A PRACTICE NOT ANALYZED IS NOT WORTH LIVING
In this blog post I’m going to summarize the top 3 things that I think are really important (from a clinical and practical point of view) and I’ll share a few odds and ends that are just really interesting to me.
And, just so you know…
Much of what we have learned over last 2 years will be summarized in my new book which is due out at the end of April 2015 called Road Map to Remission: A Practical Guide to Hashimoto’s Healing
It’s basically an owner’s manual for living with a Hashimoto’s body.
You can learn more about it here: Check out a video series on my new book.
If you haven’t yet done so, sign up to get on our email list so you can get all the latest updates, videos and research on Hashimoto’s.
Here are my top 3 clinical pearls and a little discussion on each and why I believe they matter to you.
Pearl #1: The Digestive Tract Is Ground Zero For Hashimoto’s and Autoimmunity
The more I work with people and help them turn their lives around, the more I realize that the digestive tract and, in particular, the intestines are ground zero for Hashimoto’s and autoimmunity.
And I can’t tell you how many people have shared with me that their doctors said that diet doesn’t matter.
Saying diet doesn’t matter for Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism is kind of like saying alcohol doesn’t matter to an alcoholic.
The importance of diet can not be overstated and this is really a “no brainer”.
Yet, I am also continually surprised at how many people refuse to accept this or want to negotiate a kinder, gentler half way approach that doesn’t involve them changing their diet and, of course, their lives.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease and that means that your immune system is attacking your your own tissue.
Tissue attack and destruction is induced by immune system stimulation.
Where is your immune system?
An estimated 70 – 80 % lives in your digestive tract.
So everything that passes through there interacts with your immune system.
Also, there is a lot of research evidence that shows a clear link between “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability and autoimmune disease.
The breakdown of your intestines is a breakdown in the barrier to your immune system and this clearly is a factor in the initiation of autoimmune disease.
But it is also an important factor in people’s symptoms because if this is not addressed you have constant immune stimulation and constant tissue attack.
And this is not reserved for only the digestive system.
It’s effects are systemic. It has a ripple effect all over your body.
My advice is always get off of gluten, dairy and soy 100% and for many, because of the state of their intestines, this is not enough.
They need to do more.
For almost everyone, we recommend a version of the Autoimmune Paleo diet designed for autoimmune disease and Hashimoto’s, in particular.
And while you’re doing this, it’s a great time to work with someone like me because you can get a lot accomplished by working aggressively to heal the gut, clean up the liver and reduce systemic inflammation at the same time.
I have gotten messages on Facebook and emails from hundreds of different women and men who have credited this mind shift and change alone with completely transforming their lives.
If you’re on the fence about your diet, you’re just prolonging your misery needlessly.
It’s such a simple part of the solution.
This last year I became a bit obsessed with this area of study and research.
In fact, I did a video series and created a special program for it.
If you haven’t had a chance to see that yet, here’s a link: SAVE YOUR BRAIN (FROM HASHIMOTO’S)
(There’s 3 parts. The first 2 describe the issues and the third tells you about the solution.)
Why did I decide to give his so much attention?
Because, brain fog and memory issues are the number 2 problem for everyone with Hashimoto’s.
(Fatigue is number 1 and that is often brain based, as well. So you could argue that this is priority #1)
And here’s why it matters.
When you lose your brain, you lose everything.
The problems that Hashimoto’s can cause are relatively minor compared to what happens if neurodegeneration and autoimmunity inthe brain progresses past a certain point.
This can be a major factor in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s type symptoms and it can lead further to something like Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy.
Because Hashimoto’s (often the combination of hypothyroidism and autoimmunity) does a double whammy on the brain.
This leads to massive inflammation of the immune system in the brain which, in turn leads to major destruction of neurons and brain tissue.
The immune system in the brain is not like the immune system in the rest of the body.
It has 2 speeds, balls to the wall and calm. There’s no middle ground.
And there’s no off switch. No regulatory part of the immune system to calm it down.
It goes crazy until it can’t go crazy any more.
And when the immune cells in the brain (the microglia) get excited and activated, they chew up everything around them.
This is not good.
This process also has a profound impact on how you feel.
The anxiety, depression and inability to handle stress are not coincidences, they are another example of how this process upsets thebalance of your brain’s neurochemistry.
Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, catecholamines and GABA are all impacted and can become deficient in people with Hashimoto’s.
These are you “molecules of emotion”.
They are directly responsible for your emotional health and well being.
And guess what else has a huge impact on the brain?
The digestive tract is really the body’s second brain.
And these 2 interact with each in very important and significant ways.
So this is really one big pearl of wisdom.
Focusing on healing these 2 areas long term may just give you the greatest return on your investment of time, energy and money.
Another epiphany I had this year was discovering something called the 80/20 principle.
This is often used in business and in marketing, but the idea has universal applications because it comes from a basic law of nature.
It’s also called the Pareto Principle because it came from an economist named Vilfredo Pareto.
He observed that 80% of the wealth in his country was owned by 20% of the people.
Ok, so what does this have to do with Hashimoto’s?
Stay with me for a moment…
Well, it turns out that this basic idea applies to just about everything in the natural world.
Look around you…
…Most people spend 80% of their time with 20% of their friends.
…Look in your closet, you wear 80% of those clothes 20% or less of the time.
And on and on.
You can apply this to everything, including your body and your health.
And it’s not about the numbers, ok?
It might not be exactly 80/20, it could be 85/15 OR 75/25.
The point is that there is an imbalance in cause and effect.
Relatively few things cause the majority of results.
Why does this matter?
Well with Hashimoto’s, this means 80% of our problems are caused by 20% of the things we need to work on.
Or let me put it another way:
If you are like many of the people that I have worked with, then 80% of your symptoms are caused by 20% of the choices you made today…
…now imagine if you could fix 80% of your symptoms fast by figuring out what those 20% are and then make some changes…
…and get that 20% to really count…
You see where I’m going with this?
Well, obviously, if this is true, we need to figure out what the 20% is.
And I believe that I have a good idea where to start.
Spoiler alert! You just learned 2 important parts of this 20%.
The brain and the gut.
If we had just 30 seconds together before I was whisked away in a black sedan by terrorists, here’s what I’d tell you.
This seems like an over simplification, but it’s one of those things that is a fundamental truth.
Many of us who struggle with Hashimoto’s spend an enormous amount of time searching for the right information, the right doctor, the right drugs or combination of drugs and the right supplements.
But often the solution is right in front of us and it doesn’t require doing anything more.
It requires a steadfast devotion to doing less.
We’ve been conditioned in our consumer driven society to always want more.
And we’ve also been conditioned to think the answer is in a pill.
The pill that will deliver more is seductive and difficult to resist.
But the truth, for many, the most successful things you can do to feel better requires the ruthless application of simplifying your life.
If you really want to get better and find remission, become passionate about doing less.
And look at every part of your life. Especially at those things that you do compulsively.
Eat less sugar.
Watch less tv.
Read less news.
Spend less time with people who don’t support you or bring you joy.
Do less of the things that cause you stress.
And when you identify those things that are among the 20% that cause 80% of your misery.
Give them up 100%.
At the end of the day, this approach not only makes you healthier, it also gives you a much more rewarding life.
These were some interesting observations I have made:
1. More than 80% of the people I worked with had Mono and were exposed to the Epstein Barr Virus.
Clearly this virus is somehow involved in Hashimoto’s. How? The research is far from definitive. Theories include activation of NF Kappa Beta, activation of rouge B cells and proteins like IL-8.
Other common infections that are involved in the initiation of Hashimoto’s include Lyme disease, Yersenia and Herpes Viruses.
2. The most common symptom is fatigue.
Of all the many potential symptoms of Hashimoto’s fatigue is by far Public Enemy #1.
And fatigue is often brain based which means it is the result of neurodegeneration caused by hypothyroidism and autoimmunity in the brain that we mentioned above.
3. The disease is progressive. My teacher and mentor, Dr. Datis Kharrazian and others have identified 3 stages. Read this post to learn more about this.
4. Many people have more than one autoimmune disease or at the very least antibodies to other tissues.
The truth is that most doctors don’t test for or look for it. But, very often, it’s there.
One of the most common places for these additional antibodies is to brain tissue, especially cerebellar tissue.
And one thing I stress is that this matters because it means that the stakes are very high.
Autoimmunity to different parts of the body is the same basic process and it just finds different tissue.
And some of the places it can go can be life threatening.
This part of the equation must be taken very seriously.
And at it’s root what is autoimmunity?
And this means that reducing inflammation needs to be job 1.
And the best way to do that is to create an anti-inflammatory life.
This is without exception a simpler life because all the common excesses are known to cause more inflammation.
Well, that’s all for now.
I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring!
And if you’re not aware of it, I offer a free 30 minute Hashimoto’s Healing Discovery Session.
In it you can share your story with me. Tell me where you are and where you want to be.
I’ll make some recommendations that I think will help right away and we can discuss how else I might be able to help.
I set aside time every week to talk with people who have Hashimoto’s and I’d love to talk to you.
You can schedule a free session by clicking here.
Just a warning. These are all booked out 2 to 3 months in advance.
If you have a more pressing issue and you’re interested in working with me, shoot me an email at [email protected] and we’ll set aside time for you sooner.