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My cat and I have watched half of the first of the nine videos of The Thyroid Secret.

It's depressing as hell. Pretty much continuous bashing of "conventional medicine" and physicians, and tells people what blood tests they should demand and is full of scare tactics. According to them, Hashimoto's autoimmune disease can be present for up to ten years before your TSH is abnormal and the conventional physicians only check your TSH. And with Graves they use radiation to destroy your thyroid instead of digging deeper in to the root causes.

Root cause is a favorite buzz phrase for the functional medicine and naturopath community.

Everyone in the video is thin, too, though one person says he used to weigh 300 pounds. Exercise wouldn't fix him because it was autoimmune!

And then one autoimmune disorder can lead to MORE so the narrating pharmacist says she wishes EVERYONE would get a thyroid antibody test!

Sigh. I watch this stuff to see what people are watching and reading. Snake oil sales are alive and well. They don't drive a horse and wagon around, instead it's on line video infomercials and books!

I am not sure if I can stand nine episodes of this, but the real "root cause" is high stress and being in a fight or flight, high sympathetic nervous system state all the time. Over and over, the victims tell about how they were super busy, working long hours, not taking care of themselves. In the sympathetic state, the immune system doesn't work as well and less thyroid hormone is made, as well as less sex hormones. However, I would bet money that their treatment is more along the lines of lots of pills: but supplements and natural pills and stuff you can't get from "conventional medicine".

I saw a patient recently who has terrible GI symptoms for years. I started drilling down in to the root cause: stress. The couple instantly realized that yes, the person got sicker with stress. GOOD STRESS AS WELL AS BAD STRESS. Sick every year at Thanksgiving, Christmas, family birthdays. Oh. The person has had the medical workup, we don't need to repeat it. Food and stress and symptom diary and return: the person has recognized that spicy foods sometimes set it off. "Maybe you just can't eat spicy foods on your birthday," I say drily. They both laugh. "Maybe not." I think of irritable bowel syndrome as the gut raising hell when the stress gets too high. And if it's ignored, it gets worse. The solution is not tons of tests, biopsies, more medicines, more supplements. The solution is to pay attention and learn to manage and reduce stress.

Ditto with Hashimoto's. Hello, your body is making antibodies to your thyroid. How do you get antibody levels to calm down? Reduce and manage stress. Really. I can't think that nine hours of hearing how "conventional medicine" has failed you will reduce stress.

Why do we make autoantibodies? I've mostly researched streptococcus A. It has evolved with us so it tries to live in or on your body by having a cell wall that looks human. So that our immune system doesn't see it. Camouflage, if you like. But then sometimes our immune system "sees" it and makes an antibody. Our body makes a ton of the antibody to kill all the strep A. If the strep A has done too good a job of imitating our cell wall proteins then the antibodies attack our own tissues too: autoimmune disease. In strep A, rheumatic fever is one of five recognized autoimmune disorders. And there are over 4000 identified strains of strep A. There is also strep B, C, D.....

Now, add in all the other viruses and bacteria and plant pollen and fungi and what have you. Women have more autoimmune disorders and it is thought that it is because they carry the pregnancy. The fetus has half the genetic material from the father. So it would be best if the woman's immune system doesn't attack and kill the fetus. Does that happen? Yes. Rh disease is the famous one but there are hundreds of antibodies. I am family practice not OB/gyn, but I still know "Kell kills" -- just one of the antibodies.

Makes you think we are pretty amazing to survive at all, really.