THE THYROID-DIABESITY CONNECTION
Disclaimer: this article is for education purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
In my practice I see many people with thyroid issues, particularly hypothyroidism or Hashimoto. Often, one of the main symptoms is weight gain, particularly in women. Weight gain can also be the gateway to diabetes and very often these two things go together and it is hard to pin point which one started first, a bit like the chicken and egg situation.
Often, diabetes runs in the family, so I will have one patient with thyroid issues at risk of diabetes or in “pre-diabetic” stage. Pregnancy can often bring out these issues and it is important to address the symptoms early on in order to avoid complications or the use of medication during pregnancy, which many mothers want to avoid.
Diabesity is the combination of obesity and diabetes, however, diabetes and thyroid have a two-way interaction:
THYROID DYSFUNCTION AND BLOOD SUGAR
Your thyroid gland and thyroid hormones play a major role in regulating many of your body’s biological processes, such as metabolism, therefore, thyroid dysfunction can alter your blood sugar levels. This increases your risk of developing diabetes, and it makes it harder to manage your blood sugar if you already have diabetes.
THYROID DYSFUNCTION AND INSULIN
Diabetes can cause alterations in thyroid hormone levels. Insulin imitates the actions of thyroid hormones in some tissues of the body, which decreases the production of thyroid hormones. But insulin also functions in the opposite way thyroid hormones do in other tissues, which increases thyroid hormone levels.
THE CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT
Tests are useful to check your thyroid hormone levels and blood sugar levels and see where the issues are. After that, conventional medicine has only drugs to offer: pills for the thyroid, pills to keep the sugar level in check and before you know it, you end up with lots of bottles of prescription pills on your kitchen top lined up in a row!
THE HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH
Homeopathy is holistic, which means it takes the whole person into account: body, mind and soul. We are not just a collection of body parts, cells and molecules! We are also all different, which is why the homeopath takes the time to look at the patient, medical history, family medical history, habits, lifestyle, diet and so on. This is the secret of homeopathy’s effectiveness.
Remedies I have used often for these issues are:
There are of course many more remedies, these are the most common ones and it is important to remember that the remedy needs to match the whole person, not just the condition and that is why consulting a homeopath is necessary.
CAN HOMEOPATHY BE USED WHILE ON PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION?
Yes! I have patients who are desperate to stop medication, because of the side effects, but this has to be done slowly and gradually and in conjunction with your personal physician, in order to avoid aggravations.
Over a period of time (how long depends on the individual’s initial condition), drugs can be phased out, until the patient feels well with homeopathic support only and eventually even that can be removed, once all the issues have been resolved!
THE ROLE OF NUTRITION
Nutrition is extremely influential in everybody’s health, but particularly when it comes to diabesity or thyroid function or both combined.
Once again, individualised treatment is key, as many factors determine your diet, including your personal taste, of course!
Obviously, taking away processed sugars and carbs is the first step, however, there are many different types of foods and supplements that can help support optimal health and balance. As homeopath and naturopath, I find that the combination of remedies and healthy individualised diet, can really work in the long term.
S. is a 45 year old lady, recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She started experiencing tiredness, weight gain and hair loss about a year ago. She has tried different diet and excercise regimes, she was alway a very active person, loved going to the gym, but now she just doesn’t have the energy and her muscles ache after a few minutes of excercise. She is also worried because diabetes and obesity run in her family on her mother’s side and she doesn’t want “to end up like my mum”. She is adamant she doesn’t want to take any medication if at all possible.
She has always been pretty healthy, however, she does a lot of “comfort eating” when stressed out. Her emotional eating is mostly cakes and sweet stuff.
The comment she makes about her mother and “not wanting to end up like her” prompts me to ask a bit more about her relationship with her parents. It turns out that she has not been on speaking terms with her mother for the past year and she tells me the whole story.
Isn’t it funny how her physical symptoms started roundabout at the same time as her argument with her mother?
The 40’s for a woman are the years where we come to terms with our own mortality, we take stock, we think of what we have accomplished so far and we inebitably realise that, although we have spent all our lives trying to avoid this, we do look like our mothers more than we want to admit. Men go through the same thing in relation to their father. It is the way human beings are wired.
Most of her physical and emotional symptoms point to Calc Carb and therefore that’s what I prescribe.
A month into the remedy, her energy is the first thing to “go back to normal”. The food cravings have also gone down.
As her energy is back, she is able to take long walks again and that helps shift some weight. As we all know, physical excercise helps in many ways, including rebalancing our hormones. Everything helps, it’s not just one thing, however, once we start in the right direction, everything can gradually fall into place.
The case is still ongoing and it does take time to resolve thyroid issues. As always, the earlier we catch it, the quicker the recovery. The main thing is to have a professional homeopath to guide you.