Thyroid Facts You Never Knew!

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Lyle Hurd: Ann Louise, we constantly hear about our thyroid, what a major organ it is and the kind of problems that can come from it, but never get very much information. Tell us a little bit about the thyroid, what it means, and we need to look out for.

Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman: Well the thyroid is your key metabolic organ, number one. It helps your body metabolize calories. It also, because of its content of iodine, is very important in terms of purging bacteria and going after bacteria. It’s very connected to your heart, believe it or not, and we often find that individuals that have malfunctioning thyroids also have problems with high cholesterol levels. So I would suggest that everybody really should figure out what is going on with their thyroid. It seems to be a gland that’s very sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, very sensitive to foods, including soy-based products, which can actually depress thyroid function, and may also be very involved with our current obesity epidemic, and I think that’s something that nobody is looking at.

So what do we do? Well first we have to measure and it, and that’s where a TSH comes in very handy. It’s a very easy blood test that you can go to your doctor to perform, and if your TSH ranges anywhere from – the levels have now shifted – I think it’s anywhere below 3.0 on their particular scale, then you know that you may be a candidate for hypothyroidism, in which case your thyroid needs some shoring up, either in the form of a tissue glandular or perhaps in the form of an herbal extract that is very helpful for thyroid performance. Some individuals find they do very well when they take more tyrosine, other individuals need a little bit more selenium, but whatever your thyroid needs is something you should evaluate, particularly with the TSH and other test known as the iodine loading test where we can figure out whether iodine, either too much or too little, is at play here, because the thyroid is one of the largest glands that stockpiles iodine, and the second most important area, believe it or not, is in the breasts. So I would suggest that the iodine acts as an adaptogen and is very helpful for both hypo and hyperthyroid conditions, and we simply have to measure to know. Years ago, there was this old time test where you could take a tincture of iodine, rub it on your forearm in the size of a quarter, and if it was absorbed within 24 hours then you knew you were deficient. If it stayed on your- made a little mark and it stayed on your forearm then you knew that you didn’t need any. We’re seeing that everybody that does that iodine test topically is very deficient in iodine, so taking extra iodine may be one of the problems. We know we’re very deficient as a society, it’s just relegating how much and when. There’s a lot of research that still needs to be done on that accord and is also very helpful. 

So there are problems with the thyroid. I think that all of the chemicals in the environment are affecting the thyroid. They’re slowing down the way the thyroid metabolizes, the way the thyroid functions. I think that individuals that are copper toxic, which is an area I hope we’re going to be talking about, may also be in metabolic slowdown. If your adrenals are burned out, sometimes the thyroid picks up the slack, because they’re both energy glands and that doesn’t work properly. Or if your calcium-potassium ratio in your hair, tissue mineral analysis, is out of whack, then your body is going to go into metabolic slowdown. One mineral does slow down the thyroid, and that’s the mineral that everybody overtakes, you know, they’re over-supplementing with, and that’s calcium. So when I do my testing, whether it’s an iodine loading after the TSH test that is taken and then I do a tissue mineral analysis, I’m finding that individuals are stockpiling calcium, which kind of puts the break on the entire metabolic system, and when we alleviate their exceedingly high amounts of calcium – I’m talking about people that are taking 1,200 mg to 1,500 mg – your thyroid starts to be balanced.

LH: Wow.

ALG: Give them more potassium and they’re humming right along and they then can lose weight. So there’s a lot to be said for this. It’s mineral based, it’s glandular based, it’s toxin related, and it has an awful lot to do with the environment.


Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman discusses the importance of maintaining a healthy thyroid. She explains how you can find out if yours is functioning optimally as well as what supplements you can take to help support it's function.

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