Dr. Donata Girolamo, ND
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system, and is responsible for how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and responds to other hormones. Thyroid hormones affect how fast or slow your brain, heart, muscles, liver, and other organs work. It is very important this gland is working optimally for a timely conception, pregnancy, and after the birth. Studies show that there is a “higher prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism in patients with infertility”.1 Symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism are:
- Depression and anxiety
- Feeling cold
- Consistent weight gain
- Poor memory
- Hair loss
- Elevated LDL
- Decreased libido
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- No symptoms at all
In the many successful fertility cases I have treated, I have approached subclinical hypothyroidism as a symptom. This means, when the root causes were corrected, the thyroid imbalance resolved, and patients conceived.
3 steps to correcting subclinical hypothyroidism without even treating the thyroid:
Support the adrenal glands
The thyroid will often go out of balance when the adrenals are taxed, because cortisol, the stress hormone, blocks the cells from utilizing thyroid hormone, making the thyroid work harder. You can support the adrenal glands with herbs, acupuncture, nutrients, eating every 3-4 hours including a protein, and avoiding alcohol and stimulants like coffee. Meditation is an excellent strategy at changing the perception of stress. Along the same lines, the area of the body the thyroid is located is around the throat. This symbolizes communication. If you have an under-functioning thyroid gland, it may be symbolic for not speaking your truth, or problems with communicating. This can be a stress too. Reflect on where in your life you have not allowed expression and try to make any necessary changes.
Heal your intestines
This is a very important factor for many reasons. Inflammation in the digestive tract will influence many aspects of your body, and especially the thyroid. If inflammation is high, it will block important thyroid nutrients from being absorbed (like zinc and selenium), and may stimulate the immune system to attack the thyroid, as in the autoimmune hypothyroid condition Hashimoto’s. The gastrointestinal tract also absorbs thyroid hormones, and “may also play a role in the regulation of hormone activity”.2 Antibiotic use, NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen/advil, naproxen etc), sugar, processed foods, chronic stress, and over exercise, all affect the health of your gut and your thyroid.3 Of course, take a probiotic. Remove any food intolerances. If there is any indication of candida overgrowth, accompanied by parasites, you may want to use herbs such as black walnut, wormwood, and garlic extract. Foods such as slightly roasted pumpkin seeds, beet, cabbage, carrot, garlic, leek, onion, radish, and sorrel, fennel, clove, cayenne, garden sage, ginger, horseradish, and thyme have anti-parasitic properties. Incorporate them into your daily meals.
Heavy metal toxicity
Firstly, regarding fertility and heavy metals in general, one study reports, the “diagnosis and reduction of an increased heavy metal body load improved the spontaneous conception chances of infertile women. Adequate treatment provides successful alternatives to conventional hormonal therapy”.4 Heavy metals such as the mercury found in dental fillings can negatively affect thyroid function, and it has been found that if your mother had a heavy metal burden while pregnant, it can affect your heavy metal status and thyroid function.5 Start by decreasing your exposure to heavy metals; drink clean water such as reverse osmosis, if you or someone in your household smokes, stop. Cadmium, lead, and nickel are found in tobacco. Eat the fish listed as safe by the Environmental working group: wild salmon, rainbow trout, atlantic mackerel, mussels, sardines. Safely remove any remaining amalgam fillings by a trusted biological dentist. Consider approximately 100 hours of infra red sauna therapy, along with chelators such as chlorella, antioxidants, and fiber. Seeing a naturopathic doctor for assessment and treatment would be best for a comprehensive treatment plan.
These 3 steps will have a profound effect on your fertility, and on your future child’s health. As a generation we must take the time, get to the root, and be advocates of conscious conception for the future of our species.
After graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree, Dr. Donata Girolamo then pursued her passion for holistic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, becoming a licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor.
Dr. Donata Girolamo maintains a private family practice with special interests in fertility and mental wellness. Her mission is to optimize your health care by combining evidence-based medicine with the art and wisdom of traditional medicine. To address your health concerns she uses acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, nutrition and lifestyle counselling.
She maintains inspired through continuing education, and has extensive training in homeopathy, biotherapeutic drainage, auricular medicine, and medical intuition. She has additional certification in Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, First Line Therapy; a lifestyle program for weight loss and chronic disease prevention and treatment, and Psychosomatic Energetics. Due to her interest in the link between mind, body and spirit, Dr. Girolamo has taken intensive courses in Vipassana and Mindfulness meditation, and mind-body medicine through The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body medicine.
She is certified by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy Naturopathy and an active member of The Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors. She is a regular contributor to Health Wellness and Safety magazine, and has written for Canadian Health and Lifestyle. She is a guest speaker at Niagara College, teaching stress management with meditation, and is active in the community, giving health talks to groups like Run Girl Run, Happy Hearts, Niagara Pain Program, and Form Fitness. She is appearing in a fertility segment on CHCH news, and has been interviewed on 610 CKTB newstalk radio regarding menopause. Understanding and sharing the body’s wisdom is not only a passion, but her calling.
- Abalovich, M. et. al. Subclinical Hypothyroidism and Thyroid Autoimmunity in Women with Infertility. Informa Healthcare. 2007. Available at:http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09513590701259542. Accessed July 12, 2015.
- Hays, MT. Thyroid Hormone and the Gut. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 1988. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3049061. Accessed July 12, 2015.
- Romm, A. The Gut-Thyroid Connection: 4 Steps for Breaking the Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Cycle – Aviva Romm. Aviva Romm. 2015. Available at: http://avivaromm.com/gut-thyroid-connection. Accessed July 12, 2015.
- Gerhard, I. et. al.Heavy Metals and Fertility. Ingenta Connect. 1998. Available at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/tandf/uteh/1998/00000054/00000008/art00001. Accessed July 12, 2015.
- Ursinyova, M. et. al.The Relation Between Human Exposure to Mercury and Thyroid Hormone Sta. Springer Link. 2012. Available at:http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12011-012-9382-0. Accessed July 12, 2015.