Endocrinology: MSG and Your Endocrine System.
From Thyroid Disease, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and Other Disease States.
As a woman who has struggled with hypothyroidism, I have taken particular interest in finding solutions for myself and others to overcome thyroid disease. While doctors say that anyone with hyper (over active) or hypo- (under active) thyroids will be on thyroid replacement hormone therapies the remainder of their lives; I am not entirely convinced. In fact, I am convinved that many endocrine disorders, including thyroid disease may be regulated and perhaps even cured through nutrition; specifically cutting out MSG and MSG derivitives.
Now, I do not intend to get too technical in this blog, but simply communicate to the general population; which is: overweight, obese and with many disease states. There is no need at a general leevl to get too wordy or confusing. I want to state my personal testimony and journey so that others who may have lost hope, or those who are currently claiming their disease state may be empowered to challenge their diagnoses and prognosis.
A Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Struggles with Hypothyroidism and Obesity
In 2007 I began realizing major changes in my body. I was an athletic, and slender 5’7″ 135 pounds in November, by March I was a not-so-slender 5’7″ 200 pound woman. Yes, in 4 months I gained 65 pounds! How is this possible? I was not pregnant, in fact I had just received a degree in Dietetics and was working full-time for a hospital in clinical nutrition. I was also a personal trainer, and exercising daily. What changed? The answer- Hormones.
As you can imagine this took a devestating emotional and physical toll on my body! My knees hurt for the first time in my life, I felt like a hipocrite at my place of employment, I put my developing personal training career on pause, and sought medical attention. The problem however, when a 20 year old woman goes into a doctor about weight gain, is that everyone is reluctant to help. They think “Ok Channéll, put down the Twinkies, increase your cardio, and run! Run! Run!” To this I am not exaggerating. I sought a second opinion from a doctor who genuinely believed something what not right from my history, education, and my symptoms. It sure helped that he was a doctor for the same hospital that I worked. He trusted that I was handling my fitness and nutrition properly. After that visit, I got referred out to specialists. After 4 specialists, possible diagnosess of everything from depression to Lupus, I was devestated. This went on for a year and a half. Me 200 pounds, unable to loose any weight.
What it means to be your own advocate.
Then, finally, after my own research, I learned that I had all the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), as well as hypothyroidism. In fact, I had folders and folders of all of the following information and documentation from every doctor visit, and self journaling:
Blood pressure, oxygen, weight, dates, symptoms, severity, nutrition log, exercise log, sleep patterns, and menstrual cycle irregularities, and water consumption.
Once I had all of this organized and in order, I took the liberty of: Speaking to willing RDs (Registered Dieticians) within my department to analyze my food intake, doctors that I did rounds with in the hospital to look at my labs & general chemistry for other opinions, other personal trainers to workout with me and help me adjust my fitness program, as well as my former Medical Nutrition Therapy professors to look at my symptoms related to their understanding beyond textbooks definitions. After ALL of this, I took it back to my doctors with demands and requests. I became my own patient advocate.
Doctors usually only test TSH levels to determine Thyroid Disorders.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is the hormone that is most often tested by doctors in determining thyroid disorders. While this is established for specific medical determinations, it is not all inclusive and/or indicative for all patients. There are two other thyroid hormones secreted from the thyroid gland; which is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck region. The other hormones are: T3 and T4. These are directly regulated by the thyroid gland, and also the anterior pituitary gland.
It is important to note that the endocrine system works together as a whole, so if one gland is off within the system, it can also affect hormones within the other glands. You can understand how this could potential affect everything from: metabolism, other metabolic systems, waste excretion, inflammatory responses, hydration levels, thirst mechanisms, hunger regulation (controlled mainly by leptin & ghrelin hormones), and general energy; among other things.
When I looked at my labs, I realized that the only thyroid hormone ever tested was TSH, never my T3 or T4.
Once my T3 and T4 levels were tested, it was determined that I did in fact have hypoythroidism and would need to start on medication immediately.
To read more about these hormones visit Thyroid System Basics .
Finding a Medical Professional You Can Trust, Who also Listens
In 2009, I returned to my primary care physician after an ER visit and hospitalization for cycts bursting from my ovaries. At this time, I was nearly at the last rope as far as energy was concerned. Although by this time, I had been on levothyroxine for almost 9 months (thyoid replacement therapy), and I had lost about 20 pounds, I was still sick. After hearing my experience, my primary care physican referred me to a gynecologist that had a great reputation.
I was very pleased with her, and her ability to listen to my concerns. She, like my primary care physican, had no problem testing any lab I asked for. It took me 4 primary care physicians, 4 specialists including : Endocrinologists and Neurologists to really get someone to not tell me to “Go on a low sodium diet”, “Do high intensity interval training” and “Cut my calories”, but who would actually listen to me, and look through my journals, and documentation. Aside from my primary care, and gynecologist, not even my endocrinologist took me seriously; that is until my primary care ran the T3 and T4 tests that my Endocrinolgist found “unnecessary”.
So, in 2009 it was determined through lab work from my Gynecologist that I DID IN FACT have PCOS. Mind you, this is 2 years later. After all the specialists, it was still my primary care physican who was the one to listen and not call it a “nutrition and exercise issue” , but rather a “hormonal imbalance”.
PCOS and Obesity in Women
One major symptom of PCOS in women in obesity. Research is not conclusive if PCOS is caused by obesity, or if PCOS causes obesity in women; however, it is certain that the two are correlated with each other. In my case, I do not know if I already had PCOS, or if PCOS developed after gaining 65 pounds.
Doctors will tell you with PCOS to exercises regularly (3x per week, 30 minutes per day minimum), and to eat a lower calorie diet. Some research also suggests that women with PCOS should eat low-carb or ketogenic diets due to insulin irregularities. For those of you who are not familiar with the hormone insulin – it is essential for normal metabolic function. People with diabetes do not have proper insulin regulation, therefore, they get high and low blood sugars because insulin is necessary to bind onto sugar (glucose) within the bloodstream to carry the sugar to the cells for energy. With PCOS, some women may develop Type II Diabetes, or other metabolic issues that can cause obesity.
Why is this? Your FSH and LH (folical stimulating, leutenizing hormones) have certain ratios that are considered “normal”. In PCOS these levels are often off, and ratios reversed. Again, more hormones!
Treatment for PCOS: Birth Control, Metformin (an oral diabetes medication)
It is recommended for women with PCOS to go on hormone therapies such as birth control, and metformin. Now, most research indicates that they “don’t know why Metformin works, but it does”. How safe should you feel taking a diabetes medication if you don’t have diabetes? Exactly!
My personal treatment began with a low-dose birth control – YAZ. You know, the birth control all over TV now because of the strokes, blood clots, and death in young women under 30? Yes, that was my treatment for a year. Then, it was coupled with Metformin. Yes, I was on a diabetes medication without having diabetes. I experienced, low blood sugars, and for that reason, had to eat even more carbs to keep my energy up. But wait, isn’t a low-carb diet recommended?
I made the personal decision to “self heal” through nutrition and exercise. In 2010, I went off of all birth control and medications aside from levothyroxin (thyroid). Don’t worry ladies, my birth control became a copper IUD. NOT Mirena! That is still hormones in our bodies. Now, doctors do not want to put IUDs into women that don’t have children because of the cervix dialiation, but I refused to take no for an answer. I decided NO MORE HORMONES in my body!
By 2011 my PCOS was completely gone!
By 2011 I had lost 35 pounds (down to 165) and was completely free from PCOS. Ironic considering my healing with done through: exercise, nutrition, prayer, meditation, and mental practices and training.
NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU IT’S NOT POSSIBLE.YOU HAVE THE POWER TO HEAL.
MSG and MSG Derivitives
You have the ability to change your disease state. I know I am determined to get OFF of thyroid medication for good. I am well on my way. Currently at 155 pounds, my goal weight is 145. I will be sharing exactly how I have come this far by cutting out MSG and MSG derivitives.
In 2013, I was introduced to the book “Faith and Fat Loss” by Ron Williams
by a woman in her 50s at the gym that I respect. Her name is Peggy, and she has competed in bodybuilding her entire life. She approached me one day while I was working, and she was between sets. She told me about this book and that I should order it. She knew that I am a Christian, and she knew I would be open to this.
Her and I had spoken briefly in the past about thyroid problems, and she told me that reading this book has changed her life. The thing is, she didn’t just tell me, I saw the change in her! For the first time in 5 years she was ready to compete again, and claimed to look better then she did in her 30s. She informed me about how the book talked about MSG and endocrine disorders.
How’d she find the book? Well, she had competed at least 15 years ago in the same competition as Ron, and found his business card. She decided to google him and found the book. She trusted his opinion and tried step by step his recommendations.
One of the most highly decorated Natural Bodybuilders of all time with over 250 medals, a professor of Exercise Pysiology and Nutrition, and now a Pastor whose full time ministry is obesity.
21 Day Detox – MSG & MSG Derivitive Free
I ordered the book, read it and tried the 21 day detox. You will have to order the book, or follow my posts to fully understand the depth of the detox.
However, I will share the following:
Almost everything has MSG or MSG derivitives. From protein supplements, powders, bars, to packaged and processed foods of almost any kind. You MUST cut all of these out in order to see if it helps your endocrine system.
For 21 days I cut out MSG, MSG derivitives, stimulants, and switched to hormone free meats, cage free eggs, and everything organic. I paired my carbs, essential fatty acids and proteins just as recommended in the book. I switched from training for fitness to training for fat loss (the principles are very different!!). This means, I actually cut down on my cardio, and time spent working out.
Within 21 days, I lost 14 1/2 pounds, and have kept it off for 5 months! Why? Is it a matter of eating less calories? Working out more? Training harder? Sleeping more? Nope! It’s a matter of going to the heart and source of the issue. This detox is physical, mental and spiritual. It is lasting and effective.
21 days creates a new discipline and habit. Let me also add that I had the best summer of my life. I went to barbeques, out of town, I had some alcohol (more then I ever have), and allowed myself to splurge for the first time in 6 years. I STILL kept the 15 pounds plus more off! Did I mention that I’m more tone and fit with my normal exercise routine?
It works. Even if you are not a Christian, if you are open to the principles and suggestions that Ron gives in his book, you will experience lasting results. In fact, I am doing the detox again to find out my next results! Stay tuned.
An Endocrinologist Confirms MSG can be Damaging to Your Metabolism
Last week, I visited my endocrinologist. I go every 6 months to have my labs tested, as I am now on TSH, T3 and T4 replacement compounds due to my previous issues. For the first time, I had no complaints. Energy, weight loss, and normal labs! My endocrinologist said that if these labs come back ok, then I will only need to come every year. Quite a huge difference from blood samples weekly, specialty visits every 3-6 months!
I asked him a couple of questions, and will share them plus his responses.
Q: Does MSG and MSG derivitives really affect the endorcrine system?
A: Yes, it can. In some cases, it can be completely damaging depending on the person. MSG could potentially completely affect your metabolic functions at a hormone regulation level.
Q: Do you believe that mental training can cure disease states? And, do you find that attitude contributes to the disease of most people you see? I was in the waiting room, and found the sickest looking people have the worst attitudes.
A: I definitely see a directly relationship. I have also seen people who mentally train, pray and meditate be cured of diseases, or at least disease management. I would say that attitude mostly affects stress levels, which can release too much cortisol, increase fat stores, and exacerbate, or even in some cases, create disease states.
NEVER Claim a Disease
Though it was a relief to get treated, and be able to slowly work on reducing my symptoms, I refused to believe that there was no cure for these diseases! From being told I may be infertile, may never be able to have children, and that I may never be able to reset my metabolic set point (the weight your body usually holds with minimal fluctuation), I refused to believe that I couldn’t and wouldn’t overcome these obstacles!
I am not saying not to address the disease, and treat yourself, but I am saying that you cannot continuously claim your disease state if you wish to be healthy. Your thoughts become things, and have the power to create and destroy disease states.
There is POWER in the TONGUE. Do not speak your disease (no matter what it is), into existence. Live as if it doesn’t exist. Train yourself, your mind, and your body to be healthy.
The time is NOW
If you or someone you know is struggling with thyroid disease, PCOS, or any other disease, know that your time is NOW! Do not live in your past, what your lifestyle used to be, or the decisions you made that may have contributed to your disease state such as: a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, taking too many or not enough medications, or simply being lazy and not empowered to be your own advocate.
It is YOUR job to understand your body, do your own research, and experiment with different potential solutions. Everyone’s chemistry is different.
Comments and Questions are welcome.
Your energy that you expend from the gym, to your thoughts will directly affect your health.