Understanding Our Thyroid Epidemic, an overview of the Thyroid Connection Summit.
About Dr. Amy Meyers
Dr. Amy was in her second year of medical school when she started showing signs of thyroid problems. She had panic attacks, insomnia, losing too much weight, muscle weakness & anxiety. She went to her doctor & was told she was under stress due to attending medical school. She knew there was more to it. She had lost her mother the year prior to pancreatic cancer. She was also attending the Peace Corps in Paraguay. Needless to say, she was under a lot of stress but her symptoms grew & she insisted on her doctor to do a full workup. She was then diagnosed with Graves Disease.
Dr. Amy was given three options: 1 – take some medication to shut down her thyroid gland from overproducing the hormone. 2 – have her thyroid ablated. 3 – have her thyroid removed. She chose option 2.
Through all her research in trying to find answers, she became more interested in becoming a functional doctor, rather than a conventional doctor, which she was studying for at the time. She didn’t know much about it other than it was a holistic approach to medicine. After she finished medical school she went into emergency medicine & the attended the Institute for Functional Medicine & opened her clinic in Austin, TX. & wrote her first book, The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases. She helped many people recover from autoimmune conditions & thyroid conditions.
The Thyroid Epidemic
There are five key factors towards thyroid imbalance. One is a genetic predisposition. Most thyroid dysfunction is autoimmune in nature, either hypothyroidism called Hashimoto’s or hyperthyroidism called Grave’s disease. During a study with identical twins & autoimmunity, 25% is genetics & 75% is environmental factors like diet, leaky gut, toxins, infections & stress.
Diet: Our diet has been so altered with GMO & we’re eating heavily processed foods. Our wheat has been hybridized. Unless it’s organic, it’s sprayed with glyphosates or Roundup. Our guts become leaky due to hybridized gluten, GMOs, antibiotics, living stressed out lives & because we are on acid-blocking medications.
Toxins: We live in a world with nearly 890,000 chemicals in our environment. Many of which are tested in three weeks or less by the EPA. Get this, they’re usually tested by the actual company that is producing the chemical & then tested in isolation, not all together.
When we have leaky gut, infections are getting into our bloodstreams like West Nile, Lyme, Zika & the Avian Flu.
Living a stressed life does not help these matters either. Working from our phones exposes us to EMFs. The feeling of needing to be connected all the time keeps our stress levels high.
This is a combination of a perfect storm happening right now & it’s genuinely an epidemic.
When visiting a conventional doctor, they run a blood panel for your check-up. Upon testing the thyroid, they are only checking the TSH, which is produced by the pituitary gland, not the thyroid.
Conventional Doctors do not check a freeT3, free T4, reverse T3 or thyroid antibodies to find out if people have thyroid autoimmune dysfunction. They are not checking the right test. Even if they did, the reference range is too broad. In 2002, the Academy of Endocrinology said, “this range is too broad,” because when they did the figuring out of what the reference range was going to be, they had all these people in that reference range who actually had thyroid dysfunction.
Conventional Doctors aren’t looking for the root cause. They are not talking to people about the environmental causes, they are not looking at nutrient deficiencies. If we don’t have the right amount of nutrients, our thyroid can’t function properly. It can’t make the conversion from T4, which is a storage form of the thyroid hormone, into that free T3, which is the one that we can actually use. That’s common in a lot of people. Their TSH & free T4 look great, but their T3 looks terrible. That’s because they don’t have the nutrients they need. The nutrients the thyroid needs to work properly are, B vitamins, iodine, vitamin D, vitamin A, tyrosine, zinc & selenium.
They’re aren’t many people out there who don’t have a leaky gut. The leading researcher of leaky gut, Dr. Fasano at Harvard says this needs to be in play for anybody to be diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. Many people with thyroid dysfunction probably have a leaky gut.
Things that contribute to Leaky Gut are candida, small bacterial overgrowth, (SIBO). Medications we’re on stress & toxins.
There are a number of infections that have similar structures to our thyroid. Our immune system can get confused & this is called molecular mimicry. This is what kickstarts our bodies into autoimmunity as our bodies become confused between our own tissue & infection, causing our own bodies to attack itself.
As I continue to watch Dr. Amy interview many thyroid experts & doctors, I will post my notes here to share with you. This summit is a wonderful resource to learn so much there is to know about this real epidemic happening to a lot of us.
Dr. Amy Meyer’s latest book, The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight — and How to Get Your Life Back is a great resource outlining this Summit.
Thanks for reading.