Why are So Many People Gluten Sensitive?

February 18, 2015 at 9:26 AM

monsanto-roundupMany many of you are asking me a very important question: “Why do we have so many people developing Gluten Sensitivities?” Is it for real, or is it due to the media? Is it a fad? Is it due to the fact that we eat too much of it? What are the causes of such an epidemic?

The following is a summary of the multitude of reasons why I think that our population is truly facing a Gluten Sensitivity Epidemic:

1. The gluten of today is NOT the gluten that was available to us 60-70 years ago! When our grandparents ate gluten, it was from a grain that contained about 10% to 20% of gluten. Today’s wheat contains about 90% gluten! The changes have been instituted by the agricultural industry to make the grain more sturdy (better growth) and resistant to pests.

2. In the old days, when grains were harvested manually, they were left in bundles in the middle of the fields in order to dry for about a week, before being separated from the straw. This drying time reduced the amount of gluten in the grain.

3. In the old days, after being separated from the straw, the grains were stored in barns, where additional drying occurred before being used. This drying time allowed more gluten and other anti-nutrients to evaporate naturally. Today, the grains are immediately processed into flours with no time for gluten evaporation.

4. Another important reason is the difference in the way bread is made today versus yesterday. Old fashion bread was made by the slow process of leavening (rising). By leaving the dough to rise slowly for several hours or days, you are reducing the amount of gluten in the process. On the other hand, modern breads are made with fast rising agents that do not require any time before baking. Hence, today’s processing does not allow the gluten content to be reduced through the process of evaporation.

5. At this point in my discussion, I have not yet begun to talk about modern grains! Modern grains contain more gluten than yesterday’s grains; modern flours and breads are fast-tracked processed as noted in Paragraph 4 above. But more importantly, modern grains are now genetically modified (GMO) and sprayed with pesticides (Roundup / Glyphosate)! Several studies done on rats and pigs have shown a huge increase of cancer rates due to GMO!

6. The worst and most dangerous factor of gluten intolerances is the usage of the pesticide GLYPHOSATE developed and sold by the Monsanto Company. Glyphosate is in “Roundup” (Monsanto trademark) herbicide. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, PhD has spent the last 10 years researching the relationship between the usage of Roundup and the epidemics of autism, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases. Wheat, corn and soy are often sprayed with Roundup just prior to be harvested, which means that ALL non-organic bread and wheat products sprayed with Roundup contains GLYPHOSATE!

Monsanto claims that Roundup is harmless to humans, and affect plants only by blocking a pathway called the “shikimate pathway”, which is what kills the weeds. But, Dr. Seneff points out that human gut bacteria DO in fact have this “shikimate pathway” (CONTRARY to what Monsanto claims), which basically means that Roundup Glyphosate kills our gut bacteria, and by clear extension, it is basically killing us!

Gut bacteria are indeed one of the first lines of defense in the human immune system as they control pathogens such as viruses, yeasts and parasites. Gut bacteria influence 90% of our body cells; they synthetize amino acids; they produce neurotransmitters; they produce vitamins such as folate and B12, they chelate heavy metals, and much more! Clearly, by killing our gut flora (Gut Bacteria), our health IS being destroyed!

Glyphosate is present in breast milk of American mothers, at a rate of 760 to 1600 times higher than the allowed limits in European drinking water. To make things worst, additional chemicals in Roundup that are untested because they are classified as “inert”, yet according to a 2014 study in BioMed Research International, these chemicals are capable of amplifying the toxic effects of Roundup (GLYPHOSATE) hundreds of times over!

So, is gluten a REAL epidemic? You bet it is… when you understand that not only is the percentage of gluten contained in grains today higher than in the past, but also and most importantly, the grains that contain gluten (wheat, rye, barley) are poisoned by highly toxic ingredients (GLYPHOSATES)! If a person ingests poisoned grains, it is totally logical that the body reacts against it!

CONCLUSION: Do NOT buy any grains (gluten or not) unless they are CERTIFIED ORGANIC! And then, even if you buy only organic grains, you need to test yourself to see if you have reactions to gluten: If your reaction to gluten is positive, simply stop eating gluten! Otherwise your risks of developing autoimmune diseases or other degenerative diseases are VERY high.

Yours in Health,

Béatrice Legras Levinson, Naturopath & Certified GAPS Practitioner

Béatrice Legras Levinson, Functional Nutrition – Certified GAPS, practices / sees patients world wide via SKYPE, FaceTime, Telephone Consultations and in person, all by appointment only. If you wish to have an appointment with Béatrice Levinson or you have questions, please email her office and you will receive an immediate reply within 24 hours to BeatriceLevinson@sbcglobal.net. Béatrice Levinson see patients in person in her Antibes, France and her Paris, France offices.

Béatrice Legras Levinson
Functional Nutrition – Certified GAPS
www.BeatriceLevinsonNaturopath.com
TEL: 011-33-4-94-84-00-48

Welcome!

January 5, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Welcome to the Practice of Béatrice Levinson, Traditional Naturopath and Certified GAPS Practitioner. The goal of this practice is to help you find the path to a better health!

You may suffer from digestive problems, multiple allergies, chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue, depression or anxiety, you may have trouble maintaining your weight, have hormones imbalances, or even been diagnosed with diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases or auto-immune conditions.  No matter what your health issues may be, Naturopathy can help you improve your condition.

The standing goal of this practice is to find the root causes of your health problems, through detailed questions, a thorough discussion of your health history, if necessary through the use of blood tests, saliva tests and stools tests. Once the causes are identified, we can then address them one by one through an individualized program that I will personally tailor to your specific needs. This program involves specific nutritional advice, supplementation, and life style changes that are determined according to your case.  Twenty-six years in practice as a Traditional Naturopath has given me the experience and tools to lead my practice to consistently successful results.

If you would like to know more about my practice, my work and my background, please click here for more information!

 

For more information
Email: John@mbaynaturo.com Email: John@mbaynaturo.com
www.MontereyBayNaturopathy.com www.BeatriceLevinsonNaturopath.com

 

 

The Startling Connection Between the Gut and the Mind: Part 2

March 31, 2013 at 2:03 AM

Amazing Links between the Digestive System, the Mind and Moods

To summarize our previous discussion in Part 1 of this Health Awareness Newsletter article, it is now well recognized by science that 95% of Serotonin (a naturally occurring Neurotransmitter) is actually produced in the GUT and NOT in the brain as we WRONGLY had thought for many many years.

If we extend this concept to the other Neurotransmitters, this clearly means that whatever happens in our digestive system is going to affect our brain function. In order for people suffering from mood disorders such as Depression, Anxiety, ADD, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorders), Bi-polar Disorders, or even Autism to have a chance to improve their state of mind, they need to improve their digestive function. This rightly implies changing their dietary habits, digesting and assimilating their food correctly, correcting the digestive flora, and eliminating any infectious agents.

Methodology

Keeping these facts and conclusions well in mind, my methodology of helping patients suffering from mood disorders are:

FIRST, Test their digestive system.
SECOND, Treat every single issue that may show up in their gut.
THIRD, Put patients on a healthy diet, and ensure that they are not allergic to any foods.
FOURTH, Address specific issues that may be corrected with different supplements and procedures (as described in Part 1 of this Newsletter article).

In Part 2, I am going to describe the other aspect of healing mood disorders which is principally, HOW to use Neurotransmitters properly. Supplementing with Neurotransmitters will help both the digestive system and the brain functions, as well as many other disorders.

What Are Neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are endogenous (meaning made in the body) chemicals which relay, amplify, and modulate signals between a neuron and another cell. There are many different Neurotransmitters but, the major ones are divided into three categories:

1. AMINO ACIDS: Glutamate, Aspartate, Serine, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), Glycine.

2. MONOAMINES: Dopamine, Adrenaline (also called epinephrine), Noradrenalin (also called nor epinephrine), Serotonin, Melatonin.

3. OTHERS: Acetylcholine, Adenosine, Anandamide, Histamine, Nitric Oxide, etc.

Some Neurotransmitters (for example glutamate) are “excitatory”, which means that they increase the firing action of a cell. Others are “inhibitory”(such as GABA) which means that they have an inhibiting effect on a cell, and some others (such as Acetylcholine) have both effects.

Assessment of Neurotransmitters Deficiencies

When a patient comes to me with complaints of mood disorders, the following is the methodology I use to asses this person:

The first and most important thing is certainly to take in consideration the complaints of my patients. If someone tells me that he or she has been depressed since they can remember, it is evident that is a major component of their state of health. The principal tools that I use are two questionnaires that I extracted from extremely interesting books on this subject. The first one is called “The Neurotransmitter Questionnaire” from a book written by Dr. Eric Braverman, M.D. titled, “The Edge Effect”. This is a 12 page questionnaire that explores the multiple behaviors a person may have in different daily life situations. Dr. Braverman’s clinic in New York specializes in helping patients to improve their health with alternative medicines. The second questionnaire is called, “The Mood Questionnaire” extracted from a book written by Julia Ross, M.A. tilted, “The Mood Cure”. Julia Ross specializes into helping patients with eating disorders, mood disorders and addictions. Both of these authors are very well respected and recognized lecturers on the subject of Brain Disorders.

After a person completes these questionnaires, I analyze them in great detail. This gives me an accurate idea as to which of the main Neurotransmitters the person is deficient. Another way of testing Neurotransmitters deficiencies is through a urine sample test. This technology is still quite new and as such, there are a lot of on-going discussions as to its accuracy. I ran several of these urine tests and they always matched the results of the written questionnaires completed by the patients. This makes me think that the urine test is indeed valid, but for economical and practical reasons, for the moment I decided to use just the written questionnaires as they are accurate and they have no monetary cost associated with them.
These questionnaires reveal deficiencies in FOUR major Neurotransmitters:

1. Serotonin Deficiency

A lack of Serotonin is very common nowadays and the list of symptoms related to its deficiency is very long. Here are the major ones:

Depression, Impulsiveness, Lack of Common Sense, Lack of Pleasure, Isolation Behavior, Phobias, Paranoia, Perfectionism, Rage, Shyness, Confusion, Memory Loss, Difficulties Concentrating, Restlessness, Slow Reaction Time, Arthritis, Chronic Backaches, Butterflies in Stomach, Clammy Hands, Constipation, Drug and Alcohol Addictions, Headaches, Hypersensitivity, Hypertension, Sleep Disorders, Palpitations, PMS, Salt Cravings, Weight Gain, Nausea, and Night Sweats.

Serotonin is naturally occurring in foods that contain Tryptophan such as Turkey, Eggs, Avocado, Cheese, Chicken, Chocolate, Oats, Pork, Sausage Meat, Wheat Germ, and Whole Milk. Thus, it is recommended to be sure to include some of these foods in your daily diet. If that’s not enough, we have recourse to specialized supplements of which the most important Serotonin boosters are:Calcium, Fish Oils, 5HPT, Magnesium, Melatonin, and sometimes Sam-E, St John’s Worst, Passionflower, Pyridoxine (B6), or Zinc.

2. GABA Deficiency

GABA deficiency is probably as a common as is Serotonin deficiency. A GABA deficient person is very stressed. The major symptoms are: Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Insomnia, Depression, Feeling Overwhelmed, Manic Depression, Mood Swings, Rages, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Phobia, Fears, Rage, Restlessness, Short Temper, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Disorganized Pattern, Impulsivity, Tremors, Sugar Cravings, Chronic Pain, IBS, Flushing, Headaches, Hyperventilation, Lump in the Throat, Night Sweats, PMS, Seizures, Tachycardia, Tinnitus, Twitching, and Frequent Urination.

GABA producing foods are mostly Complex Carbohydrates, such as Fruits and Vegetables, but also Whole Wheat, Oats, Rice Bran, Potato, Rice Bran, Walnuts, Almonds, Lentils, Broccoli, Beef Liver, Banana, Brown Rice, Halibut, Oranges and Spinach.

As far as supplements that help GABA production, we can choose a combination of: Inositol, Glutamic Acid, GABA itself, Melatonin, Thiamine (B1), Niacinamide, Pyridoxine (B6), Valerian Root or Passion flower. Sometimes and for specific issues I can also use Kava Kava, Taurine, B vitamins, Glycine, or Amino-acids.

3. Acethylcholine Deficiencies

The early signs of Acethylcholine deficiencies are related to a loss of thought like losing your enthusiasm for life and becoming forgetful. Symptoms may include Agitation, Anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Impotence, Learning Disorders, Fat Cravings, Frequent Bowel Movements, Lack of Arousal, Involuntary Movements, Reading and Writing Difficulties, Rigidity or Flaccidity, Slowness of Movement, Speech Problems, Bipolar Disorder, Calculation Errors, Hysterical Behavior, Mood Swings, Memory Disturbance, ADD, ADHD, Impaired Creativity, Impaired Thinking and Comprehension.

When your body shows Acethylcholine deficiencies, it is a sign that you need more nutrients rich in choline (a precursor to Acethylcholine) such as B Vitamins. Foods highest in choline are Egg Yolk, Meat, Liver, and Whole Grain Cereals. Also, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Artichokes, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages, Fish, Peanut Butter, Pork, Shrimps, and Wheat Germ.

The supplements that we can use are: Choline, Phosphatidylcholine, Phosphatidylserine, Acetyl-L-carnitine, DHA, Thiamine (B1), Panthothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B12, Taurine, Gingko Biloba, and Korean Ginseng.

4. Dopamine Deficiency

If you are either burning too much Dopamine (burning the candle at both ends) or you are not producing enough Dopamine, you are going to feel tired, physically and / or mentally. The list of symptoms can be: Depression, Feeling of Worthlessness or Hopelessness, Procrastination, Mood Swings, Inability to Handle Stress, Isolation, Carelessness, Self Destructive Thoughts, Anger, Aggression, Anemia, Thyroid Disorders, Tremors, Sugar, Carbohydrates or Junk Food Cravings, Parkinson’s Disease, Nicotine Cravings, Narcolepsy, Low Sex Drive, Diabetes, Excessive Sleep, Constipation, Blood Sugar Instability, Failure to Follow Instructions, Lack of Memory, Slow Processing, ADD, Failure to Complete Tasks, Impulsive Behavior, and Poor Concentration.

To build up Dopamine levels, we need two amino-acids precursors which are Tyrosine and Phenylalanine. These amino-acids are found in proteins-rich foods, such as: Chicken, Chocolate, Cottage Cheese, Duck, Eggs, Oats, Pork, Ricotta, Turkey, Sausages, Walnuts, Whole Milk, Wild Game, Yogurt, and Wheat Germ.

The supplements that we can use are: Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Methionine, Rhodiola, Pyridoxine (B6), B vitamins, Phosphatidylserine, and Ginkgo Biloba.

Careful Choice of Health Supplements

My choice of supplements is determined according to the patient’s symptomatology, history, diet and medication. Some Neurotransmitter supplements can actually interfere with medication, which is why I don’t recommend that you supplement yourself. It always needs to be done under the supervision of an educated and highly trained health professional.
Another important point is the fact that there are so many variants between brands for the same supplement. How do you know which one is the best? Those who know me are aware that I am a “fanatic” about researching the highest quality and the best possible supplements. I chose supplements from companies that stand behind their products, that have high standard of Quality Control, and that continually invest in current research. For any of these supplements to work properly, they need to have excellent quality raw materials, and must be without any fillers or colorings, have a significant amount of raw material per dosage and, they need to be completely absorbable. This is certainly NOT the case for all supplements out there in the market.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you or a loved one suffers from various mood disorders, know that there ARE solutions that Naturopathy can help you if you are committed to engage into a journey that will lead you to better health. There is no magic pill or quick fix; it requires your dedication to a change of diet and lifestyle, and rigorous supplementation. It IS possible and it IS doable and, I can guide you through it.

We now know that our mood is in a close relationship to our digestion. We have the tools to find the causes of your digestive troubles and the tools to address them, so why not give it a try? Improving your health is the best thing you can ever do for yourself because without health, what do we have?

Yours in Health,

Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath
Videoconference & Phone Appointments Available

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The entire contents of Health Awareness Newsletter are based upon the opinions of Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath, unless otherwise indicated. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as an offering and sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath within the U.S. and Europe. Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

© Copyright 2011 Béatrice F. Levinson, Naturopath. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Béatrice Levinson is required.

The Startling Connection Between the Gut and the Mind: Part 1

March 31, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Amazing Links between the Digestive System, the Mind and Moods

You may be surprised by this title but, you may be even more surprised to learn that there are more receptor sites for Serotonin in the gut (small intestine and the colon) than there are in the brain! Serotonin is a neurotransmitter secreted by the body that affects our mood. Basically if we are lacking Serotonin, we may feel depressed. The conventional medicine approach to a lack of Serotonin is to give SSRI medication (anti-depressant medication). We as Naturopath’s are now saying, “Let’s have an in-depth look at the digestive function to improve Serotonin absorption.”

Your Gut: Your Starting Point for Good Health!

16I always tell my patients that, “You are what you eat,” but more specifically and more importantly, “You are what you digest.” Indeed, if you eat the typical American diet of bagels, pizzas, diet sodas, and ice cream, none of which contain anything nutritious, then there is NO chance for your gut to be healthy. But let us say that you are eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy meat and fish, and that you drink lots of water but, you are NOT digesting these foods properly, then you are still malnourished.

There are many reasons why you may not digest properly. One reason may be that you are intolerant to certain foods. For example, gluten intolerance is very common, and may cause irritation and malabsorption. Another reason maybe that you are lacking digestive enzymes or, a third reason maybe that you have a disturbed digestive flora. When your gut is irritated (by gluten for example), it makes your gut lining swollen, red, and at times, even painful. In this case, you have what we call a “leaky gut syndrome” . What this means is that the inside of your gut is so irritated that the cells have become enlarged, and thus allowing non-digested particles of food to enter the blood stream. This is how you may develop allergies, fatigue, or chemical sensitivities. When your gut lining is irritated, you also have LESS receptor sites for hormones, enzymes and / or neurotransmitters. As a consequence, you may lack hormones, enzymes or neurotransmitters. The common denominator of these insufficiencies is actually, as you can now understand it, your disturbed digestive system. This is why the FIRST THING I need to do when assessing someone with mood disorders is to test their digestive system.

Assessment of the Digestive System Health

Whenever a patient comes to my office complaining about mood disorders, I start by testing their digestive system. I use a specialized test that tests both stool and saliva. This test sample collection is done in the comfort of your home. This test reveals many things: the composition of your bacterial flora, the lack of digestive enzymes, the invasion of different bacteria, fungi, and parasites. But, it also contains several MARKERS that indicate inflammation of the small intestines and / or the colon. Lastly, this test analyses food intolerances: soy, dairy, gluten and eggs. Thus, when we obtain the results, I can already guide my patients to what choices of foods are best for them. And if necessary, address any microbial infections that may be present.

It is amazing to hear what my patients describe as it concerns the numerous changes they feel by simply removing the food(s) that is detrimental for them. For the majority of them, the nearly immediate improvement of their digestive symptoms, such as gas and bloating, belching, acid reflux, diarrhea or constipation is remarkable. For some, it improves their quality of sleep, it reduces their anxiety or nervousness, and for others it improves their mood. They don’t feel as irritable, depressed, or anxious. Their mind becomes clearer; they have less “foggy brain” and better concentration. They feel better, lighter, and happier. For others, it may also clear their allergies.

Gut and Mood Disorders

When the digestive system is unhealthy, which is in my opinion, the case for the majority of the population, it can significantly affect brain function. In her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome,” Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, a brilliant nutritionist doctor, cites the French psychiatrist Philippe Pinel (1745-1828), who after working with mental patients for many years, concluded way back in 1807: “The primary seat of insanity is generally in the region of the stomach and the intestines.” A rhetorical question for my readers: Do you really think that modern psychiatrist would EVER look into their patient’s digestive system?

Dr. Campbell practices in England and specializes in Autism. I met her last year when I attended the 9th annual conference of Wise Traditions in San Francisco in November 2008. Dr. Campbell explained that the common denominator between Depression, ADD, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, or Autism lies in the digestive system. Hence, when a person does NOT digest a food properly, this food starts fermenting and creating alcohol-like and opiate-like substances. Everyone knows that alcohol and opium affect behavior and mood. Simply put, people who do not digest certain foods are drugged or are “high” on substances secreted by their own gut, which in fact modifies their behavior. We can say that agitated children, such as ADD kids, are simply “on drugs” …the drugs that are produced by their own disturbed digestive flora. This explains why these children may be so hyper, or have anti-social behavior, or why their mood is so unstable. These kids are actually “poisoned” by their own body fermenting food by-products. Simply by removing sugar, sodas, gluten, and dairy, we can help them to calm down in just a few days, so they start behaving almost as normal kids. The trick is to help them discover other foods, as very often they are actually addicted to the same very foods that are causing them so much harm.

Dr. Campbell presented a case study to us of a 9 year old boy who had been diagnosed Autistic at the age of 2½. He was also suffering from Grand Mal Seizures, Type 1 Diabetes, and multiple allergies. He was receiving 2 shots of insulin per day, was on anti-seizure medications and anti-allergy medications. His diet consisted of corn dogs, pasta and cereals. He refused to eat any fruit or vegetables, meat or fish. After 2 years of working with Dr. Campbell, changing his diet, and working on his digestive system, this young boy was able to be in a regular school with no more symptom of Autism at all. He had no more allergies, had only Petit Mal seizures, and needed insulin shots ONLY on the occasion if he ate sugar! He had many friends and became an easy child for his parents. A few centuries ago, these children were considered “crazy” and put into an institution. Nowadays, they are put on heavy drug medications which numb them down. But with the work of Dr. Campbell and others like her, they are able to give back to these children a normal life. It does not get more remarkable than this!

What to Do to Improve Your Gut

The real clinical experiences of Dr. Campbell are applicable to many adults suffering from mood disorders. In my experience, it is very common for patients to start feeling better as soon as I tell them to remove certain foods and start working on their digestive tracts. Here are the many things that can be done to improve your gut health and mood at the same time:


171. REMOVE SUGAR
: Sugar is your WORST enemy! You have heard me state that fact before. Yes, it tastes good, but its digestion creates fermentation. When fermentation occurs, then it creates a favorable terrain for unfriendly bacteria and fungi to develop. The unfriendly bacteria impair digestive enzymes, and the fungi modify the pH of the gut so that other unfriendly microbes, such as parasites start developing. We are all exposed to bacteria, fungi and parasites, but if our gut is healthy, then these “bugs” don’t invade us, they are simply destroyed and eliminated by the friendly bacteria. But when the friendly bacteria are not present in a sufficient numbers or if they have been destroyed by repetitive antibiotic therapy, then the unfriendly bacteria start developing.

2. REMOVE DAIRY AND GLUTEN if you are intolerant to these foods (AFTER being tested). I believe that we have an epidemic of dairy and gluten intolerances which creates so many health issues such as chronic infections (sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections, bladder infection, yeast infection…) but also lowers immunity, induces chronic fatigue, skin diseases, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), IBD (Irritable Bowel Disorders) and mood disorders. Removing these two food groups is quite often a key necessity for my patients to improve their digestive health.

3. TAKE GOOD PROBIOTICS: Because of pasteurization, our modern society has deprived us from exposure to friendly bacteria and probiotics. This is one reason why I am an advocate of reintroducing fermented foods in our diet. However, even if you eat fermented foods regularly, such as homemade plain yogurt, raw sauerkraut or Kim Chi, Kefir, or if you drink Kombucha tea, I still recommend that you supplement with a good probiotic. I personally recommend Probiotic 50 Billions: 1 or 2 capsules a day by Advanced Naturals, or Probiotic Synergy Powder or Capsules: 1 capsule or 1 teaspoon per day by Designs For Health.

4. TAKE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES: If you have difficulties digesting food in general, you need to take 2 to 4 Digestzymes from Designs For Health with every single meal. This product contains digestive enzymes, plus Betaine Hydrochloride (for the stomach), Pancreatin (for the pancreas), and bile extract (for the gallbladder) so it covers every single part of the digestive process, from stomach to colon including Liver, Gallbladder and Small Intestines. When a patient suffers from acid reflux or G.E.R.D (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder) I recommend adding another capsule of Betaine Hydrochloride from Designs For Health with every main meal.

5. OTHER SUPPLEMENTS: Depending on the case, I may also recommend L-Glutamine or GI Revive which are useful supplements to help repair the mucosa of the digestive system that was damaged by the years of irritation due to poor diet and / or food intolerances. If through the testing procedure I found that my patient had an invasion of parasites, bacteria or fungi, then I would recommend supplements such as Allicillin, an extremely concentrated form of garlic, Oil of Oregano, or GI Microb-X, all of which target precisely the type of microbe found during testing. All these supplements are from Designs For Health, a line of product that I trust because of their high quality as well as the numerous research done on every single ingredient of the products.

6. GET COLONICS: Colon Hydrotherapy is done by certified professionals that are trained accordingly to give a treatment that cleanses the colon. It’s a gentle technique whereby a machine inserts lukewarm water into the colon very slowly. Then, the colon hydro therapist massages the abdomen of the patient to help her / him release the water containing undesirable debris and fecal material. Even someone who is not constipated can benefit from this technique because it helps cleansing the lining of the colon of old fecal material, fungi, parasites, and overgrowth of bacteria.

7. DO A LIVER GALLBLADDER FLUSH: This is a procedure that is done at home. It requires you to prepare a week prior to doing the actual flush by drinking unfiltered and unsweetened Organic Apple Juice. Then, one evening the person drinks a mixture of ½ cup of unrefined Olive Oil mixed with ½ cup of Lemon Juice or Grapefruit Juice. This “beverage” forces the Gallbladder to contract and squeeze out undesirable debris made up of cholesterol, dead cells, toxins, heavy metals, and so forth. These toxins are then excreted through the digestive tract and eliminated through the stools. It is an extremely efficient and important process to cleanse the Liver and the Gallbladder on a regular basis, as these organs act as the filters of our bodies, filtering the many toxins we are constantly exposed to.

After these measures and supplements have been followed for a while, the digestion improves, and then the mood improves too. If a person still complains about depression, anxiety, or irritability then I address neurotransmitters deficiencies by using supplements that are precursors to neurotransmitters. They can be Amino Acids, Fish Oils, Vitamins and Minerals, or even certain Herbs that help the body to produce neurotransmitters. I have different methods of assessing neurotransmitters deficiencies, which will be discussed in Part 2 of this article in the next Health Awareness Newsletter.

Yours in Health,

Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath
Videoconference & Phone Appointments Available

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The entire contents of Health Awareness are based upon the opinions of Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath, unless otherwise indicated. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as an offering and sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath within the U.S. and Europe. Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

© Copyright 2011 Béatrice F. Levinson, Naturopath. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Béatrice Levinson is required.

Keep Your Thyroid Healthy

March 31, 2013 at 1:49 AM

Holistic Treatment of Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, etc.

What Is the Thyroid Gland?

The Thyroid Gland is the largest of the seven Endocrine Glands: Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Thyroid, Parathyroids, Pineal, Gonads (Ovaries for females, or Testicles for Males), and Adrenals. The Thyroid is situated just below your “Adams Apple” or Larynx, and weighs less than one ounce. It is made up of two halves, called lobes, which lie along the windpipe (trachea) and are joined together by a narrow band of Thyroid tissue, known as the Isthmus.

What Does the Thyroid Gland Do?

The functions of the Thyroid Gland are multiple, but here are the major ones:
1. The Thyroid controls the rate at which your body produces energy from food.
2. The Thyroid affects the operation of all body processes and internal organs.
3. The Thyroid helps control your body temperature.
4. The Thyroid helps the body’s rate of growth in children.
5. The Thyroid exerts a profound effect on mood and emotion through its action on brain chemistry.

How Does the Thyroid Gland Perform Its Functions?

The Thyroid takes Iodine, a mineral found in foods, and converts it into Thyroid hormones called Thyroxin (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). The Thyroid cells combine Iodine and the amino acid Tyrosine to make T4 and T3. The Thyroid produces mostly T4 (93%) and just a little T3 (7%). T4 must be converted to the active hormone T3 in the cells of the various organs of the body. This conversion requires Selenium-based enzymes. For various reasons, the body may have difficulties converting T4 into the active T3. This is one of the reason why using only T4 (such as Synthroid) medication is often an ineffective treatment for Hypothyroidism.

The hormones produced by the Thyroid Gland and released into the blood stream are carried to virtually every cell in the body which depends upon Thyroid Hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The Thyroid Hormones deliver specific “control messages” to the organs and cells, thereby governing their functions.

The Thyroid Gland is itself under the control of the Pituitary Gland, a small gland the size of a peanut at the base of the brain. When the level of Thyroid Hormones is too low, the Pituitary Gland produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which stimulates the Thyroid Gland to produce more hormones. Under the influence of TSH, the Thyroid will manufacture and secrete T3 and T4 thereby raising their blood levels. The Pituitary senses this and responds by decreasing its TSH production. The analogy we can make is to think of the Thyroid Gland as a furnace and the Pituitary as the thermostat.

The Pituitary Gland is itself regulated by another gland called the Hypothalamus. The Hypothalamus produces Thyroid Releasing Hormones (TRH) which tells the Pituitary Gland to stimulate the Thyroid Gland (to release TSH). One might imagine the Hypothalamus as the person who regulates the thermostat (Pituitary) to set at what level the furnace (Thyroid) should be functioning.

What Affects the Thyroid?

Thyroid disorders have become a rampant epidemic! I believe that the main reason for this Thyroid disorder epidemic is because of the many and varied pollutants to which we are constantly exposed. Such pollutants include Pesticides and Insecticides, which are usually estrogenic. Estrogenic substances tend to inhibit Thyroid Hormone secretion as well as the conversion of T4 into T3. Fluoride added to our waters and toothpastes inhibits Thyroid function. Mercury in silver amalgam fillings and environmental contamination of fish is very detrimental to Thyroid Function. Chlorine, which is added to our drinking water and many other everyday chlorine products, removes Iodine from the body, thus reducing the production of Thyroid Hormones. Radiation (as in X-rays or Scans) is known to affect Thyroid function.

As far as food is concerned, a diet low in animal proteins (which contain the different and very important amino acids) reduces the production of active Thyroid Hormones and the conversion of T4 into T3. Margarines, Trans-Fatty acids, Hydrogenated Oils and Rancid Oils are all affecting Thyroid Function greatly. Soy products contain lots of anti-nutrients such as Genistein and Isoflavones, which are goitrogenic, which means that they increase the risk of developing goiters. Soy formulas fed to infants are now recognized to be affecting their growth and their normal hormonal development. Raw cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli) must be cooked to destroy the Thyroid inhibiters.

What Are the Diseases of the Thyroid?

1. HYPERthyroidism means too much Thyroid Hormone. This is usually due to either Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (See below).

2. HYPOthyroidism means too little Thyroid Hormone and is a common problem. In fact, Hypothyroidism is often present for a number of years before it is recognized and treated. There are several common causes of Hypothyroidism, which are listed below. Sometimes Hypothyroidism is associated with pregnancy.

3. Graves’ Disease is a type of autoimmune disease that causes over-activity of the Thyroid Gland, causing Hyperthyroidism. When the Thyroid is too active, it makes much more Thyroid Hormone than what is needed by the body. High levels of Thyroid Hormones can cause symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, rapid heart rate, agitation, insomnia, tremors, frequent bowel movements, exophthalmia (the eyes are bulging out of their sockets) and goiter. This disease affects mostly women between the ages of 20 and 40, although it can occur in children, male and the elderly.

4. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a type of autoimmune Thyroid disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the Thyroid Gland little by little. Hashimoto’s stops the gland from making enough Thyroid Hormones for the body to work normally. It is the most common Thyroid disease in the U.S. Some patients with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis may have no symptoms. However, the common symptoms are fatigue, depression, sensitivity to cold, weight gain, forgetfulness, muscle weakness, puffy face, dry skin and hair, constipation, muscle cramps, and increased menstrual flow. Some patients may develop a goiter.

5. Thyroiditis: There are several cases of Thyroiditis that are not caused by Hashimoto’s disease. They involve the inflammation of the Thyroid Gland, which can be caused by virus or bacteria. Sometimes it is induced by drugs or postpartum symptoms. It usually resolves within a few months.

6. Thyroid Nodules are seen often when the Thyroid Gland is low or Hypothyroidism, due to either of the diseases mentioned above. Although as many as 50% of the population will have a nodule somewhere in their Thyroid, the majority of these are benign.

7. Goiter is an enlargement of the Thyroid which is not associated with overproduction of Thyroid Hormone nor malignancy. The Thyroid can become very large so that it can easily be seen as a mass in the neck. A diet deficient in Iodine can cause a goiter as well as an increase in Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). This enlargement usually takes many years to become manifest.

8. Thyroid Cancer is also possible, and is verified or ruled out through biopsy.

How to Test the Thyroid Properly?

1. Blood Test: A simple blood test looks at TSH levels, as well as T3 and T4. In my opinion, a better test is to ask for a Free T3 and Free T4 panel. By running a Free T3 and Free T4 panel, it isolates the Thyroid hormones from the proteins of the blood (where they are abundant). This gives a more accurate result than a regular T3 and T4 test. Most of the time, simple T3 and T4 do not show any abnormality, but Free T3 and Free T4 will show abnormalities sooner. Thyroid Antibodies can also be tested through blood to determine if there is an autoimmune problem.

2. Saliva Test: I personally test my patients through Saliva, which is a home test and is very accurate, convenient and inexpensive. It doesn’t have the same problem as in a blood test where Thyroid Hormones are mixed up with proteins. Thyroid Hormones in the Saliva are not bound to proteins, and consequently are easy to find. The Saliva panel measures T3, T4, TSH and Antibodies.

3. Hair Test Analysis: Another medium of testing that I use every day in my practice is Hair Test Analysis. (See my Article on Hair Test Analysis in the May 2007 issue of HEALTH AWARENESS, Volume 3 Issue 5). Hair Test Analysis reveals Thyroid Disorders many years in advance of any blood or saliva test. Hair Test shows if the Thyroid is in Hyperfunction or Hypofunction. It is very accurate and very sensitive, meaning that it reveals very minute changes of the Thyroid Gland Function at any given time.

What Types of NATURAL Treatment Can Help the Thyroid?

They are many tools available in Naturopathic Medicine to support and regulate Thyroid Function. The primary supplement I use is called Thytrophin PMG from Standard Process. This supplement contains very small amount of Thyroid Gland Tissues extracted from pork of beef, which supports a person’s Thyroid. It doesn’t contain Hormones; it is only made of small particles of Thyroid Tissues. Thus, it can be used in either a case of Hypofunction or Hyperfunction. This supplement can be taken in parallel with any prescription medication for Thyroid such as Synthroid. It doesn’t interact negatively with the medication. On the other hand, it helps by supporting your Thyroid Gland and eventually allows your doctor to reduce the dosage of medication you are on. It is very safe and very efficient if taken long enough.

The second supplement I use regularly is Iodine Synergy from Designs For Health. As you now know, Iodine is the most important mineral for Thyroid function. With the pollution we are exposed to, and the lack of Iodine in our diet, I found that many patients are very deficient in Iodine. A simple way to test if you are lacking Iodine is to buy a bottle of Iodine Tincture at the drug store, and draw a little patch of Iodine on your inside forearm. If the patch disappears in less than 24 hours, then you are Iodine deficient. Iodine Synergy also contains Selenium, a mineral very important for Iodine absorption.

Then of course, you need to do the best you can to reduce your exposure to Chlorine and Fluoride. They both are added to our water supply, so the best thing to do is to filter your drinking water. I am still working on finding the best full house water filter system that is reliable and economic. One device I have been using and recommending for years is to install a simple Shower De-chlorinator called a Rainshow’r. I recommend that you install a Rainshow’r Shower De-chlorinator in every shower in your home. We are in fact exposed to more chlorine during a 10 minutes shower through chlorine vapor than we are exposed to for any amount of water we may drink during the day! Installing a Rainshow’r Shower De-chlorinator is an absolute priority for anybody that already has Thyroid issues, but also for anybody who wants to prevent Thyroid diseases.

Finally, treating the Thyroid Gland cannot be done without looking at the whole picture, which is a main principle in Naturopathic Medicine. Very often Thyroid Disorders are just a part of other disorders such as Adrenal Fatigue, Hormonal Imbalances, or Digestive Dysfunction. The body is a “smart machine”, it always tries to adapt and compensate the best it can to any disturbing situation. For example, if a person is under a lot of stress for a long period of time, it does affect his / her Adrenal Glands (See HEALTH AWARENESS article on Adrenal Fatigue , January 2008 Volume 4 Issue 1). When the Adrenal Glands are fatigued, they send a message to the Thyroid Gland to slow down. In this case, I need to TREAT the Adrenals and the Thyroid TOGETHER. Or, if a women entering Menopause has Hormonal Imbalances with Estrogen Dominance, we know that too much Estrogen will affect the Thyroid Gland Function. In this case, I need to address the Hormonal Imbalances, which will consequently help the Thyroid.

As I have previously stated, Thyroid Issues are a real epidemic, for all the reasons mentioned in this article. Knowing the importance of the Thyroid Gland regarding any aspect of the body’s metabolism and how it is functioning is not something that cannot be ignored without very serious consequences. I encourage everyone to have their Thyroid Gland tested properly through Hair Test Analysis and when necessary, through Saliva testing. It is easy to do and it can go a long way to prevent serious consequences.

Health Awareness Articles

In this article, I have referred to articles that have appeared in previous issues of Health Awareness. The Health Awareness articles can be easily accessed through this website.

YourGoodHealthStore.com

I established www.YourGoodHealthStore.com to give my patients and the readers of Health Awareness access to products that will directly affect the quality of their health. Each and every product was selected because it filled an important HEALTH NEED FOR MY PATIENTS. And, a given product was only made available through my practice or through www.YourGoodHealthStore.comif it passed my stringent requirements for QUALITY and EFFECTIVNESS and, could it be offered at a PRICE THAT WAS FAIR to all concerned. Thus, when I recommend a product, it is always with the aforementioned criteria in mind.

As noted in this Health Awareness article, removal of chlorine from our daily lives is extremely important for our long term health. And removing the chlorine from your shower is your first defense against the negative effects of chlorine on your body and hence for your health. If you do not have a RAINSHOW’R Shower De-Chlorinator, you can easily purchase one either directly from my office or onwww.YourGoodHealthStore.com and…we even send you a reminder when it is time to change your Refill!

REFERENCES:

1. The National Women’s Health Information Center: www.4women.gov.
2. Dr Mercola’s Newsletter: www.mercola.com.
3. Health Alert Newsletter: Volume 22 Issue 10 October 2005.
4. Janet Lang, DC: Functional Endocrinology Part III.
5. Health and Healing Wisdom: Volume 24, No 1.
6. www.endocrineweb.com.

Yours in Health,

Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath
Menlo Park & Monterey, California
Videoconference & Phone Appointments Available

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The entire contents of Health Awareness are based upon the opinions of Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath, unless otherwise indicated. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as an offering and sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath within the U.S. and Europe. Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

©Copyright 2011 Béatrice F. Levinson, Naturopath. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Béatrice Levinson is required.