Hashimoto’s and Lifestyle Changes

Note: The text below is a transcription from the video above. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

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So we’re going to talk about Hashimoto’s and lifestyle changes. I like this. I like this topic because it’s so underappreciated, it’s astonishing. And I think it’s because Hashimoto’s is still kind of misunderstood.

I’ve been fortunate enough. I think I’ve been training with doctors from the get-go, from the time I got involved with this, who were the doctors who brought Hashimoto’s out of the woodwork and dusted it off. Dr. Hashimoto said most thyroid problems were autoimmune back in the 19th, 11 or 12th, of the last century. And then everybody made fun of him and it kind of went away, and then my mentor brought it back, and then his mentor and him worked together to work out the autoimmune prospect of it, and as a result, we look at it as a disease. And when you’re looking out for diseases, you’re usually looking for pathogens.

You’ve probably heard of, it’s Epstein-Barr virus, a cytomegalovirus. It’s HHV-6 virus, it’s Lyme disease, and all of those can be triggers. The alternative medical doctors, or the alternative medical doctors that call themselves functional doctors or integrated doctors, they’re still looking for the big time disease. They’re still looking for all of those things I just told you and more. It’s heavy metals, and all of those things can play a part in this.

But really, the solutions are not exotic. It’s food. It’s toxins. Toxins are big. I think you can understand there’s a lot of toxins flying around, but lifestyle’s huge. Lifestyle is huge, and lifestyle changes are things that when you’re doing them, they alter physiology in such a way that they flare up in inflammation, and life is kind of inflammatory. And then they ultimately create an immune response against your thyroid.

Right off the top of my head, the number one lifestyle trigger for autoimmunity is, and specifically for Hashimoto’s is, stress, because stress hormones cause your adrenal glance to put out a lot of hormones that create inflammatory responses. They put out adrenaline and noradrenaline and they put out aldosterone, which raises your blood pressure. And they put out cortisol, which screws up your blood sugar if too much is put out, and then that creates inflammation and all that type of stuff, and that flares it up. So, stress is like the number one trigger, I think, and it’s also the number one lifestyle perpetuator. And it’s one of those things that a lot of people usually have to deal with once we get them in control by herbs and botanicals, breathing techniques, taking a walk, praying, whatever it is. But stress is a big deal.

And a lot of the other ones are very obvious. I mean, if you’re a smoker, you’re sucking up a ton of toxins into your system, and I’m not admonishing you, okay? Smoking is something that many of us might have done at some point in our life and then got smart and quit, and it’s not easy to quit. But I’m just saying, every time you smoke a cigarette, you decrease oxygen to your brain, but you take in so many toxins. Oh, my God. And those toxins are, in and of themself, what triggers the Hashimoto’s.

Drinking alcohol is another one for Hashimoto’s patients. Sorry, but ethyl alcohol is not your friend. But they say, “Alcohol is good for you.” Now, alcohol’s good for certain people, okay? It’s good for a lot of people, but it can alter physiology. Hashimoto’s has something called molecular mimicry with your cerebellum, which is this part of your brain. And if you happen to be having that, you can be getting dizziness, vertigo, balance migraines. They’ve looked in your ears, they’ve looked at MRIs, everything’s normal, but the reality is, you’re getting attacked against your thyroid and your cerebellum at the same time.

Well, cerebellum is what the police check if you’ve had one or two many drinks. Can you walk a straight line? How’s your balance? Are you dizzy? And those types of things, because alcohol directly affects that, and then that has a whole cascade of things from not being able to dampen your stress response to the alcohol itself affecting the inside lining of your stomach, your intestines, and having a special affinity for that. And your stomach and your intestines are where 75% of your immune system is, so when that starts getting a little inflamed, that has a perpetuating effect on it.

Sleep is a big issue, so we go over sleep hygiene a lot with people, because if you’re not sleeping, you’re waking up in the middle of the night and you can’t go back to sleep, you’re in kind of a fight-flight syndrome. Your blood sugar has dropped. All of this creates inflammatory responses, plus just sleep in and of itself, I think most people were getting the idea that you heal when you sleep. When you don’t sleep, it throws off your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is the time you go to bed and get up, which should be the same time all the time.

But it’s more than that. If you’re not sleeping, that circadian rhythm happens to be controlled in a part of your brain called the amygdala. I’m sorry, the hippocampus, and the hippocampus is where your short-term memory loss, thus for all of you who don’t want to get Alzheimer’s, you should start figuring out how to get a whole night’s sleep. But also, okay, that perpetuates immune inflammation. That will create antibodies, flareups against your thyroid. So, I mean, the big ones like sleep and drinking and smoking and stress, those are big ones.

One of the ones, I think the one I see the most, I’m not going to go over all of them because there’s a bunch of them more, but the one I see the most is, or one of the ones I emphasize the most is, overtraining. And a lot of you are going to go, “Overtraining? I’m too tired to even get up off the couch. I hurt. I can’t hardly move.” But overtraining, for those of you who aren’t that bad, exercise is good for autoimmune disease, to a point.

But when you get to the point where you exercise and you go to the gym, because you’re going to bomb through it, okay? And then you go home and you collapse for the next 24 hours, you’ve just created massive oxidative stress to your system, and that oxidative stress creates inflammation. It’s a long explanation. It has something to do with overworking the mitochondria in your cells. These are your energy cells, and when you’re sick, they only have so much energy to give. You crash them, they become inflamed … flare up against your thyroid.

But for those of you who can’t go to the gym, for those of you who … Well, back to the overexercises. So, you should only be maybe slapping on your sneakers and taking a 15 or 20-minute walk. Once you get the point where you have crashed, you have created tissue damage and you’re going backwards. Okay? For those of you who don’t or can’t go to the gym, and if you could slap on a pair of sneakers and walk for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, that would be good. But if you can’t, that’s okay. But here’s what happens for you.

Classically, Hashimoto’s patients have good days and bad days. The good days may not be perfect, but they’re good enough to where that person gets up and goes, “I’m going to do all the things on my good days that I couldn’t do on my bad days,” and now they’re crashed for the next two or three days. So, I advise those people on their good days, make a list. Make a list, do something, check it off. Make a list. Do the next thing, check it off. Maybe you want to even order them in order of importance. Mr. Efficiency here, okay? And do it that way, and then notice at what point you start to lose it. What point you start to go, “Uh-oh, I’m going to crash,” and then you have to stop.

You have to figure out where that point is. In functional neurology, it’s called exceeding the metabolic capacity of your brains. In functional medicine, it’s exceeding the metabolic capacity of your mitochondria. You’re exceeding them both. When you crash, it creates a lot of tissue damage to your thyroid, and then of course, the whole cascade of other things that are going on there.

I’ll just go over one more. There’s more than these, and we have data online. I think we have an ebook there of all of the triggers, but the next biggest one to me is dysglycemia. It’s a fancy way of meaning your blood sugar’s going up and down. And a lot of you’re going to go, “Oh no, it’s not me. I went and I got my blood sugar taken. It was normal.” Nobody’s blood sugar is normal that comes in here. Nobody. I don’t care how normal their tests are, they’re not, because here’s a problem.

Most of the doctors don’t even treat you if you have pre-diabetes or functional reactive hypoglycemia. What does that mean in English? It means this. If you have high blood sugar, a lot of doctors aren’t going to treat you until your numbers, your A1C, is above 6.5. But if you’re between 5.6, 5.8, and 6.5, you’re pre-diabetic, and you’re going to get irritable, you’re going to get shaky. You’re going to fall asleep after meals. You’re going to urinate a lot. Maybe you can’t lose weight, and so on and so forth.

But you’re also going to have a lot of low blood sugar symptoms, as well as high blood sugar symptoms, because you’re not full-blown, high blood sugar yet. So, what happens is when you eat something junky or you eat too much or something like that, and your blood sugar goes up, and then you go like … and you fall asleep and you’re getting these pre-diabetic type symptoms. Eventually the blood sugar goes back to normal, but your blood sugar doesn’t drop back to normal. It goes past normal … below. Now all of a sudden, you’re irritable. You’re shaky, you’re blurred vision, you’re lightheaded, you’re anxious. You want to choke your husband or your wife. And so this is prediabetes, insulin resistance is the same thing, and you’re primarily there and going down.

Well, your doctors, number one, most of them don’t even do anything with that other than maybe tell you to go exercise and eat better. But the reality is, prediabetes doesn’t show up on labs. You’ll have symptoms for seven to 10 years before they show up on a lab. So, you have to take a good history on a person, go, “Dude, you’re prediabetic, and we’re going to treat you for that.” Now, here’s the other thing. Here’s the other flip side of that. You can be reactive hypoglycemic.

Why are these lifestyle changes? Because primarily they have to do with what you’re eating, how frequently you’re eating, how frequently you’re not eating, if you’re not eating enough, if you’re not eating frequently enough. Those are lifestyle issues until you get to diabetes type two.

Back to reactive hypoglycemia. So basically, medical doctors don’t tell you that you’re hypoglycemic until your blood sugar glucose number is below 65, 60, or 50, depending on the lab and the hospital, okay? By that time, you’re getting no blood sugar into your brain, into your nervous system, into your muscles. You’re aching. You’re passing out. You’re like, they’re picking you up off the floor and sticking candy bars in your face, okay? And you’re going, like, “But my lab tests are normal.” Because that can happen long before you get to those numbers. It’s called reactive hypoglycemia.

In functional medicine, we say, “If your labs are between 60,” I’ll use the 60 one, “and 85,” 85, “you have low blood sugar.” We like to see your blood sugar between 85 and 100. But again, it doesn’t take as long for it to show up on the labs as pre-diabetes, but it still takes several years for it to show up on the labs. And then if it’s not low enough, they’re going to tell you that you don’t have a low blood sugar problem.

Low blood sugar is the most unappreciated lifestyle issue, period, frankly, but specifically in autoimmune and thyroid disease. And it’s a killer, because every time your blood sugar drops, or it goes up, you get tremendous inflammatory responses. And without going through the whole pathways, what does inflammation do? It flares up your immune system and your immune system attacks your thyroid, and other things. This is like the person who has these two things, and if you’re low blood sugar and you eat and you feel better, you don’t just go back to normal, now you go to high blood sugar. So you have, again, high and low blood sugar symptoms. And then you go into the doctor and they go, “Oh, your lab tests are normal. Here, I think you’re becoming bipolar. Let me give you some medications for that.” If you think I’m joking, I hear that 20 times a year.

So, these are lifestyle changes, and there’s more. Again, we have material online, but to really emphasize it, really, in the end, once a person finds a model that works for them, that gets them from where they want to be to being like a normal or close to normal human being again, it really is about lifestyle changes, diet, and less about drugs. A lot less about drugs, and even a lot less about supplements at that point. So, lifestyle changes are very big. I would encourage you to look online and see the materials that we have relative to lifestyle change triggers, because they’re about 25% of the 40 triggers that we know of for Hashimoto’s thyroid disease.

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