I had a question recently from someone asking what foods can hamper thyroid hormone absorption. This is an important question, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to answer it.
The first thing to understand about thyroid hormone is that it behaves a little differently than many of it’s hormone cousins and binds quite easily to stuff.
Let me break it down for you:
The ability of a hormone to bind to a receptor inside or outside a cell depends on the chemical makeup of that hormone and how compatible it is to the cell’s fatty outer membrane.
Some hormones can go easily into cells to find receptors. For example, fat based steroid hormones like estrogen, progestins, etc. belong to this category. They prefer fatty surroundings (fat or lipid soluble) and they don’t like water.
As a result they can pass easily through the cell membrane, but they need proteins to help them through the watery bloodstream (these are the binding globulins that you may have heard of).
Receptors for these steroid hormones are found in several different places: the cells outer membrane, the cytoplasm and/or the nucleus inside the cell.
Other hormones stay outside the cell and attach to receptors found in the outer membrane. Insulin, growth hormone and other protein based peptide hormones prefer water (water soluble) and don’t like fat (fat insoluble).
The cell’s fatty membrane makes it difficult for these messengers to enter the cell. This keeps these peptide hormones outside the cell where they only bind with receptors found there.
Thyroid hormones, which are derived from amino acids, behave more like steroids than its peptide cousins and can actually bind to receptors both inside and outside the cell.
Which means they are very adaptable and flexible and it can also mean that they are able to bind to other things as well, like food, chemicals and minerals.
Many commonly used medications or supplements like iron, calcium, estrogen, proton pump inhibitors, and statins can cause affect thyroid hormone absorption or binding to plasma proteins.
Sometimes, if the doctor is paying attention, this may require making changes in dosage of levothyroxine. If you have been prescribed any of these drugs with your thyroid medication, you need to be aware of this.
Alcohol can disrupt thyroid function in a number of different ways. There are some indications that it may lower peripheral T4 and T3 levels.
In addition, it has a toxic effect on thyroid cells and ethanol is actually used to treat thyroid nodules in some cases. It can also, potentially, reduce the risk of certain types of thyroid cancer.
On the flip side, alcohol is very hard on the digestive tract and can also lead to destruction of the gut lining and make leaky gut worse.
I generally recommend avoiding alcohol, especially if you are trying to heal the gut.
Coffee also impacts the absorption of levothyroxine; this is why thyroid patients need to take their hormone replacement pill at least an hour before drinking coffee.
Caffeine found in coffee can also increase blood sugar levels . This is especially bad for people with hypoglycemia (or low sugar levels) because it can lead to complications.
For example, blood sugar fluctuations can cause cortisol spikes, which not only exhaust the adrenals, but also can wreak havoc on the immune system. Obviously, this is not a good thing for those of us with adrenal fatigue, and/or Hashimoto’s.
I recommend avoiding coffee if you have adrenal issues or hypoglycemia.
Black and green tea also has caffeine (though in lesser amounts than coffee), and it contains tannins which can hamper iron absorption and many teas also contain fluoride which blocks iodine absorption and may hamper thyroid function.
Green and Black tea are also Th2 stimulants. Drinking it in moderation may be ok for some and not good for others. If you drink a lot of tea, you may want to eliminate it for a period of time to see if it has an impact on your symptoms.
High doses of green tea have also been found to cause a significant decrease in serum T3 and T4 and increase in TSH levels has been reported along with decreased TPO and deiodinase activity in response to dietary green tea extract in rats.
There is ample evidence that gluten can lead to poor absorption of thyroid hormone. This is true for a couple of reasons; it can lead to destruction of the intestinal lining (which can hamper absorption), and it can cause systemic inflammation (which can clog receptors) This can lead to hypothyroidism and/or poor results from medication.
If you follow this page, you know I recommend eliminating gluten 100%. (For an in depth look at this read this post.)
Lactose has also been found to hamper thyroid hormone absorption. And casein, a protein found in milk is similar in protein structure to gluten and can also cause gluten like problems.
I also recommend eliminating dairy 100%. (Grass fed butter is one possible exception) (For an in depth look at this read this post.)
Soy is rich in phytoestrogens and affect levels of thyroid binding globulin (creating more of it). It can also hamper thyroid hormone absorption. Soy can also be goitrogenic in large quantities.
Soy protein and isoflavones doesn’t seem to harm people with sufficient levels of iodine, but it still may interfere with absorption of thyroid medication.
I generally recommend avoiding soy with the occasional exception of miso and fermented soy products like tempeh.
As mentioned above, the adrenals release cortisol to compensate for low blood sugar levels.
Cortisol directly inhibits the enzyme (5’-deiodinase) which converts inactive T4 into active T3. This can lead to low T3 levels.
In addition, elevated cortisol will cause thyroid hormone receptor insensitivity meaning that even if T3 levels are high enough, they may not be able to bind normally to receptor sites. And when this happens it doesn’t get into the cells.
Cortisol will also increase the production of reverse T3 (rT3) which is inactive. (It’s kind of like the anti-hormone.)
rT3 can cause an increase in the production of substances known as thyronamines that can cause hypothyroid symptoms (like, low basal body temperature,fatigue, depression, etc.) along with insulin resistance symptoms of increased blood sugar.
Cortisol can also lower the levels of protein that binds to thyroid hormone so it can circulate in a stable structure.
And finally, elevated cortisol will slow TSH production by messing with hypothalamic-pituitary feedback leading to lower TSH production.
Sugar should be treated as the addictive drug that it is. Use with extreme caution.
Processed foods tend to be high in both sodium, sugar and saturated fat. High sodium levels have been linked to autoimmunity and to thyroid disease. Sodium is important for getting iodide into thyroid cells.
Excess amounts of sodium can lead to higher amounts of iodine in the thyroid which can lead to a more aggressive autoimmune attack.
We have already discussed problems caused by low sugar. High blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance. This can also cause a reduced conversion of T4 to T3 hormones.
Eat real whole food. Processed food has little or no nutritional benefit. Don’t eat it.
Diets high in polyunsaturated fat caused significant thyroid dysfunction in rats. High triglycerides, decreased total T4 and free T4 levels and elevated TSH were all noted.
Naturally Found in found in legumes, plants, amiodarone, lithium, as well as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, forms of root cassava. These may reduce T4 absorption if iodine and/or selenium levels are low.
Generally, I think these foods have so many health benefits that they should be eaten. Goitrin is an active goitrogen present in plants of Rutabaga, turnip and Brassicae seeds.
Steam or blanch the vegetables as cooking destroys the enzyme responsible for activation of progoitrin to goitrin thus negating its anti-thyroid effects.
So, eat these vegetables, but don’t eat wheel barrels’ full. Normal moderate amounts are fine, in my opinion.
This common gluten free ingredient contains C-glycosylflavones which may inhibit TPO activity. Be cautious with millet. In moderate amounts it is probably ok.
Pesticides can lead to decreased half life of T4.
BPA (bisphenol-A) has been found to be an endocrine disruptor and may have direct action on thyroid receptors.
Percolates found in rocket fuel, thiocyanates and nitrates interfere with iodine uptake. A study in California on pregnant women found a strong association between urinary percolate levels and decreased total and free T4 and increased TSH.
Heavy metals like cadmium and lead are also known to affect thyroid function. In a study on pregnant women, those from lead exposed town had lower mean free thyroxine (FT4), higher mean TPO antibodies along with higher lead concentration suggesting stimulation of auto-immunity by prolonged lead exposure.
As you can see, there are many things that can bind to thyroid hormone both natural and chemical. All must be considered when deciding on dosage and when trying to improve thyroid hormone function in the body.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25040647 Drugs and thyroid hormone interactions
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743356/ Alcohol and the thyroid axis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9846599 Affects of caffeine on glucose levels
http://www.thyroid.org/patient-thyroid-information/ct-for-patients/vol-5-issue-6/vol-5-issue-6-p-3-4/ Gluten, celiac and thyroid hormone absorption.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16571087 Soy and Thyroid hormone absorption
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15642784 Sodium and thyroid hormone
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20561943 Green tea and thyroid function
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4220075/ Fat and rats
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26485730 California Percolate study
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24866691 Lead exposure and thyroid function
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740614/#b52 Possible Toxicants Involved in thyroid dysfunction
Here’s an awesome recipe for one of my favorite dishes called Kichari.
It’s a delicious dish, traditionally made in India that is easy to digest, detoxifying and anti-inflammatory.
It’s really easy to make too!
I like to make a big batch and then eat it for the rest of the week. It can also be eaten as a fast to detoxify the body and lose weight.
It’s not exactly AIP perfect, but it’s still quite beneficial. (This is better after you’ve gone through the elimination phase and have reintroduced foods.)
One of the ingredients is mung bean. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s small green bean is used in Chinese Medicine to clear heat and toxins and was used traditionally as an effective antidote for overdose from a variety of toxins.
This dish is also flavored with turmeric, a fantastic anti-inflammatory.
Powdered turmeric, cumin and coriander. (1 tbsp or so of each)
1 cup white basmati rice
1 cup mung beans (if you feel ambitious you can sprout these first)
ghee or coconut oil (1-2 tbsp)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
Cilantro and lime to garnish
In previous a previous post, we looked at the role of blood sugar imbalances on the thyroid and the thyroid axis. The endocrine gland that is in control of sugar balance in the body is, of course, the pancreas.
The pancreas is part of the Earth Element in Chinese Medicine. In this post, which is an excerpt from my book, Roadmap to Remission, we explore some of the important concepts related to the Earth Element and how they affect the thyroid axis.
Okay, so now let’s take a look at the Earth Element and its sphere of influence. As I said, the yin organ is the spleen, and the yang organ is the stomach.
The endocrine gland associated with the Earth Element is the pancreas. In fact, a lot of what the ancient Chinese ascribed to the spleen sounds, in my opinion, very much like the pancreas.
The other parts of the system that represent the Earth Element are the mouth, saliva, flesh, or muscles. It governs the sense of taste.
The spleen governs digestion and keeps the blood circulating. We know that it is also responsible for cleaning old and dead red blood cells from the bloodstream. It also stores platelets that aid in clotting and coagulation.
The ancient Chinese recognized the spleen as an important organ for immune function. We know now that it also stores monocytes—the Pacman white blood cells—and that B and T cells are made and mature in the spleen.
Remember in the last chapter when we spoke about certain immune cells producing TSH? Well, some of those cells come from the spleen.
The sense organ associated with the spleen is the mouth and health issues involving the spleen sometimes manifest on the lips and the corners of the mouth.
The negative emotion of the spleen is worry or obsessive thinking, and the energy or vitality of the Earth Element is intent.
This energy is linked with mental and physical activity of the body. Lack of desire or difficulty with coordination and movement of the body may reveal an issue with intent and, therefore, the spleen.
This difficulty with coordination is a problem with moving and articulating the limbs, and it is associated with poor utilization of nutrients by the muscles.
What are they talking about? It could be insulin utilization—the state of insulin resistance that we spoke about in the last chapter.
Almost all cells in the body have insulin receptors. So intent involves a major mental component and is also under the influence of insulin, but not always for the purpose of just utilizing glucose. Insulin can also help with the uptake of certain amino acids.
One interesting example of this relationship involves serotonin.
The brain’s ability to absorb serotonin is enhanced by insulin. If you become insulin resistant, what happens emotionally? You lose this intent, you become depressed, and you crave carbs to try and make you feel better.
Do you see how this is all connected? These are examples of spheres of influence.
In a spiritual sense, this intent affects the digestive functions of thought that allows for the processing and assimilation of our life experiences in a nourishing way.
Unbalanced function leads to brooding, worry, and excessive thought patterns, such as obsessive compulsive disorders. People who think obsessively can become stuck in a pattern of thinking for thinking’s sake alone, and they don’t get nourished by their experiences, because they can’t move on.
One of the health issues that is problematic for the spleen is dampness. Internally, this can take the form of phlegm. Phlegm is made in the spleen and then sent up to the lung.
Metaphorically, dampness is an accumulation of everything that should be nourishing, but instead has become a burden. In a psychological sense, it manifests as lethargy, boredom, mental sluggishness, obsessive thinking, and brooding.
On a physical level, phlegm dampness accumulates in the spleen, stomach, lungs, and large intestines. Sweetness is the flavor of the Earth Element. We’ve seen the problems excess sugar can cause.
Well, from a spiritual/psychological standpoint, this phlegm dampness represents the excessive need to give or receive sympathy. Therefore, it’s spiritual phlegm. It is giving too much and not taking care of yourself or demanding too much so that it becomes a burden to others.
That’s the beauty of Chinese Medicine. It looks at the connection between things, mind, body and spirit are not separate. They all influence one another.
This is my partner, Olesia Farberov’s (she also took the photos!), take on the famous chicken pot pie but Autoimmune-Paleo style. This labor of love will definitely make an impression on your guests and kids.
What can be better than a perfectly wrapped, edible present!
4 medium or 6 small Pumpkins, scraped of seeds and strings
3 lbs Chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces
¼ lb Uncured Bacon
4 Carrots, cut in thin rounds
1 large or 2 small Yucca root (optional)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 Bay leaf
4 Savory sprigs, thinly sliced
2 Oregano sprigs, thinly sliced
2 Sage leaves, thinly sliced
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
1 ½ cup Cranberries, fresh
1. Give your pumpkins a bath with soap and water to rid of any loose dirt. Using a small knife, cut out a hole 4-5” in diameter around the stem and open the “lid”. Scrape the insides of seeds and gooey strings and discard. Set pumpkins aside.2. Peel and cut yucca root into 2” rounds. Cook, covered in water, until easily pierced with fork. Drain and leave it to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut each piece into bite-size pieces, eliminating the hard, rope-like core. Set aside.
3. In a large pot, fry bacon until golden and crisp. Take out bacon and reserve for later.
4. Preheat oven to 395F.
5. Into the pot of bacon fat, throw in onion and cook until browned. Add chicken, yucca, bay leaf, herbs, salt & pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 min. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add cranberries and stir to distribute evenly.
6. Stuff each pumpkin with chicken mixture, including liquid. Cover with pumpkin “lid”. Place on a large sheet, covered with foil, and bake on middle rack at 395F for approximately 1hr or until pumpkin can be pierced easily with a fork.
7. Let pumpkins cool for at least 10 minutes with “lid” slightly open. Before serving, remove lid and sprinkle crumbled bacon into each pumpkin then place the “lid” back on.
Each pumpkin can be served whole or cut into either half (for adults) or quarter size (for kids).
Have Fun & Enjoy!!
Recipe and photos by Olesia Farberov, L.Ac.
This week we are looking into the earth element which involves the spleen and pancreas and how this relates to thyroid and autoimmune disease.
A new study in the news this week has found that drinking soda and other sweet beverages (2 or more per day) doubles the risk for getting diabetes regardless of whether or not it is an artificial sweetener or not.
This was a case-control study within a population-based Swedish cohort study that aimed to see whether consumption of sweetened drinks was associated with risk of a lesser known form of diabetes called latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA).
LADA is sometimes called Type 1.5 diabetes because has features of both type 1 diabetes, where the body’s own immune cells destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and type 2 diabetes, which usually develops later in life and is most commonly caused by eating too much sugar.
But unlike type 1 diabetes, which normally develops in childhood, in LADA the cell destruction is much slower.
Also, the condition often develops later in life and shares many features with type 2 diabetes. For example, the person doesn’t always need treatment with insulin straight away. This study reports that in the Swedish diabetes registry, LADA accounts for 5% of all cases.
Data was available for 1,136 people with type 2 diabetes, 357 people with LADA, and 1,371 diabetes-free controls.
Average age was 59 for people with LADA and controls, and 68 for those with type 2 diabetes.
Just under two-thirds of all people reported consuming sweetened (including artificially sweetened) drinks.
In general they found that consumption of sweetened drinks was linked with higher body mass index (BMI) and other poor lifestyle factors like smoking, low physical activity and consumption of processed meat and sugary foods. (Birds of a feather flock together, as do unhealthy habits.)
One problem with the study is that, as you can see, there are many other potential factors that could also lead to poor health and the development of diabetes, so it’s hard to say it’s just soda and other sweet beverages, though these are certainly very high in sugar.
How does this relate to Hashimoto’s?
There are few interesting links between these two diseases.
Firstly, as we noted in a previous post, when you have one autoimmune disease there is a higher risk of developing others.
What’s interesting is that insulin resistance has been found to increase destruction of the thyroid in thyroid autoimmunity, and it can also clearly be a trigger for Hashimoto’s.
These don’t usually develop at the same time and often take years to progress, just like other autoimmune diseases.
In one study of autoimmune polyendocrine diseases it was found that type I diabetes manifested first in half the cases and autoimmune thyroid disease manifested first in 17% of the cases.
And the most common combination was type I diabetes and autoimmune thyroid disease at 33%.
So, it’s another reminder of how important sugar balance and sugar control is for people with Hashimoto’s.
We explore this idea in depth in this post.
Something else that is really fascinating is that candida is also a common denominator in many autoimmune polyendocrine disorders.
What does candida thrive on?
Adding another layer of reasons why sugar should be taken seriously. It can not only lead to more autoimmunity, it can also lead to secondary conditions that are both causes of the disease and hindrnaces to getting better.
Finally, I think what’s also an interesting revelation from this is that there is a kind of myth that diet soda is a safer alternative.
Well, various research reviews and a case study have found this not to be true.
In fact, here’s one case study that showed dramatic improvement in Hashimoto’s symptoms when the patient stopped drinking diet soda.
BOTTOM LINE IS THIS
Excessive sugar consumption (and this includes artificial sugar substitutes) is a potential threat not just for Type II Diabetes or LADA, but also for autoimmune thyroid and polyendocrine thyroid diseases.
It can also foster secondary infections like candida and SIBO (Small Intestine Bascterial Overgrowth).
Treat sugar like the potentially dangerous substance that it is.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15182509 LADA and Thyroid autoimmunity
beverage consumption and LADA
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313612.php Diabetes risk doubled with soda consumption-diet doesn’t change anything
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18800291 Sucralose alters microbiome
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20693348 Previous research on soda and type 2 diabetes
http://media.aace.com/press-release/cause-and-effect-case-report-shows-association-between-sugar-substitutes-and-common-th Case study on artificial sweeteners and Hashimoto’s
https://www.sav.sk/journals/endo/full/er0301e.pdf LADA and Autoimmune Thyroiditis
In this contentious election season, there are going to be winners and there are going to be losers. Whenever you lose something, whether it’s a friend, loved one or your team or candidate is not victorious, then you can experience grief.
In Chinese medicine, traditionally, it is believed that emotions impact different parts of our bodies more than others and the metal element (which includes the lung and large intestine) is thought to be vulnerable to the impact of grief.
The Nei Jing, or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, a classic text that dates back 2,200 years, describes the lungs as minister and chancellor. It helps the heart to regulate the body’s qi or energy.
The lungs govern the wei qi, which guards our outer most boundary, and prevents all that doesn’t match our true self from getting inside to our core.
Grief is the negative emotion of the lung, and grief can weaken them.
My father died when I was nine. The next year I got pneumonia. Maybe it was a coincidence or maybe there is some connection.
The lungs are very vulnerable to dryness, as well. If this boundary to self becomes too dry, then finding our true self can become more difficult.
If the lungs become too moist, then phlegm builds up and blocks our connection to the essence of life.
In health the lungs are thought to empower us to stay connected to the essence of life even after the material things disappear.
For example, after the loss of a loved one, a healthy lung can empower a connection to the spirit of that person.
But if the lung is weak, you could become fixated on the loss, become lost in that grief, and lose appreciation of the present moment.
This grief can become manifest as phlegm, a chronic cough, constant dripping sinus, like internal tears.
Phlegm is a very important thing in Chinese medicine. Like qi, it has a number of different definitions.
Good phlegm clears pathogens; it’s the first line of defense. Bad phlegm, (“Bad Phlegm!”), accumulates in the joints, the kidneys, the brain, and the thyroid in the form of nodules.
In the Chinese character of phlegm, we see the character that means inflammation. Phlegm can also represent the antibody response to pathogens that cross react to healthy tissues.
This kind of phlegm impairs cellular immune function leading to chronic disease.
Understanding the Large Intestine’s Role
The large intestine is the yang partner to the lung. According to the Nei Jing, the large intestine is responsible for transit. All waste products go through this organ.
This is true of waste moving through the large intestine, which returns to the earth. It’s also true metaphorically.
The large intestine constructs a barrier between self and non-self by sorting out the things we take in and then determining which acquired influences need to be kept and which need to be let go.
With autoimmune disease, so much of which begins and is perpetuated in the intestines, the barrier between self and non-self, is lost.
We lose self tolerance. And a lot of this happens in the intestines.
Failing to respond in a balanced way to loss in life (and not just loss of a loved one—any loss: a job, a relationship, a pet, an election), the large intestine reacts to the presence of grief and longing.
This grief can become distorted and it can be difficult to let go in that you keep holding on to things that no longer serve you. And what happens?
Diarrhea—where you loose important minerals, or constipation where you are literally holding onto things that no longer serve you.
This condition can make you pessimistic, cynical, and generally negative. It can make you judgmental of others.
Leaky gut or intestinal permeability is caused by a breakdown of the intestinal lining and cell walls.
Many researchers believe that it is one of the root causes of autoimmunity and the loss of self tolerance. (We will explore this in depth in the section on the Earth Element )
Leaky gut may also have an emotional root. It can make you feel not properly valued by others.
You see how this is all connected?
The ancient Chinese believed that emotions are not just things that we feel, they have real physical consequences and can profoundly impact our health and well being.
This is also why cultivating practices like meditation can be so valuable. You learn to not be ruled by your emotions and by observing them instead, you can also learn how to separate them from your physical body.
That can be a very valuable skill.
As always, we appreciate your comments, shares and insights.
Qi Gong Exercise for the Metal Element (The Immune System)
Reach for Happiness
This exercise focuses on bringing more energy and blood flow to the lungs. In Chinese medicine, the lungs are one of the most important organ systems for creating energy and sustaining health and well-being.
It has its origin in a famous statue of Buddha, in which he is portrayed with his hands above his head just like the photo above.
As we learned in the chapters on the Metal Element, the lungs and large intestines are united by the immune system. They both have an enormous number of lymph glands in and around them, as you can see in this illustration.
So focusing on healing these areas can have a very positive effect on the immune system for calming, regulating, and balancing the immune system. All things that a valuable for people with Hashimoto’s.
This exercise is also good for digestive problems; heart, lung, spine, or back problems; and a stiff neck and eye problems. It helps also bring more blood flow to the brain, increases lung volume, and increases blood flow back to the heart.
How to Do It:
Begin with the natural standing posture. Feet shoulder length apart, hands hanging relaxed at your side.
Inhale and gently sweep your hands out to your sides, to the front and bring your hands to meet at your abdomen, just below your navel.
Your palms should be facing up towards the sky, with your fingertips pointing up towards each other. As you sweep your hands up imagine that you are holding a ball of energy, keep your arms rounded and your armpits open.
Next raise your hands, lifting the energy ball slowly and steadily up to your chest. Keep your arms about six to eight inches from your body to keep the movement open. Gently hold the energy ball and imagine that you must balance it or it will fall.
Next turn, turn the palms down and rotate your thumbs underneath and push your hands out above your head. Keep your fingers interlocking and again imagine that you are balancing an energy ball and pushing it far into the sky.
At the end of this movement stand up on your tip toes as far as your balance allows. Push up for one or two seconds as you completely exhale. Then inhale as deeply as you can while staying relaxed.
Finally, exhale again, unlock your fingers and return your head and eyes to a forward position. Let your arms float outward as if gently pushing down a couple of big balloons.
Repeat the entire Qi Gong exercise three times, once or twice a day. When you are finished try to maintain the posture and height that got from doing the exercise.
From Liu, Master Hong. The Healing Art of Qi Gong Healing. New York: Warner, 1997.
Today’s Hashimoment: Loving Your Story
We all have an inner narrative.
And one thing I’ve observed in myself and in many of the people I’ve worked with is a tendency to go to that default story.
It takes various forms, but what I noticed is that when I’m struggling it’s all about what’s wrong rather than what’s right.
And if you’re like many of the people I’ve worked with, you’ve struggled with Hashimoto’s and maybe felt defeated at times.
You’d have to be a super hero to not feel that way once in while.
But the truth is always nuanced.
It contains elements of comedy, things to celebrate and things to be grateful for.
As well as a fair share of tragedy, hardship and suffering.
So, what it comes down to is your perception of it, really.
The way you narrate the story.
It can be all about the tragedy and hardship and defeat.
Or all about the things to celebrate and what you’re grateful for.
But in order to heal, we need to try and use everything to our advantage.
And I know it has served me to focus on the things I can celebrate and what I’m grateful for.
Even when things are hard and there seems to be a lot of disappointment and difficulty, there’s always a way to be your own spin doctor and tell the story differently.
And like anything, the more you do this, the easier it becomes and the better you become at it.
So I encourage you to work on this.
Craft a story you love and make it more about the things you can celebrate and be grateful for.
This will make it easier to love yourself and that’s something that can never hurt.
Shares, comments and insights welcome!
Earlier this week I shared a post I wrote that looks into some questions around the influenza vaccine.
We had quite a few reactions and they were distinctly different.
Some people reported getting the flu vaccine and it was no problem for them. Others reported terrible reactions and said they’d never get it again.
Well, as always, I’m curious about why this might be.
So I took a look at the research and I’ve come up with a plausible theory.
I’ll get to it in a moment, but, first, I think it’s important to understand something about the immune system.
The Immune System Is Incredibly Complex
The immune system is made of many different parts, and much of it is still a mystery to researchers.
One thing that we do know is that these different parts can behave differently in different situations and trying to over simplify and assign “good” or “bad” attributes to the different parts often results in frustration.
And the reason for this is that sometimes it does things that are “good” for the body (like defend it from pathogens like the flu virus) and sometimes it does things that are not so beneficial (like develop autoimmunity).
But even autoimmunity comes from a necessary and “good” process, the body needs to dispose of old dead cells or we’d become a toxic stew of cell fragments and mutations.
Sometimes these processes get thrown out of balance and “bad” things happen such as autoimmunity and one of the possible reasons for this has to do with the way the body tries to deal with and dispose of viruses.
And examining this process can give us insights into why some people with autoimmunity have such a bad reaction to the flu (and sometimes, other viruses, as well.)
In reality, everyone is a little different and we all have different immune profiles. Even among people with Hashimoto’s there is a good deal of variety in terms of how their immune system is functioning (or dysfunctioning).
Autoimmunity and Influenza Reactions Have One Thing In Common
The one common denominator in both bad reactions to the flu and the development of autoimmunity is that, in both cases, there is a deficiency in certain immune cells.
One thing that both autoimmunity and influenza infection have in common is that a deficiency of CD8+ cells can be found in autoimmune disease and it can also be a factor in having a more intense reaction to the influenza virus.
CD8+ cells are important for immune defense against bacteria and viruses and they also help the body monitor for tumors.
Some researchers have theorized that the Epstein Barr virus plays an important role in autoimmunity because it can ultimately leads to a decline in CD8+ cells.
This is a bit complicated and I have written about it in more depth here: https://www.hashimotoshealing.com/the-herpes-virus-and-has…/
How to Boost CD8+ Cells
For this post I thought it might be helpful to give you some suggestions for boosting CD8+ cells, which may help reduce your susceptibility and reaction to colds and flus.
Butyrate, which is important food for good bacteria and for cell lining in the intestines has been found to be helpful in restoring CB8+ cells that were depleted by viral infections.
These are short chained fatty acids and can be found in resistant starches. Butyrate can also be purchased as a supplement on it’s own.
The Chinese herb Chuan Xin Lian, or Andrographis can also boost CD8+ cells and is an excellent herb for sore throats and colds and flus. ( This is herb is contraindicated in pregnancy and must be used with caution. It is available in capsule and tablet form). More information can be found here: http://examine.com/supplements/Andrographis+paniculata/
Another Chinese herb called Jiao Gu Lan or Gynostemma has been shown to boost CD8+ cells and to have anticancer and cholesterol lowering properties: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24832985
Finally, Wu wei zi, or Schizandra is another herb that has been shown to boost CD8+ cells after radiation exposure: http://www.egh.net.cn/EN/abstract/abstract2207.shtml
(Note: Herbs are medicine too, so use caution when taking them and be sure to do your own research or consult an experienced physician on proper dosage and contraindications).
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC136883/ CD8+ def. and influenza
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ad/2012/189096/#B47 CD8+ def. in autoimmunity
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/1/pdfs/05-1237.pdf Cell mediated Protection in Influenza
http://bitesized.immunology.org/cells/cd8-t-cells/ Good explanation of CD8+ cells
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jir/2015/979167/ Immune disorders and Hashimoto’s
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4196144/ Butyrate boosts CD8+ cells
Star Anise can be used to make a tea for cold & flu symptoms.
Today, I thought we’d start a new type of post that we’ll doing periodically and that is featuring herbs and other treatments that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
In today’s tip, I wanted to highlight Star Anise, known as Da Hui Xiang in Chinese.
This is an herb that is traditionally combined with other herbs and used as a pain reliever, and digestive aid (it is especially effective for treating nausea and indigestion).
It has a lovely licorice like flavor and you can find it in dried form at many Hispanic and Asian markets.
Another interesting thing to note is that Star anise is the major source of the chemical compound shikimic acid.
This compound is used to make the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir(Tamiflu).
And for all you trivia fans …in 2005, a temporary shortage of star anise was caused by its use in the production of Tamiflu.
So, that means it also has anti-viral properties and can be a good tea for aiding in the prevention and treatment of the flu.
Since pain, digestive complaints and colds and flus can all be issues for people with Hashimoto’s, we recommend this as a tea that you can keep around the house and drink regularly.
How to prepare it:
Use 2 star anise per cup of filtered water.
Bring water to a boil. Add the star anise, turn down the heat.
Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes for a strong cup of tea.
Doesn’t really need sweetening, and the flavor will be quite strong when you simmer it for this amount of time.
Simmering for this amount of time will release the medicinal properties and covering it will preserve the aromatic oils.
For a gentler cup of tea, simmer for 5 minutes.
Have a great day! Unless you have other plans. 🙂
Please share with anyone you think might enjoy this.