with THE original alternative thyroid health expert and a father of iodine therapy Dr David Brownstein MD – very important as Tasmanian soils are the most iodine deficient in the nation and we have historical health problems because of this that have been resurfacing. Note the dates given are for USA so June 4th is the 5th locally – there will be two presenters during the sessions who are practicing in Australia – Lucy Herron, i think she’s a kiwi originally and Dr. Greg Emerson, canadian by birth ( new members may also like to check out the astro pages on seaweed )
Here are some of my thoughts and notes from the shows so far –
Day One Dr Brownstein discussed basal body temp, ( basal means upon waking but before getting out of bed – 97.8-98.8 farenheit translates to 37 centigrade Lucy Herron went into more detail on day 2. Here’s how to test it and a handy metric basal temp chart http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/conception/trying-to-conceive/basal-temperature-chart-print-out-and-fill-in-20100907-14z6c.html Use a digital thermometer sold for ovulation monitoring which is more precise than a standard thermometer. You can find them at most chemist stores. (I’ve used a few ideas from a little ebook by Matt Stone called ‘eat for heat‘ to ramp up my own basal temp.)
For the well person the big news is cancer prevention with iodine sufficiency: Iodine is necessary for normal glandular architecture of the breasts, ovaries and prostate not just the thyroid; deficiency causes cysts and nodules and eventually cancer. I was flabbergasted to learn a couple of years ago from a commercial fruit grower how her own child developed a goitre from the home veggie garden. Before you start to think ‘pesticides’ their farm is organic “To nurture the soil, they use the clear clean water from the Derwent River and hundreds of tonnes of organic compost, seaweed fertilisers and nutrient-rich cover crops which they mulch back into tree rows.” So I think it’s safest to test your soil if you eat a lot of home grown vegetables and also test your urine iodine levels as these are simple to do and cost effective considering the implications. Since October 2009, iodised salt is used in all bread sold in Australia (except organic, or salt free bread) and also not home bread mixes, flour and not pizza.  In Tasmania the stat govt. has iodine monitoring and you can call the public health line for information 1800671738. Plants also grow better with extra iodine. Here’s a nifty article outlining the pros and cons of iodine fortification of plants as an alternative to iodised salt.
Day Two Tahoma Clinic Doctor Jonathan Wright MD (whose excitable speech pattern reminds me of Willy Wonka) says testing free T3 and then reverse T3 if nothing else would suffice to check thyroid function in contrast to choosing a TSH level – the usual sole screening test run by physicians,.
TSH is a pituitary hormone and he pointed out that unfortunately the normal range was created from total population averages, not tests of optimal function.
Thyroid function tests—time for a reassessment
St John O’Reilly’s paper notes TSH has never even been correlated with physical symptoms. www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/320/7245/1332 This of course is true for other nutrients – Dr Bevin Hokin of the Sanitarium Hospital in Sydney has tried for years to point out that the reference ranges for serum B12 are too low – 
The usual method of deriving a reference range (Mean +/-2SD) results in a vitamin B12 reference range of around 130-850 pmol/L. This is an unsafe range as many in the population exhibit neurological symptoms of deficiency at much higher concentrations. The lowest concentration to be considered normal is 221 pmol/L. (Herbert 1996b)
Total T3 and T4 is stuck on binding proteins and is unavailable to the thyroid so measuring it is not helpful. TPO and TGA thyroid antibodies measurements can predict Hashimoto’s.
Dr Wright talked about chelating heavy metals out of the body in order to reduce inappropriate creation of reverse T3 when the body is not faced with starvation. If, when using DMPS to remove arsenic and mercury, an excess of sulphite is created from the sulfur not being metabolised efficiently due to molybdenum defficiency, the patient will have ‘foggy brain’ symptoms. I know this can also happen with common genetic mutations.
“People with mutations of CBS do not metabolise sulfur well and must limit sulfur containing foods as well as sulfur medicines. CBS is Cystathionine-β-synthase. CBS converts homocysteine into cystathionine. This pathway removes sulfur containing amino acids. When it is shut off there can be trouble.”
A simple sign you may be bad at detoxifying sulfur is a lot of burping or flatulence after eating onions and garlic – both high sulfur foods. [Ameer Rosic interview mp3]. If you have your 23andme genome test, CBS is tested. I use Amy Yasko’s website and http://geneticgenie.org/ to report on this (If that is all alphabet soup to you may email me if you would like help.)
The importance of testing adrenal function and providing the necessary support for these glands before supplementing thyroid was mentioned by both doctors. Vitamin C is at the top of Dr Wright’s helpful list – followed by simple salt. Also natural bioidentical cortisol in physiological doses (he reccomends William Jeffries – ‘safe uses of cortisol’ ) cheap bulk Himalayan salt. is sometimes available at Astrotas meetings from Allan Wilton.
The toxic halides Bromine and flouride both interfere with iodine in the body. In america the flour is brominated – but this is not an allowed in australia; and we add iodised salt to our bread. Bread improvers may previously have contained bromine but this has been removed since the early 90’s. We do however use bromine instead of iodine now to sterilise milk vats, and some spa pools, and of course we continue to add flouride in many areas to our drinking water.
Here’s a link to the Harvard flouride review he mentioned http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/ “July 25, 2012 — In a meta-analysis, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang for the first time combined 27 studies and found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Some studies suggested that even slightly increased fluoride exposure could be toxic to the brain. “Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,” Grandjean says. “The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious.”
Since both my parents have glaucoma I was really interested by other ideas from Dr Wright’s clinical experience which will be in his new book – 50% of glaucoma can be reversed with adrenal support. 70% of dry macular degeneration is due to a digestive problem leading to nutrient defficiency. His website is www.tahomaclinicblog.com/iodide