Coconut and the ThyroidPosted: March 21, 2013
March 21, 2013 by NATASHA LONGO
Get Off Your Thyroid Medication And Start Consuming Coconut Oil
There are many published studies on the relationship between coconut oil, metabolism and weight loss. Research shows that coconut oil contains unique fatty acids that stimulate metabolism, supply the body with tremendous energy, and promote weight loss. Most people are unaware that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease and this is one of the main reasons why conventional pharmaceutical treatments are ineffective for more than 80 percent of patients with sluggish thyroids.
Taking replacement thyroid hormones without addressing the underlying immune imbalance is like trying to change the type of oil in your engine with the hope that your transmission will stop failing…useless.
The ultimate effect of hypothyroidism, whether it’s caused by iodine deficiency or autoimmunity, is to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone available to the body. The conventional approach is to simply replace these hormones with either synthetic or bio-identical forms.
Patient doesn’t have enough hormones? Give more hormones. Simple, right? Not.
Once again the conventional approach falls short because it ignores the underlying cause of the problem.
Even the best thyroid treatment may not work if underlying adrenal and hormonal problems are not dealt with effectively. If your doctor is not looking at your adrenal and hormonal situation, then an important part of your health is being overlooked.
In autoimmune disease the body attacks itself. It does this the same way it attacks foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses: with T-cells, B-cells, natural killer cells, and cytotoxic T cells. The immune response also involves proteins called cytokines, chemical messengers that pass messages between cells.
A team of scientists from Yale University recently reported that junk food diets and processed foods could be partly to blame for autoimmune diseases.
The production and use of thyroid hormones is a complex and important process:
Any abnormality in this intricate system of glands and hormone synthesis and production can have far-reaching consequences.
To Address The Thyroid You MUST Understand Inflammation
This self-attack by the immune system increases inflammation. And inflammation has a profound effect on all aspects of thyroid metabolism and physiology.
First, inflammation suppresses the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. One study showed a single injection of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha reduced blood levels of TSH, T3, free T4, free T3 and TRH for5 days. This shows inflammation disrupts the production and regulatory mechanisms of thyroid hormones. Thyroid medication will increase the levels of T4 (and possibly T3), but it doesn’t address the other effects of HPT axis suppression.
Second, inflammation decreases both the number and sensitivity of thyroid hormone receptors. If there aren’t enough receptors, or they aren’t sensitive enough, it doesn’t matter how much thyroid medication we take. The cells won’t be able to use it. It’s like when my grandpa used to turn down his hearing aids while he was watching the football game. It didn’t matter how much my grandma yelled at him — he couldn’t hear a word she said.
Third, inflammation decreases the conversion of T4 to T3. T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. The body has to convert it to the active T3 form before it can be used. Most synthetic hormone medications on the market are T4. If you give a T4 medication (like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, etc.) to someone with inflammation, it’s not going to work because they can’t convert the T4 to T3.
A TSH test is just one part of the overall picture. You can have a TSH that falls in the “normal range,” or is in the higher or lower end of normal, but you can actually have a thyroid problem or autoimmune thyroid disease. A good practitioner doesn’t rule out a thyroid condition solely on the basis of a TSH, but instead, runs additional tests, such as Free T4, Free T3. Thyroid antibodies can diagnose autoimmune conditions long before other blood values become abnormal. AND, treatment for people with antibodies can actually help forestall full-scale development of thyroid disease in some people!
Long-term suppression of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) causes cardiac side-effects and contributes to decreases in bone mineral density (high TSH levels are also well known to contributes to osteoporosis.) It may also cause elevated blood glucose levels, heart failure, coma and adrenal insufficiency. TSH directly influences the whole process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production so use of synthroid directly affects how the body metabolizes iodine.
The only way to do that is to address the problem at its root by regulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation.
Other Causes of an Unbalanced Thyroid?
A sluggish thyroid may be triggered by many unseen causes, including…
Coconut Oil Regulates The Immune System and Decreases Inflammation
Coconut oil has always received a criticism because a group of scientists had incorrectly promoted that it increased LDL cholesterol. However, it never did increase LDL cholesterol, but it did increase HDL or good cholesterol. That distinction was never corrected in the mainstream press and the misconception still continues to this day.
“Why the mainstream persists in this delusion of criticizing coconut oil is beyond the understanding of many in the natural food industry,” said raw food expert and retailer Ian Macdonald.
“You know you’re on to something healthy when national and international health agencies are advising AGAINST it,” Macdonald stated. “This is typically due to influences from pharmaceutical and high profile corporations who strive on keeping the population sick and diseased,” he added.
For example the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO), International College of Nutrition, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, American Dietetic Association (ADA), American Heart Association (AHA), British National Health Service (NHS), and Dietitians of Canada all simultaneously recommend AGAINST the consumption of coconut oil. Unfortunately, and against the better interest of the public, none of the above organizations have a track record of recommending healthy solutions for the public, so Macdonald suggests that when these organizations recommend against something, “that is your cue to incorporate it into your diet, with proper research of course.” Coconut oil may be the perfect example.
50 percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth!
Nigel Turner and Jiming Ye from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research compared fat metabolism and insulin resistance in mice fed coconut oil and lard based diets.
“The medium chain fatty acids like those found in coconut oil are interesting to us because they behave very differently to the fats normally found in our diets,” said study leader Turner.
“Unlike the long chain fatty acids contained in animal fats, medium chain fatty acids are small enough to enter mitochondria – the cells’ energy burning powerhouses – directly where they can then be converted to energy.”
Coconut oil has a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue, and it may also contribute by inhibiting harmful intestinal microorganisms that cause chronic inflammation.
Many people who have suffered with inflammatory conditions of the intestines like Crohn’s disease have successfully used coconut oil for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
The medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found in coconut oil are the same as those in human mother’s milk, and they have extraordinary anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. By disrupting the lipid structures of microbes, they inactivate them. Lauric acid, its metabolite monolaurin and other fatty acids in coconut oil are known to protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites. While not having any negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, coconut oil inactivates undesirable microbes.
An excellent study that reviewed many previous studies on this topic was published in the Journal of Nutrition (Vol. 132, pages 329-332). This study was conducted by researchers at McGill University. They reported that several different studies have shown weight loss equivalent to 12 – 36 pounds a year simply by changing the types of oils used in everyday cooking and food preparation.
Most of the oils that we use to cook food and those used in commercially-prepared foods also have a negative affect on the thyroid. These are known as polyunsaturated or vegetable oils. They may in fact be the worst villains in the spread of thyroid diseases.
The thyroid, though small otherwise, is one of the largest glands in the endocrine system. Diseases of the endocrine system are mostly caused due to production disorders that lead to inadequacy or excess of hormones or inappropriate response to hormones by tissues.
Dr. Bruce Fife’s book Eat Fat, Look Thin explains how he discovered the relationship between coconut oil and improved thyroid health. It explains how to use coconut oil and incorporate it into a sensible diet.
Another book by Dr. Fife is The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil andEat Fat, Look Thin which contains references to numerous studies.
Is coconut oil a thyroid cure? Not by itself. Can it help people with low thyroid function? Yes, because it stimulates metabolism and boosts energy. For this reason, coconut oil has been a blessing to many people who have been able to abandon their medications with the right combination of exercise, removal of processed foods, and a balanced diet.
Other Nutrients To Maintain and Boost Thyroid Function:
Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.