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The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight -- and How to Get Your Life Back Hardcover – September 27, 2016
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Thyroid Health Q&A with Dr. Amy Myers
Q: What are the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction?
A: Your thyroid is your body’s engine, it controls all of your metabolic processes. When your thyroid is underactive, and hypothyroidism, everything slows down, leading to weight gain, fatigue, poor concentration, constipation, infertility, low libido, depression, slow heart rate, and low body temperature. When it is overactive meaning you have hyperthyroidism, your metabolism speeds up, leading to weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, fast heartbeat, and loose stool.
Q: Why are so many people with thyroid dysfunction undiagnosed?
A: Many of the thyroid symptoms listed above are vague. So conventional doctors frequently write them off as a symptom of aging, depression, or stress. Also, most doctors spend only a few minutes talking with patients to sort out the cause of their symptoms. These two factors make diagnosis very challenging and patients may not receive a proper thyroid diagnosis for years.
Problems with lab work are also rampant. As I explained, many doctors aren’t even checking for thyroid dysfunction, especially in men and in women who aren’t in the age range most common among thyroid patients. In addition, most conventional doctors use only one or two tests, such as TSH and T4, to screen for problems. They are not checking Free T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone), Reverse T3, or thyroid antibodies, which are just as problematic when out of range. Once your doctor does get your lab results back, they are probably using the 'normal' lab reference ranges as their only guide. In functional medicine, we use 'optimal' lab ranges that are more narrow and ensure patients are put on a much more appropriate supplemental thyroid hormone dose. I provide a full list of all of the thyroid lab markers I check, as well as their optimal ranges in my book The Thyroid Connection.
Q: You write that conventional medicine also fails to address the root causes of thyroid dysfunction, what are those root causes?
A: Based on the latest research, my own experience treating thousands of thyroid patients and overcoming my own thyroid disease, and the experts I interviewed for my upcoming free online summit about thyroid health, I’ve identified five key environmental factors that cause thyroid dysfunction.
These factors are leaky gut, diet, toxins, infection, and stress. In most thyroid patients, and particularly those with autoimmune thyroid (Hashimoto’s or Graves’ Disease), there are more than one of these factors at play. To put it plainly, our modern lifestyles full of processed foods, untested toxic chemicals, and constant stress are making us sick. I explore all five of these in-depth in my book, and the 28-day plan in the book is designed to address them through a delicious, nutrient-dense meal plan, daily stress relief, and high-quality supplements.
Q: Why is gluten such a problem for thyroid patients?
A: Gluten wreaks havoc on your gut, increases your inflammation, and can directly cause your immune system to attack your thyroid. When anyone, whether they have gluten sensitivity or not, eats a gluten-containing food, the gluten proteins make their way through the stomach and arrive at the small intestine, where the body responds by producing zonulin, a chemical that signals the tight junctions of the intestinal walls to open up, creating temporary permeability.
Now that your small intestines are open and permeable this allows toxins, microbes, and partially digested food to leak into your bloodstream, your immune system goes on high alert to neutralize all of these threats. Unfortunately, the gluten that caused your gut to become leaky makes it even more likely that you will develop thyroid dysfunction (autoimmune and non autoimmune), thanks to a phenomenon called molecular mimicry. In molecular mimicry, the immune system is fooled into attacking molecules that look like the antigens or 'invaders' but are actually your body’s own tissue, causing autoimmune disease. In the case of thyroid dysfunction, your immune system mistakenly your thyroid, thinking that it’s gluten.
Q: How does stress contribute to thyroid dysfunction?
A: The primary stress hormone in your body is cortisol. Since its function is to provide you with a burst of energy, cortisol increases your blood sugar, suppresses your immune system to save energy, and begins breaking down your storage of protein and carbohydrate. This flooding and eventual plummeting of stress hormones has many negative impacts on the thyroid. It slows thyroid production and reduces your ability to convert thyroid hormones to their active form, causing hypothyroid symptoms.
Stress also increases thyroid hormone resistance. Inflammatory immune cells called cytokines are released in the stress response, which make thyroid receptors less sensitive to thyroid hormones. This means that even if you’re taking supplemental thyroid hormone and your thyroid hormone levels are normal, you can still be suffering from underactive thyroid symptoms.
Q: Are you ready to overcome thyroid dysfunction and take back your life?
A: Dr. Amy Myers’ new book, The Thyroid Connection, covers all of these topics (and more!) in depth and provides a step-by-step, 28-day plan to restore thyroid function and jumpstart your health.
"Who doesn't want to eat delicious foods, have more energy, and feel their absolute best? You don't have to upend your life to see amazing results--you just have to read THE THYROID CONNECTION."―Mark Hyman, MD, Director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine
"Thyroid disease is incredibly prevalent and affects every organ system in the human body. In THE THYROID CONNECTION, Dr. Amy Myers skillfully and eloquently guides us to the understanding that our lifestyle choices play major roles in determining thyroid health and function. Her message is empowering for those with thyroid issues as well as those who want to maintain thyroid health and resistance to disease. This book belongs on the reference shelf for anyone wishing to remain healthy!"―David Perlmutter, MD, author of Grain Brain and Brain Maker
"In THE THYROID CONNECTION, Dr. Myers paints a picture of how thyroid dysfunction can subtly contribute to health problems, and then brightens that picture with a brilliant, comprehensive plan to solve your thyroid problems once and for all."―Dallas Hartwig, coauthor of The Whole30
"Dr. Myers's plan is one of the most accessible, inspiring, and effective programs I have ever encountered. Anyone with a diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or even undiagnosed thyroid disorder will benefit from reading THE THYROID CONNECTION."―Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution
"In THE THYROID CONNECTION, Dr. Amy Myers dismantles myths and exposes the truth about thyroid dysfunctions--some of the most misunderstood disorders plaguing millions of Americans."―Frank Lipman, MD, author of The New Health Rules
"As a sufferer of thyroid dysfunction herself, Dr. Myers writes with a compassion and understanding that is not only comforting, but hugely inspiring."―Terry Wahls, MD, author of The Wahls Protocol
"Dr. Amy Myers is the hero that 20 million Americans suffering with undiagnosed thyroid disorders have been waiting for. THE THYROID CONNECTION is a revelation."―Dr. Josh Axe, author of Eat Dirt
From the Author
This book was a labor of love. I myself had Graves' disease, an autoimmune condition causing my body to attack my thyroid and cause it to be overactive.