Thyroid Health Viruses and Parasitic Infections

The Thyroid Secret – Summit 2017

My notes from this summit, for further information please visit the speakers web pages linked below.

Viruses and Parasitic Infections

Dr. Daniel Kalish DC
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You wouldn’t think there would be even a remote connection but, when people have parasitic infections or any kind of infection in the digestive tract it’s going to generate an inflammatory response. We know when the body is inflamed, especially when it’s chronically inflamed the way that thyroid hormones are produced changes significantly. We are unable to manufacture the healthy thyroid hormones adequately when the body is in a state of inflammation. There is one other big connection that’s very direct which is because a parasitic infection is in the digestive tract lining itself it’s going to damage and degrade the gut lining. This leads to a syndrome we call leaky gut which again can be another trigger for the thyroid problems. It’s an inflammatory process that’s in a very horrible place in terms of the triggering of autoimmune problems. This is where things get extremely tricky, you would think that with a major infection in your digestive tract you would have digestive tract symptoms and some people do. But the vast majority of people that we test for parasites that we find have parasites have absolutely no digestive symptoms at all that they complain about. This makes the problem doubly challenging because most people that have the infections don’t realize that they’re present unless they take the time and energy to do an accurate test.

Dr. David M Brady ND, CCN
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There is a lot of things out there in the environment that is effectively sabotaging our thyroid. We have heavy metals and other types of transitional metals like mercury and lead that are very much known to cause problems with enzyme systems which metabolize and convert thyroid hormone. There’s this whole environmental toxin angle on it, but there’s also another one which is the whole autoimmune disease explosion. One of the prime targets of autoimmunity in the body is the thyroid gland and there’s multiple known triggers and there is many more that we don’t know. We know certain viruses that are prone to become sort of chronic that we get exposed to we never quite fully get rid of. We get rid of that active viral infection like in the case of Epstein Barr Virus and mono or Cytomegalovirus or HSV or HTLV-1, these are viruses that most humans get exposed to at least in the western world and we suppress and we never totally get rid of. Some of those viruses can actually do some of their dirty work in the thyroid gland itself and when the immune system is trying to contain those viruses it can actually inadvertently damage the thyroid glands called the bystander effect.

And then there’s another effect where some people are prone to overgrowth of certain bacteria in the gastro intestinal tract and the whole area of the microbiota. Or these bugs that grow in our gut being altered by their modern environment or their modern food supply, stress, modern medications, modern diet. Those changes are not necessarily good changes and if you have overgrowth or a flourishing of organisms that really shouldn’t be there in the kind of quantity that they commonly are now some of these organisms can actually trigger an autoimmune response against different tissues in the body. One of the prime examples of this is the bacteria called Yersinia Enterocolitica which can overgrow in the gut and it has proteins on it that look like TSH receptor proteins on the thyroid. While the body’s immune system is trying to combat this, basically this infection in the gut, those antibodies that are produced against that antigen on the bacteria they see that TSH receptor on the thyroid that’s supposed to be there to respond to hormones. It looks close enough so it attaches to it and it directs an immune response which is a destructive inflammatory response against the thyroid itself. So the immune system’s trying to tackle the bacteria but it’s getting derailed and getting reprogramed if you will, to attack the thyroid. It’s called molecular mimicry and it’s not unique to just that bacteria but it’s a common effect that we’re understanding more and more in autoimmune disease.

Dr. Todd Watts DC
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Hashimoto’s is the most common thyroid disease, I believe, and so many people have what I relate to as an infection that causes that. I have four most common infections that I see with Hashimoto’s, the number one is Epstein Barr Virus, it really causes a tremendous amount of inflammation in the antibodies that come up in Hashimoto’s. The second one I see a lot of is Lyme Disease, the other ones I see are H-pylori, or other intestinal bacteria, as well as intestinal parasites. My specialty is in intestinal parasites, the parasitic infections in the body. What I see with that is that it creates this roll of leaky gut and leaky gut is the first thing you have to fix when you’re dealing with Hashimoto’s. The treatment options I work with initially in regards to all those infections, the first thing I address is Epstein Barr Virus. If that’s in there it suppresses the body’s ability to make energy and repair, in order to fix the problems you have to fix the cell and also recreate the energy through the cell. There is an organelle in there called the mitochondria, it creates a lot of dysfunction with the ability to make energy and repair and the key part is to repair and to also upstream, get the immunity to really working again. After that point then I go into the other intestinal infections and repair the gut so the foods don’t have such a severe reaction.

As we well know gluten, many people are gluten intolerant and gluten can cause so much flair-ups in the thyroid. Restoring the proper physiology in the stomach, getting the stomach acid back up to the levels it needs to be will also help push out the H pylori and other bacterial infections. Then from there removing the parasites will also allow that to heal and the enzymes to work and break down these proteins that seem to be very damaging such as gluten, casein, in the body. That’s where my focus is, is going through and dealing with that. So when they’re treated and we get all these infections out and repair the gut boy, the sensitivities to food go way down. The energy levels come up, the thyroid can get a chance to really to heal and the nutrients can get in there. It’s a big part of the infections that inhibit the nutrients that are needed to allow the thyroid to produce the hormone and to also heal. As we downplay the inflammation in the body an up-regulate the immune system the patient starts to feel a lot better and starts to feel a come back to life. A lot of them are able to come off their thyroid meds because they can function now without them. I’ve seen a lot of patients do that, it’s great.

There is a bacterial infection, the Lyme and co-infections, we will use some products that will help with that and deal with the autoimmune that it can cause as well. Some of the treatment options that we have that I use with viruses especially, vitamin A, vitamin C is really good, I make sure that Lysine is up in higher levels, that your diet consists of low arginine, so that the balance is the Lysine coming up and the arginine coming down. The arginine can really shift up inflammation more viral levels there. Also I use formulas, homeopathics, we go in and help remove the virus. Then I use manganese which really helps with replication similar to Lysine, those are the four main things I use for treatment on the Epstein Barr.

Dr. Josh Axe DNM, DC, CNS
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I think there is a several step process and I would say step number one is start removing those triggers that are causing gut inflammation and things that are killing off the beneficial microbes or probiotics that are found in the gut lining. A couple things we want to do, we want to remove those triggers, we want to start healing the gut lining and building up those good microbes that line your gut walls. For starters some of the biggest triggers, these are things that people realize, we know gluten is a major issue, we know casein. Essentially proteins that aren’t pre-broken down for us that are very hard to digest those absolutely cause inflammation. There are other things, we know sugar and refined grains, one of the big issues is they feed yeast and candida within the body. Another big thing I want to mention here that is a big trigger for gut issues is any type of chemical that actually damages the gut lining.

I hear doctors say drink more water, I encourage you to drink more clean water that’s filtered or from a spring or natural water. The problem with water, our conventional tap water today is loaded with chlorine and fluoride. Fluoride specifically has been shown to kill off beneficial microbes in our gut which is going to cause more leaky gut which in turn is going to cause more autoimmune issues, more thyroid problems. I would say some of the biggest issues that we need to be aware of and what we need to remove is gluten, casein, sugar, refined grains, hydrogenated oil, too many omega 6 fats, even healthy snacks. “Healthy” potato chips, they’re loaded with sunflower oil which is really high in omega 6 so the omega 3 omega 6 balance is completely out of whack. Step number one I remove those toxic foods from the diet. The next thing I would say is start adding in gut repairing foods, I think the number one food on the planet for repairing gut health is bone broth, you can do bone broth liquid, you could make your own chicken soup at home. You could buy bone broth protein powder and add that to a smoothie, but I really think bone broth is incredible for a few reasons. One of the things we tend to get today in our diet is a lot of muscle meat protein, we get it from muscle meat, we also get protein from plants like beans, mushrooms, vegetables, but we’re not getting protein or amino acids from cartilage and from organ meats of animals.

If you look at what our ancestors ate they were always consuming every last part of the animal, they would consume the cartilage, they would be making bone broth. they would also be eating things like chicken liver and beef liver and actually eat the organs. Bone broth, my number one superfood for healing the gut as well as the thyroid. Number two food would be probiotic rich foods, things like fermented vegetables are very beneficial. Number three would be just vegetables in general, cooked vegetables can be very high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Next I would say are foods that are high in omega 3 fats, omega 3’s are so important because they help reduce inflammation which I think is absolutely key when it comes to healing the gut lining. Number five would be just more probiotic rich foods, getting more probiotics in your diet as a basis is so key. An ideal diet for anybody struggling with leaky gut, autoimmune disease and thyroid problems is going to be getting bone broth. Getting organic free range meats, getting loads and loads of vegetables, doing some fruit in moderation, and then focusing on some probiotics. That’s kind of like the ideal diet for repairing the gut.

Christa Orecchio CN, HHC
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Step one is to slash inflammation and that’s probably the most important and especially for anybody eating the standard American diet, eating out a lot, having a lot of pie, having a lot omega 6 and 9 damaged oils, where they’re having a lot of sugar, all of this is doing a lot of damage. Antibiotics in the meat supply is a tragedy in my opinion so we really want to shift to slashing inflammation and eating a much higher quality of diet. When you’re healing the microbiome I love vegans, and I support them whenever I can but it is much easier if you will eat high quality clean animal protein and high quality animal fats and vegetables. There’s two huge groups of bacteria, if we were to take the kingdom of bacteria and break it into the two major groups we have bacteroides and fermicutes. Bacteroides should be the dominant group that we are hosting within our digestive system and if you consume those foods that’s one of the only ways. I know some molecular biologists are working on ways of creating that strain that you could take but that’s the only way to really get them to be the dominant host. You do that through organic clean eating, no GMO’s, sugar, alcohol, all the fun stuff has to go for a little while. Caffeine can thin the lining of the gut, carbonated beverages can thin the lining of the gut. Even sparkling water, it’s not, not to consume those, it’s just not to over consume those. So three a week, something like that is fine.

Re-establishing stomach acid is a crucial step to make sure the health lasts, there are so many patients that have low stomach acid and they’re taking antacids.

That’s where you go, step five is just the 80/20 balance. Now you’ve created a new lifestyle but maybe your diet has been quite restricted, but I do believe the body is hardwired to adapt and survive. We have so many people in our world that they’re down to five foods that they can eat and I don’t think we’re meant to live like that. We were meant to have a full and varied diet and to really live and celebrate. We could have our good wine and our coffee, we could have those things in moderation because you now have a strong microbiome. With anyone going through a program that have multiple autoimmune disorders that’s going to be a touch and go process. So certain foods that maybe you couldn’t tolerate before in a food sensitivity test, I would never want to bring back in gluten, but in general there’s certain foods lets say asparagus that someone with SIBO or FOD MAPS couldn’t eat it. Now almost like a child or a baby you have to have them try foods seven times and you’re training the body, you’re re-educating the body, this is now a healthy food. We start to incorporate these foods, and three or four months later and the garden has bloomed, and that’s when you run the food sensitivity panel. What am I really working with now, oh I only have three true food sensitivities because now my body is in order.

Dr. Nikolas Hedberg DC, DABCI, DACBN, BCNP
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I have seen viral infections inside the thyroid gland it’s very interesting. Studies have shown that for people who have Hashimoto’s disease or Graves disease, and they have active Epstein Barr Virus infection, if you were to biopsy the thyroid gland you would actually find massive numbers of the EBV inside the gland. That’s a problem because the virus increases inflammation in the gland and it sort of drives the antibody attack on the thyroid gland. We have to target the virus to reduce the inflammation and deactivate the virus in the thyroid gland.

Dr. Shiroko Sokitch MD, DABMA
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The herbs is Chinese Medicine are for helping the immune system so with Epstein Barr Virus there is specific herbs that I can formulate. Different people with EBV will have different symptoms so they have a different formula. One person will be cold another person will be hot and feverish, one person will have a soar throat, another person will have a stomach ache. They all have these different symptoms and the herbs will be adjustable to those symptoms and they will still kill the virus.

With Lyme disease, what I think about Lyme disease is I’m not sure. First of all I know that anything can be healed. Second I’m not sure the approach that we use right now works because a lot of people that get Lyme disease get heavy duty antibiotics. I have a fellow physician in my community that does the heavy high dose antibiotics, I.V.s and all of this stuff and these get so sick, they get so much sicker that seems almost worse. When you’re trying to kill, it’s like when you’re doing chemotherapy to kill cancer even though sometimes we have to it’s not necessarily healing in my mind, not the most gentle approach. The types of people that I see for Lyme disease are usually people who don’t want that approach, I don’t. So the heavy antibiotics and I don’t do that heavy duty kind of work. What I do is find Chinese herbs. There is an herbalist in my community who has created some that are amazing herbal remedies, he’s called Byron White .  He’s got remedies for Lyme disease and Epstein Barr virus and parasites and bacteria and they are highly potent herbs. They are almost the combination of homeopathy and herbal medicines.

Teri Cochrane CN, CCP
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The Epstein Barr is a huge virus, it is a pathogen of epic proportions. Medicine is just now starting to understand the many strains of the Epstein Barr Virus. The Herpes Simplex has now been linked to the Epstein Barr Virus. In our practice what we call the Epstein Barr Virus is the puppet master, because as a ventriloquist stands behind the curtain and it mimics other disease conditions. What we see with our clients many of them have gone down multiple rabbit holes that have sent them in the wrong direction. Because it has potential of further impaired immune system function, because they have been put on immune suppressive supplements, or they’ve been put on steroids, or they’ve been put on antibiotics. What this does is it further creates an environment for the gut to be susceptible to other pathogens and the puppet master, we call it the host of the party because it invites other pathogens to come play. All of a sudden you have this army of undesirables that are working in our gut, that have now leaked into our lymphatic system. That have even crossed the blood brain barrier and become a neurotoxin.

What we are finding is back to the genetics and the level of gut integrity. If you have a genetic predisposition, lets say you have the MTHFR gene expression and you have had a pathogen, and you have had a stressful event where your gut is not completely integral, it’s not integrated. Then the puppet master was the trip wire that caused the gene of the MTHFR to be expressed in a negative way. When that happens we are less likely to break down proteins, we know that virus feeds on protein. In my practice we have proven that the Epstein Barr loves protein, loves amyloid protein. With the MTHFR not working properly, we don’t produce sufficient hydrochloric acid so we are not able to fully break down our proteins in a hypochloritic environment, we can’t kill the pathogens. So now we have undigested protein in a pathogen environment that trips the wire and feeds the Epstein Barr and now we have an Epstein Barr that has been awakened, that virus has been given a light to shine on it. So yes, 90% of us can be exposed to the virus but that virus is much like a gene expression that was turned on and it was turned on through situational and environmental factors that happened in our body because we are not a static being.

We have coined the term wilditarian, which is a no amyloid based protein structure, we have made it our own body of work in our practice. The thyroid needs protein but it can’t use protein or assimilate proteins that are amyloid based truncated structures that are indigestible. What we council our clients to do is develop a widitarian approach and that is anything that is raised in the wild that has never been treated with hormones or antibiotics. We really look to completely unadulterated animals such as bison, elk, venison, lamb, game hens, and wild boar. As we walk them through their journey of healing we reintroduce foods and those foods are generally very well tolerated. We take them through a 90 day protocol because we know that the Epstein Barr once we pull it it has to go into the liver and hopefully it will be flushed down the toilet. The symptoms start to resolve in as little as a few weeks. We have taken people that have their TPO’s in the 12,000s and they drop to eight, TSH from 8 to 2, TSH from 12 to 1.5, T 3s resolved, insulin levels that were in the double digits dropped to 5. Immunoglobulin Cs that were dropped to 5.8. Ridiculous, I am still in awe, everyday I shake my head in disbelief, because it’s not just I’m feeling better we have clinical evidence and it’s evidence we see in our practice everyday. We take people off their thyroid medication, of course always in concert with their doctor. They no longer need it, they no longer need the Metformin, they no longer need the high blood pressure medication, they no longer need the cholesterol medication, they just don’t because the body has rebalanced.


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M. Scherker medical researcher