8 April 2013

Why go natural?

I just wanted to say thank you for the kind comments on my health update post. I also wanted to explain why I'm seeing a naturopath instead of going straight to my GP for medication.

Firstly, my GP has been less than helpful. I went to her initially when I felt cruddy and asked for the standard blood tests to be run (diabetes, thyroid, iron, vitamin B, etc). Among the tests were some for thyroid function, namely T3 and TSH. My TSH levels came back raised (8, should be below 3 or 4). All she said was to come back in 3-6 months for a repeat test. 3-6 months when I wasn't functioning!

I went straight to my naturopath, Ann Kerr-Bell at the Natural Medical Centre here in Pukekohe. Recently she asked me to have my thyroid tests run again - all four that are needed for a full picture of thyroid health: T3, T4, TSH and thyroid antibodies. The catch was that because it was private - through naturopath instead of through GP - I'd have to pay for them.

So I went back to my GP to get the tests run so I wouldn't have to pay for them (national health). I specifically asked for all four tests and was told that no, they were not indicated and she wouldn't refer me for them, only TSH. If that showed an increase then the other tests would be indicated. And she gave me a prescription for a low dose of synthetic hormone because "it might help you feel better".

My TSH levels came back worse (11). I only found out because Ann phoned for the result. To date I still haven't heard from my GP - not with the result, not with a suggestion of further testing, not to see how I've got on with the medication, nothing. (I haven't filled my prescription or taken the medication.)

I then paid for the T3, T4 and antibodies test - the antibodies present in my blood revealed that I have Hashimoto's disease. They should have been below 60 but mine were 1300.

But even if my GP had been wonderfully helpful and interested, the regular medical route is: thyroid isn't producing correct hormones, let's give the body some fake hormones in its place.

This creates a life-long dependency on the medication but doesn't even come close to addressing the underlying problem.

My naturopath's approach is a whole-health healing one: thyroid isn't producing correct hormones - why? It's because immune system is out of whack - why? In my case becuase of adrenal fatigue (which, may I add, isn't often recognised by regular doctors until it becomes extreme, i.e. Addison's disease).

So she uses potent medication that she's trained and licensed to prescribe, derived from natural sources, to boost and moderate the immune system, nourish and replenish the adrenal system, support and heal the thyroid. As well as address the other issues that I've had (mineral imbalance, cellular dehydration, low iron, candida, liver stress, leaky gut, etc).

And what do you know, the end result is a healed body and a thyroid that can start functioning more correctly without taking fake hormones. (I will note that this is not a cure for Hashimoto's - once those thyroid antibodies are present they always will be.)

The catch is, it takes time to rebuild and heal cells. A lot of time. For example, red blood cells last around 120 days before they die and are replaced by new ones. So while my body is healing I currently don't feel all that great yet. But I am hopeful that in time I will.

Please know that this is my take on my own healthy journey. If you have a thyroid condition and you take medication for it that is totally your business. I don't judge anyone for taking that route, it just wasn't for me. If you have a doctor who is helpful and medication that makes you feel good, that is great. Go for it!

Here is an example of a morning's pills - this doesn't include the liquid herbal mixture I was taking, or the other doses throughout the day. Just the breakfast dose:

 photo pills_zps39ed11e5.jpg

It includes high doses of iron and omega 3 to address deficiencies, two different Active Elements minerals combinations to address severe imbalance, Metagenics Ultra Probioplex for gut health and immune function, Adrenal Rebuilder for adrenal healing, Thorne Thyrocsin for optimum thyroid function, and an antihistamine for seasonal allergies.

It's a lot to take and it's mega expensive, but it's something I feel much more comfortable doing than taking the medication prescribed to me by my GP. The medication given to me by Ann is tweaked to my body as it heals and changes, and the best part is I won't have to take it forever. Now there's something to look forward to.

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