For years we’ve been warned the cholesterol in eggs raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, however new research shows that in people with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, eggs do not raise cardiovascular risk if they are part of a healthy diet. What’s more, they pose no additional challenges to weight loss. These findings, along with previous research, indicate we need to jettison the outdated stance on cholesterol dangers.
The study emphasized a healthy diet that replaced saturated fats such as butter with monounsaturated fats such as olive and avocado oil. In tracking cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, no significant differences were found between groups.
Researchers tracked two groups for one year: a high-egg group that ate 12 eggs per week and a low-egg group that ate fewer than two eggs per week. They found the following:
- In the firsts three months of the study, neither group experienced an increase in cardiovascular risk markers.
- During the second three months, both groups participated in a weight-loss diet while continuing their egg consumption protocols and achieved equivalent weight loss.
- In the final six months, both groups achieved equivalent weight loss and showed no adverse changes to cardiovascular risk markers.
Eggs are commonly immune reactive
While the heat is off regarding egg consumption in relation to cholesterol levels, it’s important to know that for many people eggs are immune reactive and need to be avoided. Cyrex Labs offers a variety of panels that test for reactivity to eggs.
“Despite being vilified for decades, dietary cholesterol is understood to be far less detrimental to health than scientists originally thought. The effect of cholesterol in our food on the level of cholesterol in our blood is actually quite small.”
— Dr. Nick Fuller, lead author in the research
Why we need cholesterol
Conventional medicine would have us believe dietary cholesterol is bad, but we need to consume plenty of it in the form of healthy, natural fats.
Cholesterol is found in every cell of our bodies, and without it we wouldn’t survive. We use cholesterol to make vitamin D, cell membranes, and bile acids to digest fats.
Sufficient cholesterol is necessary to digest key antioxidant vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Cholesterol is also a necessary building block for our adrenal hormones and our reproductive hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
The brain is largely made up of fat, and the fats we eat directly affect its structure and function, providing insulation around nerve cells, supporting neurotransmitter production, and helping maintain healthy communication between neurons.
Unraveling “good” vs. “bad” cholesterol
We hear a lot about “good” HDL and “bad” LDL cholesterol. They are actually lipoproteins, small fat and protein packages that transport cholesterol in the body.
HDL: High-density lipoprotein. Called “good” cholesterol, HDL helps keep cholesterol away from your arteries and removes excess arterial plaque.
LDL: Low-density lipoprotein. Called “bad” cholesterol, LDL can build up in the arteries, forming plaque that makes them narrow and less flexible, a condition called atherosclerosis.
Triglycerides. Elevated levels of this fat are dangerous and are linked to heart disease and diabetes. Levels can rise from smoking, physical inactivity, excessive drinking, and being overweight. A diet high in sugars and grains also puts you at risk.
Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a). Made of an LDL part plus a protein (apoprotein a), elevated Lp(a) levels are a very strong risk for heart disease.
When considering test results, your doctor will pay attention to:
- HDL levels vs. LDL levels
- Triglyceride levels
- The ratio between triglycerides to HDL
- The ratio between total cholesterol and HDL
- The size of the particles
There are small and large particles of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Large particles are practically harmless, while the small, dense particles are more dangerous because they can lodge in the arterial walls, causing inflammation, plaque buildup, and damage leading to heart disease.
More important than knowing your total cholesterol is knowing the ratio between your HDL and your LDL, and especially the size of the particles.
However, according to the Mayo Clinic, many doctors now believe that for predicting your heart disease risk, your total non-HDL cholesterol level may be more useful than calculating your cholesterol ratio. Non-HDL cholesterol contains all the “bad” types of cholesterol; it is figured by subtracting your HDL cholesterol number from your total cholesterol number.
However, either option appears to be a better risk predictor than your total cholesterol level or simply your LDL level.
In some cases, people have a genetic tendency toward extremely high cholesterol. In those situations, it may take more than diet to manage cholesterol levels.
Contact my office to learn more about diet and lifestyle to support healthy cholesterol levels, find out about your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk, and to test for egg reactivity.
A recent study confirmed what functional medicine has long since known — the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet is highly successful for managing chronic health disorders. The first-of-its-kind study showed the majority of participants quickly achieved and maintained remission of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis on the AIP diet. A number of participants were even able to discontinue drug therapies.
Many people follow the AIP diet to manage not just Crohn’s but also chronic pain, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes such as eczema or psoriasis, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, brain-based disorders, diabetes, autoimmune disease in general, and other chronic health problems.
People are surprised to find that not only do their symptoms fade but also they enjoy more energy, better sleep, weight loss, increased libido, less stress, and a general overall improvement of their well being. If you are interested in getting to the bottom of your health issues, schedule for a FREE 15 minute consultation with Dr. Celaya.
A primary reason the diet is so effective is because it helps repair leaky gut, a condition in which the lining of the gut becomes inflamed and porous, allowing inflammatory compounds into the bloodstream. This creates inflammation throughout the body and brain and leads to a wide array of chronic gut, metabolic, and autoimmune disorders.
Anti-inflammatory is the key to the AIP diet
An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on whole foods and is free of inflammatory foods, additives, fillers, and artificial colors. It includes an accompanying protocol of appropriate sleep, physical activity, rest, and positive socialization and self-treatment. Certain nutritional compounds that gently cleanse and detoxify the body may boost the success of the diet.
AIP diet sites and articles abound, but here are basics:
- Eliminate all processed foods, fast foods, desserts, coffee drinks, sodas, etc. Your anti-inflammatory diet should consist of whole foods found in the produce and meat sections of the grocery store, with an emphasis on plenty of vegetables. Also, eliminate processed vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils and stick with natural oils.
- Eliminate common inflammatory foods, the most common culprit being gluten. Many people’s symptoms resolve simply on a gluten-free diet. However, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, grain, and nightshades are commonly immune reactive as well. Eliminate these foods for about six weeks to see whether you react to reintroducing them one at a time.
- Eliminate sweets. On the anti-inflammatory diet, you will avoid all sweeteners. This helps curb cravings, stabilize blood sugar, lower inflammation, and lose excess fat. Enjoy low-sugar fruits instead, such as berries.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Not only do plenty of veggies load you up with vital nutrients and fiber, new research shows they create a healthy gut microbiome – the bacteria in your gut that profoundly influence your immune and brain health. A diet based on veggies creates an abundant and diverse gut microbiome and thus better health.
- Get enough sleep and exercise. Sufficient sleep is a major inflammation-buster, as is regular physical activity. Overtraining, however, can cause inflammation so watch out for that.
Boost success with gut repair and detoxification
Adding in specific nutritional compounds can help repair a damaged gut, lower inflammation, support the liver, and detoxify the system. Want to know more about the AIP diet and your health? Schedule for a FREE 15 minute consultation with Dr. Celaya.
Most thyroid issues are autoimmune by nature. Around 70-80% of the autoimmunity issues can be traced to gut infections. On the flip side, having gut infections can increase the likelihood of an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune disease needs three things to occur.
The three risk factors include genetic predisposition, intestinal permeability, and environmental triggers like bacteria, virus, foods proteins, or inflammation. While we can’t do much about the genetics part, we can certainly do something to avoid the other two factors by first becoming aware of how they affect you. It’s all about lifestyle.
1 – Genetic predisposition is kind of obvious.
Parents’ traits may be passed down to children but is not always the case. Take, for example, genetics versus epigenetics. I like to look at this like a computer. Genetics can be considered the hardware and the epigenetics is the software. The hardware is not readily changeable but the software may vary. If you choose the wrong software, the hardware or genetics won’t operate correctly. You may have the propensity to get the disease, but it takes the two other triggers autoimmunity.
2 – Leaky gut or gastrointestinal permeability is one of the ways that autoimmune conditions start.
This is why it’s important to make sure that gluten and cross-contamination testing is part of every thyroid patient’s workup. Many patients don’t even know if they have an issue with gluten if they don’t have any abdominal pain.
The immune system acts in the mucosal area of the gut, a long tube lined with mucous tissue. This is where food is absorbed into your body. The immune system must be on high alert because this is where many things enter that could possibly be dangerous to the body. The gus is also lined with bacteria. Good and bad, our gut has to know the difference between the two.
The bad bacteria can release byproducts and toxins that can damage the intestinal wall. Intestines can also be damaged by processed foods, food preservatives, stress, alcohol, toxins, infections, inflammation, medication, and a lack of fiber. A protein called Zonulin is responsible for increasing the spaces between the intestinal cells so nutrients and other molecules can be absorbed into the body. However, when leaky gut is present, the spaces between the cells open too much. This eventually lets protein particles or amino acid sequences ease their way in your bloodstream. From there, an immunological reaction can take place.
The immune system has several different types of white blood cells. B lymphocytes, a certain kind of immune cell, makes antibodies. Antibodies are like a tag or marker that attaches to the foreign invader or pathogen. When immune cells see this tag, they know that a foreign invader needs to be destroyed. These antibodies continue to stay in the body. They wait in case the pathogen returns. Their job is to mark the foreign invader for destruction.
Certain amino acid sequences get absorbed into the body without digestion. These sequences tend to look a lot like body tissue amino acid sequences, causing the immune system to attack both. This is called molecular mimicry.
Take a look at the top of each drawing where you can see that the sequence of letters looks somewhat alike. This represents the amino acid sequence we may see common in these three things – thyroid tissue, gluten and casein.
The gluten or casein polypeptide chain looks a lot like the thyroid in some aspect. The antibodies can also tag thyroid cells for destruction if our leaky gut leaves in a peptide from gluten. This is in addition to tagging gluten or casein. This is called autoimmunity. Once you have the antibodies, your body can continue to make them if the pathogen still invades the body.
3 – Environmental triggers are important to eliminate.
The first pathogen is Yersenia Enterocolitica bacteria. This bacterium is prevalent in thyroid autoimmunity and resides in the gut. It has receptors to our thyroid stimulating hormone. TSH receptor antibodies are then made. This can trigger the immune response not only to the bacteria but also to the TSH receptor. We see higher antibodies for Yersenia in autoimmune thyroid patients.
Mycobacterium Avium Paratuberculosis, or MAP for short, is another bacterium in the gut. Molecular mimicry between this bacteria and human proteins is a likely cause of autoimmune disorders. Some autoimmune disorders this may cause include Crohn’s disease, Type I Diabetes, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and Multiple Sclerosis. H-pylori and other bacteria can cause gastritis and cancer. This is also thought to play a part in Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. However, newer evidence shows that it can also be protective for chronic inflammatory diseases, autoimmunity and allergies. At this point, more research is definitely needed to further validate this claim.
Next, we have Lyme disease. Borrelia bacteria strain causes this condition. Research also shows that this can trigger Hashimoto’s disease as well. Epstein-Barr virus and Herpes virus have also been linked to leaky gut which, in turn, causes thyroid issues.
Under environmental factors, we also have medications, primarily antibiotics. They can destroy the beneficial bacteria in addition to the pathogenic bacteria. Aside from this, pathogenic or opportunistic bacteria can flourish, breaking down hormones which are secreted from the liver into the small intestines. If you lack the beneficial bacteria to break down estrogen and have a leaky gut, you may now reabsorb estrogens which can then affect thyroid function.
A second medication is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Inflammation-causing factors like food sensitivities, allergies, alcohol, and stress can cause inflammation. This can then cause an increase in intestinal permeability. Processed foods like sugar, grains, gluten, artificial sweeteners, processed meats, certain processed oils, corn, soy, cottonseed, omega-6 fats, and canola oil can also cause inflammation, which then can cause a leaky gut.
What about the flora in your mouth? Can your mouth be leaky? Oral health issues can be important to look at, not just bad odor, but also chronic gum or tooth infections that can lead to autoimmune diseases. There has also been research that showed that urinary bacterial overgrowth is strongly linked to different forms of autoimmune arthritis.
A lack of stomach acid (HCl), digestive enzymes, and bile can also cause a problem. If you don’t properly digest food, it can become inflammatory and cause damage to the intestinal walls. In addition, if proteins are not broken down into amino acids, they can pass through an already leaky gut, causing more immune responses and possible autoimmunity.
There are different ways to look for infection.
- The first is with a simple blood lab test.
A simple CBC or complete blood count looking at cell types can really catch large infections. I would also look at inflammatory markers like hsCRP, ESR, and plasma viscosity.
- The next test I would look at is stool testing.
Polymerase chain reaction technology or PCR looks at the DNA of microbes. This can help us get a good assessment of what normal bacteria is there. Most non-DNA stool tests take a sample and then culture the bacteria in a dish with a food medium. The problem is that 95% of your gut bacteria will die if they’re exposed to air, as they are anaerobic. They can’t survive in oxygen and they can’t be grown.
There are also other problems trying to grow the air-breathing bacteria. Some bacteria might flourish in certain types of medium, which is a food given to them so they can grow, while some may not flourish. Some may like different temperatures more than others. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s happening in a person’s gut without DNA. With functional medicine, we look at DNA since culture doesn’t give an accurate representation of the types and quantity of bacteria.
This is a great test and it’s one of my favorites. In this test, we also look for inflammation markers. Calprotectin is a marker of neutrophil-driven inflammation fecal secretory IgA. IgA is a marker of gut immunity and barrier function. It’s also important to follow up with testing for fecal Lactoferrin.
Pancreatic elastase is considered an exocrine pancreatic function indicator. We should also look at the products of protein breakdown. These are indicators of the presence of undigested protein. We also want to understand fecal fat and the markers of fat absorption and breakdown. We’ll also look at short chain fatty acids as indicators of gut microbe health. Another component is beta glucuronidase, which is an enzyme involved in the metabolism of complex carbohydrates.
We also want to look at the commensal bacteria or the friendly bacteria. This demonstrates the diversity, composition, and relative abundance of organisms in the gut. These things are directly linked to both your general health and your gastrointestinal system’s overall well being. Next, we get into parasitology and that involves microscopic examination of fecal specimens for OVA and parasites.
- The next test is a urine test where we look for oxidative stress markers which can be present as a result of chronic infections.
The first part of this urine test looks for lipid peroxidation. They’re reflective of oxidative damage to polyunsaturated fats which are components of cell membranes. We’ll next look at 8-OHdG (8-Oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine) which is reflective of oxidative damage to DNA.
Autoimmunity is very common in industrialized Western countries as opposed to the rest of the world.
What’s the difference? Well, we’ve scrubbed and cleaned our world with chemicals and cleansers and killed off beneficial bacteria. We have also limited our exposure to diverse strains of microorganisms. The cleaner we are, the more chronic diseases we have when certain parasites are present. They release chemicals that regulate the body’s immune response. It ensures that it doesn’t overreact. In other countries, inflammatory bowel disease–an autoimmune disease, is treated with Helminth interactions, which is a parasite. This type of treatment needs more research.
The following are some ways to help you avoid autoimmunities and thyroid disorders:
- Remove food sensitivities including gluten and other immune sensitive foods.
- Optimize vitamins, as they enhance our immune system.
- Reduce opportunistic and remove pathogenic bacteria and micro-organisms.
- Enforce diet changes to reduce inflammation.
- Further help reduce inflammation by taking resveratrol, turmeric and fish oils.
- Reduce stress, which also reduces cortisol.
- Heal the gut. I would feed the intestinal cells with different fibers, probiotics, glutamine, and acetyl glucosamine. Perhaps antifungals like oregano oil would help with infections.
- Make sure digestion is occurring well with proper digestive acid, enzymes, and proper bile production and delivery.
The protective barrier of the intestines plays an important role in human health. It encourages nutrient absorption from the food that we consume each day. It also provides some protection against invasion of bacteria, toxins, allergens, fungus and parasites.
Most doctors will only address the lack of thyroid hormone, but very few will consider autoimmunity. Again, remember if you have an autoimmune condition, you are 70-90% likely to get another autoimmune condition. To learn more about your condition, please contact me.
Do you really understand your thyroid labs, and why should you care? It’s important to know what is happening with your labs because knowing is power. Getting to the root cause of your problems can make a big difference in your health.
When you have lab work performed, your results are compared to normal ranges.
Most people think these normal ranges are set as a standard across all labs, but they’re not. Labs follow clinical and lab standard institute guidelines that the FDA recognizes. These guidelines suggest that every lab create their own lab normal from patients that come into their labs for testing. They suggest that the lab compile results from as little as 20 patients up to 120 patients. You must wonder if these are normal healthy individuals who are getting tested? In addition, they recommend that each lab’s normal ranges be compiled from 95% of the tested individuals. This leaves only 5% that is outside the range – 2.5% higher than 95% and 2.5% lower than the 95% middle range.
In functional medicine, we use ranges from truly normal, healthy individuals who never had problems–those with optimal health. Many doctors never look at your lab values but instead look at a place where the lab signifies that it is out of the lab’s normal range. This can be a problem because you never really know what optimum levels are.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland.
TSH tells the thyroid to speed up and produce more hormones. This is considered a negative feedback loop. For example, when the pituitary increases TSH, the thyroid increases its production of thyroid hormone. The pituitary then senses the thyroid hormone levels increase and then reduces its output of TSH.
The typical lab range for the TSH value is 0.5-5.5 mU/L, which is too large of a range. If you get a TSH lab result of 3.5 and up, by functional medicine standards, this means that you may have hypothyroid problems, but conventional medicine considers this normal.
On the other hand, the functional range is 0.3-2.5 mU/L. This is a good lab value to have. Normally, TSH should be well balanced with T3 and T4, according to functional medicine standards.
In hypothyroidism, there is a decrease in T3 and T4 levels while there is an increased level of TSH in the body.
TSH is produced by the pituitary in a response to get your thyroid gland to produce more hormone. The increase in TSH levels is relatively gradual as it keeps on “telling” the thyroid to produce more hormone.
Some of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include obesity, swelling, being cold, constipation, thinning hair, slow heartbeat, loss of the outside 1/3 of your eyebrows, and edema in the eyes, especially when you wake up in the morning. And there are many more symptoms. Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease, is considered one of the leading causes of hypothyroidism. If you have this problem, your immune system is attacking your thyroid gland. If this goes on long enough, your thyroid gland may be completely destroyed, rendering its hormone production absent.
In hyperthyroidism, there is a decrease in TSH and an increase in T3 and T4 levels.
In this case, the body produces too much thyroid hormone causing the TSH levels to decrease. Values may go from 2.5 down to 0.2 and sometimes 0. If you have this dysfunction, you are likely to have Graves’ disease, which can also be accompanied by ophthalmopathy/ophthalmology (bulging eyes). Once you have it, it won’t go away even if your thyroid hormone levels start to get better. There are surgical means that can help minimize this condition, but it’s a tough one to have even with this intervention.
T4 is a tyrosine-based amino acid hormone.
It makes up about 93% of your thyroid hormone. It’s inactive and gets converted in the liver (60%) and your gut (20%). The remainder is eventually processed in the peripheral tissues. This is converted into T3 which is the active thyroid hormone.
It is also made up of iodine placed in each or all of the corners of the molecule depending if its T4, T3 or rT3 (reverse T3). This arrangement makes it fit into the receptor site if it is in the active T3 or rT3 form. T4 is not active and doesn’t fit into the receptor on the cell.
This inactivity happens for a good reason. Can you imagine all the thyroid hormones being active at the same time? Certain cells close to the thyroid would always be in overdrive while others far away from the gland may not get any at all.
In addition, T4, the inactive hormone, lasts longer in the system than T3, which is the active form. T4 (protein bound) is attached to thyroxine binding globulin (also known as TBG) which transports the thyroid hormones in circulation.
T4 free is not bound to protein and has a great propensity to be converted to T3, the active thyroid hormone. The typical lab range for T4 (protein bound) is 4.5 – 12.0, while T4f (free) is 0.8 – 1.70. On the other hand, the functional range for T4 (protein bound) is 6.0 – 12.0, while T4f (free) is 1.0 – 1.50. Most doctors only check TSH and T4, and if you’re lucky, they may check T3, but it’s quite rare.
T3 is the thyroid hormone that does all the work.
T3 is also produced at the thyroid gland (7%), though its mainly produced through conversion. T4 is transformed into T3 by an enzyme called 5’ deiodinase. This is an enzyme that depends on the mineral selenium.
T3 is bound to protein which is regarded as a transport mechanism. It’s not an active hormone at that point in time until it becomes free. T3 free is what we usually evaluate. If you observe the following values, you will see that the typical lab ranges versus the functional lab ranges are quite different:
Typical Lab Range
- T3 (protein bound): 71 – 180
- T3f (free): 2.1 – 4.5
- T3 uptake: 24 – 39
- T3 (protein bound): 100 – 180
- T3f (free): 3.0 – 4.5
- T3 uptake: 27 – 37
There are various differences between T3 and T4.
For these values, “secretion” is the difference in how much hormone is actually made. The “source” is the location where the hormone is produced. “Half-life” is the amount of time it takes for the quantity to reduce to half of its initial value. “Potency” is how much the hormone is effective in doing what it’s supposed to do.
- Secretion: 18-30 micrograms/day
- Source: 20-25% by the thyroid; 75-80% by conversion (in the gut and the peripheral tissue)
- Half-life: 1 day (active hormone is used up pretty quickly)
- Potency: 3-4 times more potent than T4
- Secretion: 80 micrograms/day
- Source: by thyroid only
- Half-life: 7 days (the inactive hormone stays around for quite some time before)
- Potency: potent
T3 uptake is done to see how much thyroxine binding globulin (TBG) is available.
TBG is one type of protein that transports most of the T4 and T3 in your blood. T3RU is a lab test that measures the level of proteins that carry thyroid hormone in the blood. This is typically tested if you have signs and symptoms of hyperthyroid, hypothyroid or liver problems.
RT3 (reverse T3) is another thyroid hormone made from T4.
It looks a lot like T3, but it’s a little bit different as far as function is concerned. Approximately 60% of T4 is converted to T3. On the other hand, 20% is reverted into the inactive form of your thyroid hormone. This is called the reverse T3 (rT3) and this will attach itself to T3 receptors. Because of this, it will block T3 from stimulating the cell, creating hypothyroid issues.
It’s important that we have enough T3 and not so much RT3. RT3 will bind to those receptor sites, creating a problem with the cell not getting enough thyroid stimulation and therefore decreasing the cell’s metabolism.
Typical lab range for reverse T3 is 11-23. The functional range is also 11-23. Reverse T3 may be both good and bad even if it is inactive by nature. The problem is that most doctors do not check for these RT3 values.
Too little or too much cortisol that the adrenals produce in response to stress will increase the circulating amounts of your reverse T3. It slows down the metabolism so you can better deal with adrenalin’s actions.
Cortisol production, because of stress, will also blunt the function of TSH, prevent conversion, and increase rT3. As a result, thyroid hormone levels drop. The following are some things that can cause high levels of RT3:
- Immune system issues
- Excess free radical damage
- High adrenaline
- Prolonged illness
- Low iron and B12
- Lyme Disease
To better assess reverse T3, you may refer to the following ratio:
- FT3/RT3 ratio: >20
- T3/RT3 ratio: >10
Most conventional providers do not even bother looking at autoimmunity. They just treat the low or high thyroid issues. However, it’s a very important thing in functional medicine because if you have one autoimmune disease, you’re 70-90% likely to develop an additional autoimmune disease.
The functional ranges of autoimmune labs:
- TGAb: <0.90
- TPOab: <13
- TSHRab: <1.76
- TSI: <1.3
- TBII: <1.75
TGAb (thyroglobulin antibody). Thyroglobulin is a protein involved in thyroid hormone production.
Don’t confuse this with thyroid binding globulin which transports thyroid hormone to the blood. TGAb can be ordered for hyperthyroid evaluation and management. This is also ordered for proper diagnosis and treatment of tumors and cancer.
TPOab (thyroid peroxidase antibody). Thyroid Peroxidase is an enzyme that helps activate iodine in the making of your thyroid hormone.
It also helps connect tyrosine together for making the thyroid hormone. This test is used to determine if the person has Graves’ or Hashimoto’s disease.
TSHRab (thyroid stimulating receptor antibody) is divided into two subtypes.
There are two types of antibodies that attach to proteins in the thyroid to which TSH normally binds. This can be seen in Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease.
TSI (thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin).
TSI is seen in Graves’ disease. One big problem is when this is positive coupled with a negative TPO, the risk of Graves’ ophthalmopathy increases (bulging eyes).
TBII (thyroid binding inhibitory immunoglobulin).
This is important for diagnosing Graves’ disease.
There is more to thyroid than just running a TSH and T4, like your conventional doctor would do.
You look at everything! You look at the different hormones: T3, T4, inactive T3 and T4. It is important to understand conversion from the inactive to the active hormone. You also look at autoimmune conditions. You especially want to look at reverse T3 because when it is high, you’re not binding T3 to the active hormone and then to cell receptor sites. Therefore, this could create symptoms of hypothyroidism. When you look at your thyroid lab test, you might see that everything is normal. If that is the case, you should also look at adrenal gland function, as they can actually have very, very similar symptoms as those with thyroid disease.
You could be developing an autoimmune disease, one of the most common diseases today, and are not aware of it. This is because autoimmune diseases sometimes start off as “silent” autoimmunity. This means your immune system is attacking tissue in your body but the damage isn’t bad enough to cause symptoms yet.
Autoimmune disease is more common than cancer and heart disease combined, and that’s just the diagnosed cases. Many, if not most, cases of autoimmunity are happening without a diagnosis.
This is because medicine does not screen for autoimmunity until symptoms are advanced and severe enough for a diagnosis and treatment with steroids, chemotherapy drugs, or surgery.
Autoimmunity: The disease for the modern era
Autoimmunity can affect any tissue in the body or brain. It occurs when the immune system attacks and damages tissue as if it were a foreign invader.
Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and psoriasis. More than 80 different autoimmune diseases have been identified so far.
Autoimmune disease affects 1 in 5 people, the majority of them women. It is believed women are more commonly affected because of their hormonal complexity. Although autoimmune disease is very common, the statistics do not tell the whole story.
Autoimmunity can happen long before diagnosis
Autoimmunity can begin long before damage is bad enough for a disease to be diagnosed. Many people can go years, decades, or even an entire lifetime with symptoms but never have damage bad enough to be labeled disease.
As an example, autoimmunity against the pancreas can cause blood sugar issues long before the development of type 1 diabetes. Additionally, about 10 percent of people with type 2 diabetes, which is caused by diet and lifestyle, also have pancreatic autoimmunity. This is called type 1.5 diabetes.
One of the most common autoimmune diseases is Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Patients may need to gradually increase their thyroid hormone because although they were diagnosed with low thyroid, the autoimmunity was overlooked and left unmanaged.
Or a patient may have an autoimmune reaction that has not been recognized as a disease. For instance, autoimmunity to nerve cells may produce symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis (MS), which is an autoimmune reaction to nerve sheathes. However, because the autoimmunity is not attacking nerve sheathes specifically, the patient cannot be diagnosed despite MS-like symptoms.
Autoimmunity can attack anything in the body
People can also have symptoms that suggest many types of autoimmunity. Although symptoms vary depending on which tissue is being attacked, many autoimmune sufferers experience chronic fatigue, chronic pain, declining brain function, gastrointestinal issues, hair loss, weight gain or weight loss, brain fog, and more.
Fortunately, functional medicine offers lab testing that can screen for autoimmunity against a number of different tissues. We also use strategies such as an anti-inflammatory diet, blood sugar stabilizing, gut healing, addressing toxins, and habits that minimize stress and inflammation.
Ask my office if autoimmunity may be causing your strange and chronic symptoms.