Antioxidants Neutralize Free Radicals

•March 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have heard the term antioxidant many times; however, I did not really understand what antioxidants were and how they contributed to health until I looked into it. It is actually a fairly complicated topic. Both a basic understanding of chemistry and biology are needed understand antioxidants. [1]

There are many different types of cells within the human body. Within cells thousands of biochemical reactions interact to maintain the life of the cell. Cellular respiration is the set of metabolic reactions and processes that result in the creation of energy a cell can utilize[2]. This process requires oxygen to convert energy from nutrients to ATP, Adenosine-5′-triphosphate. ATP molecules provide the energy on which all cells in your body operate. Understanding the details of cellular respiration is not necessary. It comes down to a simple fact oxygen is essential to the biochemical reactions that create the energy cells utilize. Hence, our need to breath every day, all day, until our last day. [3]

The bad news is that the ordinary oxygen molecule, O2,turns into oxidizing agents during normal cellular metabolism.  The most important reactive oxygen species are superoxide ion (·O2), hydroxyl (·OH), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). These oxidizing agents are short an electron; they are free radicals.[4] Atoms consist of electrons, protons and neutrons. The number of protons (positively charged particles) in the atom’s nucleus determines the number of electrons (negatively charged particles) surrounding the nucleus. Electrons orbit an atom in one or more shells. The innermost shell is full when it has two electrons. When the first shell is full, electrons begin to fill the second shell. When the second shell is full it has eight electrons, and so on. [5]

The outermost shell is the most important feature of an atom for determining its chemical behavior. An atom with a full outer shell is stable and thus tends not to enter in chemical reactions. On the other hand an atom that does not have a full outer shell will seek to reach a state of maximum stability by one of the following actions: Gaining an electron, losing an electron, or sharing its electrons by bonding together with other atoms in order to complete its outer shell. A molecule is formed when atoms are bound together through sharing electrons and thus satisfying the conditions of maximum stability.[6]

A free radical is an atom or molecule with unpaired electron(s). A free radical is unstable and highly reactive. Free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, resulting in the disruption of a living cell. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron “stealing” reaction.[7]

Checkout: Free Radicals & Antioxidants

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_Xo5AaTH8U

Under normal circumstances, there is a balance between the rate at which free radicals are produced and the rate at which they are eliminated by the action of antioxidants.[8] Oxidative stress occurs when a biological system is unable to readily neutralize free radicals. These un-neutralized free radicals damage all components of the cell. Oxidative stress is thought to contribute to the development of a wide range of diseases  including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and neurodegeneration in motor neuron diseases. [9] The human brain is at particular high risk by free radicals because of its high degree of metabolism compared to other tissues.[10]

That is all for now. In my next blog post I continue this discussion. Thank you to all of you who have been reading my blog postings. Special thanks to those who have passed along my blog to others. There is a word press report that shows me the number of readers each day. Since my last blog posting there have been over 300 readers!!! It pleases me no end to see the number of readers growing. Thank you. If you have an suggestions for topics you would like to see discussed please let me know though a comment.  

Sunbathing is a Key Element of Obtaining Excellent Health

•February 15, 2011 • 1 Comment

Public health campaigns in recent years have for the most part focused on the dangers of sunlight overexposure. Also the benefits of sunscreen have been widely marketed since the 1950s by sunscreen companies.[1] This has led to a public that is cautious of sunlight exposure. It is true that overexposure to sunlight is harmful. However, underexposure to sunlight is harmful as well. Unfortunately, public awareness of the danger of underexposure to sunlight is very low. Thus, increasing the awareness of the importance of sunlight to human health represents a big opportunity to increases many people’s health.

Rickets was one of the first illnesses identified as being caused by inadequate exposure to sunlight. It is a condition seen in children that causes bone deformities and bone fractures due softening of bones.[2] A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, written in 1843, contained a character that personified a child with rickets, Tiny Tim. He was the crippled son of Scrooge’s employee.

For decades rickets had been a subject of much public attention. It was rampant in industrial towns and coal districts in both England and Scotland. There were many theories concerning the origin of the disease and possible treatment. Some experts blamed the venereal disease syphilis, others blamed poverty. However, it was not until WWI that enough research was accumulated to start to conquer this disease. In 1917 (three years after WWI had begun) Britain realized the addressing ill health of their young working class men was essential to their nation’s defense.  They put together a list of the major disabling diseases and invited medical researchers to work to resolve these diseases. Rickets was on this list.

War time fears prompted Edward Mellanby, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Sheffield, and his wife May Mellanby, a professor in the Household and Social Science Department of London University, to begin studying rickets. The Mellanbys suspected that rickets was due to deficiency of a fat soluble vitamin. They created rickets in puppies, and then experimented with different diets to treat the rickets. Through their work they made two critical discoveries. First, in addition to weakened bones, puppies with rickets had a bevy of additional ill health conditions including weakened teeth, heightened anxiety, and lower resistance to infections. Second, they discovered puppies fed animal fats, such as lard or fish oil avoided rickets. Specifically, they identified cod liver oil as curative for rickets.

The discovery of cod liver oil’s health benefits was a huge win. Soon many people were taking cod liver oil and were successfully avoiding and treating rickets. It was a number of years before vitamin D was discovered to be the key ingredient in cod liver oil that allows rickets to be avoided. This discovery occurred in 1922. Elmer McCollum, professor of biochemistry at John Hopkins Medical School, bubbled oxygen through cod liver oil, identifying two separate components: vitamin A and vitamin D.[3] In this same time period, it was discovered that irradiating food with ultraviolet light increased the vitamin D content of foods. This process was patented by Harry Steenbock of the University of Wisconsin. The Quaker Oats Company signed on to purchase the irradiation rights to use on its cereals in 1927, many companies followed.[4] By 1945, rickets had all but been eliminated in the United States.[5]

The discovered of vitamin D and its successful incorporation into the public’s diet has been a major triumph. However, there is more to the story.

The name vitamin D is misleading. Vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a hormone produced by our body when our skin is exposed to the ultraviolet B portion of sunlight. The human body’s biological processes are designed to be dependent on sunlight exposure. Dietary sources of “vitamin D” can help fill the gap when a body is not exposed to an adequate amount of light; however, dietary sources of vitamin D are not equivalent to obtaining adequate sunlight exposure.

Rickets first appeared as a public health concern during the earily 1900s at the beginning of the Inductrial Revolution. Newly erected cities in northern Europe had children that were being exposed to significantly less sunlight. City living consisted of more hours indoors, sunlight was blocked by air pollution, and children often played in alleys between tightly spaced building that were closed off from sunlight. Apprearance of rickets was not the result of changes to the population’s diet, it was the result of a decrease in the amount of sunlight exposure the population received.

Rickets was resolved through a dietary solution, however, dietary sources of vitamin D do not fully resolve the detrimental affects inadequate sunlight exposure. Sensible unprotected sunlight exposure could help many, many people. However, our fear of skin cancer has overshadowed the evidence that indicates this. Cancer is a frightening, mysterious disease that has touched many people’s lives. The evidence that sunlight overexposure can cause skin cancer has terrified us into hiding under umbrellas, long sleeve shirts and hats, and slather ourselves with sunscreen. Evidence shows this has been a monstrous mistake.

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is a malignant tumor of cells that produce a dark pigment. It cause 75% of the deaths related to skin cancer.[14] Scary!!! Here is the crazy twist. The relationship between Melanoma and sunlight is baffling. As observed by the FDA, after a 1995 conference on melanoma, Melanoma is seen more often in people who DO NOT receive regular, moderate sun exposure than in those who regularly spend time in the sun.[15] Surprising, however, not hard to beleive since a number of cancers have been shown to be avoided through obtaining adequate levels of vitamin D.

The following is a brief list of the benefits of maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D[6]:

  • Bone Health: prevents osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets, and factures
  • Cellular Health: prevents certain cancers, such as prostrate, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, and colon; prevents infectious diseases and upper-respiratory-tract infections, asthma, and wheezing disorders
  • Organ Health: prevents heart disease and stroke; prevents type 2 diabetes, periodontitis and tooth loss, and other inflammatory diseases
  • Muscular Health: supports muscle strength
  • Autoimmune Health: prevents multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Brain Health: prevents depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia
  • Mood-Related Health: prevents seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual syndrome, and sleeping disorders, elevates the sense of well-being

It is readily accepted that vitamin D is vital to human health. Unfortunately, it is not accepted that sensible unprotected sunlight exposure is needed to safely obtain an ideal amount of vitamin D. In 2002, the federal government’s National Toxicology Program announced that ultraviolet radiation had been added to the list of “known human carcinogens”.[7] Some have gone as far to say there is no such thing as a safe tan and tanning is like smoking to your skin.[8]

There is a conflict between these two commonly held medical believes that adequate levels of vitamin D are vital to human health and sunlight exposure should be avoided. The conflict is that it is very difficult to safely obtain adequate levels of vitamin D without sunlight exposure. Even 1,000 IU a day will not raise your blood levels above 30 nanograms per milliliter. Also vitamin D made in the skin lasts at least twice as long in the blood as vitamin D that is ingested from the diet.[9] Finally exposure to ultraviolet light cannot cause vitamin D toxicity. (i.e. you cannot overdoes on vitamin D by spending too much time in the sun of a tanning bed). On the other hand, ingesting large amounts of vitamin D can cause toxicity.[10] Among the consequences of vitamin D toxicity is irreversible kidney damage. [11]

Your vitamin D status can be assessed though a blood tested. A low level of vitamin D is a common health problem that is recognized by the medical community and is commonly screened for. The major circulating form of vitamin D, 25-vitamin D, is the most important vitamin D metabolite. On the lab report you may see “serum 25(OH)D”. The recommended zone for 25-vitamin D level is 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter. The minimum level for healthy cells and maximum bone health is 30 nanograms per milliliter. The maximum level is 100 nanograms per milliliter and greater than 150 nanograms per milliliter causes intoxication. For a reference point, the average American’s level of 25-vitamin D during winter is 15 to 18 nanograms per milliliter.[12]

Part of the difficulty surrounding the role of sunlight and health is that is very difficult to give exact recommendations.  The appropriate amount of sun exposure for an individual is affected by skin color, age and the light source. If you are exposing your skin to ultraviolet light by spending time in the great outdoors, the amount of ultraviolet light your skin is exposed to is affected by your elevation, your latitude, the time of the year, the time of day, how much of your body is covered by clothing, sunscreen (if you are using sunscreen), and oil (if are using oil). The amount of UVA and UVB varies between artificial light sources.

All of these factors make it difficult to tell the public exactly how much sunlight is too much sunlight. This is the reason that the UV index was created. The UV Index assigns a value to the amount of ultraviolet light in all of the geographies around the world, and uses that index to inform the public concerning the steps that they should take to protect themselves against obtaining too much sunlight exposure.

See website for UV index info: SunWise

Since the focus of the UV Index is focused on preventing overexposure and is not at all concerned about underexposure, the recommendations are conservative in two ways that are worth considering. Number one, the UV Index is based on the UV levels at 12:00PM, the greatest UV levels of the day. Number two, the UV Index is based on light skinned people. Therefore, if you have darker skin and/or are exposing your skin to sunlight at a different time of day than noon, the UV Index represented may be overly conservative.

The UV Index deliberately does not list times until sunburn. I had to poke around on the internet for a while to find burn times related to UV Index. This is a table that I found[13]:

The goal is to get regular moderate exposure to ultraviolet light without overexposing your skin. UVA and UVB are the two wavelengths of light that affect your skin. Outdoor sunlight contains approximately 95% UVA and 5% UVB. UVB is the shorter wavelength of light. This shorter wavelength does not pass through regular glass and is what is blocked by sunscreen. It is both the wavelength that causes skin to burn and the wavelength that caused your skin to create vitamin D. Overexposure to UVB light causes your skin to burn. Overexposure to UVA does not. Sunscreen until recently only blocked UVB radiation, because UVA does not cause skin to burn. Sunscreen that only blocks UVB may have contributed to increases in skin cancer because sunscreen allowed people to spend more time in the sun without protection from UVA.  Thankfully, “broad spectrum” sunscreen have now been developed that block both UVA and UVB.

It is your life. You have to make your own decisions concerning your strategies to create the best life possible for yourself. Sensible sunlight exposure is not a practice that everyone in the medical community agrees with, but ultimately it your decision. The consequence and/or benefits of your choices are yours to live with. I hope that this blog has helped you see a new perspective and may help you in your journey towards excellent health.


Probiotics: Say Hello To Your Little Friends – Part 2

•January 23, 2011 • 1 Comment

Probiotics are a revolutionary breakthrough in medicine that is in the process of becoming established. Your body hosts trillions of microoragnisms. There are many types of microorangisms. It is estimated that about 40,000 different species live in the human gut.[1] Some types of microoragnisms help your health. Others types of microoragnisms hurt your health. And still others have no affect on human health. By causing the community of microorganisms that your body hosts to be dominated by microorganisms that support good health, you can have literally trillions of friends that are partners in creating excellent health.[2]

The “outside” of your body is constantly exposed to things from your environment. The most obvious part of the “outside” of your body is your skin. However there are many other parts of your body that are exposed to the things from your environment and are therefore considered “outside” your body. In addition to your skin, your lungs, mouth, sinuses, stomach, small intestines, large intestines, rectum and anus are all part of the “outside” of your body. The “inside” of your body consists of all the areas where your blood vessels and internal organs lie: the liver, kidneys, brain, heart, etc. The inside of your body is essentially microbe-free — at least when you are healthy.[3]

On the other hand, the “outside” of your body is host to trillions of microbes. If you could extract them all and put them in a container. You would have more than a quart of cream colored sludge. Individually your microbes are tiny, however, collectively they weigh close to 3 pounds. That is more than your kidneys, your pancreas and you heart put together.[4]

Check out this video: Probiotics

Your body is made of 10 trillion cells and your body host 100 trillion microbes. Our own cells are outnumbered 10 to 1. A fact that is both surprising and does not seem right until you take into account that our cells are 20 times bigger than microbes and thus your own cells make up the difference in bulk.

Where did all of these microbes come from?

We are exposed to a limited number of microorganisms when we breath, eat and touch things. The remaining microorganisms are created thru replication. Under ideal conditions bacteria have the ability to divide every 20 minutes to form new microorganisms. This mean at the end of an 8 hour period, one bacteria can produce 42.5 million microorganisms all by itself. Bacteria are constantly replicating within us. Also they are constantly passing through us. Around one-third of the dry weight of fecal material (poop) consists of both live and dead bacteria.[5]

The microorganisms that your body hosts have a profound influence on your physiology[6]:

Recent research has shown that gut microbes control or influence nutrient supply to the human host, the development of mature intestinal cells and blood vessels, the stimulation and maturation of the immune system, and blood levels of lipids such as cholesterol. They are, therefore, intimately involved in the bodily functions that tend to be out of kilter in modern society:  metabolism, cardiovascular processes and defense against disease.

Checkout this article: Bacteria ‘R’ Us

Most of the life on planet earth is composed of bacteria.  Bacteria was present on earth well before human life. It is becoming clear that these tiny living organisms are not just accidental passengers, they regulate the internal environment of the human beings they inhabit.

   

A new understanding of our relationship with bacteria is emerging. Instead of the Darwinism model of evolution, tree-of-life notion, a model of evolution that is more like a web has been uncovered. In this model different life forms influence the evolution of each other. In the microscope world, bacteria go so far as to exchange portion of their generic code. In the macroscopic world different life forms have been shown to have formed interdependent relationships. For example the interdependent relationship between bobtail squid and the bacteria V.fischeri:[7]

A few scientists noticed in the late 1960s that the marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri appeared to coordinate among themselves the production of chemicals that produced bioluminescence, waiting until a certain number of them were in the neighborhood before firing up their light-making machinery. This behavior was eventually dubbed “quorum sensing.” It was one of the first in what has turned out to be a long list of ways in which bacteria talk to each other and to other organisms.

Some populations of V. fischeri put this skill to a remarkable use: They live in the light-sensing organs of the bobtail squid. This squid, a charming nocturnal denizen of shallow Hawaiian waters, relies on V. fischeri to calculate the light shining from above and emit exactly the same amount of light downward, masking the squid from being seen by predators swimming beneath them.

For their lighting services, V. fischeri get a protected environment rich in essential nutrients. Each dawn, the squid evict all their V. fischeri to prevent overpopulation. During the day, the bacteria recolonize the light-sensing organ and detect a fresh quorum, once again ready to camouflage the squid by night.

This tale of bobtail squid would be just another mildly jaw-dropping story in a natural world full of marvels if it weren’t a portal into an unsuspected realm that has profound consequences for human beings. Regardless of the scale at which we explore the biosphere — whether we delve into the global ocean or the internal seas of individual organisms — bacteria are now known to be larger players than humans ever imagined.

Your body welcomes and supports friendly bacteria. Friendly bacteria are recognized by your immune system and are never attacked. On the other hand, your immune system swings into action at the first sign of a dangerous microbe. Also mucosal surfaces actually feed friendly microbes. One reason that mucus is sticky is that it contains sugar, which microbes use as food.

You benefit from the presence of friendly microorganism in a number of ways. One of the ways that microorganisms aid your health is by helping you digest your food. In order for your body to utilize the nutrients in your food, the nutrients must be in a bio-available form. Microorganism aid this process by helping breakdown food particles. [8]

Another way that friendly microorganisms help you create and maintain excellent health is by aiding your immune system. You immune system acts like a police force. It protects you from harm. In order to do this it maintains an army of cells that roam your body looking for potential threats. This army of cells has an arsenal of weapons that available for attack. A trigger happy immune system may discharge its potential weapons against harmless substances including its own cells. This results in autoimmune problems and problems with allergies. Friendly bacteria are capable of sending all is well signals to the immune system, which helps the immune system stay in control.[9]

Another way that friendly bacteria helps the immune system is by competing with harmful microorganisms. Certain strains of friendly bacteria produce antibiotics, all produce acid, and some produce hydrogen peroxide. All of these substances effectively inhibit harmful bacteria. Also a healthy colony of friendly bacteria will compete for nutrients and for space on the intestinal walls, which makes it difficult for harmful bacteria to get established. One final bonus of a friendly bacteria is they are anti viral. Viruses are older that bacteria on the evolutionary scale. Bacteria have developed methods of controlling viruses in order to protect themselves and when the bacteria your body is hosting protect themselves from viruses they indirectly protect you from viruses.

There have been many studies that have shown evidence that some bacteria strains support human health. There is a long list of ailments which may be treated and/or prevented by cultivating a friendly microorganisms. This is because friendly microorganisms support healthy immune system function and aid your body’s ability to extract nutrients from food. Here is a list of ailments treated and/or prevented by cultivating a friendly microorganisms[10]:

                Digestive Disorders

                                -Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome

                                -Irritable Bowel Syndrome

                                -Pepic Ulcers

                Allergic Diseases

                                -Asthma

                                -Hay fever

                                -Eczema & Atopic Dematitis

                Urogenital Diseases

                                – Vaginitis

                                -Urinary tract infections

                                -Kidney Stones

                Autism

                Cardiovascular Disease

                Obesity

                Oral Health

                Mental Health

                Fibromyalgia

                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

While all of these ailments are worth noting and there are more that could be added to the list, asthma is particularly interesting because it points to the affect of antibiotics on our wellness. The number of people suffering from asthma in the United States has dramatically increased since the introduction of antibiotics. The center from disease control and prevention shows the following increases between 1980 and 1995:

                Among people age 15 to 64         70% Increase

                Among people age 5 to 14           80% Increase

                Among people age 0 to 4             160% Increase

A theory as to why this is happening was proposed by David Strachan in 1989, The Hygiene Hypothesis. According to the Hygiene Hypothesis childhood exposure to microbes is actually beneficial for health. Numerous studies have shown evidence to support this hypothesis. For example, 10,000 parents of toddlers were asked such questions about hygiene practices, such as “How often in a normal day are hands cleaned before meals?” From the answers the investigators gave each child a hygiene score. They found the higher the hygiene score the more likely the youngster was to develop asthma.

Since then more has been learned about why exposure to microbes protects us from developing allergies. A new hypothesis has been developed, the Microflora Hypothesis. According to the Microflora Hypothesis, key microbes in our digestive tract protect us from asthma. Evidence in support of this hypothesis is that gut flora of individuals who suffer with allergies has been compared to the gut flora of people who do not have allergies. Those with allergies have lower levels of probiotic microbes. Antibiotics can kill both unfriendly and friendly bacteria. Thus use of antibiotics may be to blame for the increase in incidence of asthma.[11]

When born a baby comes into the world clean, however, babies pickup friendly bacteria from their mothers during their passage through the birth canal. Also, the mother’s mammary gland ducts are colonized with probiotic microbes, which she passes onto the baby when she breast feeds. In fact, an Italian group has shown that probiotics can significantly relieve infant colic.[12] It seems nature’s design has set us up to receive friendly bacteria and thus receive its benefits throughout our lives.

However, dangerous bacteria often cause ailments. The discovery of antibiotics gave us the ability to treat disease that are caused by causing dangerous bacteria. Mass production and distribution of antibiotics began in about 1945. Antibiotics were a medical miracle that has transformed public health. However, this medical miracle has a dark side. The friendly microbes that your body is hosting are easily killed by antibiotics and they do not necessarily easily recover. Thus, antibiotics have saved the public’s health in many ways, however, they have damaged the public’s health in different ways.

I decided to write about probiotics after I listened to the following radio interview while driving to work a few weeks ago. In it a father describes his experience curing his daughter’s autism symptoms with probiotics: Cities97 Radio Interview

Checkout the CoCoKefir website: http://www.cocokefir.com/

There are many products on the market that can help improve the community of micoorganism in your gut. These products are called probiotics. Yogurt is one of the most commonly known probiotics. In fact, Dannon Yogurt company had a major ad campaign for Activa. The following is the Activia website:

http://www.activia.us.com

It is important to know that most commercially produced yogurts do not provide a meaningful supply of probiotics. Often less expensive bacteria (not the friendly bacteria your body needs) are used to culture the yogurt, and yogurt products are commonly pasteurized (thus killing the bacteria).

There is still a lot of guesswork concerning which strains of bacteria are best, how many friendly bacteria to consume and how often to consume them.

See WebMD Article: The Best Ways to Use Probiotics

See Harvard Health Publications: Benefit of Probiotics: Should you take a daily dose of bacteria?

Eventhough the recommendations for probiotics are not fully established yet all in not lost. There is little danger of taking too many probiotics. According to Natasha Trenev, it is recommended that everyone take probiotics daily throughout their life. As far as beneficial bacteria are concerned, the more the merrier. An effective supplement should contain a minimum of hundreds of millions to billions of bacterial cells per day. Look for products that contain L. acidophilus, B. bifidum & L.budgaricus. [13]

Natasha Trenev, author of Probiotics Nature’s Internal Healers, has a whole line of probiotic products: Natren

I love things that can have a significant positive effect on health, are safe, low cost, and require minimal discipline. I love them because they me feel clever, clever, clever!!! The positive health benefits of probiotics is the process of becoming fully established. However, it is clear that they are safe, and they are beneficial. How beneficial…anyone’s guess. But you as a Happy Deviant can benefit them now and the results may astound you.

If you are interested in learning more. I recommend the following two books:
The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements

Probiotics: Nature’s Internal Healers


Probiotics: Say Hello To Your Little Friends – PART 1

•January 12, 2011 • 1 Comment

The unaided human eye can see only a limited portion of the universe around us. Telescopes and microscopes have given us the ability to see beyond the scale visible to the unaided human eye. There are things that are much bigger than us and there are things that are much smaller than us. We live on earth. One planet in the universe. The number of stars in the universe could be as high as 300 sextillion, 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, and the number of planets in the universe is countless.[1] Telescopes have allowed us to explore things on this scale. Likewise, there are things much that are smaller than us and microscopes have allowed us to explore things on this scale. The following diagram shows the relative sizes of things[2]:

Bacteria are smaller than the unaided human eye can see. The smallest the unaided human eye can see is 10^-4 meters. The diameter of a human hair is a little smaller than this. The diameter of a bacteria is more than 10 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. This is much smaller than the unaided human eye can see. However these tiny creatures have had a huge influence on the human experience.

The first person to see and describe bacteria was Anton Van Leeuwenhoek. When he was an apprentice in a dry food store he observed drapers using magnifying glasses to inspect the quality of cloth. He developed a new method of creating tiny lenses of great curvature. His lenses gave magnifications up to 270 times. His lenses were the finest known at this time. He studied a wide range of microscopic phenomenon and began sending his observations to the Royal Society of England.

His observations were initially welcomed by the Royal Society of England, however, in 1676 his credibly was thrown into question after he sent them a copy of his observations of single-celled organisms. Prior to this single-celled organisms were entirely unknown. With his lenses he was able to see what no one before him had seen before, tiny living organisms. Although the Royal Society of England was skeptical they eventually arranged for a team of respected journalists and doctors to determine whether Van Leeuwenhoek had lost his mind or the known scientific theories of life itself needed to be reformed. Finally in 1680, Van Leeuwenhoek’s observations were fully vindicated and he was appointed as a fellow of the Royal Society. [3][4]

Many years passed before it was shown that microorganisms could caused disease. Prior to acceptance of Germ Theory, it was believed that disease spontaneously generated. There were many people that felt that such tiny organisms could not possibly kill larger ones such as humans.

The person that is credited with proving the Germ Theory is Louis Pasteur. Pasteur was a French chemistry professor. Early in his career he worked with wine growers to resolve a problem with their wine souring. Through a series of experiments we proved micro-organisms were causing the souring of the wine, and that the organisms could be removed by boiling the wine. This process is now called pasteurization, named after him. He then undertook experiments to find where these bacteria came from, and was able to prove that they were introduced from the environment. In 1864, French Academy of Sciences accepted Pasteur’s results and in 1865 he was made the the director of scientific studies at École Normale.

The Germ Theory was the foundation of numerous applications. Pasteur intuited that if germs were the cause of the souring of the wine, they could just as well be the cause of contagious diseases. This proved to be true for many diseases including pneumonia, anthrax, cholera, and tuberculosis. Pasteur fought to convince surgeons that germs existed and carried diseases, and dirty instruments and hands spread germs and therefore disease. Also, after studying the characteristics of germs and viruses that caused diseases. He and others found that laboratory manipulations of the infectious agents can be used to immunize people and animals. His work protected millions of people from disease through vaccination and pasteurization. Pasteur died in1895. He was a national hero and was given a state funeral.[5][6][7]

There was a movie made about Louis Pasteur.

Check out the trailer: The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) Trailer

For many years hygienic practices and vaccinations were human’s only methods for avoiding becoming ill due to micro-organisms. However, the series of events that would change this began on the morning of September 3, 1928. In WWI Alexander Fleming had served as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Having witnessed the death of many soldiers from sepsis resulting from infected wounds, Fleming began searching for anti-bacterial agents. He accidentally discovered penicillin while investigating the properties of a bacteria named staphylococci. On September 3, 1928 Fleming returned to his laboratory from a having spent August with his family. Prior to leaving he had stacked his cultures of staphylococci on a bench in a corner of his lab. After a month of sitting, one of the cultures was contaminated with a fungus. Fleming noticed that the colonies of staphylococci that had immediately surrounded the fungus had been destroyed, whereas other colonies further away were normal. Fleming grew the mold in a pure culture and found that it produced a substance that killed a number of disease-causing bacteria. In 1929, Fleming published his discovery in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology.

Little attention was paid to Fleming’s article. Fleming continued his investigations, however, he had become convinced that penicillin would not last long enough in the human body to kill bacteria effectively. Many clinical tests were inconclusive. Fleming continued to investigate until 1940 when he finally abandoned penicillin. Not long after a team at Oxford worked out a method to isolate and concentrate penicillin. The first method for creating an effective stable form of penicillin was developed in 1940. Several clinical trials were done and their amazing success inspired the team to develop a method to mass produce and distribute penicillin in 1945. Penicillin production was quickly scaled up and available in enough of a quantity to treat all of the Allied soldiers wounded on D-Day.[8] [9] Antibiotics were a medical revolution that has improved and saved countless lives. With the discover of antibiotics we could finally kill the micro-organisms that were making us ill. Illnesses that had once been life threatening could now be effectively treated.

However, this story of human triumph has a twist. While some types of bacteria can causes illness in a host human, some types of bacteria play an important role in both human digestive health and human immune system health. The person to first suggest that there are bacteria that play a positive role in human health was a Russian scientist working in the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Élie Metchnikoff was interested in the immune system. In 1908, he received a Nobel Prize for identifying the process of phagocytosis. Phagocytes, white blood cells, ingest and destroy things harmful to the body. White blood cells protect the body by ingesting harmful foreign particles, bacteria and dead or dying cells.

In his work, Metchnikoff also discovered that the process of digestion in micro-organisms is the same as that carried out by white blood cells. He theorized that diets rich in fermented foods, most notably yogurt, contained friendly bacteria and this friendly bacteria was important to human health. He predicted that beneficial bacteria could be far more important to human health than disease causing bacteria.  He spent the last ten years of his life studying lactic acid-producing bacteria as a means of increasing life span.[10]

As it turns out, some types of bacteria are the cause of disease, some types of bacteria do not affect us at all, and some types of bacteria are highly beneficial to our health. We in effect have a symbiotic relationship with some types of bacteria. There are many examples of animals having cooperating to survive.  The following video shows the symbiotic relationship of giraffes and oxpeckers.

Check it out: Top 10 Odd Animal Couples: The Giraffe’s Oxpecker

Even though we can not see bacteria, we cooperate with bacteria to survive.  Bacteria has been a part of our environment since the beginning of mankind. Bacteria lives on all of the outer surfaces of our body, and some bacteria strains have positive affects on our health. Antibiotics have disrupted this relationship both in a way that is beneficial to humans and in a way this is harmful to humans. Antibiotics have given us the ability kill harmful bacteria, but they also kill beneficial bacteria. If beneficial bacteria strains are absent or lacking in your body, the absence of these bacteria will negatively affect your health. Through probiotics you can add beneficial bacteria to this ecosystem that lives on the outer surfaces of your body.  These little friends will be your partners in creating excellent health.

The Inconvenient Truth about Wheat

•December 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Wheat has contributed greatly to the advancement of mankind. It is one of the crops that transformed our ancestors from hunter-gathers into farmers. It provided a dependable food supply that has made life easier and provided more free time for other pursues such as creating textile, pottery, woodworking, and making tools.[1] Wheat has continued to be an important food supply.

I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A few years back an old building in Minneapolis was converted into a museum, The Mill City Museum. Upon touring this museum, I discovered that the initial growth of Minneapolis was largely fueled by the Milling industry. Minneapolis, through innovations in milling techniques, became a world-leading center of flour production, earning the name “Mill City”.[2] In 1856, Minneapolis Milling Company was founded using the St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River to power the mills.  This company became General Mills, Inc, which now markets many well known brands including Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Cheerios and Lucky Charms.[3]

One of the things I learned when touring the museum was that the demand for flour was so great that, in the beginning, sale of flour was only limited by the amount they could produce. For much of history this is what limited the amount of flour consumed, and it was through technical advancement that production was increased. For example, in 1873, Edmund La Croix and George T. Smith, both in Minneapolis, patented middlings purifiers that separated the dust, bran, middlings, and flour more completely by blowing air through screens so meshed as to sort the different particles. [4] As advancements were made the production of flour increased:

  • Between 1763 and 1766, Philadelphia exported 350,000 barrels of flour, mostly to the West Indies. 
  • Minneapolis flour shipments rose from 1 million to 5 million barrels between 1876 and 1884.        
  • Minneapolis flour shipments rose from 5 million to 10 million barrels between 1884 and 1894.
  • Between 1889 and 1899, wheat exports rose from 46 million to 139 million bushels.

Flour consumption has increased dramatically in the last 100 years and has remained high. In 1990, the per capita consumption of flour is estimated at 135 pounds.[5]

So how does all this related to health you ask…

I think it is important to understand the history of wheat production and consumption, because now flour is ubiquitous. Flour is in a huge percentage of the products in the super market, and the history of it becoming a huge part of our diets predates most people’s lives. We have never known a time in which flour was not a huge part of our diets. It feels to us like flour has always been a huge part of the human diet, which is NOT TRUE. 

Flour is in many food products and eaten by millions of people every day. Which is why questioning the safety of eating it feels absurd. However, for many people eliminating of gluten from their diet may be the greatest opportunity to improve their health.

Wheat flour is the primary grain product consumed in the United States. Wheat contains gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins, including gliadins and glutelins.[6] For many people gluten causes an autoimmune reaction. The result of this autoimmune reaction is that the villi in their small intestine are damaged. Intestinal villi are finger-like projections that line the length of the small intestine and are critical to proper of absorption or nutrients. Immune reactions caused by exposure to gluten, cause these intestinal villi to atrophy.[7]

Checkout this video: Digestive System

Checkout this video: Small Intestine

 It would be logical to think that a person that is sensitive to gluten would have stomach problems and some people do have stomach problems such as the following:

  • Intermittent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating

However, some people who are sensitive to gluten have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. [8] This is why a person that does not have digestion problems CAN NOT rule out the possibility of gluten affecting their health. For a person that is sensitive to gluten, their small intestine becomes increasingly compromised over time. Resulting is their small intestine being less effective in absorbing nutrients. The following diagram shows the progression of this damage[9]:

When a people who is sensitive to gluten eats a diet that contains gluten, the small intestine becomes inflamed. The little black dots in the diagram above represent lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. This inflammation of the small intestine leads to disruption of the structure and function of the small bowel’s mucosal lining. The diagram above shows the Marsh classification of the stages of progression of the affects of gluten intolerance on the small intestine. The small intestine is moderately inflamed in the beginning stages, in the later stages the intestine is more inflamed, and in the most advance stages the villi atrophy. The following picture is a microscopic view of tissue samples taken from the small intestine biopsies. The picture on the left are normal villi. The picture on the right, is tissue from a person villi that have atrophied[10]:

The inflammation and shrinking of the villi impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, minerals and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K from food.[11] This is one of the main reasons gluten can mess with a person’s health in many ways.  However, it is NOT the only reason gluten can mess with a person’s health. The other reason is that gluten intolerance often causes hypothyroidism.

After writing the blog about hypothyroidism, Check your thyroid using a Thermometer, I went out and bought the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?. What I discovered floored me.  Gluten intolerance may be responsible for hypothyroidism in Americans 90% of the time!!! [12]

In the United States, autoimmune disease accounts for approximately 90 percent of adult hypothyroidism, mostly due to Hashimoto disease; and numerous studies show a strong link between gluten intolerance and Hashimoto disease:[13]

Hashimoto disease was the first disease to be recognized as an autoimmune disease.[14] It was first described by the Japanese specialist Dr. Hashimoto Hakaru in Germany in 1912. An autoimmune disease is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks substances and tissues that are normally present in the body. In the case of Hashimoto’s disease the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed by the body’s immune system. [15]

As it turns out, the molecular structure of gluten so closely resembles that of a the thyroid gland, the problem may by one of mistaken identity. The following is a quote from Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? concerning how gluten intolerance leads to hypothyroidism[16]:

if a person with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease eats gluten regularly, her immune system is kept on a constant red alert, toiling virtually nonstop. Here’s how it sets the stage for Hashimoto’s: When immune antibodies tag gluten for removal, they stimulate the production of antibodies against the thyroid gland as well (again because they are both so similar in structure). In other words, every time gluten is ingested, the immune system launches an attack not only against gluten but also on the thyroid gland. What’s worse, the immune response can last up to six months each time its ingested.

In this way gluten can cause all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Could gluten be affecting your health?

The answer is DEFINITELY. In fact it may be affecting your life more than you imagined possible. Eliminating gluten from your diet may enable you to be happier, to have more energy, to feel better and to look better than you imagined possible. The likelihood that you have some level of sensitivity to gluten is high. It’s estimated 43 percent of Americans are genetically predisposed to celiac disease, and 81 percent  are predisposed to gluten intolerance. [17] There are many many symptoms of gluten intolerance, however, the symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Plus the gluten intolerance is not easily screened for. Which is likely the reason it so under diagnosed. According to WedMD Health News, only 5% of patients are correctly diagnosed with gluten intolerance. A new study shows that the criteria used to diagnose the disorder may be too stringent, leaving many people undiagnosed and untreated.[18]

A genetic test can be performed to look for the genes associated with gluten intolerance. Tests can be performed to look for the following antibodies:

  • Gliadin, a protein in gluten
  • Transglutaminase, an enzyme in the intestines
  • Endomysium, a muscle sheath

Also a test for thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO Ab) can be performed to look for the antibodies associated with the Hashimoto Hypothyroidism. [19] There are many other tests that are utilized as well.

However, trying to be diagnosed through these means can be a frustrating, fruitless path. First of all you have to find a doctor to perform the tests, and the results need to be interpreted appropriately. A lot of doctor will resist ordering these tests and will not have enough experience to interpret the results appropriately. “An astounding 95% of celiacs are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions; 10 years is the average time [from time medical help is first sought] it takes for someone to be correctly diagnosed.”[20]

So…what does a person do?

If you suspect that you could have a gluten intolerance and/or suspect that you have hypothyroidism, there is a simple test that you perform at home. It is called the Elimination/Provocation Diet. For a minimum of two weeks, but ideally three weeks or more, you eliminate the following foods from your diet:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Yeast

These are the most common problem foods.  You must be strict, do not cheat!!! Then you introduce each food into your diet, one at a time. Wait at least 72 hours reintroducing the next food. Keep a journey during this time to track your symptoms. Some common reactions to a food you cannot tolerate are the following:

  • skin eruptions, eczema, acne
  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • digestive complaints, such as indigestion, bloating, gas, heart burn, constipation, and diarrhea
  • lung or nasal congestion
  • anxiety
  • moodiness or irritability
  • headaches
  • cold sores

Problem foods will need to eliminated from your diet for a long time, in order to allow your gut to repair. You may be able to reintroduce foods, after your gut has time to repair. The exception is gluten. People with gluten intolerance are intolerant for life.

Eliminating gluten from your diet sucks. There is no sugar coating making this change to your diet. It is DIFFICULT. Gluten is in everything. Eating at restaurants is tricky, and a lot of convenience foods contain gluten. The elimination diet is luckily a temporary change…but none the less, I imagine it is extremely difficult and a person needs to be super organized to pull it off.

I have not done Elimination/Provocation Diet yet. I have been attempting to live gluten free for a few years now, but I have not entirely eliminated gluten from my diet. In the past I figured that if I eliminated the majority of gluten from my diet that was enough. I did not worry about sauces, thickeners, etc. But now that I understand the connection to hypothyroidism and how a small amount of gluten can affect my immune system, I am going to get more serious about eliminating gluten from my diet. Plus, I had not eliminated other foods from my diet.

I speaking from experience when I say living gluten free is difficult. This type of change is where the ‘deviant’ part of ‘happy deviant’ comes in. In order to make this dramatic change to your diet, you have to be willing to tell your friends and family that you are not eating gluten and why. You have to give up foods that you love. You have to be willing to put effort into finding gluten-free products that you like and gluten-free meals that you like. However this type of change is also where the ‘happy’ part of ‘happy deviant’ comes in. Eliminating gluten from your diet may be your key to happiness.

Checkout this video: Can Gluten Cause Depression?

Of all of the negative effects that gluten intolerance and hypothyroidism fatigue, anxiety and depression are the ones that stand out for me. Within my family there are numerous people that have fatigue, anxiety and/or depression. There are people within my family that have had their lives severely impacted by these symptoms.

Living with a restricted diet is difficult, but living with fatigue, anxiety and/or depression is 100 times worse. Plus, there are a host of other symptoms that may be affecting you. The following are common symptoms of hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance[21][22]:

  • fatigue
  • moodiness/depression
  • increased sensitivity to cold
  • elevated blood cholesterol level
  • muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • pain, stiffness or swelling is your joints
  • muscle weakness
  • brittle finger nails and hair
  • heavier than normal menstrual periods
  • Addison’s disease
  • gastrointestinal distress (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, reflux)
  • headaches (including migrains)
  • infertility
  • mouth sores
  • inability to concentrate
  • seizures
  • anemia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • gall bladder disease
  • type 1 diabetes
  • epilepsy
  • systemic lupus
  • multiple sclerosis

There are many more symptoms…see the following links to see full lists:

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Relief can be found through a change of diet. Also nutritional support can help. Thyroid replacement hormones are often the treatment given by both medical doctors and natural paths to treat hypothyroidism. However, it is much wiser to resolve the dietary problems that are leading to hypothyroidism. Dr. Kharrazian has found that addressing the conditions creating hypothyroidism through lifestyle changes can make thyroid replacement hormones unnecessary.  

If you want to look further into this, I highly recommend the following book: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?.

For anyone out there that is currently pursuing a restricted diet and/or is about to  begin pursuing a restricted diet, I wish you well on your journey towards greatness. 🙂


[12] Bailleres, Autoimmunity and hypothyroidism. Clin Endocrin Metab.  1988 Aug2(3):591-617

[13] Bailleres, Autoimmunity and hypothyroidism. Clin Endocrin Metab.  1988 Aug2(3):591-617

[14] Nakazawa, Donna, The Autoimmune Epidemic, 2008 Simon&Schuster pp 32-35

Lower Triglycerides with Exercise and Diet

•December 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Check out this video from the Mayo Clinic about lowering triglycerides through lifestyle, Lowering Triglycerides – Mayo Clinic. Millions of people are taking medication to lower their trigylcerides, however, lowering the amount of carbohydrates consumed and excericise is extremely effective:

Check your Thyroid using a Thermometer

•November 30, 2010 • 4 Comments

The impact of inadequate thyroid hormones can last for a lifetime and range from relatively mild symptoms to the terrible life impairing symptoms. You may have a thyroid problem. You owe it to yourself to pull out a thermometer and check your basal body temperature. 

Your thyroid produces the hormones that regulate the rate of your metabolism. These hormones control the rate of function of many other systems in the body.[1] It is common for a person’s thyroid to not produce enough of these hormones. This condition is called Hypothyroidism.

Checkout the following video:  Effects of Thyroid Disease

Even though hypothyroidism is a recognized condition, it is likely that if you go consult a general physician concerning hypothyroidism symptoms you will either not be diagnosed or not be properly treated. Which is a huge bummer if you are suffering from this condition. According to Dr. Blanchard, most doctors know less than half the story about treating hypothyroidism. In today’s pressured managed-care environment, doctors have little time to hear and synthesize the many nonspecific symptoms of hypothyroidism. Also, there is a single-mindedness about using the TSH test and there’s a steadfastness to treating hypothyroidism with synthetic thyroxine, T4.[2]

So what is a person to do?

When I was doing the research for this week’s blog I kept reaching for a simple answer to the question how would a person know whether they Hypothyroidism, and what I have come to is that this is not a black or white diagnosis. Doctors have a number of tests that they may perform, however, it is still a squishy condition to diagnose. It is particularly important to know that the test most commonly offered by doctors, the TSH test, does not provide definitive results. According to Dr. Blanchard, there are lierally millions of people suffering with symptoms that clearly spell out hypothyroidism that are denied treatment because of TSH levels that are falsely in the normal range.  There are thousands of people with “normal” thyroid test results who experienced the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism and who prove it by their excellent response to appropriate thyroid therapy. [3]

A thermometer help you to figure out if you have this condition. Basal Body Temperature is both a strong indicator of your thyroid function and can be used as a guide for determining the amount of hormones to take. This is because heat is bi-product of your metabolic processes. Lowered body temperature, is a known and medically accepted symptom of hypothyroidism.[4] According to Dr. Barnes normal values for basal body temperature are in the range of 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature below 97.8 indicates hypothyroidism. A temperature above 98.2 indicates hyperthyroidism. This is NOT a conventional method of diagnosing thyroid function…I try not to get angry about the role of physicians in our culture, but this one kind of gets me:[5]

This simple technique of measuring basal body temperature as a guide to determine thyroid function and permitting proper treatment when necessary did not appeal to the medical profession. Apparently some physicians had reservations about a test which might permit patients to arrive at their own diagnoses. Perhaps some had reservations because the test involved no fees.

I believe in empowering people to manage their health. So here is what you need to know concerning taking your basal body temperature. All you need is a oral thermometer. I pick one up at Walgreens yesterday for $6.99.

 

Upon waking in the morning (when you are fully at rest), stick the thermometer under your arm pit such that it is touching skin until the thermometer has a reading. Men and women who are NOT menstruating can take their basal body temperature any given day. Women who are menstruating cannot. Their temperature fluctuates during their cycle. It is the highest shortly before the start of their menstrual flow and lowest at the time of ovulation. The best time for women who are menstruating to take their basal body temperature is the second or third day after their menstrual flow starts.[6]

Checkout this Video: Weight Loss Secret: The Thyroid Test

The affects of hypothyroidism can be brutal. The following are some of the possible symptoms:

  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Depression
  • Fatigue, Sluggishness
  • Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • A puffy face
  • An elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Migraines and other headaches
  • Arthritis: Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Fertility Problems, miscarriages, menstrual irregularities, menstrual cramps, Heavier than normal menstrual periods
  • Brittle fingernails and hair
  • Skin conditions: Acne, Impetigo, “Winter Itch”, Eczema

However, a list does not do justice to the severity of the symptoms and relief found through thyroid hormones. The following are excerpts from Hypo-thyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness:

A seventeen-year-old I saw recently had complained for years of being tired…Even after a prolonged night’s sleep, he had difficulty getting up in the morning. In school, he was unable to think clearly and to concentrate, and repeatedly failed. He dropped out, tried work, but lost job after job because of lateness. He began to run with the wrong crowd, took hard drugs, had an encounter with the law. Fortunately, in the sense of better late rather than never, his fatigue (and the affects of it) were found to be associated with a subnormal basal temperature and within three months after therapy was begun he was enrolled in a rehabilitation program and in school again, very much interested now in trying, and better able to make something of his life.

Another patient I saw many years ago was a twenty-four-year-old woman who had miscarried once and was then well along in her second pregnancy. She had a history or irregular menstruation with severe cramps, along with other symptoms compatible with low thyroid function. Her basal temperature was low. I placed her on thyroid but it was too late for this pregnancy and shortly afterward she miscarried again. Thereafter, however, continuing on thyroid therapy regularly, she had four successful pregnancies.

I worked with a group of students with acne, foregoing local treatments and dietary changes. The only measure used was thyroid therapy…The majority of students showed marked improvement: a few did not…Reduced circulation of blood through the skin is one effect of low thyroid function…with reduced circulation, the nourishment supplied by blood is reduced and, at the same time, waste produces are not removed promptly and completely since blood is the remover. The result is a skin which is not normally healthy and normally resistant to would-be invaders.

If you discover you have a low basal body temperature and you have symptoms that indicate that you may have a hypothyroid, you now have the daunting task of figuring out what to do to treat your condition. If you are diagnosed by a conventional doctor, he or she will likely put you on T4 only medication. This works for some people, however, it does not work optimally for many people. There are many chemical reactions involved and the breakdown(s) that led to your hypothyroidism could occur in more than one area of these chemical processes.

 

For many decades…before pharmaceutics companies isolated a single molecule, patented it, marketed, and made it the medical standard, thyroid from animals was used to provide thyroid hormones. Natural Desiccated Porcine Thyroid has been used since the beginning of the 20th century. The advantage of taking Natural Thyroid is that it contains the same hormones that your own thyroid would produce–T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin.[7] Since T4 is only one part of the process, use of synthetic T4 often is less effective. You can purchase raw thyroid without a prescription.

It is important to note that you need to be careful about the amount of thyroid you take. If too much thyroid is supplied from the outside, the pituitary gland will sense the excess and stop stimulating the thyroid gland, and thyroid function may be depressed still further. The amount of thyroid in your blood steam is precisely controlled and if you supply too much from the outside this precise control is thwarted. Also if you take too much you can cause hyperthyroidism which causes sleeping difficulty, excess sweating, elevated temperature and weight loss.

This is why it is important to start with a small dose and then the dose can be raised as necessary.  According to Dr. Barnes,

the size of the dose of thyroid will vary with the age and size of the patient. Usually a child under three years of age will not need more than one-quarter grain daily. By the age six, one half grain may be used in the beginning. A teen-ager or adult may safely be started on one grain daily. For a particularly large man or woman, two grains may be used-but no more than that at the beginning…

Thyroid therapy does not produce overnight change. No change may be noted for a month. Usually, at some point between one month and two months after the beginning of therapy, some of the symptoms begin to subside and the individual feels better. At that point, an evaluation is in order to determine whether the starting dose is sufficient for continued use or if an increase in dosage is advisable…

If symptoms have improved to some extent but have not disappeared entirely, an increase in dosage may be needed…When an increase in dosage is indicated, the amount of the increase depends upon age and size of the individual. In children, not more than one-quarter grain should be added to the initial dosage. In the teen-ager, the increment should be one-half grain. In the adult as much as one grain should be added. The new dosage should be continued for two months, at which time another evaluation should be done. If necessary, at this point, the dosage may be increased again, and again the increment is the same as the previous increment. The proper dosage is the minimum needed to relieve symptoms

Basal body temperature can serve as an excellent guide not only to the need for thyroid therapy but also to achieving the proper thyroid dosage,..When symptoms of thyroid deficiency are present, the basal temperature may be one, two ,or even three degrees below normal. With thyroid therapy, the temperature will start to rise. During treatment, it should not exceed the upper limit of normal- 98.2-unless a cold, sore throat, or other infection is present. The thyroid gland will not decrease its normal function unless the basal temperature is maintained for some time above the upper limit of normal.

Grain was not a term I was familiar with so I looked it up:[8]

– Tablets 15 mg (¼ grain)
– Tablets 30 mg (½ grain)
– Tablets 60 mg (1 grain)
– Tablets 90 mg (1½ grain)
– Tablets 120 mg (2 grain)
– Tablets 180 mg (3 grain)
– Tablets 240 mg (4 grain)
– Tablets 300 mg (5 grain)

The instructions above is one of the most simple approaches to treatment, however, there are many other approaches.  I am not going to get into all of those complications, because beyond this is gets pretty complex. However I thought I would give you a sense of it.

Some important notes: you should NOT start thyroid treatment for at least two month after a heart attack, and many people must be on treatment their whole life. Some times people make the mistake of being on treatment for a period time, getting relief from their symptoms, and then they go off the treatment, their symptoms return and they do not realize the connection.

Checkout this video:  Fix Your Thyroid Through Your Gut?

This is the book he recommended: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?  When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism

Checkout this Video: Treating Hypothyroidism Naturally

I hope, if you have this condition, this blog will help you identify that you have it and start the journey towards treating it. A happy deviant knows their body and helps their body function at its optimum level.