Posts Tagged ‘mind-body connection’

Even Flow

I’ve had an insatiable desire to learn these past few days. I don’t want them to remain abstract concepts that are too complicated; I want the confidence that comes with clarity, and I want to know more about self-healing. I even think I want to order a copy of this book. And I’ve grasped a bit about some interesting topics:

1. Acupuncture. As someone who received some benefits from acupuncture, I was curious to read this series of articles. I learned that acupuncture essentially stimulates the body into healing itself and channeling blood flow to ailing areas. Blood flow is essential to healing because the blood carries everything: oxygen, white blood cells, natural pain-killers and anti-inflammatories, etc.  It’s obviously a more detailed, complex process than that, but that sums it up.

2.Thyroid Function. With the help of The Healthy Skeptic/Chris Kresser and this website, I finally have a basic understanding of thyroid function: the pituitary gland secretes TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) which tells the thyroid to secrete T4, the inactive form of the thyroid hormone (thryoxine). T4 is then converted to its active form (T3) in the liver. TBG (Thyroid binding globulin) is a protein that carries thyroid hormone (both T3 and T4) through the blood.

I find it important to note that if the pituitary sees little T4, then it sends more TSH to tell the thyroid to make more T4. The pituitary stops producing TSH when the amount of T4 circulating through blood reaches a certain optimal level. T4 circulates in two ways: 1) as bound to proteins that block it from entering parts that need it and 2) as free T4, which does enter and affect tissues in need.

According to Chris Kresser, my TSH (1.17) is below the functional range (although within range according to Quest Diagnostics).  My Free T4 is also on the lower end of the lab’s range (2.2). My total T4 is on the lower end of Quest’s Range (2.2). My T3 uptake, however, is at the top of Quest’s range (35%). A high T3 uptake indicates that there are plenty of free proteins to carry T3 to my cells.

After reading this post, I’ve concluded (thus far) all of this information potentially indicates that the underlying problem is with my pituitary: it should be making more TSH because T4 levels are low. Or perhaps there isn’t enough conversion from T4 to T3 going on. That happens in the liver, and I know my liver’s had a lot to deal with.

It should be noted that my TSH was 0.5 in February, when I was experiencing the peak of Candida’s wrath and the most debilitating of insomnia. It has been steadily increasing since I started the Candida diet.

3. Synthroid. Would my doctor’s prescription of Synthroid help? Since it is a synthetic form of T4,  I’m guessing it would create more T4, so my pituitary wouldn’t make TSH. While more T4 might lead to more thyroid hormone getting around in my body, it wouldn’t help my pituitary do its job or treat the source of the problem. In principal, I am opposed to merely treating symptoms. And in practicality, this could create a dependence; the Synthroid web site even says that thyroid medications are to be taken for life. 

For life? I don’t think so.

So then what should I do?

  • Reduce stress/cortisol. I tried to ask my doctor to order a cortisol saliva test yesterday, but he said that the results don’t necessarily offer definitive information. Regardless, two doctors have told my I have symptoms of adrenal fatigue, and I do feel stressed often. So it’s safe to assume I could stand to manage myself better with deep breaths and shifting my attitude.
  • Keep my blood sugar stable. I need to have food with me or prepared before my blood sugar starts to drop.
  • Find an acupuncturist. I need to find one as good as or better than the one I was seeing before I moved.
  • Laugh. I’ve been making a point to watch/read amusing things daily as if it’s part of my diet.
  • Encourage blood flow through walking and yoga.
  • Prepare my body for handling more protein through bone broths, fermented foods, digestive enzymes, etc
  • Be more disciplined about going to sleep on time and being in a relaxed state of mind at bed time
  • Continue to eat a grain, sugar, lectin, and dairy-free diet.

In some ways, giving up sugar is easier than giving up stress; it’s a more tangible process. I underwent a transformation when I gave up grains, dairy, and sugar. I no longer believe in unnecessary sugar, and that is what allows me to keep going. I don’t want to believe in stress any more either. In truth, stress is likely to be the most predominant and destructive form of collective and individual auto-immunity.

Hmmm…

Roots

  • I got myself a copy of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back by Esther Gokhale. She traveled to places where back pain is scarce (guh?) and studied how they move in their daily lives: it turns out they had no cultural influences encouraging slouching, tucking the pelvis in, or exaggerating the lumbar curvature of the spine. After reading the intro and skimming it, I already feel much more aware of the ways in which I involuntarily misplace my spine, neck, and shoulders. It’s a detailed, compelling, and relevant book to anyone with a spine. There are many pictures, but luckily there are some videos on youtube and free online classes that should help me develop an important habit.
  • Also, in an attempt to stimulate my Vagus nerve and reduce the physical and hormonal effects of stress, I’ve been trying to get in the habit of doing some deep breathing every day.  It feels like I’m un-learning/re-learning all those basic things you’re supposed to learn as a child: how to eat, sit, lie, stand, breathe, etc. It also feels like I didn’t learn much of value in school.
  • I discovered kohlrabi: it’s a nutritious, delicious vegetable that you don’t see often in recipes or on shelves. It’s like a green beet, but only mildly sweet with a hint of a broccoli and potato-type of a flavor. It’s dense, but not excessively starchy. It’s also said to be helpful against Candida. I chop it, steam it, peel it, and flavor it with butter, salt, and pepper. It’s great. I’d bet I could make them like mashed “potatoes.” too.
  • I finally made an appointment with a doctor, who, based on my gut instinct, would be somewhat less “by the book” when it comes to interpreting lab results. We went over my symptoms, and he said that people with hypothyroidism often have all the manifestations of it while still testing in range. I was glad to hear this; it shows that he has some understanding of the complexity of hormonal function.
  • Consequently, I should be getting detailed blood test results in the near future, and he said he might put me on a low dosage of hormones to see what helps. Hopefully the blood tests, his intelligence, and my reading up on websites like this will help me ascertain the root cause and move in the right direction.