The Impact of Caffeine on your Thyroid Health

Is Caffeine Hurting Your Thyroid?

If you’re drinking caffeine, be it from a cup of coffee, tea, or even a can of caffeinated beverage, your adrenal glands immediately release a series of hormones – this is essentially what causes the person to experience the boost in mental and physical energy, and what makes you more alert. The reason why the adrenals release these hormones, is that caffeine is known as a stimulant.

Drinking a cup of coffee now-and-then won’t cause any serious problems, but when the adrenal glands are constantly stimulated (especially in cases of adrenal fatigue), it can cause their function to become impaired. The hormones that are frequently released by the adrenal glands can also start to have an adverse impact on different areas of the body – and this includes the thyroid gland.

 

Caffeine increases blood sugar levels

This is especially dangerous for people with hypoglycemia (or low sugar levels) who feel jittery, shaky, moody and unfocused when hungry. Blood sugar fluctuations cause cortisol spikes, which not only exhaust the adrenals, but also deregulate the immune system. This is highly undesirable for those with adrenal fatigue, Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease. Such cortisol spikes are also highly inflammatory.

 

Creates sugar and carbohydrate cravings

As the result of the above (increase in sugar levels), when our blood sugar levels come down, we need an emergency fix to bring them back up. This is why people who drink coffee at breakfast or indulge in sugary and processed breakfasts crave carbs and sugar by 11am or later in the day.

 

Exhausts the Adrenals

Coffee stimulates the adrenals to release more cortisol, our stress hormone; this is partly why we experience a wonderful but temporary and unsustainable burst of energy.

What many of us don’t realize is that our tired adrenals are often the cause of unexplained weight gain, sleeping problems, feeling emotionally fragile, depression and fatigue. Drinking coffee while experiencing adrenal fatigue is only adding fuel to the fire.

People with Hashimoto’s should be extra careful as the adrenals and cortisol also modulate the immune system and Hashimoto’s is a condition in which the immune system is already out of whack.

 

Causes estrogen dominance = thyroid nodules, worse PMS and lumpy breasts

Coffee can contribute to estrogen dominance, which can mean one of two things: we either have too much estrogen in relation to progesterone, or we have an imbalance in the estrogen metabolites (some are protective and some are dangerous). PMS, lumpy breasts, heavy periods, cellulite and even breast cancer (an estrogenic cancer) can be symptoms of estrogen dominance.

Estrogen is especially problematic for people with thyroid conditions. High estrogen levels (also known as estrogen dominance) rise thyroid binding globulin, making less thyroid hormone available for the body. Estrogen dominance is also often cited as the cause of thyroid nodules as well.

 

Impacts the conversion of T4 to T3 hormones

Coffee impacts the absorption of thyroid medications, this is why thyroid patients need to take their hormone replacement pill at least an hour before drinking coffee.The indirect but important point is that coffee contributes to estrogen dominance, and estrogen dominance inhibits T4 to T3 conversion.

 

Gluten-cross reactive food

50% of people with gluten sensitivities also experience cross reactivity with other foods, including casein in milk products, corn, coffee, and almost all grains, because their protein structures are similar. Cyrex Labs provides a test for gluten cross-reactive foods (Array 4). Many people report having a similar reaction to coffee as they do to gluten..

 

Still feel like having your cup of coffee in the mornings? Try weaning yourself off gently with some matcha green tea which has less caffeine than coffee. Then move to white tea, which has even less caffeine, and eventually to your favorite herbal tea!

 

The Link Between Food Intolerance, Hormones and Your Gut Health

The Link Between Food Intolerance, Hormones and Your Gut Health

Welcome to Regenerate You!

If you find yourself struggling with food intolerances of any kind, then it’s most likely causing an imbalance in your hormones as well. And if you’ve been diagnosed with low testosterone, PCOSestrogen dominancethyroid issues, or insulin resistance; then your food sensitivities are making them worse.

In this Podcast, I discuss how they’re linked and where to begin to help heal and regenerate your body from the attack on your immune system.

If you’re looking for additional advice, feel free to visit my blog here. You can also stay connected with me on my Facebook page @DrNirvanaHeals or on my Instagram @DrNirvana.

Please subscribe and share this podcast to spread the health.

 

And remember, when you regenerate, there’s a new you every day!

Hidden Gluten Sources you Didn’t Know About

Uncommon Foods Containing Gluten

If you have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that’s the most severe form of gluten intolerance, and are still experiencing symptoms after going gluten-free, you may still be getting gluten exposure from hidden sources. Both forms (Celiac’s and gluten intolerance) can cause widespread symptoms, many of which have nothing to do with digestion. They can both lead to further inflammation in the body as well as Hashimoto’s disease. However some people do have non-celiac gluten sensitivity as well. Either way it’s important to limit your exposure to gluten 100%. Here’s a comprehensive list the known and hidden sources of gluten, which will help you identify potential exposures that you weren’t aware of.

 

Common Gluten Foods:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Kamut
  • Oats (if not specifically gluten-free)
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat
  • Wheat germ

 

Hidden Gluten Sources:

  • Artificial coffee creamer
  • Beer
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Broth/stocks
  • Candy
  • Certain ground spices
  • Certain veined cheeses
  • Chewing gum
  • Chips
  • Cold cuts
  • Flavored teas
  • Flavored rice
  • Fish sticks
  • Flavored crackers
  • French fries
  • Gravies
  • Hot dogs
  • Imitation seafood
  • Instant coffee and other instant hot drinks
  • Ketchup
  • Matzo flavor
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pasta side dishes
  • Rice mixes
  • Roasted nuts
  • Soy sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Seitan (wheat gluten, used in meat substitutes)
  • Self-basting turkey
  • Soy and teriyaki sauces
  • Tinned baked beans
  • Tomato sauces
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Veggie burgers
  • Vodka
  • Wine coolers

For those with Celiac Disease, complete avoidance of gluten is important. Some non-Celiac patients may also be sensitive enough that even tiny exposures are problematic. If you feel like you have successfully eliminated gluten from your diet and are still experiencing gluten-associated symptoms. When you are gluten sensitive, your body is creating antibodies against gluten. Those same antibodies can also recognize proteins in other foods that have similar structures and mimic the reaction they have to gluten.  Which non-gluten foods you may react to will depend on the antibodies your body has formed against gluten.  Not everyone will have a cross-reaction to all the below foods, but it’s important to consider if you’ve gone gluten-free and are still experiencing symptoms.

 

Cross Reactive Foods:

  • Buckwheat
  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Potato
  • Hemp
  • Teff
  • Soy
  • Milk (Alpha-Casein, Beta-Casein, Casomorphin, Butyrophilin, Whey Protein and whole milk)
  • Chocolate
  • Yeast
  • Coffee (instant, latte, espresso, imported)
  • Sesame
  • Tapioca (a.k.a. cassava or yucca)
  • Eggs

In those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, increased intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’ is common. This can further aggravate the formation of food sensitivities.  Healing an unhealthy gut may help alleviate some of these cross-reactions or sensitivities to gluten. However the best course of action would be to determine the root cause of your gut issues in the first place. 

 

Understanding your Thyroid Labs

Understanding your Thyroid Labs

Decoding Thyroid Lab Values

Understanding what type of thyroid condition seems to be a common question I receive. One of the questions I am most frequently asked is, “what are the most important thyroid function tests to check to assess your thyroid’s function?” The appropriate tests, along with what your thyroid lab results really mean, are two of the essential topics to understand…to determine if you genuinely have thyroid dysfunction or not. So I thought I’d put together this reference guide to help. With this table in mind, let’s discuss what each lab test means.

 

TSH

TSH tests pituitary function and can be used to diagnose thyroid disease.

  • If TSH is high – this can be a sign that you are under-producing thyroid hormones and you are hypothyroid
  • If TSH is low – this can be a sign that you are over-producing thyroid hormones and are hyperthyroid, or that you are on too much supplemental thyroid hormone. Supplemental T3 or natural desiccated thyroid hormone with T3 can artificially suppress your TSH, so in the absence of symptoms, it could be perfectly normal.
  • If your TSH is ‘normal’ – for example your TSH falls within the normal reference range, this could indicate that you do not have thyroid dysfunction. However, “normal” and “optimal” levels have two very different meanings. So, if you still have symptoms and are in the “normal” — not “optimal” — range then you likely could have thyroid dysfunction

 

Free T3

Free T3 may be the most important measure of thyroid function in the serum because it measures the free and active thyroid hormone. T3 is more biologically active than T4.

  • If FT3 is high – indicates that your thyroid is overactive or hyperthyroidism
  • If FT3 is low – you may not be converting T4 to FT3 very well and you could have hypothyroid symptoms even if your TSH and FT4 are within range. This is one of the most common causes of low thyroid or hypothyroidism I see in my practice.

 

Free T4

Free T4 measures the amount of free T4 in circulation. Once TSH signals to your thyroid to ramp up the production of its hormones, it produces the four different types of thyroid hormone – T1, T2, T3, and T4. The primary output of your thyroid is T4, which is a storage form of the hormone. It is circulated throughout the bloodstream and stored in tissues so that it’s available when needed. I liked to measure Free T4 (FT4) since it is unbound and able to act in the body.

  • If FT4 is high – it can indicate an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism
  • If FT4 is low – it can indicate an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism

 

Total T3

Total T3 includes measurement of bound T3. Bound T3 is not considered active like free T3 but total T3 gives you a more stable long-term marker of T3 in circulation.

 

Thyroid Antibodies

The thyroid antibodies include thyroglobulin antibody, thyroid peroxidase antibody and thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin. The presence of these antibodies in your serum may indicate an autoimmune disease which is damaging your thyroid gland. Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) attack an enzyme used to synthesize thyroid hormones and are commonly elevated in both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ Disease patients. Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb), attack thyroglobulin, which your thyroid uses to produce its hormones. These are typically elevated in Hashimoto’s patients.

  • If your antibodies are elevated – your immune system is attacking your thyroid and you have autoimmune thyroid disease, or you are on the autoimmune spectrum.

 

Reverse T3

Reverse T3 helps measure the conversion capacity of your thyroid gland. Your body also uses a portion of the T4 to create Reverse T3 (RT3), another inactive form of thyroid hormone. RT3 can attach to the receptors for Free T3 to slow down your metabolic processes.

  • If RT3 is high – you are likely converting too much T4 to RT3 and not enough to FT3, which can cause hypothyroid symptoms even if your TSH and T4 levels are optimal. In addition, I look at something called the RT3/FT3 ratio. I like that to be less than a 10:1 ratio.

 

 

What you Should have Checked

Most conventional medicine doctors only check your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels. If you are lucky, they will test your Free T4 levels to see if you are low on the storage form of thyroid hormones. However, as we’ve just covered, there are many factors involved in optimal thyroid function, so those two levels alone don’t tell the whole story. To get a complete picture of a patient’s thyroid health and medication needs, I recommend ordering all of the thyroid tests listed below:

  • TSH
  • Free T4
  • Free T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)

 

Optimal Thyroid Lab Ranges

In my Practice, I have found that the ranges below are the ones in which my patients thrive. I listen to my patients as well and take how they are feeling into account.

  • TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
  • FT4 >1.1 NG/DL
  • FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
  • RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
  • TPO – TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative

 

Being educated about what’s going on with your thyroid will help you make the best choices when determing the next step in taggling your thyroid questions!

 

Is H. Pylori Contributing to Your Thyroid Issues?

Is H. Pylori Contributing to Your Thyroid Issues?

The Link Between Hashimoto's & H. Pylori

While some people feel better after removing the common foods that are disruptive to Hashimoto’s such as gluten and dairy; this only partially alleviates symptoms that are still lurking “underneath the thyroid’s surface”. You may initially feel better, and your thyroid antibodies may drop to acceptable ranges, but inevitably what happens is that their health problems begin creeping back in. All of a sudden they notice that they become sensitive to nuts, fruits and eggs, and other healthier foods, even though they may be on a Paleo or Keto diet; which they initially started because they found out they were sensitive to dairy and gluten. Their symptoms returned because their gut was still harboring “bugs” that were unwilling to let go of their warm and comfy home, even though they weren’t being fed their favorite foods any longer.

 

Which Bug Offends the Thyroid Most?

It’s known as  Helicobacter pylori (H.Pylori)  which is connected to both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease and can even cause a new onset food sensitivities. We know that the three-legged stool of autoimmunity consists of the genetic predisposition, the triggers, and the leaky gut. All three are required to be present for the autoimmune condition to manifest. Eliminating the triggers and addressing the leaky gut is key to getting autoimmune thyroid disease in remission

 

Where Can Infections Live?

Infections can live in your gums, your sinuses, your thyroid gland, your stomach, your intestines, and anywhere in your body. These infections can contribute to the development of autoimmunity through various mechanisms, depending on where they decide to take up residence.  The infections that live in the gut (such as H. Pylori), gums or sinuses can also contribute to intestinal permeability directly.

 

Getting to Know H. Pylori

H. Pylori is a bacteria that burrows into our stomach lining and secretes urease, which neutralizes stomach acid. The byproduct of the urease and stomach acid is toxic to epithelial cells as are the other chemicals produced by this bacterium, leading to damage to cells, a disruption of tight junctions and inflammation. This bacterium can trigger an immune response and has been implicated in numerous autoimmune conditions, including Hashimoto’s. H. pylori has been implicated in ulcers and can contribute to low stomach acid, leading people to improperly digest their foods. In turn, the poorly digested foods are not broken down properly, and thus the person ends up with multiple food sensitivities as a result of this infection. Here’s an important point I want to make sure hits home: only a small percent, perhaps 5-10% of those infected will develop an ulcer with H. pylori. Others may have acid reflux, while as many as 50% may be asymptomatic! And, antibodies produced in response to H. pylori can cross-react with many normal tissue antigens, such as gut cells and even thyroid tissue. Meaning your thyroid is under constant attack if you are harboring H. Pylori in your gut!

 

Testing for H. Pylori

These are the top 3 methods as to which H. Pylori can be tested:

*Breath test – this will be positive only in severe cases.

*Blood test – these differentiate between past and current infections, so it leaves a large area of discrepancy when it comes to treatment and current diagnosis.

*Stool antigen test I prefer this test which can uncover many low-grade infections as well.

When considering how to treat your autoimmune thyroid condition, please remember that it’s not just about treating the thyroid, but what has caused your thyroid to become imbalanced in the first place. My Naturopathic approach is to treat the root cause and in Hashimoto’s it usually involves healing the gut, removing toxins, and balancing hormones. They’re all linked.

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The Difference Between Oral and IV Vitamins

How IV Therapy Benefits You More Thank Oral Supplementation

What if there was one thing in your body that had the power to control the way you look, feel and think? And what if supporting this one thing was the key to unlocking everlasting health? Sound too good to be true? I’m here to tell you that not only is this a fact, but it’s this vital organ in your body that serves as a common denominator for most of today’s health problems. I’m referring to your gut.

The current Merck Manual lists 14 main gastrointestinal disorders, with up to 14 subdivisions within each of the principle groupings (Beers, 2006). Add to this the finding that many other disease states affect the gastrointestinal tract significantly, and both give us a strong reminder that our gut has a major influence on our health. Intravenous (IV) therapy can be a useful adjunct to the oral treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.

This is because by the time symptoms of disease have made their appearance, it is sometimes too late for oral vitamins and minerals to make much difference. Nevertheless, these same vitamins and minerals, given intramuscularly (IM) or intravenously, can benefit many diseases. We know that the health of the GI tract affects the overall health of all body functions and the well-being of every individual. We approach the problem of disease as a problem of the cell. What the cell needs to be maximally healthy is always found in nature. However, to be effective, these nutrients must be admitted into the cell.

When given in high concentration, IV or IM nutrients enter the cell by sheer force of numbers. Administering nutrients in a concentration great enough to force those nutrients into the cell by means of a high-concentration gradient as well as the ability of the cell wall to absorb them, is highly beneficial. Highly concentrated on the outside, the cell membrane is semi-permeable meaning that it admits the nutrients into the cell due to the high-concentration gradient that was created.

The only way to obtain this high concentration is by IV or IM administration. With the GI cells, the IV route is especially useful for this purpose, because it’s immediately absorbed. When oral absorption is not effective, the parenteral route proves to be the most effective option.

So if you find yourself suffering from any GI issues (gas, bloating, acid-reflux), hormone imbalances, hypothyroidism, menopause, Hashimotos, or even trying to prevent the common cold; an IV would be the best option for you. And for every one of my patients, I custom-make each and every IV, so that you get exactly what you need. No cookie cutter recipes in my office!