Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis

RSS feed for this section

Low Thyroid (Hypothyroid) Mistake #4 – Thinking You’ve Had the Correct Tests

Dr. David Clark, DC Durham, NC explains why most women have not had the correct tests to get to the bottom of their low thyroid symptoms.

Thinking that you’ve had the correct tests to determine what’s causing your low thyroid is Mistake #4.

I guess I should back up for a second.

Many of you probably haven’t had any tests to determine the real cause of your low thyroid symptoms.  What usually happens is you start suffering with low thyroid symptoms such as fatigue, depression or constipation or hair loss (or a combination of those things).

And you endure them for a few months thinking maybe they’ll just go away…

After some weeks pass, you go see a doctor who runs a bare bones blood chemistry panel and says,

“Hey, look at that.  Your TSH is high.  Your T4 is maybe a little low, might be normal….You’re “low thyroid.”  You need to take thyroid hormones.”

This makes logical sense to you because you’re not a doctor–you’re not trained in thyroid hormones.  So you take the replacement hormones as directed.

You feel better for a few days or weeks. You’re having a “Hormone Honeymoon.” That honeymoon might last a week or a couple months…but then the honeymoon is over and those low thyroid symptoms start to creep back.

The depression, feeling cold all over, fatigue that feels like a ton of bricks…these symptoms come back to haunt you again. You start to think “maybe there’s something wrong with mementally

When you go back to the doctor to get help, he says,

“Well hey, your TSH is normal.  I don’t know what could be causing this.  Maybe you’re just depressed.”

ARRGH!!.

The real problem is that you haven’t had the correct tests.

Remember, the number one cause of low thyroid in America is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s hypothyroid. I’ve found that most doctors, even if you have low thyroid symptoms, they never run the test to find out if you have that autoimmune condition.

This would mean that your immune system has mistakenly turned on you and is killing your thyroid gland and causing your low thyroid symptoms.

What I ‘ve found with the patients I’ve seen is most doctors aren’t even running the test for that condition.

What tests should they run for you? These two simple tests:

  1. TPO Antibodies
  2. TBG Antibodies

These are not exotic, weird or “alternative.”

If you have elevated antibodies it means that you’ve got Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease that MUST be dealt with if you’re ever going to feel normal.

Many doctors aren’t even running these tests.  So please don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ve had the correct tests.

NOTE: About 20% of women who do get these antibodies tests done have false negative results.  They’re what we call seronegative Hashimoto’s patients.  It means that even though the blood test shows negative, your symptoms clearly indicate that you really do have Hashimoto’s.

But how did you get this way in the first place?

There are several tests that must be done to answer that question. These additonal tests provide the answers that will help the depression, the hair loss and help you take a trip back in time, feeling good like you used to years ago.

There are many triggers for  Hashimoto’s (and I’ve got some posts on that that you can read):

  • Food sensitivities (huge)
  • Viral infections
  • Parasitic infections (many women have one and dont’ know it)
  • blood sugar problems (high and low)
  • Vitamin D deficiencies
  • Pregnancy, Perimenopause
  • Heavy metals like mercury, nickel

These factors determine-in part- whether or not you turn on that gene that starts the attack on your thyroid.

But more than just starting Hashimoto’s, these same X factors PROMOTE the continued attack…like a spectator egging on a fight.

And it’s vitally importan– it’s crucial–it’s a matter of life and death to find out if those things going on in you right now. Because if you have a hidden GI infection…if you have a food sensitivity….if you have a viral infection,…f you have a vitamin D deficiency, then it’s promoting your autoimmune attack on your thyroid gland.

Remember— most doctors aren’t even testing to see if you have Hashimoto’s.

And if one does, you may be “seronegative”–you really do have Hashimoto’s even though the labs are negative.

It’s a mistake to assume you’ve had the necessary tests to get to the bottom of YOUR low thyroid symptoms.

Out of all the women that have come to me for help, not a single one has had all the correct tests.

But, they have had all the “medically necessary” tests—what a terrible joke.

Download Video

© 2011 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Hidden Cause #6 Why You STILL Have Low Thyroid Symptoms

Dr. David Clark, DC Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham, NC reveals yet another reason why you are still suffering hypothyroid symptoms.

Hidden cause #6 why you still have low thyroid symptoms, even though your lab numbers are “normal”, and even though you’re taking thyroid medication, is

High Levels of Thyroxine Binding Globulin (TBG)

When thyroid hormones are secreted from your thyroid gland, they have to be bound to a little carrier, a little protein.  Think of it like a taxi cab.

This taxi cab, you know the thyroid hormones, the T4 and the T3, they jump inside the cab and they get transported to the liver where they’re converted.

And then they jump back in the cab and they’re transported to the rest of the body.  So they must have this little carrier to go anywhere.

An elevation in thyroxine binding globulin (TBG) means there’s a whole bunch of taxi cabs.

In fact, there’s so many cabs (carrier proteins called TBG) that the normal free amount of T4 and T3 that should be floating around isn’t.  It’s as if they all get sucked up like a big sponge by all these thyroid binding globulins.

Here’s the crummy part about all this….

Your TSH will look normal.  Your total T4 will look normal.  Your total T3 will look normal.

If that’s all the markers your doctor is checking, then this problem is completely missed. You’ll be given thyroid hormones but you probably won’t get better.

Now you might have a little bit of a hormone honeymoon where you feel better for a couple of weeks, but eventually you’ll go right back to having depression, weight gain, hair loss, feeling cold, no motivation, brain fog.  You’ll suffer those low thyroid symptoms again.

What causes elevated TBG?  Estrogens are particulary good at elevating TBG.  Now estrogens come in a lot of different forms, right?  Estrogens can be hidden in face creams.  Estrogens are in birth control pills.  Estrogens can be elevated in a woman who’s not detoxifying her estrogens normally (liver issue).

So you see already we’ve kind of gone down the rabbit hole a little bit in tracking down the source of the elevated TBGs causing low thyroid symptoms.

If your doctor is not considering binding globulin as a possible problem, then he/she’s missing part of the reason why you could still be having thyroid symptoms.

If your TBGs are too high—Even though TSH is normal and T4 looks normal and total T3 looks normal—if your doctor will check your T3 uptake, or T3U, he/she will see tt that the T3U actually low.

(there is an inverse relationship between T3 uptake and binding globulins-one high and the other low).

Remember there’s also a lab reference range for T3U. The lab’s range is typically too forgiving. So, YOUR numbers might be within the lab’s range and look “normal”–but really your numbers are abnormal if you used a narrower range, a functional range.

Estrogens hanging out in the body elevate binding globulins, which suck up all the free T4 and T3.Therefore, not enough of the FREE T3 gets out of the taxi to attach to the T3 receptors….

…and you have low thyroid symptoms, but your labs look normal and you’re still taking medication.

Birth control pills contain estrogens.  Some face creams and cosmetics contain undisclosed estrogens (not naming brands) .  These estrogens can also elevate if you are not detoxifying estrogens normally.  Let’s talk about that briefly…

Hormones are detoxified through the liver.  So, if you have poor liver function, poor detoxification function, this is one of the reasons why you could still have a thyroid problem. It’s not a thyroid gland problem; it’s a liver problem really in this case.

Take this a step further…..what would cause someone to have poor detoxification in their liver?  The biggest factor is  blood sugar regulation.  Glucuronidation is one of the liver processes you use to detoxify hormones.  The “gluco” means glucose.  If you don’t have normal, steady glucose to supply your liver, then you can’t detoxify appropriately.

And see what happens?  You can’t just look at thyroid hormone symptoms things from the surface.  You’ve got to dig down deep and understand the physiology in order to really help someone who hasn’t been helped yet.

So what types of blood sugar problems are we talking about?  Low blood sugar and high blood sugar. High blood sugar means there’s nothing getting into the cells.  Usually that’s from insulin resistance and that can be caused by cortisol.  The other variety of a blood sugar problem is low blood sugar or reactive hypyglycemia.  These are the people that get shaky and lightheaded and irritable between meals.  Now these people don’t have any blood in their cells because they just don’t eat anything or something is shutting down their cortisol.

I don’t want to get too far off into that, but the point is…

A Thyroxine Binding Globulin problem is one reason that you could have low thyroid symptoms but have normal lab numbers, even though you’re taking medication.

I hope that you’re seeing a doctor that understands that TBGs have to be on the radar.

And if you find binding globulins that are elevated, why are they elevated?

So that’s where the detective work kicks in.  You’ve got to put on your thinking cap and start doing the appropriate testing and finding out is it a liver problem, is it birth control pills?

What’s actually happening here?  And it’s only when you start to turn over every one of these rocks, and do a comprehensive workup on someone from a functional perspective that you can help someone that’s been suffering forever with low thyroid symptoms because what they might actually have is Elevated Thyroxine Binding Globulin problem.

And taking replacment thyroid hormones aren’t going to help.

Download Video

© 2011 Dr. David Clark, DC DACNB FACFN DCCN

Low Thyroid (Hypothyroid) Mistake #3 – Immune System Boosters

Dr. David Clark, DC -Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham, NC-helps women suffering with low thyroid symptoms avoid the huge mistake of taking tyrosine supplements.

Low thyroid mistake number three is–taking broad spectrum immune system support.

Now you need to pay close attention.  Here’s what you have to understand about this risky and potentially catastrophic mistake….


Botanicals, herbs, plants—they all effect your immune system. Some plants make your immune system go one way, some things will stimulate your immune system to go another.

So I’ll explain it like this. There are two sides to your immune system—TH1 (that stands for T Helper 1) and TH2  (T Helper 2.)

Well each of these is stimulated by different plants.  Some things stimulate T Helper 1; some things stimulate T Helper 2.

Here’s why this matters and why we’re talking about low thyroid.  The reason it matters in low thyroid is the number one cause of low thyroid in America is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. In this condition called Hashimoto’s, there’s an imbalance between T Helper 1 and T Helper 2– it’s skewed one way or the other (TH1 is dominant, or TH2 is dominant).

If you take an herb or supplement that makes your immune system more unbalanced, you’ll feel worse.  You’ll make your autoimmune attack worse.

How could you avoid this problem?

Don’t take herbs or supplements that are supposed to boost your immune system.There’s plenty of things out there.  You can look on the Internet, or go to a health food store (where the employee simply looks in a nutritional “cookbook”) and you’ll find a ton of herbs and supplements that claim to “be for low thyroid.”

Or they are supposed to “balance the immune system.” That’s bogus.

Don’t take these herbs and supplements if you have not had the proper testing to find out if you’re TH-1 is high or TH-2 is high.

When you take these supplements without the proper testing  you are playing Russian roulette with a bullet in all six barrels.

Those aren’t good odds.

You may know someone or see someone in a forum or a message board someplace that says hey, I took this thing, it was an immune system product and I felt so much better.  Well all that means is she got lucky.  She took something that maybe, temporarily shifted her back towards a balance.

But if you take it….or another Hashimoto’s sufferer takes it….or another low thyroid patient takes it…

The results could be disastrous and I mean dis-astrous. You could trigger an attack on a NEW tissue, like cartilage, or myelin in the brain, or the cerebellum.

So instead of just having low thyroid symptoms, you could take one of these immune system products and now you end up with a condition that looks like Multiple Sclerosis.  Or worse, you would never even know this was happening until the damage was severe and advanced. You could take one of these immune system support formulas that skews your immune system and it could actually cause an attack on a heart valve, it could cause an attack on the lining of your stomach and you wouldn’t even know it but it would be happening beneath the surface.  ( I hope I’m driving this home to you.)

Taking broad spectrum immune support without the proper evaluation is a massive mistake.

I see this mistake in 9 out of 10 women that come into my office with low thyroid symptoms.Many of them have Hashimoto’s and they’re taking (or have taken) some of these immune system products…. or they’re taking some botanicals and the story is always the same.

These formulas never helped at all….or, the supplements “helped” for a day or two and then stopped…or the supplements made them worse.  And without fail, with almost every single one of these women, when you take them off all those things, even if I did nothing else and just took them off those things, they start to stabilize and feel better.

We’ve talked about iodine, we’ve talked about tyrosine and now we’re talking about broad immune system support.  You’ve got to get the right testing to find out what the heck you even need.

If you’re taking immune system support herbs or supplements without the proper testing, you are counting the days while you wait for a NEW horrible symptom to show up.

Download Video

© 2010 Dr. David Clark, DC DACNB DCCN FACFN FABVR

Hypothyroid (Low Thyroid) Mistake #2 – Tyrosine

Dr. David Clark, DC -Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham, NC-helps women suffering with low thyroid symptoms avoid the huge mistake of taking tyrosine supplements.

Huge Mistake #2 Made by Women Suffering with Low Thyroid

A long time ago someone mis-interpreted some research and they concluded that tyrosine would be good for thyroid metabolism.

There’s never been a single study to show that tyrosine improves thyroid hormone metabolism.

In fact, what really happens is tyrosine gets converted into catecholamines such as epinephrine and norepinephrine and these compounds actually suppress thyroid function and worsen her symtpoms.  You can look it up.

This shines a real bright light on something I was just talking about on another post..

The problem is that this realm of “alternative” medicine, in a lot of ways is not so alternative.

They have their conventional standard way of doing things that have been going on for 30 or 40 years and they’re doing it blindly…. and they’re doing it without even referencing or thinking about new scientific findings.

Tyrosine in fact doesn’t do anything good for improving thyroid metabolism.

What it does more often than not is actually suppress thyroid metabolism by converting into sympathetic nervous system chemicals, adrenaline and noradrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These will slow down thyroid function.

So here’s a common scenario… a woman starts feeling low thyroid symptoms like

  • depression
  • hair loss,
  • quick weight gain
  • feeling cold all over
  • constipation
  • brain fog.

And she seeks help at her local health food store or she goes to the mall, or she even sees a well-meaning alternative medicine practitioner. And that person, since they don’t understand the full spectrum of what can be causing low thyroid, suggests tyrosine–which will probably only make her symptoms worse.

Side note: Often the NON-effectiveness of tyrosine gets missed because the woman will take the tyrosine as part of a supplement with MANY ingredients, some that might actually help. So it’s a two steps forward, three steps back situation.

There are 24 different ways thyroid function can go wrong…tyrosine is not one of them.

But because it’s kind of a tradition, the well-meaning health food store or practitioner looks in one of these books that you can get for $10 or $15.  It’s like a recipe book for all sorts of ‘common” problems. (You know what I’m talking about.)

They flip it open; say oh, the person needs tyrosine and iodine.  Iodine I already talked about, and they give the woman tyrosine and what usually happens is…nothing happens.  Or they give her tyrosine and because tyrosine is converted into chemicals that will further squash her pituitary and thyroid…she feels worse. Yuck!

So the second mistake I see, the first one was iodine and please go back and look at that post. The second mistake is tyrosine support.

Tyrosine support should not be used with someone with low thyroid.

It just shouldn’t.  There are formulas available that do not contain tyrosine–But better yet, don’t even try to supplement yourself.  Find someone that understands the complex nature of thyroid hormones. And it is more complicated than iodine and tyrosine.

The thing you’ve gotta remember and I’m gonna say this a million times if you listen to me very often…

The number one cause of low thyroid in America is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.

If you have Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis, it needs to be controlled right now.

Because if you don’t get it under control, that autoimmune process is going to march through your body and find other things to kill…such as your pancreas, brain, cartilage. I think understand how these could ruin your life.

So it’s time to do your homework.  If you’ve got low thyroid problems, please, don’t take tyrosine.  Find a doctor that can actually do the detective work and find out what’s wrong.

Download Video

© 2010 Dr. David Clark, DC DACNB DCCN FACFN FABVR

Hypothyroid (Low Thyroid) Mistake #1 – Iodine

Dr. David Clark,DC -Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham, NC-blows the lid off the biggest mistake women with low thyroid can make….taking iodine.

The Biggest Mistake A Woman With Low Thyroid Can Make is Taking Iodine.

Make sure you understand what I’m saying…

Iodine should not be used in someone who’s suffering with low thyroid symptoms.

I know that flies right in the face of a few very prominent “thyroid experts,” but here’s what you don’t know about iodine.

You’ve probably been told that iodine is necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis. And it is, but here is the problem…taking supplemental iodine is dangerous and here’s why.

Over the last 20 years, in various  places around the world with iodine depleted soil, well-meaning groups have gone in and tried to cure the goiters. A goiter develops when you get a swelling of the thyroid gland because you’re iodine deficient.

See, that’s where it starts.  This thinking that well, if you’re iodine deficient, give people iodine to get rid of their goiter—that must be good for someone who has low thyroid.– Hang with me for a second.

What has happened in every single case where they’ve given people iodine in Turkey, Sri Lanka, China… they have simultaneously cured their goiters and given them an autoimmune disease.

How’d you like to be one of those people?  You can clap yourself on the back.  Hey, we cured your goiter but we also gave you Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis.

What that means is iodine is a trigger. It’s a trigger for Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid.

Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid is the number one cause of low thyroid in America–not iodine deficiency.

This whole issue of iodine exposes a nasty similarity between traditional medicine and “alternative” medicine.

Traditional medicine is looking at TSH and T4 and T3 and they didn’t really care about iodine.  They’re not even going to give you iodine because whatever the real cause of your low thyroid symptoms might be..the only thing you’re going to get from them is replacement thyroid hormones. No matter what. It’s pretty much the only tool they have to offer. (And you know the old saying…”If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails.”)

They don’t care if  the cause of your symptoms is

  • Hashimoto’s…
  • T4 to T3 overconversion problem…
  • Under conversion problem…
  • Thyroid binding globulin problem

—doesn’t matter.  You’re getting thyroid hormones from the traditional medical doctor. This is why so many women STILL feel terrible.

So traditional medicine has nice little box. You’ve heard of thinking “outside the box?” Well Traditional medicine has their nice little dusty box, been sittingt here for 30, 40 years and that’s how they do it. (humph!)

Over here we have the not so alternative-alternative medicine approach.  And what they do is they also have their sad, outdated box way of thinking. Inside their box is the idea that everyone with low thyroid needs iodine supplementation, or tyrosine, or broad immune system support ,or they need to take thyroid glandulars.

Here’s what the not-so-alternative medicine doesn’t know…conventional medicine, they do some testing. Not-so-alternative medicine does almost no testing at all.  They’re still doing things like the Barnes underarm thyroid test and that is an ancient, prehistoric, non-useful way of evaluating the thyroid.

There are also people in this camp that are doing the iodine absorption test as if that had any real relationship to your need for iodine (it doesn’t).

The craziest thing is that these not-so-alternative practitioners ignore the fact that iodine is a trigger for Hashimoto’s.  If you wanna give yourself Hashimoto’s, keep taking the iodine that one of the not-so-alternative medicine doctors gave you. They mean well,  by the way. I’m not trying to slam them.

But that well meaning “alternative” doctor doesn’t understand the fact that what we’re really dealing with, almost 90 percent of the time, is not low iodine.The problem is an autoimmune problem.

And you can look through my other posts on Hashimoto’s; it’s a very complex issue. But iHashimoto’s can be managed and you can feel great again.

A WARNING YOU MUST READ…

If you think you’ve got low thyroid….please don’t go to the health food store and open the book “Prescription for nutritional healing” or ask the minimum wage employee what to do, because you’re going to get recommended  iodine (or you’re gonna get tyrosine, I’ll talk about tyrosine later. )

Iodine is a trigger.  One of the studies I quoted calls it an  “explosive mix.”

That’s what I want you to remember.  If you’re taking iodine—and you’ve got low thyroid symptoms—and you haven’t had the correct tests done—you don’t even know if you’re autoimmune or not–taking Iodine is like swallowing  a burning stick of dynamite with a long fuse on it.

It could trigger a massive autoimmune process that can’t be stopped.(but could be slowed down)

See, having low thyroid symptoms because of an “underactive” thyroid gland is one thing, although not as common as you might think.

Having an autoimmune disease is a whole ‘nother ball game and if you keep taking iodine, you are playing Russian roulette with six loaded barrels.  You’re swallowing dynamite.

I don’t know how many analogies I can mix here but you need to stop.

That’s the biggest thyroid mistake I see.  A person with low thyroid symptoms taking iodine.

Iodine is a trigger for autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Download Video

© 2010 Dr. David Clark