Tuesday, 10 September 2019

[www.keralites.net] Health Solutions: The 'Whys' of Thyroid and Reversing it- Naturally (courtesy www.mercola.com)


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Your thyroid, one of the largest endocrine glands, greatly influences almost every cell in your body. Aside from regulating your metabolism and weight by controlling the fat-burning process, thyroid hormones are also required for the growth and development in children and in nearly every physiological process in your body.

When your thyroid levels are out of balance, so are you. Too much or too little hormone secretion in this gland can spell trouble for your overall health and well-being.

Mounting research shows that 10 to 40 percent of people living in the United States have sub-optimal thyroid function.1 Poor thyroid function has been linked to serious health conditions like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, acne, eczema, gum disease, infertility, and autoimmune diseases, which is why it's imperative that you to learn how your thyroid works and what can cause it to go off kilter.

The Thyroid Gland: Understanding How It Works

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found inside your neck, right under your larynx or voice box. A two-inch long, brownish red, highly vascular gland, it has two lobes located on each side of the windpipe that are both connected by a tissue called the isthmus. A normal thyroid gland weighs somewhere between 20 and 60 grams.

Your thyroid is responsible for producing the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. It produces three types of hormones:

·       Triiodothyronine (T3)

·       Thyroxine (T4)

·       Diiodothyronine (T2)

Hormones secreted by your thyroid interact with all your other hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The fact that these hormones are all tied together and are in constant communication explains why a less-than-optimal thyroid status is associated with so many widespread symptoms and diseases.

Almost 90 percent of the hormone produced by your thyroid is in the form of T4, the inactive form. Your liver then converts the T4 into T3, the active form, with the help of an enzyme. T2, however, is currently the least-understood component of thyroid function and the subject of a number of ongoing studies.

If everything is working properly, you will make what you need and have the correct amounts of T3 and T4, which control the metabolism of every cell in your body. If your T3 is inadequate, either by scarce production or not converting properly from T4, your whole system suffers. T3 is critically important because it tells the nucleus of your cells to send messages to your DNA to rev up your metabolism by burning fat. This is how T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair, and helps keep you lean.

Your T3 levels can be disrupted by nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, infections, and stress, and this lead to a series of complications, including thyroid cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism, which today are three of the most prevalent thyroid-related diseases.

Now, let's discuss and delve deeper into these thyroid problems.

Hypothyroidism: The Sluggish Thyroid Syndrome


Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, a condition that is often linked to iodine deficiency.

Dr. David Brownstein, a board-certified holistic practitioner who has been working with iodine for the last two decades, claims that over 95 percent of the patients in his clinic are iodine-deficient.

In addition, 10 percent of the general population in the United States, and 20 percent of women over age 60, have subclinical hypothyroidism,2 a condition where you have no obvious symptoms and only slightly abnormal lab tests.

However, only a marginal percentage of these people are being treated. The reason behind this is the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of lab tests, particularly TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Most physicians believe that if your TSH value is within the "normal" range, your thyroid is fine. But as I always say, the devil is in the details. More and more physicians are now discovering that the TSH value is grossly unreliable for diagnosing hypothyroidism.

How to Know If You Are Hypothyroid

Identifying hypothyroidism and its cause is tricky business. Many of thesymptoms of hypothyroidism are vague and overlap with other disorders. Physicians often miss a thyroid problem since they rely on just a few traditional tests, leaving other clues undetected.

The most sensitive way to find out is to listen to your body. People with a sluggish thyroid usually experience:

·       Lethargy - Fatigue and lack of energy are typical signs of thyroid dysfunction. Depression has also been linked to the condition. If you've been diagnosed with depression, make it a point that your physician checks your thyroid levels.

It's essential to note that not all tiredness or lack of energy can be blamed on a dysfunctional thyroid gland. Thyroid-related fatigue begins to appear when you cannot sustain energy long enough, especially when compared to a past level of fitness or ability. If your thyroid foundation is weak, sustaining energy output is going to be a challenge. You will notice you just don't seem to have the energy to do the things like you used to.

Some of the obvious signs of thyroid fatigue include:

o   Feeling like you don't have the energy to exercise, and typically not exercising on a consistent basis

o   A heavy or tired head, especially in the afternoon; your head is a very sensitive indicator of thyroid hormone status

o   Falling asleep as soon as you sit down when you don't have anything to do

·       Weight gain – Easy weight gain or difficulty losing weight, despite an aggressive exercise program and watchful eating, is another indicator.

·       Rough and scaly skin and/or dry, coarse, and tangled hair – If you have perpetually dry skin that doesn't respond well to moisturizing lotions or creams, consider hypothyroidism as a factor.

·       Hair loss – Women especially would want to pay attention to their thyroid when unexplained hair loss occurs. Fortunately, if your hair loss is due to low thyroid function, your hair will come back quickly with proper thyroid treatment.

·       Sensitivity to cold – Feeling cold all the time is also a sign of low thyroid function. Hypothyroid people are slow to warm up, even in a sauna, and don't sweat with mild exercise.

·       Low basal temperature - Another telltale sign of hypothyroidism is a low basal body temperature (BBT), less than 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit averaged over a minimum of three days. It is best to get a BBT thermometer to assess this.

Any of these symptoms can be suggestive of an underactive thyroid. The more of these symptoms you have, the higher the likelihood that you have hypothyroidism. Furthermore, if you have someone in your family with any of these conditions, your risks of thyroid problems become higher:



Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Prematurely gray hair

Autoimmune diseases, (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sarcoidosis, Sjogren's)

Elevated cholesterol levels


Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

High or low thyroid function

The more vigilant you are in assessing your own symptoms and risk factors and presenting the complete picture to your physician, the easier it will be for you to get the proper treatment.

How About If You Have a Hyperactive Thyroid?

Thyroxine or T4 is a hormone made by the thyroid gland carried throughout your body in your bloodstream. Many of your cells and tissues depend on thyroxine to work properly.

An overactive thyroid secretes too much T4, causing some of your body functions to accelerate. Physicians may use the term "thyrotoxicosis" instead of "hyperthyroidism." This condition is more common in women – about eight in 100 women and one 1 in 100 men develop hyperthyroidism at some point in their lives. It can occur at any age.3

Patient.co.uk lists several symptoms of hyperthyroidism:

·       Feeling restless, nervous, emotional, irritable, sleeping poorly, and as if you're always on the go

·       Difficulty concentrating

·       Frequent bowel movements

·       Irregular menstrual periods in women

·       Weight loss (or weight gain, in rare cases)

·       Rapid, forceful, or irregular heartbeat

·       Lack of menstrual periods in women

·       Protruding eyes or exophthalmos

Some of these symptoms may be unnoticeable at first and then become worse as your thyroxine levels start to shoot up even higher.

Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to heart problems like atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, angina, and heart failure. Hyperthyroid women can potentially have difficulty giving birth.

Are Your At Risk of Thyroid Cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, there is an estimated 60,220 new cases and 1,850 deaths from thyroid cancer in the United States alone.5 Thyroid cancer is classified into four different types: papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, and anaplastic thyroid cancer.

Just like with any type of cancer, early intervention heightens your chances of remission and recovery. This is why you should always be on the lookout for possible clues. Below is a list of potential warning signs of thyroid cancer from Roswell Park Cancer Institute:6

·       Unusual lumps, nodules, bumps or swelling in the neck

·       Pain in the front of the neck or throat

·       Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away

·       A constant cough that is not due to a cold

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America explains that there are certain components that may heighten an individual's overall risk for this disease. These include:


Females are three times more vulnerable to developing thyroid cancer than males. Papillary thyroid cancer is typically found in women of childbearing age.


Two-thirds of thyroid cancer cases occur between ages 20 and 55.


Familial medullary thyroid cancer, which is a rare type of thyroid cancer, is caused by an inherited mutation in the RET proto-oncogene. If you have inherited this gene mutation from your parents, your likelihood of contracting this disease is twice higher than other people.

Having someone in the family with goiter, thyroid cancer, or other thyroid-related diseases.


Iodine is an essential ingredient for the secretion of thyroid hormones. An insufficiency in this nutrient can impair the thyroid significantly.


Individuals who are exposed excessively or repeatedly toradiation, including routine diagnostic X-rays (i.e. chest or dental X-ray) and other radioactive materials are, especially during childhood, can potentially incur thyroid cancer and/or other forms of cancer.

4 Things That Wreak Havoc on Your Thyroid

These are some key contributing factors that can ruin your healthy thyroid function:

1.    Gluten – Gluten, along with other food sensitivities, is a notorious culprit of thyroid dysfunction, as they cause inflammation. Gluten causes autoimmune responses in many people and can be responsible for Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a common autoimmune thyroid condition. Approximately 30 percent of the people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have an autoimmune reaction to gluten, and it usually goes unrecognized.

Gluten sensitivity can cause your gastrointestinal system to malfunction, so foods you eat aren't completely digested, often leading to a leaky gut syndrome. These food particles can then be absorbed into your bloodstream, where your body misidentifies them as antigens – substances that shouldn't be there – and then produces antibodies against them.

These antigens are similar to the molecules in your thyroid gland. Because of this, your body accidentally attacks your thyroid. This is known as an autoimmune reaction, in which your body actually attacks itself.

Testing can be done for gluten and other food sensitivities, which involves measuring your IgG and IgA antibodies.

Chris Kresser, an integrative medicine practitioner, recommends The Gluten-Free Challenge. This involves completely removing gluten from your diet for at least 30 days, and then adding it back right after.

"If symptoms improve during the elimination period, and return when gluten is reintroduced, a diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) can be made," Kresser explains.


2.    Soy - Believe it or not, soy is not the wholesome health food the agricultural and food companies have led you to believe.Virtually thousands of scientific studies now link soy foods to malnutrition, digestive stress, immune system weakness, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility, and a host of other problems, on top of the damage it causes your thyroid. Soy phytoestrogens are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

Properly or traditionally fermented, organic, and unprocessed soy products such as natto, miso, and tempeh are fine – it's the unfermented soy products that you should stay away from, like soy meat, soy milk, soy cheese, etc.

To know more about the evils of soy, read The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food.


3.    Bromines – Bromines are a common endocrine disruptor. Because bromide is also a halide, it competes for the same receptors that are used in the thyroid gland to capture iodine. This will inhibit thyroid hormone production resulting in a low thyroid state.

When you ingest or absorb bromine, it displaces iodine, and this iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary, and prostate – cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today. This phenomenon is significant enough to have been given its own name: the Bromide Dominance Theory.7

In addition to psychiatric and thyroid problems, bromine toxicity can manifest as skin rashes and severe acne, loss of appetite and abdominal pain, fatigue, a metallic taste in the mouth, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Bromine can be found regularly in a number of places, including:

Pesticides, specifically methyl bromide, used mainly on strawberries, predominantly in California

Plastics, such as those used to make computers

Bakery goods and some floursoften contain a "dough conditioner" called potassium bromate

Soft drinks, including Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sun Drop, Squirt, Fresca, and other citrus-flavored sodas – in the form of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs)

Medications such as Atrovent inhaler, Atrovent Nasal Spray, Pro-Banthine (for ulcers), and anesthesia agents

Fire retardants like polybromo diphenyl ethers or PBDEs is used in fabrics, carpets, upholstery, and mattresses

The more you can free your body of the toxic halides, the more iodine your body will be able to hang onto, and the better your thyroid will function. Laura Power, a nutritional biochemist, offers these suggestions for increasing secretion of fluorine and bromine:

o   Increase your iodine and vitamin C intake

o   Opt for unrefined sea salt

o   Have Epsom salts baths

o   Sweat in a far-infrared sauna

4.    Stress and Adrenal Function – Stress is one of the worst thyroid offenders. Your thyroid function is intimately tied to your adrenal function, which is intimately affected by how you handle stress.

Many of us are almost always under chronic stress, which results in increased adrenaline and cortisol levels, and elevated cortisol has a negative impact on thyroid function. Thyroid hormone levels drop during stressful times, which is when you actually need it the most.

When stress becomes chronic, the flood of stress chemicals – adrenaline and cortisol – produced by your adrenal glands interfere with your thyroid hormones, causing a whole gamut of health-related issues like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or unstable blood sugar levels. A prolonged stress response can lead to adrenal exhaustion, which is also known as adrenal fatigue and which is often found alongside thyroid disease.

But that's not all. Environmental toxins place extra stress on your body, too. Pollutants such as petrochemicals, organochlorines, pesticides, and chemical food additives negatively affect thyroid function.

For ultimate stress relief, I recommend you to read my article 8 Expert Stress-Busting Tips.

Iodine: Probably Your Best Weapon Against Thyroid Problems

Iodine is perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to thyroid hormones. It is a vitally important nutrient that is detected in every organ and tissue. It is essential for healthy thyroid function and efficient metabolism, and there is increasing evidence that relates low to numerous diseases, including cancer.

Iodine is a potent anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti- cancer agent. It has four significant roles in your body, namely to maintain your weight and metabolism, to develop brain and cognitive function in children, to optimize fertility, and to strengthen your immune system.

Though thyroid health is often what people think of when they think of iodine, other tissues also absorb and use large amounts of iodine,8 including your breasts, skin, salivary glands, pancreas, brain, stomach, cerebral spinal fluid, and thymus

Iodine deficiency or insufficiency in any of these tissues will lead to tissue dysfunction. Hence the following symptoms could provide clues that you're not getting enough iodine in your diet. For example, iodine deficiency in:

Salivary glands

Disables your saliva production, making your mouth dry


Results in rough and dry skin and inability to sweat normally


Lowers alertness and intelligence quotient (IQ) levels


Produces nodules, scar tissue, pain, fibrosis, fibromyalgia

The Total Diet Study, performed by the FDA, reported an iodine intake of 621 micrograms for two-year-olds between 1974 and 1982, compared with 373 micrograms between 1982 and 1991. During the same time period, the baking industry replaced iodine-based anti-caking agents with bromine-based agents.9

In addition to iodine's disappearance from our food supply, exposure to toxic competing halogens –bromine, fluorine, chlorine, and perchlorate– has dramatically increased. You absorb these halogens through your food, water, medications, and environment, and they selectively occupy your iodine receptors, worsening your iodine deficit.

Here are more factors contributing to falling iodine levels:

·       Diets low in fish, shellfish and seaweed

·       Vegan and vegetarian diets

·       Less use of iodide in the food and agricultural industry

·       Fluoridated drinking water

·       Rocket fuel (perchlorate) contamination in food

·       Decreased use of iodized salt

·       Less use of iodide in the food and agricultural industry

·       Use of radioactive iodine in many medical procedures, which competes with natural iodine

How to Increase Your Iodine Levels Naturally

Sadly, it's thought that up to 40 percent of the population worldwide is at risk for iodine deficiency.10 As a matter of fact, iodine deficiency is one of the three most common nutritional deficiencies, along with magnesium and vitamin D.11

But this doesn't mean that you should start popping iodine supplement pills to fix this issue. Ironically, research has shown that taking too much iodine may also lead to a subclinical version of the condition, which is a milder form that is often missed by laboratory tests.

In fact, the American Thyroid Association (ATA) has issued a statement warning about the risks of too much iodine, especially from iodine, potassium iodide, and kelp supplements. According to the ATA, such supplements may "contain iodine in amounts that are up to a thousand times higher than the daily Tolerable Upper Limits for iodine."

Moreover, they advised against the ingestion of iodine or kelp supplements containing in excess of 500 micrograms iodine daily, and noted that ingesting more than 1,100 micrograms of iodine per day (the tolerable upper limit) may cause thyroid dysfunction.

Personally, I do not advise taking iodine supplements, as their risks usually far outweigh their benefits.

Instead, you can follow these helpful strategies:12

1.    Eat organic as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly to minimize your pesticide exposure.

2.    Avoid eating or drinking from (or storing food and water in) plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels.

3.    If you have to eat grain, look for organic whole-grain breads and flour. Grind you own grain, if possible. Look for the "no bromine" or "bromine-free" label on commercial baked goods.

4.    Avoid sodas. Make natural, filtered water your beverage of choice.

5.    If you own a hot tub, look into an ozone purification system. Such systems make it possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemical treatments.

6.    Look for personal care products that aren't laced with toxic chemicals. Remember: anything you put on your skin can potentially go into your bloodstream.

7.    When in a car or a building, open windows as often as possible, preferably on opposing sides of the space for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the air. Chemical pollutants are in much higher concentrations inside buildings (and cars) than outside.

If you suspect that you are iodine-deficient, I strongly encourage you to visit your healthcare provider for a urine iodine challenge test.

You can also get an affordable prescription for SSKI or super-saturated potassium iodine, which you apply on your skin once a day. If when you touch something with slightly wet fingertips you see a yellowish stain, it means the iodine is coming out of your skin, indicating that your body has enough supply of iodine inside.

Simple Steps That You Can Do to Improve Your Thyroid Health

Here are simple ways that you can take in order to improve the performance of your thyroid:

·       Identify and treat the underlying causes. Find out what's really triggering your thyroid problems – whether it's iodine deficiency, hormone imbalance, environmental toxicity, or inflammation – to address it appropriately. For best results, consult an integrative medical practitioner.

·       Load up on fresh iodine-rich foods. As an alternative to iodine supplementation, eat enormous amounts of toxin-free sea vegetables or sea weeds like spirulina, hijiki, wakame, arame, dulse, nori, and kombu, which are loaded with the thyroid-friendly nutrient, iodine, and other beneficial minerals. However, make sure that these are harvested from uncontaminated waters. The recommended dose is about five grams a day or about one ounce per week. Raw milk and eggs contain iodine as well.

·       Pay attention to other key aspects of your diet. Munch on Brazil nuts, which are rich in selenium. Load up on foods high in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Consume coconut oil. Veer away from gluten and soy-containing foods and beverages.

·       Minimize your stress levels. Take a break, meditate, soak in the tub, go on vacation – do whatever works for you. Practice Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an energy psychology tool that excellently reduces stress.


·       Make an effort to limit your exposure to toxins. Filter your air and water to avoid contact with poisonous contaminants. Use an infrared sauna and hot soaks to help your body combat infections and detoxify from petrochemicals, metals, PCBs, pesticides, and mercury. Taking chlorella for detoxification is also advised.

·       Avoid all sources of bromide as much as possible - Bromides are a menace to your endocrine system and are present all around you. Despite a ban on the use of potassium bromate in flour by the World Health Organization (WHO), bromides can still be found in some over-the-counter medications, foods, and personal care products. Being a savvy reader of labels can save you from tons of toxic trouble.

·       Get adequate amounts of sleep. Inadequate sleep contributes to stress and prevents your body from regenerating fully. For more helpful tips on getting high-quality sleep, please review my 33 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep.

·       Exercise. Exercise directly stimulates your thyroid gland to secrete more thyroid hormone and increases the sensitivity of all your tissues to thyroid hormone. It is even thought that many of the health benefits of exercise stem directly from improved thyroid function.

Walk your dog in the park, jog in the morning, and incorporate strength training and other core-building routines. You can also give Peak Fitness a try.


50 Shades of Gluten (Intolerance)


This article was first featured at The Huffington Post. .

Celiac disease (CD) was initially described in the first century A.D. by a Greek physician named Aretaeus of Cappadocia. (1) But neither Aretaeus nor anyone else knew that CD is caused by an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein in wheat. That didn't become clear until 1950 — several centuries later — when Dr. Willem Dicke, a Dutch pediatrician, conclusively proved that gluten was the culprit. (2) Dicke's discovery saved millions of children and adults from the perils of untreated celiac disease, including malnutrition, stunted growth, cancer, severe neurological and psychiatric illness and even death.

Since then, the mainstream view of gluten intolerance has been relatively black or white: Either you have celiac disease, in which case even a small amount of gluten will send you running to the bathroom in three seconds flat, or you don't, and you can chug down beer and bagels without fear. This "all-or-nothing" view has led to some doctors telling patients that suspect they're sensitive to gluten but test negative for CD that they're simply imagining an affliction that doesn't exist.

It turns out those doctors are wrong.

The Many Shades of Gluten Intolerance

In order to explain why, I have to give you a quick lesson in the biochemistry of wheat and wheat digestion.

Wheat contains several different classes of proteins. Gliadins and glutenins are the two main components of the gluten fraction of the wheat seed. (They're essential for giving bread the ability to rise properly during baking.) Within the gliadin class, there are four different epitopes (i.e. types): alpha-, beta-, gamma- and omega-gliadin. Wheat also contains agglutinins (proteins that bind to sugar) and prodynorphins (proteins involved with cellular communication). Once wheat is consumed, enzymes in the digestive tract called tissue transglutaminases (tTG) help to break down the wheat compound.. In this process, additional proteins are formed, including deamidated gliadin and gliadorphins (aka gluteomorphins).

Here's the crucial thing to understand: Celiac disease is characterized by an immune response to a specific epitope of gliadin (alpha-gliadin) and a specific type of transglutaminase (tTG-2). But we now know that people can (and do) react to several other components of wheat and gluten — including other epitopes of gliadin (beta, gamma, omega), glutenin, WGA and deamidated gliadin — as well as other types of transglutaminase, including type 3 (primarily found in the skin) and type 6 (primarily found in the brain). (345678)

This is a huge problem because conventional lab testing for CD and of gluten intolerance only screens for antibodies to alpha-gliadin and transglutaminase-2. If you're reacting to any other fractions of the wheat protein (e.g., beta-gliadin, gamma-gliadin or omega-gliadin), or any other types of transglutaminase (e.g., type 3 or type 6), you'll test negative for CD and gluten intolerance no matter how severely you're reacting to wheat.

Beyond Celiac: Why CD Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Official statistics suggest that Celiac disease affects between 0.7 percent and 1 percent of the U.S. population. (9) But considering the limited scope of the testing, it's possible that the actual incidence might be much higher.

In addition, CD is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is caused by a distinct autoimmune response to wheat proteins and transglutaminase enzymes in the gut. But CD is just one possible expression of gluten intolerance; there are many other ways that sensitivity to gluten can manifest in the body. These are collectively referred to as "Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity," or NCGS.

There's no consensus definition of NCGS yet, but the most common understanding is that it's a reaction to gluten that is not autoimmune (like CD) or allergic (like wheat allergy). Another definition I've seen is, "a reaction to gluten that resolves when gluten is removed from the diet and CD and allergy have been ruled out." (10)

It's difficult to estimate the prevalence of NCGS because there is no definitive diagnostic test for it. As I mentioned above, the currently available tests for gluten sensitivity are primitive and only screen for a small fraction of the components of wheat that people react to. Another issue is the variety of symptoms caused by CD and NCGS. While most people assume that gluten intolerance always causes digestive distress, this is not the case. Almost 50 percent of new patients diagnosed with CD do not have gastrointestinal symptoms. (11) Moreover, for every one case of CD that is diagnosed, there are 6.4 cases that remain undiagnosed — the majority of which are atypical or silent forms without gastrointestinal symptoms. (12)

Gluten intolerance can affect nearly every tissue in the body, including the brain, skin, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels, smooth muscles and even the nucleus of cells. CD and NCGS are associated with an astonishing variety of diseases, from schizophrenia and epilepsy, to Type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis, to dermatitis and psoriasis, to Hashimoto's hypothyroidism to peripheral neuropathy. (13) Because the range of symptoms associated with gluten intolerance is so broad and nonspecific (e.g., can be attributed to any number of conditions), many patients and doctors don't suspect gluten may be the cause.

Even with these limitations, some estimates suggest NCGS may occur in as many as 1 in 20 Americans. (14) And while some mainstream medical professionals continue to insist that NCGS doesn't exist, several studies have validated it as a distinct clinical condition — including gold-standard, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. (15)

The Gluten-Free Challenge: Still the Best Test for Gluten Intolerance

With all of this in mind, the obvious question that arises is, "What's the best way to test for gluten intolerance?" Because of the limitations of current laboratory testing I described above, most experts on gluten sensitivity agree that the only reliable test is a "gluten challenge." This involves removing gluten from the diet completely for a period of at least 30 days, and then adding it back in after that. If symptoms improve during the elimination period, and return when gluten is reintroduced, a diagnosis of NCGS can be made.

However, for many people a gluten-free diet isn't enough. Some grains that don't contain gluten, such as corn, oats and rice, contain proteins that are similar enough in structure to gluten to elicit an immune response in people with CD or NCGS. In addition, about 50 percent of patients with CD show signs of intolerance to casein, the protein in milk. (16) This may explain why up to 30 percent of CD patients continue to have symptoms or clinical signs after adopting a gluten-free diet. (17) For this reason, I recommend a completely grain- and dairy-free diet during the gluten challenge period.

Finally, though the gluten challenge is still the gold standard test for gluten intolerance, there is a relatively new lab (Cyrex Laboratories) offering a comprehensive blood test which screens for all of the wheat and gluten proteins and transglutaminase enzymes I mentioned above. This can be a helpful diagnostic tool, but it should never replace a gluten/Paleo challenge. (Note: It must be ordered by a physician or health care practitioner.)

Now I'd like to hear from you. Do you suspect you may have gluten intolerance? If so, has removing gluten resolved your symptoms — or have you found it necessary to remove grains and dairy as well? If you haven't tried a gluten challenge, what's holding you back?



JANUARY 9, 2016 AT 5:41 PM

About mid December this year, I experienced a sensation best described as an imaginary lump in my throat that I had become familiar with over the years. I had it diagnosed previously as a psychosomatic illness due to stress/anxiety (which it could well be) but this time my esophagus seemed to stay clamped up, and severe acid reflux took over my life during the holidays. Holiday food means rich cheese, wine, chocolates and of course home baking, so the acid reflux continued and progressively got worse as the acid burned at my esophagus. The mornings were ok, but by lunch time I was bloated and stomach acids were constantly burning away in my throat. When I finally decided I needed to figure out what was happening, my esophagus felt like a deflated balloon, like it was either stuck together or clamped shut. My first response was to remove dairy for a couple of days which did nothing, but then through researching GERD and acid reflux problems, gluten intolerance seemed to be the root of many of these problems. Day 2 of completely eliminating gluten and unbelievably my esophagus has relaxed, and my acid reflux has calmed down nearly 100%. But the most unexpected side effect so far has been a complete feeling of wellbeing. I feel so dramatically and suddenly good that I can't imagine ever going near it again. My body cleary had just had enough. Funnily, the normally delicious smell of toast over the holidays made me feel nauseous. I know it is early days yet, but after researching gluten I think I have always harboured some of the less known symptoms of gluten intolerance and I'm curious to see if any of these improve with the change:

1. Despite being very healthy and leading a physically active and vegetarian lifestyle my joints have experienced inflammation, most notably I developed gnarly and enlarged knuckles in my 30s due to working with my hands and engaging in repetitive actions.

2. My upper arms have always had a sort of "chicken skin" rash that I accept as just part of who I am, and never thought to link to gluten. I'm curious to see if this will clear up.

3. My youngest son has kindly pointed out my "eggy" breath after eating pasta, not to mention my tiredness after such a meal.

4. anxiety, anxiety, anxiety

5. I once had some sort of prenatal scan, and the technicians couldn't believed how much gas was in my belly, which we all laughed off as being a typical vegetarian!

6. Belly generally always bloated despite being a runner and leading a healthy lifestyle.

I can't wait to see if any these other symptoms change with my new diet change, but given the shock my body experienced over the holidays, I'm certain I've found the culprit to my acid reflux. Due to my profession as a baker of gluten rich baked goods I'll be curious to see if handling and breathing in gluten flour will have any side effects, but I'm sure I'll eventually develop a new way of baking with new and non-glutenous flours.

The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food


Are you caught up in the deceptive hype from the soy industry? If so, you have likely been convinced that soy is a health food. This belief is an unfortunate side effect of not having done your homework, relying instead on the brainwashing propaganda of the soy industry, which in many ways is not much different than that of the drug companies.

They have cleverly targeted health conscious consumers with a well thought out; well-financed campaign to convince you that soy is healthy. They were clearly effective, as "healthy soy" is one of the biggest health myths in the health food industry.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Kaayla Daniel for our Inner Circle Experts Series. I had never spoken with her before and was really amazed at the depth of her knowledge on this important topic.

The Truth About Soy

Let me assure you that if you carefully review the thousands of studies published on soy you will reach the following conclusion:

Any possible benefits of consuming soy are FAR outweighed by the well-proven risks of soy.

The problem with many of these studies is that the conclusion is NOT supported by the study, or is only partially true, with serious omissions that are conveniently excluded from the conclusion. For example, they might say that soy reduces your risk of colon cancer but neglect to state that they found it increases your risk of ten other cancers.

You could delve into these studies yourself and form your conclusion, or rely on Dr. Daniel to do this for you. She did her Ph.D. research on this topic, which eventually resulted in this book: The Whole Soy Story.

The soy industry has been so effective in their manipulation techniques that they've even been able to hoodwink the FDA to allow soy to carry the health claim of reducing heart disease and cholesterol. They recently tried to snag the claim of reducing the risk of cancer, but Dr. Daniel was able to effectively prevent that claim from being approved. Had it been approved, soy consumption would likely have doubled to more than $8 billion in annual U.S.. sales.

Soy Consumption and Thyroid Problems

You might be aware that thyroid problems are pandemic in the U.S., especially in women. Well, one of the major reasons for this is because of the isoflavones in soy that is being widely consumed. Soy isoflavones can damage thyroid function, and for this reason alone should be avoided.

The Dangers of Soy Infant Formula

This is perhaps the most tragic use of soy as a food. Many well intentioned parents put their infants on soy formula, either because they believe it is "healthier" or because they are allergic to traditional infant formula.

Either way, it's a prescription for disaster. Soy formula causes harm to your baby in two primary ways.

First, most soy formula has 80 times the amount of manganese as breast milk and can directly cause brain dysfunction. Additionally, there is the hormonal equivalent of 4-5 birth control pills in a daily dose of soy formula, which can cause significantly premature puberty and other sexual abnormalities, and an increased risk of cancer.

In my mind this product should be banned. In fact there was a recent movement in California to have that done but it failed to get passed.

Additionally, there are a number of foreign governments like Israel, England, and France that have taken very strong anti-soy positions.

The Whole Soy Story is an ABSOLUTE must read if someone you know or love is convinced soy is a health food



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