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NAET Treatments & Hashimoto’s: #7 – Rice & Potatoes

NAET Treatments & Hashimoto’s: #7 – Rice & Potatoes

Following is a list of everything we’ve covered up to this point. Feel free to click on the links to revisit or catch up on any of my previous NAET posts:

  1. Brain Body Balance
  2. Egg Mix
  3. Calcium Mix
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Sugar
  6. Base

As I stated in my last NAET post, following the last treatment, I was able to go off of all of my digestive enzyme supplements! This is a vast improvement for my digestive system and I’m really looking forward to doing stomach acid, which is a few treatments away, to see what differences that might  make.

Treatment #7 was for rice and potatoes. This treatment is not considered one of the “Basic 15”, but was a little “side trip” in order to prepare me for doing the vitamin B treatment. The vitamin B treatment is challenging, in terms of what you can eat, so my practitioner wanted to try to give me as many options as possible. Since I normally don’t do well with either rice or potatoes, the hope is that treating me for these foods will allow me to tolerate them more easily.

The treatment began, as usual, with muscle testing to see if I cleared the last treatment, which was for digestive enzymes. I did, so we were able to simply move forward from there. My practitioner then tested me for rice and potatoes and, of course, I was weak.  We went through the usual treatment series: spinal “massage” with breathing and energy work, followed by acupuncture.

The avoidance for this treatment turned out to be very easy for me, since I never eat rice or potatoes anyway. My practitioner instructed me to eat a small amount of rice and potatoes regularly after the avoidance period (which was calculated at 50 hours again) to see how well I tolerate them.

We also discussed what I would be able to eat following the vitamin B treatment, which would be after this treatment. The list was not pretty: deep fried fish, deep fried potatoes, white rice, cauliflower…ugh. I decided I would purchase a very small deep fryer so that I could control this process and use my own gluten-free batter for the fish. I have not eaten deep fried anything in about 30 years and haven’t ever really done my own deep frying, so this should be interesting.

After my avoidance period was over, I did try eating potatoes and rice. I’m not fond of potatoes anymore. I’ve lived too long without them. I do like rice, however, but I know I’ll have to be careful about how much I eat after the vitamin B treatment.

I continued to feel pretty good after this treatment and I have been able to hold onto the reductions I made in my medications so far, so that is a good sign.

The adventure continues….

To healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

NAET Treatments & Hashmoto’s: Treatment #6 – Base

NAET Treatments & Hashmoto’s: Treatment #6 – Base

To catch up on what we’ve done so far in this series, you can click on any of the links below:

  1. Brain Body Balance
  2. Egg Mix
  3. Calcium Mix
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Sugar

My sixth NAET treatment was for digestive enzymes or, in NAET parlance, “Base”. I was pretty excited about this treatment because I’ve had an enzyme deficiency for a very long time. I was also a little skeptical, I must say. It was hard for me to understand how my body could just begin to produce enzymes again after being unable to for so long. But, I decided to trust the process and just see what might happen.

We began the session with the usual: muscle testing to see if I cleared the last treatment for sugar, and I did. As a result, I should be able to eat some things that contain sugar, but since this is still fairly early on in the treatment process, I decided to be safe and try only a few cooked apples. I was able to eat these with, what seemed to be, no problems, but I continue to be very judicious about how many of these I eat and how often I eat them.

As the session continued, we discussed the supplements I would have to avoid for this digestive enzyme treatment. Obviously, I would have to stay away from digestive enzymes, but, unfortunately, my hydrochloric acid supplement also has enzymes in it, so I would have to avoid that as well. We decided that apple cider vinegar could be used instead if I had problems.

As for food, I would need to avoid eggs, vegetables, beans and dairy products. This left me with a couple of days of eating basically meat, quinoa, and the special bread I make. I joked as I was going through this that I was on a “brown” diet because everything on my plate was brown. Other than the monochrome nature of the food, the diet wasn’t particularly hard to follow and I was able to stay on the majority of my supplements, so that really wasn’t a problem either.

The remainder of the treatment was as before: I was tested for digestive enzymes and found to be weak. This was then followed by spinal “massage” with breathing, which was followed by energy work, and that was followed by acupuncture. My practitioner then retested for the enzymes and I tested strong.

My practitioner also tested to see if we could treat for rice and potatoes at the next session in order to prepare me for the vitamin B treatment coming up. The vitamin B treatment is really challenging as there is very little that you can eat, since almost everything contains vitamin B. Hence, the need to clear my system of any issues it might have with rice and potatoes (and I have a history of problems with both).

My avoidance period was, once again, calculated at 50 hours. At the end of the avoidance period, I decided not to take anymore enzymes and I have been off of them ever since.

I was able to eliminate both of my digestive enzyme supplements with this one treatment.

I continue to be astounded at the changes I am experiencing with these treatments. This is much more improvement than I have had with any other approach I have tried. So exciting!

To continued healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: Treatment #5 – Sugar Mix –

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: Treatment #5 – Sugar Mix –

Here’s a list of all of the previous treatments we have covered:

  1. Brain Body Balance
  2. Egg Mix
  3. Calcium Mix
  4. Vitamin C

You can click on any of these to go back and catch up on anything you may have missed.

Treatment #5 was for sugar. Normally, you would treat for vitamin B at this point in time, but because my body was asking to be treated for digestive enzymes after the calcium treatment and we couldn’t do that until we treated for sugar, we decided to do sugar, then digestive enzymes, then vitamin B. It’s really nice that these treatments can be tailored to the needs of each individual.

For a lot of people, treating for sugar would be a biggie, in terms of avoidance. For me, it was just a normal couple of days because I’ve not been able to tolerate sugar of any kind for a number of years anyway. But for someone who is eating sugar, you would have to avoid the following kinds of sugars: cane, beet, brown, corn, rice, maple, fruit [fructose], date, grape sugars, glucose, maltose, dextrose, glucose, sucrose, lactose, molasses, honey. This means anything to which sugar has been added, in addition to fruit, dairy products, and root vegetables. You would also have to avoid toothpaste and mouthwash! I just used baking soda instead.

Stevia is not included in this list, so if you eat something that is only sweetened with stevia, that should be fine.

As usual, at the beginning of the appointment, we discussed any changes or difficulties that occurred since the last treatment. I told my practitioner that I had to cut way back on my vitamin C after the treatment because I was feeling really anxious. She muscle-tested me for the vitamin C and found that 1500 mg would be the optimal dose.

That was half of what I had required before the treatment!

Since then, I have found that I actually do better with only 1000 mg a day, which is an even bigger reduction from my original 3000 mg a day!

After this, I was muscle-tested for sugar and, of course, my arm just fell to the table when she tested me. If you missed the post where I discuss muscle testing, you can find it here.

My sugar issues have been going on for a really long time. You would not be wrong to characterize my past eating habits as those of someone addicted to sugar. Over the years, I gradually weaned myself off because I knew that sugar was contributing to my fatigue. I finally took myself off of all sugars, including fruit, about 4-5 years ago because even the fruit was making me tired. But elimination has not allowed me to reintroduce any fruit with any success. I’ve suspected SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) for a while, but tests for SIBO are not usually very conclusive and I’m not willing to drink that horrible sugary stuff they make you drink as part of the test. My biggest hope for this treatment is that it will help to resolve these sugar issues.

After testing, we went through the normal spinal “massage” followed by energy work, followed by acupuncture. Afterward, she tested me again for sugar and I was strong.

As I mentioned earlier, this avoidance period was really no problem for me. The only thing I had to avoid that I eat fairly regularly were root veggies, and avoiding those for 2 days was easy.

When it was over, I didn’t go all out and try to eat every sugary thing out there. I feel like sugar is a big enemy of the body, so I’m not so anxious to re-incorporate it into my diet. I did cook some apples, with no added sugar, and eat some after meals. Apples are really important for handling inflammation and for feeding the muscles, so this is one food I would like to be able to tolerate well again. My body seemed to handle these better than it would have before the treatment. Aside from that, I just stayed with my usual sugarless diet after the avoidance period.

A few days after the treatment, I started feeling wound up and hyper again. I decided to decrease my dose of LDN to 2 mg. This helped some, but after a couple of days, I could tell it was not going to be enough. So, I decided to decrease my thyroid medication as well, from 1.75 grains to 1.25 grains. That seemed to help quite a bit. To reiterate:

I was able to cut my LDN in half and reduce my thyroid medications by 1/2 grain after this treatment!

I have to say, I continue to be surprised by the vast improvements I am experiencing in such a short period of time as a result of these treatments.

I’m hoping that, after I’m done with the “Basic 15” treatments, I will get be able to get more adventurous with trying foods that I haven’t been able to eat for a long time. For now, I’m just really happy to be making my supplement list shorter and feeling stronger as a result. I know there is some point in the treatment sequence where it’s considered safe to start trying new foods again. I’m sure my practitioner will let me know whenever that is and give me some guidance as to how to go about that.

By the way, I found a booklet on the NAET site which details the results of a 10 year study of the effects of NAET treatments on various health issues. It’s really pretty amazing. You can check that out here.

More soon.

Wishing you the best of health,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Fourth Treatment – Vitamin C

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Fourth Treatment – Vitamin C

If you’ve been following the acupuncture posts I’ve been writing, then you know that this is what we’ve done so far:

You can click on any of the above links to refer back to any posts you haven’t seen yet or would like to read again.

My fourth NAET treatment was for vitamin C. As usual, I looked ahead to see what I would need to avoid and how this would affect my supplements. Once again, I was looking at having to do without a lot of my supplements, but I made a note to myself to discuss this with my practitioner, given how difficult it was for me to get through the last treatment.

The food avoidance was also going to be challenging, as I would need to avoid all fruits and veggies. If I ate french fries, drank soda, or included dairy in my diet, I would’ve had to avoid those as well. So it was going to be a couple of days of meat, eggs, nuts and quinoa.

The beginning of my appointment involved a discussion of my difficulties with the last treatment. Since my practitioner believed that the problem was due to my not clearing the calcium, the first thing she did was muscle test for that. As I stated in my last post, I did clear the calcium, but my body was asking that it be treated for digestive enzymes as soon as possible. This made a lot of sense to me, since my digestive system has been screwed up for as long as I can remember and I’ve been taking digestive enzymes for many years.

Next, she muscle tested to see when we could do the treatment for the enzymes, as this typically occurs a few more treatments down the road. She concluded that we could do it after she treated me for sugar, so we agreed that we would do sugar at the next treatment so that we could then do the enzymes after that. We also agreed that I could use my “workaround routine” in order to take my multivitamin with this treatment. She then muscle tested me for the vitamin C and, of course, my arm fell right to the table.

There is an established order for these treatments, but everyone is different, so it’s really important that your practitioner be able to adjust to what your body needs, to the degree that this is possible. If you’re curious about the order and the details regarding what you can and cannot eat or touch during these treatments, you can find a complete listing of the “Basic 15” here.

Next, we went through the usual routine of spinal “massage”, energy work and acupuncture, followed by muscle testing for vitamin C to make sure my body had accepted the treatment. She then calculated how long I would have to avoid vitamin C and it was my usual 50 hours.

I am happy to say that this avoidance period was much easier for me than the last, due in large part, I believe, to being able to take my multivitamin. I did get a little tired toward the end, but I bounced right back after the avoidance period was over.

Over the next couple of days, I noticed that I started feeling tense and wound up. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. It seemed logical that this reaction was connected to the treatment, so I reduced my vitamin C and stopped taking all but one of my histamine supplements. After a day or so, I started to calm down again.

The problem with getting well is that you have to try to figure out what you can do without, but this is a great problem to have.

By the time I got to my next treatment, I was only taking 1000 mg of vitamin C (as opposed to 3000 mg) and one histamine supplement (out of 4) and I felt ok with that!!

Since I had this treatment, I have had to add another histamine supplement back in, but I’ve been fine with the reduction in vitamin C which means that my body is obviously getting more vitamin C out of the food I’m eating. I cannot tell you how exciting that is, because malabsorption has been a problem for me for a very long time.

This is the point of NAET – to help your body recognize and process food again.

This treatment totally restored my faith in this protocol and my hope that I can, once again, be a normally functioning individual. I am really looking forward to upcoming treatments and the progress that I know is going to happen.

In healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

 

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The First Treatment – Brain Body Balance

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The First Treatment – Brain Body Balance

In my previous post about acupuncture and Hashi’s, I wrote about the fact that I began “specialized” treatments for food sensitivities and allergies in September. In this post, I want to talk about this form of treatment and describe my first visit to my NAET practitioner.

What is NAET? It stands for Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques.  According to the NAET website, these treatments were discovered by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad in November of 1983. The treatments are a combination of acupuncture, kinesiology (muscle testing), energy work, chiropractic work and nutritional and supplementation guidance. The treatments adhere to a particular schedule, clearing one allergen or sensitivity at a time, although the schedule is often amended based on what particular issues an individual might be facing. The explanation behind the procedure is that the treatment causes the substance for which you are being treated to circulate throughout your body while you are actually avoiding taking in that substance for a period of time. This allows your body to become reacquainted with the substance and to remember how to process it correctly.

For instance, if you are being treated for vitamin C, then your practitioner will determine how long you will need to avoid all contact with vitamin C after the treatment. This includes not only ingesting vitamin C, but touching it as well. After your avoidance period is over, your body will be absorbing vitamin C better than it was before the treatment because it has “relearned” how to process vitamin C correctly.

The official protocol for NAET states that substances should be avoided for 25 hours; however, my practitioner has found that, if she tests and asks the body how long it needs to clear a particular substance, and follows that advice, then her clients are much more apt to clear everything successfully. My “magic number” to date has been 50 hours. I wish it were 25 because, depending on what you’re trying to avoid, 50 hours can be a mighty long time. It is becoming easier with each treatment, though.

The First Treatment

My first visit was booked for 2 hours, but it actually lasted for 2 1/2 hours. I find that my practitioner is very generous with her time, unless I come on a day when she has a really full schedule.

Most of the first visit was spent discussing my lengthy and complicated medical history. I realized a long time ago that I needed to just create a document with my medical history on it so that when I start with any new practitioner, I can just hand them the page or refer to it myself when answering questions on their intake forms.

We talked at length about all of my issues, most of which she was pretty familiar with since she’s been doing this for a long time. I found her very easy to talk with, which is important for me if I know I’m going to be working with someone long term.

After the intake process, we went into her acupuncture room and she had me lie down on the table. She did some muscle testing to see where my “base” was, so she would have something on which to reference my reactions later.

What is muscle testing, you ask? 

If you do a search for muscle testing, you will find a lot of varied opinions about this technique, but I have found it to be very helpful to me. People out there can say it’s quackery all they want, it has worked for me and continues to work for me. So, you need to stand back and keep an open mind if you’ve never experienced it before.

Conventional medical people always like to say “there are no studies supporting this”, but we have to include patient reports in any treatment modality we investigate and, until people are willing to start investing money in studies for alternative treatments, we won’t have any studies to support those treatments.

The first time I encountered this technique was with a naturopath I was seeing some years ago. She used muscle testing to determine various weaknesses in my body and also to determine which supplements would be best for me. The theory behind the testing is that the inherent strength in your muscles is connected to quality of function in your inner organs, therefore, if you have a weak liver, for instance, and you test for that via the muscles, the muscles will also present with weakness.

Typically, you stand or lie down and hold up one arm, resisting against a push on that arm by the practitioner. If the practitioner touches a part of the body that corresponds with a weak organ, you will not be able to push against the force any longer and your arm will fall. I went into my first experience with this not having any idea what to expect, so I wasn’t “preconditioned” in any way, and I was amazed at how it worked. There is no way that you can force your arm to stay up in these situations – the strength just isn’t there.

My chiropractor uses muscle testing at every session to determine where my muscles are weak so that he can decide what kinds of adjustments to make. As soon as the adjustments are made, my strength comes back in that arm. It has worked beautifully for all the years that I have continued to see him.

So, back to my first NAET treatment.

Once she had her reference base from the initial testing, she tested me for the substance that I was to be treated for that day. The first NAET treatment is always something called “Brain Body Balance Formula”. I have no idea what it’s comprised of, but its purpose is to begin to balance the body in preparation for the second treatment.

When she tested me for this, of course, I was weak. To date, every time she has tested me for a substance prior to the actual treatment, I have been weak. But, this doesn’t surprise me, given how many allergies and sensitivities I have.

After this, she had me turn over on the table and she performed a kind of spinal massage, beginning at my neck and going all the way down to the tailbone. While she was doing this, I was instructed to do different kinds of breathing, like holding my breath, exhaling and holding, breathing rapidly, and breathing normally. She went through these cycles a number of times and then did energy work where she placed her hands on my back for about 5 minutes or so. I have found that this “massage” and energy work always relaxes me.

Acupuncture followed the energy work. She only used about 10-12 points, but, make no mistake, it was still very powerful. She inserted the needles and then gave me time to rest.

At the end of the treatment, she tested me again for the substance for which I was being treated and I was much stronger than during the previous testing. Thankfully, for this first treatment, I did not have to avoid anything, so she didn’t have to test to see how long my avoidance period would be.

It became clear to me within a couple of days that I needed to cut back on my adrenal supplements completely. I have been off of them ever since.

To understand how amazing this is, is to understand that I have not been able to be without those supplements for years and years. I was stunned. I am still on my hydrocortisone, but the long term plan for these treatments is that I will eventually go off of that too.

I will be writing about all of my NAET treatments here, but I have had enough of them by this point in time to tell you that some pretty amazing things have been happening and, for the first time in a long time, I have real hope that I can get well. It’s an incredible feeling.

More soon.

To getting well,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

 

Supplements Which May Be Helpful With Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Supplements Which May Be Helpful With Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Please remember, these choices are very personal and I am listing mine simply to show you what has worked for me, not as medical advice.

I’ll be honest with you: I am on a truckload of supplements. Why? Because I was not able to find knowledgeable practitioners in time to avoid a long list of food allergies, which led me to a place where I was on a ridiculously restricted diet. This meant that the only way I could really get the vitamins and minerals I needed was through supplements because I would react to practically every kind of food that went into my mouth.

I am still struggling with this situation, but it is slowly getting better, thank goodness. But I will tell you that patience is key to this process. I have to keep telling myself that I didn’t get this way overnight and I am not going to get “well” overnight, either.

I talk more about diet and food allergies in this post. Here I just want to provide you with a list of what I’m currently taking and why, in order to give you an idea of where you might want to start your own research regarding your own supplements.

Please remember: this is not medical advice, only my own experience. You should consult with a knowledgeable practitioner as you go through this journey. I am listing the brands I use only as reference. I am not being compensated for this information.

I’m going to divide my supplements into categories according to what each is trying to address so that I can discuss each in a more coherent way. I am continuing to try new and different things, so I will try to keep this information updated as I make changes to my regimen.

General Support

  • Multivitamin: I use a heavy-duty multivitamin called Ultra Preventive III by Douglas Laboratories because of my restricted diet and inability to absorb my food very well. I feel like my ability to absorb nutrients is improving, as I have been able to reduce my dose of this supplement recently. This multi has a broad range of vitamins and minerals in it that are ideal for people struggling with gut problems. Whatever multi you decide to use, be sure that it is a comprehensive one.
  • Vitamin D: it seems that people with Hashi’s very often have a deficiency in vitamin D. For me, this has been a result of my gut problems and also my inability to get outside much and exercise as a result of my muscle issues. I take 5000 IU daily and I use the Jarrow brand.
  • Fish oil: fish oil is great for a lot of things as it is a good source of Omega 3. Apparently the tendency in America is to get too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3, since many processed and fast foods use Omega 6 oils. Fish oil can help with anxiety, depression, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hair growth and gut health, just to name a few. I use wild salmon oil (Natural Factors brand). For a detailed discussion of the benefits of fish oil, click here.
  • Evening Primrose oil: I began taking this to help with hair loss and it has definitely made a difference. This oil has a reputation for aiding in balancing hormones in women, helping with fertility, hair loss, skin health and even rheumatoid arthritis. I use Barleans brand. For more info on this oil, click here.
  • Borage oil: this oil has more GLA than Evening Primrose and so may help more with inflammation and issues connected to healing, which is why I added it to my regimen. There are also people online who swear by it for hair loss. I use Barleans brand. For more info, click here.
  • Monolaurin: my doctor put me on this supplement after he took me off of iodine and I was getting sick all of the time. It is really great for boosting the immune system. I immediately felt better after I started taking it. Since then, I’ve resumed my iodine supplement (you can read more about this below), but decided to keep taking this until my system has had a chance to heal more. I use the Ecological Formulas brand. For more info on monolaurin and its precursor, lauric acid, click here.
  • Ultra Benfotiamine: this is a form of thiamine and apparently, Hashi’s people are usually deficient in thiamine. I discovered this wonderful supplement as a result of Dr. Isabella Wentz at thyroidpharmacist.com. It has made a lot of difference in my energy levels. Be sure to read her information on this supplement here. I use the Douglas Laboratories brand.
  • Calcium Lactate: I am lactose intolerant, so getting calcium into my diet can be a challenge. I began this supplement via a naturopath that I was seeing some years ago and, while I thought it would be beneficial to my bones, the biggest change I noticed was in my thinking. I was able to think much faster and clearer once I started taking this. It makes sense, because calcium is one of the electrolytes that your body needs in order to pass messages from the brain to the body and back again. I use the Standard Process brand. You can read more about calcium and the brain here.
  • 5-MTHF: this supplement is necessary for people who have a problem with methylation, which is a process involved in protein synthesis, detoxification, formation of transmitters, and hormone regulation, among other things. People with Hashi’s often have issues with methylation, either as a result of a genetic mutation, leaky gut, lousy diet, or exposure to environmental toxins. You can get tested for gene mutations to find out if you’re at risk. I was tested several years ago, there was a mutation, and my doctor immediately put me on this supplement. I take Metabolic Maintenance brand. This whole methylation thing is very involved, but there’s a good explanation here.

Digestion

  • Probiotics: these are critical for anyone with gut issues. I had to try quite a few before I found one that seemed to work for me. I wasn’t able to tolerate prebiotics very well and a lot of these supplements have inulin which is a definite no-no for me. So, if your body doesn’t like what you’re taking, be sure you don’t force the issue. I use Probacto probiotics and I feel like this product has really worked well for me. It is an “anti-Candida” probiotic, but you don’t necessarily have to be diagnosed with Candida to use it and get benefits from the way it works.
  • Digestive Enzymes: I take these with all meals and snacks. They break down your food and make it possible for your intestines to absorb nutrients. Some people are deficient in these enzymes from birth, others develop deficiencies due to bad dietary habits. There is some evidence that individuals who were not breast fed are deficient in enzymes because mother’s milk acts to provide the infant with numerous enzymes after birth. Go here to find out more. I use Pancremax by Karuna for meals and Prozymes by GIProHealth for snacks. Why two different kinds, you ask? Because the Karuna is pretty expensive and I know the Prozymes are also safe for me, but a little cheaper.
  • Hydrochloric acid: most people with Hashi’s have low stomach acid, which means your food will not be broken down or digested properly. It’s important to supplement with Betaine Hydrochloride with Pepsin for optimum results, so be sure whatever supplement you choose has both. My doctor advised me to start with a small dose and gradually increase until I felt some stomach discomfort, then decrease the dose slightly from there. I used to use a Standard Process supplement for this that I liked very much, but then it became ridiculously expensive, so now I’m using Hydrozyme by Biotics Research Corporation.
  • L- Glutamine: this is an amino acid which supports the intestinal lining and may help with repairing a leaky gut. I use Jarrow brand.
  • Ginger tea: this has been a lifesaver for me. No more Pepto-Bismol for stomach aches. I go straight for the ginger tea and I keep drinking it until my tummy feels better. I also drink it after every meal because it helps so much with digestion. Warning: it will make you feel warm and, if you’re like me and you’re dealing with hot flashes, it will make them worse, but only for a little while. The digestive support is worth the extra heat to me. I always try to drink organic, plain ginger tea when possible, although sometimes I splurge and have a cup of lemon-ginger tea instead.

Thyroid/Adrenal Support

  • Adrenal cortex: this supplement supports the adrenal glands and supplies the body with extra energy and mental clarity. I use Pure Encapsulations brand.
  • Coconut oil: this supports the thyroid, brain function and contains a lot of caprylic acid, which is great at fighting fungus in the system. I use Health Support brand.
  • Vitamin C: I have been off of fruit for a long, long time because my body just cannot process any form of sugar properly. I am still trying to sort out this problem, but in the meantime, it has been necessary to supplement with lots of vitamin C. The adrenals must have vitamin C in order to function properly and anyone with an adrenal deficiency will need to take lots of it in order to help those tiny organs do their jobs. I use the American Health brand with bioflavonoids. I have noticed I feel much better on this brand than others and this supplement comes in tablet, capsule and vegetarian formulas.
  • Selenium: many people with thyroid problems are deficient in selenium and, if you are taking in any iodine at all, you need to balance it out with selenium in order to keep your antibodies from going up. I have tried plain selenium in the past, but I find that Life Extension Super Selenium makes me feel better. You need to be sure you are getting 200 mcg daily.
  • Iodine: this is a highly controversial area when it comes to Hashimoto’s. Suffice it to say that there are people out there who will tell you not to take in any iodine at all if you have Hashi’s, not even in your food. I can tell you I tried this and I felt like total crap. My allergies became much worse and I just felt generally bad. If you know anything about iodine at all, then you know that it cleans your blood and that your thyroid gland has to have it to function properly, so I am at odds with anyone who says you shouldn’t have any at all. There are studies out there that show that iodine can be taken successfully by people with Hashi’s as long as adequate selenium is taken with it. I am currently taking 1/2 of a 12.5 mg tablet of Iodoral. I have found that, if I take more, depression sets in, and, if I take less, my allergies flare up badly. There are other brands of iodine out there, such as New Iodine and Lugol’s, which people use with great success. If you have never taken iodine before, be sure to do so with a doctor’s supervision and begin at very low doses and work your way up to what seems best for you.
  • B12: this powerful little vitamin is crucial for adrenal, muscle and brain health. Symptoms of a deficiency can include chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety,  and muscle aches and pains, to name only a few. I’m currently using sublinqual drops by Pure Encapsulations. The jury is still out on this as I have only just started using it, so I may be updating this choice in the future. For more info on B12, click here.

Muscle Health

  • Magnesium malate: in general, I find that I need pretty high doses of magnesium in order to keep my muscles from knotting up and going into spasm. I take two kinds: magnesium malate by Designs for Health and magnesium citrate/malate by Pure Encapsulations. Altogether, I am taking between 1200 and 1500 mg a day. I have found that magnesium malate works best for me, but this is a personal thing. I cannot eat any fruit at the moment, so I am not getting any malic acid from much of anywhere and your muscles need this to function properly. I have found, however, that if I take too much of the magnesium malate by Designs for Health, or if I take just plain malic acid, that I get a headache. So, I am constantly working with how I combine these two magnesium supplements. There are other forms of magnesium out there. It’s important to get one that the body can absorb easily. I started with magnesium citrate years ago in order to help with constipation. My functional medicine doctor put me on magnesium malate in order to help with my muscle problems. Since then, I have just been tweaking the doses as needed.
  • CoQ10: this supplement is widely known to help with muscle health. I use the Jarrow brand, 200 mg.
  • Epsom salts baths: every evening, I soak in a bath of epsom salts. I use this time to do some self massage on my neck, shoulders and arms, and anywhere else that might be giving me trouble. I find this really helps my muscle tissue stay more flexible and it also helps me sleep better.
  • Magnesium lotion: I have just started using this, but I can already tell it’s helping. I recently had a bout with my left hip flexor muscles and found that my usual supplements were not enough to ease the pain. I had tried magnesium oil in the past and didn’t really get much relief from it, but the lotion I’m currently using is definitely making a difference. I put it on at night before sleeping. It not only helps with muscle pain and knots, but it helps with sleep as well. If I’m having extra muscle issues, then I also use it during the day. I’m using Life Flo Health Products brand.

Histamine Intolerance/General Inflammation

  • Turmeric: this is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and has also been connected with brain health. I put in almost everything I eat, in addition to taking it as a supplement. I take the Organic India brand.
  • Antronex: this supplement is by Standard Process and I have found it to be very helpful with sinus conditions associated with histamine problems. It is made from bovine liver extract which helps to cleanse the blood. You can see a detailed description of this supplement here.
  • Quercetin: this is a wonderful anti-histamine antioxidant with many talents. It occurs naturally in several types of foods. I use the Jarrow brand. To find out more, you can go here.
  • Mangosteen: this is actually a tropical fruit, popular in Southeast Asian regions. It’s known for its anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties and is being studied for its anti-cancer properties. I use the Source Naturals brand

So that’s it for my list for now. I hoping this list will become shorter very soon. As I change things, I will update you.

May we all find healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

Addressing Hashimoto’s Symptoms – Where to Start?

Addressing Hashimoto’s Symptoms – Where to Start?

Depending on how long you’ve been dealing with Hashimoto’s disease, you may have only a few symptoms or everything that was on the list in my earlier post. Obviously, it’s easier to manage if you have only a few, but it’s really important that those first symptoms are managed properly, so that your condition doesn’t worsen.

In my case, as I mentioned before, symptoms were ignored for literally decades until, finally, a thyroid antibody test (which no one had ever thought to do prior to that time) returned a positive result. People are now starting to talk about the fact that by the time you are actually diagnosed with this condition, it may have been around for a very long time and you may already be in a pretty severe stage of the disease.

Thyroid Meds

When you’re diagnosed with this condition, you are diagnosed as being hypothyroid (underactive thyroid). Conventional doctors will inevitably prescribe medications such as Synthroid or its generic equivalent Levothyroxin. Unfortunately, this approach simply attempts to support the thyroid gland without addressing any component of the autoimmune problem. This is why we all get sicker over time. For more on this issue and some alternatives, click here.

Digestive Issues

Digestion is a huge issue with a lot of people who have Hashi’s. Many of us have never had good digestion for whatever reason and some of us have created a hostile digestive environment through bad eating habits. In either case, the end result is usually leaky gut. There is still skepticism about this condition among many conventional doctors, but I am definitely a believer. Given my own struggles with digestive issues my entire life, I now firmly believe that this was the shaky foundation that helped to set me on a path to Hashimoto’s. Simply put, leaky gut allows food particles that would normally stay in your digestive tract to escape into your blood stream. This not only causes problems with nutrient absorption, but it causes your body to become sensitive to a wide variety of foods, since it is no longer being protected by the usual barrier between your gut and your bloodstream. This results in becoming allergic to a long list of foods and not being able to absorb nutrients from food, so you literally become malnourished. At my lowest point, my hair was falling out, I had become very thin, and my muscles were basically just hanging off of my bones because I was on a horribly restricted diet and I was absorbing very few nutrients from my food. For a detailed discussion of leaky gut, you can go here.

As if this weren’t enough, many people also struggle with Candida, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and/or parasites. Any of these can cause brain fog and fatigue, along with digestive issues. You can find more info and resources on this topic here.

All this leads to the question: What can I eat?  I used to joke some years ago, when I was gradually eliminating first one food and then another and another and another, that by the time I was 60, I would be subsisting only on saltines and water. Well, that turned out not to be true, because I can’t even eat saltines!!  All joking aside, this is a serious issue, given the above-mentioned problems with malabsorption and malnutrition. For my take on this, go here.

Supplements become a primary concern for those of us struggling with this condition, usually because of malabsorption problems in the gut which can ultimately lead to malnutrition. However, you need to be very careful about the quality of the supplements you use and the extra ingredients that may be included. Sometimes these can worsen your condition, especially if you have multiple allergies and sensitivities. I have a post detailing the supplements and medications I use here. Please remember, these choices are very personal and I am listing mine simply to show you what has worked for me, not as medical advice.

Sleep…or the lack thereof

Most people with Hashimoto’s will deal with insomnia at some point. This can present in several ways. Sometimes people have difficulty falling asleep, sometimes it’s hard to stay asleep, and sometimes it can be both. Issues with falling asleep very often point to a badly regulated thyroid gland and issues with staying asleep can be related to adrenal, kidney, or liver issues. When you have both of these, then trying to get any decent sleep at all becomes a real challenge. Food sensitivities also play into this because if you’re eating foods that your body is having difficulty processing, then your body is probably going to wake you up in the middle of the night to let you know it is not happy. You can find an in-depth discussion of this problem here.

Chronic Pain (and Attempting to Exercise)

I didn’t know this until well after I was diagnosed, but chronic muscle and joint pain is also a common symptom of Hashimoto’s. For me, this presented as knots and spasms in my muscles which were incredibly painful, so much so that I have had to walk away from several jobs as a result. For now, my pain is pretty manageable, but I have found that removing stress is critical to keeping the pain at bay, along with taking copious amounts of magnesium and getting a prescription for low dose naltrexone (LDN). Read more about this here.

One of the most frustrating things for me about the muscle pain has been the inability to do much physical exercise. There are people out there who will advise certain things about Hashi’s and exercise, but the bottom line is, you can only do what you can do. So don’t push yourself to do exercises that are going to worsen your condition, regardless of what anyone says. I talk more about this here.

Brain Fog

Another common complaint among Hashi’s people is brain fog. If you’ve experienced this, you know. You can’t concentrate, you forget easily, you really feel like you can’t do anything but just sit in front of the TV, and, even then,  you can’t concentrate on what you’re watching. It’s a horrible feeling and it’s scary, especially with increases in diagnosed cases of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. There seems to be a very strong connection between brain health and thyroid function, as well as a healthy gut. You can learn more about this here and here.

Depression and Anxiety

And lastly, I have to mention the emotional toll this condition takes on everyone who has it, because it is a large one. Depression and anxiety are common not only because you are constantly battling the various facets of this disease, but also because they are a physical part of this condition. Hashimoto’s screws mightily with your hormones and your hormones have a fundamental part to play in endocrine health, which regulates your emotions. So, it’s important to remember that these are symptoms, not some personal failing because you “can’t handle” your condition.

As I mentioned before, I have walked away from numerous jobs due to my Hashi’s and when/if you have to do this, it can bring all sorts of questions to your mind: What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I work like a normal person? Will I ever have a normal life again? How will I live? and the biggie, especially if you’ve been doing work you identify heavily with: Who am I now? Am I this disease? 

On top of this, you will inevitably encounter people who won’t believe you are struggling as much as you are because “you look fine”. This can be infuriating and hurtful, but just expect it, because it will happen. I will be devoting considerable resources to a discussion surrounding the psychology of Hashi’s.

So, this gives us a start at identifying core features of Hashimoto’s and a few resources with which to begin the journey of educating ourselves about this condition. More soon.

Best,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.