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TCM Health Tip: Star Anise

star anise

Star Anise can be used to make a tea for cold & flu symptoms.

Hey People

Today, I thought we’d start a new type of post that we’ll doing periodically and that is featuring herbs and other treatments that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

In today’s tip, I wanted to highlight Star Anise, known as Da Hui Xiang in Chinese.

This is an herb that is traditionally combined with other herbs and used as a pain reliever, and digestive aid (it is especially effective for treating nausea and indigestion).

It has a lovely licorice like flavor and you can find it in dried form at many Hispanic and Asian markets.

Another interesting thing to note is that Star anise is the major source of the chemical compound shikimic acid.

This compound is used to make the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir(Tamiflu).

And for all you trivia fans …in 2005, a temporary shortage of star anise was caused by its use in the production of Tamiflu.

So, that means it also has anti-viral properties and can be a good tea for aiding in the prevention and treatment of the flu.

Since pain, digestive complaints and colds and flus can all be issues for people with Hashimoto’s, we recommend this as a tea that you can keep around the house and drink regularly.

How to prepare it:

Use 2 star anise per cup of filtered water.

Bring water to a boil. Add the star anise, turn down the heat.

Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes for a strong cup of tea.

Doesn’t really need sweetening, and the flavor will be quite strong when you simmer it for this amount of time.

Simmering for this amount of time will release the medicinal properties and covering it will preserve the aromatic oils.

For a gentler cup of tea, simmer for 5 minutes.

Have a great day! Unless you have other plans. 🙂

Please share with anyone you think might enjoy this.

Health Tip: The Truth About TSH


Hey, people!

Today’s health tip concerns blood tests.

As I’m sure many of you have experienced, a lot of doctors rely heavily on test results.

The most commonly ordered are TSH and T4.

Some doctors won’t order anything other than TSH.

And many labs now do what is called a TSH cascade, which means they only test more than TSH if TSH is out of range.

Which it isn’t, a lot of the time. Regardless of how lousy you feel.

What this practice amounts to is simply managing TSH.

Managing TSH is not the same as managing Hashimoto’s.

Lately, several people have posted questions regarding their lab values.

In most cases, I can’t give a good answer.

I’m not trying to be a jerk, it’s because lab tests are flawed.

They are not the be all and end all.

They do not provide answers by themselves.

With Hashimoto’s, what you feel, the symptoms you have, are clinically significant and diagnostically important.

And here’s why this is especially true of TSH.

TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone.

It is released by the pituitary gland to signal the thyroid to release thyroid hormone.

And research has found that the pituitary does not absorb thyroid hormone

in the same way that the rest of the cells in the body do.

A study published in the British Medical Journal, Meir et al looked into the question of whether or not TSH and the amount of thyroid hormone in the cells of the body were directly correlated.

It was shown that the TSH level had no correlation with tissue thyroid levels and could not be used to determine a proper or optimal thyroid replacement dose.

The authors concluded that “TSH is a poor measure for estimating the clinical and metabolic severity of primary overt thyroid failure.”

“… We found no correlations between the different parameters of target tissues and serum TSH.”

“…no correlations…” means these 2 things aren’t connected.

Do want to know what your test results mean?

Look at them in the context of how you feel.

A thorough assessment of your signs and symptoms is, by far, the best way to understand how you feel.

Trust your body.

It will tell you whether or not what you are doing is working.

And if you feel like crap, what you are doing is not working.

It’s time to change course.




I conducted a poll on my Facebook page the other day (http://facebook.com/HashimotosHealing) asking whether anyone who had normal lab results were still experiencing symptoms. These graphs below illustrate the results from that poll:



Success Story: She Found a Path to Remission


Here’s a great story of a woman who put her Hashimoto’s into remission with a little help. It’s what is possible with persistence and faith. (Used with permission.)

“Dear Marc,

In September 2015, I went see my doctor because I noticed my feet were swelling, I had unexplained dizziness, extreme fatigue, anxiety and depression. I knew something was wrong but had no clue what was causing me to feel unwell.

I also had body pains for years but didn’t think it was related to my other symptoms. I’m currently 54 and up until last year, my previous doctor (he retired so I had to find a new doctor) used to tell me I was healthier than most of his 30 year old patients so I was shocked when I was told I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.

I had never heard of such disease! My doctor basically said to me “You have Hashimoto’s and you need to be gluten free for the rest of your life, eventually your thyroid will be damaged and you’ll have to take thyroid medicine for the rest of your life”. That was it!

Needless to say, I was frustrated and stressed out because I was clueless about everything Hashimoto’s related!

I went home immediately started doing research and your site came up, I initiated contact and right away I started the supplements you recommended, AIP and I also enrolled in your 5 Element course. The course helped me to understand what the disease is and how it affects my being.

I also learned that food sensitivities may be causing my body pain. I went back to my doctor and told her about the plan you prescribed…her response was “oh”! I also gave her the list of test I wanted performed and she graciously gave me the orders. I am so grateful to have found your site and the education I was so desperately seeking!

By December my TPO antibodies were at 1200 (they had gone up 60 points from the previous test) but I diligently followed the plan to the letter. I was concerned because the number went up but all my body pains and symptoms had disappeared, I felt so much better!

Early April I had another set of test done and I could not believe the results, I read them over and over! My TPO antibodies were down to 112 in 4 months!!!! Now I know I’m on the right path and God willing my TPO will be 0 by the next test. I don’t believe I would be where I’m at today if it were not for your gracious passion for helping others like us!

I have lots of work ahead of me but now I have more confidence that I will resume life as it once was. Marc, I thank you so much with all my heart and soul! Thank you for the time you put into your videos, your guidance, teaching and caring. The journey continues for a lifetime!

My vitality is more valuable than the instant gratification I got from a cookie!

God Bless You!””

Ilda L.


New Study: Thyroid Levels Impact Dementia Risk


Thyroid Levels Impact Dementia Risk

A new study published in the journal Neurology has found that high and high-normal thyroid levels are linked to greater risk of developing dementia, but not vascular brain disease.

This is a very interesting finding because (as this previous post illustrates) cognitive decline has been linked with hypothyroidism and high TSH.

Low TSH May Also Be a Risk Factor? Wait…What?

This study shows that having too low TSH can also be risk factor (we’ll explore why this might be in a moment). What this also shows us is just how important balance is. There may be a “Goldilocks” zone of TSH and free T4 that’s “just right”.

In this study, researchers led by Layal Chaker, MD, MSc, of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands investigated the role of thyroid function in dementia, cognitive decline, and vascular brain disease.

They examined a subgroup of 9446 people (mean age 65) enrolled into this Rotterdam Study. Researchers looked into the link between thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (free T4) and incidents of dementia.

Here’s what they found: Over the course of follow-up (mean 8 years), 601 patients developed dementia (Alzheimer’s dementia n=487). Higher levels of TSH were found to be associated with lower dementia risk for both the full and normal ranges of thyroid function, independent of cardiovascular risk factors (hazard ratio [HR] 0.90, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83–0.98; and HR 0.76, 95% CI 0.64–0.91, respectively).

Higher Levels of Free T4 Too?

Participants with higher levels of free thyroxine were found to have greater dementia risk (HR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01–1.07).

Higher levels of TSH were associated with better cognitive scores (P =.021), and in older women, a 5% decrease in absolute 10-year dementia risk. Notably, thyroid function was not found to be associated with subclinical vascular brain disease.

The results, the authors concluded, suggest that thyroid hormone impacts dementia risk through nonvascular pathways.

How Can This Be?

The researchers offered a couple of other ideas about why this might be including the possibility that excess free thyroxine may affect the way that genes are expressed in important pathways in the brain or that destruction to nerves my be caused by oxidative stress which can cause destruction of brain tissue (which, frankly, makes a lot of sense to me – more on this in a moment).

Also, participants with early signs of dementia may have changes in behavior, like diet, which may alter thyroid function. (As we know diet and behavior are extremely important for maintaining a healthy brain).

“In other words, we may not be observing a true effect of thyroid hormone on dementia risk but rather the opposite,” the authors concluded.

Here’s My Take on This

This is one of those instances when looking at research can make you crazy. Too high TSH and hypothyroidism is clearly a potential problem and too low TSH may also be a potential problem.

Age is another factor to consider when trying to wind yourself through this maze. Thyroid hormone is absolutely essential for the developing brain, so if your are pregnant or if you are an infant or young child, it may be more important to have your TSH a little lower (In fact, the American Endocrine Society has recommendations for TSH in each trimester and they can be found in this post.)

As we age, the brain becomes becomes more vulnerable to certain processes and, I think, the chief concern here may be the role of oxidative stress on the mitochondria in the brain.

In thyrotoxicosis (excessively low TSH or a hyperthyroid state), glucose uptake and utilization by muscle is increased as is the breakdown of glycogen (glycogenolysis) and glycogen (a substance that stores carbohydrates) depletion is seen in muscle biopsy samples.

Also, mitochondrial oxidation is increased and lipid oxidation, protein and purine breakdown all occur and this results in lower ATP (our cells energy sources).

And being naturally a little hypothyroid might actually protect your brain from this (but, it can also cause it’s own problems – damned if you do and damned if you don’t!)

Mitochondrial Problems Lead to Destruction of Brain Tissue

And mitochondria are smack dab in the middle of this whole process because they are involved in both energy production and cell death.

Mitochondria are unique in that they both produce energy and make free radicals. They do this in order to monitor cellular health and to make a rapid decision (if necessary) to initiate programmed cell death.

When this process goes haywire in the brain, it can have devastating impacts on nerve cells. And too much free T4 can be one of the factors that drives this.


From http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443909002427

Ironically, mitochondria in the brain are really of victims of their own amazing abilities.

If the amount of free radical species produced by them overwhelms the neurons in the brain’s ability to neutralize them, oxidative stress occurs, followed by mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal damage.

Reactive species generated by mitochondria have several cellular targets including mitochondrial components themselves (lipids, proteins, and DNA). The lack of histones in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the diminished capacity for DNA repair render the mitochondria an easy target to oxidative stress events.

So, they are especially vulnerable to their own attacks. (There has to be a lesson there. 🙂 )

All of this can translate into destruction of brain tissue due to this oxidation which produces free radicals. (In fact, many symptoms of aging are due to these free radicals).

Basically, this all comes down to electrons. These reactive oxygen species are untethered electrons flying around breaking up cells, and wreaking havoc (think bullet in a tin can).

And really, at the end of the day, this mitochondrial dysfunction is a causal link between neurodegeneration caused by both hypo and hyperthyroidism.

So, obviously, this begs the question, How do we preserve and heal the mitochondria in our brains (and the rest of our bodies?)

Stay tuned. We’ll be exploring this in a future post in considerable depth.

Banish Brain Fog Program

Want to Banish Brain Fog and Heal Your Brain? Check out Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s Banish Brain Fog Program ($50 off if you purchase before 10/3/2016). 



https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923401/ Endocrine Risk factors for Cognitive Impairment

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17353866 Hypothyroidism and reversible cognitive decline

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3496329/ Review of 23 studies on subclinical hyperthyroidism and cognitive decline

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872098/ Role of Thyroid Hormone in Oxidative Stress and Neurodegeneration

http://joe.endocrinology-journals.org/content/176/3/321.full.pdf  Hypothyroidism alters mitochondria

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443909002427 Mitochondria Dysfunction  and Alzheimer’s

Your Healing Might Be In Front of You


Today’s Hashimoment: Your Healing Might Be Right In Front of You

Hey people!

Today, I wanted to discuss how much of the process of healing is really anchored in the way you choose to experience it.

Hashimoto’s, like many chronic diseases, is not just a physical problem. It’s also an emotional, psychological, and (dare I say it) spiritual challenge.

And a good deal of our progress or lack of progress really depends on our perception of what is happening.

To badly paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you think you can get better or you don’t think you can get better, you’re right.

The other day I was experiencing something that was a bit challenging and I was feeling discouraged and I shared it with a friend and he said, “What if you are closer than you think?”

And I had to stop and pause. And admit he was right.

What if what I was, in that moment, perceiving as failure or disappointment or a set back was actually moving me closer to where I wanted to be?

What if it was actually within reach but I couldn’t see it because I was so focused on that fact that I hadn’t gotten it yet?

Or to put it another way, what if I was actually sitting in the middle of an answered prayer, but I was too preoccupied with everything I didn’t have to notice?

And of course this begs the question, what if I instead stopped to take inventory of all the progress and blessings that I did have and recognize and celebrate them?

All of a sudden my entire perception had changed and the glass became half full (more than half full).

So, I challenge you today to ask yourself, “What if I’m closer than I think…?”

To healing your Hashimoto’s, to having abundant energy, to feeling happy, healthy and loving life again?

“What if I am sitting in the middle of an answered prayer and I actually stopped to appreciate it?”

Just ask yourself those questions and you might find your perception changing too.

Thoughts, comments, shares, likes and more are always welcomed.

Have a great day! Unless you have other plans. 🙂

Success Story: A. Greenwood

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:

“Hello Marc!

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!”

A. Greenwood

Brekenridge Mo.

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!

Success Story: Tonia B



“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

New Study Finds Household Dust Contains Thyroid Disruptors

dust frustration

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




Case Study: Healing the Heart

healing the heart success story

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!

Thyroid News: High fT4 May Increase Risk of SCD (Sudden Cardiac Death)


The Heart and Thyroid Connection

Hey people!

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:

CBS News


Science World Report

Clinical Endocrinology News

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

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.

Hypothyroid, But High 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.

How the Thyroid Impacts Cardiovascular Function

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.

Thyroid Hormone and The Heart

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.

Way More Than A Thyroid Problem

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.

Book a 30 minute Consultation.