Archive for the ‘Thyroid’ Category

Balance Your Thyroid Now

Three Things You Can do NOW to Help Balance Your Thyroid

 By Gia McCloskey-Jurevich, NP

When I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, I was shocked.  I was 30-years old, and otherwise very healthy.  I wanted to know WHY I got this disease.  And more importantly, WHAT should I be doing to help my body heal.   My doctors did not have an acceptable answer, I was simply told that it “just happens”.   

I was prescribed thyroid replacement medication and sent on my way.  I had my thyroid labs checked a couple of times a year and my dose was adjusted accordingly.  Many years later, after I had learned about Functional Medicine, I realized that I may not get the answer to why I developed hypothyroidism but there were so many things I could be doing to support my body and help my thyroid.  I was eventually diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an auto-immune thyroid disease, which makes the lifestyle interventions even more important.  

Through my degree in nursing, training in Functional Medicine AND a whole lot of personal experience I have learned that traditional medicine does not dig deep enough to really understand and address the issues of Hypothyroidism.  I hope that my training and experience can help you find solutions for your situation. 

Here  are three factors within your control that affect thyroid health:

  1. Food
  2. Chronic Stress
  3. Toxins

Thyroid Factor  #1. Food:

Nutrition is the cornerstone of health.  We are all told to “eat healthy” but what does that mean?  There is a lot of conflicting advice about nutrition.  The options are endless, low carb, low fat, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, keto.  Each camp touts its health benefits.  However, there is not ONE diet that is good for EVERY person. Science and medicine have confirmed some general rules that apply to all of us including avoidance of: sugar, processed foods, fast food, and “bad” oils. 

For people who have hypothyroidism, or Hashimoto’s, there are other factors that can make a big difference.  We have our thyroid patients follow an elimination diet for a minimum of 6 weeks.  In addition to the getting rid of the above foods, we also recommend they remove gluten, dairy, corn, and, in many cases other foods such as soy, lectins, nuts, seeds, eggs, and some spices.

We recommend this because these are common foods people are sensitive to and can contribute to inflammation, gut dysbiosis and permeability, aka “leaky gut” and immune dysfunction.  In addition to removing these potentially harmful foods, we focus on getting all the good stuff in.  This includes a variety of vegetables, healthy proteins, and good fats to give our bodies the nutrients it needs to function properly and heal.

Thyroid Factor #2. Chronic Stress:

Chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and fatigue.  Cortisol, our stress hormone, becomes elevated with chronic stress.  Stress may exacerbate an underlying thyroid condition. Under stress, your body releases cortisol. Excess cortisol can interfere with thyroid hormone production, leading to low levels of T4 and T3 and an elevated TSH. And, of course, when you’re not feeling well, your stress goes up and this cycle can make things even worse. 

“Also, when stressed, you’re more vulnerable to autoimmune thyroid conditions (eg, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). A 2004 study in the journal Thyroid found that stress is one of the environmental factors for thyroid autoimmunity.1”

One of the benefits you will find in working with the team at Omnia Health is that in addition to our medical team we have health coaches that can work with you to design customized stress-reducing programs to help you to break these cycles.

Here are Three Ways to Combat Stress:

  1. Develop a consistent exercise routine that includes cardiovascular activity and resistance training. 
  2. Find a stress-reduction practice that works for you.  This may include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, or an activity such as gardening, knitting, or hiking that requires presence and focus.
  3. Get adequate sleep.  The goal is at least 7-8 hours a night. 

Thyroid Factor #3. Toxins:

Finally, take a look at what toxins you may be exposed to.  Most of us don’t realize how many toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis that can impact our health over time. Toxins can interfere with proper function of our entire endocrine system. The endocrine system consists of the glands and the various hormones they produce.  These include our stress hormones such as cortisol, our sex hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, and our thyroid hormones.   

These hormones are in constant communication with each other.  An imbalance in one, can trigger abnormalities in the others.  Unfortunately, toxins are abundantly present in our lives. However, there is a lot we can do to minimize our exposure. 

Here are a few ways you can reduce your exposure to toxins: 

  1. Buy organic produce and avoid processed foods. 
  2. Check your home and personal care products and avoid those that contain substances such as triclosans, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, and fluoride.    For more comprehensive information, visit the EWG.org to find the cleanest household and personal care products.
  3. Avoid hot drinks or food from paper, plastic, or styrofoam containers since these can all leach toxins. 
  4. Drink plenty of water.  The goal is at least half of your body weight in ounces.
  5. Consume foods that act as antioxidants including berries, broccoli, spinach, kale, beets, and green tea.

Functional medicine addresses the underlying triggers of disease.  Lifestyle factors including nutrition, stress, sleep, and toxins play a vital role in health.  If you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s it is important that you see your doctor regularly to make sure your thyroid levels are optimal.  Yet, there Is so much more you can do to optimize your health.  The above recommendations will benefit you whether you have a chronic illness or just want to optimize your health.

We have a team of people to help you through the challenges of Hypothyroidism. You can see our physician, nurse practitioner and/or our health coaches to get the support you need. Whatever struggles you are facing, it’s important to know that you are not alone. 

I have a lot of personal experience on this topic and I would love to assist you in addressing this complex illness. Feel free to schedule a 15-minute complimentary phone call with me at your convenience. Click here to schedule a call. 

 

References:

  1. Mizokami, T., Wu Li, A., El-Kaissi, S., & Wall, J. R. (2004). Stress and Thyroid Autoimmunity. Thyroid, 14(12), 1047–1055. https://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2004.14.1047
  2. Vojdani, A., Pollard, K. M., & Campbell, A. W. (2014). Environmental Triggers and Autoimmunity. Autoimmune Diseases, 2014, 1–2. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/798029
  3. Schnedi W, Lackner S, Enko D, Schenk M, Mangge H, Holasek S. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: people without celiac disease avoiding gluten-is it due to histamine intolerance?. Inflammation Research. 2017. doi:10.1007/s00011-017-1117-4.
  4. Leccioli V, Oliveri M, Romeo M, Berretta M, Rossi P. A New Proposal for the Pathogenic Mechanism of Non-Coeliac/Non-Allergic Gluten/Wheat Sensitivity: Piecing Together the Puzzle of Recent Scientific Evidence. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1203. doi:10.3390/nu9111203.

 

Primary Care Plus Introduction

Watch this brief Primary Care Plus overview video with Denver’s Omnia Health Founder, Dr. Jacqui Pariset.

Functional Medicine Meets Primary Care – Watch her Story…

Denver patient, Bethy M. describes how her symptoms have reduced and in some cases faded away as a result of a functional medicine approach she discovered at Omnia Health in Denver, Co.

Is it Your Thyroid or Something Else?

It’s Important to Get Answers to These 3 Questions About Your Thyroid

By Gia McCloskey-Jurevich, Nurse Practitioner at Omnia Health in Denver, Colorado

What is hypothyroidism and what can we do about it? Let’s discuss three things to consider when your thyroid labs are normal but you still have hypothyroid symptoms. Let’s explore thyroid issues with a functional medicine approach. 

Symptoms of hypothyroidism are vast and can be confused with other health issues.

Hypothyroidism symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Low libido
  • Depression
  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Infertility
  • Cold intolerance
  • Brain fog

When a patient reports these symptoms most doctors will check the thyroid gland by looking at a TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone level. While this is an important first step, it is only one small piece of a very complex situation. 

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormones (TSH)

Thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland which monitors how much thyroid hormones, mostly T3 and T4, are circulating throughout the body. If the thyroid is underactive, the thyroid hormones will be low so the TSH will rise in an attempt to “stimulate” the thyroid into producing more hormones.

According to most labs, the normal range is from 0.5 mIU/L to 4.5 mIU/L (mIU/L is a measurement that means: milli-international units per litre). Hence, a TSH above 4.5 mIU/L means that a person has hypothyroidism and is generally given a prescription for thyroid hormone replacement, usually in the form of T4. In theory, the TSH will decrease over a couple of weeks as the amount of T4 rises. 

This hypothyroidism solution works for some… 

For some people, this works very well, and they feel better once they are on the appropriate dose of medication. However, many people continue to struggle. Some report feeling better for a short time but then their symptoms eventually return. And with our active Denver lifestyles, who wants to keep dealing with fatigue, weight gain, and brain fog? 

When patients call Omnia Health with the above symptoms and tell us they have had their thyroid checked and it was normal, I ask three questions:

 1. What was your TSH level?

2. Did your doctor check your T4 and T3 levels?

3. Have you ever had your thyroid antibodies checked?

A Deeper Dive Into Thyroid-Stimulating Hormones (TSH)

Optimal vs. Normal Lab Ranges 

In functional medicine, we talk about optimal vs. normal lab ranges. Although the normal range of TSH is up to 4.5 mIU/L, I have found that most people feel best with a TSH between 0.5 and 2.5 mIU/L.

So simply increasing the thyroid hormone dose to get the TSH into those ranges can make a significant difference in how a person feels.

Adding More T3 to Your Prescription 

Next, we look at the actual levels of T4 and T3. Your T4 needs to be converted to T3 which is the most active form of thyroid hormone. If T3 is low, a person will most likely experience hypothyroid symptoms even with a normal TSH and T4. There are several factors that can contribute to poor conversion of T4 to T3 including stress, gut dysbiosis, certain medications, lack of specific nutrients, and inflammation.

A simple solution to address symptoms is to add in a prescription of T3. A functional medicine practitioner won’t stop there but will look at the other factors that might be contributing.

Two Main Antibodies That Lead to Hypothyroidism

Finally, let’s talk about thyroid antibodies and answer the question – “What is an antibody?” Antibodies are proteins that our immune system produces that circulate our body and attack foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately, our immune system can become faulty and produce antibodies against our own body.

There are two main antibodies that can lead to hypothyroidism, Thyroid peroxidase (TPOAb), and Thryoglobin antibodies (TGAb). Thyroid antibodies attack the thyroid tissue eventually leading to hypothyroidism, due to the destruction of the thyroid gland. If a person tests positive for either type of thyroid antibodies, they are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease.  

“It is estimated that around 90% of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s.”

It is estimated that around 90% of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s.  Many doctors don’t test for these antibodies because it doesn’t change their treatment approach.   Thyroid antibodies can be present for many years before TSH is affected yet their presence often leads to symptoms of hypothyroidism.  

Functional medicine addresses auto-immune diseases by looking into the root cause.  As functional medicine practitioners, we ask; “Why is the body attacking itself?” Autoimmune diseases stem from a complex web of lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors.  These include diet, stress, insomnia, medications, chronic infections, toxins, and gut infections, to name a few.

As you can see, addressing hypothyroidism is so much more than simply checking a TSH and prescribing thyroid hormone replacement.

If you are struggling with hypothyroid symptoms and are told your labs are normal, consider setting up a consultation with Omnia Health. 

We offer a Complimentary 15-Min. Phone Consultation. There’s no obligation, it’s easy to set up and it might give you the peace of mind you’ve been searching for. Most of our patients are from the Denver, Colorado area but we can certainly help answer questions from anywhere. 

Health Issues We Treat With a Functional Medicine Approach:

  • Allergies including food allergies and sensitivities
  • Autoimmune diseases including arthritis, Hashimoto’s disease, celiac, and multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Biotoxin illnesses (mold illness)
  • Chronic reflux
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Fatigue and feeling “foggy”
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Health and Wellness optimization and disease prevention
  • Heavy-metals toxicity
  • Hormones- PMS, menopause, peri-menopause, and hormone replacement therapy.
  • Hyperuricemia
  • Metabolic diseases including Type 2 diabetes
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Weight management challenges

Gia McCloskey-Jurevich, NP

Gia McCloskey-Jurevich, NP

“When I was a kid, my mom worked for a Chinese medicine doctor who treated patients with acupuncture and herbs. Growing up, I got a lot of exposure to medicine approaches that are beyond the conventional, traditional approach…”

Learn more about Gia here.

Thyroid functional medicine denver 1

Antibodies & Hypothyroidism

There are two main antibodies that can lead to hypothyroidism, Thyroid peroxidase (TPOAb), and Thryoglobin antibodies (TGAb). Thyroid antibodies attack the thyroid tissue eventually leading to hypothyroidism, due to the destruction of the thyroid gland.

(See our NEW Life-Changing 12-Week Thyroid Program)

Antibody for thyroid in functional medicine in denver

“What is an antibody?”

Antibodies are proteins that our immune system produces that circulate our body and attack foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately, our immune system can become faulty and produce antibodies against our own body.