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A new study came out recently challenging the value of breast screening with mammography. Not surprisingly it points to a serious problem of over diagnosis related to mammography screening. In other words, women are being diagnosed and aggressively treated for breast cancer even though what was found in the mammogram was never going to be a life threatening health problem. 

 

However, even more stunning, this study concludes that “Breast cancer screening was not associated with a reduction in the incidence of advanced cancer.”  Wow, think about this for a moment and consider what this means. It blows the entire paradigm of 'early detection saves lives' completely out of the water.

 

Please follow the links below to the published study and come to your own conclusions:

 

http://www.healthimaging.com/topics/womens-health/breast-imaging/danish-study-challenges-value-screening-mammography-draws-sharp-criticism-us-orgs

 

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/cancer/one-three-women-diagnosed-breast-cancer-wrongly-study-n704941

 

It is important to understand the limitations of mammography screening and focus more on prevention. When it comes to prevention, there are many options available to you. Many of the blog postings and articles on this site are related to the subject of breast cancer prevention. I invite you to explore them.

 

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Many people know that October is touted as “breast cancer awareness month.” However, if we really want to make a significant difference in breast cancer statistics we should be emphasizing breast cancer prevention and not just in October but every month of the year. Here is a simple and effective way to significantly reduce your risk.  And, you do not need to raise money to attain this.

 

Studies have shown repeatedly that three to four hours per week of regular exercise can decrease your risk of breast cancer by up to 50%. In other words, your lean body mass or your muscle does not generate estrogen like fatty tissue. If you’re physically active already, this is great. However, whether you have a few extra pounds to lose or not, I encourage you to simply start walking on daily basis. You do not need to join a health club or purchase special exercise equipment. Just start with a minimum of 20-30 minutes walk per day. You can do it alone or with a friend, you can do it outside or inside. 

 

The hardest thing in any journey is to start.  And even more challenging is consistency. But if you are aware of the benefits, you’ll see it is worth doing what it takes to start, and to be consistent. Human bodies are designed for movement and if you want to stay in shape you have to move. Just 30 minutes per day is not really asking for much but the benefit that you’ll gain from this is immeasurable. Add a few more minutes to your daily walk every other week, extend your walks to 40 minutes or more. The great thing about taking yourself for a long walk is that you always come back changed; try it and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Take charge of your health today, be proactive and help others to prevent breast cancer NOW!

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This year close to 250,000 women in North America will die from breast cancer. This is not just a mere number; these are our mothers, spouses, sisters and daughters that are afflicted by this disease.  Despite all of the efforts to reduce this tragedy, more and more women and their families are affected by breast cancer today. 

 

Currently the strategy of screening is not enough to protect women from breast cancer.

We need to refocus our strategy; moving from screening to risk assessment. Simply put - screening can only tell us what already happened (detection). Risk assessment, on the other hand, can tell us what is about to happen (prevention). It is a paradigm shift where prevention beats detection all the time.

 

Think about it, if you are heading in the wrong direction concerning your breast health wouldn’t you want to know this at the earliest possible time? 

Yes, every woman should know her risk for breast cancer. 

 

Mammography can be useful as a diagnostic tool when necessary but as a mass screening method it has not been effective. Mammography has been the most controversial test for the past 40 years.  Women have been deceived by the notion that routine mammography screening saves lives. It does not. Numerous long-term studies question the effectiveness of mammography mass screening since cancer is frequently missed or often over-diagnosed. 1. 2. 3. 

Younger women with dense breast tissue along with women with fibrocystic breast condition derive little or no benefit from conventional screening with mammography. Even women over the age of 50 may not benefit from mammography screening since it takes 8 to 9 years or longer for a tumor to grow to a size that is detectable by a mammogram. This is hardly an early detection paradigm that we were led to believe; this is in fact late detection. 

 

I have been advocating for many years that we need a more personalized approach where women can assess their risk for breast cancer.  Once they are able to determine their risk factors they can develop an action plan on how to improve breast health or even reverse the existing trend. Breast Thermography can play a great role in early detection and risk assessment. Breast thermography is non-invasive, radiation-free and a completely safe method that compliments all other types of breast testing modalities. 

 

Breast Thermography evaluates how breasts function and can give an early warning signal that may be life saving. Once the risk level is assessed with breast thermography you can develop strategies of lowering these factors before cancer has a chance to develop. You can also monitor your treatment progress with breast thermography and see if you’re on the right path or if you need to make some adjustments to your therapy. When used correctly, breast thermography can be an indispensable tool in breast health monitoring and over-all breast cancer prevention plans. 

 

Prevention should take precedence over detection. Prevention means not getting cancer in the first place. If we are going to reverse the present trend of the epidemic proportion of breast cancer, we need to come up with a more proactive approach, which needs to become the norm for patient assessment.

 

Take charge of your health today, be proactive and help others to prevent breast cancer NOW!

 

 

1. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1206809#t=article

2. http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.g7773

3. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/07/20/does-mammography-save-lives-thats-a-harder-question-than-most-think/)

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Let’s get to the heart of the matter - stress and emotional trauma play a major role in most health conditions. Breast cancer, of course, is no exception. Keep in mind that stress, or even perceived stress, puts your body into a fight or flight response.  This state is under the control of our autonomic nervous system, which in turn has two branches, the sympathetic and para-sympathetic systems. As you will see, each one has a specific function. 

 

To simplify matters I’ll use the following analogy - Sympathetic System will be termed as a fight or flight state while Para-Sympathetic System we will call a wine and dine state. Each one has a specific function to regulate. For instance, if you walk down a street and someone is trying to mug you, your sympathetic nervous system will kick in. You’ll have a chance to fight or get out of this situation by running away. In either case your major muscle groups will get more blood supply. Your breathing is going to be shortened, your mouth will get dry, your digestive process is going to be shut down, your heart is going to palpate faster, you bladder and bowels will contract and your cortisone (adrenaline) levels will be released to their maximum. This is a very efficient way to make sure that you survive whatever challenge you’re facing at the moment. 

 

By contrast your Para-Sympathetic nervous system is the exact opposite in function. As you wine and dine your breathing slows down, your heart rhythm slows down, you start secreting saliva and you are ready to digest and eliminate as you are in a relaxed state. 

 

The reason why I’m illustrating the function of our Sympathetic and Para-Sympathetic systems is very important because most of us appear to be in a Sympathetic mode most of the day. We eat on the run, drink coffee during our commute, and deal with stressful or unpleasant situations at home or at work.  Obviously all this stress will affect us. In my opinion, this daily grind is slowly killing us, since we are not able to digest or eliminate properly, while our high cortisol levels create inflammation in our body and turn everything we eat into fat, as our hormonal levels are stressed and become imbalanced.

 

Furthermore, it is not only daily occurrences and actions that force us into a sympathetic mode but more so our anxious or negative thoughts can trigger the same response. It occurs to me that this is one of the major reasons why we get sick and age prematurely and it is all because we live in a Sympathetic or a fight or flight world. 

 

Let me state this unequivocally; your emotions and thoughts will directly influence your physical health. Thus to attain good health, your emotions and your thoughts need to support your-well being.  In all my years of clinical practice I have never seen a healthy individual whose emotions are in disarray or whose mental state is not at ease.  Thus we call it dis-ease

 

So, what can you do?

First and foremost, create a plan of action on how you’re going to de-stress in a healthy way. Perhaps going for a walk or spending time listening to music or reading a book or meditating, whatever it is that you find enjoyable and relaxing will work to de-stress. Make sure that you create that daily ritual for yourself; this would be a place of refuge and personal healing. 

 

Next, take account of past emotional traumas or conflicts that have not been resolved. Get help from a professional if required or talk to your trusted friend or a family member and ask them for direction.  Be open and willing to accept advice, after all - there is always room for improvement and personal change.  Change could be very challenging for most of us. However, it can also be the most rewarding aspect that can bring us to better health, happier life and self-fulfillment. 

 

Take charge of your health today, be proactive and help others to prevent breast cancer NOW!

 

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It’s all about food… and it happens to be one of my favourite subjects. 

 

Let’s face it, there is no other activity that we do more frequently in our life than eating. I don’t think that anyone has any doubts that we become what we eat. 

 

According to the World Health Organization and many other sources, 70% of all diseases are directly related to nutrition and diet.  If you want to prevent disease, and in particular breast cancer, I suggest the following simple way:

 

Eating low saturated fat with high fiber has been shown to be beneficial for breast health. 

 

As you know, I’m a big proponent of the Anti-Estrogenic diet, which simply means that you avoid estrogen-promoting foods. 

 

How to do this? Start eating foods lower on the food chain, foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, roots, nuts, seeds, and eggs. Choose wild fish or fresh dairy, both are permissible.  (you can learn more about this in my book Breast Cancer is a Preventable Disease, Chapter 2 – Nutrition)

 

Now, what’s not permissible? Stay away from processed grains. In fact, stay away from processed foods, period. Processed grains, sugar, overfed farm animals, refined, processed or chemically-loaded foods, these are foods that you need to stay away from. Try to eat organic whenever possible. Further, home cooking is much preferred to eating out for obvious reasons. The energy that goes into food preparation is very important and it is just impossible to attain that with commercially prepared foods. 

 

Unfortunately, lately because of conflicting information our relationship with food has changed, where food has become the enemy. It is the exact opposite; food is the most powerful medicine you have at your disposal. Keep this in mind as you’re making your food choices. 

 

Lastly, consider this: the foods that that you eat are important but what’s even more important are the thoughts that you have while eating! Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow!

 

Meanwhile, take charge of your health today, be proactive and help others to Prevent Breast Cancer NOW!

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In his best selling book ‘What your doctor may not tell you about breast cancer’, Dr. John R. Lee gets to the bottom of why women get breast cancer and how to prevent it.  According to Dr. Lee, one of the most important risk factors associated with breast cancer is Estrogen Dominance that seems to affect more and more women these days.

 

By taking a closer look at this we can see that not all estrogens are created equal; some are cancer protective while others are cancer-permissive. There are three main estrogens in your body: estrone, estradiol and estriol. The ratio in your body should be: Estriol 80%, Estradiol 10% and Estrone 10%. 

 

As long as they’re in that ratio, everything seems to be working fine. Estriol is a hormone of pregnancy and when women are pregnant, they are protected from breast cancer as well as many other diseases. Estradiol, on the other hand, is a cancer-permissive estrogen and too much of this particular estrogen definitely increases the risk for breast cancer. 

 

To oppose your estrogen there is another hormone called Progesterone. Estrogen and Progesterone are in a yin and yang relationship. Estrogen says ‘grow’, while progesterone says ‘stop growth’. Most women in the peri-menopausal and menopausal stages of their life appear to be progesterone deficient and thus become estrogen dominant. 

 

What can you do?  How do you know if you’re estrogen dominant or progesterone deficient? There is no need to guess, test it. 

 

Make sure that you get the proper hormonal testing done and check your estrogen levels but also check your progesterone levels as well. Your estrogen may even be in a low range but if there is no progesterone in your body, you are still estrogen dominant. There are several ways to check this; blood test (most common), saliva and urine. Saliva and urine tests maybe useful since you can take samples over a period of time and thus giving you additional information as to your hormonal fluctuation during your monthly cycle. Blood tests are somewhat static as they can only provide you with the information for the period of time when the test was done. Once you get tested you can start correcting your hormonal imbalance by regulating your estrogen metabolism or supplementing with progesterone if required. 

 

Take charge of your health today, be proactive and help others to prevent breast cancer NOW!

 

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Can You Prevent Breast Cancer?

Posted by on in Breast Health

Recently someone emailed me a question from a woman who was upset to find out that there is such a thing as breast cancer prevention. She was upset that many women may be misled by this notion, especially women who have genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Although I understand the sentiment, as none of us want to be misled by false promises, this is the subject that I personally feel very strongly about and I would like to defend my position. Yes, most breast cancers are in fact preventable. Further, women who are considered to be high risk with the BRCA gene can be the greatest beneficiaries of what I would call ‘preventive medicine’.

 

Most of us still consider cancer, or breast cancer in particular, as some mysterious and very complicated disease since there is no definitive cure for it. This is true but only to a point. The problem is the way we view this. If we focus only on the cure, the result seems distant and unattainable. For sure, once the body is riddled with cancer it is very difficult to treat and to cure. However cancer does not occur overnight, it is a process that takes many years to develop before it is even diagnosed. By the time breast cancer is detected, with mammography for example, usually it takes 8-9 years to get there. So, the question is if we’re in year 5 of tumor development and it cannot be seen by detectable methods we use today, does that mean that there is nothing there? Of course it’s there, we just can’t see it yet. It is growing and developing yet nothing is being done. This is why proactive prevention is the key.

 

I would go further and say that unless you have a predisposition to cancer you cannot get it. Simply speaking, once your immunity is compromised cancer can set in. On the other hand if the milieu (your body’s internal environment) is not conducive nothing will grow in it. Just like certain plants cannot grow in unfavorable soil and conditions, the same principle applies to our health and cancer tumors. For instance, if you’re not prone to getting headaches you are not going to get them. You can create an environment where you’re likely to start getting headaches, if you have food allergies, if you have trauma to your neck or head, if you have digestive issues, hormonal disturbances, hypertension, etc. However, if none of these conditions exist it is not likely that you’ll be suffering with debilitating headaches.

 

Even according to American Cancer Institute 1/3 of breast cancers can be preventable based on diet and life-style changes.  I’m convinced that we can do way better than that. If we follow a few more simple measures we can have 2/3 of all breast cancer never occur. Here are some simple yet proven methods women can use to drastically reduce their own risk of developing breast cancer. 

 

Appropriate changes in lifestyle, diet, nutrition along with treatment of hormonal and endocrine disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, etc. – all of the above can forestall or even prevent the formation of tumors.

 

Where can we start? Let’s start by addressing well-known risk factors associated with breast cancer. I have written articles on these subjects and you can read them in more detail following the list below. Each subject title is linked to another article. See what resonates with you:

 

 

This is not a complete list, but in my opinion, these are the most common risk factors associated with breast cancer. To get started get together with a trusted health professional to assess properly your own risk factors.  Further, create a plan of action on what you’ll need to address first and execute proper follow up. This may require some time and effort on your part but once you have made a commitment to keep improving your health there is no going back. This is not only life changing but also life saving!

 

Breast cancer prevention does not get better by CHANCE and quick fixes, it gets better by CHANGE and lifestyle choices.

 

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It is a well-known fact that certain type of estrogen (Estradiol) makes most breast cancers grow. The levels of estrogen have been found to be higher in many studies in women with breast cancer vs. women that do not have breast cancer.  Naturally it would stand to reason that if we can manage to reduce the levels of estrogen (estradiol) in women we can also reduce the risk of breast cancer significantly. 

 

So, how do we reduce the levels of estrogen?  It is not so easy since we are inundated with estrogen promoting commercial products, industrial pollutants, Xeno-Estrogents, along with processed foods loaded with estrogen mimicking chemicals.  Many women successfully use products like I3C, DIM, Calcium-D-Glucorate, etc., to help reduce their levels of estrogen, yet nothing can be as effective as the dietary measures that you practice. 

 

In my own clinical practice I’ve come across many women that have been appropriately prescribed bio-identical progesterone or testosterone yet they consume coffee and alcohol, which aromatizes (converts) these hormones to estradiol. For instance, just 2 cups of coffee per day will rob you of 60% of your testosterone and convert it to estradiol. In addition, coffee will promote dehydration, loss of calcium and raise the level of acidity. The same goes for wine consumption: it also converts testosterone to estradiol, which is a cancer promoting estrogen. 

 

A note of caution to women using bio-identical hormone therapy – if you’re consuming caffeine or alcohol, even in small amounts, you may not be getting the benefits of your bio-identical hormone therapy and, worse, you may be creating a big problem for yourself in the future and increasing your risk of breast cancer.

 

Now, how does one reduce estradiol in your body naturally? The most simple and effective way is through your diet.  Women that consume more animal based foods have higher levels of estradiol compared to the vegetarian population. 

 

There are several reasons for this: First, animal foods for the most part contain fat that retains toxic elements along with estrogenic hormones fed to animals. Same hormones are then transferred to humans via food consumption. Second, vegetarians consume way more fiber that prevents reabsorption of estrogen through the intestinal tract. Fiber binds to estrogen in the intestinal tract and helps with elimination, whereas low fiber diets cannot accomplish that.

 

This explains why there is lower incidence of breast cancer among vegetarians.  Plant based foods along with non-processed grains contain higher fiber content compared to animal based foods that are extremely low in fiber. In short, the more fiber you have in your diet, the lower your levels of estradiol, and the lower your risk of breast cancer. 

 

Next time you are making a choice of what ends up on your dinner plate, please keep in mind that there are many delicious foods that will support reducing estradiol and protect you from breast cancer.

 

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Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Posted by on in Breast Health

I’m going to start with a bold statement: Breast cancer can be prevented! 

The American Institute for Cancer Research has stated that a third of most common cancers can be prevented. According to their research, 38% of breast cancers per year are preventable. In other words, 88,000 women do not have to get breast cancer. Based on my experience, this number is still very conservative and the real number of preventable breast cancer cases is likely much closer to two-thirds of all breast cancer cases per year. This means that in the US and Canada close to 200,000 women a year can be spared from getting breast cancer. Further, when it comes to colorectal cancer, the official estimate is 50%. It is also estimated that in cases of mouth and laryngeal cancers that 63% of them are preventable. The list of preventable cancers does not end there and clearly shows that most cancers are preventable!

Unfortunately when it comes to cancer prevention, healthcare, and the way it is practiced today, is not effective. The problem is that the current approach concentrates on breast cancer detection rather than breast cancer prevention. Let me explain…

Of course detection is important, however it takes anywhere between eight to nine years and sometimes even longer to detect breast cancer. Therefore what is often talked about, as early detection is not actually early detection. It is actually quite late detection. Further, the media with the help of the medical establishment equate detection with prevention. Women are encouraged to undergo questionable and non-effective screenings with annual mammography, yet as far as prevention goes there is very little that women are offered. Worse, the information on prevention sometimes could be very confusing and even contradictory and thus many women understandably give up on the idea of prevention out of frustration.

With the incidence of breast cancer on the rise women are beginning to consider including breast thermography to their annual breast check-up. Breast thermography is the only breast test that evaluates physiology, i.e. how the breast functions as opposed to all other valuable tests, which only measure the anatomy. It is well documented in medicine that changes in physiology can occur 8 to 10 years before anatomic changes. Breast thermography identifies that physiological change right from the onset. This means that women have the opportunity to initiate a proactive plan leading to breast cancer prevention. 

Appropriate changes in lifestyle, diet, nutrition along with treatment of hormonal and endocrine disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, etc. – all of the above can forestall or even prevent the formation of tumours.

In addition, breast thermography is a perfect tool to be used for risk assessment and can be very useful in monitoring the effectiveness of treatments and their effects on breast tissue. 

My proposal is that we change our focus from breast cancer awareness, which is really mostly fear driven, to breast cancer prevention, which is about empowering women with relevant information that enables them to proactively reduce their risk and incidence of breast cancer. 

Prevention is better than cure

If you follow our Ten Ways to Help Prevent Breast Cancer, you can drastically reduce your chances of dealing with this disease.

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Welcome to Pinktober

Posted by on in Breast Health

Every October we are inundated with cause-related marketing when a nefarious “pink tide” rolls over North American retail establishments. Product manufacturers, from vacuum cleaners to fast food producers to the cosmetics industry embellish their products with pink ribbons, promising to donate a small portion of their profits to research.  Ever since 1985 in a brilliant stroke of marketing virtuosity AstraZeneca (the manufacturer of carcinogenic petrochemicals and breast cancer drug Tamoxifen) originated Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Yet in spite of a growing industry of pink ribbon products and promotions, what has been done for women living with and at risk for breast cancer?

 

For almost 30 years now we get the multitudes of runs, hikes, walks and other fundraising events that raise hundreds of millions of dollars to conquer breast cancer. Nonetheless breast cancer statistics have not changed for the better in the past 30 years, on the contrary more women get breast cancer and even more women are at risk for breast cancer. In the 1920’s the incidence of breast cancer for a woman’s lifetime risk was one in twenty. Now it has skyrocketed to one in eight. Clearly the so-called war on breast cancer has not been effective as the rates of breast cancer continue to climb.

 

Did the alarming increase of breast cancer rates just mysteriously happen? Or, perhaps the focus on cure has conveniently ignored the cause? It is a well-known fact that the chemical and the pharmaceutical industry directly contribute to the breast cancer epidemic. However big pink sponsors like cosmetic giants continue to use carcinogenic plasticizers and other carcinogens in their products. Even alcohol purveyors have jumped on the pink ribbon wagon despite the fact that the connection between alcohol consumption and breast cancer has been long established. It is an undisputed fact that carcinogens in pesticides, herbicides, plastics and xeno-estrogens contribute to breast cancer – and yet, there is a deafening silence about all this by all Breast Cancer Awareness Month programs!

 

Is there something wrong with this picture? Or perhaps they are happy to take the money from the same industry that is causing cancer?

 

The PR spin-doctors for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month industry claim that breast cancer ‘is not a preventable disease’, thus shifting the focus from prevention to early detection with the use of mammography. But detecting breast cancer with mammography does not protect women from breast cancer! 

 

Billions of dollars have been spent on ‘awareness’ promoting screening and early detection; perhaps we should focus our resources on promoting prevention instead of fear. For a fraction of the cost of this ‘awareness’ campaign, we could get the message out that prevention is more preferable to detection.

 

If you care about addressing breast cancer in a meaningful way and wish to take action you should demand that the Cancer Industry stop pink washing and profiteering off this disease. Demand that the organizers be accountable and transparent in their fundraising. You should expect that the information presented should be evidence based and not paid for special interest groups. You should insist on the obvious, a simple respect women’s diversity and freedom of choice. I invite you to take a stand against the industry that is taking advantage of the goodwill of caring people.  Take a personal stand for health and prevention.

 

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Thyroid disease is one of the most common health problems women face today. Hypothyroidism or low-functioning thyroid affects more women than men. Especially susceptible are women going through a peri-menopausal or menopausal period of their lives. It is estimated that millions of people are suffering from this condition and can’t get proper treatment due to improper diagnostics. Physicians, usually only look at the value of the brain hormone TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) as an absolute indicator of thyroid dysfunction and ignore other hormone deficiencies.  In addition, many factors mentioned in this article that contribute to hypothyroidism are often overlooked and ignored by healthcare providers thus hindering proper treatment for millions of sufferers.

 

Typical symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

Fatigue, weakness, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, coarse or dry hair, hair loss, dry skin, eye and face swelling, infertility, cold intolerance, muscle aching and cramps, constipation, depression, irritability, memory loss, abnormal menstrual cycles, decreased or low libido.

 

These symptoms may vary between each individual. The level of severity may differ based on thyroid hormone deficiency and the length of time that the body has been deprived of the proper amount of this hormone. 

 

If you suffer from any or several of the above mentioned symptoms you may want to consider the following 9 very important factors that may be implicated in thyroid dysfunction and treatment.

 

1. Check Your Estrogen Levels

One of the most overlooked factors of hypothyroidism is estrogen and progesterone imbalance. Many women treated with synthetic estrogen replacement therapy along with women using oral birth control pills become estrogen dominant. Excess estrogen suppresses your thyroid function and as your thyroid slows down you gain more weight. Additional fatty tissue, and more importantly, fat around your waistline produces more estrogen that in turn suppresses your thyroid further leading to more weight gain. Invariably, weight gain or loss is not simply a matter of calories in and calories out. It is a complex process that has to be addressed by rebalancing one’s hormones.

 

2. Check Your Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands. High cortisol levels are both inflammatory and catabolic contributing to thyroid and metabolic disorders, cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, immune suppression, altered glucose metabolism, elevated blood pressure, altered sleep patterns and hormonal disruption. In addition high cortisol usually has an inverse relationship to (Dehydroepiandrosterone) DHEA (a precursor to sex hormones). Thus chronically elevated cortisol levels suppress DHEA resulting in weight gain and hormonal imbalance. Without proper adrenal support your thyroid treatment is not going to be effective.

 

3. T4 to T3 Conversion Problems

Most people taking thyroid medications are prescribed a synthetic thyroid hormone, usually T4 that is supposed to convert to the active form of thyroid hormone T3. The problem arises when there is interference with this T4 to T3 conversion process. Selenium is one of the key factors involved in converting inactive T4 to active T3, yet today it is common for selenium levels to be very low and many people even have selenium deficiency. Also common today is higher exposure to heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead either through dental materials, vaccines or environmental pollutants. These highly toxic substances interfere with thyroid function and the conversion process. In addition, high or low cortisol levels, as well as autoimmune problems can interfere with T4 to T3 conversion. Many who are taking thyroid medications continue to have symptoms related to hypothyroid yet their blood results (mostly TSH) may be in the “normal” range. In cases like these it is often related to problems with T-4 to T-3 conversion process. T3 supplementation along with T4 may be required in such cases.

 

4. Check Your Temperature

People with hypothyroid often have low body temperature. If you have not been diagnosed with hypothyroid condition your low body temperature may point to a subclinical hypothyroid. If your body temperature is chronically low it may mean that your thyroid medication is not working well (assuming that you have a correct dose). If your blood tests are ‘normal’ and yet your body temperature is low and you are still struggle with fatigue, stress, weight and mood swings, ‘it is not in your head’, you might be suffering from Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Low body temperature undermines your immune function and will make you more susceptible to upper respiratory infections. You can simply check your temperature by taking your readings first thing in the morning on three consecutive days; get the average from your three readings. If your average temperature is below 36.2 C or 97.2 F, you may be dealing with Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Specialty treatment may be required to get your metabolism and temperature back into the normal range.

 

5. Iodine Deficiency 

Although the medical establishment continues to insist that there is no iodine deficiency in North America, just denying the problem does not make it go away. In fact, iodine deficiency is on the rise and has become one of the major causes of hypothyroidism. Iodine levels have been gradually declining in our food supply and in our bodies. Water fluoridation is a major contributor to iodine deficiency. It is also important to recognize that iodine is a halogen.  Just like bromine, fluoride, and chlorine they are being absorbed through your food, water, medications and environmental pollutants. These toxic halogens compete and occupy iodine receptors thus contributing to iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is compounded by the North American diet that is low in fish, kelp and other seaweeds, sea vegetables and shellfish. 

 

6. Check Your Gluten / Wheat Sensitivity

Gluten and other food sensitivities are common causes of hypothyroidism because they cause inflammation. People with gluten sensitivity are unable to digest their food properly. As these undigested food particles enter your blood stream your body produces an autoimmune reaction against these antigens thus attacking itself. These antigens are similar to molecules in your thyroid, and your immune system may attack your own thyroid. It is estimated that up to 30% of people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have an autoimmune reaction to gluten, yet this usually is not addressed. If you are dealing with hypothyroid condition, try going gluten free for at least one month and see if it makes a difference in how you feel.

 

7. Avoid Consumption of Soy Products

In the past several decades the consumption of soy based products has skyrocketed. Soy has been shown to inhibit thyroid function and raise estrogen levels in your body. The vast majority of soy grown today is GMO and used as cheap protein fillers in a myriad of food produced ranging from protein powders to cheese and even hamburgers. Soy used in fast food and processed food account for 20% of the total calorie intake in North America.

 

8. Check Your Ferritin Levels

Ferritin levels show the amount of iron stored in your body. People with hypothyroid condition may have difficulty absorbing iron. Low iron levels can have symptoms that are also common to hypothyroid such as fatigue, cold hands and feet, low sex drive, foggy mind, etc. Dealing with low ferritin levels may range from adding iron rich foods to your diet to iron supplementation, however do not take iron supplementation based on symptoms alone. Identifying the underlying cause will determine the most appropriate course of treatment. 

 

9. Your Emotional Issues

Proper thyroid function is much more than just producing the right amount of hormone – it is an intricate collaboration between the brain, the gland, different hormones as well as cellular communication between different tissues of the body. As much as we appreciate the bio-chemical component of thyroid dysfunction we also have to recognize the psycho-emotional influence as well. It is no surprise that thyroid dysfunction may produce anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart palpitations, hyper-mania and even postpartum depression. Our emotions and thoughts influence a biochemical cascade of reactions in our bodies that affect us on every physical level. The thyroid gland wraps around your throat and your voice box. Is there something that you’re unable to express? Or, is there a trust issue that has been broken and you’re unable to repair?

 

In Summary

Hypothyroidism is much more prevalent today than previously thought and affects millions. Millions more are also affected by suboptimal function if not by the full blown hypothyroid condition. Thyroid hormones are used by every cell in your body to regulate metabolism, body weight, energy, body heat and optimal brain function.  In our fast-paced, technology-driven, stress-filled, nutrient-depleted environment your thyroid gland may be the first to be affected. It could be very frustrating to have any of the above-mentioned symptoms and not being able to get proper help because ‘your test results are in the normal range’. 

 

I suggest you identify and treat the underlying cause, e.g., hormone imbalance, iodine deficiency, environmental toxicity, gluten sensitivity, stress, adrenals, etc.. Find someone competent to help you identify the root cause and guide you through your treatment.

 

Proper diagnostic lab tests are necessary to make the most accurate assessment that will lead to correct treatment.  As mentioned before in this article, relying on TSH as the only way to diagnose hypothyroid will result in only catching a minority of people that require treatment. Free T4 and T3 levels may also point out a mild or subclinical hypothyroid condition. In addition, thyroid antibodies should be checked to be certain that there is no autoimmune connection to hypothyroidism.

 

Next adjust your diet to aid in your recovery to include iodine rich foods as well as selenium, tyrosine, zinc and omega-3 fats, in addition to foods containing vitamins A, B, C and D. When necessary, appropriate supplementation should be considered.

 

Reduce your stress levels. Initiate a meditation practice to help heal your adrenals, start a moderate exercise program and use saunas or hot soaks with Epsom salt for detoxification.

 

The good news is that with all of this information you are empowered now and have more control than you think. Aim to take control of things that you can control; the way you think, the way you behave and the lifestyle choices you make.

 

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“The ability of a physician to prevent illness is a greater proof of his skill than his ability to cure someone who is already ill.” 

- Maimonides – 12th Century Sage, Philosopher, Talmudic Scholar and Physician. 

 

Many people when asked what they value most in life will say: their Kids, Career, and their Security.  Their lifestyle and actions will often reflect these values. However, often people realize their high value for Health only when their health is failing. Only then do they shift their lifestyle and actions accordingly.  This is why it is critical for the future of medicine to transform from the current focus on treatment to the focus on disease prevention.  

 

Disease prevention has been the focus of my research and practice for many years; more specifically breast cancer prevention. Yet, just like there are many common properties that help lower the risk of breast cancer, the same properties also apply to heart disease and many other chronic diseases that are so prevalent in our society today. 

 

People who live long lives and remain relatively healthy into their old age have certain personality characteristics along with certain habits that they practice that help them maintain their health.

 

Here are the 9 common personality traits and habits of many who live past the ripe age of 100: 

 

1.  Being Extroverted – they are found of socializing, belong to many groups and are eager to help others.

2.  Socially Connected – they maintain a circle of friends and family that provides them with support and  fulfills their own sense of purpose.

3.  Being Optimistic – they are happy and are easy to laugh; they are able to cope with stress and maintain a positive outlook on life

4.  Emotionally Stable – they are not very neurotic, there are no major swings in their moods and that keeps their stress hormone (cortisol) levels low

People who maintain their health also exhibit common health habits through their life:

 

5.  They maintain Proper Weight as excess weight taxes your cardiovascular system, affects your hormonal balance and increases your risk for cancer and diabetes. In many cases they are slightly underweight.

6.  They are Conscientious of Their Food Intake and generally maintain a healthy diet with fiber rich foods,  fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. They maintain healthy bowel movements that help with detoxification. They usually do everything in moderation - no excessive drinking or food binging. 

7.  They are Physically Active people that maintain their muscle mass either by physical labor or by regular exercise.  Physical activity naturally slows down the aging process, maintains healthy bone structure and boosts the immune system.

8.  They Get Good Sleep and proper rest which is the foundation for keeping their immune system in top form. Early to bed and early to rise helps keep their melatonin level production at optimum thus contributing to rejuvenating rest.

9.  They Avoid Pharmaceutical Drugs that at best mask the symptoms and at worst create additional  problems with side effects. They prefer to resolve their health issues with natural medicine and a holistic approach. 

 

Naturally, our genetic makeup, our belief system and our environment can affect our lives, our health, and our longevity. Nevertheless, we can greatly improve our chances of living a long and healthy life if we adopt some of the habits and characteristics of people who have succeeded in attaining longevity. 

 

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