What Causes Hyperthyroidism?
Polly: In Ralph Golan’s book, Optimal Wellness, he mentions mercury toxicity, food allergies, and abnormalities in the hypothalamus and pituitary glands as being possible factors in hyperthyroidism. Janet Starr Hull in her book, Sweet Poison: How the World’s Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us—My Story, attributes her hyperthyroidism to the sweetener aspartame, found in NutraSweet.
In the book Mineral and Trace Element Analysis by Eleonore Blaurock-Bush, PhD, she mentions that the zinc to copper ratio is very important.  Low copper can aggravate hypo and hyper thyroidism. I saw a posting on the Internet where a person had hyperthyroidism, and he was able to control it with copper, trace minerals, calcium and magnesium. There is speculation that the reason low copper can lead to hyperthyroidism is that copper is needed to form MAO (monoamine oxidase). MAO is an enzyme that breaks down serotonin, thyroid, tyramine and catecholamine hormones. Mineral balance is definitely something to have your doctor check if you are having thyroid problems, especially check zinc and copper. See this article, http://www.ithyroid.com/tyramines.htm. Also, there are some herbs that some people find helpful. See this article by Ryan Drum, PhD, on thyroid. http://www.planetherbs.com/articles/thyroid.html. Amoung other herbs he mentions Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), Lycopus virginiana (bugleweed) and Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort) as having apparent thyrosuppressive effects.
There might also be a connection between a harmful intestinal bacteria, Yersinia enterocolitica, and hyperthyroidism. In the book Probiotics, Nature’s Internal Healers by Natasha Trenev, she states,
“This bacteria has the ability to provoke the production of certain substances that attach themselves to cells in the thyroid, resulting in the overproduction of thyroid hormone… more than 80% of those with Grave’s disease carry antibodies produced by the immune system to destroy Yersinia.”
I’ve also heard rumors that Yersinia is associated with some cases of hypothyroidism. (Teresa Binstock, an autism researcher, has gathered abstracts on Yersinia, and they can be found at http://www.jorsm.com/~binstock/yersin-2.htm.)
Susan: Yersinia is the name of a genus of bacteria, of which Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague) is the most well known. In addition, there are several other species of Yersinia that can and do infect humans. One of the troubling aspects of Yersinia infections is that the immune response to them is severely impaired. Apparently one of the ways that Yersinia does this is to “hid” in macrophages (a type of white cell which, in the Hormones, Dysbiosis and Candidiasis The Health Forum—Book 4 18 blood stream, is called a monocyte) and then to suppress thyroid function, interact with the normal inflammatory response to cause it not to work correctly, alter the ability of the blood/brain barrier (which keeps out of the brain lots and lots of stuff) allowing foreign material, bacteria, etc. to get in there, and when the Yersinia infected cells are found in the gut, can contribute to malabsorption of gluten (breads) and to cause colitis.
Kimberly: Wow, I am definitely going to check into the connection between the Yersinia enterocolitica bacteria and hyperthyroidism. I suffered with hyperthyroidism for years. I just had a partial thyroidectomy in late Feb. ‘99 and when I came out of it I was a different person. It was amazing. The doctor didn’t understand why the change, no more depression, etc, but was happy that I felt so much better. One of the first things I said to my husband was, “maybe the part they cut out was full of yeast and that’s why I feel so much better.” Well, I guess I was close. The experienced surgeon also indicated that the part of my thyroid he removed was very white, whiter than he had seen before, (for whatever this is worth).
Some history: They first discovered that I was hyperthyroid in my late teens, early 20’s. Up to that point I was just considered to be “nuts.” First I was given medication to lower my thyroid levels, then I took radioactive iodine (I-131) to kill the thyroid, then became hypothyroid and went on thyroid replacement hormone. I finally had a partial thyroidectomy in late Feb. of ‘99 due to increased discomfort and growth of the cystic mass in my neck. I was a vocalist and it had gotten to the point where I couldn’t sing anymore¾very depressing. Anyway, now my levels fluctuate up and down. They are still not stable since the surgery. I’m still hoping I did the right thing by having the surgery, although I would never want to go back to the approximate 16 year depression, of which the last 6 years were the worst.
Polly: An alternative doctor might try iodine drops for about three weeks to control excess secretion of thyroid by the gland. This would probably be safer than the radioactive iodine that you were given. Yet, even treatment with the plain iodine is dangerous if you are pregnant.
Broda Barnes Basal Metabolism Test For Hypothyroidism
Polly: The Broda Barnes basal metabolism test is a simple test you do at home, using just an ordinary shake-down glass thermometer. It is an indication of whether you need thyroid hormone supplementation or not. If you take this test before your first appointment with an alternative doctor, you will have more information to help him with your diagnosis. Here is the procedure for the test.
Shake down a thermometer and place it on the bedside table before going to bed. Immediately upon awakening, place the thermometer snugly in the armpit for 10 minutes. Just relax for ten minutes without moving a lot. Don’t place the thermometer in your mouth because if you have any type of a sinus infection or allergy this could elevate the mouth temperature above that of the rest of the body. Take your temperature in this manner for three days or more in a row and record the results. Don’t pick days when you have a cold or fever. Women: Since the body temperature varies with the phases of the menstrual cycle (progesterone raises your temperature), the test should be made during the week of menstruation, but not starting on the first day. Eg, take your temperature on the second, third, and fourth days of menstruation, or maybe the fifth, sixth and seventh days. Children: Thyroid 19 In young children, rectal temperature can be taken; two minutes are adequate. You might also try taking the temperature under their armpit, just before they wake. (Don’t ever put a mercurycontaining thermometer in a young child’s mouth. They may bite it and release mercury.) The digital thermometer aren’t good enough for measuring basal temperature. Consider purchasing one of the new shake-down thermometers that don’t contain mercury. Here is one suitable for testing basal temperature. http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/Products/Thermome ter.htm phone 800-621-7006 (press 4 to place order).
Average Basal Temperature Interpretation Above 98.2 Weak indication of hyperthyroidism Between 97.8 and 98.1 Normal Between 97.5 and 97.8 Weak indication of hypothyroidism. The problem could be just weak adrenals. Between 97.0 and 97.5 Fairly strong indication of hypothyroidism Below 97.0 Very strong indication of hypothyroidism
The above table can help you interpret the results. However, if your basal temperature is not low, but you have arthritis, then you still probably need thyroid. According to Broda Barnes, most arthritics need thyroid, yet the arthritis may artificially raise the basal temperature because of the pain. Very high adrenaline and cortisol or a restless and bad night’s sleep will also raise the morning basal temperature and throw off the interpretation.
Some people claim that the low basal temperature is due to toxins in the body, and is not due to low thyroid. They claim that all you have to do is remove the toxins and your body temperature will go up. In my opinion, this is only a half-truth. Yes, you should go about getting rid of toxins with saunas and nutritional support, and every way you can think of doing so. Maybe afterwards your body temperature will rise and you won’t need the hormonal support. Yet in the mean time, you need the thyroid or other hormonal supplements to help your liver get rid of toxins, and to help your immune system function. Thyroid and progesterone will help you absorb your nutrients and keep them from being wasted. Hence I feel thyroid and progesterone supplementation can help you get healthier faster. Trying to get nutrients and trying to detoxify your body without hormonal support is an uphill battle. I know from personal experience. Several years ago I finally got some thyroid. I’ve made much more rapid progress since getting this thyroid than the many previous years. Thyroid, progesterone, DHEA, and pregnenolone support your body and allow it to heal.
Donna: My thyroid is low, I think it is my T4, my doctors just took more blood tests this past Tuesday and I am waiting for the results as I type this. I don’t know if they will give me something for it if it still comes back low. In that case, I will treat myself for it. Where can I get these products? Health food store?
Polly: It is best that you get someone to help you with this. However, you do have the option of trying the thyroid glandulars that you can get from Nutri-meds. (More about this later.)
In my opinion, if your tests were borderline, that deserves a trial prescription of the hormone, not a repeat of the blood test. Many people think that the normal ranges are too wide to begin with. A “borderline” measurement is a pretty strong indication that the level isn’t right.
Some doctors are way too conservative in how they treat with thyroid. I’ve heard of doctors giving patients just enough thyroid so that the test results barely creep into the “normal” range, even though the patient is still exhibiting many hypothyroid symptoms. That is unacceptable treatment. A person deserves to feel well.
I even have a friend whose blood tests were outside of the standard ranges; still her doctor wouldn’t give her thyroid. Her doctor just said the thyroid was fine. Yet this friend knew that she felt just like she did at another time when she needed thyroid. So she got a copy of her test results, discovered the discrepancy, and went elsewhere. Her new doctor couldn’t understand how those tests could have possibly been interpreted as normal.
If you want a second opinion, ask the receptionist for a copy of your thyroid test results. Make sure it isn’t just a slip of paper with a number scribbled on it. It should have the “normal” ranges for each test printed on it. Different labs may use different units and ranges. So you want a copy of the whole lab test printout. Then show it to another doctor, preferably an alternative doctor. (Keeping your own records is a good idea anyway. Then if the blood thyroid levels change with time, you might catch a problem early.)
There is such a difference of opinion on the use of thyroid. Sometimes a patient’s new doctor will take them off of dessicated thyroid. Even if the patient feels much worse, the patient can’t convince the new doctor to given them the original prescription. Many people have been totally frustrated with the situation. They don’t know where to find a doctor that will treat them. So with limited energy and funds, they suffer in silence.