Category Archives: Thyroid
Special Guest: Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Understanding Thyroid Overview from Dr. Justin’s Perspective
Look for underlying infections like Epstein Barr and Mono. Also gut parasites as well as h.pylori…
How many carbs should someone with thyroid problems eat?
A little about iodine…
Weight loss has to be on the back burner to healing….
How to work out the right way with low thyroid…
Dangers of intermittent fasting with adrenal fatigue/ low thyroid..
1. I have confusion around thyroid tests…especially with conventional docs. Which to ask for and how to get them when doctors refuse or tell you they’re not needed.
2. Can I heal my autoimmune thyroid disease naturally or is it with me forever?
3. What to do about low iron, adrenal fatigue and how they cause t3 pooling! And what to do about it.
4. I am 55 going through menopause, hot flashes so frequent its just wearing me down. I also have hypothyroidism (at 16 I had a goiter) went through my whole life being told “you’re fine” . I changed insurance and was put on medication; however, I don’t see any changes. I work out 4 days a week and CANNOT lose any weight! Any suggestions? Thank you Roberta Hamilton
5. Hi, I had Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism until I had radiation therapy and now I’m on thyroxine. I have now gained 25 kilos and can’t get control of my weight. Do you have any suggestions?
6. “I am an almost 49 years old female with several problems. It started with a depression, after mononucleosis,CFS,thyroid problems,leaky gut,constipation, a lot of allergies, tired,all this is proven. On top of it, i think my adrenal glands are not ok too. In the morning I am like a diesel, at noon I have to sleep, in the evening I am top. How can I reverse all this? Where to start? What to take? I have cysts and fibrosis in my breasts. Who can see the big picture so this can stop? I have all this problems since 2006 and I am tired of them! I want to be healthy and have a normal life. I am very quickly “in overdrive”.Hot flashes,red hands after dinner, cold hands and feet, dry skin, hair loss,kind of depression…….Best regards from Belgium.”
7. I”m currently taking a medication for my thyroid and prolactine due to a tumor in my pituatary gland. My thyroid numbers were low because of my prolactine. I had trouble sleeping through the night so I started taking magnesium supplement and it has help me very well but I wake up with a puffy eyes every morning. My doctor told me to avoid iodine and my question for you is : Is magnesium supplement not good for a thyroid? -Sarylda
8. “Hello, I recently had thyroid labwork done and results are as follows: TSH:0.717 mIU/L, FT4:1.2 ng/dL, FT3:2.2 pg/mL, RT3:26.1 ng/dL, ThyroGlob AB <20 IU/mL, TPO:10 IU/mL. It seems as if my Reverse T3 is high in comparison to my Free T3. Do you have any recommendations of lowering this? (I have taken an adrenal salivary test and it showed great results, no fatigue. I have also had my B12 levels taken by blood and urine and it is also very sufficient. Not sure what else I can do.) Additionally, are TPO and ThyroGlob AB supposed to be 0 or is the conventional range sufficient (0-40 and <35 , respectively)? I know the functional range is sometimes different than the conventional range. I have been 100% paleo for over a year and feel great except for constipation at times. I deal with this by taking Magnesium but I hate to be dependent on it. I think my thyroid may be the culprit. Thanks so much for any insight you have! “
Find Ashwaganda here
Are people supposed to have no antibodies at all?
Why are men getting so much Hashimoto’s now ?
What about fluoride? How to get it out? Find a good water filter here
Which products are some basic supplements for people with Hashimoto’s:
Find a great article that Dr. Justin wrote about what your doc won’t tell you about thyroid and which tests to ask for here
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Dr. Justin recommends the book The Thyroid Alternative:
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This is a guest post from Dr. Justin Marchegiani who is a cutting edge functional medicine practitioner in the Bay Area. He deals with many issues relating to thyroid dysfunction on daily basis. He specializes in looking for the root cause of health problems not just treating symptoms.
Q: What do you think is causing an explosion of low thyroid cases?
A: A combination of gut infections, auto-immunity, dysbiosis (an imbalance of healthy gut flora), food allergens, nutritional deficiencies, adrenal dysfunction, and toxicity from chemicals and heavy metals.
When dealing with the thyroid it is not a simple solution. In medicine it’s very common to specialize and only focus on one area of the body. So you have a gastroenterologist that only looks a gastrointestinal problems, you have a hepatologists that only looks at liver problems, you have an endocrinologist that only looks at hormonal issues and the list goes on….
The problem with this paradigm is that all systems in the body are connected, sort of like a spider web, requiring a background in all of the above areas. If you have instability on one side of the web, it inevitably affects the entire web. So the goal is to look at the body holistically and support systems that are not functioning optimally.
We know that having a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is important in activating thyroid hormone. Almost 20% of thyroid hormone is converted from T4 to T3 via the sulfatase enzyme which is present in healthy guts. Eating healthy fermented foods along with addressing gut infections, food allergens and an overabundance of sugar and carbohydrate in the diet can help resolve this issue.
The liver is responsible for almost 60% of thyroid hormone conversion from T4 (inactive) to T3 (active hormone). Addressing toxicities that overburden the liver is essential for allowing the liver to maximize thyroid hormone conversion. Various chemicals from pesticides, hormones in food, birth control pills and toxic skin care or hygienic products provide a significant burden on our liver and detoxification pathways.
Below is a picture that provides a summary of the above information:
Q: Which tests should people ask for at the doctor?
- T4: total and free
- T3: total and free
- Reverse T3
- T3 uptake
- TPO and TG antibodies
A: Conventional medical doctors typically only look at TSH and T4 (if you are lucky), all other tests are usually irrelevant because they do not change the treatment protocol in the conventional paradigm they work under. Your typically medical doctor is looking to see if the TSH is in an abnormal range usually ranging from 0.45 to 4.5 (some labs ranges are even wider). When the TSH is elevated it signifies hypo-thyroidsm (low thyroid) while a low TSH signifies hyper-thyroidism. The range I believe to be the most sensitive is the one supported by the National Endocrine Society which is a TSH level between 1.8-3.0.
The majority of patients treated are found to be hypo-thyroid and are prescribed only synthroid or levothyroxine (synthetic T4). Labs are usually run 1 to 2 per year to tweak medication without delving any deeper in to the problem. After hearing about all of the underlying drivers of thyroid dysfunction it’s easy to see why the conventional medical paradigm doesn’t even come close to addressing the underlying cause of the thyroid dysfunction in the first place.
Did you know that 90% of all thyroid conditions stem from an underlying cause of auto-immunity? Essentially the immune system is producing various antibodies that attack the thyroid tissue. Thyroid Peroxidase Ab (TPO), and Thyroglobulin Ab (TG) are produced in Hashimotos Thyroiditis which is an auto-immune condition that causes hypothyroid function over time. Thyroid Stimulating Immunglobin Ab (TSI) is produced in Graves Disease, an auto-immune condition that causes hyperthyroid function.
At a minimum it is important to at least ask your doctor to run TPO and TG antibodies to see if your thyroid condition is auto-immune in nature. Most medical doctors resist running these antibodies because it doesn’t change conventional protocol. From a functional medicine paradigm it’s important to know if you are auto-immune because it changes the overall approach to how the thyroid is treated. Any time any auto-immune condition is present the focus needs to more on the immune system and the gut and less on the thyroid or injured gland.
I also recommend running T4: total and free T3: total and free, thyroglobulin, reverse T3, and T3 uptake. It’s important to assess the body’s ability to convert T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone). Any time we see a normal level of T4 followed by a low level of T3 we know there is a conversion issue. On a conventional thyroid test T3 would never be assessed and you would probably slip through the cracks of the medical system with an undiagnosed hypothyroid condition.
There are many factors that can cause decreased conversion of T4 to T3 such as nutrient deficiencies (zinc, magnesium, b12, selenium and calcium), low stomach acid, infections (H-pylori), low or high adrenal function (test with a salivary panel), and various anemia’s.
Reverse T3 is an important marker because it assesses overall stress in the body. When the body is over stressed T3 is converted to RT3 to essentially act as the brakes on the overall metabolism. A few factors that tend to drive conversion are adrenal stress, food allergens, lack of sleep, gut health, emotional stress and low calorie diets. Everything the body does is for a reason and the more you listen to your body’s whispers the less you will have to endure its cries.
Birth control pills can increase thyro-binding globulin which can affect thyroid hormone’s ability to bind to its receptor site. That is why one of the common side effects of birth control pills is weight gain. Assessing thyro-binding globulin as well as Free T3 can be a good marker to assess this problem.
Q: What are some of the overlooked thyroid symptoms ?
A: There are many thyroid symptoms that go overlooked. You have the typical thyroid symptoms that include weight gain, cold extremities and fatigue which are usually the first symptoms noticed by someone with a thyroid issue. Thinning of the outside of the eye brow as well as hair loss are common symptoms also seen with thyroid dysfunction too.
Constipation is a common symptom never associated with a thyroid problem. Many people are unable to have at least a one a day bowel movement, which can be caused by a low thyroid. When your transit time is abnormal it can cause auto-intoxication, this is when your body starts to reabsorb toxins from the stool. This then causes more stress on the liver which can then causes a vicious cycle of even more thyroid dysfunction over time.
High cholesterol can also be caused by low thyroid function. Before anyone goes on a statin, the first thing that should be done is a full thyroid work up. Cholesterol is the raw material for all of our hormones in our body. If our ability to metabolize and use cholesterol effectively is impaired because of low thyroid function, an elevation in cholesterol can occur.
Q: What is the biggest mistake most people make when trying to normalize thyroid function?
A: One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to treat a thyroid issue is not ordering a complete thyroid test. It’s really easy for anyone who feels tired or sees their hair fall out to start purchasing every thyroid supplement known to man.
If you have an auto-immune condition using supplemental iodine can actually make the problem worse. This is a very controversial topic in natural medicine but there is a great body of evidence showing if you have an active auto-immune condition you should avoid iodine at least initially. Iodine can be a powerful supplement when used properly, but you need to be evaluated first to see if you are a good candidate to begin with.
Supplements can be an important part to help accelerate healing but you need to evaluate what the underlying cause of your thyroid dysfunction is in the first place. Once you figure out what thyroid pattern you have, supplements can used more appropriately along with diet and lifestyle changes to help accelerate healing.
A small amount of people may need thyroid hormone due to long term destruction of their thyroid gland. These patients tend to do better on a natural thyroid hormone product like “Nature Throid.” This product has a natural spectrum of T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. Other natural thyroid support like Armour is similar, but contain gluten fillers and dyes that could irritate someone with an auto-immune thyroid.
It’s my belief; if you address the above issues first, you can avoid having to use thyroid hormone most of the time.
Q: What are the top 3 things people can do to improve their thyroid health?
The first thing people can do to help improve their thyroid function is improve their diet and the quality of food they consume. I am a huge fan of a paleolithic style of eating that involves consuming organic nutrients dense whole foods, avoiding foods high in toxins and gut irritating compounds. This style of eating is based off of strong anthropological evidence and is essentially the way are genetics are hardwired. Eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) consisting of toxic, nutrient poor foods will increase your levels of systemic inflammation and also make it virtually impossible to improve your thyroid function.
Eating high quality whole foods primarily consisting of organic free range meat and carbohydrate (from non-starchy and or starchy sources) every 3-5 hours is important for stabilizing blood sugar. Blood sugar imbalances can be a major stress on the adrenal glands and skipping meals and eating poorly at meals can lead to adrenal fatigue and thyroid dysfunction over time. It’s important to watch how much carbohydrate you are consuming, if you are overweight I recommend getting at least 3 times more of your carbohydrate from non-starchy vegetable sources over fruit and starchy carbohydrates.
Finding a functional medicine doctor or holistic nutritionist you can work with that has experience running lab tests, assisting with diet/lifestyle changes and can put together a supplement program to help improve your thyroid function is very important. It is difficult for even the most healthy savvy individuals to deal with these issues by themselves. It’s always good to at least consult with an expert in this area to make sure there’s nothing your missing that could be preventing you from experiencing optimal health.
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I have recently become a huge fan of Jennifer Esposito after watching Samantha Who on Netflix. It is a hilarious show also featuring Melissa McCarthy and Christina Applegate, who loses her memory after a car accident. I later found out that Jennifer Esposito has Celiac disease and was being hassled by CBS for not being able to carry a full load on her newest show Blue Bloods. Jennifer went through years of heartache and misery because she had many symptoms of Celiac Disease but no doctors properly diagnosed her.
Watch this clip where she explains her experience to Dr. Drew and he seems to give her the same deadpan look of misunderstanding we often get from our own doctors and family members. Dr. Drew seems to have no clue what Celiac disease is and how much it can disrupt someone life.
I can really relate to the way Jennifer Esposito feels because I had a terrible first experience with my doctor when I found out my thyroid was low. I started to feel ill in the fall of 2009, so I sought help from a conventional physician. I told her I felt lethargic and that my digestion was very slow. I had gained 10 pounds seemingly overnight despite watching what I ate and exercising. All I wanted to do was sleep all day which was not normal for me being an active and fit trainer.
She ordered some tests for me and sent me home with the paperwork. I talked to my mother’s integrative doctor and decided to fill in a few more tests after hearing his advice. I added the AB (Antithyroglobulin) Test, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO) test, which are both markers for Hashimoto’s.
The next thing I knew, my doctor actually fired me for adding tests on the lab sheet. So not only did I find out something was off with my thyroid, I was also told that my doctor would not help me. It was a humiliating experience for someone who is already feeling scared and miserable. Maybe I went about it the wrong way but I was afraid of being intimidated by the doctor and not getting what I needed.
In hindsight, I am so glad I ordered those tests because I would not have found out that I had antibodies against my own thyroid signaling my autoimmune disease. My Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) was normal on the test, meaning that the doctor would have just sent me on my way telling me I was just getting older and needed do more exercise to boost my energy. Maybe she would have tried to push anti-depressants on me that I didn’t need. I learned a lot by going through that experience and I try to help my clients navigate the confusing testing jargon when they are no longer feeling their best.
It is Celiac patients have Hashimoto’s and vice versa so it is important understand both conditions. All auto-immune diseases are very similar in that they have a gluten sensitivity component where the body mistakenly attacks it’s own tissue. The small intestine is so over burdened with hard to digest cereal, sandwiches and pasta that it starts to become inflamed and leaky. What happen next is that gluten particles get through the porous gut lining and are attacked by the immune system. Undigested particles of gluten resemble our own tissues causing our white blood cells to go into overdrive. The immune system starts attacking our own organs or glands as in the case with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Celiac disease.
The blood tests for Hashimoto’s are pretty good as long at they are actually ordered but it is important to pay attention to symptoms as well. Many lab tests for Celiac disease are not accurate because they are looking for severe damage to the villi of the small intestine. It is important not to wait too long because many people will be unable to absorb from their food. It is common for Celiacs to have anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and even cancer after years of malabsorption. With both conditions it is important to work on healing the gut by removing irritating foods like dairy, legumes, vegetable oils, grains, and sugar.
It is vital to do an elimination diet for a few weeks to see if there is a true gluten sensitivity/intolerance. Most people feel awesome and drop a lot of weight when they get rid of gluten and see even better results by dropping all grains. Many grains are cross reactive and still look like gluten to the immune system, especially in an already inflamed gut.
Do not solely rely on tests from your doctors office to tell you if you have a problem with gluten because you may suffer in vain. Take it out of your diet for two to three weeks to see if there is a difference in your health and digestion. The results you feel will take out a lot of the guess work.
Several good gluten tests are currently available from Cyrex labs which seems to be the gold standard. These tests have to be ordered by a doctor or medical practitioner.
Get important thyroid, salivary adrenal and Vitamin D lab tests on the cheap without a doctor’s permission at Directlabs.com. These tests can be performed at any local Labcorp and the results will be e-mailed to you.
For more info on which tests to thyroid choose click here:
What has been your experience with gluten sensitivity testing in dealing with Autoimmune disease?
I am major fan of Mad Men and I was intrigued when Betty had a thyroid lump in Episode 3 of Season 5. Betty is Don’s ex -wife who has gained some major pounds since season 4 and it is revealed that she has thyroid problem. I want to discuss some of the factors that may be contributing to her condition based on the show and my experience with thyroid issues. Some of Betty’s lifestyle factors are a perfect storm for thyroid dysfunction and many doctors ignore these influences.
She actually found out she had a thyroid tumor after visiting the doctor for a diet pill prescription. At first they suspected that she had cancer but it was later found to be benign. Betty definitely had an inflamed and swollen thyroid which is commonly caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is estimated that 35% of people with thyroid cancer also have Hashimoto’s but many people are unaware that they have the condition because most doctors do not address the autoimmune component of thyroid disease. Western practitioners often do not order the proper tests for thyroid antibodies. Most people with low thyroid, up to 90%, actually have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis where the body is attacking it’s own tissue by mistake.
Some Important Factors Contributing to Betty’s Thyroid Issues:
Stress: Betty had some major trauma leading up to Season 5 including the revelation that Don was cheating on her for years. She dismantled her family and moved them into a large ominous house with a new father figure. Going through a major life change can be so stressful that it can spark thyroid irregularities. Stressful events in life increase cortisol production which weakens the GI tract setting the stage for leaky gut and autoimmune dysfunction.
Processed Food: In the 1950′s many women cooked at home like we saw on The Donna Reed Show, making meat loafs and pot roasts but in the 1960′s the trend was to embrace convenience foods. The scene in this episode where Betty is chomping on some Bugles, which were first introduced in 1966, tells us a lot about the era and her habits. High carbohydrate snacks like chips and cookies are often filled with rancid oxidized vegetable oils and hard to digest gluten/ grains which both increase intestinal permeability, setting the stage for Hashimoto’s. When someone has an inflamed and porous gut lining it can stimulate a thyroid autoimmune (self) attack.
Blood Sugar Balance: We often see Betty restricting her food on the show to lose weight. The problem is that low fat and low calorie diets usually lead to high carbohydrate consumption which produces blood sugar fluctuations. These highs and lows are very harmful for the adrenals and thyroid function because cortisol is over produced. People in the 1960′s started to abandon traditional foods like bacon and eggs in favor of cereal, pop tarts, and biscuit mixes. These sugary foods spike blood glucose which drag down hypothalamic signaling for proper thyroid and adrenal function. Protein and fat combined at meals are crucial to keep insulin in a healthy range which supports a healthy thyroid.
Yo- Yo dieting: In season 5 Betty visits Weight Watchers numerous times, commonly skipping meals and often expresses how hungry she feels. Betty is a former model who may have used diet pills or laxatives for many years and that behavior can catch up eventually. When someone is overweight, fatigued and depressed like Betty, it is often an adrenal fatigue issue as well as a thyroid problem. Adrenal hormones assist in the conversion of T-4 to active T-3 which help with weight regulation and energy production. Excessive dieting will cause adrenal burnout inhibiting thyroid hormone production. Many people don’t worry about how yo-yo dieting affects their long term health until it is too late and their thyroid and metabolism is damaged.
Lack of Healthy Fats: If you notice in the end of the episode Betty finishes her daughters ice cream sundae once Sally leaves the room. This behavior is innate because when we starve ourselves of saturated fat the cravings will be so strong that well will give in sooner or later. Our brain must have animal fat to function properly so the signals to binge are out of our control if we are not getting enough. It is much healthier to eat rich meats and fat like ghee or coconut oil than down a carton of sugar laden ice cream. We also need saturated fat from animals and coconut for healthy thyroid functioning because our hormones are made from cholesterol.
Toxins: More chemicals and plastics were introduced during the 1960′s which can negatively affect thyroid function. Cleaning products and beauty care items are full of hormone disruptors called xeno-estrogens. The use of these beauty and home care products have only increased since Betty Draper’s heyday. Betty also smokes which increases storage of heavy metals like cadmium that can slow down liver function and active thyroid hormone conversion. In the show there is copious amounts of alcohol which can also cause hypoglycemic reactions adding to thyroid/adrenal stress and leaky gut. Liver function is very important for clearing toxins but when the thyroid slows liver detox pathways become clogged.
Gluten and other grains: The immune system is always on guard against potential threats and it has an amazing memory for invaders like gluten and other grains. The problem starts when undigested food gets into the blood stream and creates havoc in the body. It is estimated that 80-90% of hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks its own gland after the gut becomes porous, which leaks undigested food particles into the bloodstream. Gluten proteins resemble thyroid tissue so the immune system becomes overactive every time we ingest gluten containing grains. Another problem is that molecules of wheat and other grains are so similar that the immune system can not tell the difference. All grains may cause a cross reaction according to many thyroid experts. In Betty’s case she eats gluten all day long which is keeping her immune system on high alert and it is over active, attacking it’s own thyroid tissue. Learn more about how to be grain free here.
Soy: Okay, this was probably not a factor for Betty’s, because at that time soy had a negative reputation as food for communist or vagabond hippies. But soy can be a major player because it has tons of lectins and phytates that block important minerals from being absorbed like selenium and zinc for a healthy thyroid. Soy is full of goitrogens which can also suppress thyroid hormone production. Soy is very hard for the body to break down so it adds to leaky gut syndrome and increase inflammatory response of the body against it’s own precious thyroid. Many people make the mistake of using soy as a vegetarian protein substitute but they do not realize until it is too late that is can ruin thyroid function. Read more about soy dangers here.
Depression: Betty has been to therapy several times for her bizarre behavior (like crashing the car into a mailbox on purpose), mood swings and depression. Low thyroid function can make many people feel like they have low energy which can make people feel depressed. Many experts agree that there is major link between the gut dysfunction and mood/behavior. The feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are made in the gut but when it is inflamed from attempting to digest nutrient poor food there will be less of these important chemicals produced. When the gut heals through an elimination diet people usually feel less depressed pretty quickly. Removing dietary stressors like grains, inflammatory vegetable oils and soy will help the thyroid and adrenals heal themselves which will give people more energy and boost mood.
Constipation: Constipation is very common symptom of lowered thyroid function. Betty seems very stuck in her life and seems to be unable to release old pain. According to Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life, constipation is caused by refusing to release old ideas and being stuck in the past. One factor with constipation is that a lack of thyroid hormone slows intestinal motility and transit time. Another issue is that when people are not having regular bowel movements hormones like estrogen will be reabsorbed increasing risk for breast cancer.
Grass Fed Girl’s Commentary on Betty’s Condition:
Things have not changed much in conventional treatment of thyroid problems and just like the 1960′s there is much to be desired in Betty’s care plan. She is sent home literally and figuratively with a band aid on her neck. She is told she does not have cancer and just to go on with normal life. Just like now, most conventional doctors do not see the connection between stress, nutrition, environmental factors and thyroid function. Most treatment protocols do not recognize the importance of healing the immune system (linings of the gut, lungs and brain) to slow the bodies attack on the thyroid.
If you suspect you have low thyroid seek out care from a practitioner who understands that there is more to the problem than TSH tests and synthroid (t-4 only replacements). If you have a low thyroid it is important to sleep well, manage stress, follow a grain free diet, and get some holistic care from an integrative doctor. It is also important to get tested for thyroid antibodies to figure out if you have autoimmune condition.
Sources and Resources:
One of the great thyroid books:
Testing without your doctor’s permission needed:
Most of my clients who come to me are constipated and they don’t even know it. We should be moving 12 inches of poop to have a healthy colon and proper digestion. If you are not eliminating a good amount of waste daily you may want to investigate because constipation over time can be very toxic and a sign of looming health issues.
Gluten and Grains: Grains cause major problems in the digestive tract and block many minerals from being absorbed. When minerals are blocked then smooth muscles won’t function properly for elimination. Grains also neutralize digestive enzymes which cause gas and bloating which slows down peristalsis.
Soy: dramatically stifles thyroid hormone production which is a major player in proper elimination. Cut out all soy products pronto to get back to regularity!
Magnesium: is a vital mineral needed for over 300 bodily processes. Our soil is depleted of this super mineral and so is our food. A standard American diet is very low in colorful vegetables needed to help us get enough magnesium. Some people may need to cook vegetables well to break them down which does not affect the magnesium status. Bone broth is also a great source of magnesium many people overlook.
Fiber: Some people take psyllium husk fiber supplements and these can cause more harm than help. Psyllium husks can be very irritating to an already inflamed gut lining in the constipated person because they are impossible to digest. Using psyllium regularly is not a good idea because it does not address the bigger picture of why a person has constipation in the first place. Getting fiber from vegetables is much better idea for improving motility.
Probiotics: Many courses of antibiotics over a lifetime kill off our good bacteria that help move wastes out of the body. It is important to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria like Sauerkraut and Kim-chee. Antibiotics also slow down our metabolism which additionally affects regularity. An abundance of sugar and carbs in the diet will also cause proliferation of poor flora causing dysbiosis, an imbalance of beneficial flora. Dysbiosis has been linked to colon cancer in many studies so it is very important to get the bowels moving by introducing good probiotic organisms. See my recipe to make your own sauerkraut at home.
Stress: When we have a lot of stress our body stays in the flight or flight mode and the last thing it will do is relax enough for a proper bowel movement. Eating in a hurry, overeating and multi-tasking during meals also negatively affects digestion because poorly chewed food increases putrefaction and stagnation. It is important reduce digestive stress by eating slowly, chewing well, and eating a blood sugar balancing diet. It is also critical to sleep 8 hours a night and participate in relaxing exercise like walking or slow yoga to achieve normal bowel rhythm.
Watch my video below about relieving constipation:
and Digestive Wellness by Liz Lipski Ph.D.