November 2011

New patients to our office frequently asked if they should be taking vitamin D for their low thyroid symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, weight gain, depression, cold hands and feet, anxiety and all the other symptoms that go along with having low thyroid function.  Here are better question to ask:

How do I determine if I need it?

How much should I take?

How do I monitor the vitamin D I am taking to make sure I get enough, and not too much?

Something you should know is that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it acts like a hormone.  That means if you take too much of it, you do not get it out of your system as quickly as you would a water soluble.  Take vitamin C for example, it is water soluble.  If you take too much of it, your body will quickly and efficiently get it out of your system.

We have several patients that come in every week that have had their vitamin D checked in the past by their doctor and were told that there are levels were low and to just start taking some vitamin D.

This is a big mistakeVitamin D levels need to be rechecked to make sure that the dosages right.

Here is an all too common scenario.  The patient gets their vitamin D checked by their thyroid doctor.  The test comes back and shows that they have low vitamin D levels.  The patient is then told to take 50,000 units one time per week, usually on a Monday.  I’ve even had patients that were put on dosages as high as hundred and 150,000 units to be taken one time per week.

Does this make any sense to you?  Is taking one large dose of anything one time per week the best way to increase your levels?   Let’s use an analogy.  Let’s say that instead of your doctor checking  you for vitamin D, you were checked to see if you had a deficiency of apples.  The doctor runs the tests and finds that yes you do have a deficiency of apples.  Would it make sense to eat 50 apples at one time every Monday?

Or do you think it would be easier for your body to absorb the nutritional value of those apples by eating seven apples throughout the day, seven days a week?  Of course the answer is to take smaller dosages more frequently.  The same holds true for vitamin D.

If you have been checked for vitamin D deficiency, you probably only been checked to see what you’re circulating vitamin D levels are and not your stored vitamin D levels.  You want to make sure that you have both the circulating as well as the stored vitamin D levels checked at the same time.  In the past five years, I’ve only had one new patient come in and that has had both her circulating and stored vitamin D levels tested.

I average about one person per week that comes in to our office that will have a low circulating vitamin D level, but there stored levels will be high.  It is common to see this type of pattern in patients that have an autoimmune thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

If you are thinking about taking vitamin D or you are on vitamin D, make sure you find a doctor that knows what we have just talked about.  Find a doctor that will check your circulating and stored levels before you start taking vitamin D and after you’ve been on it for 2 to 3 months to make sure that the dosage is right for you.

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What’s the connection between your stomach problems, brain fog, and hashimoto’s? How are they related?

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by new patients suffering from low thyroid symptoms is why we do a functional neurological exam on them.  There are several reasons why we do this.  First, the brain directly communicates with the thyroid.  The brain tells the pituitary to talk to the hypothalamus to tell the thyroid to release hormones.  Kind of like a domino effect.

The brain also directly communicates with the stomach and intestines (which is what we call the gastrointestinal system) through the vagal nerve.  In previous posts I have talked about how important the gastrointestinal system is in patients with low thyroid symptoms.  If you have been reading or watching then you know the number one cause of low thyroid symptoms in the United States is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  85 to 95% of all low thyroid conditions in the United States as an autoimmune condition of the thyroid.

The liver and spleen have a huge effect on the immune system, and are also directly connected to the brain through the autonomic nervous system.   Researchers have known for years that if you damage the vagus nerve, you will have dysfunction of the organs that we talked about.  When those organs don’t function correctly, the thyroid health is directly and negatively impacted.

The gastrointestinal tract and liver also convert inactive thyroid hormones into active ones.  So if they are not functioning correctly, you will not have enough active thyroid hormone to bind to the receptor sites.  That will translate into low thyroid symptoms like brain fog, constipation, hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and all the other low thyroid symptoms.

Another important reason why we do function neurological exam on all patients complaining of low thyroid symptoms is because we want to check and see how the brain is functioning, particularly the cerebellum and the basal ganglia.  Research has shown that these two areas in the brain can also be attacked just like the thyroid is attacked in people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

If you are still suffering with low thyroid symptoms, make sure you find a doctor that knows we’ve just talked about.  You want to make sure that you get more than just your TSH and free T3 and free T4 checked when you are trying to find the cause of why you are still suffering with symptoms of hypothyroidism.

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Natural Thyroid Hormone Replacement May Make Your Low Thryoid Symptoms Worse

November 16, 2011

  Dr. Chris Heimlich DC, DACNB, Arizona Thyroid Doctor Comments: I just had a patient come in with low thyroid symptoms and ask if it was possible to feel worse when switching from an synthetic  to natural thyroid hormones.  You may be surprised at the answer I gave her.  I told her yes, of course […]

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Don’t Self Medicate Your Thyroid Hormones: Natural, Synthetic, or Bio-Identical | Phoenix Arizona

November 1, 2011

Scottsdale Thyroid Doctor Explains: I wanted to share a recent experience I had in the office with a patient that was trying to self regulate her thyroid medication.  A woman brought her mother into the office with complaints of brain fog, constipation, hair falling out fatigue, depression, and insomnia.  The daughter had also been diagnosed […]

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