Written By Dr Steven Gunn (MBChB. BSc. CVIT)
Ever wondered why so many people in the world, especially women, suffer from thyroid disorders and particularly Hashimoto’s Disease? The main reason is because our planet is more polluted and toxic today, especially our air, water, soil, food and body products than ever before in the history of humankind and women with more complicated hormone systems are more sensitive and vulnerable to these toxins and chemicals.
Toxic industrial and environmental chemicals and pollutants, coupled with over processed, hydrogenated, fried, burnt, preserved and chemically or genetically modified food and beverages play havoc with our immune system, gut, microbiome, liver detoxification process and disrupt our hormone system.
The human body as brilliantly created as it is, cannot cope with this toxic and destructive chemical bombardment. It is estimated that there are over 100 000 man made chemicals in the world and a few thousand in our food and water which we consume every day.
Other contributory factors include pathogens (e.g. viruses, bacteria), gluten, medication, antibiotics, which destroy our healthy gut bacteria (probiotics), nutritional deficiencies, because our soil and food lack nutrients (e.g. iodine, selenium, magnesium, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C ), weak adrenal glands, excess stress, excess alcohol, excess sugar, smoking, lack of sleep and our DNA genetic inheritance.
Because the thyroid is such an important and sensitive organ in our endocrine (hormone) system it is easily influenced and damaged by chemicals and an overactive immune system which fails to “switch off” in some individuals leading to an autoimmune disease.
The thyroid works hand in hand with the adrenal glands and pancreas, therefore stress and sugar and insulin levels play a critical role.
Millions of women suffer from an underactive thyroid gland and Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an auto-immune disease of the thyroid caused by some or most of the above-mentioned factors. The immune system mistakenly identifies the thyroid tissue as a foreign substance or germ and attacks it, or else the immune system is over-activated by infection or an allergy causing substance or protein. This causes inflammation and damage to the thyroid cells and then the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) as in the case of Hashimoto’s Disease. In a small number of cases the thyroid may produce too many thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).The matrix of the thyroid cells contains proteins similar to the gluten molecule ( in wheat, rye, barley, oats), which can result in the immune system attacking the thyroid cells and causing an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS of an underactive thyroid or Hashimoto’s include:
- Physical and Mental fatigue
- Brain fog
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Depressed mood
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Low sex drive
- Difficulty in recovering from infection or stress
- Sensitivity to cold
- Puffy eyes
- Struggling to fall pregnant
- Weak muscles
- Joint stiffness
TREATMENT OF THYROID DISORDERS
When treating a thyroid disorder or Hashimoto’s Disease, it is imperative that one consults a doctor who is experienced in this field and one who approaches it from a “holistic” or “integrative” point of view because the assessment and treatment involves multiple organs, systems, lifestyle, diet and environment.
To fix or balance the thyroid the doctor has to consider all the above-mentioned factors and have the means and knowledge to test and evaluate, all or most of these factors.
LifeXMed Clinic in Pretoria understands the complexity and difficulty in assessing and treating thyroid disorders and Hashimoto’s Disease and takes an integrative medicine approach. Contact: +27(0)83 480 2415 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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