Blog

RSS feed for this section

The Link Between Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid and Chronic Urticaria

Dr. David Clark, DC – Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill, NC- explains why chronic idiopathic urticaria, a skin condition, is forever linked with Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism.

Let’s talk about the connection between chronic urticaria and Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism. 

Chronic idiopathic urticaria is a condition in which you get itchy wheels on your skin that can vary in size and number.

“Chronic” means that the condition has been going on for a quite a while, versus just a day or two.

“Idiopathic” means that the cause is unknown (or at least not known yet).

Urticaria can be caused by food allergies or medications–but Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria appears NOT to be related to those mechanisms.

Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU) can be brought on by exercise or stress–and as we’ll see in just a minute, Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism.

About 30 years ago there was the first research to see the connection between CIU and autoimmune thyroid disease.  Now, a study released in 2011 picked up that topic again.

What is the connection between Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria and Hashimoto’s? 

The research shows that anywhere between 45% to 55% of people with Chronic Idopathic Urticaria ALREADY have an autoimmune condition...they are making antibodies to IgE (immunoglobulin E) or the IgE receptor. IgE is a part of your immune system.

So, in many CIU patients, their immune system is attacking a part of their immune system! 

If you’re making antibodies to a piece of yourself and you’re attacking it—that is autoimmunity. 

Interestingly, the authors of this 2011 paper didn’t really understand how there could be a connection between CIU and autoimmune thyroid. But, one of the researchers they quote described thyroid autoimmunity and CIU as “parallel autoimmune events.” (I love that description).

In other words, Hashimoto’s and Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria are both autoimmune conditions that can happen at the same time.

I look at that like this…

If you’ve already broken the tolerance to yourself, then you can start attacking anything. 

And if you’ve already developed a situation in which you’re attacking your thyroid… Hashimoto’s, which causes low thyroid symptoms such as depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss and brain fog…

…if you’ve already got Hashimoto’s it’s not that big of a leap to think that you could develop something like chronic urticaria because it’s another autoimmune condition.

Likewise, if you first develop the skin problem of Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, and then develop low thyroid symptoms you most likely have Hashimoto’s as an autoimmune cause for your hypothyroidism. 

FYI — Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S.

The 2011 study found that 25% of chronic idiopathic urticaria patients had positive antibodies for Hashimoto’s – 25%!

That is significant. 

I wanted to share this with you because many times a woman will have symptoms and not realize that they’re crucial clues about what’s really causing their problems.

If you’ve ever been diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticaria and you’ve now developed low thyroid symptoms, there’s a good chance you have Hashimoto’s. 

Likewise, if you’ve already got Hashimoto’s and you develop these short-lasting or even long-lasting itchy wheals that come and go–now you understand they likely are another symptom of your autoimmune condition.

These may be a sign that your autoimmune condition has expanded a little bit into another tissue—not a good sign.  We don’t want the autoimmune process to do that. 

You need to find someone that can help you deal with the total package. Unfortunately, taking Synthroid® or Cytomel® or Armour®or NatureThroid® for Hashimoto’s doesn’t do much to stop the raging fire of he autoimmune condition.

The same thing goes for the urticaria…

You can take steroids for it but that doesn’t really solve the problem, right?  It just temporarily suppresses your immune system.  

Chronic urticaria and Hashimoto’s…”parallel autoimmune events.”

Download Video

© 2014 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

 

Disclaimer: The contents of this site are for educational purposes only. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Nothing here is a substitute for actual medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional.

Woman with Hashimoto’s, Celiac & Pernicious Anemia Is 80% Better-Daily Energy, Clear Mind

The odds were stacked against Lisa.

She has 3 autoimmune conditions:

  • Hashimoto’s
  • Celiac Disease
  • Pernicious Anemia.

If that wasnt bad enough, she has the MTHFR mutation and genetic Hemochromatosis. She suffered muddy thinking, no energy and bloating.

Hear how she beat the odds with our protocol.

© 2014 David Clark

Relief for PhD Candidate with Hashimoto’s Brain Fog and Fatigue

Natalia suffered with Hashimoto’s hypothyroid brain fog and fatigue even though she was taking thyroid hormone medication. Her symptoms were so bad she couldn’t write her doctoral dissertation, couldn’t deal with her children.—And, in her words “I felt so Inert.”

After only 30 days of treatment, her foggy brain disappeared, and then her energy improved and she felt like her old, active self. After 120 days, she says she’s 80% improved.

Natalia summed up her experience so far with this statement:
“Don’t believe the doctor who tells you that there’s nothing you can do for Hashimoto’s, because that’s NOT true.”

Many women with Hashimoto’s, like Natalia, STILL suffer these low thyroid symptoms even though they take medications like Synthroid®, Armour® and Cytomel®…and even though their lab results are “normal.”

  • Hair loss
  • constipation
  • weight gain
  • infertility
  • sleep problems
  • depression

 

Hidden Cause #15 Why You STILL Have Low Thyroid Symptoms-Low Conversion Caused by High Cortisol

Dr. David Clark, DC- Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Natural Thyroid doctor- explains how high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can cause low thyroid symptoms.

Hidden Cause #15 why you STILL have low thyroid symptoms even though you may be taking thyroid medication, and even though your lab tests look normal is…

Low conversion of T4 into T3 caused by high levels of cortisol.

Here’s what I mean: 

97% of what your thyroid gland makes is T4.  T4 is basically inactive.  It doesn’t do much.  It must be chemically converted into T3–the “active” hormone. 

Conversion happens primarily in the liver due to the action of the enzyme called 5′-deiodinase. 

Simply stated…

Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol shut down this enzyme that is necessary for normal converstion.  When cortisol slows down conversion, you produce less T3 than normal…and with abnornal low levels ot T3 you can suffer low thyroid symptoms like these:

  • brain fog
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • constipation
  • dry skin and dry hair
  • hair loss on the scalp
  • thinning eyebrows
  • a need to sleep 10 or more hours just to function
  • weight gain even though you eat low calorie and exercise
  • trouble losing weight

Those are the things that happen when cortisol is too high and you don’t make enough T3. 

What is cortisol? and why would it be too high? 

Your adrenal glands make the hormone cortisol. If you spend just a little time searching the internet you’ll see that people try to paint cortisol as “evil.” But cortisol just does what you tell it to do. Cortisol is necessary for normal, healthy function. The problem is when there is too much or too little cortisol.

It’s kind of like cholesterol.  There is no “bad” cholesterol.  Cholesterol just does what your body is telling it to do.

What causes high cortisol?

High cortisol is typically caused by

  1. Psychological Stress
  2. Inflammation

Let’s talk about the psychological stress response….

A person under a lot stress typically has high cortisol levels–at least in the short term. And who has stress? Everyone.

When the stress is CHRONIC — happening day in and day out–that’s a big problem.

When the stress lasts a short time, but is HUGE–that’s a big problem.  In either situation, cortisol can shut down the enzyme causing low thyroid symptoms.

Inflammation also causes high cortisol.So, anything that is inflammatory…that inflames…that causes the immune system to respond…can cause the release of cortisol.

What causes inflammation?

It’s a along list…here’s s a few:

  • Infections–viral, fungal, parasite, bacterial (some of these infections are hidden)
  • Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s, Vitiligo, RA, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Food sensitivities – gluten, milk, celiac etc

Those are all things that could cause elevated cortisol And elevated cortisol will shut down the conversion of T4 to T3 and produces those low thyroid symptoms.

So what do you do about this cortisol problem? 

That depends on what is actually going on in your case. 

The first thing I can tell you – and this is something that would be good for everybody – is that if you know you have a lot of psychological stress, you may not be able to change what stresses you, but you can change how your body responds to it. 

I recommend you learn how to do the  Relaxation Response.

This was first discovered and refined by a Harvard medical doctor named Herbert Bensen.  (You can look him up).  It’s a very simple, semi-meditative technique…kind of like doing a mental flush.  It’s very effective.  Research has shown the Relaxation Response lowers blood pressure 20 to 30 points in people with high blood pressure– without using medication. It’s something you can learn how to do yourself.

As far as ferreting out where inflammation is…that’s up to a good doctor who’s knows what to look for…how best to look for it, and what to do when he/she finds it.

So remember that list from earlier…

  • Infections–viral, fungal, parasite, bacterial (some of these infections are hidden)
  • Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s, Vitiligo, RA, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Food sensitivities – gluten, milk, celiac etc

Your doctor MUST able to look for all of these. (and know what to do when he/she finds them).

Hidden Cause #15 is when you have low conversion of T4 into T3 caused by high levels of cortisol. High levels of cortisol are typically caused by stress and caused by inflammatory events.

Oh, and don’t forget to look up how to do that Relaxation Response.

Watch on YouTube

Download Video

Download mp3

© 2013 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The contents of this site are for educational purposes only. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Nothing here is a substitute for actual medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional.

Hidden Cause #14 Why You Still Have Low Thyroid Symptoms-Leaky Gut Causing Low T3

Hidden Cause #14 why you still have low thyroid symptoms even though you may be taking thyroid medication, and even though your lab tests are normal is…

  A Leaky Gut causing Low T3. 

Normally when I tell this T4/T3 story, I get to a certain part and then I kind of drop off…It’s because I usually don’t talk about the gut connection with T3.

So let me explain how the gut (gastrointestinal tract) affects thyroid hormones.

About 40% of the T4 that your thyroid gland makes gets converted into  Reverse T3 Reverse T3 is biologically inactive.  It doesn’t do anything.

About 20% of T4 gets converted into active T3.

Another 20% of T4 gets converted into T3 sulfate and T3 acetic acid.  This is what we’re interested in today.

Here’s why T3 Sulfate and T3 acetic acid are important:

In your GI tract T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate can be acted upon by an enzyme called sulfatase.  When this happens, T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate are converted back into T3.

Cool, huh?

So, out of the total available T3 that you have access to, a big chunk of that – 20% – is dependent on you having a healthy GI tract.

If you have:

  • dysbiosis (bacterial overgrowth, yeast or fungal overgrowth)
  • a leaky gut (intestinal hyperpermeability)
  • any kind of GI inflammation (from infection, food sensitivities etc)

…then you will have trouble making sulfatase. Without enough sulfatase you can’t convert T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate into T3.

And you can end up with low thyroid symptoms, such as:

  • depression
  • hair loss
  • weight gain on a low calorie diet
  • requiring excessive amount of sleep
  • muscle pain and joint pain
  • brain fog
  • dry skin, dry hair
  • infertility
  • high cholesterol. 

You could suffer any or alll of these low thyroid symptoms  if you do not have a healthy gut.

What makes a healthy gut? 

Think of a healthy gut as a healthy garden.  A garden has lots of vegetables in it but not a lot of weeds…same for your GI tract. The good bacteria that live there, they are your defenses.  They are like your army.  They also help make some of your B vitamins.

And the health of that garden is what allows you to take T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate and convert them into usable T3.

If you don’t have good GI health because of inflammation, leaky gut, parasitic infection, or food sensitivity…this will decrease sulfatase and your ability to convert T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate into T3.

The other point I want to make about this is that there’s not a test you can currently do to look at T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate.

And to be fair, if you had a drop off of 15% to 20% in your total available T3, that decrease might not be enough to change anything that you could measure on your blood work.

So having this problem is a sticky situation because your labs really do look “norma”,l but you don’t feel normal, and truthfully, your thyroid hormones aren’t normal.

How do you know if you have this problem with T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate? 

If you have low thyroid symptoms and Gastrointestinal symptoms such as:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • cramping
  • bloating 30 minutes or later after you eat
  • abdominal pain
  • stool is malformed
  • stool is greasy or oily

…then there is a probability that this gut-thyroid connection could be an issue for you–it at least needs to be checked out. It may be a hidden cause for your low thyroid symptoms.  It’s  “hidden” because your doctor has really got to dig for it.

How do you find this problem? 

You evaluate the GI tract.  You could certainly run tests for gluten sensitivity. The best current test is Cyrex Labs Array 3 ( I have no financial interest). But… you should save your money and probably just go gluten-free anyway because there’s a good chance you’ll test positive for some kind of gluten sensitivity.

You could also do a leaky gut test (the best one also being from Cyrex Labs–Array 2).

You could also look for yeast/fungal overgrowths, parasitic infections, or bacterial overgrowths.

Your doctor (or you) can pay for all that testing, but your doctor’s still has to know what to do with the results. Spending lots of money on tests is fine as long your doctor knows what to do if the tests are unclear or don’t make textbook sense.

But, you don’t treat a lab test.  What you’re supposed to do is treat the person. 

So, a good doctor should be able to take care of you without relying too heavily on a lab test.

Hidden Cause #14 is poor conversion of T4 into T3 because you have gut inflammation/ a leaky gut that’s causing a problem with the enzyme sulfatase…and that is decreasing your ability to convert T3 acetic acid and T3 sulfate back into usable T3.

It’s kind of a long pathway, I know– but it’s very real because a lot of women have it. And remember, you can have more than one problem at the same. You need to find a doctor who knows to look for it.

Watch on YouTube

Download Video

Download mp3

© 2013 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The contents of this site are for educational purposes only. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Nothing here is a substitute for actual medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional.

Hidden Cause #13 Why You STILL Have Low Thyroid Symptoms-Underconversion from Selenium Deficiency & High Cytokines

Hidden Cause #13 why you still have low thyroid symptoms even though you may be taking thyroid medication, and even though your lab tests look “normal” is ..

Underconversion of T4 into T3 caused by a deficiency of co-factors and high levels of cytokines. 

What is “conversion?”

About 97% of what the thyroid gland makes is T4, which is bascally inactive.  T4 must be converted into T3, which IS active.

How does conversion happen? 

An enzyme called 5′-deiodinase performs the “conversion.” Conversion takes place primarily in the liver. Certain important co-factors must be present in order for this enzyme to work correctly.  The #1 co-factor for this conversion is selenium. (You may have heard of selenium).

What are the symptoms of underconversion (low conversion)? 

Typical symptoms are your “classic” low thyroid symptoms:

  • depression
  • hair loss
  • weight gain
  • brain fog
  • dry skin
  • dry hair
  • high cholesterol (may not be from your diet. T3 is is the “co-factor” to convert cholesterol into your hormones).
  • constipation
  • infertility 

What does underconversion/low conversion look like on blood tests?

On lab tests (assuming the doctor is actually ordering these)…you may notice that the Reverse T3 is low.  That’s one little indicator of how much conversion is happening.

But you might also see:

  • Free T4 low
  • Free T3  low
  • Or you may see total T3 levels low

Or you may not see any abnormal lab results.  You may have only the low thyroid symptoms.
What could cause a deficiency in selenium ( or a “need” for selenium)? 

The #1 suspect is malabsorption.

Then you have to ask “Why would someone not be able to absorb selenium?”

First thing you have to consider is insuffficient stomach acid, called hypochlorhydria. Now, not too much stomach acid,  but not enough stomach acid.

If you don’t have enough stomach acid, you can’t demineralize your food.  You can’t suck the minerals out of it, and over time you’ll have depleted selenium levels.  Selenium wont’ be present in sufficient quanitiy to be  a co-factor for 5′-deiodinase to convert T4 into T3.

What would cause low stomach acid?

The first thing you look at is a Helicobacter Pylori bacterial infection.  The best test to check for this, in my opinion,  is a Urea Breath Test.  Hopefully, the doctor you’re working with will know about this issue and also know how to help you eradicate it, if you’ve got it.

Increased levels of cytokines is the second factor that causes  low conversion of T4 into T3, and low thyroid symptoms. 

Cytokines are immune system messengers.  They are part of inflammatory process.

So, if you have gastrointestinal inflammation or arthritic inflammation in a joint…

…or if you have any autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis…you will have a high level of circulating cytokines.

Cytokines block conversion of T4 into T3 by slowing down enzyme 5′-deiodinase enzyme.

This next part is critical for you to understand:

You can have two problems at the same time.

For example, a person can have Hashimoto’s that’s destroying their thyroid gland from the inside out…AND…simultaneously have high levels of cytokines that are blocking the conversion of T4 to T3. 

You can have two problems at once.  There’s no rule that says you can only have Hashimoto’s.  You can also have side effects of Hashimoto’s.

Or the inflammation from another problem such as rheumatoid arthritis, or gluten sensitivity or a leaky gut can be causing the cytokines to be high and slowing down conversion.  A good doctor has to do a inflammation scavenger hunt to track down the possible source of inflammation.

Here’s the take-away:

If you have any of the following, your doctor should be suspecting a conversion problem:

  • low thyroid symptoms
  • low reverse T3 on blood test
  • low T3 or low free T3
  • You were prescribed Cytomel® because you didn’t get better on Synthroid® or levothyroxine. Synthroid® and levo are T4 and must be converted into T3. Taking Cytomel® bypasses the need for conversion…but…does NOT address the underlying problem that cause the converstion problem in the first place.

Underconversion/low conversion can be caused by a selenium deficiency, which makes us look at H. pylori and gut malabsorption….or underconversion can be caused by cytokines blocking the activity of 5′-deiodinase.

Who has high cytokines?  Persons with inflammatory conditions.

What are inflammatory conditions?  Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, persons with food sensitivitites.

You’ve got to put on your detective badge and your thinking cap and start looking for these things.

So if you’re still having low thyroid symptoms, this is something that should be considered, so you need to find someone who knows how to look for them and knows what to do if they find them.

Watch on YouTube

Download Video

Download mp3
© 2013 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The contents of this site are for educational purposes only. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Nothing here is a substitute for actual medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional.

Hidden Cause #12 Why You STILL Have Low Thyroid Symptoms-TPO co-factor deficiency

Dr. David Clark, DC- Center for Low Thyroid Solutions Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC – explains how deficiency of Thyroid Peroxidase co-factors can cause low thyroid symptoms.

Hidden Cause #12 why you still have low thyroid symptoms even though you may be taking thyroid medication and even though your lab numbers may look normal is:

A deficiency of co-factors causing decreased activity of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) 

Thyroid peroxidase is the enzyme in your thyroid gland you uses to make T4 and T3.

So, if you don’t have enough activity of TPO, then eventually your aren’t going to make enough T4 and T3….and you’re going to have low thyroid symptoms.

Low thyroid symptoms include:

  • hair loss on the top of the head or the eyebrows
  • depression
  • brain fog
  • constipation
  • high cholesterol
  • joint pain
  • needing excessive sleep in order to function

Thyroid Peroxidase is frequently a cause for low thyroid symptoms because it is attacked in a condition called Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune condition. Hashimoto’s is the MOST COMMON CAUSE of Hypothyroidism.

But we’re not talking about Hashimoto’s today.  We’re talking about a situation that’s a little less common than Hashimoto’s.  The situation today is a deficiency of co-factors.

Co-factors are the vitamins, minerals and hormones that have to be present in the chemical mix in order for TPO to work correctly– and work quickly enough– to manufacture normal amounts of T4 and T3.

What are these important co-factors for normal Thyroid Peroxidase activity?

Let’s start with the minerals .  They include

  • zinc
  • copper
  • magnesium
  • selenium.

Then you have the B vitamins:

  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • pyridoxine.

What I want you to understand is what groups of people would be at risk for having a deficiency in these co-factors.

Anytime you have a deficiency in minerals, the first 2 things to consider are

  1. poor stomach acid (hypochlorhydria)
  2. poor absorption in the intestines.

What could cause low stomach acid?

A common cause is a stomach infection with Helicobacter Pylori.Your doctor needs to screen your for an H. Pylori bacterial infection. H. Pylori loves to cause decreased stomach acid. I don’t really have time to go beyond that statement except to say that low stomach acid makes it VERY difficult to extract the mineral out of your food.

What could cause the malabsorption?

The most common culprit is gluten sensitivity (I”m talking about celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity).  I’ve got plenty of videos on that topic,  so make sure you are being CORRECTLY evaluted for gluten sensitivity — not just for “celiac disease.”

As for a deficiency in the B Vitamins, the first 2 things on the radar are:

  1. Methyl donor deficiency
  2. Reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Methyl donors are the B vitamins.

Who’s at risk for low levels of methyl donors? 

  • Women taking birth control pills
  • People that use antacids,
  • People that have H. pylori infections,

These are all people that can have methyl donor problems.

Ultimately,  there’s not enough of methyl donors in the chemical mix to help Thyroid Peroxidase function normally…leading to decreased levels of T4 and T3…causing low thyroid symtpoms.

Reactive Hypoglycemics are on the list because they have a very difficult time holding on to their B vitamins–they lose B Vitamins.  Reactive Hypoglycemics are people that get shaky, lightheaded and irritable in between meals.  They can have a hard time staying asleep at night.  They  “crash” between like 2:00 pm and 5:00 PM.

If you have any of  those symptoms of low blood sugar…

…or you haven’t been checked for H. Pylori, hypochlorhyrdria, gluten sensitivity..

…Then this could be a hidden reason why YOU still have low thyroid symptoms.

Hidden Cause #12 is a deficiency in co-factors, vitamins and minerals, leading to decreased activity of thyroid peroxidase.

Download Video

© 2013 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The contents of this site are for educational purposes only. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Nothing here is a substitute for actual medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional.