Erika Schwartz, MD, was consulted for medical advice by an older man with serious health issues.
Namely, she examined the medications and treatments he was subjected to and decided to consult his cardiologist to see if he would agree to change his therapy completely.
The man suffered from excess weight, low testosterone and thyroid levels, and a sleeping disorder due to advanced eczema which caused unbearable itching.
She had been trying to reach his cardiologist for three weeks, and eventually, she succeeded. However, after suggesting the elimination of the medications which contributed to the patient’s eczema, she stated:
“The guy said to me, ‘I can’t talk to you. You don’t know science.” After stating that they have the same medical degree, she adds, “he hung up on me!”
After that failed discussion, she reviewed her recommendations with the patient. He decided to change cardiologists and try the plan she suggested. The treatments she had in mind consisted of boosting the thyroid hormones and eliminating the medication for his cholesterol.
In the beginning, the patient believed that this treatment would lead to a heart attack, but Dr. Schwartz explained that the correction of the hormones naturally maintained the cholesterol at a healthy level.
Thyroid hormones are a result of the function of the thyroid gland—an endocrine gland in the form of a butterfly found in the lower front of the neck.
The two thyroid hormones—triiodothyronine and thyroxine—are also known as T3 and T4. T4 is turned into the active T3 in cells, and it reaches the body organs through the bloodstream.
Its primary function is to regulate metabolism and provide energy, but it also has a significant influence on the entire body, as it helps the organs to function optimally.
The most common issue linked to the thyroid is hypothyroidism—which is the state of an underactive thyroid. The gland does not produce sufficient hormones to regulate the necessary body functions.
It can be a result of numerous internal and external factors, such as Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition in which the immune system itself attacks the thyroid.
Hypothyroidism can manifest in numerous symptoms, including dry skin, brittle nails, fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, body temperature irregularities, coldness, poor reflexes, depression, brain fog, mood swings, etc.
However, because these symptoms are so diverse, doctors may often prescribe some medications for specific symptom management without even considering thyroid imbalance as a potential cause.
Mary Shomon, a thyroid expert and author of numerous books on the subject, states: “People are going in with high cholesterol or depression and are getting handed cholesterol meds and antidepressants. And no one’s ever checking to see if the thyroid is at the root of the problem.”
Moreover, she says that there is a critical flaw in the conventional test to diagnose hypothyroidism. This test, known as the thyroid-stimulating hormone test or TSH test, actually measures the level of a pituitary hormone in the blood. This pituitary hormone directs the thyroid gland to produce and release thyroid hormones. It does not show the amount of the thyroid hormones T3 or T4 in the blood.
It has been well established in the scientific literature that even patients suffering from hypothyroidism, and presenting with many of the symptoms described above, can still have a “normal” TSH lab result. This points out a common flaw in the way these issues are evaluated.
Dr. Schwartz claims, “At the end of the day, we suffer because we’re treating individual symptoms, and we don’t look at the body—at the person—as a whole. [The TSH test] is doing a disservice to anybody who wants to take care of themselves or someone who wants to take care of the patient.”
For better results, the levels of T3 and T4 should be individually examined. Moreover, it is vital to be sure that T4 is being turned into active T3 and that the T3 enters cells to regulate the function of the body organs.
The holistic treatment of Dr. Schwartz includes altering everything, including the diet, hormones, exercise, and supplements. Her approach regards the body as a whole and does not examine just the symptoms, resulting in excellent outcomes.
She says: “What I also found out was that giving those people thyroid hormone, to begin with—giving them T3, let’s say, which is the active thyroid hormone—was the quickest way to get people to feel better. And once they felt better, then you could tweak their diet, exercise, lifestyle.”
The understanding of how thyroid hormones influence the entire body is, Shomon also shares, a vital part of the successful treatment:
“Our metabolism relies, in large part, on our thyroid’s ability to function properly. If we’re not getting enough oxygen or energy to the cells for digestion, for pancreatic function, for brain function, for all of the other hormone production processes, then everything is going to be slowing down and not working properly,” she explains. “It’s the gas pedal, essentially, for everything.”
Hence, both internal and external factors lead to thyroid disorders, as they may result from a combination of factors like immunity, diet, hormones, and the environment.
“We’re living in such a toxic world—and our lifestyles have changed so much. And that’s a critical thing for us to realize when we look at our diets, and we look at our daily habits. We have had to build strategies to compensate for the fact that we’ve moved so far from our natural evolutionary ancestral history.”- says Greg Emerson, MD, founder of the Emerson Health & Wellness Center in Queensland, Australia.
The leading ones on his list of toxins are mold and mycotoxins, which develop from various fungi types.
“There’s a huge amount of scientific evidence that the poisons that mold produces are terrible for the thyroid gland. And the other problem is that we’re consuming foods which are also high in mycotoxins.
Or we’re consuming foods that are high in sugar, which makes the mold grow in the body. And we’re also not consuming foods which are protective against those 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 mycotoxins.”
The opposite of hypothyroidism is hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, which is the state of excess production of thyroid hormones. This state leads to sudden weight loss due to a revved-up metabolism and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
However, the imbalance of the hormones can be restored to normal by making some essential changes in the lifestyle. Those lifestyle changes include eating a diet high in raw foods, regular exercise, fostering healthy relationships, and reducing stress.
Dr. Emerson suggests that you ask the following questions to yourself: “Am I eating the right food? Am I drinking the right water? Am I getting enough sun? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I getting enough exercise? Am I getting medicines in my food?”
Dr. Schwartz adds: “Listen to what your body’s saying. If you can’t sleep at night, why don’t you sleep at night? Did you drink too much, and it woke you up in the middle of the night? Are you eating too late? Are you eating the wrong foods? Are you exercising too late? Do you have all this electronic equipment sitting right next to you? Do you sleep with the TV on?”
Therefore, if you change these lifestyle factors to better emulate those of our ancestors, you can diminish the enormous mismatch between your environment and your genes, which often gets to the root cause of the problem.
Dr. Schwartz comments, “There are a million reasons why you may not be sleeping at night. And you need to look at them and take responsibility for improving.”
By restarting your thyroid with the proper nutrients, you can keep weight off, help slow down the aging process, boost your energy, and improve your overall health.