This is the everyday struggle a majority of thyroid patients face. They work with doctors who discount their ongoing thyroid symptoms because their lab values are normal.
There are a multitude of mechanisms that are possible in this scenario. I want to explain two of the most common scenarios we come across in our patient population.
1. Functional Ranges - most of the lab ranges you see on your lab reports are based off of bell curve analysis. Basically this means that they take the average value from a sample of patients that had their blood drawn at that lab and call that "normal." The problem is this lab normal doesn't represent physiological normal function.
If you pick up the most recent copy of your thyroid lab report you see that they listed the range for for TSH at about .5 to 5.0.
So what exactly is a functional range then?
A functional range is just a tighter range that is more representative of physiological normal. The functional range for TSH on a blood test is 1.8 to 3.0 according to the Endocrine Society
. So if we see a patient with ongoing thyroid symptoms and a TSH of 4.2 ... we know there is still an underlying problem.
Since your doctor is likely interpreting your lab values through "lab ranges", not functional ranges, they will miss subtle clues pointing to a solution to your thyroid symptoms.
2. Under-conversion - your body makes primarily T4, which is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. Our body must then convert the T4 into T3, the active form of the hormone which is responsible for creating the thyroid metabolic response.
I see countless lab reports that only measure TSH and T4. They never even check to see if T4 is properly converting to T3. If you have normal TSH and T4 but abnormal T3 then you are going to have ongoing thyroid symptoms. How would you know if they never even measure it?
So there you have it.
Just two of the many ways patients can have normal thyroid labs and still have thyroid symptoms.
At our clinic we thoroughly investigate these and many other mechanisms that could create the scenario of normal thyroid labs and a dysfunctional thyroid. We don't just do a quick glance at a lab report and tell you "everything looks normal."
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All the best – Dr. Johnson – Digging Deeper To Find Solutions
For over 20 years now, I have consisitently seen a significant rise in patients bringing in children with respiratory or other illness beginning with the week after Halloween. Often behavioral changes are noted too.
Why you might ask? In my opinion, based on what I've observed with those patients with seasonal sickness, it is due to a weakening of the immune system due to excessive sugar intake. The immune weakness leads to susceptibility to sinus and other upper respiratory infections.
Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. Excessive sugar consumption is one cause of immune system weakening habits and there are 3 other common ones.
Most children enjoy dressing up in their favorite character or spooky creation. I know I did as a child. Now I love Halloween parties (that's me on the left in the picture above). Most children's goal for the annual "trick or treating" event is all about "the haul". In other words how much candy, and other treats, can be obtained and brought home. I've read that "the fun-sized candy bars often handed out to eager trick-or-treaters contain obscene amounts of sugar: an average fun-sized Snickers has 7.4 grams sugar, a shocking 49 percent of the average person’s recommended daily sugar intake. A holy grail among kids, the king-sized Snickers holds a whopping 55.7 grams of sugar." Imagine how much sugar is in the whole pillow case full!
So what is a parent to do? Our children (now grown) went out every year "trick or treating" as well...but we has a special agreement with out children that helped them NOT succumb to the immune weakening ravages that excess sugar consumption can cause. We agreed ahead of time that whatever "haul" they ended up with would be divied up into two piles: 10 items they absolutely wanted and the rest could be traded in for thier favorite Beany Baby (these were a HOT ticket back then). Our children loved this idea. We would dispose of the large majority of the candy our children brought home and we would take the children to the toy store so they could pick out one of their favorite Beanie Babies. The 10 treats they kept were rationed at one item per day...or they could stretch that out longer - their choice. The concept works quite well and our children were sickness free!
Of course in addition to the reduced holiday candy consumption we provided regular chiropractic care which has been show to improve immune system function and we also provided a healthy diet for our children. Our health diet consisted of proteins, vegetables, fruits, limited fruit juices, no soda pop, and healthy cereals.
I have suggested my patients consider implemting a similar strategy with their children and they have discovered it works for them as well. Perhaps you can try it too!
The longer sensitive individuals eat gluten, the more likely they are to develop other autoimmune diseases
A 1999 landmark study published in Gastroenterology found that the duration of exposure to gluten in celiac disease patients affects the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases. The finding made age at diagnosis an important factor in the overall health of patients with celiac disease.
For the study, an Italian research team screened 909 patients with celiac disease for other autoimmune diseases, including IDDM (Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus), DH (Dermatitis herpetiformis), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, autoimmune hepatitis, alopecia, atrophic autoimmune gastritis, connective tissue disease (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, or Sjogren’s disease), psoriasis, Addison’s disease, unexplained cerebellar ataxia, epilepsy with cerebral calcification, or immune anemia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia. They then compared the prevalence of these conditions in three different subgroups, which were separated based on when the patient was diagnosed with celiac disease (before age 2, between ages 2 and 10, and after age 10).
The team found that the prevalence of the other conditions was highest in the subgroup of patients diagnosed after age 10. Similarly, patients diagnosed between ages 2 and 10 had a higher rate of other conditions than those diagnosed before age 2. This suggests that the prevalence of autoimmune conditions increases with increasing age at diagnosis of celiac disease (ie, increasing duration of exposure to gluten).
The researchers’ chart below demonstrates the frequency of developing other autoimmune diseases.
The authors concluded: “Indeed, the age at diagnosis of celiac disease is the single best predictor of the prevalence of autoimmune disease.”
The sensitivity and specificity of the testing is paramount in findind gluten sensitivity at a young age. The typcial medical test for gluten sensitivity is accurate mainly when there is total villous atrophy of the small intestine. That's like going to the dentist and they can't tell you have tooth decay until 90% of the tooth is missing. Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johson, DC at Johnson Chiropractic Neurology & Nutrition uses state of the art Cyrex testing developed by Dr. Aristo Vojdani, a world renowned immunologist.
If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the top of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with chronic condition symptoms despite having medical managment. Thank you, help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living!
All the best – Dr. Johnson – Digging Deeper To Find Solutions
Ventura A, Magazzú G, Greco L; SIGEP Study Group for Autoimmune Disorders in Celiac Disease. Duration of exposure to gluten and risk for autoimmune disorders in patients with celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 1999;117:297–303.
In order to maximize your health and reduce your chances of developing autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's, Celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other illnesses, it pays to know your blood type. Let's explore this concept in more detail.
Most people pay little attention to their blood type as it seems it is only important when you are going to have an operation or other procedure when you might need blood products given to you...or when you are having a baby.
However, science has shown that blood type is indeed important for reducing disease and illness and living a more energetic, healthy life. A life that allows you more time to focus on your dreams, desires, family and friends...instead of visits to the doctor or hospital.
I earned certification in blood type science (under the tutelage of Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo) from the Institute for Human Individuality and currently hold a fellow from that organization. As a result of this training I have learned about the direct and indirect relationships between what we choose to eat and various disease processes that plague humanity and have seen first hand the benefits of using blood type in dietary recommendations.
Most people are familiar with ABO blood typing. There are 4 of these blood types: O, which makes up 45% of the worlds population, A, which comprises 40% of world population, B, which is 11% of global population and lastly AB, which only makes up 4% of the world's population.
Genetic control is what determines your specific blood type. Just a small piece of sugar thatʼs stuck on the outside of your red blood cell creates your blood type. Each one of your cells contains millions of different sugars, including the blood type sugars. These sugars are manufactured by the cell, controlled by your DNA. Just like eye or hair color is a genetic quality, your blood type is a very unique part of who you are. Your blood type doesnʼt change either- if youʼre AB, you will always be AB.
The sugar for type O is fucose. The sugar for type A is a combination of fucose and N-Acetyl galactosamine (or GalNac for short). The type B sugar is fucose with D-Galactose. Type AB is a combination of A and B, with all three blood type sugars. This is why AB is the universal receiver of blood. The immune system works by identifying what is “you” and what is “not you”. Since AB has all three sugars on its blood cells, it recognizes each one and wonʼt cause a rejection. Type O is the opposite, known as the universal donor. Since O blood doesnʼt have GalNac or D-Galactose, it sees the other blood types as “not me” and will try to destroy them. The same is true for B and A. They can receive blood from O, but not from each other.
People arenʼt the only ones with blood types. The sugars (antigens) that make our blood type are actually all around us in the environment. They can be found in a variety of animals, microbes, dirt and even food. One example is the virus. Many types of viruses have antigens, like our own antigens, that are made of D-galactose. D-galactose is what makes blood type B, so when somebody who is type B contracts a virus, their chance of infection is greater. Just like a transfusion works on “self” vs. “non-self”, if a virus looks like you (type B), your body is going to be less likely to destroy it than if it looked like type A. The most important point is that some foods have blood type antigens too. The best example of this is milk, which contains large amounts of D-galactose, the type B sugar. Pork is another example, as a source of GalNac, the Type A sugar. Seaweed is a significant source of fucose, the sugar for all the blood types.
Foods also have substances known as lectins which act upon our specific blood type to cause various alterations in our body function such as:
- Causing our blood cells to stick together
- Trigger body-wide inflammation
- Act as insulin by attaching to insulin receptors on cells which leads to weight gain
- Trigger autoimmune attack
- Trigger digestive system malfunction and pain
- Creative intestinal damage leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome and as a result brain inflammation
- Interrupt nerve signals in the body and alter levels of neurotransmitters and thus cause nerve and brain malfunction leading to ADD and even Alzheimers disease.
- Create joint inflammation leading to various types of arthritis.
- Alter hormonal levels and lead to thyroid malfunction
- ...and more
Due to the many health damaging effects various lectins can have on the health of people with different blood types, I utilize blood type in my individualized dietary recommendations...with great success. I invite you to learn more so you can be healthier. Call me at 586-731-8840 and click on the link below for this awesome guide!
You have no energy – after work you come home and you’re spent – nothing is getting done around the house. Getting to sleep is easy, but you wake up multiple times at night, never getting the quality of sleep that might help you feel better. When the alarm goes off, the thought of getting up in the morning gives you angst because you wonder when it will ever get better.
Because you’re a guy you just trudge through your life thinking it will go away – but it hasn’t. You finally decide to go to the doctor and tell him about your fatigue and other symtoms. Your blood tests are fairly normal, except your triglycerides are a bit high along with marginally high cholesterol. Your glucose is near the top of the normal scale and your hemoglobin A1c (HA1c) is 5.7. So your doctor tells you to exercise more and take a liver damaging statin drug such as Zocor or Lipitor, because he scared you about the likelihood of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Unfortunately you don’t have any energy to exercise and the statin drug zapped even more of your energy and ruined the last vestiges of your sex drive.
You go back to the doctor and sure enough you have the dreaded “Low-T”. In fact you realize you are growing ‘man boobs’ (which happens when you have insulin resistance and an enzyme called aromatase converts too much of your testosterone to estrogen). You leave with a prescription for testosterone cream along with a couple of initial testosterone injections appointments. Unfortunately all the testosterone did was make you more irritable. You are still bone tired. Now every little challenge of the day sets you off and you’ve ruined your marriage because of one too many outbursts when you were asked to get something done. Feeling like this makes you wonder how the rest of your life will be. It doesn’t look very good.
This is a common scenario I see in my office. Fortunately all the various symptoms are linked and can be handled naturally – without drugs. After appropriate testing that delineates your unique pattern of metabolic dysfunction a treatment program (Johnson Neuro-Metabolic Therapy), using specific with dietary changes and specific supplements can help stabilize and rebalance your system. With time and some effort on your part you can finally feel 20 years younger and enjoy the life you once dreamed of.