We’ve had a few posts covering the adrenals this week. In this one, I talk about how they can affect your kidneys and what you can do about it.
Well something that is often overlooked with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s is it’s impact on the kidneys (the Water Element in Chinese Medicine)
I’ve had a lot of questions this week about why blood pressure goes up in people who have low blood pressure for years.
Read this post and you’ll learn why.While this is one area that is not often discussed, Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism can have a big impact on kidney function.Hypothyroidism can cause:
(This can cause creatinine to build up and not be excreted. Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. )
The kidneys fail to filter waste products from your body properly when your pressure is low, and “angiotensin” is produced, which raises your blood pressure.
Also, a rise in cortisol from your adrenals can raise your blood pressure.
Hypothyroidism can also cause edema.
You can see this swelling under the eyes, or as mild swelling of the hands and feet.
This is caused by several things: decreased kidney function, capillaries becoming more permeable-, poor lymphatic drainage and salt and water retention by the kidneys.
Another area that’s important to think about is the amount of protein in your diet.
As many of you know, we advocate the Autoimmune Paleo approach because this diet can be so effective in healing the gut and calming an overactive immune system.
One problem with this diet with regard to the kidneys is that some people have a tendency to focus too much on the meat. It becomes the all-meat-all-day diet.
This is really hard on the kidneys because they are responsible for filtering out the metabolic wastes that are created when protein is broken down.
So, it’s really important to make sure that you have plenty of vegetables and fruit (preferably organic and if you’re ambitious – grown in your garden).
You don’t need to eat meat with every meal. It’s perfectly fine to have some meals that are vegetable and/or vegetable and a good starch only.
Your kidneys will thank you for it!
Case Study: Anything Is Possible
This case was pretty severe, yet it turned out pretty well.
A 29 year old female who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s postpartum.
She suffered from fatigue, brain fog and concentration problems, muscle aches and hip and shoulder pain. Also suffered mild depression and thinning hair and nails.
She had both Graves and Hashimoto’s antibodies elevated, high TSH (above 16 at one point). She fluctuated from hyper to hypo symptoms. She reported that these were “crazy cycles” for about 15 months.
She also could not tolerate thyroid replacement hormone at all. She had a very bad reaction to both Synthroid and Armour.
Further investigating revealed signs and symptoms of leaky gut, hypoglycemia and adrenal issues, and high homocysteine levels.
We put her on an Autoimmune Diet, treated her hypoglycemia by making sure she started the day with a good protein and fat combination and didn’t let her sugar crash throughout the day. She ate at regular intervals.
We also treated the leaky gut and worked on the adrenals and helped her adapt to stressors.
And we worked to aggressively reduce the systemic inflammation that’s was at the root of this.
After working together for 3 months, she felt considerable improvement.
She returned to her primary physician, reported what she had done and requested a follow up blood test.
This doctor initially refused because he said that it wasn’t possible that there could be any improvement with that type of treatment.
Diet and the adrenals didn’t matter, etc.
She insisted and finally he relented and ordered the tests. Everything came back within the normal range, (all the antibodies, the TSH and everything else).
She was, of course, elated. The doctor, not so much.
Here is an email she sent me:
I know you didn’t ask me for an update, but everyone deserves praise every now and then:)
Well this is… (her name),…and if you remember you helped me about 18 months ago. I had horrible anti-bodies, leaky gut, adrenal problems, etc.
All of this came after a pregnancy.
Anyways, my thyroid antibodies have not come back, my gut feels amazing (unless I accidentally ingest gluten:)) and I assume my adrenals are working just fine!
In fact I’m pregnant again with my second, and my thyroid is looking good and I’m feeling amazing!!!
I owe this all to you!
So once again thank you so much, you literally changed my life, and keep the facebook posts coming, I love learning all I can about the latest updates!
Wishing you wisdom and happiness!”
I’m not going to pretend this happens with everyone, nor do I deserve all the credit.
She deserves the credit for persevering, following the plan and believing that something else was possible.
There are also some really important takeaways here.
Firstly, the answer wasn’t just thyroid replacement hormone. This is the answer for some people, but not for everyone.
Especially post partum when things are really in flux and your body is adapting to a new normal.
And as we discussed yesterday, there are also fillers that may be problematic for some people.
This case also shows that sometimes the thyroid isn’t the direct cause of the problems.
Here it was was the inflammatory process, the adrenals and the immune system dysregulation.
It took some digging and detective work to look elsewhere for solutions, but there were pretty clear indications about where they were.
What’s also really encouraging about this is that the changes were sustained over more than a year.
That’s a very good sign.
So if you’re struggling and the solution that has been offered you isn’t working, then don’t be afraid to dig deeper and look for solutions in other systems of the body.
And, bottom line, there is always hope because anything is possible if you believe it to be so!
Hey people! I’m always astonished when people share with me that their doctor said, “Diet doesn’t matter, there’s nothing you can do except take thyroid hormone.”
I have literally heard variations of that one sentence over 500 times. I really don’t understand it because in my (and many of my colleagues) clinical experience this is the single most important factor in achieving long term success.
In today’s post I want to share a new research study that suggests otherwise. This was published in the Drug Design, Development and Therapy Journal, Volume 10, 2016.
This study, entitled, Effects of low-carbohydrate diet therapy in overweight subject with autoimmune thyroiditis: possible synergism with ChREBP , looked at “…a total of 180 patients, 84 males and 96 females, aged 30–45 years. All the subjects did not present celiac disease, but Hashimoto’s disease was detected. Moreover, each patient showed others autoimmune symptoms, they are typical Hashimoto’s disease.”
(This isn’t huge cohort, but it’s certainly enough people to give us some decent data.)
All patients had elevated antibodies.
TSH, free T3, free T4 and levels of anti-microsomal, anti-thyroglobulin, and anti-peroxidase Abs were measured. (Which is interesting since anti-microsomal and anti-TPO antibodies are essentially the same ).
They were put on the following: a diet program based on the following proportions: carbohydrates 12%–15%, proteins 50%–60%, and lipids 25%–30%. These patients were instructed to eat large leafy and other types of vegetables and only lean parts of red and white meat, avoiding goitrogenic food. The following items were also excluded from the diet: eggs, legumes, dairy products, bread, pasta, fruits, and rice.
This protein-rich diet plan was implemented for 3 weeks, at the end of which bioimpedance tests, bodyweight measurements, and blood tests (TPO Ab, anti-microsomal Ab, thyroglobulin [TG] Ab, and thyroid hormones) were performed.
There was also a control group that didn’t make any dietary changes and were also tested.
Initial (pre-diet) levels of FT3, FT4, and TSH were not significantly different between the two groups.
In just 3 weeks, these were the results: patients treated as above showed a significant reduction of antithyroid (-40%,P<0.013), anti-microsomal (-57%, P<0.003), and anti-peroxidase (-44%, P<0,029) Abs. Untreated patients had a significant increase in antithyroid (+9%, P<0.017) and anti-microsomal (+30%,P<0.028) Abs. Even the level of anti-peroxidase Abs increased without reaching statistical significance (+16%, P>0064).
In other words, there was a 40% reduction in anti-thyroid, a 57% anti-microsomal and a 44% ant-TPO antibodies. While people in the control group who made no changes showed an in crease of 9% anti-thyroid, 30% anti-microsomal and 16% increase in anti-TPO antibodies.
There was also some weight loss noted about a 5% reduction and a 4% reduction in BMI.
Those antibody reduction numbers are HUGE differences. If they were develop a drug that could do that, it would be a multi-billion dollar discovery.
So, I think it’s safe to say that this type of diet is, at least, worth trying.
I also think there are few things that came up in this study that interesting and worth pointing out. These researchers had the dieters remove goitrogenic vegetables. I have looked into the research on this and I don’t think they have the impact that we have been led to believe.
In my opinion, as long as you steam or blanch or cook them in some way, most of those properties are not an issue. Here’s a good discussion on this.
Basically, with the exception of soy, these vegetables have far more health benefits than problems.
The other thing I thought was fascinating about this study was the discussion of why this may be (I’m a geek when it comes to this and I’m forever curious to learn WHY?)
First thing the researchers note is that “… the aim of this type of diet is to reduce the overall inflammatory state and consequently inflammation of the thyroid gland.” This is an anti-inflammatory diet and test results confirm that.
Also, they note that these results may be “related to the role of the thyroid hormone receptor-α (TRα), found mainly in the liver and white adipose tissues.”
This receptor is involved in fat metabolism and balance. It causes certain genes to be expressed ( such as ChREBP or Carbohydrate-responsive element-binding protein which interacts with carbohydrate expression in DNA.)
In addition, they note “It has also been suggested that TRα could be involved in the transcriptional regulation of lipogenesis in the liver. Activation of these genes determines an increase in the expression of anti-microsomal Abs, which occurs mainly in the REL of hepatocytes, and it has a fundamental role in inflammatory processes.”
In other words, this receptor is involved in fat production in the liver (which is the result of sugar and carbohydrate consumption) AND it increases anti-microsomal antibodies AND it is is important in inflammation.
I have often noted how important blood sugar regulation is for Hashimoto’s patients and I frequently express this to my patients and we work diligently to balance their blood sugar. And this is why it is so important!
They also note” that 83% of patients with a high level of autoantibodies are breath test positive to lactase with a lactase deficit higher than 50%…” This is one of the reasons dairy can be problematic for Hashimoto’s patients as well.
And one final point that was really interesting and which emphasizes the importance of making sure your liver is functioning properly is that “Chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland can also be due to the presence of environmental contaminants that are suspected to disturb activity against the endocrine system, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals.”
These chemicals like PCBs are known endocrine disruptors and have been shown to disrupt thyroid function. These researchers suggest that a rise in anti-microsomal antibodies may be a way for our bodies to defend the thyroid and prevent it from being further destroyed.
What these chemicals do is to disrupt the thyroid receptor that we looked at earlier. And this all happens in the liver. What this study makes us more curious about is how the thyroid gland is involved in lipid metabolism (yes, those of you who know me may see the light going off in my brain- more blog posts to come!).
Bottom Line? A diet based on the reduction of carbohydrate content leads not only to a weight loss, but also a decrease in fat mass and a significant drop of autoantibodies in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
So, dear doctor, DIET DOES MATTER!!!!!
Try it people.
Have a great day, unless you have other plans!
I recently conducted an informal survey on my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/hashimotoshealing)
I asked people about what worked for them the most in treating their Hashimoto’s symptoms.
The results were rather telling and, I feel, are relevant to this post. Many of them talked about dietary changes being one of the most significant factors in helping to alleviate their symptom.
Here’s a graph of the results:
REAL STORIES FROM REAL PEOPLE:
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
“I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, PCOS, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and IBS/Leaky Gut Syndrome over three years ago.
I went from running 6 days a week and feeling healthy and full of energy. To slowly deteriorating and becoming more and more sick. I was prescribed five different medications.
I chose to only to be on the Levothyroxine, and even then, the side effects for me only compounded my symptoms.
I was at the lowest in my life, physically emotionally and mentally. The best way to describe it was that it felt like my body was “literally dying”. I felt like I had a “hangover” everyday.
I never felt “right”. I had fatigue and widespread body pain. I would get bad headaches at the base of my skull that included nose bleeds that at times, lasted several hours and would put me in the ER.
Eventually my symptoms went from being just physical. To also affecting me mentally and emotionally. Along with daily foggy brain and stroke like symptoms. I had severe anxiety and depression, along with irritability and outbursts of anger.
I was at a point in my life, that I had more bad days than good. I was so exhausted and beat up. I had lost all hope of ever getting my health, life and well being back. I felt lost. This disease had become my identity. And for me, that was humiliating.
I stumbled across Marc’s Facebook page and could relate with everything he posted. The more curious I got, the more I looked into what he had to say. I thought “What do I have to lose? I’ll order his book and video series and see if this gives me any answers”.
After receiving my copy of Marc’s book Roadmap To Remission in September 2015. My wonderfully supportive but equally frustrated and exhausted husband and I started eating the Paleo/AIP lifestyle right away.
I noticed after a few days. My symptoms were becoming less severe and less frequent. Now a few weeks into it, I still have not had any flare ups.
My energy is coming back. I am no longer having pain, depression, anxiety, heartburn or bowel problems. And I’m even sleeping better at night. And to my pleasant surprise.
The weight is just falling off (with having Hashimoto’s, that was something I had given up hope of ever happening). My husband has also lost weight and has more energy for his demanding career as an Engineer.
As Marc recommends. I am keeping a journal. I find that since I’m feeling so good now. It helps remind me “why” I started this , and helps me stay on track with the things that work and don’t work for me.
I never would have started down my path of healing without the tools necessary that Marc Ryan and his book has provided me. He personally told me that I need to embrace “change” and be willing to “learn” and to not stray from my new “lifestyle”.
I am now enjoying and embracing my new lease on life, one day at a time. I know this is a life long journey that I will be on. But for the first time in years, I am excited about living again and seeing what life has in store for me!
I’m so grateful to Marc Ryan and his book, Roadmap To Remission. He has provided me with the gift of “Hope” and the tools to “Help” me down my path of my “Healing”. TONIA BALL
Here’s a real story about the huge difference diet can make. This was submitted to us by Hillary Bergh, a contributor and recipe-author at furtherfood.com
“Throughout my childhood, I suffered from psoriasis, various skin issues, extreme fatigue, digestive distress, migraines, mood swings, thinning hair, weak nails, and had trouble regulating my body temperature. I saw multiple doctors before I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in my teens. I was put on synthetic thyroid and estrogen hormones to manage my condition. While some of the symptoms were reduced, my skin and digestive issues became much worse.
They all told me food was not a factor
My general practitioner, my endocrinologist, and my dermatologist all continued to tell me food was not and could not be a factor–which was a relief. I wanted to believe them because food was my life. My parents owned restaurants, and I was passionate about cooking and wanted a career in food. When I was a teen, my mom did take me to see a naturopath, who suggested I eliminate wheat and gluten. I simply couldn’t do it back then; it was too hard.
I went on to fulfill my dreams of going to culinary school, then baking/pastry school, and then obtained my business degree. Yet, I continued to be plagued by my health issues. I saw various western trained doctors over the years, took medications, used creams – yet saw no improvement, and more often than not, my symptoms worsened.
Hit rock bottom, and started a strict elimination diet
I got so sick that I was forced to spend weeks in bed, and was having increasingly painful symptoms. Finally, a very good friend covered the cost for me to see an acupuncturist for six months, four times per week. I was put on a very strict elimination diet and drank 4oz of a horribly bitter tonic after every meal. Within two weeks, I saw results that exceeded my wildest dreams!
Getting better, reducing meds
As the six month mark approached, I noticed my nails getting stronger, my hair getting thicker, skin issues reducing, no headaches, and had increased energy. I was able to reintroduce many foods, reduce my thyroid dosage, and eliminate my estrogen dosage.
Finding my life’s purpose
Since then, I have received an integrative nutrition health coaching certificate and expanded my knowledge of food as healing. I have been able to combine this newfound knowledge with my culinary education and be a coach to others. It is my life’s purpose to be an example and inspiration to others who are suffering. My health journey is an ongoing adventure and now I can enjoy the ride!”
Awesome! Another great example of why we need to be our own advocates and why the right food choices should be the foundation of any treatment strategy.
A new study from the Journal Chemical Research in Toxicology has released some interesting research on how household dust may contain chemicals that bind to thyroid hormone receptors.
When this happens, of course, it may block your thyroid’s own thyroid hormone or thyroid hormone medication from binding and working properly in your body.
What these researcher did was use compounds already known to bind to human thyroid receptors to help predict which other chemicals might also bind to receptors.
They found five chemicals and one of them, an herbicide, bonded most strongly to thyroid receptors.
According to toxipedia.org, this chemical called 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) in no longer registered for use in the US and was discontinued as an herbicide in 1985. However, like many chemicals it can persist in the environment long after it has been discontinued (http://bit.ly/2cIQAJ2)
It also gained infamy by being one of the compounds in Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam War to destroy the forests of Vietnam where guerrillas were thought to be hiding.
It was used for selective control of weeds in cereal crops and lawns, nettles in pasture and woody weeds in forestry, particularly with conifers since 1945.
Some products that contained it are: Dacamine, Ded-Weed, Farmco Fence Rider, Forron, Inverton 245, Line Rider, T-Nox, Transamine, Brushwood Killer, Brush-Rhap, Brushtox, Esterone, Fruitone A, Reddon, Spontox, Tormona, Tributon, Veon 245, Verton 2T, Visko Rhap Low Volatile Ester, Amine 2,4,5-T for Rice, Super D Weedone, Trinoxol, Weedar, Weedone
And this is just one chemical found in household dust. The research showed that common dust particulars could have an impact on the brain, cardiovascular system, metabolism and other systems regulated by thyroid hormones.
A study released last summer found that certain dust chemicals could be a major factor in obesity.
So what do we do about it?
Obviously, vacuuming your house and dusting with something that catches dust and doesn’t just make it airborne, like a wet rag is a good idea.
Using an air filter might also be an excellent idea. This with HEPA filters are effective in removing airborne particles. I have one in my office (that I just paused to turn on :)) made by IQ Air, that is very effective.
Lastly, glutathione is an antioxidant found in virtually every cell of your body and it is used by the body to help rid itself of many environmental toxins.
It is most effective in IV or lioposomal cream form and can also be taken orally in the form of S-acetyl-L Glutathione, which is mostly absorbed by the liver.
Cordyceps is a Chinese herb that helps the body make and reuse glutathione and pharmacologically it is antibiotic, anticancer, it relieves asthma, stimulates immune function, it stimulates the adrenals, and has been found to increase platelets.
In short, it’s the perfect answer to the scourge of household dust.
That’s all for today, be good, be kind and remember to have compassion for everyone (including yourself!)
Comments, questions, observations, shares, and likes are all encouraged!
Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology by John and Tina Chen, 2004 Art of Medicine Press
The heart and cardiovascular system are sometimes profoundly impacted by Hashimoto’s. Here’s a case study of someone with some potentially serious heart issues who was able to turn their life around. (Used with permission)
Patient is a 75 year old female with Hashimoto’s who presented with cardiovascular symptoms including palpitations in the morning, an irregular heartbeat, constipation, sensitivity on her scalp and back of head, and red itchy eyes in the morning.
Laboratory testing revealed an elevated TSH, low T4, low T3 and free T3, high cholesterol, high homocysteine, and hypertension. Her cardiologist also had done a workup and it revealed Atrial fibrillation.
She had recently undergone chelation therapy due to her practitioner finding high levels of lead and pesticides in her body.
We worked to heal her gut and support her liver detoxification pathways. Gave her plenty of anti-inflammatories and glutathione. Got her on a strict Autoimmune Paleo diet.
In addition, we worked to improve thyroid hormone conversion and absorption and to get her TSH into normal range. We also supplemented with B vitamins to bring down the homocysteine levels.
Her is a real email she sent us 6 months later:
“I just came home from the cardiologist, got tested and received a clean bill of health. Yep, he said that everything with my heart is normal and I don’t need to come back! This, after continual Afibbs and suggestion of beta blockers, blood thinners and possible ablation (going into my heart to desensitize trigger tissue).
Marc, your course influenced me and gave me courage to walk your talk. I can’t thank you enough for your help in turning my life around.”
PS: I have found a new friend (I’m not kidding). The name is Hashimoto’s. It knows my body better than anything else. It guides me to healthy eating and healthy living. It is always beside me, watching over me. And when I stray, it gently pushes me onto the right path. But if I don’t listen – it has a strong voice – for my own good. What a pal. I’m blessed.”
Edith S. Maine
Again, we can’t promise these results to everyone, but Edith deserves the credit for following our plan, really following through and making the changes she needed to make.
She also was able to change her thinking about this disease and was actually able to see some blessing in it. That’s truly inspirational to me to see that someone at that age could be open to growing and changing.
Here is some additional commentary she added:
“So this is what I did:
Foremost I kept in mind the most important thing ( in my opinion) something you said in your webinar, don’t listen to test numbers, but listen to how you FEEL. Wow, to me that was big!
I felt that I did not want a disease label slapped on me! And for life?! No way! I’m going to get BALANCED! One organ at a time. My heart to me was most crucial. So I went to town. Yeah, I tried everything. If it didn’t work, I dismissed it.
All summer I worked on the Paleo diet. Triggers were eliminated. My brain cleared up, perhaps since I’m mashing in Rosemary into my sweet potatoes, as well as Tumeric every day.
My sore scalp disappeared when by accident I forgot all my vitamins. I had an overload of vitamins because I was getting them from the healthy (everything organic and colorful variety) foods.
I truly had to adjust my years of conditioning to think a certain way. My body was craving food every two hours. So I said, your desire is my command. I fed it ( only healthy, organic) on demand, no questions asked or contemplated . After a while it told me, enough already! And now I’m eating normal because I respect my body when it gives me a signal.
Seems like it enjoys ginger (freshly grated) tea about half an hour after I eat. So I keep a batch at hand (no plastic jars, only glass). I don’t take fish oil in capsules, felt an overload of swallowing the outer capsule. Take cod liver oil instead (with lemon flavor). Not bad. Also take a condensed berry extract (anthocyanin) and lecithin.”
Wow! Notice how she really learned to listen to her body and trust what she heard. Totally awesome!
In the last few days there’s been lots of news coverage of the influence of thyroid hormone and thyroid hormone levels on the heart. All of these news outlets had stories:
This is all because of a new study out of the Netherlands in a medical journal called Circulation. The study found that elevated levels of free T4 may result in an increased risk (1%-4%) of sudden cardiac death, even in normal patients.
When asked why, the theory was that “Our hypothesis was that thyroid hormone levels could increase the risk of sudden cardiac death by affecting cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure levels,” said Dr. Layal Chaker, research fellow in endocrinology and epidemiology at Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, lead author of the study.
I’ve done a bunch of research on this area and I covered it in my book, Roadmap to Remission. One thing I discovered was that the heart is very sensitive to thyroid hormone, especially T3.
This is an excerpt 9IN ITALICS) from the section on the Fire Element, which includes the cardiovascular system. It includes a good, easy to understand explanation for exactly what might cause all of this to happen.
The heart circulates nutrients by pumping blood throughout the body.
When blood is pumped through your body, it puts pressure against the walls of your blood vessels.
Right? This is your blood pressure.
When doctors describe blood pressure, they use two numbers like “120 over 70”. These numbers describe the pressure when your heart pumps blood into your blood vessels (the high number) and the pressure when your heart relaxes (the low number).
Imagine squeezing a ketchup bottle. When you squeeze it to ‘pump’ ketchup onto your plate, the pressure is high. When you stop squeezing, the pressure is low.
Blood pressure can change a lot during the day. It is usually lower while you are relaxing and higher when you are active. Other things like pregnancy, smoking, medication, being stressed and thyroid hormone levels can change your blood pressure.
Usually, with hypothyroid conditions, you’re blood pressure is low and with hyperthyroid conditions it tends to be high. But there are many reasons why this is not always the case, in fact, many Hashimoto’s people actually have high blood pressure.
This is because even though many thyroid patients, or those being treated with T4 meds like Synthroid, can start out with low blood pressure, factors related to having functional hypothyroidism can actually create hypertension and high blood pressure over time.
For example, as we saw when we looked at the Water Element hypothyroidism leads to a host of problems physiologically that cause kidney and cardiovascular problems.
For example, there’s less blood flow to the kidneys, this causes the kidneys to not filter waste products like creatinine from your body properly.
In addition, when your blood pressure is low, and “angiotensin” is produced, this raises your blood pressure.
Also when you are hypothyroid, blood is taken from the extremities into the body, which tends to raise pressure by forcing the same volume of blood into a smaller network of vessels.
This process is brought about by a constriction of peripheral vessels.
Hypothyroid patients produce an excess of noradrenalin from the adrenal gland, which constricts blood vessels all over the body, another effort of the body to deal with the low blood pressure.
This in turn is partly related to the effort by the body to raise blood sugar levels when low. We’ve already discussed this, as well.
These problems may or may not be caused by being overmedicated.
Anxiety, tachycardia (fast heart rate), and high blood pressure that people with Hashimoto’s experience is not always from being hyperthyroid or overmedicated, it may also be from noradrenaline that the body is secreting for energy to compensate for the lack of thyroid hormone.
Unfortunately, what often happens is that they’re prescribed blood pressure medications (such as beta blockers) and/or anti-anxiety medications (such as benzodiazepines).
Neither of these drugs corrects the underlying functional hypothyroidism (low thyroid condition) that caused the symptoms in the first place, and both have side effects. In one study, noradrenaline was three times higher in hypothyroid subjects than normal controls when lying down.
So what was once low blood pressure, now takes a nasty turn towards hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Another….you guessed it, vicious cycle.
Obviously, too high blood pressure can be dangerous. It means that there is too much stress on your blood vessels. This makes the vessels weak and can damage them. Imagine squeezing a ketchup bottle really hard and fast until it breaks.
High blood pressure is a major cause of heart disease.
Ok, so let’s take a look at how else the thyroid impacts cardiovascular function. Firstly, thyroid hormone has a direct impact on cholesterol; with hypothyroidism serum cholesterol increases.
Thyroid hormone stimulates an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, the same enzyme that statin drugs inhibit. This speeds up the synthesis and utilization of cholesterol by the body.
Thyroid hormone stimulates the removal of cholesterol by the liver using LDL receptors. In a hypothyroid state, this whole process is slowed and the result is that cholesterol builds up and isn’t cleared as quickly.
Hypothryoidism can also cause homocysteine levels to rise. High homocysteine can lead to inflammation of the arteries and can make you more prone to blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
We talked about that in the last chapter too, because nourishing certain pathways in the liver can really help bring down high homocysteine.
CRP, another risk factor and inflammatory marker for inflammation in the arteries is also often high with hypothyroidism.
Another odd thing that too little thyroid hormone can cause is lower plasma volume. This is caused by capillaries becoming more permeable and when this happens albumin and water leak into the interstitial spaces.
So here again, we have the makings of a particular dangerous vicious cycle.
In the chapter on the Earth Element, we spoke about how blood sugar problems like metabolic syndrome can create a lot of conditions that make you more likely to develop heart disease.
Well, when you combine that with hypothyroidism, you have a very potent combination that can put you at risk for heart attack and stroke.
Another area that does not get the attention it deserves is the impact of thyroid hormone on the heart and cardiac tissue. One of the things that research is starting to reveal is that thyroid hormone is absorbed differently by different tissues of the body.
In other words not every part of you body is affected the same way by T4 and T3. For example, the pituitary is different than every cell in the body with different deiodinase enzymes and it has more sensitive to thyroid hormone receptors.
Many physicans assume, incorrectly, that thyroid hormone is simply absorbed via diffusion (which is basically like the cell sucking hormone in through a biochemical straw).
However the reality is that the process is energy dependent and called active transport which means it requires the body to use energy to push it into the cells.
In addition, different parts of the body respond differently to T3 and T4. 90% of T3 is absorbed by the stomach while T4 is much less efficient (50 – 90%) and T4 requires much more energy to get absorbed.
T3 affects cardiac muscle cell (myocyte), it affects contraction, T3 also affects the performance of sodium, potassium and calcium channels in the heart.
And what this new study concluded was that “Higher FT4 levels are associated with an increased risk of SCD (sudden cardiac death), even in euthyroid (normal thyroid) participants.” This was an increased risk of 1% – 4%, so don’t panic, that’s not a huge increase.
What this means is that just throwing more thyroid hormone at the problem may not be the answer and can have unintended consequences.
And something else the research has identified is that thyroid autoimmunity can affect the valves of the heart. So, if you have Hashimoto’s and have been diagnosed with heart murmur, an echocardiogram might be a really good idea.
What this also tells us that this is way more than a thyroid problem and issues in other systems of the body must be treated, as well.
And where your heart is concerned it’s super important to take steps to reduce all the risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease. And sugar, inflammation and lack of exercise are the big three that put you at risk.
It’s all connected people!
Everything we do or don’t do has consequences. Properly managing and treating your thyroid may also heal your heart and properly managing and treating heart disease may also heal your thyroid.
Not sure what to do? Set up a consult and we’ll discuss how to create a heart healthy program for you.
I want to be totally honest with you.
I had a really rough week.
As you may or may not know I have Hashimoto’s and another autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis.
And this week I had a flare up of the ankylosing spondylitis.
I feel a lot better today and I seem to have things under control.
And the reality is, I didn’t really deviate a great deal from my normal routine, but I had a flare up anyway.
And what this meant for me was a lot of low back and sacral pain. (It made it difficult to stand in one place for too long and even to sit comfortably for extended periods of time.)
And the worse part of it was that it set off a chain reaction of negative thinking that had me feeling pretty discouraged.
I felt like this was evidence that I had failed.
The good news for me is that this used to be a regular part of my life and now it’s a rare occurrence.
And this is the hard reality of autoimmunity.
Sometimes, even when you do all the right things, you can still, out of nowhere, have flare ups.
But, here’s the thing, the other side of this reality is that sometimes these things happen.
And it doesn’t make all the hard work and sacrifice you’ve put in meaningless.
It shouldn’t have any more significance than the periods of feeling great (which are far more numerous for me these days).
It was just a few days of a storm, which passed.
If I’m totally honest, there were moments when I let that storm over shadow everything else.
Here’s what helped me get back on track.
I keep a journal and I dug it out and read it and what I was reminded of was long term steady improvement and many more good than bad days.
So, with the help of that record, I was able to right the ship and reorient my thinking and realize that while I felt like crap, in the bigger picture, I have made some tremendous progress.
So, there are a couple of big takeaways here, I think.
First, this is one of the important uses for a journal that is sometimes overlooked.
It can provide balance so that you don’t get overly discouraged or overly excited about things.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes bad or unpleasant things seem to occupy more space in my head than good things.
Even though in relative terms, they are fewer and farther between, they can somehow get inflated and seem bigger than they are.
So I was able to check that and see clearly how feelings aren’t facts.
Secondly, I’m going back over the things I did that were different to try and determine if any of them could have been responsible for this flare up.
And I found a few things that, while apparently relatively minor, could be factors. (Like some slip ups in my diet, some things I’ve reintroduced recently, some slip ups in my routine – meditation, exercise, etc.)
So I am also able to recreate the lead up to this flare up and possibly learn how to better navigate it in the future.
Lastly, the biggest takeaway is that I’m here for the long haul and set backs are inevitable parts of life.
The key is to not make them bigger than they are and to learn and grow from them.
Because whether you think you are succeeding or failing on this journey towards remission, you are right.
As much as anything, a lot of the impact of autoimmunity happens between our ears (both literally and figuratively).
The part you can control is the perception of what’s happening.
The judgement about what it means and how you respond to that adversity.
Thoughts, comments, likes and shares are, as always welcome and encouraged.
Today’s Hashimoment: Are You Making Enough Time for You?
In today’s post I’d like to address the issue of taking care of yourself.
I was speaking with a colleague yesterday and he observed that a common theme he has seen with those of us with Hashimoto’s (and I had to admit this described me to a “T”, as well).
And that recurrent theme is that we are generally type A people who tend towards being workaholics and we often devote most of our time to helping and serving others and have very little left over for ourselves.
This was a narrative he saw coming up over and over again.
And this really plays nicely into the stress problem we have, as well. We tend to operate under an enormous amount of stress even though stress is the main villain in our stories.
Right? So many people have had had a major stressful event or series of stressful events that preceded and/or led to them getting sick and diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
Yet, so many of us don’t really learn this lesson.
We just adapt and power on and we put ourselves at the bottom of our “to do” lists.
Well, I want to invite you to change this.
Let’s all commit to getting free of this vicious cycle.
It’s ok to put yourself at the top of your “to do” list and to make the rest of the list read “nothing but things I love to do and fun”.
Another thing my colleague observed was that a casualty of this way of behaving was that some of us have forgotten the things we love to do and the things that are really fun for us.
So this week, focus on making yourself a priority and on dusting off those things that you love to do.
Dig them out of the garage or the attic.
Take them for a spin again and allow yourself what you deserve. Time and space to breathe, laugh and heal.
For me, it’s playing my ukulele. It’s a blast. I actually schedule time to play it a little every day.
Please share with us some of things you love to do that you haven’t done for a while.
Just to give us some good ideas!
Have a great day! (Unless you have other plans. 🙂 )