Here's another excerpt from the new Education Modules. It begins the discussion of what are called signaling molecules. They are very important to the immune system, and to people who suffer from allergies and sensitivities.
When immune cells are excited by antigens, they release signaling molecules that do things important to immune function. Unfortunately, they also cause local target organ dysfunction and systemic symptoms. In modern parlance we might think of this as “collateral damage.” Each SM produces its own signature of symptoms. We’ll discuss the symptoms as well as why immune cells release them.
Histamine is a big one and responsible for two main effects in an inflammatory response: dilating blood vessels and making them more permeable to allow more fluid to pass from the bloodstream into the tissues. This allows for reinforcements to arrive but also results in localized swelling, edema, and redness. Recall that I said symptoms related to allergy and sensitivity responses are caused by chemicals released by cells of the immune system, not by the allergen itself.
Systemic histamine release causes the following symptoms:
Headache. A pulsating, whole-head pain, often with a sense of great pressure or a feeling of bursting within the head
Fast pulse, low blood pressure, irregular heart beat
Itching or burning followed by flushing and an unpleasant heat
Increased stomach acid release with crampy abdominal pain
An asthma attack may be provoked
Anxiety and agitation with a diffuse, odd body sensation sometimes colorfully described as “my bones are on fire”, “I feel weird all over”, “a deep pricking, crawling sensation.”
I heard descriptions like these often in practice. Especially the “I feel weird all over” and “a deep pricking, crawling sensation” when there was nothing visibly wrong with the skin.
Heparin is an anti-clotting SM that inhibits thrombin, which aids in blood coagulation. This allows more blood to flow to the inflamed site. It’s typically released with histamine and is made inside mast cells. When heparin is released, it causes the formation of bradykinin, which we’ll discuss in a minute.
Serotonin plays a role in sensitivity responses, especially with foods. It makes the gut contract, moving food through the intestines. When irritants are present, more serotonin is produced to make the gut move faster, to get rid of the irritants quicker. We call this diarrhea. If too much serotonin is released into the bloodstream, it will stimulate vomiting. Most people think of serotonin only as a neurotransmitter that affects mood, but I bet you didn’t know that 95% of serotonin is produced and found in the GI tract.
Leukotrienes are found in cell membranes and play a key role in asthma in three ways: they cause inflammation, bronchoconstriction, and mucus production. They also contribute to skin inflammation in psoriasis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and the inflammation in nasal passages that occurs in allergic rhinitis.
Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that regulate cell function throughout the body. There are a number of them, some with positive effects, some with negative. Symptoms they produce include flushing, pain, shortness of breath, fast heart rate, constricted or dilated blood vessels, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
Bradykinin is released when mast cells and basophils split open, and, as we learned is stimulated by heparin release. It causes pain by stimulating nerve endings and causes the blood pressure to drop by dilating peripheral arteries. Bradykinin can cause angioedema, which, if it occurs in the tongue or larynx can cause death by asphyxiation.
* Some of this information came from "Food Allergy," a PDF ebook by Stephen J. Gislason MD. It's a highly recommended reading, though Dr. Gislason doesn't think much of sensitivity elimination therapies. The site instead advices a dietary clean-up and sells products to support that. (The website appears to need some modernizing.)
Here is an excerpt from Module 1 of the new Education Modules. One can purchase Modules 1–3 for general education about the immune system, food allergies and sensitivities, and inhalant allergies and sensitivities. The complete set includes two Modules that show one how to implement SET-DB™ and so are for SET-DB™ practitioners only. One can become a Certified SET-DB™ Practitioner by scoring 70+ on each of the Module quizzes. (The quizzes are not mandatory; one can go through the Modules for education purposes only.)
The immune system doesn’t have one central regulating organ like the heart for the circulatory system and the lungs for the respiratory system. Instead, the immune system is dispersed throughout the body. Its functional units are immune cells and their supporting tissues. Its primary function is to recognize invaders and other cells and substances that aren’t “self” and get rid of them. Once a potential enemy has been identified, a complex immune response kicks in to neutralize it and prepare it to be removed from the body.
Let’s review the immune system’s components.
The lymphatic system is the body’s filtration system. It helps sample incoming substances, filter out waste products from cells, regulate fluid homeostasis, and prime the immune system for action when a threat is located. Central to the system is the transportation of lymph, a clear fluid that stores and transports white blood cells, proteins, salts, glucose, bacteria, and certain waste products.
Lymphatic vessels perform a little like blood vessels, carrying lymph to virtually all areas of the body, other than bone marrow. Unlike blood vessels, however, a series of valves force lymph to travel in just one direction, always toward the neck where it re-enters the venous circulatory system. New lymph is formed when specialized lymphatic capillaries allow soluble materials and cells to work their way back into lymphatic vessels.
The lymph fluid, along with lymphatic vessels and nodes, comprise one-sixth of the weight of the body. The major lymphatic vessels generally run parallel to blood vessels.
Lymphatic vessels are connected to lymph organs, which we’ll talk about. Lymph is filtered and lymphocytes are created in these organs.
Lymph nodes dot lymph vessels throughout the body, but namely in the armpits, groin, throat, at the base of the lungs, and in the abdomen. They filter lymph and act as traps for pathogens, preventing them from entering the bloodstream and allowing mature lymphocytes, primarily macrophages, to attack. They also contain antibody-producing cells called B-lymphocytes, or B-cells.
Tonsils and adenoids, at the back of the throat, act as barriers to infectious organisms we inhale or ingest.
Thymus gland, the master gland of immunity, is the principle activator of the immune system. It’s composed of two gray lobes located at the base of the neck under the sternum, at about the 2nd rib. Its primary function is the maturation of T-lymphocytes, which can directly attack antigens without producing antibodies. As these lymphocytes get older, they’re sent into the lymphatic vessels to hunt down and attack infected or cancerous cells.
The thymus also releases hormones that regulate the immune system. These include thymosin, thymopoietin, and serum thymic factor. Lastly, it initiates the differentiation of white blood cells into different types, as needed.
The spleen, weighing in at seven ounces, is the largest lymphoid organ. It lies in the upper left abdomen, behind the lower ribs. It’s functions include producing white blood cells that can engulf and destroy bacteria and cellular debris; destroying worn-out blood cells and platelets; and acting as a blood reservoir. Like the thymus, the spleen releases many potent substances that enhance immune function.
The small intestines are only nine feet long, but the absorptive surface is 600 times longer because the inner lining is highly folded. Peyer’s patches, in the lining of the small intestines, contain both T- and B-cell lymphocytes. It’s one of the largest and most important interfaces between you and your environment. We’ll be discussing it at length in the food allergy module.
Bone marrow is the production site for two types of white blood cells: antibody-secreting B-cells and foreign cell-devouring neutrophils.
Skin is considered part of the immune system because it’s a barrier against potential invaders.
The mucus membrane contains immune cells that produce chemicals, like histamine, during an allergy reaction and secrete mucous that engulfs microorganisms and moves them along for elimination.
The appendix has long been thought to be vestigial, that humans evolved in a manner that made it obsolete. However, recently it’s been proposed that the appendix serves as a haven to useful bacteria when illness flushes the bacteria from the rest of the intestines. A “safe house” or “back-up” system, so to speak that serves to repopulate the gut flora when needed.
And finally, the liver. During an immune response, it’s stimulated to release large numbers of protein molecules known as acute phase proteins. They exert an important influence on tissue repair, immune cell functions, and the inflammatory process. It’s also involved in ongoing detoxification, which takes a load off the immune system by breaking down immune complexes, which you’ll learn about soon.
I added 3 new BioSurveys to the SET-DB™ Basic Package yesterday. They are:
For those who don't know, BioSurveys automate certain tasks in the ZYTO Elite or Select. I used the LSA-Pro when in practice. It came with some BioSurveys, but I never used them. This is how a basic SET-DB™ session went (I'll count the mouse clicks):
We'll just stop there. At least 21 mouse clicks, up to 40 if I fiddled with the Range and had to hunt a little for the Collection I wanted..
A BioSurvey where I accepted the Range and just clicked Next would entail 7 mouse clicks.
Can you see why I developed a mild case of carpal tunnel and had to learn to mouse with my left hand? SET-DB™ visits shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes and my BioSurveys make that possible..
You'll also notice I've added the names of the BioSurveys in the Basic Package to its page. PDFs of what's currently in the Collection the BioSurvey uses are available to SET-DB™ Practitioners only.
I'm pleased to offer four new Education Modules. You'll find the product page under the Products menu, of course.
Modules 1–3 are for anyone regards if you're a SET-DB™ practitioner or not. They'll educate you on allergy and sensitivity basics, food allergies and sensitivities, and inhalant and other allergies and sensitivities. All good stuff.
A 20-question quiz follows Modules 1–3, for those interested in obtaining a certificate of completion they can frame and hang on their wall. You must get a score of 70 or greater. If you don't care to earn a certificate, you don't have to take the quiz. It's open book, of course, and can be repeated until you achieve a passing score.
Module 4+ is still under development. I say "4+" because while originally meant to be just one module, it might end up being two. It explains how to run a SET-DB™ practice or business and, obviously, is for SET-DB™ practitioners only.
Once purchased, I send an email invitation to access the presentation. You must click on the link from the email; that's how Google Drive gives you access to view it. Let me know when you're done and I'll send a link for the quiz. Or, if you're not taking the quizzes, I'll send an invitation for the next module.
I hope you enjoy learning more about this very important health topic.
SET-DB™ “Side Effects”
If you’re short on time, here’s the Crib Notes version: there are no side effects from a SET-DB™ clearing.
There may be soreness resulting from the New-Stim stimulation, but that’s not a “side effect” of the SET-DB™ procedure. It’s a potential, but extremely unlikely, outcome of a small physical force being applied to a sensitive area. Infants aren't fond of it and some elderly might end up with a dull headache for a few hours.
I’ve had a number of practitioners contact me over the years to say one of their patients or clients had an “adverse reaction” to a SET-DB™ clearing. After a little digging, it’s never shown to be true. Just because someone has symptoms after a SET-DB™ session doesn’t mean the two are related to it. It's a case of association not being related to causation.
I never had one negative reaction to a SET-DB™ session and I did thousands of them.
Let’s get into it. (Some of this is a repeat of what I’ve written before in posts and in the manuals. Also, this is essentially an exercise in theory, not fact. I’m stating my opinion based on my experience and research.)
I got started in sensitivity elimination treatment when a patient asked me to learn NAET. I investigated NAET before I went to a seminar by calling several NAET practitioners to learn what they liked and didn’t like about the protocol.
I recall speaking with one practitioner whose practice was largely NAET. He liked that it worked, usually, but disliked that so many treatments had to be repeated. Some had to be repeated soon, some months or years later, and some several times. I never liked this as I think it reflects poorly on the protocol.
I was worried the 25-hour avoidance period would interfere with the lives of busy people, which most people these days are. He said that it did but there was nothing you could do about it. He also told me people occasionally fainted in his reception area while holding the treatment vial, some even falling out of their chair. I didn’t care too much for the sound of this, either.
I also looked into Ellen Cutler’s BioSET and attended several of her seminars. She was a big NAET practitioner until she wanted to add enzyme therapy to the protocol. Nambudripad has you sign an agreement that says if you don’t practice NAET as she teaches it, you can’t say you do NAET. So Cutler had to make changes to the treatment stimulation so that it wasn’t the same as NAET. It is essentially the same thing, though, and so doesn’t need its own discussion.
I also looked into Dr. Lawrence Newsome’s Bio-Kinetics protocol. Dr. Newsome taught that all manner of allergies could be eliminated in one treatment session. When I did the treatment as he instructed, it didn’t work. When I used his treatment stimulation to clear individual or groups of like items, it worked.
I started with a 24-hour avoidance period but eventually it became clear 24 hours was excessive. I knew this because I had patients who left my office and ate something I had just cleared them for minutes later and yet their clearings held.
It seems obvious to me there are major differences in how NAET and SET-DB™ clear sensitivities. And as the adage goes, the devil is often found hiding in the details.
What would cause people to faint after an NAET clearing and why would a clearing need to be repeated (meaning it failed)? To understand this we need to look into the way the protocol works, or put another way, what happens after an NAET clearing.
According to Dr. Nambudripad in her first book, her procedure frees a blockage in one of 12 acupuncture meridians caused by an allergy (her words). She further writes (I’m paraphrasing) that it takes 24 hours for the blockage to completely clear because “the energy” of the clearing has to pass through all 12 meridians. Each meridian is active for 2 hours every 24-hour period, thus her 25-hour avoidance period (I guess an extra hour to be sure?)
The treatment itself is done by using an Activator Adjusting Instrument (or its equivalent) on specific points adjacent to the spine. Cutler’s treatment is done the same way, or is sometimes done via acupressure. If you’re familiar with anatomy you know peripheral afferent nerves pass through relay stations as they enter and go up the spinal cord to the brainstem (and eventually to the thalamus).
Let’s assume this statement is true: NAET can change how a person’s body reacts to a substance by removing a blockage to the substance in a meridian or meridians and the “news” of the cleared blockage travels through all 12 meridians over a 24-hour period.
In contrast, Dr. Newsome’s stimulation (used in SET-DB™) goes directly into the brainstem, then to the thalamus. The thalamus receives information from all senses, except smell, and routes it to the appropriate area of the cortex. Some call it the master “switching station.” The clearing stimulation therefore does not rely on movement through acupuncture meridians.
SET-DB™ effects a clearing when it disassociates a substance or substances with a negative association in the central nervous system of the individual receiving the clearing. To put it more simply, if one’s brain has come to think avocados are bad for them, a SET-DB™ clearing will remove that negative association, meaning it will no longer think avocados are bad. The effect of the clearing is immediate in most individuals*. No one faints after a SET-DB™ clearing and SET-DB™ clearings rarely have to be repeated**.
One (NAET) relies on energy moving through 12 meridians over a 24-hour period, causes stress to some patients (fainting), and some clearings have to be repeated. The other (SET-DB™) relies on an impulse that goes directly into the brainstem, then to the thalamus, does not stress patients, and almost no clearings need to be repeated.
It’s my opinion the manner in now SET-DB™ clears sensitivities is “cleaner” and more powerful than the manner in which NAET clears sensitivities. If it wasn’t it would suffer the same shortcomings as NAET: undue patient stress after a clearing and the need for multiple clearing sessions in some cases.
By “cleaner” I mean the stimulation that leads to a clearing does not have to pass through multiple nerve relays, with the attending possibility that the impulse may be altered/weakened, and does not rely on the movement of chi through meridians.
This reminds me of when I was taught how to do auriculotherapy, which is like ear acupuncture except with micro current stimulation instead of needling. We were told the practitioner can do no harm to a patient with auriculotherapy. It’s the same with SET-DB™: you can’t harm a patient.
I hope my explanation has been clear and convincing enough that everyone can move forward with confidence and help more people enjoy better health. If not, please email me your questions and I’ll try my best to answer them.
*Recall the patients who ate substances I’d just cleared them for within minutes of the clearing, yet the clearing still held.
**Recall me writing in the SET-DB™ Practitioners Manual that I had 2 patients who had to have many items cleared 2 or more times. One had severe chemical sensitivities when she started treatment at my office and the other had multiple sclerosis. None of the other 100s of patients had to have things cleared more than once, except for the rare patient whom I saw many years after they completed their treatment program.
I was on a ZYTO webinar August 7, 2019, and it is now available on their YouTube page.
You might recall that ZYTO asked me to prepare an online course they would offer on an education site they planned to create. For some reason it was canceled; too bad no one told me and I continued preparing my course on allergies. I finished three modules, complete with slides and audio. The fourth was written but slides hadn't yet been done. My plan is to offer the online course myself, hopefully by the end of October.
The presentation I did on the webinar was a significant condensation of the first three modules. It ran a little long and might have been a little to technical for some viewers who don't have a professional degree. Or perhaps not. You can't underestimate the interest of a ZYTO practitioner.
Here is the webinar:
There may be occasions when you’ll want to revisit a past session to either retreat the patient/client for that category or to treat for items you didn’t treat before but wish you had. This might occur when you realized you didn’t set the Range low enough.
For example: you realized you accepted the software’s range suggestion then later realized it was 55 instead of 10, and you want to follow my advise to never have a Range less than 10. You might want to correct this mistake.
You do NOT want to run the BioSurvey again so this is how you do it:
You should rarely have to resort to this procedure, but now you know how to do it (if you didn’t already know).
Vitamin D is not technically a true vitamin. By definition, a vitamin is something you can’t make yourself and so has to be acquired from food or supplements. It got lumped in with vitamins early on before it wasn’t well understood.
There are five forms of Vitamin D. The one we’re concerned with, the one important to health, is cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol is a secosteroid, a steroid molecule with one ring open. (I’m sure you remembered this from biochem.)
Cholecalciferol is synthesized in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol when the skin is subject to ultraviolet B (UVB) light. How much cholecalciferol is made depends on several things: the intensity of the UVB as determined by the latitude, season, cloud cover, and altitude, and the age and amount of pigmentation of the skin. Equilibrium can be reached in the skin within a few minutes of exposure. After that, cholecalciferol degrades as fast as it’s made, making it impossible to get vitamin D overdose from UV exposure.
It’s generally accepted that 5–30 minutes of exposure of the face, arms, and legs twice a week provides enough vitamin D for most people. I’m at 4,700 feet elevation. I can burn in the spring at 15-20 minutes if I’m not careful as we regularly have a UV index of 10. The higher the altitude, the less atmosphere to filter out UVB rays. Cholecalciferol can also be produced from UV lamps in tanning beds, though at much lower levels as most tanning beds produce only 4–10% UVB. Blood levels have been found higher in people who tan frequently.
Cholecalciferol is inactive. It travels from the skin to the liver, where it’s converted to calcifediol, also known as 25-(OH)D, by the enzyme 25-hydroxylase. Conversion to 25-(OH)D is loosely regulated, if at all. Calcifediol is what’s measured in the blood to determine a patient’s vitamin D status and is the sum of what was produced in the skin as well as any ingested D2 or D3. After a typical daily intake of vitamin D3, it takes about seven days to convert it to calcifediol.
Although we measure 25-(OH)D in the blood, it’s not the active form of the vitamin. It travels to the kidney where it’s converted into calcitriol (1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3), the bioactive form, by an enzyme called 1-alpha-hydroxylase and under the influence of parathyroid hormone. Unlike calcifediol, this conversion is tightly regulated. When these metabolites travel through the blood they’re bound to vitamin D-binding protein.
Calcitriol is very important for maintaining calcium levels and promotes bone health and development. It increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines, promotes reabsorption of lost calcium back into bones, and increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (influences the brain and peripheral nervous system), nitric oxide (an important vasodilator), and glutathione (the body’s main antioxidant). Lastly, calcitriol promotes the formation and differentiation of new cells. Pretty important substance, wouldn’t you say?
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with multiple sclerosis, asthma, flu, tuberculosis, and certain cancers. And, as we’ll discuss, certain autoimmune conditions.
For vitamin D to act, it needs to bind to a set of receptors called, not surprisingly, vitamin D receptors (VDRs), principally located in the nuclei. VDRs can be found in most organs, including the brain, heart, skin, gonads, prostate, and breast. And, here’s one tie-in to the thyroid: VDRs are a subset of thyroid hormone receptors.
In general, vitamin D deficiencies are caused by decreased exposure of the skin to sunlight. Far fewer people work outdoors now than before and the use of a sunscreen with an SPF of only 8 can block 95% of vitamin D production. The following conditions are considered risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:
I found several studies that establish a relationship between low vitamin D levels and autoimmune disease (both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease). Vitamin D deficiency was 3–5 times as common in patients with an autoimmune thyroid disease than in controls.
The results of the studies indicate:
Vitamin D needs to be present in adequate amounts for T3, the active thyroid hormone, to get into and energize the cell. They both work in the cell nucleus. Put another way, thyroid hormones won’t work well when vitamin D levels aren’t optimal.
However, vitamin D’s involvement in autoimmune thyroid disorders goes deeper still.
Autoimmune diseases are thought to be caused by genetic polymorphism: small changes at the genetic level that affect the structure and function of important cells and proteins, including VDRs.
In fact, several studies have shown that VDR polymorphism is common in those with autoimmune thyroid disease. This means the biological activity of vitamin D is reduced, even when it properly binds to receptors. If VDRs in the thyroid gland are polymorphic, even normal levels of vitamin D can’t produce the same effects as it can on normal VDRs.
Therefore, people with polymorphic VDRs need higher than normal serum levels of vitamin D to avoid deficiency. We’ll visit this topic again when discussing vitamin D therapy.
Assessment of and Ideal Vitamin D Levels
The test to order is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. Most labs will have a normal range of 30–100. Many, if not most, MDs won’t consider vitamin D therapy if levels are with the normal range, even just inside the normal range. 1,25()H)D is not tested because it’s regulated by other hormones, such as parathyroid hormone. 1,25(OH)D levels can be normal in a vitamin D-deficient individual.
Research is clear that 35 ng/ml is the minimum level for optimum function, for healthy people. But people with an autoimmune thyroid condition aren’t healthy.
They often have stress, excess weight, GI problems, high inflammation, VDR polymorphisms, and other factors that inhibit production, absorption, and utilization of vitamin D. So, the minimal 25-hydroxy vitamin D level for those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may be significantly higher. But how high?
Too much vitamin D is toxic. Get too much of it and it can increase odds of heart disease and, oddly, lower bone density.
There appears to be a close relationship of vitamin D to vitamins A and K2. Higher D levels increase the demand for demand for K2 and A so increasing D intake, especially the higher amount commonly recommended, in the presence of inadequate A and K2 intake is probably unwise.
Vitamin D Therapy
How much and what kind of vitamins D, A, and K2 turned out to be a more complicated topic than expected, so I’ll cover this in a future post. We'll also discuss the SET-DB™ approach to improving vitamin D (and A and K2) levels.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and SET-DB™ Thyroid Protocol
This post is an overview of possible approaches for SET-DB™ practitioners who have the SET-DB™ Thyroid Protocol and care for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also called autoimmune thyroiditis, is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism and is the most common autoimmune disease in the U.S. Studies have shown that 90% of hypothyroid patients test positive for thyroid antibodies, meaning their immune systems are primed to attack their own thyroid glands.
It’s a complex condition that can involve varied biological functions such as genetics, diet, digestion, the immune system, and thyroid function. Correcting one’s faulty genes is unlikely, but the SET-DB™ Thyroid Protocol can address digestion, the immune system, and thyroid function. Getting a patient to improve their diet, permanently, is tough, so tough I never attempted it with my fibromyalgia patients. I think a strong case can be made for diet revision with thyroid patients.
The immune system is tasked with the critical job of keeping track of “self,” our own cells, and “non-self,” foreign substances. It does this primarily by “reading” the surface proteins of cells and substances it comes in contact with. (I also believe the nervous is intimately involved in immunity—how else could SET-DB™ eliminate a sensitivity?) If the immune cell recognizes the surface protein as self it will move on. If it doesn’t, or if it has seen the foreign cell before and knows it doesn’t belong, it releases chemical messengers that initiate an immune response.
Autoimmunity is a case of mistaken identity. Antibodies are made to “self” tissues for a variety of reasons. One that we’ll discuss here is, surface proteins of a “non-self” substance looks enough like surface proteins of some “self” tissue that the immune system attacks the tissue. Besides Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, examples are multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the culprit is gliadin, the protein portion of gluten. Gliadin “looks” like thyroid tissue to the immune systems of people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. When gliadin gets into the body, through a porous or leaky gut, the immune system does its job and tags it for destruction (makes antibodies). Those antibodies will eventually find their way to the thyroid gland where they find cells with surface proteins that look suspiciously like gliadin, and attack.
Even worse, the immune response to gluten can last up to six months. That means if one wants to know if gluten is causing hypothyroid symptoms, they’ll have to stay off it for at least six months.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis symptoms
The symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are typically those of hypothyroidism, such as weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, brain fog, and depression (to name a fraction of possible hypothyroid symptoms). While there are several reasons for hypothyroid symptoms, in this case they’re due to low thyroid hormone production secondary to destruction of hormone-producing cells by the immune system. Fewer cells making thyroid hormone. Because Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is progressive, eventually hypothyroid symptoms appear.
But this isn’t all. Hyperthyroid symptoms—nervousness, rapid heart rate, sweating, tremors, palpitations— may occur concurrently with hypothyroid symptoms. When the cells that store thyroid hormone get destroyed by the immune system, large amounts of stored hormones are released into the blood stream. Thus one with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be hyper one day and hypo a couple of days later. Quite a wild ride. Eventually the hyperthyroid symptoms will disappear, after enough thyroid cells have been destroyed, and only hypothyroid symptoms, which are getting worse, remain.
Standard medical care for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Doctors may not tell patients their lab tests were positive for thyroid antibodies because it doesn’t change their treatment plan. In fact, most doctors don’t order antibody tests for this same reason. The standard of care is to “monitor” the patient until enough thyroid cells are destroyed to cause hypothyroidism, then prescribe thyroid hormone, typically a synthetic T4. Once they start on thyroid medication, they typically have to take it for the rest of their life.
A few lucky patients do well on T4, but many don’t and end up taking other medications prescribed for things such as depression, high cholesterol, and blood sugar management, all possibly related to hypothyroidism.
SET-DB™ approach to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients are treated the same as hypothyroid patients without Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, with the possible exception that the practitioner might want to pay closer attention to autoimmune categories.
Here are some important aspects of the SET-DB™ Thyroid Protocol:
Leaky Gut: A leaky gut allows undigested or incompletely digested foods to get into parts of the body they don’t belong, which can lead to more food sensitivities. Seacure is given to help heal the gut wall and eliminating sensitivities helps reduce gut inflammation. Also, an OSST can help detoxify the intestinal tract and possibly reduce or eliminate infectants like parasites and Candida.
Gluten/Gliadin: It’s my opinion that gluten-containing foods should be avoided by everyone, it’s nice that once treated with SET-DB™, one doesn’t have to worry about getting some gluten in a meal now and then. This BioSurvey doesn’t just look at gluten and gliadin. It goes deeper by looking at enzymes and fractions of gluten and gliadin. It’s a must-do treatment.
Hormones: If a patient is sensitive to a hormone it can be difficult for them to make adequate amounts of it and whatever influence the hormone should have, the reason the body makes it, it may not wield. Special attention is given to TSH, T3, T4, thyroglobulin, TRH, and rT3, but any hormone a patient is found sensitive to is put in the vial before the treatment. It is a must-do treatment.
Glands: I like to think of autoimmune treatments by using a team sports analogy. If individual team members are quarreling amongst themselves, or are otherwise unhappy with others on the team, it’s difficult for the team to have success. If an SET-DB™ autoimmune treatment could be performed on the team the effect would be near-instant harmony that could tip the scale toward success on the field. Glands important to consider here are the thyroid, anterior pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenals. This is also a must-do treatment.
Thyroid Supplement Organ System Stress Test (OSST(: Supplementing with critical thyroid nutrients can help patients fell better sooner. This OSST just looks for one supplement. You can use the BioSurvey as-is and it will choose one of the two default supplements, or you can test for any supplements you like.
Thyroid Comprehensive BioSurvey: This BioSurvey contains items important to thyroid function not found in ZYTO’s library. It is a must-do treatment.
Other must-do treatments include grains, wheat digestion, dairy, and endocrine disrupters. The practitioner chooses five additional SETs based on the Thyroid Eval Scan or their professional judgement.
If the patient needs treatment beyond the basic protocol, the practitioner runs the Thyroid Category Scan: Advanced and formulates a new treatment plan.
If your license allows you to prescribe, you can monitor their medication yourself. If it doesn’t, you might need to communicate with the patient’s prescribing physician. Do not advise your patients in areas outside of your license; i.e., tell them to take less or more of a medication or discontinue a medication.
Your thyroid patients will likely need a change of medication as they progress through the treatment program. It’s not difficult to know when. If they’re getting too much thyroid hormone(s) they’ll start experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism. If they’re not getting enough, their hypothyroid symptoms worsen.
Hypothyroidism and iron deficiency have more in common than you might know or think. This brief post will examine their relationship and how SET-DB™ can help.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where:
Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism—fatigue, cold intolerance, hair loss—are also possible symptoms of iron deficiency. Iron-deficient individuals may also experience irregular heart beat, anxiety, and restless leg syndrome.
Did you know the thyroid is closely connected to the gut? When there is adequate T3 supply to stomach cells they produce hydrochloric acid, which, among other things, helps break down protein. Most of the iron we eat (at least the most bioavailable iron) is found in animal protein. If we don’t digest the protein, we can’t get at the iron in it.
So, low T3 is tied to low stomach acid and low iron.
And, iron is an an important mineral to test for sensitivity, and treat if necessary with SET-DB™. It’s a must-do treatment in the SET-DB™ Thyroid Protocol and is found in the Minerals Category/BioSurvey.
How is low thyroid hormone availability connected to hair loss?
The answer may be ferritin. From Wikipedia:
“Ferritin is a universal intracellular protein that stores iron and releases it in a controlled fashion. The protein is produced by almost all living organisms, including algae, bacteria, higher plants, and animals. In humans, it acts as a buffer against iron deficiency and iron overload. Ferritin is found in most tissues as a cytosolic (dissolved in the cell’s cytoplasm) protein, but small amounts are secreted into the serum where it functions as an iron carrier. Plasma ferritin is also an indirect marker of the total amount of iron stored in the body, hence serum ferritin is used as a diagnostic test for iron-deficiency anemia.”
Emphasis is mine.
Here is a direct connection between ferritin and hair loss, as found on Dr. Philip Kingsley’s site:
“Correct ferritin levels maximize your hair’s ‘anagen’ or ‘growing’ phase and encourage your hairs to grow to their full length. When you aren’t getting enough iron through your diet, your body takes ferritin stored in non-essential tissue, like your hair bulb, and gives it to essential tissue, such as your heart. Because your hair bulb is where all your hair cells are produced, this leeching of ferritin can cause your hair to shed before it reaches its maximum length.
The average reference ranges for ferritin are 14-170 micrograms per litre, but our research shows that ferritin should be at least 80 ug/L (micrograms per litre) in women for hair follicles to function at their best.”
After some research on the subject, like most lab values, optimal ferritin levels for individuals can vary. One thing I did learn is ferritin can be high for reasons other than excess iron. Systemic inflammation can raise ferritin levels due to its role as an acute phase reactant that up-regulates in response to inflammation or oxidative stress.
So, if one wants to be really careful, they wouldn’t have their ferritin checked when they’re sick, or get a hs-CRP test that measures overall inflammatory status. If hs-CRP is elevated, the ferritin level may say nothing about iron status.
Furthermore, on this subject, Mark Sisson writes:
“Come to think of it, if elevated ferritin can be a marker of inflammation and oxidative stress, the inflammation could be responsible for some of the negative health effects linked to high ferritin. Or, if having too much iron in the body can increase oxidative damage, it may be that high iron levels are increasing inflammation which in turn increases ferritin even further. Biology gets messy. Lots of feedback loops.”
Biology can indeed get messy and science is still learning much about the role iron plays in the human body.
Here is Sisson's follow-up post on Iron.
As for SET-DB™ and ferritin, I couldn’t find ferritin in ZYTO’s library so I added it to the Thyroid Protocol library. It’s not yet in a BioSurvey so you’ll have to test it separately. Sorry Select owners. Eventually I’ll have it in a BioSurvey, when I figure out what else to put it with.
I wouldn’t recommend anyone start on an iron supplement or purposely increase their consumption of iron-containing foods until they’ve had their iron and ferritin tested. A complete anemia panel should include serum iron, transferrin, TIBC, and the saturation percentage.
As a side note, part of the ongoing attack on meat eating is the claim that the iron in meat promotes colon cancer. Sisson unpacks that in the post I referenced earlier, but here’s the gist of it:
The relationship between heme iron (the kind found in meat) and colon cancer is conditional on iron oxidating fatty acids in the colon. Not just any fatty acids, though. The kind found in seed oils, polyunsaturated fatty acids. In fact, studies seeking to prove that heme iron promotes colon cancer can’t get the cancer to “take” unless the lab animals are fed high-PUFA oils, like safflower oil. Feed them olive or coconut oil with the heme iron and the study can’t proceed because no cancer occurs.
Another good reason not to eat industrial seed oils, aside from their effect on the thyroid.
While researching this topic, and the thyroid in general, I took the time to read through the comments section of the posts. You should, too. It’s a real eye-opener. Skip the snark and pay attention to the ones from people who have been suffering with health problems despite improving their diet, seeing their MD (in most cases), and taking the supplements and/or medications they were told to take. Many have negative reactions to the pills and many just don’t get better.
Based on my experience, this is likely due to sensitivities to the nutrients they need to enjoy improved health, but also to all the nutrient groups as well as foods. This is where SET-DB™ can help. Clearing a sensitivity to iron or ferritin could well allow someone to better handle those substances, which could be a big part in them enjoying better thyroid health, and better health in general.
Dr. Teryl Boothe and selected guests.