Hypothyroidism, Antioxidants and Acerola?
Here’s an interesting idea I had when I was reading all the research on acerola. Acerola was shown to promote weight loss by affecting and stimulating the hypothalamus. To stimulate metabolism (and speed it up to lose weight) there is a chemical chain of events that happens in body. One of the ways the hypothalamus controls metabolism is by producing a chemical called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH is then sent to the pituitary gland, where it tells the pituitary to create a different chemical called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). That TSH chemical is then sent to the thyroid and it triggers the thyroid to produce two of the main chemicals responsible for metabolizing food into cellular energy; hormones called T-3 and T-4.
One of the causes of the growing obesity problem we’re seeing in America is an increase in thyroid dysfunction and an increasing amount of people are put on thyroid drugs for hypothyroidism. The underlying cause could be dysfunction in any three of those organs in the cascade of events that happen to produce hormones to turn food into fuel and not store them as fat. But why are we seeing such an increase in thyroid dysfunction? Personally, I think it may be caused by one or more man-made chemicals in the environment we live in. Chemicals used in plastics for food packaging, chemicals used as stabilizers and preservatives in foods and skin-care products, chemicals in detergents, pesticides, fertilizers, and on and on. Our bodies are confronted with way too many chemicals to deal with that are poorly studied. I believe many of these chemicals, and there are thousands out there, are causing all types of cellular dysfunction in our bodies that we aren’t even aware of. That’s my belief, anyway.
So, back to acerola. Acerola’s strong antioxidant effect helps protect all kinds of cells from toxins and harmful chemicals. In some instances, these antioxidants can even help repair already damaged cells (like the study on acerola and brain cells). Most antioxidants do. Similar results were published in similar types of studies on Copaiba oil, another rainforest plant with strong antioxidant actions. (If you don’t know what an antioxidant is, go to the database file for acerola and read the first paragraph under “Biological Activities and Clinical Research.”) In one of the studies published, acerola protected thyroid cells from a chemical known to harm it.
So my hypothesis starts like this… What if one or more of these man-made chemicals our bodies are barraged with daily were damaging the thyroid? Or hypothalamus, or even the pituitary gland? What if acerola’s (and other plant antioxidants) cellular protective actions could protect, prevent or repair the damage to these cells? What if some of acerola’s documented effect on losing weight was directly related to repaired thyroid/hypothalamus/pituitary cells working again? What if adding good, strong antioxidant plants to our diet would help prevent and treat thyroid dysfunction? Inquiring minds want to know! At least those minds that are looking to cure the underlying cause of a disease, not just treat its’ symptoms.
What I do know is that main-stream medicine doesn’t seem to care why there is such an increase in thyroid dysfunction. They are making billions of dollars selling thyroid drugs that are just the T-3 and/or T-4 chemicals the thyroid isn’t producing enough of any more. This fits in their profitable business model because, once you start taking these drugs, you’ll be taking them for life, treating the symptom of some unexplained and unresearched dis-regulation of these organs. Once you start introducing supplemental T-3 and T-4, your thyroid can actually produce less since it’s all coming from an outside source. If the dosages are too high, then your pituitary and hypothalamus can get lazy since they don’t need to produce any more TRH or TSH chemicals. It's a road you don't want to go down if you don't have to.
Here’s one trick I’ve used for many years that may work for some. Doesn’t it make more sense to go one step higher in the chain and supplement with more TSH to tell the thyroid to produce more hormones naturally? You could at least determine if the thyroid is capable of producing more naturally rather than letting it get lazy by just supplementing with T-3 and T-4. You can do this with a plant. The plant is called Coleus forskolii. It’s not in my tropical plant database because it grows on mountainous slopes in India.
This plant produces a chemical called forskolin and forskolin is bio-identical to the TSH your body produces. The body thinks forskolin is TSH. And I can personally attest, that a thyroid laboratory test for TSH will measure forskolin as being TSH. I know this because I have a weird genetic pituitary disorder and I’ve never made any TSH of my own. I take only one prescription drug (a T-3 replacement because I don’t produce any of that either). Despite the fact that I have taken this same drug since I was 10 years old when they first discovered this; I have to keep taking thyroid hormone lab tests for doctors to continue to prescribe this drug every 5 years. Several times I purchased a Coleus forskolii supplement and took it for a couple of days before my lab test, just for grins (or to win a bet with my endocrinologist who knew I never had any TSH). And guess what? Yep, all of the sudden, there on my lab report, it said it measured the TSH in my body (and yep, I won the bet and didn’t pay for the doctor visit or the lab test).
A real easy clue about this plant is that scientists have used forskolin for more than 20 years to turn lab animals hyperthyroid to study different therapies for Grave’s disease when the thyroid is over active and produces too much thyroid hormone. (Don’t you think my endocrinologist should have known this? Ha!) So, for some, taking a forskolii/forskolin supplement (and there are plenty out there to choose from) may help you lose weight by stimulating your thyroid to produce more hormones to increase your metabolism. With other people diagnosed as hypothyroid, it may be helpful to supplement with forskolin to see if your thyroid is still capable of increasing its production of hormones and to rule out other pituitary and hypothalamus disorders missed by many doctors.
So again, back to acerola (after that tangent, sorry!). What I’m wondering is, if it really is the thyroid not being capable of doing its’ job . . . why? And, could supplements like acerola, copaiba, and other plants with strong antioxidant activities make a difference in healing or repairing the thyroid?
Geeze, if I won the lottery, just think of all the research I could fund to treat this curious mind. . .
Have fun with all of this and do some research on your own if you have thyroid issues. Also, please post your results here if you are hypothyroid and acerola helps. Like I said, inquiring minds want to know!
If you want to experiment with a forskolin supplements, you can find plenty on amazon.com