Thyroid information part 2:
As mentioned in my previous articles in this series, the information presented is that of other medical authorities in the area of thyroid illness. Dr. David Brownstien is the author of two excellent books that I am referencing here. Dr. Mark Starr has researched and treated hundreds of patients with not only thyroid anti-immune disorders but other anti-immune disorders as well, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
The two common autoimmune thyroid disorders are Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. Of these Grave’s is the less common, affecting about .25-1% pf the population. Grave’s occurs mostly in women of middle age. The incidence of Grave’s is increasing. Though there is no known cause of grave’s some possibilities include genetic factors, infections and stress. Dr. Brownstein points out that in his practice he has seen a surprisingly high percentage of his patients with autoimmune disease having a positive lab results for mycoplasma bacterium (approximately 75%). In Grave’s and Hashimpto”s Dr. Brownstein and other physicians have found about 50-70% of patients suffering from a mycoplasma infection. In Grave’s disease the body’s antibodies attack the thyroid gland. This causes the gland to become inflamed and enlarged. Symptoms similar to hyperthyroidism (overactive) include protruding eyes, jitteriness and parasthesias(abnormal sensations). With Grave’s there is often an enlarged thyroid (goiter) and hypertension. Blood tests might show a lower than normal TSH and elevated T3 and T4.
Hashimoto’s disease of the thyroid is more common affecting up to 2 percent of the population. In this autoimmune disorder the body produces antibodies that attack the thyroid. The thyroid gland gets inflamed, enlarged, impairing its function. At first the patient will feel hyperthyroid symptoms like in Grave’s, mentioned above. Afterwards the thyroid “burns out” causing hypothyroid symptoms, such as fatigue and coldness and weight gain.
The conventional doctor treats these disorders with medication. Grave’s patients might receive radio-active iodine and other drugs such as PTU to block the hyperactivity. In Hashimoto cases the patient is usually diagnosed in the hypothyroid phase and is given Synthroid (T4). The holistic doctor will search for the underlying cause of the illness and make corrections. Utilizing more in depth tests such as hair analysis for heavy metal toxicity and gluten/celiac testing, and other allergy tests and nutritional deficiency testing etc. Several recent studies have correlated gluten issues with autoimmune issues. Dr. Roberts , M.D. notes in his book “Aspartame Disease “ the connection between aspartame (sugar substitute –equal) and autoimmune disease. Therefore eliminating toxic substances in the diet will positively affect these disorders. Adding nutritional supplements are very crucial to a positive response. As per the beginning of this series, iodine deficiency will lead to an unstable thyroid. The medical/endocrinological guidelines for iodine are insufficient to meet the thyroid glands needs as well as the whole body’ needs. Dr. Brownstein notes that in his practice he was able to relieve symptoms of hyperthyroidism in about 50% of his cases by using PABA. Other antioxidants such as selenium and vitamin C, are very helpful, as well as thymus extract which boosts immune function in a gentle way. To further correlate the nutritional connection between iodine deficiency and thyroid autoimmune illness researchers in Europe have reported a direct correlation between areas of the most iodine deficient people with the highest incidence of Hashimoto’s and Grasve’s disease. One study showed that lowered iodine levels in Aalborg, Denmark are associated with a 260% elevated incidence of autoimmune thyroid problems when compared to an area inDenmark with a higher iodine intake levels.
In the next article in this series I will further explain holistic treatments for thyroid disorders. Stay tune!