Welcome to June! It is great to see the long warm days and everything so green. Winter sports are fun but it is nice getting off work when the sun is still shining. The sun is a vital nutrient to all of our bodies and we need to get our daily dose to keep us healthy. 20-30 minutes (darker skin needs longer sun exposure) a day on the 40-60 % of our skin helps us produce 10,000 IUs of vitamin D. An hour a day outside without any contacts, glasses or sunglasses stimulates our pineal and pituitary glands to produce more serotonin and melatonin. You can wear a hat so the sun doesn’t have to touch your face but you do have to be outside to get that pineal/pituitary stimulation.
Cancer Killing Sunscreen
Many people are afraid of the sun due to skin cancer and skin aging. Even though sun exposure protects you from 30 different types of cancer, what good is it to be healthy and look like you are 100? The solution is to protect your face while getting the rest of your body exposed to sunlight. Most of you know I’m not a big fan of putting chemical sunscreens on your body and baking in the sun. But I recently learned of a new sunscreen from Curaderm. Curaderm BCE is a product mentioned in a Dr. David William’s newsletter many years ago that helps burn skin cancer off your face. It is made from very powerful plant extracts that can burn non-melanoma skin cancers off your body in 3-6 weeks with no permanent scaring. They now have a 35 SPF sunscreen with Curaderm in it so that you are protecting your face from sun damage and burning off cancer or pre-cancer cells at the same time. It is expensive (of course) and I don’t carry it in the office but you can find out more at: www.curaderm.net. It is made in Australia and shipped out of Vanuatu, South Pacific so it takes awhile to receive it once you order it.
Vitamin D and Thyroid
After every 9HealthFair in April, I get to see a lot of blood work and usually I find a lot of weak thyroids. Below is an excerpt from Theodore C. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D. website:
Vitamin D Deficiency and Thyroid Diseases
Vitamin D is an important vitamin that not only regulates calcium, but also has many other beneficial actions. Not many endocrinologists realize this, but several articles published over 20 years ago showed that patients with hypothyroidism have low levels of vitamin D. This may lead to some of the bone problems related to hypothyroidism. It was thought that one of two mechanisms may explain the low levels of vitamin D in patients with hypothyroidism, 1) the low levels of vitamin D may be due to poor absorption of vitamin D from the intestine or 2) the body may not activate vitamin D properly. Other articles have demonstrated that patients with Graves disease also have low levels of Vitamin D. Importantly, both vitamin D and thyroid hormone bind to similar receptors called steroid hormone receptors. A different gene in the Vitamin D receptor was shown to predispose people to autoimmune thyroid disease including Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. (http://www.goodhormonehealth.com/VitaminD.pdf)
So every Spring I see weak thyroids popping up after a winter of no sunlight on our skin. Makes sense doesn’t it? Last October I wrote about how important iodine is to our thyroid health as well as a preventative for thyroid, breast, ovarian, endometrial and prostate cancer. Every cell in our body contains and uses iodine. It also helps reverse and prevent Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroditis (note: these ailments are usually missed because doctors fail to order the thyroid antibodies tests and only look at TSH levels to determine thyroid health).
In that 10/07 newsletter I referenced Dr. David Brownstein’s books as a great resource on iodine and thyroid health (www.drbrownstein.com). In addition to sunlight and iodine, your body needs enough sodium to actually transport the iodine into the cells and allow them to create thyroid hormone. This process is called the symporter system and uses certain amino acids and sodium (Na+) to bind with iodine and take it across the cell membrane. Many times when we are increasing someone’s intake of iodine we will see a rise in their TSH levels. Normally this is a sign that the thyroid is getting weaker. In this case, it is the body not having enough sodium to properly transport all the available iodine so it is releasing more TSH to help compensate. These levels drop after a few months but can be hastened by increasing your intake of sea salt. Again, many of us have been made afraid of salt by false reports that it is bad for you. Sea salt has 75-86 different minerals and is vital to your health and should be consumed daily. Just a reminder, real sea salt should be grey to dull white and should look a bit damp. You can find it in the spice section of the health food grocery stores.
Strengthen Your Thyroid
We can help you strengthen your thyroid by normalizing your iodine stores and using the right supplements to provide the needed amino acids and nutrients to nourish your thyroid. If your TSH is greater than 2.0 (not the 4.5 or higher listed as normal) you have a weak thyroid. The list of symptoms for a hypothyroid are:
Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
Coarse, dry hair
Dry, rough pale skin
Cold intolerance (can't tolerate the cold like those around you)
Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
Abnormal menstrual cycles
If you are being affected by these symptoms or you know your thyroid is weak, get in and let’s see if we can’t help you. Missing nutrients like B2, B3, magnesium, selenium, vitamin A, iron and zinc will exacerbate an iodine deficiency. The longer you take thyroid medication, the harder it is to fix your thyroid because it continues to atrophy so don’t put it off.