Heal Your Thyroid Holistically
To heal your thyroid holistically is not as complicated as it seems. There have also been numerous opinions on whether iodine is good or bad for our health in the long run. To enlighten us about how to heal your thyroid holistically and other health issues linked to our thyroid, I’m so happy to have Dr. Alan Christianson back on the show.
Dr. Alan Christianson has helped so many people over the years addressing thyroid and adrenal issues. A significant component of how to holistically heal your thyroid is through the right diet. That’s why Dr. Alan Christianson wrote the book, The Metabolism Reset Diet, which is launching on January 29.
Dr. Alan Christianson says thyroid health does affect a lot of systems in the body. Especially brain development on kids. And to date, he says it’s been estimated that there’s a lot of billion people on planet earth who didn’t get the brain function they deserve because they lacked iodine as they grew up.
And whenever the topic is about how to heal your thyroid holistically, iodine often comes up. For those who are unaware, iodine is one of the first elements that is ever isolated. The name itself comes from the violet color the element has.
“The thyroid medication contains active thyroid hormones. And they are built from iodine. And getting too much can seem a lot like too little regarding how it affects the body,” explains Dr. Alan Christianson.
He adds, “The amount that you need is about a hundredfold of what you find in the bloodstream. So, the bloodstream concentrates iodine. And the concentrator is important because it’s a nutrient that you wouldn’t get on a consistent basis. But the pitfall about that concentrator is that if we get a lot of it, we shut down the factory.”
Too Much or Too Little Iodine?
Before you embark on the journey of how to heal your thyroid holistically, there’s a lot of tests available in the market to aid you in finding the best solution. There are spot urine tests, which means random samples of urine is analyzed.
Dr. Alan Christianson also shares that there are the 24-hour urine test and a recent thing called iodine challenge test. The iodine challenge test is where you take a big dose and see how much you excrete in the time afterward.
“A lot of those tests are decent to gauge how much iodine a population has. So, if you were to go to Central Africa and screen a thousand people with spot urinary iodine test, you get a good hunch,” said Dr. Alan Christianson. “But because there is so much variation in any one person’s random urine sample, you have to test thoroughly.”
He adds, “Some of the best tests would only require about 200 tests for one person to have 90% of accuracy. So, there are no good tests, but thankfully there’s also no known human diversity regarding iodine absorption or excretion.”
To heal your thyroid holistically, diet is a critical component. Dr. Alan Christianson reveals that one population can be at risk for getting low iodine if their food is more stringent and that’s pregnant women. And with the healthy intake of seafood and a good variety of produce in the diet, it’s easy not to become deficient.
The other group that can be at risk are raw food vegans who don’t use any iodine-fortified salt. Dr. Alan Christianson likes sea salt for general use because this way, you get some magnesium. So, if someone was consuming no animal products and especially just raw foods, they can get low iodine.
“Sea vegetables are rich in iodine. Most forms of sea vegetables have enough to be useful but not enough to throw your way out of the ballpark,” said Dr. Alan Christianson. “Kelp helps a lot. Tiny amounts could be useful. Nori has pretty reasonable amounts of iodine.”
Dr. Alan Christianson also mentioned that by adding iodized salt to food, people could get reasonable amounts. He also said that pretty much all multi-vitamins will have between a hundred or two hundred micrograms.
Too Much Iodine While On Medication
Dr. Alan Christianson explains that if someone is between their supplements, their diet, and medication, it creates more overall resistance to thyroid hormones in their body. So, the amounts that we need regarding thyroid and iodine are a small quantity, like one to two hundred micrograms or a tenth of a grain of salt.
“Some studies show that megadose iodine is an effective treatment for fibrocystic breast disease. We have to think through side effects, and thyroid complication as whether or not is it worth it overall,” said Dr. Alan Christianson.
A Japanese physician discovered Hashimoto’s because the Japanese have the highest rates of autoimmune thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. According to Dr. Alan Christianson, they also have the world’s highest iodine intake.
In the U.S., Dr. Alan Christianson reveals that we have a lot of goiter cases especially in a lot of great lakes and areas where there is a lot of fresh water. But we didn’t have autoimmune thyroid disease.
“The thing with Hashimoto’s as an autoimmune disease, if you don’t see it then you don’t know that it’s not there,” Dr. Alan Christianson said. “So, people have hypothyroidism, and sometimes the doctor may test for thyroid antibodies. Half the time, the thyroid antibodies are negative.”
He adds, “But people who have Hashimoto’s disease, half the time their thyroid antibodies never show up. So, there are few cases of hypothyroidism that are not autoimmune.”
Graves’ disease, on the other hand, is also known as toxic diffuse goiter. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. Based on numerous case studies, it often results in and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Apart from that, it frequently results in an enlarged thyroid.
“The part about being hyperthyroid perpetuates the autoimmune attack. You may see odd things that may not be helpful but seems to be effective for one person,” Dr. Alan Christianson explains. “And with more appropriate treatment, in pulling someone out of hyperthyroidism and getting iodine right, many can heal and stay stable again.”
He adds, “It’s not about the pill. The question is always can I be vital and happy and thriving again. So, focus on that one. It’s really about how you’re going to feel and function.”
Advocating For Ourselves
Dr. Alan Christianson says the patient’s well-being is most important. But thyroid levels also affect health in ways that you wouldn’t know based on symptoms alone. Your TSH signal, for example, that’s a growth signal to the thyroid. And it can be a growth signal for something connected with health issues like heart disease and diabetes.
“So, it’s important to monitor our thyroid levels annually, to make sure we’re not getting too much or too little. Cancer that’s growing the fastest among women is thyroid cancer. The rates have gone up since the end of the 90s. It has gone up three-fold,” shares Dr. Alan Christianson.
Dr. Alan Christianson also believes that people with thyroid disease should have a minimum of a baseline ultrasound when the thyroid is down. The American College of Gynecology, in fact, recommends self-neck checks on a monthly basis as part of wanting to heal the thyroid holistically.
Dr. Alan Christianson stressed that selenium is essential for all things thyroid. Those who are low in selenium are more likely to have an iodine deficiency and vice versa.
“So, it’s most important to get a screen for your TSH and your thyroid antibodies. And it’s important to know not just what’s normal but what should optimal look like,” said Dr. Alan Christianson. “There’s a certain amount of thyroid antibodies that are considered perfectly fine.”
Dr. Alan Christianson says the number of people who have thyroid problems is much higher than people who have perfect thyroid function. And when you look at the healthiest populations, their average scores of T4 and T3 pretty much are the average scores in the blood test. T3 and T4 are highly regulated by the body, and they only reflect the state when the body is off by extremes.
On the other hand, T2 is not measurable. Dr. Alan Christianson says healthy people have reasonable amounts of that. People who are on thyroid treatment that does not include T2, tend to be lacking in it. He also said that T2 by itself seems to have the most significant roles to play in metabolic rates, and also would regulate ovarian function.
Truth About Cortisol
There have also been references wherein popularized the idea of how the adrenals are unable to produce cortisol. Dr. Alan Christianson mentions that there’s a disease called Addison’s disease. He went on to say that at a surface look, someone with Addison’s disease could have very similar cortisol levels to another.
“If you assume the problem is low cortisol, somebody is likely to think of giving more cortisol. And a lot of cases like that where someone is giving you a lot of cortisol at your worst, you might feel a lot better short-term,” said Dr. Alan Christianson. “But you can also measure the brain talking to the adrenals, in the same way, the brain talks to the thyroid.”
And the difference between Addison’s disease and adrenal fatigue is that in adrenal fatigue, the brain is telling you to slow down. That’s why Dr. Alan Christianson believes that prognosis can differ from person to person.
Hence, in wanting to heal your thyroid holistically, one has to do the research apart from finding an excellent practitioner who is knowledgeable. Ultimately, it’s about how to become a self-advocate for your health.
“Stay active with their work and hold on to it. You can radically transform the quality of your life by doing the right things with your lifestyle. Don’t give up on having that vision come through for you,” said Dr. Alan Christianson.
Dr. Alan Christianson is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist who focuses on Thyroid function, adrenal health, and metabolism.
Dr. Alan Christianson has been actively practicing in Scottsdale since 1996 and is the founding physician behind Integrative Health. He is a NY Times bestselling author whose books include The Metabolism Reset Diet, The Adrenal Reset Diet, and the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.
Dr. Alan Christianson regularly appears on national media like Dr. Oz, The Doctors, and The Today Show.
Get Connected With Dr. Alan Christianson!
Books by Dr. Alan Christianson
Have you ever heard of a building biologist? A few of you may know what a building biologist is, but many have not. It is essential to understand that a building biologist can significantly help improve our health. Check out this episode where I have Integrative Health Coach, Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and Building Biologist Cathy Cooke who can explain how an expert like her can change your life.
True Health is not about eating healthy and having a positive mindset. Sometimes, we do all that, yet we will find ourselves still dealing with chronic issues and erratic sleeping patterns. And more often than not, the culprit is something invisible like electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and other harmful frequencies in our environment.
Like most experts, their road to better health and helping people was brought about by personal health issues. And Cathy Cooke is no different. She struggled with health issues for 30 years starting around 1986. And even got bit by a tick at 12 years old.
“Lyme disease was not on the forefront that time. I got extremely sick. And I tried to find answers by seeing dozens of practitioners,” recalls Cathy Cooke.
And just a couple of a years ago she was finally able to improve her health with the help of a doctor. Cathy Cooke then researched everything—food, supplements, and the environment. And the more she got back to nature, the closer she was to how we’re supposed to live, the healthier she felt. Eventually, Cathy Cooke wanted to help other people.
In her mission to help others, Cathy Cooke pursued further studies and training. She started to eat better but had sleep issues. She also had tinnitus in her left ear for ten plus years.
Through her research, Cathy Cooke noticed that EMFs kept coming up. She then decided to stop using a cellphone for a few days and her tinnitus when away within two days.
Cathy Cooke then stopped using wi-fi or decreased exposure. She began having a better sleep pattern and her thyroid issue, and anxiety went away. That made her all the more determined to train as a building biologist.
“When you close the wi-fi, the heaviness goes away. It’s a difficult thing to get skeptical people to understand because they don’t see it. Something happens at a deeper level that’s affecting you on a cellular level,” said Cathy Cooke.
She adds, “If we are in an electromagnetic environment and we have metals, that’s also going to act like an antenna. And will cause us to have more symptoms.”
A building biologist will be able to assess your house for air quality and what they look out for is molds. Mold exposure can be devastating, as well as chemical exposure. Plus, a building biologist also looks out for areas that emit electric, magnetic, radio frequencies and microsurge electrical pollution or dirty electricity.
According to Cathy Cooke, the Institute of Building Biology and Ecology started in Germany in the 80s. After World War II, Cathy Cooke says soldiers were promised a house and all the chemicals left over from the war. Out of those excess chemicals came all of these chemically-based manufactured products like pesticides. And a lot of it went into building materials.
“Many people started to get sick in Germany inside their homes. Because all the chemicals are off-gassing. So, the Building Biology started in Germany to help these people to address their health symptoms and to clean up air quality,” Cathy Cooke said.
She adds, “And we started bringing in this EMF component. So, in the 90s, we developed a branch of Building Biology Institute here in the US. That’s where I was trained in air quality and EMF.”
Cathy Cooke explains that electric components come from electrical wires running through your walls. And then voltage comes out to our living space.
Our body is electric, so when we add on these other fields, Cathy Cooke says our body has a hard time communicating because it has human-made electric fields interfering with that communication.
Magnetic fields are from power lines. Cathy Cooke explains that if you have wiring errors, there are magnetic fields. The magnetic field will also come from appliances.
Some appliances include the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and even an alarm clock. Another appliance is a space heater which should be 8 to 10 feet away from you.
Microsurge Electrical Pollution
Microsurge Electrical Pollution, on the other hand, comes from the power that we are putting onto our electrical system. Cathy Cooke says the power that our gadgets are hooked on to our electrical lines creates spikes or a microsurge of electricity on the sign waves.
Radio frequency is what most people think of when we are talking about EMF. Cathy Cooke reveals that our cellphone, Bluetooth devices, smart meter, and all wireless communication devices have radio frequencies.
In recent years, there has been a growing concern over the impact of 5G. The 5G frequency has not been determined yet, but there are a lot of uncertainties. So, Cathy Cooke says the goal is going to be shorter waves.
But she also says that just because one frequency is higher than another, it does not mean it is worse or better because there are different impacts.
Steps We Can Do
One main suggestion of Cathy Cooke is not to use wi-fi. Instead, get an ethernet cable and plug the computer into the modem or router. This cuts out radio frequency exposure.
If there are a lot of members in your household who need to use the internet, Cathy Cooke recommends running multiple ethernet cords through your house. Or you can also unplug if you are not using it, especially at night.
Another way is to put your router in a shielding material like a metal box or place a cloth drape over the router. Cathy Cooke has that special type of cloth shield on her website. She also cautions people on the clothes they wear.
“Not everybody does well with material that they wear or put on your body. Some may find that it makes those symptoms worse. For the highly sensitive people, they take the jewelry off,” said Cathy Cooke.
She also suggests educating our neighbors regarding the effects of wi-fi, especially when you live in a building with so many units having their own wi-fi devices. Encourage communication between members of the community and get the guidance of a building biologist.
According to Cathy Cooke, the flicker from LEDs disrupts the nervous system, and we can’t see that. So, it is better to have old school incandescent light bulbs. Not the CFOs nor the compact fluorescent light. Because they give off a lot of dirty electricity.
Safer Use Of Gadgets
Cathy Cooke recommends placing our cellphone in airplane mode. It is also not advisable to use a cordless phone which is even worse than a cellphone.
The is also a meter that you can buy to measure frequency. Otherwise, just like you can plug your computer in the ethernet, you can do the same thing with your phone. You can’t receive a phone call, but there are ways to make phone calls through the internet.
Another way is using a safe sleeve phone cover. It has a shield that will drop some of the exposure. Cathy Cooke also recommends using an air tube headset with the phone.
An air tube headset is like earbuds, but halfway up, the electrical cord turns into this plastic tube. So, the cord or wire is not going all the way to your head. This way, it cuts off the electrical field.
Green Wave Filters
Green wave filters can address areas affected by magnetic fields. But Cathy Cooke says one has to know how to test or use this to prevent the situation from getting worse. The green wave filters along with other products to reduce EMFs are available on Cathy Cooke’s website.
“How much is your addiction to technology impeding the things that bring fulfillment and joy to your life,” said Cathy Cooke. “And if we look at it that way, I think it’s sometimes easy for us to put our technology down and refocus why we are here. And what brings fulfillment to our life.”
Cathy Cooke has been working as an Integrative Health Coach since 2014. She is a Board-Certified Holistic Nutritionist with the National Association of Nutritional Professionals. Recognizing that many of her clients were ‘doing everything right’ yet still suffering from health issues, she realized that many home and work environments were contributing to illness.
Seeing dramatic improvements in her health after limiting radio frequency exposure from wifi and cell phones, Cathy Cooke received training and certification from the International Institute of Building Biology and Ecology, affording her the expertise to evaluate all areas in a person’s life that may be contributing to illness.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Cathy Cooke now lives in Boise, Idaho. She is available for consulting via Skype and phone and is also willing to travel as needed for home assessments.
Get Connected With Cathy Cooke!
Nourishing Traditions – Sally Fallon
Build A Life You Want
To build a life you want is what we should all aim for. Life is short. And it is up to us to make the most of it, regardless of what situation we are in. My guest today, Author of Rise: How a House Built a Family, Cara Brookins is such an inspiration. From dealing with domestic violence to building her own house, she has defied the odds and proved that it is indeed possible to build a life you want.
Cara Brookins weathered through many storms before she became who she is today. She was a victim of extreme domestic violence when she married her first husband who slowly descended into having full-blown paranoid schizophrenia. Because he became dangerous, they divorced. But for ten years after that, he kept coming back and tormented Cara and her children.
Then Cara Brookins met another guy, who seemed to be the right answer. They eventually married, but he also ended up physically abusive. After two terrible marriages and children who were aged 17, 15, 11, and two at that time, the experience affected her two older kids. The situation turned even more severe since they now needed a place to live.
Building A House
Her failed marriages and the threat of being homeless gave Cara Brookins the idea of perhaps building a house herself. They were living in a house that was up for sale that time and could not afford to keep it.
She believed that it was primarily the need more than the inspiration to make their lives better. So, in the Fall of 2007, when Youtube was a brand-new website then, Cara Brookins started to research.
Cara Brookins was a computer programmer by profession, and that helped a lot. At first, she started watching videos for work to learn new computer languages. And then she saw videos on how to build a house. Broaching the idea to her kids, they were open to try it. They only had money to buy a piece of land and building materials but not enough money to hire people to build their house.
Cara Brookins says people helped along the way. Building the house took 20-hour days for nine months straight. She had to make sure they were on schedule because she had a 9-month construction loan.
“In the beginning when we first had this idea, it didn’t seem radical. People were stunned, but my kids were already beaten down for more than a decade at that point. There was always somebody in control. And there was always this layer of fear. There was no action we could take that would make it better,” recalls Cara Brookins.
She adds, “This idea of building a house was the first time that gave us the opportunity to go out and take physical action to visibly and tangibly make our lives better.”
Before building a house, Cara Brookins and her kids were stuck in a crippling survival mode. They didn’t have a close family that could help them through the trauma.
“You kind of pull inside yourself, each one of you and each day. We had to quickly learn not only how to communicate what we need and our ideas. And we also learned how to anticipate one another’s needs and talents,” Cara Brookins said.
She adds, “The level of doubt is hard to describe because, in retrospect, people think it must be fun building, exciting and empowering. Instead, when you bite off more than you can chew, it knocks you to your knees. Everything we tried to do, it was multiple setbacks before we move forward. Not surprisingly, that level of self- doubt, made them so much harder.”
According to Cara Brookins, to build a life you want, we want to think that the moment you take action, it’s the changing point. But for her, it’s like after the action was taken.
“That happened to me most often. I was forced into taking action because I had to. The city and the bank would not let me proceed with this house until I had water. A deadline forced me,” said Cara Brookins.
She adds, “And once that happened, I can see in retrospect how ridiculous my situation was. And how ridiculous I had made my situation by not taking that option. That’s when I made this conscious effort not to do it anymore.”
Taking From Experience
Cara Brookins believes that when you feel paralysis and fear to take the next step to build the life you want, we usually think of the worst-case scenario. And believe that we are going to survive, learn from the experience and be better next time. For Cara Brookins, the transition was after she saw the effect of her doubt, hesitation, paralysis, and procrastination.
“Get over yourself. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Walk in the lows and ask that ridiculous question. Have fun with it,” suggests Cara Brookins. “We learned that early on. Whatever your goal is, and if you go all in, you will figure out a way if it is your only way of survival.”
Cara Brookins also believes that to build the life you want; you need to put reminders in your path. And designing your life around the thing, you want to do and the person you want to be.
Another important factor on how to build the life you want is recognizing that when you procrastinate, our brain is going to be continually fighting for that feeling of wanting or accomplishing something. Cara Brookins says it’s a whole lot easier for it to win at something it knows you are successful at that for your brain to allow you to go out and take that risk.
“As soon as you are aware of that process, your brain is designed to hold you back. Because doing risky things can get you eaten by a tiger,” said Cara Brookins. “That’s your primitive brain saying don’t go trying difficult things, stay here and do the safer thing. That’s how we get trapped in these cycles.”
Today, Cara Brookins and her family reside in a 3,500 square foot house. The house has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big library, a 3-car garage, a big shop, and a treehouse.
While there aren’t that many photos of the construction period, Cara Brookins’ house is a testament that anything is possible. She is still humbled by the fact that her story inspired so many people.
“The kids became close. Not only do they support each other but they call each other out. And lovingly call each other out. There is a level of honesty,” Cara Brookins said.
She adds, “The key is in our society. We have forgotten the value of taking physical action of going out and doing something that’s physically hard. And the way that it bonds you together.”
Rise: How a House Built a Family
Cara Brookins’ Rise: How a House Built a Family book, inspired many people to do their projects or build a life they want. The book has lessons that you can apply to your business as well. The book also appealed to men who took Cara Brookins by surprise.
“In retrospect, it shouldn’t have because it is that physical activity that men do better and more often than women. Men are better in turning to that while women tend to turn to more talk and internal things,” said Cara Brookins.
In getting out of your comfort zone, the risk you feel is natural. Because Cara Brookins says, it is scary to put everything you got into one massive dream. And the only way that you can make something that big is to put everything into it.
The first time Cara Brookins considered writing a book about building her house was when she was talking to another writer who encouraged her to write about it. That writer’s agent called Cara Brookins who eventually tried to write the story.
But the book didn’t sell. It took Cara Brookins six years of constantly giving up and going back in writing fiction. Because it was so hard for her to tell the bad part and she worried about the effect, it would have on her kids.
“To get to a point where I was willing to share the worst moments of my life, I wrote in a raw and honest way. In a way that it was exceptionally vulnerable. And my kids had to be ok with it, too,” said Cara Brookins.
Then when her agent called to inform her that it was sent to publishers, the next hurdle was to see how many people like the book. Many did, and the rest is history.
When Cara Brookins started her journey in building a house, there weren’t many resources available. Now, anything is possible. With smartphones and so many resources online, she encourages everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to explore and learn.
“We live in an amazing time. But then it becomes hard to focus. And hard to figure out which of those things you need or want. And how do those things go together,” said Cara Brookins. “I think that’s more of the procrastination we have now. Many people are paralyzed in their reality.”
Motivational Keynote Speaker
Cara Brookins’ profession was being a computer programmer for 18 years. In her spare time, she wrote books. But becoming a motivational speaker allowed her to reach out and inspire more people to build the life they want.
“It’s hard to get on stage. Because it proves that no matter how many big things you do, you will still face other things that are big, scary and challenging to overcome and have to talk yourself through it,” Cara Brookins said.
She adds, “The more that I did it from each time I learned, I change my presentation the way I saw myself. And the way I saw my goal. My goal was not for me. But it was for the audience, and what I wanted them to feel. It transformed into this thing that I love.”
Ultimately, becoming a speaker is a good thing because Cara Brookins loves sharing what she went through. She also does workshops for companies about procrastination.
See You At The Movies
Although Cara Brookins plans to write some more non-fiction books, she is currently busy ironing out the details of an upcoming Hollywood film about her life.
Cara Brookins is co-producing the film along with the lead actress of the upcoming movie. She hopes the movie will inspire people to take action and do great things. And that their past does not define their future.
“It’s about how to make yourself the type of person to take action. Part of it is setting goals and declaring it. It’s also to improve the way that your current situation looks and feel,” said Cara Brookins.
She adds, “Whatever you think you might be able to do, whatever you think you want the most in your life, go do it.”
Cara Brookins is best known for being the mom who built her own house using YouTube tutorials. She has been entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences with her keynotes and presentations since 2004.
Cara Brookins is the author of eight books, including Rise: How a House Built a family, which tells the story of building her 3,500 square foot house with the help of her four children by watching YouTube tutorials — and googling things like foundation work, plumbing, and gas lines.
News of Cara Brookins’ family story went viral in more than 75 countries and was viewed two billion times. Rise has now been optioned to become a major motion picture. Inspiring audiences to build bigger lives remains Cara’s greatest passion.
Get Connected With Cara Brookins!
Book by Cara Brookins
Recommended Reading by Cara Brookins
5 Second Rule – Mel Robbins