Thyroid Disease on Up-Swing

I remember a couple of decades ago, it seemed only overweight women had thyroid disease. Boy has that changed! It is estimated that 1 in 13 (or 20 million people in the US) have thyroid disease and another 1 in 20 (13 million) are undiagnosed. That’s staggering! In 1924 we started putting iodine into our salt to combat thyroid disease.  So why is thyroid disease still on the increase?

First of all, the body responds better to both potassium iodide and iodine, together. Iodized salt contains only iodide. Fluorine and chlorine (found in our water), and bromine (found in commercially prepared breads and carbohydrates) all counter iodine which contributes to iodine deficiency. Although iodized salt seems to have reduced goiter, the incidence of auto-immune thyroid conditions have skyrocketed.

The whole body needs iodine. The adrenals, gonads, stomach, intestines, salivary glands, thymus, skin and breasts all need it. The thyroid gland only uses a small percentage of iodine, the majority goes to the breast, with the remaining to every cell in the body.  Dr. David Brownstein states that the studies linking breast cancer and iodine deficiency are overwhelming. Obviously, there are many factors involved in breast cancer, but iodine deficiency should be considered when looking for causative factors.

The thyroid produces 3 primary hormones: Thyroxine, Triiodothyronine and Calcitonin.  It’s responsible for regulating temperature and metabolism, and affects the rate of growth and function of many systems. It plays a role in increased mental acuity, maintenance of blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tone. It is even important for digestion and reproductive functions.  Calcitonin regulates calcium in the blood and increases bone storage of calcium. The thyroid is also supposed to weaken and kill germs that are circulating in the blood.

Symptoms of a lower functioning thyroid include hair loss, dry skin, sensitive to cold, loss of eyebrow edges, fatigue, weakness, depression, irritability, loss of memory, loss of libido, muscle achiness, constipation and weight gain. Many times the thyroid isn’t working up to par, but lab tests say it is “okay.” Remember, labs are based on the point of crisis, not on healthy values.  For instance if a normal TSH (test to measure thyroid “health”) is .5 to 5.0 and your test one time says you’re at 5.0 (“normal”), then the next time it says 5.1 (“abnormal”), did you just go from perfect to diseased because of the change of 1/10 of a point? No, your thyroid had been going down for quite some time and finally got to the pathologic state, or state of crisis. The frustration is in getting the help before it is in a crisis (although there is much you can do even when medically diagnosed with thyroid disease). First it is helpful to review why it is malfunctioning in the first place. Iodine is only a part of a larger stress on the thyroid. There are other organs and glands that put a strain on the thyroid, and they too must be addressed. Then you have to work on the other causative factors which generally include diet, lack of rest, harmful chemicals, etc. that caused the thyroid to get sick in the first place.

©2011 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.

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The information provided in this article or podcast should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article or podcast. Readers/listeners should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author, but readers/listeners who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

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