Fertility

Glutathione: Help Manage Hashimoto’s and Support Fertility

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Glutathione: Help Manage Hashimoto’s and Support Fertility

Modern life delivers constant assaults on our bodies in the way of industrialized and processed foods, environmental toxins, chronic stress, lack of sleep, and even electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell phones, computers, and power plants. These and many other assaults can trigger autoimmune reactions in the body. These reactions can lead to developing autoimmune disease, like Hashimoto’s, or hormone disruptions in the body that lead to infertility. Our best defense to protect health and repair damage is to shore up glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier. Although the body naturally makes and recycles glutathione, modern life can overwhelm this system, depleting us of this vital compound. Glutathione as an oral supplement is not well absorbed by the digestive tract, but is well-obtained intravenously. However, most people are not able to dedicate enough time to receive regular intravenous drips of glutathione. Fortunately, many nutritional compounds act as building blocks to glutathione, and can help raise and maintain its levels inside and outside of cells. Optimize glutathione levels in the body The following nutritional compounds have been shown to boost glutathione levels that can help manage autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and support fertility: N-acetyl-cysteine is a precursor molecule to glutathione, and is a bioavailable building block. Alpha lipoic acid helps recycle glutathione already found in the cells. Milk thistle helps boost glutathione levels. Methylation nutrients–methyl folate (5-MTHF), methyl B6 (P5P) and methyl B12 (methylcobalmin)–are methyl forms of B vitamins can help boost glutathione production and recycling. Selenium helps with the production and recycling of glutathione in the body. Vitamin C helps to increase glutathione levels. Diet and lifestyle also affect glutathione levels. Sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and watercress can help boost glutathione. Exercise also boosts glutathione; aerobic exercise daily and strength-training two to three times per week. Preserve glutathione levels in the body One of the most important ways to maintain your glutathione levels is to reduce stress on your body. Glutathione’s job is to protect the cells, whether it’s from an autoimmune disease, sleep deprivation, or the toxic ingredients in scented detergents and fabric softeners. Healthy glutathione levels reduce your risk of developing chronic and autoimmune disease as well as food and chemical sensitivities. It is also helps better manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and support fertility. Use the following techniques to preserve your glutathione: Find out what your food intolerances are and remove those foods from your diet. An elimination diet or a lab test can help you determine which foods stress your immune system. Eat a whole foods diet. Processed foods and fast foods contain chemicals, additives, genetically altered foods, antibiotics, hormone disruptors, excess sugar, and many other ingredients that are harmful to the body. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is very stressful. If you have sleep issues, it may be secondary to something else. Contact us to find out what may be contributing to your poor sleep. Avoid common environmental chemicals. These are found in shampoos, body products, household cleaners, lawn care products, and so on. Minimize your exposure to EMFs, which are a source of “electrical pollution”. Cell phones, computers, WiFi, and other electronics. These are harmful to the body’s natural defenses (ie immune system), as well as responsible for hormone disruptions (ie...

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Fatigue, pain, depression, or infertility? Could you have autoimmune hypothyroidism, or autoimmune reactions in the body?

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Fatigue, pain, depression, or infertility? Could you have autoimmune hypothyroidism, or autoimmune reactions in the body?

Does your doctor tell you that your lab tests are fine and you’re perfectly healthy? Have you been to a number of specialists, clinics, and numerous healthcare practitioners to help you with your health challenges? It could be that you have autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and don’t know it. People can develop an autoimmune reaction to virtually any tissue, enzyme, or protein in their body. Autoimmune disease, or autoimmune process means that the immune system has failed to distinguish between foreign invaders, which it was designed to attack, and its own body tissue, which it was designed to protect. In other words, having autoimmune reactions is similar to that of having “allergy to oneself’. In the case of autoimmune hypothyroidism, the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Symptoms of autoimmune disease vary depending on which part of the body is being attacked, but they often include chronic pain, chronic fatigue, brain fog, poor neurological function, chronic inflammation, digestive problems, poor mood, and infertility. Other complaints of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism include cold hands and feet, depression, weight gain, constipation, and the list goes on. Undiagnosed autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism A common clinical presentation of people with undiagnosed autoimmunity is a set of symptoms that seem irresolvable, despite “normal” lab tests and scans. What may be happening is that you have an autoimmune reaction to your thyroid causing hypothyroid symptoms, but the condition is not advanced enough to be diagnosed as a “disease.” Or you may have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and treated with thyroid medications, but the autoimmune process goes undiagnosed and unmanaged. Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MNeuroSci, author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? and Why Isn’t My Brain Working? explains that people can have symptoms for years or even decades before being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Undiagnosed autoimmune disease A person may have trouble controlling blood sugar despite a good diet because of an autoimmune reaction in the pancreas. However, not enough tissue has been destroyed for a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Or a person can have symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but not enough tissue has been destroyed for it to show up on an MRI. Or persistent and severe adrenal fatigue could be the result of autoimmunity in the adrenal glands not advanced enough to be diagnosed as Addison’s disease. This is not to say you should assume a health problem is autoimmune in nature, but when it is persistent and stubborn, it is a possibility to consider. Testing and managing autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism Fortunately, we have autoimmunity testing today that can screen for antibodies against multiple tissues to determine whether an autoimmune reaction is causing chronic pain, or fatigue, thyroid symptoms, or infertility. Antibodies are proteins that tag a foreign compound for the immune system to destroy and remove. When you produce higher than normal levels of antibodies to certain parts of the body (it’s normal for old and dying cells to be tagged for removal), this means you are having an autoimmune reaction against that tissue or enzyme. When a person presents with chronic thyroid symptoms, screening for an autoimmune reaction can help us determine whether Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism plays a role. If so, we then know we can work on balancing an overzealous and improperly functioning immune system. Also, if your test shows an autoimmune reaction but you have no symptoms, you now know that proper diet and lifestyle choices will help prevent the progression of autoimmunity. Avoiding gluten is especially important for those with autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, as numerous studies link the condition with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. If you have autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism,...

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Coffee and Hormones

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Coffee and Hormones

Do you have stress in your daily life, hormone imbalances, infertility, or Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism? Do you start your mornings with a “treasured cup of coffee?” As far as your body is concerned, that lovely and seemingly harmless cup of coffee could be tantamount to getting mugged or running from a hungry lion. The physiological reactions caused by caffeine are the same reactions triggered by fear, worry, or acute stress. Morning fatigue and adrenal glands imbalance We are meant to feel rested and alert in the mornings. Waking up and feeling unable to get out of bed, or needing a large cup of joe to get going may suggest a hormone imbalance, specifically when it comes down to your adrenals. The adrenal glands sit atop each kidney and release a hormone, called cortisol. This hormone keeps your body regulated during times of stress, supports blood sugar and the immune system regulation, as well as metabolism. Cortisol also plays an important role in the sleep-wake cycle, so that you feel tired in the evening and alert in the morning, and are able to sleep soundly through the night. In fact, the health of the entire body relies in part on sound adrenal function: immune health, digestive operations, brain function, and more. Proper adrenal function also plays a critical role in thyroid regulation and hormone balance (needed with fertility and overall hormone health). Depending on caffeine is a sign of adrenal imbalance. A morning cup of coffee stimulates the adrenal glands to release “fight-or-flight” adrenal hormones. This raises your heartbeat, dilates your pupils, tightens the muscles, raises your blood pressure, slows blood flow to the stomach, and releases glucose into the bloodstream. Together, these effects on the central nervous system boost energy. The body designed this response to help us get out of a dangerous situation by either running or fighting. However, these days, many use the same response just to get ready for work each morning. Coffee affects hormones Giving up coffee is hard and can come with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This is partly because caffeine also stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the “pleasure and reward” centers in the brain and is associated with addiction. This also means over time you need more caffeine for the same effects. For the person suffering from adrenal dysfunction—producing too little or too much of adrenal hormone—caffeine can intensify your adrenal problems, which can worsen your thyroid issues, impact fertility, and worsen autoimmune disease. Although it gives you energy, it’s a short-term fix with long-term consequences making an existing problem worse. In addition to taxing adrenal function, caffeine can cause sleep problems, irritability, anxiety, and high blood pressure. It’s also a diuretic that can deplete you of important minerals and electrolytes. Because coffee makes many people sleep poorly, they feel terrible in the morning and drink coffee to get going, which makes them sleep poorly in a self-perpetuating vicious cycle. Restoring adrenal function is foundational to managing many health issues in functional medicine, including chronic disease, autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, obesity, blood sugar imbalances (insulin resistance or hypoglycemia), fertility, and other disorders. Coffee affects Hashimoto’s In some instances, with autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, caffeine can actually worsen autoimmunity. This concept is well-discussed in Dr. Kharrazian’s book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? This isn’t to say coffee is all bad. Although some studies show negative consequences from caffeine, others show its benefits. As with many things in health, it is something that must be considered on a case-by-case...

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Detoxification: Reduce inflammation, increase fertility, and improve autoimmune disease

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Detoxification: Reduce inflammation, increase fertility, and improve autoimmune disease

  I believe ‘health’ is a verb, it is something you do! Health is a journey, a process, and most importantly – health is a lifestyle. Optimal health is not an option. You can do a short-term detoxification program and feel great, yet the real long-lasting health benefits come from a long-term commitment to yourself and your health. I believe that a healthy lifestyle is a daily commitment and requires a regiment of a daily “detox”. To me, “detox” is defined as “movement”. This applies to every tissue, every muscle, every system, every emotion, and every cell in the body. Lack of movement leads to dis-ease. Clean water, clean food, regular exercise, and every lifestyle choice that you make on a daily basis affects your body in either creating movement or creating stasis (i.e. lack of movement). Detoxification Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins, or waste from the body. It is the process of neutralizing and transforming toxic substances into less harmful elements, and clearing excess mucus and congestion. Many of these toxins come from our diet, drug use, environmental exposure, and others, which may lead to both acute and chronic health issues like autoimmune disease and fertility. Internally, fats, especially oxidized fats and cholesterol, free radicals, and other irritating molecules can also act as toxins. Poor digestion, colon sluggishness and dysfunction, reduced liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, lymphatic system, respiratory tract, and skin all add to increased toxicity. Optimizing all basic functions of the body, helps to facilitate its normal pathways of elimination and detoxification. Given the appropriate environment, both internal and external, the body has the innate ability to heal itself. The basics of proper nutrition, exercise, rest, fresh air, and sunshine allow the body’s own healing to occur in stages. The body’s own wisdom is the true healer. Environmental Effects on Health We live in a polluted world: our environment, our food, our water, our homes, or the lifestyle choices that we make. I believe there are proactive steps you can take to minimize your exposure, to reduce your overall toxic load, and to help improve your health. Our primary sources of exposure come from both our external, but also our internal environments. Accumulation of toxins can lead to body aches, fatigue, weight gain, or premature aging. Toxicity may also worsen arthritis, cancer, and degenerative diseases. External Sources Pollution inside our homes, the food we eat, as well as the large numbers of medications that most people ingest. Eating and drinking out of plastic containers, using the microwave. Ingesting foods that have been grown with pesticides, drinking unfiltered water. There are studies and surveys of the metropolitan areas in the United States that have discovered high levels of prescription medications in drinking water. The list goes on. Internal Sources Our internal sources that contribute to the overall toxicity, include fermentation and putrefaction of foods, both of which are forms of chemical reactions resulting in conversion of substances (e.g. proteins, carbohydrates, others) into other forms of compounds. Toxic thoughts or emotions can also accumulate as waste inside the body and exacerbate health issues. The list goes on. Lifestyle Poor nutrition places a tremendous stress on the body, which results in the accumulation of toxic wastes. Adding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or any other recreational drugs overwhelms the system and the bodies accumulate even more toxic material. The list goes on.   Our 3-phase detoxification program helps to facilitate the excretion of toxins and support your body’s natural state of homeostasis (i.e. ‘balance’). It helps to reduce the overactive immune system, similar to that of...

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Consider These 5 Causes of Infertility

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Consider These 5 Causes of Infertility

The rates of infertility in both women and men are on the rise, affecting between 10 to 15 percent of couples. That is probably a conservative estimate. Although some causes are well known, couples should consider other important factors when trying to conceive. Some of the more common reasons include the mother’s age, obesity, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), varicose veins in the scrotum, and fallopian tube damage. However, addressing less commonly known causes of infertility not only can improve the chances of conception, but also lower the risk of giving birth to a child with asthma and allergies, or a brain development disorder such as autism or ADHD. Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, can cause infertility, miscarriages, or complications with pregnancy. Low levels of thyroid hormone affect reproductive function in women. Also, most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Research shows a correlation between infertility in women and autoimmune hypothyroidism. Women should have their thyroid function tested before trying to conceive as success rates improve when the condition is treated. Contact us to see how we can help you manage the underlying cause of hypothyroidism. Celiac disease Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Research suggests undiagnosed Celiac disease is correlated with infertility in both women and men, and pregnancy complications. Couples wishing to conceive should be screened for a gluten intolerance using newer, more advanced gluten testing (conventional testing fails to diagnose many gluten-intolerant people). Because intolerances to other foods cause chronic inflammation, another barrier to fertility, it’s a good idea to rule out other food intolerances with testing or an elimination diet. Autoimmune disease An autoimmune disease is a disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys a part of the body. This process greatly imbalances the immune system and increases inflammation. Studies suggest that not only does the autoimmune thyroid disease, but also other autoimmune diseases can affect fertility as well. Additionally, an autoimmune disease can attack reproductive organs, directly impacting their function. For instance, women can have an autoimmune reaction to their own ovaries or men can react to their own sperm. Environmental toxins Many environmental toxins are linked with infertility in both women and men. Studies suggest environmental toxins impair semen quality in men, and affect various affects aspects of reproduction in women. If a couple does conceive, exposure to environmental toxins can affect the fertility of their children. You can minimize your exposure to toxins by eating a whole foods diet, drinking filtered water, and using non-toxic body and home care products. Also, certain nutritional therapy strategies, such as glutathione support, can help you become more resilient to toxins. If you are trying to conceive, ask my office for strategies on safely reducing your toxic burden. PCOS Although PCOS is a recognized cause of infertility, lesser known is what causes it. In functional medicine, we recognize PCOS as a hormonal imbalance caused by diet and lifestyle choices. Excess sugars and refined carbohydrates, lack of exercise, and chronic stress are factors that contribute to PCOS, which is linked with insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes. Pre-conception care lowers risk of asthma, allergies, and autism in children It is best to ferret out and address any health issues, some of which may cause no symptoms, before trying to conceive. Autoimmune disease, chronic inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and other health problems not only can hinder conception, but they also affect the health of the immune system and brain health of...

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Functional Testing and Hormone Levels with Hypothyroidism and Fertility Issues

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Functional Testing and Hormone Levels with Hypothyroidism and Fertility Issues

Did your blood tests for hypothyroidism come back as being normal even though you suffer from fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, depression, or weight gain? Do your hormone levels come back as being normal or within the normal reference range, yet you are still struggling with fertility issues? Many doctors dismiss thyroid symptoms because of an incomplete blood test or ranges that are too wide. Similarly, when you have difficulty conceiving, and the lab values appear to be within a normal reference range, you are diagnosed as having infertility. In functional medicine, however, we use blood tests to screen for hypothyroidism before it gets too advanced for most doctors to catch. In the case of infertility, we use functional testing and ranges that help us evaluate your hormone levels even when they appear to be “normal”. Functional levels of hormones with hypothyroidism and fertility Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of symptoms instead of overriding them with drugs or surgery. One tool we use to accomplish this is to interpret blood tests using functional ranges, which outline the parameters of good health. In contrast, the ranges most doctors use are based on a bell-curve analysis of all the people who visited that lab over a certain period of time, many of whom are very sick. These lab ranges have broadened over the last few decades as health of the American population has declined. As a result, many people with real health problems are told they’re ok because their results fall within these ranges. For instance, the lab ranges for hypothyroidism are often overly wide so that many people are told they’re fine when in fact they have hypothyroidism. Another example, is if you have fertility issues, and your progesterone levels appear to be within the reference range, yet they are functionally low and this may be contributing to your luteal phase deficiency. Looking for patterns that contribute to hypothyroidism and infertility Because functional medicine is based on an in-depth knowledge of human physiology and how various systems in the body work together, we also look at a blood test for patterns instead of just looking at individual markers. By doing this, we see how these different systems influence one another to cause a constellation of symptoms. For instance, instead of just looking at a single lab value, we may evaluate immune, hormonal, blood sugar, or stress imbalances that may be causing hypothyroid symptoms, or fertility issues. Of course, there are many other factors that you may not be aware of to be contributing to your low thyroid, or infertility. Ready to find out more? Schedule your initial visit to learn...

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