Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fibromyalgia, the Thyroid and Cellular Inflammation

Our speaker for the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group on July 10, 2012 was Dr. Kevin Hancock. “The Thyroid and Cellular Inflammation” was the topic. Ideally, this meeting should have been two days long, but we’ll just have to ask him to return for more.

Before his talk, however, I noticed a few new folks who really needed to share. I had each person introduce themselves and tell a bit about their treatments and current condition. So glad I did.

HJ said they had purchased a Sleep Number Bed and found that it didn’t work at all for her OR her hubby. CT said the same thing for him and his wife. Both couples had returned their beds in lieu of another. CT said that he and his wife had discovered the Euromatic bed, which they discovered at Denver Mattress Company and tell they are both extremely pleased with it.

I still love my Sleep Number Bed and find that a half hour of rest on it in mid-day will greatly relieve a flare, for me. And I sleep all through the night on it. So what this tells me is that everyone is different. (Thank Heaven!) And each of us must purposefully seek out and find what works for us on an individual basis. One member uses a Cuddle Ewe mattress topper that she swears by, “It’s made of down and it’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter.” Another uses the foam Tempurpedic mattress- they also makes a mattress topper. So here I find that I can add a Euromatic mattress to my list of recommendations. Thanks CT!

SM tells that she has been going to Dr. Hancock for regular Chiropractic treatments, as I have been doing so, and nearly all of her neck and shoulder and low back pain have been greatly reduced.

As we went around the room several folks found that they shared the symptom of nasty stomach issues. From here we had a brief discussion on probiotics, as well as gluten-free and lactose-free diets, which would be covered in part later by Dr. Hancock. We also covered the critical importance of B-12 and getting tested for deficiency in this and Vitamin D.

DD hit on one very important factor – the importance of maintaining a neutral to slightly alkaline balance in the body and avoiding foods that make the body acidic. Here’s an excellent site that tells a lot about it She found that although she still does get migraines, they are much less frequent when she’s avoiding her food triggers and maintaining this slightly alkaline balance in her diet. Another thing that has helped her migraines is a form of self-massage that she discovered at . Click on the left side “Sample Self-Lymphatic Activation” for video. By tapping and massaging key lymph nodes, a number of her symptoms have been greatly relieved.

MG reminded us all how a positive mental attitude, an attitude of forgiveness, can greatly help symptoms, by virtue of placing our minds on the positive. It is amazing how the mind so controls our pain. She stressed how purposefully changing our mind’s direction to the spiritual, to others, to focusing on something that brings us joy, can truly lessen our pain – physically! Prayer, meditation, and thoughts can truly work miracles.

Armed with the information gleaned from these members, Dr. Kevin was able to tailor his talk accordingly and personalize his info a bit. Nice.

The Thyroid and Cellular Inflammation
Dr. Hancock’s topic was so genuinely loaded with information, that I am already feeling a need for a repeat performance! They say you need to see or hear a thing 3 times before it is yours. I think this may be one of those “things.”
[Note: “ * ” denotes a quote from the presentation slides]

The title on the first slide was “Hypothyroidism.”* This, of course, struck right to the heart of our matter. Up to 27 million Americans have hypothyroidism; yet only half of this number has been diagnosed. The other half are experiencing symptoms and don’t know why. It is said that up to 90% of women over 40 have subclinical hypothyroidism. That is, they have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but may or may not be diagnosed. Those that are diagnosed are told they will be on these meds, Synthoid or Levoxyl e.g., for the rest of their lives. And yet they still experience symptoms of weight gain, sleep issues, fatigue, cold hands and feet, depression, brain fog, dry skin, depression etc. How does that happen?

Well, many times it’s because the doctor is treating the lab tests instead of the patient. Sound familiar? One of the problems is that the TSH thyroid tests are not exactly standard. Every lab and every doctor seems to have a different idea of what normal “TSH numbers” should be. Many labs require numbers between .5 - 5.5 to be considered in the normal range. Dr. Hancock explains that the numbers should be lower at .35 - 2.0 for this reading.

“But yet NO studies have been published demonstrating that you have a healthy thyroid function when your TSH is within the normal range!”* There are published studies however, telling that TSH values greater than 2 can indicate health issues, even autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s).

Eighty to ninety percent of those with hypothyroidism actually have an auto-immune related condition (Hashimoto’s) and will not – can not – respond to thyroid replacement drugs such as Synthoid and Levoxyl because they don’t address the autoimmune condition, thus you may still experience symptoms. In order to find out if it is truly a thyroid issue, “reverse T3” and “serum selenium” need to be tested. T3, T4 and the conversion that takes place in the liver must also be tested. This is the only way to know if it is truly a malfunctioning thyroid gland.

But other organs can be involved as well; the thyroid doesn’t work alone. It is only one part of the synergistic hormonal system involving the adrenal glands, pancreas, pituitary, etc…even the liver. They all work together. Adjusting or adding to one will affect the others. Most thyroid conditions are similar to other hormonal conditions, such as the type 2 diabetes. The real problem may not be the pancreas or thyroid gland at all, but the hormone receptors on the cell it’s signaling. Even food intolerances can play a part in the thyroid problem. Proteins can bind to the thyroid receptors and block the hormone, causing hypothyroidism (creating inflammation in the process).

So What’s the Solution?
Treating the 2 main causes of a thyroid issue is the way to get well. They are:
1) Iodine deficiency
2) Cellular Inflammation

“Iodine deficiency alone is responsible for 20% of all hypothyroid cases.”* According to at least 5 studies, populations with the lowest iodine levels have the highest incidence of thyroid problems. But even more studies have shown that as the levels of iodine intake increased, thyroid condition, goiters, stomach and breast cancer decreased.

Iodine is essential for the production of T4 and T3. However, if one has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune thyroiditis), selenium must be the first part of their treatment in order to address the autoimmune reaction, and then the iodine is given. Otherwise a condition called a “Thyroid Storm” can occur. The selenium given first addresses this autoimmune condition and helps avoid the storm.

Iodine Deficiency Self-Test
A 2% solution of caramel-colored iodine (not the clear-colored iodine) can be purchased at CVS or Walgreens. With a cotton swab apply a silver-dollar-sized patch of iodine to your inner forearm near your elbow, making a yellow patch on your skin. This yellow patch should stay visible for 24 hours. If it fades away before that, you are iodine deficient. Dr. Hancock’s patch was gone in 2 hours when he did this test. Mine was done today and it disappeared in 3 hours. We are both now taking an iodine supplement.

Unfortunately iodine is very hard to get in sufficient supply from foods. He referred us to a book titled Empty Harvest by Jensen and Anderson – check it out on Amazon. This book explains why the food we eat has precious little of the minerals and nutrients we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Thus we need to rely on certain supplements, like iodine (potassium iodide or kelp), rather than depending on our food to supply it.

Cellular Inflammation is the true underlying cause for 80-90% of hypothyroid conditions.”*
Toxins, diet and infections can cause inflammation, actually creating autoimmune conditions. This inflammation may be systemic affecting joints or multiple organs, such as found in arthritis or Lupus, OR the inflammation may be organ specific such as found in thyroiditis. [Note: any medical term ending in “…itis” means that it is an inflammatory condition.]

Inflammation = Oxidative Stress!
Time Magazine states: “When inflammation becomes chronic rather than transitory…the body turns in on itself with after effects that seem to underlie a wide variety of diseases.”

In the case of Autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) white blood cells cluster at the site (thyroid) and begin to create cytokines which attach to the hormone receptors of the gland. The immune system sees this as an attack on the thyroid gland and then creates even more inflammation. All this inflammation blocks the T3 receptors.

When the cell receptors are blocked by clusters of white cells:
1) Nutrients can’t get in
2) Toxins can’t get out
3) Receptors are blunted & can’t hear when the T3 or TSH is calling to open the door!

And when you are tested, your TSH and T3 come back normal because they really are putting out, but they aren’t working because the receptors are blocked by this inflammation. This is Autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s), and again, this condition constitutes a full 80-90% of thyroid conditions. So the idea here is to get rid of the inflammation. [Note: Synthoid and Levoxyl do not treat inflammation.]

What Causes the Inflammation?

Toxins, bad fats and sugars.

Top 5 toxins that cause inflammation:
1) PCB’s and Dioxins (found in contaminated fish, meats and dairy)
2) Pesticides (inhaled, eaten on fresh fruit & veggies from the store or rubbed onto hands or onto body from clothing)
3) Heavy Metals (lead, cigarette smoke or mercury found in dentistry, fish, vaccinations)
4) BPA’s (found in plastic bottles and plastic liners in canned foods and in cosmetics)
5) Halogens/Goitrogens (fluoride, chlorine and bromine found in bread, Mountain Dew, Gatorade)

There is a test online for $15 which is a great tool for the diagnosis of neurotoxic/mediated illness. The test uses contrast, not visual acuity to make the assessment. The test is available at

Bad fats cause inflammation:
1) Vegetable oils (processed and turned into hydrogenated fats)
2) Trans fats

“Foods high in vegetable oils decrease thyroid function”* It takes five days to get hydrogenated fats out of the body (IF your body is functioning on all thrusters). These fats will still be creating inflammation during those five days, even if you stop eating them right now. ( ! )

“Tests have shown that eating a diet high in saturated fat and low in carbohydrates improved thyroid function, as well as the accompanying weight issue."*
[Note: Susan Behnke Strasser, MS, RD, the Director of Wholistic Nutrition at Physicians HolisticHealth Center (PHA) spoke of this diet at our May Fibromyalgia Support Group Meeting. Please see the May Fibro Notes/blog.]

Sugar causes inflammation
"Grains and Sugar have a dramatic effect on cellular inflammation and play a major role in the cause of thyroid conditions.”* Grains are the #1 food for people’s intolerances. They can block hormone receptors and create an auto immune response. They elevate blood glucose levels as much as sugar, and this interferes with the liver’s ability to convert T4 to T3!

Whole grains contain a sugar called amylase which is known to cause inflammation, most especially when the cells are already inflamed! And GMO foods (genetically modified) create denatured proteins and sugars which promote inflammation.

Sugar is, in and of itself, an inflammatory. That’s the main reason it is recommended that we cut way back or eliminate all together this nutrient-deficient “food.” Here are 141 reasons not to eat sugar.
Neutralizing inflammation is imperative. Although you can’t really “feel” this inflammation, you can certainly reap the after-effects! It severely hampers hormonal processes, including the pancreas (Type 2 Diabetes) and thyroid (Hashimoto’s), inflamed joints (arthritis) and so much more. In fact, there are over 100 distinct disorders that originate in the immune system that are all subject to this cellular inflammation called autoimmune disorders !

Dr. Hancock told of the Cellular Healing Protocol he has available at his office. It is a 30-60 day program where:
1) You start the diet
2) You start the Cellular Healing Protocol
3) You start the true cellular detox, removing the #1 cause of your cellular inflammation.

The book, The Cellular Healing Diet, will be made available upon registering for the program.

Dr. Hancock has the Natural Whole Food Supplements by Standard Process available at his office, and now carries their new Gluten Free multi-vitamin, Catalyn-GF.
If you attended this meeting and filled out your Systems Survey form, please feel free to fax or mail your completed form and make an appointment for your evaluation.

Contact Info:
Dr. Kevin Hancock, 6910 N. Main Street, Granger, In 46530.
574-271-1111. fax- 574-271-7532