We are having a thyroid disease epidemic and the experts can‚Äôt figure out why.
In the last two years, more people than ever are coming into my clinic and telling me that they, and even their pets, have thyroid disease.
Your thyroid regulates your metabolism so that you don‚Äôt get fat for no reason. It uses iodine to manufacture thyroid hor¬¨mones that your entire body depends on. It cleans your blood. It works with your pituitary gland to regulate blood pressure, fluids, temperature and emotions.
Currently, the guess is that less than half of people with thy¬¨roid disease are actually diagnosed, but that one in ten Ameri¬¨cans have a diagnosed thyroid disease.
Women are seven times more likely to have thyroid disease than men. One factor may be that we are hormonally more complicated and tend to carry more body fat.
So what could be causing all this thyroid disease?
Well, the ‚Äúexperts‚ÄĚ are throwing their hands up in utter baf¬¨flement, which means that they are either blithering idiots, or that telling the truth is probably death to their careers.
Radioactive iodine kills thyroids. The first measurement of the earth‚Äôs background radiation was about 60 millirem a year. The conservative guess is that it is now up to about 200. This is all over the globe--what you are exposed to just strolling around. Thyroid cancer has more than doubled since the 1970s. Baffling.
As one commenter on a recent article on the subject wrote, ‚ÄúHmmm, it couldn't POSSIBLY be from 3 Fukushima reactor meltdowns that are ongoing and a spent fuel pool that caught fire and burned and a heavily fallout-laden jet stream that's been blowing over here for 10 months straight now could it be? HOW BAFFLING.‚ÄĚ
Between 1950 and 1965, Russia and the US blew up the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima nuclear bombs in testing, and a good part of that radiation hangs around for thousands of years. Nuclear reactors leak and melt down, even here in the US. Radioactive iodine will attach to your thyroid and cause cancer. Between 1980 and 2006, newborn thyroid cancer in¬¨creased by 155 percent, with worse numbers closer to nuclear plants.
Besides radioactive iodine, halogens probably cause most of our thyroid disease, and they are everywhere. These are sub¬¨stances that basically fit into the receptors in your thyroid just like iodine, so you end up losing the iodine you need and gain¬¨ing these toxins instead. Chlorine and fluoride are halogens. Bromine is a very aggressive halogen.
You can absorb these through your skin or you can eat them in your toothpaste, drink them in your water, or enjoy them in your crackers.
Up until about 20 years ago, manufacturers used to fortify processed white flour with iodine because when actual humans ran the government, they knew that iodine was a critical ele¬¨ment for human health and that most of us don‚Äôt get enough of it. Then someone took over the FDA who apparently thinks there are way too many of us peasants shuffling about, and re¬¨moved the iodine requirement, allowing millers to add potas¬¨sium bromate, allegedly because it improves baking character¬¨istics. It is also, conveniently, a sedative. Some countries have banned it. Many commercial bakeries use bromated flour, so probably most of your wheat crackers and snack foods contain bromine.
Many soda pops, plastics, medications (Hmmmmm. That must be why they were baffled), hot tub and pool treatments, auto upholstery, personal care products and pesticides also contain bromine. Ironically, Bromine is the gas you use to fu¬¨migate your house for termites. Isn‚Äôt that a hoot! Take that, all you useless eaters!
Thyroid disease symptoms vary widely, but there are com¬¨mon patterns.
Hypo, or underactive, thyroid, is the most common. The clas¬¨sic symptoms are feeling cold, chronic fatigue, poor immu¬¨nity, hair loss, weight gain, dry skin, brittle nails, constipation, morning headaches, poor circulation, hypersensitive to cold, and depression.
Or you can have hyperthyroid, which will take you the other direction--feeling hot, hyperactive, racing heart, weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, excessive sweating, diarrhea, autoimmune diseases and high blood pressure. Don Knotts and Marty Feldman made careers out of their thyroid conditions. Bulging eyes are a symptom of Grave‚Äôs Disease, or hyperthyroid.
So what can you do if you have, or think you have, a thy¬¨roid disease?
Eat the cleanest organic food you can. Do not drink pop. Use the purest personal care products you can find. Crack the win¬¨dows if you are spending much time in your car. Avoid un¬¨fer¬¨mented soy foods. Filter all the water in your home. Avoid fluo¬¨ride toothpaste. Avoid unnecessary medical x-rays, and if you take an x-ray, insist they provide you with a shield to cover your thyroid. I don‚Äôt care about how ‚Äúharmless‚ÄĚ their x-ray ma¬¨chine is. You are already exposed to cumulatively dangerous radia¬¨tion levels. Don‚Äôt add to it.
Opt out of airport x-rays, too. That low level radiation is the most dangerous type.
If you want a diagnostic test, your doctor can do a thyroid hormone test. The catch is that there are at least three tests for different thyroid hormones, and everybody has their favorite. If you can, get them all. Insist on having your iodine levels tested as well. This may be a more accurate test. You can go the ca¬¨naryclub.org or any of several other websites and order one yourself if you need to. Study up and learn about your own condition so you can make intelligent decisions.
You can choose from several different thyroid treatments. Your doc will want you to take thyroid hormone pills. There are synthetic hormones, and natural hormones. Check into both. One thing I do know ‚Äď synthetic thyroid replacement drugs do not work well for many of the patients I see in my office.
The female endocrine (hormone) system is a mysterious and complicated thing. You can take all the tests you want, but there are way too many variables for the tests to be perfectly ac¬¨curate. I‚Äôve seen lots of patients with thyroid disease who had great test results.
You can also try acupuncture and herbs, homeopathics, sup¬¨plements, nutrition, meditation, biofeedback, and any of several other, less invasive treatments to balance out your body before you resort to drugs. If your thyroid is malfunctioning, your en¬¨tire hormone system will be out of balance, and just taking thy¬¨roid pills might not be enough.
Julie Crist, L. Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist at Acuplanet Acupuncture in the Town Center Building in downtown Colville.