Another reason why a lot of people are overweight and obese, aside from living sedentary lives, is poor metabolism. People with good metabolism can cheat weight gain no matter how many cups of rice they consume in a day. Those with poor metabolism however, tend to gain weight despite their strict diet. When an old man approached Erika Schwartz, MD to ask for treatment, she asked the patient to stop some of his medications that are not, in any way, curing his eczema. Schwartz suggested that they boost the old man’s thyroid hormones since he is overweight, sluggish, has low testosterone and thyroid levels, and is having trouble sleeping because of his skin disease.
Thyroid hormones, which are produced by the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland, help balance the levels of cholesterol. The two thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine (commonly referred to as T4 and T3), travel through the bloodstream to reach the various organs in our body. While the thyroid gland is more known for giving us energy and boosting our metabolism, T3 and T4 are also responsible for helping all of our organs- from the brain all the way down to the liver- function properly.
One of the common problems linked with the thyroid gland is hypothyroidism-underactive thyroid wherein the thyroid gland cannot produce the hormones needed to
control the different functions of our body. This is often caused by external and internal factors, one of which is Hashimoto’s disease where the immune system causes damage to the thyroid gland.
Those who do not have hypothyroidism however, show different types of symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, irregularities in the body temperature, brittle nails, depression, brain fog, mood swings, poor reflexes, etc. The symptoms linked to hypothyroidism are often connected to other medical conditions but doctors provide prescriptions even before confirming an imbalance of thyroid hormones. According to thyroid expert Mary Shomon, the common mistake that doctors make is that they prescribe antidepressants and cholesterol meds without doing further tests to find out if the thyroid is the main cause of the problem.
The doctors who see the possibility that the thyroid gland is the root of the problem however, are required to conduct the thyroid stimulating hormone test (TSH) to confirm if the patient has hypothyroidism. The TSH checks how many pituitary hormones are present in the blood. These hormones stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones which are needed by the different organs in our body. This test does not, however, measure the amount of T3 and T4 present in the blood. Patients who are suffering from the symptoms we mentioned earlier have normal TSH results and this presents a problem because if they stick to medicines that are intended to cure those symptoms, they will end up having side effects that are much more problematic.
Dr. Schwartz states that the reason why these patients suffer is because individual symptoms, and not the root of the problem, are being treated. The disease prevention, wellness, and bioidentical hormone therapies expert further adds, “[the TSH test] is actually doing a disservice to anybody who wants to take care of themselves, or someone who actually wants to take care of the patient”.
Ensuring that the T4 undergoes conversion and becomes active T3 is just as important as making sure that the T3 does reach the cells which are essential in controlling the organs. While other doctors have their own way of examining patients, Dr. Schwartz has decided to do a holistic approach in providing treatment for her patients who are from 16-94 years old. She addresses problems in diet, hormones, stress, supplements, and exercise. For her, the holistic approach and looking at the human body as a whole is much better than treating individual symptoms. It speeds up the healing process of her patients, too. Once her patients feel better, they then focus on changing their lifestyle, exercise, and diet.
In agreement with Schwartz is Shomon, who also believes that knowing how the thyroid hormones work is important in helping a patient heal. Our metabolism is very dependent on the thyroid gland. It’s the gas pedal that stimulates other organs to function. If the body does not have enough energy or oxygen for brain, digestive, and pancreatic functions, the entire system won’t work properly and that is very dangerous.
The world that we currently live in is so toxic and we’ve changed our lifestyles severely, says Dr. Greg Emerson, founder of Queensland’s Emerson Health and Wellness Center.
For Emerson, it’s important that we observe our diets and daily habits closely. There must be some ways to balance the changes we’ve done with our lifestyles for the past years. Scientific evidence shows that poisons produced molds damage the thyroid gland. Most of the food we eat these days are also high in mycotoxins and sugar which stimulates the growth of molds in our body. Another problem is that we’re not eating foods that can protect us from molds and mycotoxins.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a patient with Graves’ disease—which is an overactive thyroid—who has not had a problem with mold, and then mycotoxins.”
Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid is the complete opposite of hypothyroidism. While the latter is an indication that there’s a scarcity of thyroid hormones in the blood stream, the former occurs when the thyroid hormones are abundant. People with hyperthyroidism experience irregular heartbeats and a sudden drop in their weights because their metabolism is revved up. By grabbing the steering wheel and keeping a close eye on your health, you can help trace what the problems are, and how you can keep your hormones balanced. You also need to focus on the foundation first. Follow a diet that is rich in organic foods, engage in sports or any physical activity, create healthy relationships and try to balance work and play.
Dr. Emerson believes that following these simple steps will guarantee you good health. He also suggests that you check yourself from time to time by asking the following questions:
- Have I been eating nutritious food?
- Have I been drinking enough water?
- Have I been getting just the right amount of sun?
- Have I been sleeping well?
- Have I been engaging in exercise or any physical activity?
It is important to listen to the body, says Dr. Schwartz. People who have problems sleeping should find answers to that problem. Could it be the alcohol they drank before sleeping? Did they eat late and not give their bodies enough time to digest the food? Does it have something to do with eating the wrong food? Do they need to exercise in the morning instead of in the evening? Could it be the gadgets placed near their bed? The TV, perhaps? Getting to the bottom of things before going to the doctor helps you figure out what the real source of the problem is. It also becomes easier to look for solutions to those problems. There are plenty of possible reasons behind not getting enough sleep and it is your job to trace what the root of the problem is, says Dr. Schwartz.
Joseph Mercola, DO admits that it is difficult to stick to just one recommendation for those who want to improve their health. However, he is in agreement with Dr. Schwartz that people can manage their health by doing research, looking for nutritious food, and seeking the guidance of experienced individuals, doctors, and experts. Just be aware that your health is your responsibility and you’ll be fine, say Mercola.