An underlying factor behind an endless number of diseases. These include inflammatory conditions of the skin (psoriasis,eczema), gastrointestinal tract (Chronn’s disease or diverticulitis) and musculoskeletal system (back or joint pain) just to name a few.
A certain degree of healthy inflammation is needed in your body, as it is a necessary component of the immune-defense system. Distressed cells in the body send out signals that trigger a response from the immune cells. Specific cells within the immune system then help eliminate the cause of the damage (infectious agents, trauma) and repair damaged cells and tissue.
When your body is in balance it provides immediate action to help promote healing, them shuts down the response when the treat is gone. However when imbalances occur in your immune system, your body shifts toward a state of chronic inflammation that may manifest as a minor headache or something more severe, such as arthritis.
Inflammation in the body is not only pain and diseases, it also send signals to the HPA Axis to send cortisol to the rescue to help reduce the inflammation. This creates a vicious cycle for both the stress response and immune systems.
A number of dietary and lifestyle considerations can shift the body from a pro inflammatory to a balanced and non inflamed state. This will not only help put out the the inflammatory fire but also helps reducing the overall burden to your stress response system.
When chronic inflammation is present supplementing with natural products will provide a significant boost to reversing inflammation
In our office our Comprehensive blood work test different markers
Dr. Michael Gorgas is a Thyroid & Hashimoto’s specialist in Oceanside- San Diego, California. In his office, he treats thyroid patients. His passion for the “whole-human” approach to care, allows him to get to the underlying causes of symptoms that keep you from being, and doing, what you want to.
Simply stated, Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune condition that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland.
It may occur in any age group of men and women, and it is usually triggered during times of hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and perimenopause.
Severe and prolonged stress and life altering events such as:
All of these are major inflammatory stressful events that wreak havoc on our immune system and can trigger an auto-immune response such as Hashimoto’s.
The trouble with the standard medical model is that Hashimoto’s is treated as a thyroid condition and the immune system, which is at the central core of the condition, is seldom considered. So, the proper labs are seldom ordered. Meanwhile, the condition goes undiagnosed, or is commonly diagnosed as Hypothyroidism, with a thyroid replacement hormone prescribed; such as Synthroid, Lovothyroxine, or Naturethroid.
These thyroid replacement hormone meds can offer temporary relief from symptoms, typically within a few months the symptoms return. When symptoms return, dosing adjustments or medication changes occur with very little relief of the symptoms. The condition may cause more and different meds to be prescribed because the symptoms of Hashimoto’s tend to mimic the symptoms of a myriad of many conditions.
Hypothyroid or low thyroid function is diagnosed by checking the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) in your blood. This is the most commonly diagnosed thyroid condition and is primarily diagnosed with TSH levels above 3.0.
Elevated levels of TSH in the blood can produce many of the thyroid related symptoms such a weight gain, hair loss, and fatigue. When you’re suffering multiple symptoms of hypothyroid and your doctor declares that “your labs are normal”, you may feel like you’re going crazy. No! You are not crazy! You just haven’t had the proper labs ordered or been accurately diagnosed.
This is a great question that often goes unanswered. It all goes back to the TSH levels. If you have high TSH, above 3.0, then you are diagnosed with HYPOthyroid.
Common symptoms of hypothyroid are:
On the other hand, if you have low TSH levels, below 1.8, then you are diagnosed as HYPERthyroid.
Common symptoms of hyperthyroid are:
Now, the thing about Hashimoto’s is that it can show up with symptoms of both hypo and hyper thyroid. This is the result of the inflammation caused by the immune attacks to and the destruction of the thyroid gland. In these cases, you may experience symptoms of both high and low TSH levels as well as other symptoms such as muscle aches, joint pain, headaches, night sweats, brain fog, mood swings, low sex drive, hair loss and lose stools. Therefore, the proper lab test must be ordered from the very start to include the other thyroid hormones and the antibodies. This is the only way to arrive at an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
The little, butterfly shaped, thyroid gland sits at the base of your throat. It is what controls your metabolism. It also secretes several other hormones beyond TSH. Your thyroid also produces a hormone called T4 (Thyroxine) which your body converts into T3 (Triiodothyronine) and then to TSH. There are also other aspects of those hormones such as T3 Uptake, Free T3 and Free T4, that provide additional information for accurately diagnosing your thyroid condition. Unfortunately, these markers are seldom checked for in routine Thyroid Lab Panel as ordered by most physicians.
To rule out auto-immune thyroid Hashimoto’s, additional tests must be ordered. These includes the thyroid Antibodies for Hashimoto’s such as the TPO-Ab (Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody), and the TAA-Ab antibodies (Thyroglobulin Antibody). If one, or both, come back high in your labs, will confirm a definitive diagnosis for Hashimoto’s.
Infrequently, a person may have a secondary auto-immune condition called Graves Disease, which shows up as Hyperthyroid with very low TSH levels. This condition is diagnosed by checking another Thyroid Antibody called TSI (Thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin). In rare occasions a patient may have both Hashimoto’s and Graves Disease at the same time.
We leave no stone unturned when diagnosing and treating with your thyroid condition. We order all the thyroid lab markers right from the start so that we can get right to the underlying causes of your condition and get you feeling better again, fast.
Our Full Thyroid panels include the following:
TSH, T4, T3, Free T3, Free T4, T3 Uptake, TSI, TPO-Ab, TAA-Ab
What else do we check?
Recognizing that Hashimoto’s an auto immune condition that affects many metabolic and hormonal functions, we place special emphasis on many of the triggers to the immune system. These triggers may include:
We check hormone panels to determine if the patient suffers from low testosterone in males or low estrogen/progesterone levels in females. This is a salivary test. We evaluate your saliva instead of your blood. This method proves to be more accurate in analyzing hormones and food intolerances. Symptoms related to decreased hormone levels may include depression, mental fogginess, fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes, sweating attacks, weight gain, and decreased physical stamina.
We further test your adrenal glands with a test called an Adrenal Stress Index. This is also a salivary test. Your adrenals glands are your “stress” organs; meaning that they react to stress. If you have been or are currently under stress, this test is a must.
In today’s world of GMO foods and toxic chemicals, it is important to check for food sensitivity. Our test determines if you have sensitivity to gluten, milk, eggs, dairy, yeast and soy (Dr Gorgas will determine which ones to ask you for).
Diabetes and insulin resistance are blood sugar related conditions associated with weight gain and sluggish metabolism. They are frequently monitored and checked in routine lab work. An often-overlooked blood sugar marker is that of low blood sugar or HYPOglycemia. This condition is usually the root cause of anxiety and panic attacks. Hypoglycemia and insulin resistance can often occur together causing a myriad of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed. We pay special attention to blood sugar metabolism, whether high or low, because it plays such a key role in your overall health, especially in managing Hashimoto’s.
Leaky Gut Syndrome, AKA, intestinal permeability, is a major inflammatory trigger which is very closely associated with thyroid problems. Due to stress, alcohol consumption, antibiotic use, and poor diet, (just to mention a few causes) little microscopic openings occur in the lining of our intestines. These little openings allow for undigested food, bacteria, chemicals, and the like to go directly into our bloodstream causing inflammation that shows up as bloating, poor digestion, acid reflex, loose stools, and constipation. It is also a central cause of food intolerance’s and allergies. It is also closely related to micro nutrient deficiencies. Since there is no direct test for leaky gut syndrome (LGS), it requires the proper interpretation of your labs to determine its presence. We run an extensive metabolic panel to determine if you are suffering from LGS.
There is a huge correlation at our institute between previous head trauma and auto-immune thyroid. Whether it was a childhood injury forty years ago or a recent car accident, the condition may trigger the onset of Hashimoto’s .Dr. Gorgas prides himself in performing the proper in-depth neurological and digital X-ray evaluation to determine if your injury is related to your symptoms; once again, doing a complete workup to determine the underlying causes of your condition.
After years of being in medical hell, I finally narrowed my search for help. My husband was exhibiting signs of thyroid issues- so I looked for a Doctor which did not use drugs to treat! I found a gold mine!!!!
We found Dr. Gorgas in Oceanside !!! I didn’t believe this type of doctoring still existed. He asks questions, listens to the responses, gets information from history as well as new science / bloodwork for his diagnosis.
Dr Gorgas has called John on a number of occasions just to check how he was doing after a treatment. There are discussions and explanations in plain English (or Spanish as the good Dr is bilingual) not confusing doctoreeze. We know what is going to happen before it happens. I have had the privilege of watching Dr Gorgas first hand work with a number patients.
The care, expertise of treatments and incredible results were plainly evident. This doctor understands how a body works and works with his patients to heal – all feeling great and DRUG FREE!!! If you want to feel better, come see Dr Gorgas. !!!!
If you are reading this , then you can stop your search. You have found much more than just a thyroid specialist. You have found a HEALER, through and through. In an effort to keep this review of my experiences at Dr. Gorgas’ office shorter than a novel, I’ll be brief. But please feel free to personally reach out to me if you still are not convinced.
I went into his office a complete wreck. I found him seeking a thyroid specialist who could actually give me a solution to the very large, ever growing nodules on my thyroid. In the midst of dealing with that, I was a new mom who had just got done breastfeeding for 20 months, dealing with tremendous amounts of anxiety and fear because of false information given by all the doctors and specialists I was seeing, suffering from digestive issues, back pain, leaky gut, hormonal issues with my cycle all over the place (and sometimes not even showing up), and blood sugar fluctuations that were driving me nuts. All I was getting from my endocrinologists was head scratching and just things like, “There is nothing wrong with your hormone production and you don’t have Hashimoto’s, so we will just monitor its growth. When it gets too big or starts blocking your esophagus, we’ll just take it out! It will be a simple and easy procedure.” WHAT?! How can there be nothing wrong when I am completely miserable and this nodule keeps growing?!
I began researching healing thyroid nodules and started to find that there are doctors who practice something called Functional Medicine and achieve incredible results that actually HEAL PEOPLE. Through balancing the body with diet and supplements to assist the body with its own healing mechanisms, they REVERSE autoimmune symptoms and REDUCE nodules the size of fruit in people’s throats!! This made sense to me and this offered a solution that didn’t mask or just ‘get rid of’ a problem. After calling around, I was completely floored when Anna (who works magic running the office and managing the front desk) said my first consultation was FREE. Immediately I was a bit skeptical, but I couldn’t afford anything other than free at the moment so I went in to give it a try. From that first consultation, I knew I had found someone who actually cared about the human being in front of them and understood that our issues are tied in all three planes of the Body, Mind and Soul. He helped me understand how much of what I was doing was not right for my body and what I needed to do to change it. As my visits progressed, he addressed all three in the effort to make me understand what it was I was going through and how I needed to grow to overcome it. He told me how to change my diet and eating habits and thoroughly explained why I was feeling the way I was. The supplements he gave me are excellent quality and very affordable compared to alternatives out there. In 15 days of trying to get a grip of all he told me and doing everything he said to a tee, I began to see a major difference. Not only did I have proof that his diagnosis with 100% true but now I had the power to manage it! By one month, a laundry list of things I was experiencing was completely gone and I could feel my hormones were balancing. It’s been just three months and I can feel an enormous reduction in the size of my thyroid! In the process of just the first couple of weeks, I haven’t missed a single period, my cycle has gotten regular, my digestive issues are gone, my mind is clearer, I am able to manage my blood sugar fluctuations gracefully, and a whole bunch of other things that I cannot even begin to list have vanished. For the first time in a very long time, I am beginning to feel whole.
As far as seeing him for chiropractic needs, you can move forward confidently knowing you are in the hands of a MASTER of their craft. The change I experience after leaving his office every time I go in for an adjustment is monumental, both in the sensations in my body and the clarity of my thoughts because my major issue is in my neck. You just need to come in to experience it…
I know it’s scary and confusing to trust someone with your care, and I said in the beginning of this that I would keep this review short, but I want you to confidently give their office a call and see if he can help you as much as he helped me. And you don’t even have to be in Oceanside! He treats clients all over the country and internationally over the phone or through the internet!
Dr. Gorgas genuinely cares for every single person he treats equally. Spending a moment of quality time with everyone, talking and asking questions, checking in and following on their progress, asking about life and how things are going. He genuinely wants to help people recover from whatever it is they are experiencing because he understands that healing is possible and that life should be joyous. Like it says on the wall in this little office in Oceanside, “Expect a Miracle.”
Without a doubt the most common question that I get on a day to day basis is:
“My thyroid was removed by my doctor X number of years ago but I still have symptoms. Is there any way you can help me?”
There are two reasons why people typically have their thyroid removed:
Regardless of why the thyroid gland was removed what happens is that you immediately become hypothyroid after the surgery or radioactive iodine treatment.
You no longer have a gland to produce hormones on your own so you would forever be dependent on external thyroid hormones like Synthroid or Armour. That is a fact and there is nothing that can be done to change THAT aspect.
But what happens when taking the hormone doesn’t resolve the symptoms of low thyroid?
What if you continue to have weight and metabolism issues, hair loss, brain fog, and fatigue no matter how much or which thyroid hormone you take?
If you still have low thyroid symptoms then we know that there is another culprit that is affecting your ability to use those hormones. Until we discover what that culprit is and change/fix it, you will always struggle with those symptoms.
So if you have had your thyroid removed and you still have symptoms then you need our type of functional approach more than anybody.
Our functional approach gets to the root causes of the symptoms and will help you feel and function better. We will discover what is interfering with you ability to use the thyroid hormone that you are taking every day.
Most of the patients I consult with have a few things in common:
1. They were diagnosed with hypothyroidism at some point in their lives.
2. They take some form of thyroid hormone replacement.
3. They continue to experience some degree of thyroid symptoms despite conventional treatment.
That third factor is important because the patients that respond well to hormone replacement don’t continue to search for answers. Why would you pursue further treatment if simply taking a pill seems to take care of the problem?
Actually there is the rare patient that understands that getting to root causes and taking a functional approach is important and those patients are a pleasure to work with. So if you fall into that category don’t check out yet.
When I consult with a patient with ongoing thyroid symptoms I see a world of possibilities. There are so many things that can go wrong that could be creating the problem. I know I must start searching and begin putting the pieces together if I am going to help that person.
Sadly I think conventional medicine views most thyroid patients the same way. They see a patient with thyroid symptoms and prescribe thyroid hormones.
Problem solved! (except the patient still doesn’t feel good, and they still have no real understanding of what went wrong in the patient)
Taking some form of thyroid replacement is just the first step. But did they consider other possible mechanisms that could be contributing to your problem? Probably not.
Since no one has taken the reigns and helped you understand all of this I will teach you about some of these mechanisms so you can take some action on them or find somebody who will help you.
So here goes part 1. Did they consider that stomach and GI abnormalities can affect your thyroid in many ways?
It is uncommon for me to encounter a hypothyroid patient that doesn’t also have to stomach problems. Gut infections and a condition called dysbiosis, where there is an abnormal balance of normal flora in your gut, have the potential to release lipopolysaccharides (LPS).
These gut microorganisms can affect thyroid function at all levels including:
All of that from your stomach. Though you just had a thyroid problem didn’t you?
If you ever experience bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea and you also have thyroid symptoms then you have to consider the impact that gut microorganisms are affecting your thyroid. Dealing with the gut issue is a necessity if you want to feel good again.
1. Ritig MG. Smooth and rough lipopolysaccarides phenotype of Brucella induce different intracellular trafficking and cytokine/chemokine release in human monocytes. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2004; 5(4):196-200.
2. Van der Poll T, Endert E, Coyle SM, Agosti JM, Lowry SF. Neutralization of TNF does not influence endotoxin induced changes in thyroid hormone metabolism in humans. Am J Physiology. 1999; 276:357-62.
3. Van der Poll T, Van Zee KJ, Endert E, et al. Interleukin-1 receptor blockade does not affect endotoxin-induced changes in plasma thyroid hormone and thyrotropin concentrations in man. J Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism. 1995; 80(4):1341-1346.
A research study published in December 2012 sheds some light on a phenomenon we see often …
A patient has elevated TSH but normal T4 and T3.
If that person also has symptoms of fatigue do they have hypothyroidism?
By standard definition any elevation of TSH indicates hypothyroidism. Usually this elevated level of TSH corresponds with a decrease in T4. That is the way it normally works in the body.
In this case it may not be a thyroid problem at all.
One of the things we look at in all our patients is dysglycemia (abnormal blood sugar).
Many thyroid patients have undiagnosed pre-diabetes and as this newly published article points out, pre-diabetes can lead to elevations in TSH.
And guess what?
Pre-diabetes causes many of the same symptoms as low thyroid.
So most patients that go to the doctor with fatigue and the doctor sees elevated TSH then they immediately get put on thyroid hormone.
The underlying blood sugar problem never gets fully investigated and the patient continues to suffer with symptoms because a lab marker was treated and not the patient.
That is why we take a whole person approach and make sure we understand the problems and mechanisms so we can help our patients feel and function well.
Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov-Dec; 16(6): 958–961. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.102999