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Author Topic: Foods that truly make us feel good  (Read 20401 times)
Darkhawk
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« Reply #45: February 17, 2011, 11:33:25 am »

Interesting. My doc told me that sometimes thyroid problems naturally resolve themselves but it's very rare.

I think a lot depends on frame and perspective.

My thyroid tests out as "low normal".  I was clinically hypothyroid basically through puberty - all of the other body changes put enough changes into my system that I went from one side of the medically arbitrary line to the other.  By the time I was mostly done with puberty, I had drifted back.

I don't think my actual baseline condition has notably changed in that time.
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« Reply #46: February 17, 2011, 12:13:17 pm »

I think what worries me, is when an herbal therapy is expected to cure what could be a very serious illness. Perhaps the tea helped in her situation, but I have serious doubts that it lead to a cure of any kind. I'd love to see some research on it, though. Do you have anything that would quiet the skeptic in me? 

There's lots of stuff that can affect a complex system like endocrine function in the body - some of that is regular use of herbal stuff that supports endocrine function (or things like adrenal, or thyroid function), but some of it can also be lifestyle changes. It's not impossible that someone making a really concerted shift from a high-stress always-on-the-go type life to a much more deliberate one with a slower pace/lots of rest, a big focus on food and exercise choices that supported the body, etc. could also see substantial changes in their thyroid function - especially if the thyroid issues are caused by something else (stress on the pituitary function, adrenal exhaustion, etc. which can definitely be improved by some lifestyle shifts.)

The advice I've gotten - both from my allopathic doctor and from the herbalist I see - is that this is why it's so critical to regular followups - either every six months or every year (plus, of course, if you start seeing symptoms that indicate either overtreatment or undertreatment.) with appropriate bloodwork as needed. (I'm on every six months.)

The trick with treating for hypothyroid is that if the thyroid does come back online (which can actually happen for some people dealing with autoimmune causes - the thyroid will go through stages of working, stages of working too hard, stages of not working, but alternate) is that you don't want to be overtreating: there are heart and other circulatory risks of being extremely hyperthyroid if it's not carefully controlled. So, regular blood work, to make sure that's not happening, plus being self-aware of the potential symptoms to watch out for.

Same deal happens if you start working with herbs or other substances to help manage it. The one trick is that in some of those cases, you're trading a prescription drug (with a known amount of active ingredient, and in this case, pretty simple to take) for a herbal preparation (where there might be variable amounts - but also where it might be more complicated to take every day: making tea a certain way, for example, is not always the easiest thing to do while travelling, where taking a pill is easy and portable.)

Some people, that's easy. Some people, it's more complicated. I live a fairly regular and habitual life, but I've chosen to do the prescription dose option to treat most of the thyroid issues (while working with some lifestyle/food/rest choices to optimise for brain) because I don't want to risk my ability to function on a method that I know I can't always easily manage while travelling/sick/dealing with a couple of very busy days off my usual schedule.

Different people will make different choices about that one - but as long as someone's doing regular followups/self-awareness of symptoms (including running stuff by trusted friends when needed), I think it's their call. The people I really worry about are the people who aren't doing regular follow-up testing and who are ignoring other symptoms.
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« Reply #47: February 17, 2011, 12:59:19 pm »

Related to the "Self-Esteem while fat" discussion, I thought it might be cool to have a discussion of food that *isn't* tied to dieting or losing weight, but is instead tied to other things that make our bodies feel good.

At the moment, this is very hard for me. I am not feeling well in general (no, still don't and no solution in sight.) Also my taste has changed, for example I don't like cola anymore and it has always been my lifeline. (Seriously. Cola has been my main motivation to go out and grocery shop.)

And since nothing has been found I've looking, as House says, on the interweb. Which tells how people feel  better after dropping glucose, diary, gluten, additives and processed foods altogether. I am also allergic to fresh fruits. Mildly allergic (no anaphylactic shocks), but still. Oh, and I would like to eat not too much meat (ethical things and so), and there are some groups scaring us into how much poison fish contains. (But those two are really bottom concerns.)

But all things combined and I feel myself constantly thinking: is this right? Does this make me feel worse? Can I eat it? Is it spoiled? (Since everything tastes not exactly as it is supposed to.)

And I am also living alone, which means the structure of shopping, preparing and eating depends solely on me. And I can't figure it out. There is nothing there at the moment that I want to eat, trust to eat and see myself able to prepare.

So I'm trying to let go of the ideas of actually changing diets for now, and focus on getting it more or less stable and varied. That seems to be enough. But food that actually makes me feel good? Hmmm, none at the moment.
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« Reply #48: February 17, 2011, 01:18:22 pm »

And I am also living alone, which means the structure of shopping, preparing and eating depends solely on me. And I can't figure it out. There is nothing there at the moment that I want to eat, trust to eat and see myself able to prepare.

So I'm trying to let go of the ideas of actually changing diets for now, and focus on getting it more or less stable and varied. That seems to be enough. But food that actually makes me feel good? Hmmm, none at the moment.

Oh, I hate the living-alone part, I deal with it too. And there's a lot of foods that I like some, but not enough to go through a whole [whatever] before it goes bad. (and at the same time, I really want to keep to one grocery run a week, not multiple ones for a variety of reasons.) I've also had the tastes/whatever changing, which I agree is incredibly tedious.

What I started doing - and I'm about a year into dealing with that, so I feel like it has traction - was to pay attention to what I was craving, and then getting at least a little of it, while looking at foods that made me go "oh, I might be hungry for that." when I went shopping.

(I have tried short runs of dropping various things from my diet to see how I feel: in general, a week isn't long enough to see major results in all things, but it's long enough to figure out if it's worth continuing. Dropping dairy and meat make me feel worse, so I get those from ethical sources, while reducing grains (and carbs in general) gave me enough improvement to be worth continuing and adjusting some more.) Picking one thing at a time both was a lot easier to deal with emotionally, but it's also a lot easier to tell which thing is making a difference.)
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« Reply #49: February 17, 2011, 01:40:27 pm »

The trick with treating for hypothyroid is that if the thyroid does come back online (which can actually happen for some people dealing with autoimmune causes - the thyroid will go through stages of working, stages of working too hard, stages of not working, but alternate) is that you don't want to be overtreating: there are heart and other circulatory risks of being extremely hyperthyroid if it's not carefully controlled. So, regular blood work, to make sure that's not happening, plus being self-aware of the potential symptoms to watch out for.

Spontaneous remission of glandular autoimmune disease does happen, but it's pretty rare once a given gland is past a certain point of degradation.  As I mentioned in another post, there's some suggestion that suppression of glandular function via complete replacement of the hormones it produces is a promising way to treat autoimmune disease.  The regrowth of tissue itself can apparently cause the immune system to recommence its attack (which sometimes happens in remission).

I also don't think overtreatment of thyroid disease is much of a problem in the US.  The converse appears to be a lot more common.

Brina
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« Reply #50: February 17, 2011, 01:59:01 pm »

Spontaneous remission of glandular autoimmune disease does happen, but it's pretty rare once a given gland is past a certain point of degradation.  As I mentioned in another post, there's some suggestion that suppression of glandular function via complete replacement of the hormones it produces is a promising way to treat autoimmune disease.  The regrowth of tissue itself can apparently cause the immune system to recommence its attack (which sometimes happens in remission).

Yep. Which is another reason I chose the meds. (Prior to diagnosis, I had a swing that was almost certainly the thyroid sputtering into hyper mode for about a month - I lost 35 pounds in under 2.5 months, which is .. well, not the way the body should be working.)

Quote
I also don't think overtreatment of thyroid disease is much of a problem in the US.  The converse appears to be a lot more common.

I agree with you - but at the same time, once *on* treatment, I want to keep it in a useful level for me (I feel good right now, and my most recent TSH was at .8 - historically, other times in my life pre-medication have been between 1 and 1.5) At the same, it's pretty clear that going into hyperthyroid mode has some risks, and is worth avoiding (and from that brief burst, I have to say that consistent persistent nausea, anxiety, and inability to sleep from both of the above are not exactly things I want to deal with for any longer than I have to.) If, say, my weight changed, or other aspects of my metabolism, or even some kind of diet/exercise changes, we might want to back off my meds a dosage level.

(For example, one of the things about my current job hunt is that it may very well change both the amount of daily activity I get in terms of walking around a different campus/library/space, and may also change things like how much daylight I get, the climate, all things that can play into larger endocrine balance.)

I do know of people (not friends, but via thyroid discussion communities) who've apparently gotten to the point where they spend at least some time without meds *if* a particular combination of things work out (they caught the thyroid disease before it had done lots of lasting damage to the gland, they've made and can keep up lifestyle changes that mean it's not still under stress, that kind of thing.) Or, for example, people who went hypo during pregnancy, but after the pregnancy, their levels drop back a more normal range (and they continue to feel good/not have symptoms, of course.)

Not true for everyone, or even most people, but common enough that checking every 6-12 months, rather than assuming that previous levels are just fine, is the smart thing. And, of course, some people test and discover they need more meds. The other reason for testing - especially if people are on a generic (which I am) is that if your pharmacy changes which generic they're offering, some people are more sensitive to some formulations than others. I don't seem to be that sensitive, but some people are, and I'd still want to do a check a couple of months after changing formulations to make sure the dose was still good.
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« Reply #51: February 17, 2011, 02:36:06 pm »

So she continued her meds, but added the tea?
Yes, as a journeyman bohique and santero, the healing work is a large part of my spirituality. I only make recommendations as supplements to normal procedures and inform them that if they are concerned about trying it, then they should speak with their doctor.
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« Reply #52: February 17, 2011, 02:38:38 pm »

I agree with you - but at the same time, once *on* treatment, I want to keep it in a useful level for me (I feel good right now, and my most recent TSH was at .8 - historically, other times in my life pre-medication have been between 1 and 1.5) At the same, it's pretty clear that going into hyperthyroid mode has some risks, and is worth avoiding (and from that brief burst, I have to say that consistent persistent nausea, anxiety, and inability to sleep from both of the above are not exactly things I want to deal with for any longer than I have to.) If, say, my weight changed, or other aspects of my metabolism, or even some kind of diet/exercise changes, we might want to back off my meds a dosage level.

There are definite risks to hyperthyroidism, and as you mention the symptoms are fairly obvious and extremely disconcerting.  I can't handle more than a 10-15 mcg increase in dosage at any given time or I have hyper symptoms.  But I also think the medical community is a lot more concerned about overtreatment than it should be.  They're so concerned that they tend to undertreat across the board, keeping people (usually women) symptomatic.  And this comes from the stupid guidelines that suggest less frequent/thorough testing.  It just pisses me off.

Quote
I do know of people (not friends, but via thyroid discussion communities) who've apparently gotten to the point where they spend at least some time without meds *if* a particular combination of things work out (they caught the thyroid disease before it had done lots of lasting damage to the gland, they've made and can keep up lifestyle changes that mean it's not still under stress, that kind of thing.) Or, for example, people who went hypo during pregnancy, but after the pregnancy, their levels drop back a more normal range (and they continue to feel good/not have symptoms, of course.)

That's why I mentioned getting past a certain point.  I know (both personally and online) a lot of women whose autoimmune thyroid issues went ignored for years because they had a TSH around 5, all the while their immune systems were destroying the gland.  I'm one of those women.  I was told that all my symptoms were because I was gaining weight (something about chickens and eggs, that).  I was ignored and marginalized because I was perceived as lazy and my disease was allowed to progress.  So I wasn't disagreeing with your points, just mentioning that once you get past a certain point, remission is unlikely.  And so many people are allowed to get to this point that I thought it warranted a mention.

Oh, and an interesting point about your healthy-feeling TSH range:  an extremely informal, unscientific survey I've taken over the years places every healthy, weight-stable woman I've met (mostly in real life, but a few online) who were willing to share their numbers with me at between 1 and 1.5...every single one.  I find that extremely interesting.

Brina
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« Reply #53: February 17, 2011, 02:49:37 pm »

Oh, and an interesting point about your healthy-feeling TSH range:  an extremely informal, unscientific survey I've taken over the years places every healthy, weight-stable woman I've met (mostly in real life, but a few online) who were willing to share their numbers with me at between 1 and 1.5...every single one.  I find that extremely interesting.

And yet doctors won't medicate to get the numbers below three, or, in some cases, five.
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« Reply #54: February 17, 2011, 03:56:17 pm »

And yet doctors won't medicate to get the numbers below three, or, in some cases, five.

There are docs out there willing to work with you.  Mine does, and I love him for it.  But you really do have to shop around...which is difficult when you have brain fog and can barely keep your job, much less play Musical Doctors.

Brina
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« Reply #55: February 17, 2011, 04:21:11 pm »

Yes, as a journeyman bohique and santero, the healing work is a large part of my spirituality. I only make recommendations as supplements to normal procedures and inform them that if they are concerned about trying it, then they should speak with their doctor.

Well that's great, but it doesn't really make me any less skeptical about mango leaf tea for the treatment of thyroid disorders.

Hmm, I don't think I asked the right question. What I'm trying to find out is, how does it work? What is in mango leaves and how does it affect thyroid function? I don't have a thyroid anymore, so the information probably won't help me directly. But I'd like to know more about it in case it would help someone else.

I did a search and all I found were sites that sold African mango making claims that it supports thyroid function, but nothing that tells me how or why.
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« Reply #56: February 17, 2011, 06:46:59 pm »

They're so concerned that they tend to undertreat across the board, keeping people (usually women) symptomatic.  And this comes from the stupid guidelines that suggest less frequent/thorough testing.  It just pisses me off.


With you on all of this.

Quote
Oh, and an interesting point about your healthy-feeling TSH range:  an extremely informal, unscientific survey I've taken over the years places every healthy, weight-stable woman I've met (mostly in real life, but a few online) who were willing to share their numbers with me at between 1 and 1.5...every single one.  I find that extremely interesting.

I do too. (And that seems to be true of other places I've seen - discussions on the Thyroid community on LiveJournal, for example, which continues to be pretty active and informative (and unlike some other places, reasonably coherent.)

One of the things that helped me push for diagnosis - I think I may have mentioned this somewhere, but it's worth repeating - was that because we'd been suspecting thyroid wonkiness on and off since I was in my early teens, I actually had about 10 test results to look at. Several of them were elevated to the point where I had problems (which for me is right around the 3.0 mark.) At all of those times, I didn't feel quite as lousy as I did during the actual diagnosis, but I had a bunch of otherwise atypical symptoms in the same cluster (sudden major apathy not readily linked to anything going on in my life, exhaustion, etc.)

So, being able to go back and say "Hey, this, here? Can we *try* treating, and see what happens?" was a lot easier. (Erm. Once I got the referral to the recently-trained, residency at Mayo endocrinologist, because he went "Yeah, that's sort of indicative, isn't it?" The lovely thing about Mayo is that because their diagnostic and treatment focus is on collaborating across multiple systems, they're sometimes more willing to go "Ok, try this, see what happens." or to do trials of stuff that has a low side effect risk for a brief time and see if it helps.)

In my case, it's pretty clearly stress-related stuff that was the major trigger for stuff hitting as hard (and as fast) as it did, all things considered: I do wonder what would have happened if I'd had the same general me, but hadn't had that combination of stresses at that particular point. (Or if I'd had a spouse/partner - both for less financial stress, and for stuff like getting treatment earlier, having more options in terms of a leave of absence, managing household stuff, etc.)

I have a feeling that if enough of those things had been different, it might have turned into a brief blip, and I might not have ended up on medication long-term (or at least, would not have needed a year to recover once we started treatment: I was a lot better in June than I was the previous January, but I'm still seeing slow but significant signs of recovery - today, I did a whole bunch of stuff that I couldn't face doing six months ago, like attacking cleaning under my bed, doing a massive load of laundry (including all the washable bedding), and I still feel (with substantial, but not unreasonable) breaks between stuff that I'll get even more stuff cleaned and put away tonight.

On the other hand, since getting it diagnosed was helped by how obviously Wrong stuff was for me, and the fact that I bet the thyroid would have failed at some point eventually, perhaps at an even worse time to try and deal with it, I am mostly taking it as "Stuff happens when it does, and we get on with life."
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« Reply #57: February 17, 2011, 07:38:12 pm »

One of the things that helped me push for diagnosis - I think I may have mentioned this somewhere, but it's worth repeating - was that because we'd been suspecting thyroid wonkiness on and off since I was in my early teens, I actually had about 10 test results to look at. Several of them were elevated to the point where I had problems (which for me is right around the 3.0 mark.) At all of those times, I didn't feel quite as lousy as I did during the actual diagnosis, but I had a bunch of otherwise atypical symptoms in the same cluster (sudden major apathy not readily linked to anything going on in my life, exhaustion, etc.)

I'm pretty much your polar opposite as far as treatment luck is concerned.  I think I've been hypo since I was pregnant with my son in '89.  My hair started falling out fairly heavily (which I understood isn't all that unusual during pregnancy, so I dismissed it).  I don't think I was tested during my pregnancy, despite some unexplained bleeding.  In the mid-90s I was part of a Planned Parenthood contraceptive study and the doc there noticed my thyroid was really swollen.  I didn't have insurance and worked 50 hours a week and had a small child, so it took me a few years to finally go to a doctor about it.  I was told my TSH was fine (4.5), although it was odd that my thyroid gland was so large.  I was told I should probably cut out some carbs and eat more salads.  In short, it was implied I was a fatty hypochondriac (I weighed a svelte buck-fiddy at the time). 

After going through idiot doc after idiot doc, I finally found one who listens to me.  I have to stab myself in the thigh with pen to keep from bursting into tears every time he asks "How are you feeling?"  And then again when I realize he actually means it.  I'm on a full replacement dose of hormone, I work out almost every day, and am slowly crawling my way back to living.  My last TSH was 2.88 (down from 15 a few years ago), so my doc upped my dose yet again.  I told him I'd like to see what I feel like with a TSH between 1 and 2.  He said "Sure!"  So I had to stab myself again.

Brina
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« Reply #58: February 17, 2011, 10:48:35 pm »

Well that's great, but it doesn't really make me any less skeptical about mango leaf tea for the treatment of thyroid disorders.

Hmm, I don't think I asked the right question. What I'm trying to find out is, how does it work? What is in mango leaves and how does it affect thyroid function? I don't have a thyroid anymore, so the information probably won't help me directly. But I'd like to know more about it in case it would help someone else.

I did a search and all I found were sites that sold African mango making claims that it supports thyroid function, but nothing that tells me how or why.
I don't scientifically study the herbs and other traditional treatments since on my part, results and side effects were all that really affected me and my work. From what I have studied, the compounds have shown in research to more efficiently regulate (and I doubt I'm using the right terms here) the hormonal production of many different glands. Apparently it's effects become evident throughout the endocrine system. I've never heard anything about African variety, and in sampling different types of trees, they all seem to be equally effective. As I learned, it's the younger mango leaves that have the best concentration of the appropriate compounds.

But I'll also add that I'm not here to convert anybody to any system of medicine. I just thought that it was worthwhile o mention this as a tip and that anyone who doesn't feel secure in trying it should not try it.
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« Reply #59: February 17, 2011, 11:21:02 pm »

I don't scientifically study the herbs and other traditional treatments since on my part, results and side effects were all that really affected me and my work. From what I have studied, the compounds have shown in research to more efficiently regulate (and I doubt I'm using the right terms here) the hormonal production of many different glands. Apparently it's effects become evident throughout the endocrine system. I've never heard anything about African variety, and in sampling different types of trees, they all seem to be equally effective. As I learned, it's the younger mango leaves that have the best concentration of the appropriate compounds.

But I'll also add that I'm not here to convert anybody to any system of medicine. I just thought that it was worthwhile o mention this as a tip and that anyone who doesn't feel secure in trying it should not try it.

Here's what I've read about it (not a professional, or a healer, just an avid reader of natural health articles and such): it's been suggested that hypothyroidism may be linked to the body's pH levels. The majority of most people's diets is acidic, rather than alkaline, while the body's overall pH should be slightly alkaline. When mango (particularly the leaves, but the fruit as well) is digested, it produces alkaline compounds, which have a balancing effect on the body's pH, providing a better environment for the reactions by which the body produces thyroid hormones. I don't have any of the studies right in front of me at the moment, so I can't cite exact numbers, but that's what I read.

Anecdotally and without solid evidence to back it up, my personal experience is that when I was in St Croix and was eating mango on a regular basis (not getting the mango leaf tea, just eating the fruit) my blood sugar levels were certainly closer to normal, not enough to claim a cure, but definitely improved.
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