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Summertime 2010 Book Review Series: ‘Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal’ By Dr. Datis Kharrazian

Books, books, and more books! I got ’em coming out of my ears for the Summer of 2010, so I’m doing this special series of reviews of the newest and best low-carb, health, and nutrition books that you may want to take a closer look at. Many of the authors of the featured books are scheduled to be guests on my podcast show in the coming months. My goal is to try to feature at least one new book review a day, every day all summer long. There’s a lot of great stuff out there you need to know about and I can’t wait for you to see what all is available! ENJOY!

Millions of people are walking around right now with many of the most common symptoms of a thyroid problem–namely obesity, fatigue, depression, hair loss, constipation, cold all the time, muscle cramps, morning headaches, numbness in extremities, sleeping excessively, itchy skin, low body temperature, and more–despite the fact that their doctor tells them their thyroid is just fine since the tests he ran indicate as much. The most frustrating part for people dealing with these problems is the lack of weight loss despite all the dieting in the world. There comes a point when an alternative explanation has to emerge to account for this physical reaction happening in the body despite the fact that everything is considered “normal.” That’s where Dr. Datis Kharrazian comes in to explain that you’re not going crazy as he clearly answers the question that is the title of his book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism.

If you’ve been stuck in your weight loss efforts and have suffered through any of the symptoms listed above, then Dr. Kharrazian has good news for you. It’s possible that you’ve been misdiagnosed as having good thyroid function when the truth of the matter is you have problems that are missed by most conventional thyroid tests. His expertise in human nutrition, chiropractic, and sports medicine as well as lecturing to doctors worldwide annually on this subject make him uniquely qualified to provide education on thyroid concerns. The book reads like a virtual textbook on all things related to the thyroid, including what the thyroid gland is, the function that it serves in the body, and the ramifications that can happen if something is preventing it from running optimally.

Dr. Kharrazian explains in great detail over several chapters the autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s and how to know if you have it or not. The differences between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are also explained in easy-to-understand language with lists of symptoms to be on the lookout for. You’ll find out why a low-carb, gluten-free diet is so critically important for anyone suffering from thyroid problems because it will help bring insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and inflammation under control. This book also identifies other issues to consider, including Vitamin D deficiency, estrogen fluctuations, stress, environmental toxins like heavy metals, and why you shouldn’t be taking an iodine supplement if you have Hashimoto’s. It’s all explained within the pages of this book.

Honestly, this is a book your doctor needs to read because he/she will learn more about the thyroid function and how to best treat your individual circumstance than any other resource on the market. Dr. Kharrazian gets into the nitty gritty of looking for low thyroid function and what tests to run to find out. He’s disgusted with what he describes as “the grossest mismanagement of hypothyroidism” with the standard blood tests that are conducted that can leave thyroid issues undiagnosed to the tune of nearly 13 million annually. Most doctors tend to run TSH and not much else and even then they use the “lab ranges” to determine if the patient has good thyroid function or not rather than the “functional ranges” explained in this book. Missing a critical blood test can leave no other choice for some people than to be put on medications for the rest of their life. But if it’s identified soon enough, the conditions of hypothyroidism can be reversed.

You’ll learn the six patterns of low thyroid function, including primary hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism secondary to pituitary hypothyroidism, thyroid under-conversion, thyroid over-conversion and decreased thyroid binding globulin, thyroid binding globulin elevation, and thyroid resistance and what to do about each of these. Discover what the functional blood chemistry pattern looks like and what nutritional support is available to fix it. The diet aspect of this whole thing is one of the most fascinating parts of the book. You’ll learn why essential fatty acids from fish oil, flaxseed, primrose oil, raw nuts and seeds, and fish are critical to erasing the common deficiencies in upwards of 80 percent of the American population that can make your thyroid susceptible to being damaged and malfunction.

The most widely-prescribed thyroid hormone replacement prescription medications are noted in the book, including Armour (whose formulation changed in late 2009), Cytomel, dessicated thyroid, Levothroid, Levothyroixine, Levoxyl, Synthroid, and Thyrolar, as well as common prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can negatively impact thyroid function and lead to imbalances. This is why it’s always a good idea to be resistant to taking drugs whenever possible because you never know what the unintended consequences to your health will be. A beautiful summary of each chapter’s key points is provided for you to hammer home the most important points to remember.

In his chapter on “taming the blood sugar beast,” Dr. Kharrazian speaks with great wisdom best summarized by the statement, “America’s addiction to sugar, fast foods, and a grain-based diet has produced a nation of carbohydrate-addicts riding the highs and lows of blood sugar swings.” He understands the importance of livin’ la vida low-carb to ward off conditions like dysglycemia where the body can no longer control blood sugar levels because of the damage caused by excessive carbohydrate consumption. It is noted that diabetes has reached such epidemic levels that is is predicted to bankrupt our health care system completely. Low blood sugar, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance are best resolved by eating a low-carb, high-protein/fat breakfast, consuming protein every two to three hours, never going above your carbohydrate tolerance in a day (experiencing cravings shortly after eating means you consumed too many carbs), not eating a high-sugar food without fiber, fat or protein, abstaining from consuming sweets prior to bedtime, skipping fruit juices, avoiding caffeine, consuming meats and non-starchy veggies mainly, getting rid of food allergens, removing toxins and parasites from your body, and never going on a fast.

Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? is chock full of so much useful information for people who have become frustrated by the lack of answers coming from the medical community. Dr. Kharrazian has done his homework and arms you with everything you could ever want to know about your thyroid. The book includes a rather unorthodox 5-phase meal plan for “unwinding insulin resistance” that you’ll have to see for yourself to believe. It’s unlike anything you’ve probably heard before, but he swears it has worked with his patients.

This is the definitive book on thyroid dysfunction and what to do about it. There’s an entire chapter on the 22 patterns of metabolic thyroid disorders that lead to “normal” blood test results and Dr. Kharrazian provides all the necessary information about the interconnection between the immune system, hormones, nutrition, and brain function in treating them. A thorough list of nutritional compounds is also provided in the back of the book to address your specific thyroid issue as well as a glossary of common terms like TH-1 dominance, thyroid peroxidase, and triiodothyronine (T3), for example. And just in case you think the information provided in this book isn’t backed up with quality science, think again! There are over 50 pages of studies, papers, and articles supporting everything Dr. Kharrazian has to share. Even if you only think you might have a thyroid problem, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of this book to educate yourself about one of the most complex and completely missed medical conditions of our day!

  • The “highs” and “lows” that are inherent with stimulant drug use, ie; Sugar and HFCS and all of the other processed and hybrid carbohydrate addictions that are exactly like speed and amphetamines and cocaine addictions and the symptoms that are the same, but nobody knows it. — Depression, fibromyalgia, bi-polar, hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism end up getting treated as if these people were not taking these massive amounts of stimulants and the search for other causes is on. Thyroid elevation is a big part in this nightmare that is occurring and has been occurring for the past sixty or seventy years and more of rampant physician and doctor prescribed pharmaceutical prescriptions. The drug companies love it and the doctors unwittingly play into there hands. — Of course I’m the crackpot here! None of these sugars are in reality stimulant addictive drugs like speed and cocaine that are causing these symptoms in the first place. I’m the nut case! Thyroid medicine is the single most over prescribed and mis prescribed medicine in the world today. It is thought to be so harmless that about anybody could take it with little to no, ill effects. We’re talking the thyroid gland here that regulates our entire hormone system. Our saliva, our sweat glands, our heart rate, our digestive system, our libido, our mucus, it goes on and on and on. And we just throw pigs glands at it randomly or what we think is intelligently.

  • Bill

    Dr. K.’s advice for hypothyroid people to avoid iodine contrasts sharply with the experience of your podcast guest Dr. Flechas. Dr. Flechas found great benefit in iodine supplementation for hypothyroidism, as well as numerous other conditions.

    Based on my own experience, Dr. Flechas seems to be right. I’ve had a severe case of Hashimoto’s for years. My requirement for thyroid hormone medication has gradually increased the entire time, which is apparently very common. After beginning iodine supplementation in roughly the manner Dr. Flechas recommends, my requirement for thyroid hormone began to decrease dramatically, something none of my docs has ever seen before. It’s now down 40% and, as far as we can tell, still dropping. It’s hard to see how this is consistent with Dr. K.’s contention that iodine supplements are like pouring fuel on the fire of Hashimoto’s.

    • I agree Bill! Dr. K. explains his reasoning on the iodine issue in my upcoming podcast with him on July 19, 2010. :)

  • Tula

    Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention. I am in exactly this situation, with various “textbook” symptoms,including weight gain, yet supposedly normal thyroid function.

    I’m definitely going to check out this book!

    • THANKS Tula and let me know what you think! Listen to BOTH of my podcasts next week as I’ll be featuring “The Truth About Thyroid Week” at “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” the week of July 19, 2010.

  • Jacob

    Have you read Chhris Kresser’s ongoing amazing series on hypothyroidism? Here is a link to the first post. http://thehealthyskeptic.org/the-most-important-thing-you-may-not-know-about-hypothyroidism

  • Elaine

    Iodine suppresses TPO activity, which will in turn suppress the autoimmune attack against the thyroid, as Dr. K explains in his book. He chooses to modulate the immune system instead, as autoimmunity is the cause of hypothyroidism for 90% of Americans.

    Can’t wait!

  • I’ve just read this book as I was diagnosed with Hashimotos. With regards to iodine therapy – I started to take iodine first as kelp and then as iodine drops a few months ago since my diagnosis – as I was hearing some people got good results with high iodine. My thyroid which was normal size enlarged very quickly and my borderline TSH shot right up. My high antibodies remained high, I started to get symptoms where previously I’ve had none – tiredness, weight gain.

    I stopped the iodine as Dr K says it is pouring gasoline on the fire with Hashis – certainly my experience. I’m following all his recommendations for dealing with auto-immune problems – especially the strict gluten free.

    Since stopping the iodine, my thyroid has almost gone back to normal size in a 6 weeks, my weight has dropped back and I feel normal again. I’m going to keep following his recommendations and work with my doctor (who takes a holistic approach) and see what the tests show.

    • THANKS for sharing your experience, Julianne! And don’t miss my interview with Dr. Kharrazian coming up on July 19, 2010 at my podcast. :)

  • Bill

    “My thyroid which was normal size enlarged very quickly and my borderline TSH shot right up. My high antibodies remained high, I started to get symptoms where previously I’ve had none – tiredness, weight gain.”

    Julianne, you may very well have been experiencing a normal, temporary reaction to initiating iodine supplementation. It’s described very well in Dr. David Brownsteins’s book on iodine, and further information is available at http://www.iodine4health.com/ and at the associated Yahoo discussion group.

    I can’t tell you whether iodine supplementation is the right thing for you, but I don’t believe the problems you experienced are by themselves a reason to avoid iodine.