Recently, an older man with serious health problems consulted Dr. Erika Schwartz for medical advice. She examined the meds he was on, and consulted his cardiologist about changing the patient’s therapy. The man was overweight and had low testosterone and thyroid levels as well as sleeping disorders caused by advanced stage eczema.

Dr. Schwartz tried to reach the cardiologist for three weeks and finally, she found him. However, the cardiologist was not exactly friendly when she suggested elimination of the medications that he gave the patient. “The guy said to me, ‘I can’t talk to you. You don’t know science.” After stating that they have the same medical degree, she adds “he hung up on me!”

Afterwards, she suggested a new cardiologist for the patient and a new diet plan which would boost his thyroid levels and eliminate the cholesterol meds. In the start, the patient though that eliminating the medications would lead to a heart attack, but Dr. Schwartz explained that correcting the hormones should keep the cholesterol levels low.

Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid – an endocrine gland located at the front of the neck. The main thyroid hormones are triiodothyronine and thyroxine, better known as T3 and T4. T4 reaches the body through the bloodstream and is turned to T3. It regulates metabolism and provides the body with energy, and it also helps the organs function properly.

Hypothyroidism is the main problem linked to the thyroid. This is a condition that occurs when the gland is unable to produce enough hormones to regulate some important body functions. The problem is caused by many different factors or autoimmune diseases such as Hasmimoto’s.

The common symptoms of the disease are dry skin, brittle nails, fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, irregular body temperature, feeling cold, poor reflexes, depression, brain fog, mood swings, etc. As we all know, these symptoms are pretty common in many diseases, and are commonly misdiagnosed without giving thyroid imbalance a second thought.

Mary Shomon, a thyroid expert explains in her book: “People are going in with high cholesterol or depression and are getting handed cholesterol meds and antidepressants. And no one’s ever checking to see if the thyroid is at the root of the problem.” She also says that there is a critical flaw in the hypothyroidism test. The test measures the level of the TS (pituitary hormone) in the blood, but it doesn’t check the T3 and T4 hormones as the TS tells the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones.

This flaw creates problems for many patients who experience the symptoms, but have a normal TSH result. They are then prescribed to medications that don’t treat their problem.

According to Dr. Schwartz, “At the end of the day, we suffer because we’re treating individual symptoms, and we don’t look at the body—at the person—as a whole. [The TSH test] is actually doing a disservice to anybody who wants to take care of themselves, or someone who actually wants to take care of the patient.” The T3 and T4 levels in the blood should be examined individually, and doctors need to make sure that T4 is turned into active T3, and that T3 enters cells to regulate bodily functions.

The holistic approach of Dr. Schwartz includes altering the diet, regular exercise and taking hormones and supplements. Her approach sees the body as a whole and doesn’t examine the symptoms only. “What I also found out was that giving those people thyroid to begin with—giving them T3, let’s say, to begin with, which is the active thyroid hormone—was actually the quickest way to get people to feel better. And once they felt better, then you could tweak their diet, exercise, lifestyle.” she says.

This belief is also shared by Mary Shomon. “Our metabolism relies, in large part, on our thyroid’s ability to function properly. If we’re not getting enough oxygen or energy to the cells for digestion, for pancreatic function, for brain function, for all of the other hormone production processes and the glands that are producing those, then everything is going to be slowing down and not working properly,” she explains. “It’s the gas pedal, essentially, for everything.”

As you can see, both internal and external factors play a role in thyroid imbalance. The state of our immune system, our diet, hormones and the environment are all responsible for thyroid disorders. “We’re living in such a toxic world—and our lifestyles have changed so much. And that’s a critical thing for us to realize when we look at our diets and we look at our daily habits. We have to put in place some strategies to compensate for the fact that we’ve moved so far from our natural evolutionary ancestral history.”- says Greg Emerson, MD, founder of the Emerson Health & Wellness Center in Queensland, Australia. Toxins and mycotoxins are at the top of the list. “

There’s a huge amount of scientific evidence that the poisons that the mold produce are terrible for the thyroid gland. And the other problem is that we’re consuming foods which are also high in mycotoxins. Or we’re consuming foods that are high in sugar, which makes the mold grow in the body. And we’re also not consuming foods which are protective against those mycotoxins. I don’t think I’ve seen a patient with Graves’ disease—which is an overactive thyroid—who has not had a problem with mold, and then mycotoxins.”, says Emerson.

Hypothyroidism leads to sudden weight loss due to the boosted metabolism and rapid or irregular heartbeat. Hormonal imbalance can be restored by lifestyle changes. Eating a diet in raw foods, regular exercise and health relationships should all help.

Dr. Emerson suggests asking these questions to yourself: “Am I eating the right food? Am I drinking the right water? Am I getting enough sun? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I getting enough exercise? Am I getting medicines in my food?”

Dr. Schwartz agrees on this. “Listen to what your body’s saying. If you can’t sleep at night, why don’t you sleep at night? Did you drink too much and it woke you up in the middle of the night? Are you eating too late? Are you eating the wrong foods? Are you exercising too late? Do you have all this electronic equipment sitting right next to you? Do you sleep with the TV on?”, she says.

If you properly take care of the things above, you will find the root of the problem easier and find an appropriate treatment.

Joseph Mercola, one of the most popular alternative medicine doctors, agrees with Dr. Schwartz’s view. He believes that in order to keep your body healthy, you need to consider many aspects of your life. He also believes that “It’s probably the mindset that you are responsible for your health.”