The summary of this Interview with Amy Myers is taken from a recording at www.thedetoxsummit.com – which is an amazing collection of Health and Detox inspired Interviews with leading experts. Head over to their website to listen to more.
Dr Amy Myers is a well known and highly credible name in this field of Medicine. She describes how after training to become a doctor she went from initially working at saving lives, to switching focus and developing a passion for healing people and helping them to live healthy lives through Functional Medicine. She has a large Blog following and offers a ray of hope to many sufferers of severe chronic illness – whatever the form.
In this Interview she chats specifically about Thyroid Dysfunction, Autoimmunity and Toxins. She also begins to address (in a simple to understand way) the relevance of Genes and Genetics and how Mutations can alter the picture for many people.
For me, this interview broke down a complicated topic area into one which started to make much more sense. The puzzle got a little easier, although it is still complex and one which I am absorbing myself as I go along….
The importance of the Thyroid:
Dr Myers begins by describing how the Thyroid is the master gland within the body. How it is the engine to the car. Every organ in the body has a receptor to Thyroid and It is a vital player to Health. Without a functioning Thyroid gland you have major problems.
She confirms that many people are under-diagnosed as Thyroid screening is usually very limited. Frequently doctors will only check the TSH levels, which are often normal. They don’t follow up with more specific testing which can give a much more accurate picture. Also, Dr Myers believes (as many others do) that the Reference range (for the test) is way too wide and it does not provide indicators of optimal hormone levels.
Dr Myers typically likes to see a TSH level of between 1-2 and lower if patients are taking a medication with T3 in it such as Natural Dessicated Thyroid.
Dr Myers discusses how she also likes to do an Antibody check – this is where the body begins to attack its own tissues – in this case the Thyroid.
This is not not something which should happen and it raises alarm bells. For a while the organ can function but later on there will be enough destruction that you will need to replace the hormone. This is now called Autoimmune Disease.
People may feel better on hormone replacement but once you have 1 Autoimmune Disease you are 3 times more likely to get another one. A Functional Doctor will therefore want to figure this out and address the root cause. Why did they body view the Thyroid as a foreigner to invade?
Dr Myers explains how we need to turn off the attack by fixing the underlying cause.
How much do Toxins affect the Thyroid?
Firstly we need to define what a Toxin is. Dr Myers discusses how the Toxin involved could anything from Mercury or Plastic to Lead. But also it could be Chlorine and Fluoride which are particularly bad for the Thyroid as they can displace the iodine in the gland.
She recommends Water Filters for removing some of the chemicals.
Gluten is also a Toxin as are many others foods potentially. But certainly one of the main triggers for Autoimmunity, she says, is Gluten. Gluten contributes to a Leaky Gut, but also molecularly (in the body) it looks very similar to the Thryoid gland, and therefore when the immune system goes to attack Gluten it will inadvertently attack the Thyroid gland too.
Gluten free is the best option for anyone with a Thyroid issue but definitely for those with an Autoimmune issue. And in the same way there can be cross-reactivity of other foods too which people need to be aware of.
The typical profile of someone with Autoimmune Disease?
Whilst Dr Myers believes that it can affect anybody she sees more women than men who develop it and this may be due to the hormone changes women experience. Pregnancy can be a factor – for some women it actually helps balance things, and for others it is the trigger which tips them over the edge.
Most of her ‘typical’ patients upon examination will have Leaky Gut, Gluten issues, very likely Dairy issues and probably a issue with all Grains. They will also have a high toxic burden and many will have a Genetic SNPs such as the MTHFR mutation.
Whilst 75% of the reasons people develop Autoimmune Disease are probably down to Environment – which includes Toxins, Leaky Gut, Stress, Food and such like, there is a Genetic component involved too.
Those with these extra Genetic SNPs (determined though lab testing) will have more problems with Detox pathways and will need support to aid Detoxification.
How do we find out if we have Methylation issues and how does it tie in?
Dr Myers particularly likes to look at how people metabolise and get rid of their Oestrogen’s. How they detox it out their system is particularly important for health. She will typical test for this and recommend supplements based on the outcome.
Glutathione is also a big issue and whether you can recycle it or make it yourself. It is the biggest detoxification molecule in the body and some of us don’t make it well or cant recycle it well.
Dr Myers typically has found that most of the patients who find her will have the MTHFR gene. This is the pathway through which heavy metals are detoxified so there will generally be issues related for these people who may have a high toxin burden with no way of releasing it.
She emphasises that (with this knowledge) its easy to see how one size doe not fit all with Detoxification. For instance, those people who have no Mutation can happily eat tuna (with its high mercury content) and detox it all fine. But if you have a Mutation you simply cannot detox it so you are dealing with a burden.
Genetics and Mutation make a vast difference, she confirms, and needs are different depending on this knowledge.
For her patients with SNPs she will check them for Heavy Metals more as it is clear that they will not be able to detoxify them. There is a need to support the Detox pathways much more the more Mutations one has. For example, a food source of B vitamins may be all that some people require, but this is not the case if you have a Mutation. High quality supplementation is necessary.
For a system to run well you need pre-methylated B vitamins – so therefore a standard B12 dose isn’t going to work for someone with a SNP as they may only be able to use a fraction of it. The B12 in the blood will look high but you may actually need more.
The Traditional Detox Method in Dr Myers Clinic:
Dr Myers has developed her own programme called The Myers Way. Something she classes as ‘a way of life’.
Detox is not a short cleanse. It is for everyday.
She begins with a standard Elimination Diet in order to get rid of the high immflamatory and toxic foods – Dairy, Cafine, Gluten, Trans-fats, Sugar, etc. If you have an Autoimmune Disease she goes further and typical introduces a diet based around Paleo principles with the avoidance of all grains and legumes, although these may be re-introduced later.
She focuses next on supporting Detox pathways and may add in Glutathione or pre-cursers to it such as NAC, Milk Thsitle and Magnesium.
She believes that everyone should be on supplements if it is affordable because we live in such a toxic world. Even without any SNPs it is worth it to aid Detoxification.
The Programme goes further in introducing more beneficial supplements and foods to aid Detox further. Onions, garlic and Sulphur rich food will also help the body produce to help Glutathione and Diet may begin to replace some supplements after a time.
The key is that treatment needs to be personalised. There are some some staples we can all do such as looking at food triggers, but then the programme must be tailored to the individual by looking at things like Genetics.
Dr Myers teaches Prevention:
There is much you can logically do for yourself. Dr Myers believes in prevention. If you have Mutations then don’t eat the tuna fish, she says. Prevent it coming into the body in the first place. There is so much which we cannot control so it is important to prevent and do what you can.
Do what you can in your own Home:
She believes that it is important to not get stressed out with all this as Stress = Illness. Her advice is to focus on all you can do inside your home and just go from there.
– For your drinking and *bath water invest in Filters.
– Eat Clean Food.
– Clean up your body and household products and reduce chemicals.
Do that 100% in your house and then don’t worry outside your house. The key is preventing as much as you can in your own environment.
– Make sure you are peeing, poop-ing and sweating – saunas are great.
– Understand fully that Gluten is a Toxin and needs removing for better health.
I hope that has helped a little. I know this is a really complex area and I admit I am just learning about it all myself and experimenting with gentle detox. I feel strongly that this makes up part of the larger picture for those with chronic conditions, but also that everybody can learn a lot about staying healthy for longer with these measures and with the new information Genetic testing is opening up to us. I would love to hear your thoughts? Have you had the Genetic Testing done? I have and I am working through the outcome as part of my jigsaw puzzle back to health.
Love Carly xx
*The water filter products I use personally after extensive research are below. I chose them for quality and price and these were the best I could find. I am really happy with all of them. Apparently bath water can actually be more important for health than drinking water due to inhalation.
– Dechlorinating Bath Ball for my baths – This is easily transportable if you go on holiday or live in a shared house.
– Paragon Shower Head.
– Berkey Water Filter.