Healing with Gut Health

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"The key is healing your gut."

Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism Paleo Diet Akkermansia Gut Dysbiosis Gluten Sensitivity

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So, I have Hashimoto's. I was diagnosed actually in 2009 with hypothyroidism while I was pregnant with my second child, my son. Only because I volunteered for a study. Otherwise, they don't really routinely check your thyroid in pregnancy, which is something I'm really passionate about letting other women know how important that is. I'm also in my 23rd year of teaching preschool special education. So I've worked with a lot of children with developmental delays and autism. And I'm real passionate about as far as early intervention and the prenatal aspect of intervention and prevention of autism. Thyroid has a lot to do with that. Of course, it's not the only factor, but it is something that's really important that people need to be aware of. Anyway, I started having hypothyroid symptoms. I would say, probably since my teens, was kind of sleepy. I fell asleep very easily, just couldn't stay up real late. I was kind of teased by my family. It was this kind of a joke. When I was around 26, I got married at 25, in my first year of marriage, I was feeling fatigued and tired at that point in time. I was subclinical for hypothyroidism and really not treatable at that point. But years went on. Of course. I didn't know a whole lot back then. So I had my first child at 30 and had horrible, horrible symptoms. But I didn't know anything about testing at that point in my life. So I just took what the doctors told me. I've definitely had hypothyroidism with my daughter, who's now almost 16. So when I was in my second pregnancy in 2009, I had the symptoms and the doctor asked me if I wanted to volunteer for a study that UNC was doing. And I was diagnosed, put on levothyroxine. At that point in time, everything went pretty smoothly with my pregnancies, other than I had gestational diabetes with both of them. Normal delivery. I was induced a little bit early just because of gestational diabetes, but vaginal delivery.

I had some health problems after I delivered and I stopped taking birth control pills. My husband had a vasectomy because I was no longer going back on the birth control pill because I was really concerned with the health effects of that. And then I started to have an irregular period, and they started getting further and further apart. At that point, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. The thing is is that they only diagnosed me by giving me an ultrasound and the fact that I have insulin resistance. Well, now, later on in life, I know that that is really insufficient in diagnosing; they didn't even test my hormones, and one of the biggest factors in diagnosing someone with PCOS is high testosterone. You know, I didn't have the symptoms, nor did they even know because they didn’t test my testosterone. So I honestly think that was probably an incorrect diagnosis. I am now just turned 46 and I am almost a year into early menopause with the possibility that I had autoimmunity against my ovaries as well as my thyroid.

So I'm a little bit all over the place with my story, but anyhow, I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto's three years into my diagnosis of hypothyroidism, and I went through some testing. Been working with a local chiropractor for gluten sensitivity. Found out I was gluten sensitive. That was around 2013. And, I began eating a paleo diet at that point in my life for about five years. And in 2017, I had made major improvements in my health. And then it seemed like it was regressing. My blood sugar at that point in time was getting closer to diabetes. I was up to a 6.2 and it was a hot mess. And I was only, you know, not even 40 years old. So I started working with a functional medicine doctor named Rajak, and he helped me significantly. I basically did a similar diet to the autoimmune protocol, which was the elimination diet. I did that for three months, made significant improvements in my health, but still, things were not quite right when I did introduction, so I moved forward, working with him in doing advanced testing. I did stool testing and food sensitivity testing. Find out I had gut dysbiosis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, which is an opportunistic bacteria that was overgrown, which is also known as an autoimmune trigger. And we cleared that up. And I stayed away from my high food sensitivities for a year, which there's a long list of my milder ones. But my high sensitivities were like beef and cheese, cooked tuna, eggs. And I kept those things out of my diet for about a year, started reintroducing some things and I'm still sensitive. So I was having some gut problems. The constipation is ongoing. No matter what I do, what I eat. I eat a very healthy diet, low carbs, grain free, but lots of fruits and vegetables so I’m getting my fiber and the constipation is a side effect of having hypothyroidism. So, you know, I ended up with a dysbiotic gut again, which means that you have imbalanced gut bacteria and that was diagnosed again in November, end of November right around Thanksgiving, and I went on a four-week protocol, intensive protocol, of antimicrobials and probiotics, and just recently did retesting and everything is clear, like my CATs are so much better. My SIGA went up. My lactate went up. You know, I didn't have any true pathogens, but like my imbalanced gut bacteria is much better. So one of the things with that that was really interesting is that the one thing that was high, was something called Akkermansia and that is a normal gut bacteria. But the good thing is that it is linked to glucose metabolism. It helps with glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism and also helps with strengthening the gut mucosal lining. So even though it was abnormally high, having a high level of that is actually a really good thing. There's newer research coming out that Akkermansia is considered one of the next generation microbes. But you know something that they need more research to start saying that it's something that people should start supplementing with versus the lactic acid and the other bacterias, but this is actually very beneficial bacteria, which I was very happy to hear because I've been working so hard on my blood sugar. And that's pretty much been maintained for the last two and half years, at normal levels. I've been maintaining around a 5.35 5.4, and I just got my lab results back today and it's a 5.0. And I'm really excited about that. Since November, since I've been on this protocol that I was on, I also had to eat a very low-starch low-sugar diet. So I started doing more of a ketogenic diet, but like a clean ketogenic diet, pretty much only healthy stuff. And lots of coconut oil, lots of olive oil and avocados. I eat some nuts and my cholesterol is lower. My blood sugar is lower. I'm doing wonderful, really excited. I do intermittent fasting with that as well, five days a week. So it’s really had a significant impact on my health. So, I'm really excited about that.

So to just take a step back. Years ago, after I started going through my transformation, I just became really passionate about helping other people in support groups that I belonged to with my doctor, and I decided to get my functional medicine healthcare certification through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, which is a collaborative of the Institute of Functional Medicine. So it was a fantastic program. A yearlong program. Began that in February of 2018 and graduated January of 2019. So I'm in practice with my coaching business for about a year, currently doing that part time, still teaching full time, and just enjoying helping people know how to advocate for themselves. And I think that's my biggest thing is wanting people to know that they do have the power to control their health, and they do have the power to advocate for themselves with their doctor and how to be partners with their doctors, how to get the test that they need and not just kind of be a pushover and being doctored by their doctor. They need to be in charge and take control of their health and that’s a big part of my coaching is helping people advocate for themselves, understand their thyroid and how to eat properly, and I'm not a dietitian. But I know just sharing my experiences of what’s been helpful to me would be helpful to other people. So the key is healing your gut. You heal the gut. Your sensitivities get better. So that's why I reintroduced some of the things that I was highly sensitive to like beef. And I didn't do it until, like I said a year after. And this was after my doctor said, Yeah, I think you're good now. And I did. And then things started to regress again. I started to get constipated, worse than I’d been. Things just weren't right.

And I also have a lot of the hormonal issues. I started with a hormone replacement in April. Things started to go south from like April to November. Things just progressively got worse. Where I said, you know what? I think there's something going on in my gut again. I need to do more testing. So I did a G-MAP, a GI-MAP for my gut test, which is a great test it uses, actually, DNA. It doesn't only look at pathogens in the gut, but also looks at digestive functions like your lactase and your SIGA. It also actually looks at your gluten reactivity, which the interesting thing was that I was on a gluten-free diet and I was pretty strict. Except, you know, when I ate out, I wasn't so much worried about being contaminated because I didn't, I wasn’t celiac. But I was pretty careful. But I ate, you know, went back to eating the cheese and I was eating some grains. Not a lot. That was the other thing. My doctor told me to start, maybe adding a little bit of quinoa and beans stuff with a little bit more fiber in my diet because maybe that might help my constipation. It only made it worse. I was eating like a bean pasta with quinoa and lentils. And I also ate like a chickpea pasta. And there was one that I ate in moderation, and because my kids liked it. They didn’t like the bean pasta. There was an organic corn and quinoa pasta. Well, corn and dairy, are cross-reactive with gluten. So if you're eating those other things, it's gonna seem like you're eating gluten. So that's basically how my system was reacting. So my anti-gliadin I believe it was like 230 something. The first test, and then on the retest it’s down to 60. Just been, you know, a month's time, actually it’s a little bit more than a month because the protocol was a month. So it's probably two months’ time. I've totally taken grains back out of my diet, no dairy, and just being super super strict that went down. The bottom line is is that I have to remain this way for the rest of my life. It's not gonna, you know, I'm not going back the other direction. Hopefully, we'll just keep making progress.