28 Years of Unnecessary Suffering by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson

28 years of unnecessary suffering

Today I wanted to share a case study because I think this is a really common scenario that a lot of people are dealing with and I want you to know that there is a different way. 
This is the case of a woman in her 50s.  She has been suffering and chronically struggling for 28 years.  Her main complaints have been that she is just exceedingly tired.  She can’t get out of bed. She sleeps for 10 or 11 hours each night.  Totally asleep. Sound asleep all night long. She has to drag herself out of bed.  She can’t possibly get the kids up in the morning. She is just crying in the kitchen every morning because she is so exhausted.  Couple that with mental fatigue as well; she can’t concentrate, and she can’t focus.  She is just plain exhausted.  Every thought, even daily routine thoughts are just exhausting to her. She has gained 50 pounds, really without making any changes. She’s always been a slender, healthy-weight person her entire life. And all of a sudden she’s gained 50 pounds.  

Finally, after years and years of fighting this, she was able to get her doctor to run some tests and she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune attack of the thyroid that causes low thyroid hormone levels.  This is a hypothyroid condition due to autoimmunity.  She was put on the most common class of medications which are synthetic T4-only medications.  Remember, T4 is the inactive form of the hormone that our body also produces the most of, but then we have to convert it to T3 in order for it to be active and to do its job in the body. A lot of people don’t make this conversion very well. 

So she put on this synthetic T4-only medication. Over several years they steadily increase her dose and finally settle at a pretty high-level dose.  She stays there for the next 10 years. All the while, she has had no change in her symptoms.  She is still exhausted. She is still mentally drained.  She cannot lose weight, no matter what she does. So this medication isn’t really helping her.   And now after 10 more years of fighting this and being on this medication, she now has clinical depression as well. Now, this is not just that she is sad and frustrated because of all of these symptoms…she has true, clinical depression. She is in a very dark space. 

There has to be a better way

Ultimately she got frustrated, got fed up, and ended up doing some online searching. There just had to be something else going on. There had to be more answers. And she ended up finding this whole world of functional health practitioners and completely different protocols than she had been on. Through this research and learning more, she dove head first into more holistic practices. She ended up getting off of the synthetic T4 medication, and she ended up taking desiccated thyroid. This is a product that contains natural T3 and T4. It’s not a synthetic product. This is actually the thyroid gland generally taken from pigs. This is an actual thyroid and it contains the real T3 and T4 hormones.   

Within a very short order of figuring out the proper dosing on the new desiccated thyroid product, she found that her energy shot through the roof.  She had so much more vitality, and interest in life, and she was just really excited about everything again. Her depression completely lifted. She had that mental clarity again. She could concentrate and focus.  She could do all the things she wanted to do. She was present for her family.  She was active with her kids. And, she effortlessly lost those 50 pounds!  

After 28 years of suffering, all she needed was the right protocol. This was a truly life-changing process for her. 

There IS another way

I wanted to share this case study because I think it’s really powerful in what it looks like to really fight for yourself.  To not take a doctor’s word that everything is “normal” or that this medication is going to solve everything.  
Medicine is really sick care. All they’re doing is managing the illness.  Their entire goal is not to bring you back to optimal.  Not to reverse your symptoms. It’s not to bring you out of sickness.  It is to manage sickness.  Now, sometimes that’s appropriate. Sometimes that’s necessary. Sometimes that is the best we can do.  But most of the time, that’s not true.  

Conversely, if we look at health care from a holistic approach, where we are really taking into account nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, sleep, stress, toxins, and appropriate supplementation, then we can really truly bring the body back into balance. 

The problem with just sending medicines with patients, is those medicines are really just either fixing a lab result, so now when they run your bloodwork your labs look great, or you’re just to manage symptoms. They are not fixing the problem.  

They’re also not looking at correlated body systems.  So for instance: 
  • The thyroid also really needs the adrenal glands to be working well. 
  • Those two systems also need blood sugar management to be working well. And insulin levels to be appropriate.  
  • Those systems also need communication with your brain to be working properly.  Because a lot of the brain signals are what trigger all of those glands to make their hormones. 
  • You also need proper digestion because if you’re not absorbing the nutrients, then you won’t be able to absorb selenium and iodine which are necessary for thyroid function.  And you won’t be able to absorb the amino acids that you need to build hormones, build muscles, and build organ tissues. You won’t have the fatty acids that you need for hormone building.  You also won’t have the capacity to detox those hormones when you’re done with them.  
  • Every system in the body generates byproducts that need to be detoxed. This is a normal process.  As you’re making muscles, you end up with byproducts that need to be eliminated.  As you’re making hormones, you need to eliminate byproducts.  And you need to be able to eliminate those hormones when you’re done with them and to be able to recycle and make new ones. If you can’t properly eliminate them, you can end up with high levels of hormones. If you don’t have building blocks you can’t even make the raw materials. 
So these systems have to be able to work together in order to truly be optimal. So you may be taking medication that is “fixing” one symptom that is allegedly fixing the system, but it’s not. It’s not taking into account all of the related systems in the body that also need to be optimized. 

So you may have perfect thyroid output, but your adrenals are sluggish. Without proper adrenal function, the thyroid hormones can’t do their jobs. Really all of our systems are connected like a spiderweb. If you pull on one little thread of that spiderweb, the whole thing shifts. We can’t just mask symptoms.  You need to really get back into true balance and bring you into optimal health. 

Don’t give up. Keep fighting.

So you may need a prescription; that is entirely possible. But you may also be able to get as much, or better, results from a natural alternative. And it may be that you don’t need any of those once you get a holistic approach in place. You’re eating the right foods for your body and your goals. You’re getting adequate quality and quantity of sleep.  You’re getting the right kind and the right amount of exercise. And you’re reducing your toxin burden. You’re optimizing your digestion so that you have those appropriate building blocks. And you have all the pieces that you need to be able to detox properly; to be able to eliminate those toxins properly. When you have all of these components in place, your body can actually equilibrate back to optimal. 

So I just really challenge you if you are struggling with anything…whether your doctor has told you “nope, everything is fine; you’re totally normal” or your doctor has said, “yeah, here’s this condition, and here’s this pill to fix it”, if it doesn’t make you feel better, if it’s not helping you with the weight gain, or the brain fog, or the depression, or the pain, or whatever it is that you were trying to fix…keep fighting. There are better answers. There are different alternative options that you can explore. And I challenge you to work with a holistic practitioner, like myself, who can help you figure out what that is. 

Conventional medicine is merely sick care. They’re only going to manage your symptoms and your symptoms will continually progress. Conventional medicine is not great for chronic disease.  Holistic care is great for chronic disease. 

So if you do have a condition that you want to reverse, if you want to improve it, if you want to get your quality of life back. I challenge you to reach out. Don’t give up until you find the answers. 


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