Thyroid health, thyroid testing, thyroid disease, thyroid natural support, Doctor Meghan Van Vleet

Have your thyroid levels been tested at your primary care physician’s office and were returned normal, yet you are still experiencing unusual symptoms that are typically linked to this hormone’s imbalance?

If so, you’re not the only one.

Many of my clients come to me with results showing normal TSH, a thyroid-stimulating hormone that encourages the thyroid gland to release the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) as well as Free T3 and Free T4 (the active hormones) and are frustrated or confused because they continue to suffer from signs of disfunction.

Commonly, these symptoms (most frequently for the state of hypothyroid) are:

– fatigue

– hair loss

– cold intolerance

– weight gain and difficulty losing weight

– hormone disruption/infertility

– constipation

– dry skin

as well as other unusual signs.

But if your tests results are within range and you are still experiencing unusual symptoms, can you still have thyroid disfunction?

Yes.

Following are three things to know about the health of your thyroid even if your general practitioner evaluation is normal:

  1. TSH is not the only thing to test for; antibodies can expand analysis of thyroid.

In addition to TSH, Free T3 and Free T4, thyroid antibodies can also be tested.  Results showing elevated levels can indicate attack on certain parts of the thyroid, its proteins, as well as any inflammation or disruption of thyroid function.

So why hasn’t your primary care doctor tested these?

Antibodies are not typically tested alongside TSH at a general practitioner office because TSH is the standard for determining whether actual thyroid disease is present such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

And if there isn’t a definitive disease present…there is nothing for traditional western medicine to treat.

The challenge with this is that nonstandard TSH levels are commonly one of the last signs to show up when thyroid disfunction is present.  This means that you may experience a variety of unwanted symptoms much earlier than nonstandard TSH results are reflected.

Frequently, this test is most valuable for women between the ages of 30-50 and most of the clients I treat with abnormal antibody levels are postpartum women in this age range.  I recommend periodic antibody testing throughout these years, particularly for those who have thyroid disfunction in the family.

  1. Thyroid disfunction may be linked to other underlying autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmune disorders happen when the immune system attacks certain cells in the body, disrupting systematic function – and one of those functions can be the thyroid.

This assail on healthy cells can begin to present signs or flare up in mid-life and although not all thyroid conditions are autoimmune related, they can still be linked which means it could very well be a root cause of the hormone’s imbalance.

Holistic treatment of elevated antibodies typically involves broad treatment of autoimmunity as well as specific treatment aimed at bolstering thyroid function.

  1. There are a variety of naturopathic options for thyroid disfunction. 

In addition to prescription hormones that may be needed to balance thyroid, there are naturopathic treatments that can work synergistically or aside from pharmaceuticals, especially for those whose TSH levels are normal, yet have elevated antibodies.

First, nutraceuticals can encourage thyroid production.  Tyrosine, selenium, and zinc can all be beneficial in boosting thyroid levels as well as other supplements that support adrenal health and blood sugar regulation as there can be subtle reverberations (i.e.: symptoms) throughout various systems in the body.  It’s important to take care of the entire body!

Another naturopathic treatment for elevated antibodies is hydrotherapy.  This spa like treatment alternates hot and cold water applications to the front and back of the torso and neck, and can help stimulate the body to produce heat and warm the body – valuable for those in a hypothyroid state.

What’s even better is that after a series of sessions, you can learn to modify the treatment for at-home use.

Finally, lifestyle changes can make a big impact on treating autoimmune effects in which I recommend:

– a clean diet for digestive health

– stress reduction

– good sleep habits

– frequent movement/exercise

– breathing exercises and meditation

as well as other self-care actions that support healthy living.

Paired with nutrient-focused supplements and hydrotherapy, lifestyle changes can be the key to lasting changes for a healthier you.

If you’ve received normal TSH results but still think thyroid disfunction is present, you don’t have to wonder any longer.

If you live in Boulder or the surrounding Denver metro area and would like to discuss your thyroid concerns further, please don’t hesitate to call my office at (720) 340-0193 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Are you ready to get your thyroid checked completely?  Let’s get started.

 

 

REFERENCES:
https://labtestsonline.org/tests/thyroid-antibodies

“What would you say if I told you your son’s mood and behavior problems were due to his genetics?”  – therapist of one of my patients

“Mental health can be affected by diet and stressful life events, but the dominant factor is often genetic or epigenetic differences in brain chemistry.” – William J. Walsh, PhD

What does it mean to have a mood, behavior, or learning problem due to genetics?

I have talked and written before about how the building blocks for our neurotransmitters are amino acids and other nutrients. Possibly more important though is the number and activity of transporter proteins that allow (or don’t) optimal neurotransmitter activity at synapses. Genetic expression, or production, of transporter proteins affects the activity of neurotransmitters. The most commonly talked about example of this has to do with methylation (commonly tested for with genetic testing companies such as 23&Me). Methylation of genetic material called chromatin inhibits production of some neurotransmitter transporters. Undermethylators tend to have reduced serotonin activity and a tendency for depression, whereas overmethylators can have excessive dopamine activity and a tendency for anxiety. Importantly, genetic testing for MTHFR, COMT, or other SNPs do not tell if a person is undermethylated or overmethylated.

Genes and Epigenetics

You have probably heard that having a genetic predisposition for something, for example heart disease, does not determine the eventual development of heart disease. This is true for mental health, and all of genetics as well. Genetic testing does tell you what your genetic code is, but it doesn’t tell you how your genetic code is being expressed. Epigenetics is the system that determines gene regulation and expression. Epigenetics, not genetics, tells us how a system is likely to be functioning. While epigenetic instructions are established in the womb and generally persist through life, environmental insults (ie: physical inury, illness, toxic exposures, powerful medications, emotional trauma, or a combination of influences) can alter the epigenetics through oxidative stress, in the womb or at any point in life, and this is the cause of the manifestation of many physical and mental disorders.

Nutrients Affect Genetic Expression

The good news is that there are simple blood and urine tests that can tell us how a system is functioning (expressing), and gene expression can be influenced by certain nutrients. Biochemical therapy looks for and identifies specific nutrient or chemical imbalances that are known to be the most commonly involved in a myriad of mental health diagnoses. While certain imbalances, such as being over or undermethylated, are commonly associated with anxiety and depression, respectively, it is usually not that straightforward. Every individual is unique, and most people with an existing diagnosis don’t fit neatly into one category of biochemical imbalance; rather they may involve a combination of a variety of imbalances.

High-Incidence Chemical Imbalances

  • Pyrrole Disorder

    • Pyrrole disorder (or pyroluria) is detected by the presence of elevated kryptopyrroles in the urine. This test represents a marker for functional deficiencies of Vitamin B-6 and zinc, and elevated oxidative stress.
    • Symptoms include: poor tolerance of physical and emotional stress, poor anger control, frequent mood swings, poor short term memory, reading disorder, morning nausea, absence of dream recall, frequent anger and rages, depression and high anxiety.
    • Treatments are based on the individual’s age, body weight, lab results, severity of symptoms and ability to metabolize supplements.
  • Histamine

    • Histamine is a marker for methylation status.
    • When histamine is elevated, clinical features include depression, obsessive-compulsive (OCD), perfectionism, seasonal allergies, competitiveness, and internal anxiety.
    • When histamine is too low, there is a tendency for high anxiety, panic disorder, depression, chemical and food sensitivities, music/artistic ability, and empathy for others.
  • Copper

    • Copper is an essential trace element but excessive levels are toxic to the body.
    • Copper overloads tend to lower dopamine levels and increase norepinephrine in the brain. Imbalances in these important neurotransmitters have been associated with anxiety, postpartum depression, ADHD, autism, violent behavior, paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • Zinc

    • Zinc is a trace metal essential for all forms of life.
    • It enhances behavior control to stress and helps maintain intellectual function, memory and mood levels.
    • More than 90% of persons diagnosed with depression, behavior disorder, ADHD, autism and schizophrenia exhibit depleted zinc levels.
    • Zinc deficiency has been associated with delayed growth, temper control problems, poor immune function, depression, poor wound healing, epilepsy, anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders, hormone imbalances and learning problems.

Biochemical nutrient therapy plus other therapies

There are no silver bullets. If you deal with a mental or cognitive health issue, you likely have coping mechanisms (healthy or otherwise) in place. We all have our patterns. Biochemical nutrient therapy, like other therapies such as diet, exercise, mindfulness, breathwork, herbal medicines, hydrotherapy, pharmacoptherapy, etc, is a tool – a big tool, but a tool. To get the most out of it, use it in conjunction with psychotherapy in order to learn new patterns and routines that support your mental health goals.

Work with Meghan Van Vleet ND in Boulder CO

If you are interested in this type of mental health support, please give me a call:

720-340-0193.

I am happy to work collaboratively with psychotherapists, psychiatrists, primary care providers, and other care providers.

 

Sources:

Walsh, William. Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. Skyhorse Publishing, 2014.

Walsh, William J, and Malcolm Sickels. Mastering Brain Chemistry Physician Education Workshop, 27-30 Apr. 2019, Evanston, IL.

Optimal executive functioning allows the ability to process complex information/instructions, plan, organize, and complete a task. Executive Functioning takes place in the slow-to-develop frontal lobe, which explains why some kids simply can’t get organized. Seth Perler, Executive Function coach for middle, high school, and college students (see sethperler.com) states that the foundation for having optimal executive functioning (what he simply calls the ability to get things done) is restful sleep, food that nourishes the body, and adequate exercise; alternatively he notes what makes executive functioning worse. The top 3 items… processed foods, sleep problems, and lack of exercise.

Not surprisingly, a healthy diet, adequate restful sleep, and exercise are the foundations of overall well-being!

If your child could benefit from holistic support with executive functioning &/or ADHD, call to setup and appointment.

720-340-0193 or Book Now