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Michelle Corey
The Functional Mind-Body Approach to Reversing Your Autoimmune Condition and Reclaiming Your Health!
The Functional Mind-Body Approach to Reversing Your Autoimmune Condition and Reclaiming Your Health!


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Choosing Thyroid Medication
Choosing Thyroid Medication
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The Cause of Autoimmune Conditions: Chronic Stress in All Its Forms!
It only took me a couple of years of research in autoimmunity before I began to see the physiological connections between chronic stress (emotional, infectious, and toxic), and chronic illness. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded at how our medical system could be missing these connections.
We’ve all heard the saying “Stress kills,” but how many of us have really taken that message to heart? Sadly, not many of us even know what it means—that is, until we get sick, and even then most of us will try to ignore, minimize or work around our stresses as if they don’t exist.

Our Cup Runneth Over…But Not in a Good Way!
The total amount of toxins your body is enduring at any given time is called your body burden. The total amount of stress you have at any given time is called your total stress load. We each have a limit to how much body burden or total stress load we can take. When I had my nutrition practice, I would explain it to my clients this way: we are each born with a cup: some of us have small cups, while others have larger ones. The amount of stress and toxins we can tolerate depends on the size of our cup. It doesn’t matter how big your cup is; there is a limit to how much it can hold before it spills over.

We all have genetic strengths and weaknesses, and each of us has a maximum limit of how much we can take before we get sick. For some, it’s the cardiovascular system that breaks down after years of chronic stress, and they might have a heart attack. For others, it’s lowered immunity, and there might be a diagnosis of cancer. For those of us with autoimmune conditions, our immune systems become confused and overwhelmed and attack our own tissues.

We live in an increasingly toxic world and most of us—yes, most—are living at or just below our “maximum full” line. We are literally stressing ourselves to death, and we’re not even conscious of it. In fact, we take drugs to mask our symptoms so that we don’t have to feel how sick, tired, depressed, anxious, and unhappy we really are. We eat foods full of chemicals we can’t even pronounce, we work at jobs we hate, we watch terrifying stories on the news, and when that’s not enough we watch violent films and TV shows for “fun.” We drink too much coffee and booze, tolerate lousy relationships, and slather on personal care products that could kill a cockroach. We clean our homes with poisons, breathe in smog and chemicals and then take prescription drugs to relieve our pain and symptoms. It’s a vicious cycle and the more stress we endure, the more unhealthy coping mechanisms we have to come up with, just to keep going!

The human body was not intended to be a hazmat dumping zone, but unfortunately that is what we have become. We are told that we should be able to “handle it,” and that if we get sick that there is something fundamentally wrong with our physiology or our genes.

Let’s get real about this, people! We are stressed-out and toxic and that is why we are sick. It’s commonsense, really…but when did commonsense become so uncommon?

What You Need to Know:
It is impossible to have an autoimmune condition and not be stressed on many levels. If you have an autoimmune condition, you have reached your personal saturation point for the total amount of stress your body can handle. In order to reverse your condition, you will have to identify the biggest areas of stress and alleviate them!
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Hormonal Stress is one of the factors that can contribute to an autoimmune reaction. Our bodies are healthy and vibrant when all of our hormones are in balance. Our sex and adrenal hormones work synergistically with our thyroid hormones. In fact, if one hormone is off, it can cause stress on the body and affect all the other hormones. It’s important to remember that hormonal imbalance is your body’s way of trying to correct something or communicate to you that something is amiss.

Let’s take a look at the main hormones:

Pregnenolone: Sometimes called “the mother of all hormones,” pregnenolone is made primarily in the adrenal glands, from cholesterol. It’s the precursor for all the sex hormones: testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and cortisol. Low levels of pregnenolone are common in people with hypothyroidism and adrenal burnout.

Estrogen is produced from cholesterol, primarily by developing follicles in the ovaries, the corpus luteum, and the placenta. A small percentage is produced in the liver, adrenal glands, fat cells, and breasts. In men, estrogen is produced in the adrenal glands and testes. There are three types of estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). The estrogens have many functions and are important for tissue growth, sex drive, and healthy bones and, when balanced, may protect from heart disease. Too much estrogen can lead to low thyroid function in two ways: it can inhibit the conversion of thyroid hormones T4 to T3, and it can bind to thyroid proteins, blocking thyroid hormone from its own receptors.

Progesterone is primarily produced from pregnenolone in the ovaries in the second half of a woman’s cycle, but small amounts are produced in the adrenal glands. Men produce small amounts of progesterone in the adrenals and testes. Progesterone is the hormone that supports a healthy pregnancy. Progesterone can enhance thyroid hormone function, but if your thyroid hormones are out of balance, it can lower your progesterone levels.

Testosterone is a male hormone, but both men and women have it. Testosterone is produced by the ovaries or testicles, and adrenal glands. Like estrogen, it plays a crucial role in the growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues.

DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands and is responsible for proper immune function, fat burning, muscle building, tissue repair, proper liver function, and energy production. DHEA will also convert into other sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.

Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands and affects every organ and tissue in the body. Cortisol has thousands of effects on the body, but its primary role is to control inflammation, help the body respond to stress, and maintain glucose levels in the blood for energy.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is secreted by the pituitary gland, which causes the liver to produce another hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 affects almost every cell in the body. It’s often called “the hormone of youth,” because it’s responsible for rejuvenating the skin and bones and regenerating the tissues of the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. At optimal levels, it helps build muscle mass and burn fat. It enhances sexual performance and produces increased energy levels. It lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol profiles. It encourages hair growth, removes wrinkles, eliminates cellulite, and improves memory, mood, and sleep. Thyroid hormones regulate the release and synthesis of HGH, and many people with low thyroid levels have low IGF-1. Chronic illness, stress, hypothyroidism, liver toxicity, and aging all slow the production of IGF-1, which results in accelerated aging.

Here are a few examples of pathways that can result in hormonal stress:

• Chronic stress causes elevated stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin, which can cause adrenal fatigue and affect all of our other hormones.

• Over consumption of sugar, alcohol and carbs leads to blood sugar imbalances, dysglycemia and insulin resistance.

• Birth control pills, hormone replacement, and exposure to xenoestrogens require the system to contend with hormonal signals introduced from outside sources.

As if these first two factors weren’t confusing enough for the body’s hormone production, even more of the natural balance can be lost when the third comes into play. While some stressors prod the body into producing more of its own hormones in unbalanced amounts, others simply enter the body and pretend to be those same hormones. This disrupts the endocrine cycle, because the body thinks its hormone-producing work is already done.
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Causes of Adrenal Burnout
Adrenal Burnout is one of the triggers for autoimmunity that I identity in my book. I just want to touch on some of the causes and symptoms in this short post. Adrenal burnout is caused by stress in all its forms. Everything I discussed in "The Thyroid Cure"—emotional, psychological, infectious, toxic,allergic, and environmental factors—have an effect on the adrenal glands.

All of these stresses are enough on their own, but most of us find ourselves bombarded by multiple types of stress, and over time, these accumulate and become chronic. The condition of constant, unrelenting stress leaves the adrenals working overtime, and without a rest, they eventually give out. After a while, you begin to feel like you’re “beating a dead horse,” and your body simply says, “No!”

Symptoms of Adrenal Burnout

• Suppressed thyroid function—poor conversion of T4 to T3
• Waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep
• Trouble falling and staying asleep
• Difficulty waking up in the morning
• Not feeling rested after a full night’s sleep
• Needing caffeine to start the day
• Being lightheaded upon standing up
• Feeling wired but tired
• Lack of energy
• Being easily startled by loud noises
• Cold hands and cold feet
• Constipation
• Panic attacks
• Feeling shaky and weak
• Craving salt
• Craving sweets
• Mental fogginess
• Memory problems
• Needing increased time to recover from illness, injury, or trauma
• Feeling that little things put you over the edge
• Feeling depressed
• Lack of interest in the things that used to bring you joy
• Decreased libido
• Increased PMS symptoms
• “Hitting the wall” at 3-4 p.m. only to feel “up” again after 6 or 7 p.m.
• Feeling tired but resisting going to bed before 11 p.m.
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