By Prof Franco Cavaleri BSc NB Nutraceutical Biochemist; IFBB North American Champion
Original post: October 1, 2010
The thyroid gland is at the center of medical debate the outcome of which can change the way we view and treat our most common epidemics. The thyroid is responsible for controlling the pace of the metabolism. A faltering thyroid means the cells of the body lose their biological rhythm and a unique function the rest of the body might depend on. Hypothyroidism is a common cause of North American obesity and an underlying driver of many other related syndromes including depression, unexplained body aches, joint pain, gastrointestinal insufficiency and more. Most of us don’t know we’re thyroxin deficient even if we’ve been tested and shown to be within a healthy range so we continue just slugging through life dragging our heavy feet every step of the day.
The declining activity of the thyroid as we age can be a cause of those age-related health challenges including hair loss and failing vision. But what was once determined to be normal thyroid function is now being reviewed and re-evaluated. And if it’s found to need redefining, many linked diseases and their treatment may change. Endocrinologists at the center of this thyroid debate are in conflict today over what is believed to be ‘normal healthy` thyroid or thyroxin levels or more accurately the reference range for the thyroid marker, TSH.
If this reference range changes based on the new research, a larger group of the North American population will fall into the hypothyroid category. Even marginal shortfalls of thyroxin will cause monumental psychological and body shifts that many of us just accept as factors of aging. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Age is not a function of time. We have to break away from this attachment of health status to chronological age and adjustment of this thyroid function to the level it should be for normal healthy adults might just be the factor that shifts age-bound restrictions one more decade. In other words, yesteryears 50 might just be today’s 60. If energy and biological pace are reset to new standards based on these findings, our biological clocks might just be in for a mass-population refurbishing!
Resetting the pace of our cells sets in motion a monumental shift in biological age because it sets the stage for more physical activity, improved mental state and more efficient metabolism. The result of this new state is improved cardiovascular health, better recovery from day-to-day wear and tear and at the foundation of all of this the improved state of mind will navigate improved lifestyle from multiple dimensions- mind, body and spirit. There are more of us suffering from untreated thyroid insufficiency than ever before for three main compounding reasons:
1) This disorder is definitely on the rise with the vast portion of our North American population aging beyond the fifty year mark. 2) The inappropriate diagnostic methodology which is about to change based on more recent research. 3) The environmental toxins and manipulation of a staple food and water supply.
Fluoride, chloride and iodine
Research has demonstrated for the longest time that fluoride can actually diminish thyroid activity. We`ve used fluoride overload in the laboratory to induce hypothyroidism for clinical research. Fluoride supplementation can, and is, actually used effectively to lower the activity of the thyroid as an alternative therapy for hyperthyroidism. Thyroxin production is highly dependent on iodine. Fluoride competes with iodine reducing its availability. Fluoridation is more a US concern than a Canadian issue but recent research has unveiled that chlorine can compete with iodine as well and Canadians’ drinking water is chlorine loaded.
Today’s fluoridation of water to support tooth and bone health might be a major factor impeding thyroid activity in our first world populations. Chlorination is much needed to circumvent microbial contamination but the consequences are proving to be just as bad only that they are slower to develop and harder to correlate. Bromine is alternative to chlorine and is finding its way into our food systems for the same reason chlorine is but it too is analogous to chlorine and fluorine in atomic valence and activity and will likely impose similar antagonism on thyroid function.
Each of us has to be vigilant to monitor our own health. Thyroid efficiency will soon become recognized by mainstream health care as a pivotal factor in that initiative. Our clinical testing protocol and determination of what is ‘normal’ thyroid activity has been thrown off by fluoridation and chlorination. In other words, not only are we influenced by these thyroid crashers individually, we have been moulded as a North American population by this thyroid interference and it may very well be the driving force that has crafted our signature as the obese nations. As our third world neighbours adopt our North American ways it appears they too are adopting our North American health risks and the cause is not just the processed food. The manipulated water supply plays a huge role too.
Thyroid efficiency is typically tested through serum thyroid stimulating hormone levels (blood TSH concentration). TSH is produced by our pituitary gland in response to low thyroxin activity in the body. Low thyroxin hormone activity results in higher TSH. If your TSH test results in a high (greater than 5) measure, you are in a hypothyroid state. However, the controversy in the medical community over the healthy reference range has now thrown a huge wrench in this guideline. And there’s a lot more to thyroid activity than mere TSH levels as well.
When considering these recently discovered facts, it might very well be that more than 20% of the North American population over the age of forty are affected by varying degrees of hypothyroidism. It’s no coincidence that the rate of obesity in the North American population (25-30%) is close to this rate of thyroid insufficiency. When we also review the frequency with which hypothyroidism occurs in our pets that are exposed to the same thyroid interruptions, we have to take note of what is evolving to be a pretty clear picture.
If you’re feeling like your aging faster and growing rounder in these middle years than ever before and you’ve chalked it all up to aging, think again. If your feet are getting heavier to run and climb stairs with, and your days just harder to get through, get in gear and do something about it. Your chronological age is not the culprit. There’s a safe and effective treatment that can change your life and bring back the energy and vitality you had in your youth. If thyroid insufficiency is at clinical stages, treatment can literally turn back the clock mentally and physically to break you away from your chronological age.
Part two of this article will discuss what you can do from a natural and complementary (drug + nutraceutical therapy) stand point. First and foremost, get tested to determine your TSH status. By the time your results are in at the doctor’s office, you’ll have part two of the article to evaluate by the new standards with your health care practitioner.