Wellness Connection

Alicia Marie


4 Comments

Reversing Hypothyroidism Naturally

Reversing Hypothyroidism Naturally

I am still recovering from my hypothyroid condition, but in just two months my lab results are showing that my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) number has dropped from 4.39 to 3.82! The “healthy” range for TSH (0.4-4.50) is misleading. As my naturopath explains it-that range is basically saying you can walk comfortably in a size 6 shoe if you are a size 9. You can definitely still experience symptoms of hypothyroid when your numbers are within that range.

Hypothyroidism Explained:

The thyroid is located at the bottom of the neck just above the larynx and the adam’s apple. (See picture below.) When the thyroid gland is not working properly, the functioning of the other glands that make up the endocrine system may be thrown out of whack as well. One of those sometimes affected glands is your adrenal gland. (1)

endocrine_system

Therefore for my thyroid condition, I developed adrenal fatigue first and as a result eventually became hypothyroid. In medicine it can be tricky to remember that we must treat the whole body-not simply the parts that are causing us problems. If your pretty yellow sunflowers are thirsty-do you water their leaves? No of course not! You water their roots 🙂

Determining whether adrenal fatigue (or another underlying issue) may be causing your hypothyroid could move mountains in your life!

I learned to tune in to what my body was telling me when I was prescribed with levothyroxine for my hypothyroid. Levothyroxine is the fourth most prescribed medication in America. (3)

Immediately after taking this medicine I felt significantly more fatigued. While I am adjusted to feeling tired on a regular basis due to my condition, I am definitely not lethargic by nature. Levothyroxine drained my energy to the point that it took extreme efforts to move my limbs whatsoever. I did not even have the strength to go on a walk. It got to the point that I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to work if I kept taking the levo. I lasted two weeks before I told my doctor I needed to stop taking the medicine. I was not a happy camper.

How could this be that I had been on this medicine for only two weeks-supposedly the minimum time frame for my body to even adjust to the levothyroxine-and I had such awful side effects? I seriously felt insane, but there was no way this experience was “just in my head.”

Never crazy about the idea of taking levothyroxine to begin with since I seek out a natural remedy or dietary improvement as often as possible-I started researching hypothyroidism in conjunction with adrenal fatigue. My doctor had mentioned that she thought I might have adrenal fatigue during our first visit as well.

What I found in my research is that if like me you are primary adrenal fatigue and secondary hypothyroid; levothyroxine medication can really wreak havoc on your body. When you have adrenal fatigue, your body at its low energy state is begging you for rest. Levothyroxine further weakens your body in its attempt to speed up your metabolism and energy output. Bad mix! (2)

Here is what I did instead:

  • I stopped eating gluten as it can contribute to hypothyroidism. The gluten particles can be absorbed into your bloodstream and mistaken for antigens (bad guys) and as a result your body can attack its own thyroid. (4)
  • I stopped taking levothyroxine and rested-my body needed it after experiencing those negative side effects
  • I started taking Gaia Adrenal Health supplements
  • I started taking Rainbow Light Nair, Hair, and Skin Connection supplements
  • I started going to yoga as often as possible-an exercise that won’t put too much strain on my adrenals
  • I started eating more cooked veggies and less cold salads. I know, sad face, but some cruciferous vegetables are known as goitrogens which inhibit iodine metabolism -something the thyroid needs to function properly (4)
  • I replaced my soy milk with almond milk-soy is a goitrogenic food (4)
  • I started transitioning to all natural and organic products since dry skin can be a symptom of hypothyroid I don’t need those excess chemicals further irritating my body
  • I eat organic as often as possible
  • I bought a juicer!! Though juicing takes the fiber out of veggies it absorbs 90 % of the nutrients and is easy to digest. Power veggie juice + vegan diet =faster metabolism and goodbye hypothyroid!

Please note these changes did not all happen at once. I dropped the gluten pretty quickly, started taking my adrenal health supplements, slowly transitioned by chemical ridden products out of my cabinet as I went through them and opted for more veggies in general as a starting point. With health, there will always be room for improvement! I will always strive for a healthier tomorrow.

I am not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist, but I do believe in listening to my body and doing my own research before subscribing to easy answers or popping pills for my health concerns. You should do the same! What is working for me may not work for you, but perhaps you can find some good leads from my experience or utilize some of my tips and tricks.

I went through a series of allopathic doctors to which I begged them to retest me for hypothyroid and to prick my tiny finger to test me for anemia. Sounds a bit masochistic after I type that…but truth be told I always sensed something was wrong. I was experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue for most of my life. I felt almost embarrassed going to the doctor for “being tired or anxious”—I mean really who doesn’t get tired or anxious from time to time? The ten minute appointment would consist of a quick nod, a sad stare and a prescription for Buspor, Zoloft, Prozac, and eventually Adderall.

As soon as I embraced what my body was telling me and took my health concerns into my own hands and did my own research, I was able to feel much more in control of my life and begin experiencing recovery.

I composed a list below of side effects that I experienced from my hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue condition. I did not copy these symptoms from a list composed by Mayo Clinic, WebMD or any other premade list. These are my personal observations—it would be normal for your body to have a different reaction to hypothyroidism or to share some symptoms in common. We are all unique and beautiful creatures and deserve to be listened to and treated as such.

  • Constant Brain Fog/Weariness—it’s hard for me to differentiate between the two but basically even after a night of deep slumber and dancing with fairies I still feel like I’m wearing a veil over my face the next day. I don’t ever really wake up completely.
  • Poor memory
  • Slow processing of information
  • Dry hair that will not grow
  • Nails that will not grow fast or are fragile and break easily
  • Dry sensitive skin (As my condition became worse I was actually diagnosed with eczema because my skin became so itchy this past winter)
  • Thin, short eyebrows (signature for hypothyroid-sometimes it looks like you over plucked to the point that you have half an eyebrow-mine are just very, very thin. Thank you eyebrow pencils!)
  • Sensitivity to sunlight (not to sound like a vampire…)
  • Trouble staying asleep/Not restful sleeps
  • Horrible circulation

Kemp, Stephen, Dr. “Anatomy of the Endocrine System.” EMedicineHealth. Ed. Melissa C. Stoppler, Dr. WebMD, 2013. Web. 30 May 2013. (1)

Lam, Michael, Dr. “Adrenal Fatigue versus Hypothyroidism.” Adrenal Fatigue Center. Michael Lam, 2011. Web. 30 May 2013. (2)

Mercola, Joseph, Dr. “Are Synthetic Thyroid Drugs, Like Synthroid, Actually Making Your  Condition Worse?” Mercola.com, 2011. Web. 30 May 2013. (3)

Osensky, Eric, Dr. “Goitrogens: Thyroid Inhibiting Foods You Should Avoid.” Natural Thyroid Treatment Methods Graves Disease Hyperthyroidism Hashimotos Thyroiditis & Hypothyroidism. Natural Endocrine Solutions, n.d. Web. 30 May 2013. (4)


Leave a comment >

IMG_4211

Deadlines: The latest time or date by which something should be completed-compliments of Merriam Webster.

Completion often translates to accomplishment, but with so much to do and so little time to ourselves–what are we really accomplishing? Is it worth it? And do we really rest after we meet our current deadline or are we already dreading the next one?

An accumulation of time constraints can cause our adrenals (the little glands above our kidneys that regulate stress) to work on over drive. This can physically manifest into feelings of lifelessness.

Recently the little guys hanging out above my kidneys have some serious beef with my schedule. As a result I have found myself fatigued and moody. I have taken  more rest days then my training program allotted for, reacted in deeper frustration towards traffic, and created problems that did not exist within my relationships.

Sharing this reflection (and apology) with one of my victims: my relationship-iron-man boyfriend, he posed the following question “How often do you think each day?”

It was a trick question that I naturally answered with “most of the day.” Based on a lecture from my honey’s former professor, on average people think for five minutes each day.

Just five!

Stop and take a moment to consider the last time you sat down or laid down and simply pondered. No brownie points if you were plugged into any medium of distraction-laptops, TV’s, phone, book–nada.

When I considered my apparent lack of thinking, I pulled out my planner to consider what time I even had to think. Mind you it is not unusual for me to have a one day weekend, but this month’s schedule looked a bit off. I started counting workdays. 1,7,12….20 days of work in a row by Wednesday in addition to training for a half marathon.

Am I crazy or am I crazy?

With this observation came the epiphany (better late than never) that we–yes ALL of us- need moments to ourselves to simply think and be without the burden of an upcoming deadline or commitment later that day. As my once again incredible relationship-iron-man boyfriend has kindly reminded me–I am not super human as much as I may want to be. Then he tells me sweet dreamy things that make up for me not being super human. Yet.

Bottom line, resting is a concept that society has forgotten and devalued. Resting to regather our strength and mental juju is different than being lazy. Most people in Western society cannot fully absorb this though it is evident in all walks of life.

The demands on students and working adults are growing. At this point one internship, working, and studying is hardly a guarantee at a job after college. The financial burden of success is daunting and discouraging as is the divorce rate. And the result of this busy trend is broken families, depression, mental illness, a rise in sickness such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, oh-and thriving pharmaceutical companies and many wealthy doctors that advocate adderall for children that cannot sit still (wait that isn’t normal?) and overworked students who cannot focus. Are the magic light bulbs appearing or do we need to get you a pill for that too?

Recalling conversations at work I remembered a client and former Microsoft employee telling me he enjoyed his new job because at Microsoft he had been accustomed to working past 7pm at night and on weekends.

Speaking to my mother about my 20-day work trend her response was “Isn’t that a good thing?”

I would argue that no, it is not a good thing. I would venture as far as to say that it is unhealthy.

In the words of my idol, cancer thriver and wellness activist Kris Carr,

“The greatest ideas and the greatest aha’s come from moments when I am not working…The downtime is really when you’re going to find the idea that makes you your first million… If we’re back to back to back with our programs, problems, time commitments you bleed yourself dry. ”

Meditate on this juicy wisdom and stay tuned for more on how to “let it go.”