- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Spark; 1 edition (September 27, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316272868
- ISBN-13: 978-0316272865
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 324 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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From the Publisher
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.
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Now please don't misinterpret my review and assume that I think traditional medicine is the holy grail for us all. That is sadly not the case. It has let me down time and time again as I struggle with ongoing symtpoms like hair loss and thinning, sudden and worsening loss of skin and muscle tone, fat gain, fatigue, lethargy, anxiety, depression, dried up and wrinkled skin, short term memory loss, brain fog, sleepless nights, etc. etc. Yet despite it all, my endo thinks my labs are totally fine. Elevated level of cortisol, higher than normal TSH indicating subclinical hypothryoidism, estrogen dominance, etc. were all obvious issues to me when I looked at the lab results I requested from my primary. Otherwise, I would never know I had any of these conditions. I also ordered a Vitamin D test and sure enough, found a deficiency as well. So yes, a functional medical doctor's perspective has a lot of potential to help you far more than a traditional MD ever could. Dr. Myers is absolutely well justified in saying they are neglectful, especially when it comes to ordering simple standard tests that can shed a lot of light on your problems, and will also insist "you're fine" when you never felt worse. I recently told my own endo that I felt like I was stranded inside a dying body. Her response? "You are," she said. "We all are. Yes it might feel terrible but this is a part of aging and we can't do a lot about it."
Incidentally, for those new to functional medicine who are lost and don't know where to start to begin uncovering the true root causes of their symtpoms, Dr. Myers offers a helpful section on the types of tests you should ask for to start getting a far more thorough and accurate picture of your overall health, which most primaries and endocrinologists routinely fail to do, and she is also quick to say you should work with your doctor or functional medical specialist on your issues. Your primary might strongly push back on the tests you requests, but if so, you should see a functional medical dr. and will need them in any case to help interpret your results. They are not going to look at very sub-optimal numbers in the so-called "normal range" and say everything is perfectly fine!
This book certainly could have benefitted with more help from the editing department, since a lot of redundancy extolling the many virtues of the Myers Plan up front begins to feel like a droning sales pitch. It isn't revolutionary, it's basically Paleo repackaged as the Myers plan. If you've got certain issues like gastrointestinal distress, the super restrictive auto immune paleo diet can help you figure out exactly which foods are irritating your gut. I personally discontinued gluten, thus far for three months, and I've seen absolutely no change, but I think only people with gluten sensitivity or an established celiac disease should cut this food group out of their diet if it is well established that it is a cause of certain symptoms. And of course dairy is another inflammatory group which I agree should be eliminated for at least one to three months, but if no changes to general well being or symptoms are realized, I see no reason for cutting it or any other wrongfully demonized food group out of your diet.
Finally arriving at the Myers plan, it is laid out in a 28 day format with the same information for everything you should do or eat each day, presented word for word, 28 times, which could be a lot more consicely stated and knock out an additional 30 pages of the book by saying, do these few things every day and change out your meals from the provided menus.
In summary, I found it a mixed bag. Helpful to those only just discovering what functional medicine is all about, and tired for others who've either researched on their own or are working with a functional medical practitioner to help realize their health goals.
I want to also point out a quite shaky attempt at diagnostic "testing" with the use of a few brief questionairres, which Dr. Myers is not the only practitioner guilty of incorporating into a book. I think these "diagnostic pop quizzes" are irresponsible from a medical standpoint. Why? Well, if you check off a certain amount of "yes" answers to a series of questions in a given questionairre, that, according to Myers, automatically indicates you are diagnosed with that disease. Again, I believe this is inaccurate, irresponsible and might do you more harm that good if you go out and buy a bunch of supplements without the benefit of testing or consulting with a functional medical dr., in a fruitless attempt to treat a condition you don't actually have.
Leaky gut is in my opinion one the most prevalent, and likely wrong, diagnoses that these practitioners tend to make, and there is insufficient evidence to prove it even exists. SIBO, IBS, and other disorders of the intenstines and stomach DO exist, and it's important to visit a gastroenterologist for proper diagnoses and treatment based on your individual circumstances. Regrettably, Dr. Myers isn't the only one to offer these little "pop quizzes" designed to diagnose you with just a few questions based on a set of non specific symptoms which could be tied to any of hundreds of other conditions. For example, in another MD's book about hormones, I took all the pop quizzes and was sure I must be suffering from low testosterone, since all of the symptoms I had were an exact match for this imbalance. Imagine how surprised I was to get all of my hormones tested and find out exactly the opposite was true - I had rather high testosterone and plenty of other hormonal imbalances to boot. When one hormone gets out of whack, they all do, and the patterns that hormonal imbalances might follow are different from individual to individual.
My final impression is to take the recommendations and plans here with a grain of (sea) salt. Indeed there is a lot here that can help you improve your health, but certainly enough that may cause you harm as well. As a former lacto vegetarian myself, I can't imagine eating artery clogging bacon and sausage every other day and expecting to feel great. As someone who suffers with gastritis and chronic bladder inflammation, you won't find me in the same neighborhood with a glass of lemon juice. A tiny drop of that in my system, rather than cleansing or clearing or helping anything whatsoever, would simply make me feel like there was a sharp knife in my instestines all the time. So you want to be aware of any conditions besides thryoid issues you might have that could get worse by following the dietary suggestions made here.