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20 Tips for Starting the AIP

20 Tips for Starting the AIP

I often hear the question “what are your best tips for starting the AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol)?” Dramatically changing up your diet and lifestyle can be daunting, that’s for sure. So, as requested, here are 20 tips for starting AIP. First, the food part: 1) BABY […]

Basic Thyroid Labs

Basic Thyroid Labs

Folks often ask “what tests should I get?” when it comes to thyroid labs.  Here’s a good basic list to request from your doctor: Free T3 Free T4 TSH Reverse T3 TPO and TgAb (antibodies for Hashimoto’s) and TSI (antibodies for Grave’s). Note that upwards […]

Artificial Sweeteners – Are They Any Better Than Sugar?

Artificial Sweeteners – Are They Any Better Than Sugar?

Do you have that friend (or “friend”… ahem) who always orders a Diet Coke instead of the real deal?  Perhaps they think they are doing their body a favor by avoiding real sugar and opting for artificial sweeteners.  Not that “The Real Thing” is that much better than the Diet version, mind you…

Case Study:  Artificial Sweeteners and Hashimoto’s.

An interesting case study came out last fall regarding artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, etc).  The study followed a woman who was consuming a “high dose of artificial sweeteners”.  She was then diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune thyroid disease).

Her TSH levels were 12.2 (normal range is .3 to 5 or thereabouts.  Keep in mind that every lab may have slightly different ranges). She also showed a weight gain of 20 pounds since starting the use of these sweeteners.

After she stopped the sweeteners, her TSH dropped and “she recovered completely”.  Study linked below for those curious.

Artificial Sweeteners and Gut Health.

There are other studies out there that show that these artificial sweeteners mess with our health.  Gut health, in particular, can be compromised.  If our gut health is out of balance (the bad bacteria overpower the good guys, for example), this can start a cascade of events that lead to health issues and chronic illness… like autoimmune disease.

One study, in particular, shows that, in rats, sucralose can alter the composition of gut microbes.  It showed that sucralose can reduce beneficial bacteria.  It can also alter glucose and insulin levels.

For those of us with reduced gut motility (think constipation, not having a bowel movement every day), this is not good!  If things aren’t moving, the bad guys (not to mention waste products) can take over and push things really out of balance (candida or parasite overgrowth, SIBO, etc).

Stevia.

And then there’s stevia. The Paleo Mom has a great article covering the basics of what stevia is and what it can do to our bodies.  Spoiler alert:  It can inhibit healthy probiotic growth and can affect our hormones for starters.  Check out her article for details.

If you are following the AIP, eliminate stevia in the first elimination phase of the diet.

That said, another study suggests that stevia may be useful for those with Lyme disease, as it it may significantly reduce the parasite that causes Lyme.  Definitely work with your doctor on this one.  If your doctor is not up on the latest, it may be time to look for a new one. This study on stevia is also linked below for those curious.

What About Natural Sugar?

Keep in mind that sugar is still sugar, even from natural sources like honey and maple syrup and can still feed disease if eaten in excess.  Honey is also a high FODMAP food and this should be considered if one is on a low-FODMAP diet.

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Autoimmune Thyroiditis with Hypothyroidism Induced by Sugar Substitutes 

Sucralose, A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview of Biological Issues

Does the Gut Microbiota Trigger Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Effectiveness of Stevia Rebaudiana Whole Leaf Extract Against the Various Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi in Vitro

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Ready for change? Learn more about working with me one-on-one.

Artificial Sweeteners - Are They Any Better Than Sugar? A few studies to check out on the subject. AutoImmuneNutritionCoach
8 Things to Help With Fatigue

8 Things to Help With Fatigue

Fatigue is a huge issue from which many of us suffer.  We’re talking beyond busy lives and being tired (aka not getting enough sleep at night).  This is mind-numbing fatigue.  Where you simply can’t move. Muscles don’t respond, your brain doesn’t respond. Like our little […]

Why Levothyroxine or Synthroid May Not Be Working For You

Why Levothyroxine or Synthroid May Not Be Working For You

So many of us with thyroid conditions are put on synthetic meds like Levothyroxine or Synthroid.  These meds contain synthetic versions of the thyroid hormone T4. However, many of us are “poor converters”. This means that our bodies have trouble converting T4 into the useable […]

ADHD and Gluten

ADHD and Gluten

I have a few friends who have kids with ADHD, so this study piqued my interested.  The study explores the correlation between zonulin and ADHD.

Zonulin is a protein found in our guts that helps regulate “drawbridges” and “trap doors” found in the gut lining. Those drawbridges and trap doors determine what’s stays in the gut and what is ready to leave the gut to be used by cells in the body.

Gluten (technically gliadin, a protein found in gluten) messes with how zonulin works and can cause these bridges and doors to get stuck open, much like the drawbridges in this photo (ok, the ones in the photo weren’t really stuck, they were all open for the semi-annual boat run in Chicago).

If your “trap doors” get stuck open, lots of things get through that aren’t supposed to get through. This is known as leaky gut or intestinal permeability.

And leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disease. Yes, genetics and environment play a HUGE role in acquiring AI disease, but, in a nutshell, that is what happens.  My point is, one thing leads to another which leads to another, which may create a whole host of health issues.

My own reaction to this study is that a gluten-free diet may help kids with ADHD. What do you think?

From the study:

RESULTS:
Children with ADHD had higher serum zonulin levels and were more impaired in social functioning compared to controls. The level of zonulin was independently predicted with hyperactivity symptoms and SRS scores in regression analysis.

CONCLUSION:
In this sample of children with ADHD, elevated zonulin levels were associated with increased symptoms of hyperactivity and impairment of social functioning.

Full abstract of the study here for those curious:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30414552

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Ready for change? Learn more about working with me one-on-one.

Got a kid with ADHD? Removing gluten from their diet may help. autoimmunenutritioncoach.com

 

What is Functional Medicine?

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine – what is it? What is a functional medicine practitioner, or functional MD? What is a functional medicine health coach? Good questions all! Functional medicine, in general, looks at the whole body, instead of just a part at a time.  Everything is connected, […]

What is AIP?

What is AIP?

What is AIP? AIP is the AutoImmune Protocol (sometimes called AutoImmune Paleo).  The most important thing to remember about the AIP is that it is NOT a diet – it is a PROTOCOL that includes dietary interventions. Aside from diet, the protocol addresses lifestyle, sleep, and […]

Thyroid Health: Should I take my thyroid meds before labs?

Thyroid Health: Should I take my thyroid meds before labs?

It’s best to not take any thyroid meds prior to your labs, as T3 spikes rather quickly in the blood and may give you a false high reading in your labs – and your doctor may want to decrease your meds, which may not be the best thing.  Skip your meds for 12 hours prior to blood work.

I also do all my labs first thing in the morning, while fasting.  This gives a good baseline with fewer variables – for example, food may also affect TSH/hormone levels.  Fasting lessens the chance of this variable affecting labs.

Biotin has also been known to skew labs, so it’s good to stop taking it a few days before any blood work.

So, what labs to get? A full panel consists of:

Free T3
Free T4
Reverse T3
Antibodies: TPO and TgAb (for Hashimoto’s) and TSI (for Graves).

NOTE: Some sources say that upwards of 80% of those with hypothyroidism also carry the antibodies to the autoimmune disorders Hashimoto’s and Graves.  Still, it’s good to check and monitor antibodies just to be sure – and to make sure that the antibody counts aren’t rising crazily.  Keep in mind that you can have elevated antibody counts and few or no symptoms – but if the antibody counts keep going up, something is going on.  Best to figure it out and get it in check before you DO start to have symptoms!

Now, a word on TSH.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again:  TSH is a pituitary hormone, NOT a thyroid hormone.  If the body is not making enough thyroid hormone, the pituitary gland signals the thyroid to make more hormone by stimulating it (with TSH, aka Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).

When the TSH levels go down, some doctors may think that that’s good enough and move on.  However, it’s best to check the Free T3 and Free T4 labs as these will give you a clearer picture of what exactly is happening in your blood.  The Free labs test the unbound hormones.  Other labs (T4, total T3, etc) may test the bound and unbound – which doesn’t give as clear a picture.

If you are on an optimal dose of thyroid replacement hormone (levothyroxine, Synthroid, Amour, Naturthroid, Westhroid, etc) your Free labs should be in the upper parts of your lab’s range.  Not just “in range”, but the *upper* parts.

Also, when on an optimal dose of T3 containing thyroid meds it is quite common to see a very suppressed TSH.  This is to be expected and no cause for alarm, remember that TSH is a pituitary hormone, NOT a thyroid hormone.  If there is enough thyroid hormone circulating in the body the pituitary gland will have little reason to stimulate the thyroid gland to make more.

If you are optimally dosed (Free T3 and Free T4 in the upper parts of the range AND your symptoms have lessened or disappeared completely) but still have a high TSH, this may indicate a pituitary issue, not a continuing thyroid issue.

To recap:

– stop taking biotin a few days before labs
– stop taking thyroid meds 12 hours before labs
– do labs first thing in the morning, fasting
– get a FULL panel, not just TSH.

If your doctor refuses to order these labs, it may be time for a new doctor…! Know that you can also self-order labs from many places online, I’ve been doing this for years due to insurance issues.  Easy peasey!

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Ready for change? Learn more about working with me one-on-one.

When To Take Thyroid Meds - AutoImmuneNutritionCoach Curious about when to take your thyroid meds when having labs and blood work done? Easy guide here!
What is a “wellness coach”, anyway?

What is a “wellness coach”, anyway?

I get asked that question a lot.  Heck, I even had that question at one time!  A sports coach came to mind whenever someone mentioned the term “health” or “wellness” coach. The vision I had was of someone throwing things at you, telling you what […]