Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is the medical gold standard for testing thyroid function. TSH is released by the pituitary gland in the brain and its role is to tell the thyroid to produce hormones and release them into the bloodstream. It is not measuring thyroid hormone itself. You are typically considered hypothyroid only when your TSH is high. However, there are many other situations resulting in low thyroid function with a low or normal TSH. I believe testing TSH alone to assess the thyroid is a huge medical problem causing unnecessary suffering to many.
If your TSH is normal it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a normal thyroid!
If reading our thyroid articles has made you curious about your own thyroid health, feel free to complete the questionnaire below. Please remember that any result you get from the questionnaire is not guaranteed to be accurate. The only way to be certain of your thyroid health is to have it tested by a medical professional.
I love working with the thyroid. I think it is quite poorly treated conventionally, so being able to offer my patients something different is really rewarding. I like to begin with a proper assessment. If my patients have any symptoms of low thyroid I like to run a full thyroid panel (includes free T3 and T4, TPO) and do body temperature testing.
I prescribe a variety of different thyroid medications, including glandular thyroid (Erfa or compounded), T3, sustained release T3, and T4. I also use many herbs, homeopathics, and nutritional medicine in my thyroid treatments.
Some issues I usually like to consider when dealing with the thyroid are:
Autoimmunity (are their thyroid antibodies present)
Nutritional status/ Digestive health
Progesterone vs estrogen levels in women
Heavy metals or other toxicity
For Hashimoto’s patients I focus on the immune system, not just the thyroid. I am using an exciting injection therapy called LDA to decrease autoimmune reactions for Hashimoto’s and other autoimmunity. I do this in conjunction with my other thyroid treatments.
Balance Your Thyroid for Ideal Weight and Energy
Thyroid deficiency is extremely common today, especially in women. Many people have low thyroid hormone and don’t even know it, which may be due to a lack of proper blood testing, or the fact that the lab reference ranges are much too forgiving. I see many patients that their lab values are “borderline”, yet with further testing the situation is clearly not borderline at all!
Signs of low thyroid hormone
- Weight gain
- Sluggish and tired
- Dry skin and hair
- Hair loss
- Thinning of the outside edges of your eyebrows
- Aches and pains
If you suspect you may be low thyroid, come in for a naturopathic consultation today. We can do a proper assessment and have many great treatments to support the thyroid gland.
Dietary Recommendations for Hormone Balancing
Keeping Estrogen in Check
Healthy hormone balancing really starts at home. We can effect the hormone health of each member of our family by the choices we make at the market…from the home cleaning products we purchase and use to the food we consume. It has been widely published that young girls are entering puberty at earlier and earlier ages…secondary sex characteristics such as hair growth and breast development are starting at an average of 8 years old and as young as 5. Infertility is effecting young women at an ever increasing rate. It is no longer women in their mid -30’s to 40’s seeking fertility treatment. A once rare ovarian and endometrial cancer is becoming unfortunately a more familiar cancer. Males are not immune to the effects of estrogen and in fact are less prepared to handle it. Boys are developing smaller genitalia, increased occurrence of descended or underdeveloped testes, breast development…you get the idea. Estrogen dominance is a condition where there are high amounts and effects of estrogen (some mentioned above) as compared to other opposing hormones in the body. Chemicals in our environment and food are major contributors to this condition as can estrogen dominant dietary habits, unopposed hormone replacement therapy, compromised liver and ovarian function and insulin resistance.
The following dietary recommendations support the goal of reducing the body’s load of estrogens by:
- supporting estrogen metabolic processes in the liver
- inducing enzyme detoxification of carcinogens
- supporting pathways of elimination ( kidney, liver and intestine)
- reducing the toxic burden on the body
- providing nutrients required for optimal cellular function
The optimal source of nutrition is from organic whole foods. Conventional agriculture depends on applications of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation and seeding and harvesting practices which do not promote the natural life-cycle of the plant. This practice results in a reduction in the natural plant production of anticarcinogenic bioflavonoids. In addition, fertilizer, pesticide and herbicidal residues may imitate hormones in the body, stimulating tissue growth altering metabolic processes and increasing the toxic burden.
Sprouts of broccoli, radishes, beans, alfalfa and clover.
Sprouts are high in nutrients, and energetic potential. Care must be taken in selecting sprouts that are fresh, and not contaminated by purchasing them from a local organic grower, and washing thoroughly before eating, or even better yet, sprouting them yourself.
Brassica family vegetables:
Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, turnips, wasabi, and their sprouts.
Proposed mechanism of action – diindoylmethane, a compound found in these vegetables is capable of shifting estrogen metabolism to increase favorable 2HE, and decrease 16HE; can induce enzyme detoxification of carcinogens; is anti-estrogenic; inhibits cancer cell growth independent of estrogen receptor.
High to moderate intake may not be recommended for people with hypothyroid condition or predisposition to hypothyroid.
Whole Grains and Beans:
Whole wheat, oats, rye, barley, brown rice, millet, kamut, buckwheat and quinoa.
Whole grains contain more minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber than refined grains, even if the refined grains have been fortified. Fibet binds to estrogen in the bowel, preventing the reabsorption and thus lowering blood levels of free estrogens. In addition to this, fiber can support healthy weight loss, and balance insulin levels by slowing the rate of absorption of sugars.
Beans also contain lignans with may block estrogen effects. Soybeans contain a compound called isoflavones which act as weak estrogens on tissues. If adding soy to your diet avoid soy concentrates, and instead use traditional whole soy products such as the soy beans, miso, tempeh and tofu, up to 2 – 4 servings/week.
Freshly ground flaxseed contains dietary phytoestrogens (lignans and isoflavones) and fiber that have anti-carcinogenic properties.
Omega 3 fatty acids(Wild salmon, Sardines, Herring), Nuts and Seeds
Fatty acids are important for optimal cellular function throughout the entire body. They are considered essential because we cannot make these ourselves, and must be provided by the diet. It is important to choose a high quality, purified fish oil, as oils can easily become rancid nullifying the benefits. Also, when eating fish choose local varieties that are fresh or that were vacuum sealed soon after being caught. See oceanwise guidelines for fish consumption.
Again, choose dairy products that are organic, and broaden your horizons by including goat dairy. When buying yogurt it is important to purchase plain yogurt only, as the fruit added yogurts are full of sugar and sweeteners. Add fresh fruit and/or home made granola instead.
Foods to Avoid
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
- High fat animal meats
- Refined flours
- Refined sugars
- Canned meal drinks
- Processed meats
- Processed foods
Hormone Balancing for Weight Loss
If you are eating a good diet, exercise regularly, and still can’t loose weight chances are you have a hormone imbalance. Most overweight patients I see do not actually eat a huge amount of food. They usually have two situations; one is lack of exercise and the other is a hormone imbalance. Many of them have tried calorie restriction without any success, maybe loosing some weight, but it usually returns, and always to the same places. Until they address their hormones, and get moving, their weight will rarely budge.
Most Common Weight Gain Imbalances:
- Excess estrogen
- Low thyroid
- High adrenals
- High insulin
If you think you might have a hormone imbalance, come in for our comprehensive urine hormone test for a full assessment.
I had an exciting weekend learning about regenerative sleep and the sleep promoting effect of certain vitamins on the body. Dr Stasha Gominak is a neurologist and sleep expert, and has shared her Rightsleep program with our team at Kinetic Patterns.
The core to this program is optimizing regenerative sleep, by balancing the levels of vitamins B and D. Not only does optimum vitamin D levels help you sleep better, but the regenerative sleep it provides improves allergies and autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, infertility, depression, and many other things. The vitamin D helps you sleep, then you repair your body. I was surprised to do a vitamin D test on myself, and see I was in the very bottom of the range. (This is apparently quite common!) It is essential to do the testing, and then the follow up testing, to make sure your levels stay in the optimum range. Interestingly, what we consider to be the optimum amount of vitamin D for good sleep is above the “normal” reported range. You can also end up with a vitamin D level that is too high, which also causes sleep disturbance, so it is important to do the follow up testing!
Who Needs RightSleep?
- Anyone who wants to optimize sleep and repair
- Anyone waking with pain, dullness, or fatigue
- Hyperactive children
- Sleepwalking/ Night terrors/ Kicking/ Bedwetting
- Sleep apnea
What to Expect During your first consultation we will review your sleep and sleep associated symptoms. Several vitamin levels need to be measured in the blood. You may pick up a lab requisition in advance, so the results are ready for your first appointment, or you may pick it up at your first appointment.
Expect a follow up blood test and consultation at one month and four months. In this time most patients are able to optimize their vitamin levels, and to start shifting their sleep and repair. Give us a call if you would like more information, or to get started.
Spring has sprung! And with it comes longer days, cherry blossoms, and numerous other pollens; a delight to many, except those suffering from seasonal allergies. The Canadian Allergy Foundation estimates that 20-25% of Canadians have seasonal allergies, also called allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
While seasonal allergies can occur at any time of the year, spring is often the worst season. Pollen, usually a harmless substance, will trigger an immune reaction and histamine release in susceptible individuals. Antihistamines and decongestants are common practice, but they do not address the root cause of immune over-activity, they only suppress symptoms. Naturopathic medicine offers some excellent treatments to control and treat the root cause of allergies.
Here are a few things I like to consider in all of my allergy patients:
Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is very important for a functional immune system. I have been writing a lot recently about vitamin D and it’s wonderful sleep promoting effects, which
is only one of the many mechanisms by which vitamin D improves allergies and the immune system. If you have allergies or any immune issue it is important to test your vitamin D, even if you have been taking D for a long time, to make sure you are in the correct range.
Adrenal function. The adrenal glands produce the important stress hormone cortisol, which has many important actions on the body, including its anti-inflammatory effects. If you have a lot of inflammation, have been under excessive stress, or are better with any steroid medication, it’s recommended to investigate your adrenal function.
Digestion. Optimum digestion is the cornerstone of a healthy immune system. Food allergies, leaky gut, and yeast overgrowth are all common problems that can irritate the immune system. If you are not digesting properly, food can enter the bloodstream in larger than expected molecules (leaky gut) This can affect the immune system causing increased reactivity to normally harmless substances. Interestingly, I have had many patients tell me their seasonal allergies have improved after removing gluten or sugar from their diets. If you are having digestive symptoms and allergies, you may want to consider a hypoallergenic diet and gut healing protocols.
Detoxification. Reducing the body burden of toxins is an effective way to decrease allergy symptoms. We are bombarded with so many unnatural agents we were not designed to process, it is no wonder allergies and immune dysfunction are on the rise. Regular spring cleansing, and just taking a break with our bad habits, is a great idea to support our immune system.
LDA Immunotherapy (Low Dose Allergen Immunotherapy)
I have been using LDA for 5 years in my practice, and i find it to the single most valuable tool for treating allergies and an overactive immune system. LDA therapy uses very weak dilutions of allergens and presents them back to the body, to induce tolerance. Commonly used formulas include foods, inhalants, chemicals, strep, yeast and lyme. I find the inhalant mix very effective in treating hay fever, especially when combined with my other naturopathic practices.
If you are experiencing allergy symptoms and would like discuss your treatment options, give our office a call today or you can online.