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Adrenal Fatigue: Are We Burning Ourselves Out?

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How many people do you know who seem attached to their iPhone, iPad or Blackberry, or who stay up late at night on their computers? What about those people who wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. to go to the gym before work and then stay at work until 8 or 9 p.m.? Let me guess. Lots! Ladies and gentlemen, we are pushing the envelope day and night. We are trying to do so much, so well, that we’ve forgotten to come up for air. And now our bodies are beginning to pay the price.

I’m seeing more and more patients who suffer physically from burnout — they’re tired, but they can’t sleep, their blood pressure is off, they’re using sugar and caffeine to get through the day, they can’t think clearly and they have a general sense of feeling overwhelmed. These symptoms stem from adrenal imbalance. Our  are primarily responsible for our stress response, but they also play major roles in sleep, blood sugar balance, hormonal balance, blood pressure and more.

Read the whole story:

Baywatch Star: I battled thyroid illness in a Baywatch bathing suit

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With an audience of more than a billion fans in 110 countries, it was one of the most touching and supposedly true-to-life scenes in television history.

Just 12 weeks after giving birth to her first child, a little boy called Spencer, Baywatch star Gena Lee Nolin agreed to appear with him in an episode in which she played a happy, healthy, curvaceous new mother.

The idea for the storyline came from David Hasselhoff, her Baywatch co-star, and the producer of the Nineties American drama series about a group of beach lifeguards.

Read the whole story: DailyMail

Beginning Of The End – Week 7

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I start week 7 with a reminder via email that my period is due in 7 days! As I’ve posted previously, I have been taking supplements to help combat PMS. So I find myself this week looking for the onset/possible improvements to my hormonal imbalance. The first half of the week has been the same as the last two weeks, steady as she goes. Right?

Not so, by mid week, 4 days before my cycle begins, fatigue sets in, not a lot, but I definitely feel it. It starts about 5-6 pm and stays with me the rest of the evening.

Its now 2 days before my cycle begins, I feel like roadkill and have a big fat headache. For me though the jury is still out on weather the supplements have worked – or not. I will reserve judgment till after my cycle ends.

I also notice that my sleep cycle is out of whack. I go to bed feeling very tired, but instead of falling asleep right away like I usually do, I toss and turn for about two hours before falling asleep. And last night was the worst night yet. It felt like I was hovering somewhere between being awake and sleep for most of the night. I am hoping that this is part of PMS and it will soon pass.

Right now I am looking at PMS as a blessing and a curse. The curse part is pretty self explanatory, isn’t it? PMS sucks, there’s just no two ways about it.

The blessing part, well up till just a few weeks ago I felt like crap. Every day. Day in, day out. No relief from crushing fatigue, headaches, joint pain and muscle aches. I’ve been thrilled at the progress I’ve been making and because there is a big contrast between those weeks I do feel well versus the weeks that I don’t,  I know it’s a signal that somethings working better, so I keep pushing forward. And the title of the blog post says it all, this is the beginning of the end, end of all my hormonal imbalances. I am tackling one imbalance at a time.

Low Iron and Hypothyroidism

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Well what does low iron have to do with hypothyroidism you ask.

Turns out quite a bit.

Low thyroid makes it hard to hang onto iron, and low iron makes it hard to treat thyroid. It’s a classic “Catch 22″.

The more scientific explanation: Iron deficiency is shown to significantly reduce T4 to T3 conversion, increase reverse T3 levels, and block the thermogenic (metabolism boosting) properties of thyroid hormone. Thus, iron deficiency, as indicated by an iron saturation below 25 or a ferritin below 70, will result in diminished intracellular T3 levels. Additionally, T4 should not be considered adequate thyroid replacement if iron deficiency is present.

This is the situation I find myself in, if you’ve read the My Journey page on this blog, you know that during my labour and delivery of my second son I lost a lot of blood, to the point where I almost lost consciousness. I can tell you right now, my iron issue were never properly addressed, it was one of those things that fell through the cracks, dealing with babies and three auto-immune diseases. I guess it happens. It did raise a red flag with one doc that I can think of. It was around 2006, I had been in for some regular blood tests and I guess it came back abnormal, I got a call saying I have to come in as soon as possible, when I arrive the doc says I need iron shots. I got a series of 6 shots over several weeks, but he was not happy with the results, so off to the the Hematologist I went. The Hematologist took a look at my latest results and ordered more tests. I went back a few weeks later and he declared me ‘fine’ and that was that. Of course 20/20 hindsight, I should have asked for a copy of my test results, whaddyado!

Note to readers: Always ask for a copy of test results. ALWAYS!  And interpretation is EVERYTHING!

Here’s a link to a great article about iron deficiency. It describes in full who is at risk, complete list of symptoms, function of iron in the body and so on, it’s an interesting read.

I have to cover one more thing before you go running off to the doctors to get your blood test.

Here’s the thing,  your doc may only order 1, maybe 2 tests to determine if your iron deficient. If you want to get the real picture you’ll need more than those two tests.

I will use my latest iron labs as an example:

Hemoglobin 128 – Ref range 115-165

Normal, right? The doc would declare me ‘fine’ and move on.

Ferritin 14 – Ref range 11-145

Low normal, most doctors wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with this. Why? Well your hemoglobin in fine, so no need to worry, you can’t possibly be symptomatic (most docs think you can only have symptoms of low iron if you hemoglobin is low. And that is just plain W-R-O-N-G!).

The real picture of my iron status:

Iron 5 10-26 LOW
UIBC 60 19-51 HIGH
TIBC 65 45-63 HIGH
Iron Saturation 0.08 0.25-0.50 LOW
Transferrin 2.6 2.1-3.6 NORMAL

So what this basically all means is that I am Iron Deficient. And if the doctor only relied on Hemoglobin/Ferritin alone this would have gone un-addressed. has a chart outlining what the more comprehensive iron tests mean.

Reasons I am iron deficient and you might be too:

Un-diagnosed hypothyroidism (5 years)

Inadequately treated hypothyroidism ( 9 years)

Pregnancy/labour/delivery/breastfeeding (x2 – babies are iron sucking machines)

I’m a menstruating women (having un-diagnosed/inadequately treated hypothyroidism can result in heavier periods)

Malabsorption (un-diagnosed/inadequately treated hypothyroidism can result in lowered production of hydrochloric acid)

Low body temperature (low body temp is a symptom of both low iron and hypothyroidism, which causes you to make less red blood cells)

So, what’s the solution? Well it’s time for corrective measures!

If you suspect that you have un-diagnosed or inadequately treated hypothyroidism visit

If you are pregnant or nursing and you suspect that you have an iron problem, first get tested, then have your doctor recommend supplements that are safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. You may require more iron than what your prenatal vitamin provides.

If you suspect low stomach acid, thyroid issue or not, there are plenty of  hydrochloric acid supplements to choose from at your local vitamin store.

Heavy periods? Fixing any thyroid issues would be a good start. But if that turns out not to be an issue for you there is some evidence that vitamin deficiencies could a problem. Taking vitamin C, K, and vitamin A have been shown to help curb heavy menstrual bleeding.

I’ve made all the necessary corrections and now it’s time to replace the iron my body is so desperately craving.

Not knowing how important it was to have optimal levels of ferritin, I had only made feeble attempts at taking iron after the birth of my second son. And from 2006 to 2011 I have taken a number of iron preparations to correct my very low iron, for me, none of it has seemed to work, despite all my best efforts, and making corrections mentioned above.

That’s why tomorrow I go for my first of three appointments at my local hospital to receive IV Iron. Yaaay! After years of struggling I can have my iron problems corrected in three weeks!  THREE WEEKS! I’m so excited!

Here’s to new beginnings!

Harmful Effects of Hypothyroidism On Maternal and Fetal Health

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Emerging data clarifying the risks of insufficient thyroid activity during pregnancy on the health of the mother and fetus, and on the future intellectual development of the child, have led to new clinical guidelines for diagnosing and managing thyroid disease during this critical period. The guidelines, developed by an American Thyroid Association (ATA) expert task force, are presented in Thyroid, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Clinical studies are producing critical data demonstrating the harmful effects not only of overt hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism on pregnancy, but also of subclinical thyroid disease and maternal and fetal health. Ongoing research is clarifying the link between miscarriage and preterm delivery in women with normal thyroid function who are thyroid peroxidase antibody positive. Studies are also uncovering the long-term effects of postpartum thyroiditis.

I agree that more should be done to combat sub-clinical and overt hypothyroidism, however given my own experience with hypothyroidism and pregnancy I disagree with the following statement:

“…..women with overt hypothyroidism or with subclinical hypothyroidism who are TPO antibody positive should be treated with oral levothyroxine; use of other thyroid preparations such as triiodothyronine or desiccated thyroid to treat maternal hypothyroidism is strongly recommended against; and women with subclinical hypothyroidism in pregnancy who are not initially treated should be monitored for progression to overt hypothyroidism….”

  1. You should treat with whatever medication works for you. Most hypothyroid patients don’t do well on T4 only medication and prefer desiccated thyroid preparations.
  2. Please, if you find out that you have sub-clinical hypothyroidism, insist on treatment, don’t wait for overt hypothyroidism. It can be more dangerous than you know.

Read the whole story: Science Daily

Good Housekeepings Thyroid Fail

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A blog/patient information site I regularly read has a new post about an article in the August edition of Good Housekeeping, you can read the full article here.

And’s thyroid expert Mary Shomon has her thoughts posted, as well as a comment from About’s Empowered Patient.

I find this article to be outrageously misinformed  and the author desperately needs a second opinion.

She says:

“So here it is: Six months later and after a retest, I find my TSH is…exactly the same. Given my family history, my doctor recommends I check again next year. With all I’d learned about hypothyroidism, I had already decided that even if my levels had nudged up a bit, I would opt out of treatment. In the meantime, I’m drinking more java (for energy) and honing my crossword skills (for focus). As for the unwanted pounds, there’s a spinning class on Saturday with my name on it.”

Ms. Carlton has taken a cluster of symptoms; fatigue, brain fog, weight gain and together with an elevated TSH and family history of Hashimoto’s, and is doing what so many of us (and our doctors, thank you very much!) are guilty of, she has “blown up” the cluster of symptoms and made them meaningless. All things taken into account the  medical scenario presented begs for treatment with thyroid medication.

Shame on you Ms. Carlton and shame on Good Housekeeping.

UPDATE July 26 9:00 PM: The debate rages on. Good Housekeeping has a response as does Mary Shomon.

A plea from Mary:
“Don’t let this issue die. Email the editor, Rosemary Ellis, at Go to their site and let Good Housekeeping and its editor know what you think of their article, and their brush-off of thyroid patients. Tweet it. Facebook it. Keep spreading the word. Keep sticking up for your fellow thyroid patients. Because if we don’t, who will?”

Is there any wonder why we need a Thyroid Revolution!

Tuna & Mixed Bean Salad with Wild Rice

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Ingredients (serves 6)

2 x 185g cans tuna, drained
750g can six bean mix, drained, rinsed
12 oz.can of corn, drained, rinsed
1/2 white onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of wild rice, cook as per directions on pkg.

Lemon dressing

1/3 cup lemon
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, finely grated

1. Flake tuna and place in a large bowl. Add beans, corn, red pepper, onion, garlic, wild rice.

2. Make lemon dressing: Combine lemon rind, lemon juice, oil in a screw-top jar. Secure lid and shake until well combined.

3. Pour dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve.

I’ll post a pic next time I make this salad.


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