The Ladies Dish Podcast #60: Thyroid Health Part II with Ellen Lovelace of A Balanced Table
We’re joined by Ellen Lovelace of A Balanced Table to tackle your questions about thyroid health and dig deeper on why this is such a common issue for us. Find out Ellen’s top 5 tips to improve and support your thyroid! Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the Ladies Dish IN THIS EPISODE
Welcome to the show Ellen!
Ellen Lovelace has a Masters in Public Health from The George Washington University, and is a certified Nutritional Therapist and Restorative Wellness Practitioner. Ellen helps health-challenged people to achieve optimal wellness by cutting through the confusion and nutrition “noise,” digging to the roots of their dysfunction, and figuring out the best way for them to eat, drink, and thrive. She helps clients focus on what they CAN eat, finding good alternatives to not-so-good choices. Ellen specializes in digestion issues, food sensitivities, thyroid and hormone balancing, and general wellness counseling. Her website is www.abalancedtable.net.
The “it” List (3:15) This week our guest, Ellen, shares something she’s really into! Ellen loves her immersion stick blender; she uses it multiple times a week to puree soups and sauces. And it also makes a mean coconut milk latte!
LDP's Sponsor - The Nutritional Therapy Association The NTA is an amazing organization that certified all three LDP co-hosts as Nutritional Therapy Consultants. We all highly recommend the NTC course or NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) course to anyone interested in pursuing an education in holistic health and learning how real, whole foods help heal the body from the inside out. Visit www.nutritionaltherapy.com for more information and to download a registration packet!
Thyroid Health Questions (5:55)
1. We know thyroid dysfunction is more common in women than men, can you just speak to why it seems more women are having thyroid problems?
There is a clear link between women’s hormones and thyroid issues. 8 out of every 10 thyroid patients are women, and 1 in 8 women will experience thyroid imbalances in her lifetime. One of the key precursors to the production of thyroid hormones is progesterone. Being deficient in progesterone can easily lead to low thyroid hormone production. And so many women are not just low in progesterone, but high in estrogen--what we call estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is epidemic.
What plays a role in estrogen dominance?: - imbalanced blood suga - the use of oral contraceptives -exposure to xenoestrogens - general chemical toxicity
2. In your experience, have there been common patterns that are appearing on your clients labs or even lifestyles? (10:02)
I tend to see a lot of women who have sub-clinical thyroid dysfunction, meaning their labs aren’t yet bad enough for their doctors to consider them as having an issue, but they feel terrible, and their labs are all clearly not in the sweet spot of the functional range, which is more narrow than a lab’s range.
Interestingly, a lot of these women also have low iron levels, when we run a full iron panel. Adequate iron is key to making adequate neurotransmitters, which are in turn key to making thyroid hormones, so getting into the functional range for all the iron markers is important.
3. Thyroid and Exercise Kate asks, When I began my practice, I was partnered with a local gym and got clients from their referrals. What I found fascinating, was in the first 10 women clients I worked with, 7-8 of them had hypothyroid concerns… then when we started working together, and I was learning more about my hormone issues & low thyroid, I just got really intrigued about this connection possibly between thyroid and exercise, esp HIIT or Interval training.
Of course there are always so many ways to connect the dots, for example, I was probably eating too low carb in hindsight… maybe you could even share a bit about thyroid and metabolism or weight since we touched on that in our part 1 episode. We want to hear what you have to say about these links. (13:53)
The adrenals and thyroid have been said to be two ends of the same stick, or legs of a table. One out of balance throws the other out of balance. Basically, when you have a thyroid client, you also have an adrenal client. And we know that extreme exercise or overtraining is a major adrenal stressor. So is a diet that is too low in carbs. Having stressed adrenals is a great way to develop a stressed thyroid.
It’s important to focus more on weight lifting, yoga, bodyweight work and make sure they are eating adequate good starchy carbs daily.
4. Thyroid and Pregnancy/Postpartum: Dana asks, obviously with a pregnant co-host and myself being a new mother, we have mommy & female health on the brain, especially when it comes to the thyroid. We also have some moms that listen that have either had hypothyroid issues before becoming pregnant or since becoming pregnant. Can you explain why the thyroid seems to take a hit during this new yet challenging time in a woman’s life? (17:53)
Around 18% of women will develop post-partum thyroid issues. This generally starts as an autoimmune-mediated process, that has to do with the immune system shifts that occur during and post pregnancy, and then can turn into ongoing hypothyroidism or Hashi’s. It’s that drop in thyroid hormone that can cause the drop in serotonin that leads to post-partum depression. Many women will recover on their own in a year or two, but it’s pretty key to not get pregnant again until it is under control.
It’s important to note too that if you’re thinking about conceiving, working on getting your thyroid up to speed first is pretty important. Being hypothyroid increases the risk of miscarriage. And having any thyroid antibodies present pre-conception makes it more likely that you’ll go on to develop postpartum thyroiditis. So, a full thyroid workup is an important part of a prenatal plan.
Thyroid Markers you WANT to test!
TSH – the brain hormone that stimulates the thyroid
T4 – made by the thyroid – measured in Total AND Free
T3 – the active hormone - measured in both Total AND Free
Reverse T3 – not desirable path that the conversion can take
Thyroid hormone uptake percentages
Thyroid bonding globulin levels
Two most important are the antibody tests – the way we know if there’s any autoimmune tendency.
Thyroid Peroxidase or TPO
Thyroglobulin or TGAb
5. Thyroid and Nutrients: Tell us a bit more about iodine & the thyroid, which was a request from our listeners, and some other beneficial nutrients and why they are so good for the thyroid. (22:52)
Selenium and zinc are very key cofactors in making thyroid hormone.
Iodine is also critical, as it is the building block of T4 and T3---T4 refers to the fact that it’s made of tyrosine + 4 iodine molecules. Most people are pretty low in iodine, both because our soil is so depleted of it, and because most of us are fairly heavy in the competing halogens like fluoride and chlorine, which block the absorption of iodine. Iodine needs selenium as a synergist, in order for you to uptake it. So, for low hormone levels, it’s important to make sure you’re taking in enough of these key minerals.
Remember low and slow is the way to go with supplementation! And there are urine tests we can use to measure iodine levels along the way. There’s also the issue that, with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s, iodine can make it worse. Bioindividuality is definitely key.
Iodine supplementation can be controversial – here are two experts on either side of the coin in case you want to dig deeper yourself!
Dr. David Brownstein Dr. Datis Kharrazian
6. Before we close out, we want to leave our listeners with some actionable steps they can take to improve or support their thyroid, so let’s have you share your 3 best tips. (28:14)
Ellen had FIVE for us: 1. a mineral-rich diet is so key. The reality is, most people are going to need some targeted mineral supports as well, due to our depleted food supplies. 2. get off the blood sugar rollercoaster. It’s not doing any of your endocrine glands any favors! 3. be careful with those goitrogen foods – they should be cooked if you are having thyroid issues. 4. if you have Hashi’s, you need to work with someone to help you identify what’s causing the immune system freakout. Without a doubt, you need to be 1000% gluten free. 5. Work on a healthy gut and liver, for good hormone conversion. Something like a 21 day liver purification program can be a good jump start here.
Where can you find Ellen?!
Ellen works with all her clients virtually, so no matter where you are, you can work together!
Thank you for joining us this week for Episode 60. Remember to subscribe in iTunes so you don’t miss a future episode!
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