THYROID DISEASE: YOU ARE NOT JUST YOUR TSH LEVELS


thyroid disease, metabolism, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, TSH levels, naturopathic medicine

YOUR THYROID IS OFTEN BLAMED FOR EVERYTHING FROM…


Fatigue
Weight Gain or Weight Loss
Dry Skin
Sensitivity to Cold or Heat
Constipation or Diarrhea
Muscle Aches
Brain Fog


It’s highly possible that you’ve experienced at least one if not multiple symptoms related to thyroid disease – maybe long before you thought to get it checked out.

That little butterfly shaped gland at the base of your throat regulates your hormones and sets the pace for your metabolism. When your thyroid is dysregulated, it can cause greater problems throughout your body.

To determine whether something is wrong with your thyroid, blood work is used to analyze the levels of TSH in your system. You may be diagnosed with HYPERTHYROIDISM, an overactive thyroid gland, or HYPOTHYROIDISM, an underactive thyroid gland

.


DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE BEEN REDUCED TO A NUMBER?

The most important thing to remember is…

YOU ARE NOT JUST YOUR TSH LEVELS.


While traditional medications targeting your T4 and T3 hormones can help to regulate the thyroid, you may test in a normal range and still feel off.

In other words, you look good on paper but as you listen to your body you know traditional therapies are not getting to the root of why you continue to feel unwell.

It happens all the time. We address overt symptoms with medication but neglect the underlying issues which can be just as important to wellness.


I am here to help if you are thinking, “My doctor says my TSH levels are within a healthy range but I still don’t feel well…” The thyroid doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and is often upregulating or downregulating in response to other metabolic factors, so we don’t want to get caught up in micromanaging the numbers!

Let’s look at three ways you can optimize your health, by making lifestyle changes, to alleviate some of the symptoms you might be experiencing as a result of thyroid disease – regardless of your TSH numbers.


NUTRITION: Thyroid disease can be caused by an autoimmune response and might be exacerbated by inflammation in the body. One of the best ways to eliminate inflammation – which is key – is by focusing on your nutrition.

TRY: Fruits, vegetables, proteins (especially fish), healthy fats, WATER, nutritional supplements as recommended by your naturopathic doctor

AVOID: Added sugar, alcohol, dairy, excess gluten


STRESS MANAGEMENT: Depression is both a contributor and a result of thyroid disease. Therefore, it is important to go beyond your TSH level numbers and also address your mental health needs.

TRY: journaling, exercise, sleep hygiene, seeking professional support

AVOID: alcohol, excessive sleep, isolation


PHYSICAL MEDICINE: Naturopathic medicine addresses your mind, body and spirit in compliment to conventional medical approaches.

TRY: Hot/ Cold therapy (SOURCE), adjustments to the spine, acupuncture

AVOID: Settling for a one size fits all diagnosis


When you get your thyroid checked, you might feel reduced to a TSH level number…but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There are empowering choices you can make to your lifestyle that will leave you feeling as healthy as your numbers say you are.

Dr. Fisel can help you find relief if you are battling with thyroid disease. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your consultation.


RESOURCES:
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: The Impact of Nutrition

HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE


histamine intolerance, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, IBS, naturopathic doctor, Guilford

Last night you let the babysitter order pizza for the kids.

For some crazy reason there’s one slice of pepperoni left in the box on the counter.

Thinking back to those college days…


Why does leftover pizza seem like a good idea first thing in the morning?


As tempting as it sounds, food left out on the counter overnight can wreak havoc on your body.

It’s called…


HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE.


Most people are born with an amazing defense mechanism to protect their body from the outside world. One of the built-in ways the body fights off invaders is to utilize histamines (found in food) that carry away allergens and other irritants from our eyes, noses and skin for instance.


Histamines found in foods can be:

  • NATURAL – Histamines are naturally found in fermented foods, meat, shellfish, alcohol, tomatoes, avocado, spinach, and nuts among others.
  • LIBERATED – Some foods interact with the body to liberate histamines, such as: chocolate, alcohol, bananas, strawberries, nuts, and citrus.
  • DEVELOPED –Histamines multiply in food that is “left over” and not properly disposed of or frozen after preparation. This is your warning to avoid that last piece of pizza and leftovers in general!

Sometimes we over consume, or our bodies over produce, histamines. We develop an intolerance to histamines when we cannot break them down efficiently. Histamines can become too much for our system to handle and we start to notice certain symptoms that are different from seasonal allergies; persistent. Over the long term, they are indicative of histamine intolerance, and are systemic which can lead to larger problems.


Histamine intolerance might initially look like:

  • Itchy skin and/ or hives
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, red or itching eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches


An abundance of histamines might cause more systemic damage like:

  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory intestinal disorders
  • Periodontal disease
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)


If you have been experiencing chronic immune responses that cannot be easily explained, Dr. Fisel can help you look into the root of your discomfort to alleviate your obvious symptoms and hopefully your overall histamine intolerance.


Initially, Dr. Fisel can analyze your unique situation using several assessment tools:

  1. Nutritional – We help tailor your nutritional habits to limit excess histamines
  2. Environmental – We can assess your environment and help you eliminate histamine stressors
  3. Lifestyle – Sleep and movement play a big part in your overall health – we can take a look at your patterns.
  4. Medications – We will help you assess what you are currently taking and advise you about interactions; we can recommend complimentary protocols to your existing regimen.


Dr. Fisel can help you find relief if you are battling with histamine intolerance. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your consultation.


RESOURCES:

Histamine Intolerance: A Common Cause of Chronic Complaints

Mast Cell Activation: Skin is Just Scratching the Surface

Beyond An Auto-immune Diagnosis: Ten Things To Look For

Autoimmune diseases, autoimmune diagnosis, autoimmune symptom relief, Dr. Matt Fisel, naturopathic doctor, gut health, stress management, hormonal imbalance


Have you ever felt off, but you just kept pushing through the pain?

You might have experienced symptoms like:

Brain fog, muscle aches, or fatigue.

As time moved on, your symptoms didn’t.

After a battery of tests, you were given a general autoimmune disease diagnosis.

NOW WHAT?

Western medicine tends to give a catchall diagnosis for something that looks and feels like an autoimmune disease. You hear things like mold toxicity or chronic fatigue.

The truth is the immune system is so complex that a diagnosis might feel like a dead end; hopeless. It’s hard for doctors to diagnose…how do they expect you to understand what’s going on in your body?

From a Naturopathic standpoint…I see it as a starting point. Your autoimmune disease is not a life sentence. Working together, it’s a place we can begin to detect and identify where your symptoms are coming from and help you find relief and hopefully some natural solutions.

Here are TEN THINGS WE LOOK AT BEYOND AN AUTOIMMUNE DIAGNOSIS from a naturopathic standpoint:


1. STRESS MANAGEMENT – Ongoing stressors in your lifestyle can cause both mental and physical discomfort. Overwhelm and anxiety can cause inflammation in the brain and then systemically throughout the body. Dr. Fisel looks at root causes of stress in your life and work to alleviate and/ or eliminate them.


2. FOOD SENSITIVITIES – You may be sensitive to certain types of foods and not even be aware of the fact. Dr. Fisel can recommend certain testing or targeted diets to identify and eliminate those foods that don’t agree with your immune system.

3. GUT HEALTH – There is a very important connection between your gut and your brain. What goes on between the two can affect your entire body and how it functions. Often times leaky gut (when your intestinal walls are easily permeated) is a major culprit of autoimmune symptoms. Dr. Fisel can tell you if your gut is adversely affecting your overall wellness.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS – You might be living in an older home, or over a land fill, and did not know or realize that pollutants were permeating your environment. Dr. Fisel considers your proximity to heavy metals, mold, pesticides (especially glyphosate), PCBs, cosmetics, and water pollution.

 5. MOVEMENT – Studies show an active lifestyle decreases inflammation in your body. You might not feel like running a marathon, but simple movements can increase your circulation and boost your immune system. Dr. Fisel can suggest ways to add movement into your life.

6. NUTRITION – Paying attention to your food intake is important to a healthy immune system. Avoid processed foods that are chemical laden in favor of anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables like blueberries, broccoli and avocados. Dr. Fisel also looks at nutritional deficiencies and works to enhance the missing nutrients.

7. MEDICATION TOXICITY – You may not be able to avoid prescribed medications (especially antibiotics), but Dr. Fisel can counter-balance their effects with food or supplements that offer pro-biotics.

8. INFECTIONS – Something to consider is the effect of underlying infection on your body’s immune response. For example, Lyme Disease, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and Candida, among other infections, can trigger autoimmunity. Dr. Fisel can help you determine if you have an undetected infection.

9. HORMONAL IMBALANCE – Changes in the hormonal balance of your body, as seen in menopause, can trigger changes in immune function. Dr. Fisel can help restore balance in your body.

10. GENETICS – Hereditary factors may cause adverse immune responses in your body. Dr. Fisel can help you sift through your genetic history to determine what if anything may be creating problems.

There is hope beyond your autoimmune diagnosis. Dr. Fisel would love to dig deeper into underlying causes to help you discover ways to feel better while living with the reality of your symptoms.

Dr. Fisel is here to offer you hope beyond your auto-immune disease diagnosis and to help you feel relief from your symptoms. Please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment, today.

NEW PATIENT FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULATION: Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

Heartburn Drugs Typically Not Necessary

gerdProton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix, are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. They are typically given to patients who complain of heartburn or reflux (GERD), who are then kept on the medication indefinitely. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of the patients I see to think of being on this medication almost as an afterthought, because it’s so common in our culture. What they may not realize is that long-term use of these medications can lead to long-term complications, and may be doing more harm than good! When first approved by the FDA, the suggested use of PPIs was for 4-6 weeks, mainly for treating serious gastrointestinal issues, like ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.  [Read more…]

IBS? It May Be Something Else . . .

SIBOPeople often come to my office saying they’ve been diagnosed with IBS. They may complain of intestinal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or all of the above, yet all of their test results come back “normal”, so they are prescribed anti-spasmodic medications to manage their symptoms, and sent on their way. In my experience, IBS is merely a symptom of other underlying causes, rather than  a definitive diagnosis. Whether it’s food intolerances, poor eating habits, or restoring optimal production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer when it comes to identifying and treating the underlying cause of IBS. [Read more…]

Does Arthritis Originate in the Gut?

I see quite a few patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune arthropathies, and what is the first thing I do?  Give them anti-inflammatory medications? Give them immune-modulaters? No! Chances are, their rheumatologists have already done this. The first thing I will always do with patients in this category is address their digestive health. What does digestion have to do with systemic inflammation? Everything! [Read more…]

Acid-Blocking Medications Aren’t Meant For Long-Term Use!

While I may have written about this more than once in the past, I feel like it’s a topic that continues to need revisiting.  A recent New York Times article highlights the many reasons why proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s), such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, can cause more harm than good when used beyond the recommended window of 8 to 12 weeks.  While it seems to come as a surprise to the doctors who are handing out these medications like candy, our stomachs are supposed to make hydrochloric acid! This is essential for initiating the digestive cascade that leads to the proper assimilation of nutrients. As the article points out, blocking stomach acid production for an extended period of time can lead to a host of nutritional deficiencies, including iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium.  A decrease in stomach acid also takes away the protective barrier meant to protect us from harmful bacteria, setting up an environment that’s more prone to infection with Clostridium and other pathogenic bacteria. [Read more…]

Patients With Type II Diabetes Benefit From Naturopathic Care

Diabetes is a complex, multi-factorial condition that takes many variables into account, including diet, exercise, and family history. Typically, if certain markers are detected early enough (elevated blood glucose, increased hemoglobin A1C), lifestyle and/or pharmaceutical treatments can be implemented to slow or reverse the progression of type II diabetes before long-term complications arise. Since the essence of naturopathic medicine is addressing core diet and lifestyle issues that may be contributing to disease, it’s essential for anyone who’s dealing with type II diabetes, or even “pre-diabetes”, to incorporate a naturopathic treatment protocol as part of their long-term strategy. [Read more…]

Can Diet Reverse PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the hormone balance in women, favoring the production of male hormones like testosterone over female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This imbalance can lead to symptoms such as menstrual problems and infertility. Many women with this condition also develop insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, blood sugar control, weight loss, and cardiac risk were all improved when women with PCOS were put on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. [Read more…]

Rethinking Fat in the Diet

With all the hype surrounding statin medications this past week (see http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/opinion/the-diabetes-dilemma-for-statin-users.html), it’s a perfect opportunity to take a step back and discuss some basic diet fundamentals.  For the past 40 or more years, the “benefits” of low-fat diets have been ingrained in our consciousness, and advocated by a majority of the medical community.  The thinking behind this was simple: high fat in the diet must lead to a buildup of fat and plaque in the arteries, so the less fat you eat, the better.  In recent years, research evidence has overwhelmingly refuted this concept, yet it continues to be the mainstream recommendation for preventing heart disease.  Even the “Dairy” section in the USDA’s “My Plate” emphasizes low or non-fat sources of dairy.

A scientific analysis of 21 earlier studies showed “no significant evidence” that saturated fat in the diet is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.  In fact, the dietary evidence collected from these thousands of participants found no difference in the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or coronary vascular disease between those individuals with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.  The bigger issue appears to be the added amounts of sweeteners and carbohydrates that people are eating instead of fats.  More and more evidence is suggesting that it’s this continuous increase in carbohydrate consumption that is truly responsible for an increased risk in diabetes and coronary artery disease.

I think the main take-away message from this information is that you don’t have to be afraid of good quality sources of saturated fat.  We’ve been so trained to be suspicious of it for so long that it becomes difficult to change our perception of how healthy it can be.  Now, does this mean you should be eating nothing but cheese, bacon, and beef for the rest of your life?  Of course not!  If you’re already consuming low-fat sources of dairy (skim milk, low-fat yogurt, etc.), switch to organic whole milk sources, and use butter instead of margarine or other processed forms of fat.  In general, try to limit your saturated fat intake to 10% of your total diet, while discontinuing the consumption of hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, and high-glycemic carbohydrates.  By doing this, and continuing to emphasize fruits and vegetables as a mainstay, you’ll be much better off in the long run!