- Molly has Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s
- She feels exhausted and foggy from the moment she wakes up.
- She’s been taking thyroid medicine for a while and has not noticed much improvement in her energy or mental clarity.
When I met Molly and reviewed her labs, I noticed right away that she was not supported for her thyroid type. This meant that although she was on medicine, her cells were not getting what they needed. I knew exactly where we needed to look to solve her health mystery.
Looking Beyond TSH Levels
When someone is first diagnosed with a thyroid issue, it is usually because they have had a lab test showing their TSH is out of range. But, there is so much more to understanding and treating a thyroid issue than the TSH levels. In this episode, I speak with Dr. Eric Balcavage about this and the intricacies of thyroid function. Dr. Balcavage is the host of The Thyroid Answers Podcast and co-author of The Thyroid Debacle.
To fully understand the impact of a thyroid imbalance, you must look at the journey of thyroid hormones from production to absorption and their critical role in cellular activities. Dr. Balcavage eloquently explains the cellular dynamics, likening cells to people in either manufacturing or defense mode. He highlighted the significance of T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, and how its absorption into cells influences the delicate balance between energy production and cell defense mechanisms. This conversation sheds light on the often overlooked aspect of thyroid health—absorption—and provides valuable insights into why individuals might still experience suboptimal well-being despite having sufficient thyroid hormones. Understanding these nuances is crucial for anyone seeking a holistic approach to thyroid care.
Decoding Functional Thyroid Ranges and Unveiling the Root Causes
One critical aspect often overlooked in medicine is the interpretation of lab values. It is a common misconception that as long as thyroid levels fall within the functional or optimal range, they are deemed satisfactory. This is something I talk about often in this podcast and Dr. Balcavage agrees, emphasizing that optimal ranges don’t necessarily equate to appropriateness for an individual’s unique health profile. In this episode, we explore scenarios where seemingly normal TSH levels could mask underlying issues, such as inflammation-induced TSH suppression or hypothalamic saturation due to excessive T4 intake.
The pitfalls of solely focusing on T3 supplementation without unraveling the root causes of impaired T4 to T3 conversion are not to be ignored. Dr. Balcavage explains the importance of investigating whether a genuine inability to convert exists or if the issue stems from inflammatory and stress responses, shedding light on the nuanced complexities of thyroid health.
Chronic Stress and “Multisystem Adaptive Disorders”
Stress and other triggers can cause a cell danger response. Dr. Balcavage provides insights into how this response manifests differently based on its duration and the impacted tissues and systems. He further explains that the cell danger response is not unfamiliar to most, as we’ve all experienced it transiently during times of illness or stress. However, for some, this response becomes chronic, creating a new operating system laden with symptoms and imbalances. This can lead to cellular repercussions—weight gain despite a balanced diet, glucose resistance, hormone dysregulation, and diminished parasympathetic function, among others.
Cumulative stress and poor recovery can also have a major impact which Dr. Balcavage likens to adding incremental weights to a fragile plank. He emphasizes that it’s not always the result of a single, dramatic stressor like a specific infection or toxin. Instead, it often stems from the relentless accumulation of life stressors, each contributing to the breaking point. Drawing parallels, we explore scenarios where both constant, gradual stressors and sudden, impactful events can trigger the cell danger response – something he refers to as “multisystem adaptive disorder.” Rather than focusing on singular diagnoses, he underscores the importance of identifying ongoing stressors and promoting recovery to facilitate true healing. This is why he believes that fixing the symptoms without addressing the underlying adaptive responses is a misguided approach.
Stress Triggers in Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s
I talk a lot about Hahimoto’s four triggers and one of them is stress. However, there are a myriad of stressors to consider. It is essential to dig a little deeper so you can identify and mitigate these stressors. Once these stressors are addressed the next crucial step is switching off the persistent cell danger response.
Dr. Balcavage underscores the critical role of seemingly mundane factors that profoundly influence our physiological state. Breathing, diet, sleep, and mindset emerged as the unsung heroes in the journey towards optimal health. He illuminates the fact that our cells can remain entrenched in a stress response, even after the external stressors diminish, emphasizing the need for deliberate interventions.
Contrary to the allure of quick fixes and flashy supplement solutions, Dr. Balcavage emphasizes the power of foundational lifestyle factors.
Embracing Emotional Fitness
So often, we focus on physical adjustments to our routines without taking into account the importance of our emotional fitness including dealing with emotional stressors and conscious thoughts that can shape our physiological responses. Often, we are unaware of our thought patterns and their impact on our health.
Limiting beliefs and imprints acquired during the formative years of our lives are often embedded in the subconscious during the Theta state. Dr. Balcavage and I explore the significance of unraveling these deep-seated beliefs, emphasizing their influence on the stories we tell ourselves as an important step toward improving emotional fitness.
It’s important to adopt tools tailored to individual needs for managing emotional stress. Whether it’s the DNRS method, the map method, meditation, or other techniques, the key is finding what resonates with each person. Recognizing individual emotional triggers and how they show up in our environment; presenting subtle cues that can lead to a patterned emotional response. Dr. Balcavage believes that a shift in the thought process is more powerful and important than simply suppressing symptoms with supplements.
Choosing this paradigm shift allows individuals to approach life events with resilience and a growth-oriented mindset. Dr. Balcavage challenges the idea that good or bad events inherently shape our lives. Instead, he advocates for interpreting these experiences as opportunities for learning and growth. The journey towards emotional fitness involves acknowledging the inevitability of stress, embracing a brief pity party, and then strategically leveraging each experience as a stepping stone toward a better, more empowered life.
Tools for Decreasing Stress
There are many diverse modalities and tools designed to improve our mental, emotional, and energetic health. Everyone’s journey is different so it’s best to try different approaches to find the one that resonates with you.
One approach that Dr. Balcavage shares in this episode is the Apollo Neuro—a wearable device that uses vibrational technology to alter brainwave frequencies. This device, placed on the wrist, serves as an accessible and practical tool for individuals seeking to manage stress, improve sleep, and enhance focus.
Another useful tool that we discuss is breathwork, particularly when done with the guidance of HeartMath. HeartMath is a device that monitors the heart and guides breathing based on your heart rate. This tool really drives home the biochemistry connection to our breath and our stress.
A Holistic Approach
The more we discuss stress and other root causes of thyroid issues, the more it becomes obvious that a holistic approach to health is needed. We can’t just treat the symptoms. We need to consider the interconnectedness of stress, our mind, and our biochemistry in order to navigate our way to optimal health.
Taking this holistic approach with Molly meant we had to look at her thyroid type, which was ‘unavailable’. We worked on balancing other hormones and dealt with her stress response.
By approaching her thyroid issues more holistically (and not just treating the symptoms with medication) we were able to get great results.
If you’re dealing with similar issues as Molly, then consider a holistic approach by starting with how your thoughts might be creating a biochemical reaction.
Thoughts don’t just circle around in our heads. Each thought has a frequency and in this world where everything is energy, the frequency really matters because it creates your reality.
When we’re not mindful of what’s happening in our thoughts, we end up with more stress. This additional stress increases the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) which can trigger thyroid issues and cause a Hashimoto’s flare-up. It can also impact other autoimmune diseases because cortisol causes inflammation – and if we are in chronic stress, the cell response becomes normalized.
You can change this. The quickest way to change it is to clear what is not serving you. Start by noticing negative self-talk and then stopping yourself from engaging in negative self-talk. This is key because negative self-talk has a negative vibration as does emotional responses like worry, shame, guilt, frustration, and anger (for example).
While we don’t want to suppress our emotions—we need to feel them—but once we have felt them, we need to ask whether they are still serving us and if they aren’t then we need to clear them and replace them with positive emotions that will serve us.
Dealing with your emotional thyroid blocks requires intentional effort which is exactly what I share with you in my program Clear Your Thyroid Blocks. If diet, medication, and supplementation are only doing part of the job, this can be your missing piece.
Learn more here: www.thyroidmysterysolved.com/thyroidblocks
Eliminating Health Mysteries
For Molly, we were able to find that missing piece of the health puzzle and help her regain her health. Could this be the missing clue for you or someone in your life? Check out Clearing Your Thyroid Blocks to find out. www.thyroidmysterysolved.com/thyroidblocks
Thanks to my guest Dr. Eric Balcavage. You can connect with him through his website and social media.
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Find out more at http://healthmysteriessolved.com
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