November of 2016 my body totally flipped out on me. I went from having most awesome days mixed with your normal “eh” days to full on panic, anxiety, heart palpitations, hair falling out, nails breaking off, digestive issues, insomnia etc. the awful list goes on. On the outside I was this “healthy person.” I worked out 5-6 days a week, ate clean, didn’t smoke, rarely drank, etc. I mean – you’d think I would be the billboard for good health – but I wasn’t, at all. I went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was going on with me but I kept being told “I was fine.” But, obviously – I wasn’t.
Instead of taking medications to treat the symptoms of my issues I kept searching for a doctor who would find the root of my issues – which is when I was given the suggestion to look for a “functional medicine doctor”. A functional medicine doctor is basically a cross between a naturopath / holistic medicine doctor and a western medicine doctor; they work to try natural methods first before prescribing a pharmaceutical – basically, my dream doctor. I live in a smaller town so there was really only one functional medicine doctor in my area but she had incredible reviews and despite her not taking insurance and having to pay out of pocket I felt like it was worth it – can’t put a price tag on your health, right? I needed answers.
My first appointment was a little over an hour long (my first time ever having a doctor actually spend that much time with me, it was amazing) we went over my current symptoms, my family medical history, my medical history, etc. It was super in-depth which was awesome because I knew she wanted to get all of the details to get to the root of my issue. During that appointment, before even doing any blood work she said to me “I am 99% sure you have hyperthyroidism.” It felt so good to get a diagnosis, even if the condition itself was a bummer, it was amazing for someone to tell me “it’s not all in your head.” She ordered a FULL blood panel work-up (not the half-assed blood panel that I had been ordered in the past). This one included all my vitamin levels, hormone levels, cortisol levels, full thyroid panel (not just TSH which is what western medicine doctors order – but a T3, T4 panel too). The whole shebang.
A couple of weeks later I came back in to review my blood work and was pretty astounded to hear how AWFUL my situation was. I was a mix of angry and relieved. Angry that I was told I was “fine” by my prior doctors and spent months sick because of it – and relieved that I had now found a doctor that was going to help me heal! My vitamin levels were super low – Vitamin D, my B’s, my potassium, my iron, etc. Just the fact that my vitamin levels were so low could have been the cause of many of the symptoms I was facing but my thyroid panel did come by as suspected – hyper. My T3’s and T4’s were both super high. I also found out through a C4A test that my blood toxicity level was almost 4X the normal range and I also had a methylation gene mutation MTRR which prevents my body from methylating and absorbing properly. SO MUCH TO PROCESS, right? But I felt so confident in my doctor and she felt so confident that we would put together a game plan for me that would get me back on track. That game plan included an arsenal of supplements to restore my levels and balance out my body and to stabilize my hyperactive thyroid. In addition to the supplements I would be taking orally I also was going weekly for IV infusion treatments which is basically getting those vitamins right into my blood stream via IV. We can take pharmaceuticals all day, guys but if there is a deep-rooted issue within our body all that medicine is going to do is mask it. We need to find the root, heal that and go from there! If we need medications, no shame in that (I’m on a beta blocker) but use them in addition to whatever it is your body needs to fully heal.
For the entire year before my body totally gave up on me I was sick – constantly. If there was a cold in a 500-foot radius I was going to catch it AND it was so hard for me to shake once I got it. My immune system was awful and I couldn’t understand why. A huge cause of this was my vitamin deficiency and that was partially due to the fact that I was ingesting vitamins that weren’t methylated which my body wasn’t absorbing. The first thing my doctor did was give me “vitamin 101” about the quality of supplements and what to look for and what to stay away from.
Keywords to stay away from when looking for vitamins:
- Artificial Colors + Dyes (you never want to consume dyes, especially not in your vitamins)
- Hydrogenated Oils (like soy – typically cheap fillers and you want to stay away from it)
- Lead, Mercury, & PCBs (this is why it’s so important to choose a high-grade fish oil supplement)
- Talc or Magnesium Silicate (Talc = deodorant, no you don’t want to ingest it. Magnesium silicate is similar in composition to asbestos and can cause lung problems when inhaled)
- Titanium Dioxide (typically used as a colorant and can cause lung damage, adversely affect immune system function, kidney damage, small intestine inflammation… just not good, not good at all)
WHY would a supplement + vitamin company use these ingredients that are clearly not good for you? CHEAP. They’re cheap. And I think the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is really relevant here. When I did an overhaul of the supplements and vitamins we had in our kitchen cabinet I was shocked to find SO MANY of those ingredients in them. Most of the vitamins I had I picked up from Walgreens or Target – they were cheap but I didn’t know the difference and didn’t realize there was a difference. I also just blindly trusted that any company creating a vitamin would be doing it to benefit our body and not the opposite – I was wrong and naive – which is why I want to share with all of you. The brands I listed below are ones that are known for high-quality ingredients and were recommended to me by my doctor. A couple are her brand but most are from other trusted companies.
So now that I’ve given you a little bit of the backstory let’s dive into what I take and why…
*** IMMUNE SYSTEM ***
This is my multi-vitamin. If nothing else, you want to be taking this!
Supports Antioxidant Protection*
Supports Health in Those with Poor Nutrient Intake*
Supports Those with Stressful Lifestyles*
This is the supplement I take to help with my methylation issues because of my MTRR gene mutation. You may have heard of MTHFR which is very similar. Both would benefit from using this supplement. It works to help restore and support optimal methylation and help maintain healthy homocysteine levels.
You need and want a good Vitamin C supplement if you 1) have a weak immune system 2) are around kids who bring home an arsenal of germs daily. I fall into the camps of 1 & 2 and this has been a life saver for me (I avoided the flu even though both my kids got it.)
High-Potency Vitamin C Formula Provides 750 mg Vitamin C per Capsule
Formulated with BioPerine® to Enhance Nutrient Bioavailability*
Supports Immune and Antioxidant Systems*
Supports Production of Collagen, Carnitine, and Neurotransmitters*
Buffered with Minerals to Help Prevent Potential Stomach Upset*
Remember when I mentioned getting a high-quality fish oil supplement? This is the one! It is International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) five-star certified, which assures the highest level of purity, stability, and potency in fish oils.
EPA and DHA from fish oil promote wellness by supporting cardiovascular health, cytokine balance, joint health, and brain and nervous system function
*** ANEMIA ***
So many iron supplements will hurt my stomach… It can be a harsh supplement to put into your body if using a low-grade version. This one is great, no stomach pain and I take it daily.
This form of iron has higher bioavailability, lower toxicity, less food reactivity, less food interactions and has a longer shelf life than any other common form of iron.
*** SLEEP ***
One of the toughest issues that result from hyperthyroidism is insomnia. Whether it be not being able to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night and being able to fall back asleep – neither is enjoyable. I really did not want to get started on an Ambien or Lunesta type of drug because I know 1) your body can become dependent on it 2) your body can develop a resistance to it and you’ll have to continuously up your dosage for it to remain effective. On an “over the counter” example this is what happened to me with the popular sleep-aid Unisom (which is essentially Benedryl with a different name.) I started off taking 25mg which then was bumped to 50mg, and then to 75mg and then when 100mg stopped working I knew it was time to get my body off of this stuff. Upon recommendation from my doctor we created this “nighttime supplement ritual” for me which works well for me about 98% of the time. I still have some nights where the insomnia rears it’s ugly head and there’s not much I can do about it but on the most part, this is super effective and natural.
Let me start by saying this… Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland. This is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is “turned on” by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night – before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable. This is how it should be for a NORMAL PERSON. haha For some people your body doesn’t produce as much melatonin as it should naturally and for others their melatonin levels can get screwed up when you travel and/or if you work “off shifts”. For me, my body just doesn’t produce the levels of melatonin it should and this is a great supplement for me to give my body what it needs to help me put myself to sleep.
This stuff is amazing. It includes botanicals that support nervous system function, PharmaGABA™ (a proprietary form of GABA), L-theanine, melatonin, 5-HTP, and pyridoxal-5-phospate (activated form of vitamin B6) all of which help to promote healthy sleep patterns.
I call this stuff the natural Xanax. haha It’s the best. Racing thoughts, a busy mind… This stuff puts that all to rest. It’s also fantastic for people with anxiety to be used during the day as well.
+ Promotes relaxation, focus, and memory
+ Supports a healthy stress response
+ Enhances brain GABA production (a brain chemical that acts like a brake during times of runaway stress)
+ Enhances brain alpha-wave activity, a sign of relaxation
*** HYPERTHYROID ***
When I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism my doctor wanted to try some natural things first before putting me on medications. Because of the fact that my hyperthyroidism is autoimmune related it’s a little bit trickier to treat because with autoimmune diseases your levels fluctuate daily and putting me on a hyperthyroid medication to “slow down” my thyroid could potentially “crash” my thyroid sending me hypothyroid – which is a whole other range of issues. I appreciated how conservative she was in trying to be gentle with my body and our treatment plan.
This supplement was an interesting recommendation and one I did a ton of research on before trying. I had heard of L-Carnitine before but in relation to a dietary supplement when it came to exercise, I had never heard of it as an aid to hyperthyroidism. This was one of the interesting articles I read about natural ways to heal your thyroid and Amy spoke to using this supplement as well.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that helps your body produce energy, and is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and other processes. When your thyroid is in hyper mode, you lose L-carnitine through your urine, so you need to replace it. Maintaining enough L-carnitine can help prevent or reverse muscle weakness and other symptoms, possibly by keeping thyroid hormones from getting into the cells of some of your body’s tissue. It is also believed to combat insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and tremors.
This supplement contains three different herbs that naturally regulate your thyroid hormones and reduce hyperthyroid symptoms, including:
- Bugleweed – This plant is rich in Lithospermic acid, an organic acid that decreases levels of thyroid stimulating hormones, T4 (the storage form of thyroid hormone) and T3 (the active form). It also prevents thyroid antibodies from binding to your thyroid, which is a huge help to patients with Graves’ Disease.
- Motherwart – A member of the mint family, this herb alleviates symptoms related to hyperactive thyroid such as heart palpitations, anxiety, sleeplessness, and depressed appetite. Please note that it might cause miscarriage, increase uterine bleeding, and potentially interact badly with many cardiac medications, so be sure to check with your doctor before taking it.
- Lemon Balm – This herb is also a member of the mint family and seems to block hormone receptors, preventing TSH from binding to your thyroid tissue and keeping antibodies from attaching to your thyroid. As a result, it helps to calm thyroid symptoms by reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep and appetite, and easing pain.
*** HEART & BONE HEALTH ***
Because of all the strain that is put on your heart when you have hyperthyroidism it’s important to take a supplement that supports it and CoQ10 is great for that! Again, this is another important supplement to choose a good quality version of!
CoQ10 is a naturally occurring substance that is essential for energy production and is of particular importance in supporting cardiovascular health. CoQ10 has potent antioxidant properties and cell membrane stabilizing effects, and may help maintain healthy blood pressure already in the normal range.
Another one for heart and for bone health, here!
The health benefits of vitamin K2 go far beyond blood clotting, which is done by vitamin K1, and vitamin K2 also works synergistically with a number of other nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D. Its biological role is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth.
Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body, helping to: Maintain the health of bones and teeth. Support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system.
*** GUT HEALTH ***
The health of your gut is extremely important to your overall well-being and I honestly didn’t realize just how much your gut health impacted the rest of your body! It’s largely responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems, beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention your overall mental health! Probiotics are “good” bacteria touted to help maintain digestive health and boost the immune system.
A good quality probiotic is so important and the delivery is just as important these days, too. Probiotics require a certain temperature in order to keep the live bacteria from dying off. Metagenics packs their probiotics with a freezer pack to ensure that the probiotics don’t reach too high a temperature during transit and thus killing them off.
I know, wow – that’s a lot! But if it keeps me feeling good I’m not going to complain! I do another round of blood work in May and we’ll re-check my levels and see if I can lower the amount of these I take or perhaps condense them a little too. It honestly isn’t too bad though I take them at noon every day with my Shakeology when I break my fast and it’s just become such a routine part of my day!
If any of y’all have questions about anything feel free to ask – you can just click on my contact page and send over an e-mail! I’ll gladly help in any way I can!
…I do also feel it’s important to note that I am not a doctor and I’m obviously not qualified to diagnose your medical condition. I can only share what I’ve done and what’s worked for me. 🙂