Natural Thyroid Care

Healing any thyroid imbalance is well worth the time and effort involved in following a nutritional balancing program.

by Dr. Larry Wilson — 

The thyroid gland is not large, but it functions as the “spark plugs” of the body, giving a person plenty of energy for every bodily activity. Thyroid problems are among the most prevalent health disorders.

Hypothyroidism. The most common thyroid condition is called hypothyroidism, or a low-functioning thyroid. Symptoms often include fatigue, thinning, brittle or dry hair, dry skin, weight gain, depression in many cases, intolerance to cold, a low body temperature and often a pasty look to the skin. It also makes a person more prone to colds, flu, other infections and even cancers.

Myxedema. Extreme hypothyroidism also is common and is called myxedema. The skin will take on an almost doughy appearance, and usually the person gains a lot of weight. Myxedema takes somewhat longer to reverse using nutritional balancing science, because it is a more severe and chronic derangement of the thyroid gland.

Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism. Another very common condition today, especially in younger adults, is an overactive thyroid. Symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, a rapid heart rate, exhaustion and shortness of breath (in some cases). I find this condition always responds well to nutritional balancing science. Anti-thyroid drugs may be needed for a few months, until body chemistry can be corrected.

Sadly, doctors often destroy part of the thyroid by using barbaric treatments that are not necessary if a person is willing to follow a complete nutritional balancing program for a few months. Stress is an important factor in most cases of hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease.

Other thyroid conditions. Other types of thyroid imbalances also are common, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Women tend to be affected more often by thyroid conditions than men. This may have to do with the importance of iodine for women, in particular, although American men today are also iodine-deficient in almost all cases. The reasons for this are explored below.

Detecting thyroid problems

Most doctors assess the thyroid using blood tests to measure thyroid hormones, TSH or thyroid antibodies. These tests often are adequate, but they miss many thyroid problems. The levels of circulating thyroid hormones can be affected by many factors, such as the permeability of the body’s cells to thyroid hormone. This can give conflicting results.

A dangerous situation, for example, is when serum thyroid hormone tests reveal low hormone levels, but a hair mineral test reveals a fast oxidation pattern of low calcium and magnesium levels, as well as elevated sodium and potassium levels. In these uncommon cases, taking thyroid hormones further speeds up the oxidation rate and can be quite harmful.

Nutritional balancing science uses the calcium/potassium ratio on a properly performed hair mineral analysis as another measure of thyroid activity. It reveals thyroid imbalance in almost everyone today.

Causes of thyroid problems

Let us discuss the most common causes for all thyroid conditions. These are extremely important, but are somewhat unusual and rarely mentioned by mainstream doctors. They include:

  • Iodine antagonists in the environment
  • Copper and mercury toxicity, and perhaps the presence of other toxic metals and toxic chemicals
  • General nutritional depletion and eating foods that interfere with thyroid activity
  • Stress

1. Iodine antagonists. Iodine is required to produce thyroid hormones. Today, our environment is loaded with chemicals that interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. These chemicals basically compete with iodine for absorption and utilization in the thyroid gland, and in many other cells of the body. This means that even if people ingest adequate amounts of iodine from salt, fish, sea vegetables and other foods, their bodies still may not be getting enough, because of the iodine antagonists blocking its use.

Three common chemicals are the main iodine antagonists: fluoride, chlorine and bromine compounds. These three minerals are found in the same family as iodine on the periodic table of the elements. For this reason, they have a molecular “appearance” similar to iodine and can compete with iodine for absorption in our bodies.

Fluorides. The main source of fluorides in the U.S. comes from extremely toxic compounds added to most tap water. This questionable  practice has been banned everywhere on the planet except the United States and Great Britain. Several excellent studies show that water fluoridation does not reduce cavities. Other studies clearly show that it causes many health problems, with thyroid imbalances among them.

Other sources of fluorides are prepared foods made with tap water. These range from sodas, juices, bottled teas and other drinks to thousands of products manufactured with water. This includes fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes, and even drinking too much tea, which is naturally high in fluorides.

Sources of chlorine and chlorides. By far the most serious contamination comes from drinking tap water. Chlorine is used to kill microbes, but it can react with organic matter in the water, as well, and form dangerous, carcinogenic chloramines and trihalomethanes. According to Joseph M. Price, M.D., in Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, “Chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times. It is an insidious poison.”

This is a major reason why I recommend drinking only spring water. Distilled water is fine for a few months, but not for long-term use, as it is low in minerals. Reverse osmosis water, “drinking water” and “purified water” made using reverse osmosis are not recommended, although they should be free of chlorine. They do not seem to hydrate the body well, for some reason.  Reverse osmosis water also is deficient in minerals.

Carbon filters may remove chlorine, but only if the filter is clean — and it is hard to know when the filter is not clean. It is possible to disinfect water with ozone and hydrogen peroxide, both of which are far safer than chlorine. However, political forces oppose the use of these methods to disinfect tap water.

Another important source of contamination is eating prepared foods made with chlorinated tap water. These include: pickles, breads, pastries, cakes and thousands of other prepared food items. Another important source is food made with white flour. Most of this flour is bleached with chlorine compounds. These products become even more lethal when the flour is baked.

Bromates. The worst source of this toxic compound is potassium bromate, which is added to most commercial bread as a dough conditioner. Only Pepperidge Farms claims to not use this chemical. Great Britain and other nations have banned its use in bread, but the United States has not, in spite of obvious evidence that it is highly toxic.

Other sources of bromates include some tap water, flame retardants used in all new mattresses, toothpastes, mouthwashes and gargles, as well as some cosmetics and skincare products. Some medical drugs also contain bromides.

If you care about your thyroid and your health, avoid all of these iodine antagonists as much as possible.

2. Copper and mercury toxicity are common causes of thyroid disease. Mercury toxicity is everywhere, today. Major sources of mercury are silver amalgam dental fillings and the consumption of almost any fish. Tap water is another source in some areas. For the sake of your thyroid, avoid tap water or even carbon-filtered tap water, replace your dental amalgams, and limit your fish intake of sardines or other small fish to once or twice a week.

3. General nutritional depletion and eating foods that interfere with thyroid activity. This also is common today. For example, in addition to iodine, minerals such as zinc, selenium and manganese are required to produce thyroid hormones. These are commonly missing or deficient in most foods today.

For this reason, I recommend everyone use kelp and sea salt as extra mineral sources. While kelp has some toxic metals in it, it also contains high levels of alginates and other compounds that prevent the absorption of the toxic metals. Also, eat plenty of cooked vegetables twice or even three times daily. For optimal nutrition, also avoid all sugars, refined flours, white rice, and most fruit and fruit juices as well, as these are not mineral-rich foods.

Other anti-thyroid foods. Most soy products are high in copper and can inhibit thyroid activity. Particularly avoid unfermented soy foods, such as soy milk, soy vegetable protein and soy isolate. Raw cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli contain a mild thyroid inhibitor. Cooking these foods destroys this chemical. I recommend cooking most vegetables, anyway.

4. Stress. Stress can definitely aggravate or even cause thyroid problems. In particular, thyroid disease may be associated with impaired expression, poor posture, or even extreme muscle tension or chiropractic subluxations in the neck area or elsewhere.

Preventing and correcting thyroid imbalances

Prevention. Most everyone today needs to feed the thyroid gland correctly. This means taking extra iodine, for which I prefer the daily use of kelp capsules. Everyone also needs extra zinc and selenium, at the very least, along with the dietary suggestions discussed above.

Correction. Correcting many of the thyroid imbalances is not difficult and rarely requires replacement hormones, even if blood tests indicate low thyroid. A combination of an appropriate diet, a healing lifestyle, three quarts of spring water a day, nutritional supplements to balance the body, and a detoxification protocol to remove toxic metals, toxic chemicals and chronic infections usually works extremely well.

Thyroid replacement hormones. The standard treatment for a low thyroid is to take synthetic or natural replacement thyroid hormones. While this helps some people, I find they rarely are needed. Even worse, they slow progress in the deep correction of body chemistry and overall healing of the body. Hormones are not supposed to be taken in from outside the body. However, if one wishes to use them, the natural hormones are better as they supply iodine and other substances the body requires.

Although I do not recommend thyroid hormones, in an irresponsible move, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned the sale of Armour thyroid. This natural thyroid hormone had been sold for more than 100 years, long before the FDA was established. It has an excellent record of safety and effectiveness.

The banning of Armour thyroid was a move obviously sponsored by a drug company that makes a synthetic version of the hormone and does not want competition from natural sources. This incident demonstrates, once again, how thoroughly misguided the FDA is, and that it should be put out of business immediately. The FDA is responsible for much of our illness and debility as a nation — thanks to its recommendations of hundreds of dangerous drugs, not to mention junk foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners and thousands of harmful food additives. At the same time, the FDA opposes and often stops production of many natural products and devices that the organization’s sponsors do not like.

Graves’ disease. Correction of Graves’ disease requires stress reduction, a lot of rest and a gentle program of improved nutrition and specific supplementation. The daily use of a near-infrared sauna also will help balance the autonomic nervous system, a factor that is always in play with thyroid conditions and especially Graves’ disease. As mentioned above, neither surgery nor radioactive iodine therapy (RAI) should ever be necessary for Graves’ disease if a person is willing to go on a complete nutritional balancing program.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other problems. Hashimoto’s disease often responds well to nutritional balancing programs. It appears to be caused by toxic metal poisoning of the thyroid.

Healing any thyroid imbalance is well worth the time and effort involved in following a nutritional balancing program. When the imbalance is corrected, people will experience greater overall energy and many of the corresponding symptoms that they may have been suffering from will be alleviated.

Symptoms of thyroid imbalances

  • Fatigue, exhaustion, shortness of breath
  • Thinning, brittle or dry hair
  • Pasty or doughy skin appearance
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Low body temperature
  • Nervousness, anxiety, rapid heart rate

 

Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for more than 25 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. www.drlwilson.com or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2010.

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