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Optimize your health

Other important steps to reclaiming your health

You've balanced your thyroid hormones, you've cleaned your diet and removed environmental toxins, but you still aren't feeling your best. Now it's time to look at other ways to optimize your health.

Start with your DNA and biochemistry

The best way to find out what's going on with your body is to ask your body

We highly recommend getting a DNA test done by 23andme.com. You don't need the more expensive test with the health reports. The 23andme health reports aren't as comprehensive as most other sites, which are also more affordable. Both tests include the raw data, which is what you need. Once you receive your raw data, upload it to an interpretation site like livewello.com where you can learn about your various genes that play a role in your health. A wonderful guide to interpreting DNA is Dirty Genes by epigenetics pioneer, Dr. Ben Lynch.  His book will explain what foods and supplements go best with your particular genes. 

A word to the wise about supplementation

Yes, you can supplement your way to better health. You can also supplement your way to very poor health. Be cautious of those celebrity doctors selling thyroid supplements. Many are filled with stuff you don't need, or even worse, herbals or vitamins that will make you worse. This is why we stress getting an organic acids test (also known as the micronutrients test) after receiving your DNA results. These tests will better tell you which genes are expressing. 

Most people think that they need folate if they have the MTHFR gene, so they supplement with folate, not realizing they get enough through diet. Did you know high folate levels can cause depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts? One popular Internet doctor sells a brand of thyroid support with ashwagandha and selenium as ingredients. Ashwagandha and other immune stimulants can actually make your thyroid antibodies increase. Selenium, though many of us are deficient, can become toxic if we over-supplement. You may be getting enough through diet. At the 411, our motto is test, don't guess before taking any kind of supplement. There is not one-size-fits-all magic supplement that will cure your disease. 

After learning of your deficiencies, the best way to get your vitamins/minerals is through diet. For example, if you have low iron/ferritin try organic grass-fed beef with a side of broccoli (high in vitamin C, a cofactor which helps iron absorb) three times a week.  If diet isn't working, then try a good iron supplement, but remember to test before and during supplementation. Iron and other minerals and vitamins can become toxic quickly. 

If you absolutely need to take vitamins, not all are created equal. The kind you pick up at your local supermarket usually have fillers that will irritate the gut. here are some trusted brands: Seeking Health, especially for your B vitamins and folate, Perfect for iron, and Thorne for magnesium.

Balancing other hormones

In addition to testing and treating vitamin deficiencies, balancing other hormones is key. Treating thyroid hormone alone is like paddling upstream if your other hormones aren't balanced. Estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue are common among thyroid patients and symptoms can mimic hypothyroidism, so it's important to address all hormones when treating thyroid disease. 

Start with the building block hormones

DHEA and pregnenolone are building block hormones. If those are low, your other hormones will be deficient as well. Your doctor can measure the pregnenolone through blood and DHEA through the 24 hour saliva test. 

Sex hormones

For women, sex hormones should be tested during Luteal Phase, a few days before your next period, for best results. 

 

Did you know that high estrogen can lead to female cancers and also frequent bladder infections? Estrogen dominance is common among hypothyroid patients. Estrogen dominance can be characterized by high estrogen or low progesterone in the presence of average/high estrogen. 

 

Treating these hormones starts with diet. Estrogen feeds off sugar, grains, and also soy. Avoiding plastics for drinking/eating is also recommended, as plastic chemicals released into the blododstream can mimic estrogen. 

Symptoms of estrogen dominance include long, painful, irregular, and/or heavy periods, weight gain, especially around the hips, thighs, and stomach, fatigue, loss of sex drive, hair loss... 

 If diet has been addressed and estrogen is still high, you may have a gene such as the COMT driving your high estrogen. In that case, supplements like vitex can balance hormones and DIM can help to lower estrogen .  Progesterone cream helps to balance out the progesterone to estrogen ratio. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.