Four Root Cause Factors of Thyroid Disease | Dr Jeni Weis
Most of us by now have heard the term “Root Cause.” We know that the “root” of a plant is where that plant gets its start, it’s nourishment, and ultimately, it’s life.
It would logically follow that the ‘Root’ of disease is where the disease gets its start, it’s nourishment, and ultimately it’s life.
I use the illustration of a dandelion often with patients to describe the relationship between what started and is contributing to their disease.
Dandelions grow in yards all across the country. Dandelions, like all living plants and animals; need nourishment to grow. Dandelions get their nourishment from three sources.
Many of us remember learning about photosynthesis in elementary school. This highly complex transformational process can be explained in a simple sentence. Photosynthesis: A process by which plants utilize sunlight to synthesize nourishment from water and carbon dioxide. Dandelions need Sunlight to make their own food. Without the sun, Dandelions would starve.
Dandelions also need water, just like every living organism on Earth needs water. Dandelions draw in moisture found in the soil with their roots! Water is what transports nutrients to every cell in the plant, and water also takes away waste created by plant cells. All cells create waste as a byproduct of its natural function. Just like we eliminate waste, plants eliminate waste too, and water is the key. Without water, Dandelions would wilt and die.
Dandelions need soil for the mineral content it contains. “Dirt” varies in composition depending on location, and lends it’s minerals to growing plants. Just like we need minerals to grow and develop, dandelions need minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium to become an adult plant.
Dandelions need Sun, Soil, and Water. Without these three things, a Dandelion will not survive.
When you pick a Dandelion, it grows back. When you mow the dandelions in your yard, they grow back. The roots are still underground drawing in water and minerals. The roots are what cause leaves to grow and perform photosynthesis.
The root is why the Dandelion is there in the first place.
How do you permanently kill a Dandelion? Pull it out by the root!
There are four Root Cause Factors to keep in mind when talking about Thyroid Disease, or any disease for that matter.
Root causes of disease can “stem” (hello dandelion analogy!) from one, two, or all of these factors. Most patients I have seen have a combination of these root cause factors which lead up to their Thyroid Disease.
While these Root Cause Factors can all contribute to your symptomatology, addressing your root cause factors head on is what will eliminate your symptoms.
Without Sun, Soil and Water a dandelion is dead. Pull a dandelion up by the root and it can’t eat, drink, or survive.
Without your root cause factors to feed your thyroid disease, your symptoms can’t survive.
Let’s unpack these four Root Cause Factors.
“You are what you eat”.
We have all heard this many times, and it is true! The foods you put into your body are the building blocks of your cells. Your cells are the building blocks of your tissues. Your tissues are the building blocks of your organs. Your organs are the building blocks of your body systems, and your body systems build you.
No one was ever born with a “supplement deficiency” though people can be deficient in vitamin C. The simple solution is to consume more foods containing vitamin C, like strawberries, cucumbers, and oranges.
Food allergies and sensitivities can be a root cause to indigestion, autoimmune disease, and even cancer. Gluten, dairy, corn, and soy are the most common food sensitivities which directly affect the thyroid and its ability to help regulate many of our body’s functions like metabolizing nutrients, menstrual cycle, sleep, and heart rate.
We eat food thousands of times every year. What we consume can be a root cause factor of thyroid disease.
This category is a combination of what surrounds us, and can affect our thyroid that is not genetic or nutrition related.
Our environment is what surrounds our bodies every day. Think about the type of things you keep in your home. Is your home full of toxic products that you regularly use to clean the house? Do harmful chemicals from toiletries, makeup, and personal care products enter your body? What is the quality of the air you are breathing? Do you live in a farming community where crop dusters are spreading pesticides, fungicides and herbicides on agricultural fields near your home? Are there heavy metals in the water you are drinking?
These are good questions to ask yourself when taking stock of your environment.
Biology is life. That life can come in many forms, including microorganisms like pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
When it comes to Biology, there are many illnesses linked to thyroid disease, and having any of them can be a root cause of your thyroid symptoms. The Epstein Barr virus, also known as Human Herpesvirus 4; has been linked to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. When exposed to the virus, especially with other triggers present, we have a higher likelihood of developing autoimmune thyroid disease.
Whether the root cause of your thyroid disease is Biological or Environmental, this category includes the environment that you are currently living in, or have lived in in the past.
3. Mental Factors
Stress plays a huge role in our body’s health, and is linked to many diseases. When we are under stress, we produce excess cortisol, the “stress hormone”.
Heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke are commonly tied in with stress. Stress can cause our thyroid to malfunction also.
Increasing stress means increasing free radical damage, causing oxidative stress in the body. Antioxidants are quickly used up to neutralize free radicals, and our systems start to degenerate.
Not getting enough sleep, being overworked, maintaining relationships with toxic people, physical and emotional abuse, and EMF exposure from electronics can all cause stress, among other things.
Stress puts pressure on the metabolism also. Because much of our digestive process is regulated by the thyroid, this creates even more stress on the thyroid.
When we don’t get enough sleep, hate our jobs, or are surrounded by strife in a home, stress creeps in. I have had patients who have gotten a Hashimoto’s or Grave’s diagnosis immediately after their son leaves for college, or their husband passed away.
4. Genetic Factors
We are our DNA. Are genes are coded blueprints designed by God that give instructions for our bodies to develop, behave, build, and change in specific ways.
Written within our genes are proclivities for specific tendencies in processing nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. If someone has a “low vitamin C tendency” they can increase foods with high amounts of vitamin C, benefit from a supplement, use natural ways to increase the metabolism of vitamin C, or gain education on how to heal their gut to better be able to absorb vitamin C.
Our genes determine our hair, eye, and skin colors. Our genes can also show if there is a higher likelihood of getting cancer in our lifetimes. Genetics play a role in our health, though is all too often blamed as the sole cause of unhealthy decline.
Someone can have a “fat gene” but chooses to exercise, eat nutritiously, and makes fantastic lifestyle choices. This person will never become obese. Someone else can have a “skinny gene” and eat poorly, live a sedentary lifestyle, and they will gain weight.
If there is no “trigger” certain genes may never express themselves.
Knowing the Four Root Cause Factors is of great help when looking at any illness. Nutrition, Environmental and Biological Factors, our Mental Health and our Genetics all play a role in the very start of Thyroid Disease. Knowing and discovering your own personal root cause is where education comes in.