I honestly don’t even know where to start with this post, because the information is so complex. Once again, a diagnosis of my own, leads me to investigate further, and I have the desire to share my findings. I have recently been diagnosed with Vitamin B12 deficiency, iron deficiency, iodine deficiency, and finally hypothyroidism. I have since started taking thyroid medication (Armour, for those of you who want to know), though of course, I felt compelled to dig a little deeper.
First, I was interested in why on Earth I, of all people, might be B12 sufficient. B12 is found in animal protein. I eat meat every day. I should not be deficient in B12, right? Wrong! It appears, that you can eat as much meat and take in as much B12 as you want, without enough intrinsic factor (a substance secreted by the stomach that just so happens to bind to B12 to enable the body to absorb B12), your B12 will be flushed out unused with your feces.
Another piece of information I found is that low stomach acid is cause for B12 deficiency. Stomach acid liberates B12 from the food. In the meantime, I have also found, that there is likely a huge amount of the population with low stomach acid. Here we are, diagnosed with low stomach acid, and we take prescription drugs to lower stomach acid, when the real problem may be low stomach acid to begin with. I’ll write another post about that subject separately.
Well, guess what, iron absorption can also be decreased by low stomach acid.
And finally, did you know that B12 can make hypothyroidism worse? According to a study, about 40% of people in this study also suffered from B12 deficiency. There used to be a belief, that B12 deficiency is more common in elderly people, but the study found, that it is just as common in younger people.
Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism and B12 deficiency overlap. Some of them include: fatigue, disturbed sleep, depression, bad memory, lethargy… Of course, any and all of these symptoms could also indicate a totally different all together, which might be, why many people are never screened for B12 or hypothyroidism. All too often, your doctor will happily prescribe an antidepressant and send you on your merry way.
I am no doctor, and I am certainly not trained to make a diagnosis or treat people. But, I am also no dummy. My course in Nutritional Therapy has taught me at least one important thing, and that is to go back to the foundations of health. One should at least consider the possibility of addressing one’s digestion. Couldn’t it theoretically be possible, that my years of abusing my body with the wrong foods, diet pills, and endless cardio, have led to low stomach acid, which in turn triggered a whole chain reaction of deficiencies and finally my underactive thyroid?
If you suffer from low stomach acid, an HCL supplement may just be the way to go. Of course, I would suggest you see a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (me, once I graduate in October!), to address your issues one at a time. In Nutritional Therapy, you and your practitioner will look at your digestion as a north to south process. It will do you no good to heal your large intestine, when the stomach is in dire need of help.
More and more, I find the connections between symptoms and causes, and at least in my case, they are usually found somewhere in my digestive track. This confirms even more, what I have known for years now, which is to eat a healthy diet, consisting of whole, unprocessed foods. Sound familiar?