Author Archives: Thyroid Supplements

Vitamin B12 – The Nutrient Critical to Good Health

Vitamin B12 – The Nutrient Critical to Good Health

Vitamin B12 plays an essential part in our health, and deficiencies can lead to severe issues. But what exactly does B12 do and how common are deficiencies? The answer may surprise you.

Known also as Cobalamin, Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that plays a crucial role in nerve function, , cognitive health, the production of red blood cells, and DNA synthesis. Low levels can lead to fatigue, brain fog, hormone imbalance, mental health problems, and physical disability.

Severe, longstanding deficiencies left untreated can lead to permanent brain and nerve damage, and even death. Sometimes this is caused by Pernicious Anemia, which is an Autoimmune B12 deficiency, where the body attacks the Intrinsic Factor in the gut necessary for proper absorption of B12.

B12 cannot be made by the body and so must come from the foods we eat, or supplementation. In addition, plants do not make B12, only animal products like meat, eggs and dairy which naturally contain B12. Most people are aware that people who eat vegetarian or vegan diets are at a higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency as this nutrient is often lacking in their diets. However virtually anyone can acquire a B12 deficiency, even if their diet contains foods plentiful with it.

Why is this? It is because there are many things that can prevent the body absorbing B12 from nutrients within food. For example, taking certain pharmaceutical drugs like antacids which suppress stomach acid but also block nutrient absorption within the stomach, in addition some anti-biotics, diabetic treatments, and anesthetics like nitrous oxide.

What are some of the symptoms of B12 deficiency?

 

  • Poor memory
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty walking
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anemia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Neuropathy

These are just a few of the many potential symptoms of a B12 deficiency. B12 deficiency left untreated can also mimic other illnesses, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, MS, hypothyroidism, and heart disease. B12 deficiency can literally cause multi system failure at its most severe and is frequently inadequately tested for and missed as a potential cause for symptoms which mimic these diseases.

How can we test for B12 deficiency?

The most common test for B12 is the Serum B12 test which will essentially tell you how much B12 is within your blood stream. However, this test alone is not enough to establish or rule out a deficiency.

B12 serum test only tells you how much B12 is in your serum, not if the B12 is being absorbed and utilized by the body, which is far more important. For this we need an additional test, the MMA (Methylmalonic acid) test which looks for a of buildup of methylmalonic acid which is a strong indicator that your body is not absorbing B12 effectively.

The downside is that this test is expensive to run, and doctors may resist ordering it and instead rely only on serum B12. Testing Homocysteine levels can be another helpful indicator of B12 deficiency, as homocysteine levels will often be high in the bloodstream if there is B12 deficiency. To rule out Pernicious Anemia, an Intrinsic Factor antibody test needs to be performed.

Pernicious Anemia is the Autoimmune form of B12 deficiency and means the person will require B12 injections for the rest of their life because their body does not have enough Intrinsic Factor to sufficiently absorb and utilize the B12 that they are consuming through their diet or supplements.

A common approach is to supplement with B12 based on symptoms of a deficiency rather than testing, since B12 is nontoxic, and any excess is easily excreted in the urine, so it is difficult to have too much.

How to treat a B12 deficiency.

For mild cases and for people who are generally healthy without digestive issues and wish to prevent a deficiency, eating a diet with plenty of meat, dairy and eggs is ideal.

For those that wish to consume more, eating beef liver on a regular basis is ideal as this food is loaded with natural B12. For people with a severe B12 deficiency, or worse still, Pernicious Anemia, the best treatment is intramuscular B12 injections which can be obtained through a health professional or an online pharmacy.

B12 can also be purchased as a dietary supplement, usually in 1000-5000mcg pills taken sublingually, although if you have Pernicious Anemia even the sublingual supplement will not be enough to alleviate symptoms and injections are necessary.

To recap; B12 is an essential vitamin that we all need to survive, and deficiencies left untreated can cause severe physical and metal issues that are often mistaken for other diseases. Treatment is usually simple, but diagnosis can be a challenge.

Do you have low Progesterone?

Do you have low progesterone?

Progesterone is a critical hormone our bodies require to function well. It is needed for fertility, thyroid health, weight management, and just to feel good in general. When you don’t have enough progesterone – or the progesterone you have is overtaken by estrogen, a whole range of negative symptoms can develop which can have a very serious impact on our health. This issue is often misunderstood or missed completely by medical professionals and can lead to inadequate or unnecessary treatment.

What are some of the symptoms of low progesterone?

  • Fertility issues (difficulty conceiving, miscarriages)
  • A history of PCOS (PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • Low thyroid function
  • Intense PMS
  • Low libido
  • Unexplained, irrational or uncontrollable emotions
  • Changes in menstrual cycle

Progesterone levels can also be severely affecting after childbirth, and during perimenopause and menopause.

One of the most common issues that affects progesterone levels is when the levels of estrogen become too high, leading to ‘estrogen dominance’

Estrogen dominance is extremely common for women and can wreak havoc on our hormonal system. What is it – well too much estrogen? Estrogen and Progesterone tend to balance each other out, this is how it is supposed to work in a healthy body. However, when the body creates (or receives) too much estrogen, the balance goes out, we become estrogen dominant. This can often be diagnosed by testing higher for serum estrogen, but also just through checking through the list of tell-tale symptoms and seeing how many we have.

How can estrogen dominance affect our thyroid hormones? When estrogen is taking over, and suppressing progesterone levels, our liver creates a protein called thyroid binding globulin or TBG – this goes through your bloodstream and actually binds up free T3 and free T4 well before they can be utilized by the body. This is turn can create many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, however when our thyroid labs are tested, they can often appear ‘in range’. This can be confusing, frustrating, and may even lead to misdiagnosis.

What are the options to fix low progesterone or estrogen dominance?

  • Avoid phytoestrogens, especially soy.
  • Reduce xenoestrogens – often found in plastics.
  • Reduce makeup use or replace with natural alternatives.
  • Avoid hormonal birth control.
  • Find ways to reduce stress.
  • Consider supplementation with bio-identical progesterone.

When symptoms of low progesterone or estrogen dominance are present, it is important to get the diagnosis and treatment right. Seeing a functional or holistic medial professional is ideal as they can guide lab testing, help to interpret results, and consider a range of a range or natural and traditional treatment options. It is also most important to educate yourself on the important role progesterone plays in our bodies, the common symptoms low progesterone (or estrogen dominance) produce, and the many options available to restore a healthy balance.

What Causes Reverse T3

What causes reverse T3

What is T3?

T3 (Triiodothyronine), is the most active thyroid hormone, that gives you energy throughout the day, and is created by the body’s conversion of T4 (Thyroxine). This is why doctors will often prescribe a T4 only medication (e.g. Levothyroxine) for patients who are hypothyroid, because the T4 will be converted to T3 by the body which in turn alleviates the symptoms of hypothyroidism. However, not everyone’s body works perfectly, and some people do not convert T4 into T3 effectively, and instead create an inactive form of T3, known as Reverse T3 (RT3). High levels of RT3 can cause real issues with the thyroid and energy levels as it actually blocks the T3 that our body needs and relies on to feel good.

What Causes Reverse T3?

There are many things in life which can cause our bodies to create RT3, however some of the most common causes are stress, inflammation, and very low carb diets.

Stress: When people experience stress, especially chronic stress, their cortisol levels are raised well above normal much of the time, and high cortisol interferes with the body’s ability to convert T4 to T3, instead producing high levels of RT3. It’s not surprising that many people suffer from on-going, high levels of stress, but finding ways to reduce this is very important for overall health, and in particular thyroid health.

Chronic Inflammation: Inflammation happens when the body’s immune system becomes overactive because it is responding to an underlying health condition. It is very common for someone to experience the symptoms of inflammation (fatigue, brain fog, gut issues, pain etc.) but have no idea what the body is actually responding to. For example, it could be heart disease, cancer, or an auto-immune disease. The result however is inflammation and this can cause high levels of RT3.

Very Low Carb Diets: For the thyroid to function effectively, and convert T4 to T3, it needs glucose. When we starve the body of glucose by way of a very low carb diet (putting the body into ketosis), the body will find alternative sources of energy, but in the process, severely down-regulates thyroid hormones. One of the ways that it does this is by producing RT3. So for someone who already suffers from hypothyroidism, entertaining a drastic reduction in carbs is a bad idea.

Will Taking Thyrovanz Cause Reverse T3?

This is a common question, however the answer is no. Thyrovanz – or any other natural thyroid glandular – will not cause RT3 issues, because the problem is with T4 conversion and the RT3 that the body is already producing. However, if someone is converting T4 to RT3 instead of T3, introducing more T4 into the body can increase the levels of RT3, and this will happen no matter what the source of T4. For this reason, if someone has high RT3 levels, it is best to address the root cause of the RT3 instead of continually increasing the thyroid dose trying to feel better. The other option is to supplement with a T3 only medication like Cytomel, although this is still not addressing the cause of RT3 and can be difficult to manage.

Conclusion

High levels of Reverse T3 are not ideal and are an indication of thyroid dysfunction. Finding the underlying issue linked to RT3 can be daunting simply due to the large number of potential causes, however this is the only way to bring thyroid hormone levels back into balance and restore quality of life.

Thyroid Nodules: Should We be Concerned?

Thyroid Nodules - Should We be Concerned

Thyroid nodules are extremely common, although most people who develop them will be unaware of their presence.

For some however, thyroid nodules can be a sign of a serious health issue. What are thyroid nodules, and when should we be concerned about them enough to seek treatment?

Thyroid nodules are hard lumps which occur on the thyroid gland, behind the Adams apple and can contain fluid. They are often discovered during a medical exam, or when noticeable symptoms occur, like pain, discomfort in the throat, swelling, or difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Although most thyroid nodules are benign growths, others can affect thyroid hormone production (Thyroxine), or even develop into cancer. For this reason, it is important to take any changes in the thyroid seriously and seek treatment if necessary.

What are the symptoms of thyroid nodules?

One of the most common symptoms of thyroid nodules, is a slight swelling of the neck. This can also be caused by an enlarged thyroid (goiter) due to iodine deficiency. Other symptoms include pain in the throat area, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, or symptoms of hyperthyroidism; for example a racing heart, feeling over-stimulated or anxious, and difficulty sleeping. Sometimes, thyroid nodules can be felt by touching around the neck, where the thyroid is located.

When should I be concerned and seek treatment?

Although nodules on the thyroid or other parts of the body are common as we get older, it is important to seek medical advice if experiencing any pain, swelling, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.

To further investigate thyroid nodules, a specialist may perform an ultrasound which provides a visual reference of the thyroid and any abnormalities. Once thyroid nodules are identified, it is also common to follow this up with a biopsy, where a microscopic sample of the thyroid (cells) are taken and analyzed to see if the nodules are benign or potentially cancerous. If the cells are abnormal or cancerous, it is common to perform a thyroidectomy, which removes part of all of the thyroid gland.

The other common treatment is radioactive iodine therapy which effectively destroys the thyroid and also the cancerous nodules. These drastic procedures may be justified but will also require the individual to rely on an external source of thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives.

What are some of the ways to avoid or prevent thyroid nodules?

Keeping your thyroid in good health is the best way to avoid thyroid nodules. We can do this through eating a diet rich in selenium, zinc, and B vitamins like quality meats, nuts and vegetables. It is also very important for your thyroid to get enough iodine which can be naturally sourced from seaweed, sea salt, cod fish, dairy products, and eggs. Iodine can also be taken as a supplement.  It is also important to try and limit stress and environmental toxins as much as possible as these can adversely affect your thyroid function.

How Stress Can Affect Your Thyroid

How stress can affect your thyroid

For people that need to take thyroid medication or supplementation, it can be difficult to stay on a consistent dose as there are many things in life that can affect how our thyroid functions, and just how much additional, supplementary thyroid we need.

One of the most common factors affecting our thyroid function is stress. But how does stress affect the thyroid, and what can we do about it?

How stress affects your body

For many people, 2020 has been a rather stressful year so far, and this can affect how your body functions in many ways. And aside from feeling more anxious, stress can cause many, very real physical affects in your body.

For example, stress can cause metabolic changes and make it easier to put on weight and harder to lose. Stress can raise your blood pressure and even lead to heartbeat irregularity. Stress can lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.

In addition, stress can lead to hormone dysregulation and for someone who is already hypothyroid and taking external thyroid hormone, this can mean dramatic changes in how much thyroid you need to function.

The main reason for this is stress causes elevated cortisol levels produced by the adrenal glands, and this in turn interrupts Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which is how our body regulates hormones including thyroid hormones – it can also interrupt the brains TSH communication within the thyroid and skew test results, and even decreased  T4 to T3 conversion.

What this means for your thyroid dose

When stress levels increase, it is common for symptoms of hypothyroidism to increase and the previously stable dose of thyroid you were taking now seems insufficient. This is quite common and can feel like you are on a roller coaster of dosage increases when you feel you need more and decreases when you feel like the dose is too high.

What are some of the ways we can lower stress?

Often the things in our life which can be a source of stress are out of our control and will take time to resolve. But there are some things you can do immediately to lower the stress levels and cope more effectively.

  • Eating a clean diet with as few processed foods as possible.
  • Taking B-Vitamins which help the body to regulate stress more effectively.
  • Getting outside in the fresh air and getting in the sun so that your body can produce Vitamin D.
  • Keeping your mind in the present as much as possible. Focus on what you are doing and experiencing right now, rather than thinking about what has happened in the past, or may happen in the future, all of which is in the mind.

Will delays and Shortages Continue?

The disruption to the world economy from COVID-19 restrictions is set to continue despite the gradual lifting of restrictions in some locations.

The effect these restrictions have had (and will continue to have) on the supply of goods is so extreme it is hard to quantify as nothing similar has happened in recent history. It is also reasonable to expect that there will be shortages of many goods we rely on, including supplements and medications.

Delays

Orders heading outside the US are severely delayed to most destinations, some taking longer than 8 weeks, and there are 111 countries right now that USPS cannot deliver to at all. FedEx is still the most reliable option as they have their own network of planes, but they have also restricted the number of destinations they will deliver to, and increased prices.

Shortages

Will there be shortages of essential goods? The short answer is yes. The goods that we see in the supermarket, retail store, or online are there after a long process of acquiring, manufacturing, and distributing which can take many months. Any shortages we are seeing now are likely to be small compared to what may happen later in 2020 and through 2021 as the damage to supply chains is fully materialized.

How can you prepare?

After choosing which items are essential, it is best to have enough for at least several months and think about alternative sources in case supply is no longer available. How many of these items can be sourced locally? Can they be substituted for something else? Can they be rationed? It is very important to create a plan B for sourcing the goods you rely on most, especially if the goods need to be sourced from another county.

Can taking Thyrovanz affect TSH?

Can taking Thyrovanz affect TSH

The TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is by far the most common thyroid test and is often used to diagnose hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or to make decisions regarding thyroid treatment. However TSH results can be affected by a number of things, including taking a natural thyroid glandular like Thyrovanz.

The range for TSH is considered normal between 0.4 and 4.0 milliunits per liter (mU/L) depending on the lab used. Levels above this can lead to a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, and levels below this can be an indication of hyperthyroidism. However when taking a natural thyroid glandular like Thyrovanz at optimal levels, TSH will generally become suppressed, i.e below range.

The reason for this is that the body is receiving an outside source of thyroid hormones, and this sends a signal to the pituitary gland (which produces TSH) to lower TSH output as there is already enough thyroid in the system. How can I obtain accurate results if TSH is suppressed? By also testing Free T4 and Free T3, which should be ideally at optimal levels.

Due to the number of things which can affect TSH, it is important to tell your physician if you are taking Thyrovanz (or anything else) which will allow for more accurate treatment.

Should You Avoid Gluten? Your Thyroid Says YES!

Should You Avoid Gluten - Your Thyroid Says YES

There are many reasons to be wary of modern gluten, but is going gluten free best for your thyroid? Most of us are aware that people who suffer from celiac disease must avoid gluten as eating it can cause a severe (even fatal) reaction. There is also an increasing awareness of how gluten can affect the thyroid, and those with an auto-immune thyroid disorder. In this article we’ll look at why this is and the benefits of avoiding gluten altogether.

Humans have eaten gluten containing foods like wheat, barley, and rye for thousands for years and for the most part it has sustained us pretty well. That is until modern farming and hybridization radically changed the grains we eat into something very different, and made many people sick in the process. Many people experience this as gluten sensitivity and symptoms can range anywhere from a mild stomach upset to chronic inflammation, heart palpitations, and severe brain fog among others. However, if you have an auto-immune related thyroid condition like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Graves’ Disease, eating gluten can exacerbate symptoms and even increase the damage to your thyroid.

The reason for this is that the protein within gluten (gliadin) is very similar in structure to those produced by the thyroid gland and if these gluten proteins manage to enter the bloodstream via a leaky gut (which can actually be caused by eating gluten) – an immune response is triggered which may then cause the body to attack the thyroid. The link between eating gluten and thyroid damage has been studied extensively, and it has been shown that some thyroid conditions can be improved or potentially reversed by excluding gluten from the diet.

For example, one “study found that when most of those with subclinical hypothyroidism were placed on a gluten free diet, their thyroid function normalized! 71 percent of people who had subclinical hypothyroidism (a mildly underactive thyroid) and who had strictly followed a one-year gluten withdrawal (as confirmed by intestinal mucosa recovery) saw a return to normal thyroid function.”

 

How easy is it to quit gluten?

The answer is, not as easy as it sounds. Most people are aware that wheat products like bread contain gluten, however gluten is threaded throughout much of our modern diet and is hidden in many packaged foods and drinks. For example, many ingredients listed as ‘flavor’ or ‘spices’ may contain gluten, soy sauce contains gluten (Whereas gluten-free tamari does not), even oats often contain gluten as most are processed in the same equipment as wheat, so unless the oats are certified gluten-free you should consider avoiding them. The most effective way go gluten-free is to radically simplify your diet, eating mostly foods which you have made yourself, or that you know have been made using basic ingredients that you can identify, and are sure contain no gluten.

A Guide to Buying Natural Thyroid Online

Thyrovanz Natural Thyroid

Taking natural thyroid is different to other supplements. You can skip taking your B-complex for a week, no problem but try this with your thyroid supplement and all hell breaks loose. Your body has become accustomed to the extra thyroid and going up or down in your dose requires careful management. Running out unexpectedly can be extremely stressful, and for this reason it is very important to plan ahead and stay in control of your dose.

When ordering a natural thyroid supplement online like Thyrovanz, there are some extra considerations to keep in mind – primarily these are 1) When to place an order, and 2) What are the potential issues receiving an order.

When should I re-order?

USA – Most customers living in the US will receive their Thyrovanz order within a week (some even a few days) as all shipments are sent from New Jersey. However, weekends, Federal holidays, and postal delays can all affect this. There is also the small (but real) possibility that the package may become lost or damaged along the way, so for this reason it is best to order well in advance of when your current supply will run out.  We recommend re-ordering at least 1 month before this happens, so if anything does go wrong, we have plenty of time to fix it.

International – For customers outside of the US, delivery of Thyrovanz can take anywhere from 5 days to over a month and there are many factors that can affect this. Sometimes a shipment will just go from one delay to another and often the tracking is poor or nonexistent so you are left guessing as to when your order will arrive. We know that 99% of non-US orders will be delivered successfully (eventually), but some will face substantial delays before arriving. For this reason, it is best to consider ordering 2 months before you run out of your current supply. This allows time in case there is a delay and extra time in case the order needs to be re-sent to you.

Will a customs agency seize or send back my natural thyroid order?

One of the issues with buying natural desiccated thyroid online is that the regulation around this product varies substantially from one country to the next, and it can be very difficult to know what is allowed and what is not ahead of time. After years of experience, we find that most countries will allow individual customers to import natural thyroid even if the product is more tightly regulated locally, although the list of countries that restrict imports of natural thyroid is growing.

Which countries can Thyrovanz be sent to?

We will ship anywhere in the world unless there is a proven issue receiving orders (see shipping page). For example, when buying natural thyroid, Australia and New Zealand have stricter regulation than the US regarding the sale of natural thyroid supplements, however, customers will rarely have issues when ordering their supply from overseas. Whereas customers in the UK can order, and receive successfully their natural thyroid, but they will be charged VAT (sales tax), and often an extra fee for delivery which makes the whole process more expensive and time consuming.

An important note: The regulations around the importation of natural supplements (or simply the way existing regulations are interpreted) can change at any time, and the trend unfortunately is more restriction, not less. For this reason, it is very important to plan your dosage needs well in advance, and keep in mind alternative sources so you always have a plan B.

Is Keto Good for Your Thyroid?

Is Keto Good for Your Thyroid

In recent years the number of health advocates promoting low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets have exploded, offering simple ways to lose weight, reduce inflammation, and control blood sugar. But are low carb and keto diets good for people who have a thyroid condition like Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s? The short answer is no, but let’s look at why this is.

For a long time, we were told that carbs were good and to avoid saturated fat as this lead to disease. But as saturated fat consumption went down and chronic disease rates skyrocketed, it became clear that the science on this was wrong and consumption of the right fats was actually good for you, and perhaps the over consumption of carbs, especially sugar was more of an issue. While there is a large degree of truth in this, the current trend of cutting almost all carbs from the diet is presenting a new set of problems.

Drastically reducing carbs has been shown to be an effective way to control weight, blood sugar, and help reduce the symptoms of some disease. When carbs are reduced to such a level that the body must find another energy source, this is called ketosis – where the liver converts fat to ketones, and this in turn is used by the body and especially brain as an alternative source of energy.

Getting the body to switch fuel sources in this way has shown great results in the control of epilepsy, and certain other diseases. The other added benefit- weight loss. Sounds great right? Well not so fast. Even though the body can and will use fat as a primary energy source, it only does so when carbohydrates are not available – your body prefers carbs as a fuel source over fat. When adequate carbs are not available, this creates a mini crisis in the body which stresses the adrenals, and down regulates the thyroid which in turn produces fewer thyroid hormones.

“Your body prefers carbs as a fuel source over fat. When adequate carbs are not available, this creates a mini crisis in the body which stresses the adrenals, and down regulates the thyroid which in turn produces fewer thyroid hormones.”

The thyroid is responsible for hormone production and regulation, it affects your mood, your body temperature, and plays an important role in metabolism and reproductive health. As many of us know, a poor functioning thyroid can affect just about every aspect of your health and life. In order for the thyroid to function correctly, and especially convert T4 into T3, it requires glucose, but when this is limited by a low carb or ketogenic diet, the thyroid in turn will produce less thyroid hormones and can potentially increase the level of Reverse T3, exacerbating any existing thyroid condition.

So, if someone already is suffering from low thyroid hormone or their thyroid is being attacked by thyroid antibodies as is the case in Hashimoto’s, drastically reducing carbs is not a great idea and could lead to bigger problems down the road.

Simply put:

  • Carbohydrates are converted into glucose which in turn is used for energy by the body
  • The thyroid needs glucose to function properly and produce hormones
  • Very low carb, or ketogenic diets can negatively affect thyroid function and stress adrenals

In conclusion, although very low carb and ketogenic diets can be an effective way of controlling some diseases, and can provide benefits in certain circumstances, they are not suitable for everyone, especially those who have already have issues with their thyroid or adrenal glands.

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