And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. – Matthew 7:26-27
I learned something new about hypothyroidism over the last few weeks: it can be caused by an iron-overloading condition called hemochromatosis. Hereditary hemochromatosis (HHC) is the most common genetic disorder in people of European descent, especially those whose ancestors came from the British Isles, Scandinavia, and northern Europe. (And how weird is that, since many scholars feel this is the area to which the children of Israel, especially Ephraim, possibly fled). Few allopaths are educated about this relationship, and so continue to ignorantly throw their pharmaceuticals at amenorrhea, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism, liver disease, and the various other conditions undergirded by HHC. Many allopaths also wear blinders as to the scope of the haemochromatosis. Originally thought to be a disease of old men, it is now found throughout all races of people, with diagnosis commonly (late, in my opinion) around the age of 40.
Anemia 101: Central to ALL the confusion about hemochromatosis is the erroneous, commonly-held iatrogenic belief that anemia = low iron. Anemia is about low red blood cell count. A person may be deficient in vitamin B-12 or folate, but not deficient in iron, and have anemia. Furthermore, someone with hemochromatosis CAN be both anemic and have high iron stores in the body. This is because the iron-loading constitution stuffs the excess iron all over the body: usually into organs like the pancreas, liver, thyroid, heart, joints. So get this: for a person with hemochromatosis, all the stuff the doctors tell you about getting more dietary iron and increasing vitamin C to improve iron uptake is actually antithetical (causes it to get worse). The best diet for folks with this condition concentrates on non-heme iron, and sounds A LOT like the Word of Wisdom, aka Mucusless diet, aka Anti-Inflammatory diet.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Though a combination of iron blood testing and genetic testing, mainstream medicine can now confirm that a person has, carries or does not have the HHC gene. This screening it is expensive, and few doctors are open-minded or willing enough to order it. Perhaps that’s just as well, since the American Hemochromatosis Society website warns investigators to pay for these tests out of pocket without involving their insurance, since insurance companies have been known to altogether drop coverage for clients known to have hemochromatosis. Mainstream medicine calls hemochromatosis incurable, and holds up a fate the pretty much same as death, just with lots of bloodletting along the way. This is why insurance companies are scared of anyone who might have HHC, because, to them it only means a long and expensive journey down the dilapidated not-so-yellow brick road of conglomerating disease processes (arthritis + diabetes + hypothyroidism), ultimately ending in early death.
Screening for hemochromatosis is the dead-end allopath way. Since I am hypothyroid, and have progenitors of Irish-German-English-Norwegian-Scottish descent, I seriously considered paying to have the HHC labs done. Especially when I reviewed the medical history of my paternal grandmother – it just screams undiagnosed hemochromatosis. And wouldn’t it be just an ironic scream if my high-iron Pacific Islander bloodline combined with a possibly HHC European bloodline to create a constitution that was simultaneously high-iron-count and hemochomatosic? However, I changed my mind after consider the cost and the treatment. If diagnosed with HHC, no hope of a cure would be had from mainstream practitioners. So why get the diagnosis? Since most of the scientific literature and as well as the majority of allopathic practitioners deny that proactive patient behavior in nutritional intake is efficacious in any lasting way, I would get no support. I would be told to “get with the program” and go make best friends with my local phlebotomist. Furthermore, if I were to get the blood labs done, to settle once and for all, whether or not I have Hashimoto’s, I would face the same type of fatalistic allopathic attitude: your body is attacking and killing your thyroid and soon you will be dead. There is no cure, so climb on our Big-Pharma bandwagon and let us take you to the thyroid-less Pleasure Island of a lifetime dependency upon synthetic hormones.
What your primary care provider doesn’t know CAN hurt you. Though I have no proof, my gut says hemochromatosis is a much bigger hidden boogeyman than currently believed by the allopaths. Whether it is genetic, environmental, nutritional, juvenile, the problem is the same: a lack of understanding and education in the role of iron in the body, the blood, and in human nutrition.
What you don’t know CAN hurt you. I did not know that like aluminum, mercury and fluoride, iron is considered to be a heavy metal. Yet where do we ever hear that? I did not know that iron never leaves the body. I also did not know that there is a direct correlation between the amount of iron in the body and the amount of sickness a person has. I did not know there are different kinds of iron, heme and non-heme, bio-available and non-bioavailable the body has to shove somewhere because it can’t get rid of it. I did not know that anger, rage and hostility causes the body to hold on to iron. I did not know that copper toxicity and/or bio-unavailable iron irritates the adrenal glands. I did not know that vitamin C and iron, taken together, increases iron absorption. I did not know that genetically, Asians and Pacific Islanders appear to have the most iron in their blood. I did not know that excess iron the body has tried to eliminate can re-enter the body and circulation if the bowel is not clean. I did not know that the top five sources of iron overload in today’s world are 1. white-flour products (and/or anything legally mandated to be iron-enriched) 2. Vitamin supplements and tonics 3. All red meats 4. Iron pollution in the air, soil and water, which is especially prevalent in the Midwest and California. 5. Anger, rage and hostility causing the body to hold on to iron. Other sources of iron are liver and kidney meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, clams, oysters, fish and other seafood, blackstrap molasses (from the pots it is made in), brewers yeast, torula yeast, bonemeal, kelp, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (before you patently reject the last three, remember their HIGH nutritional value and likely non-heme, bioavailable iron. Most people do not eat nearly enough nuts and seeds, or, as Daniel called them, pulses.)
Of square pegs and round holes. I did not know that physicians make assumptions about hemochromatosis which do not apply to me. I did not know that they are so strict in what defines the condition that in some ways, not having the complete picture, they create their own blinders.
- How about a fetus whose gestation included mega-doses of iron-containing vitamins in order to produce a “super baby”, assumed to be a boy?
- How about a baby who drank iron-supplemented soy formula from day one, the villi of whose intestines were coated and plugged with this crap from her first hours of life, and who therefore has lived with a compromised, not fully-functional bowel all of her life?
- How about a child who dutifully took the double-doses of iron-fortified multivitamins given to her every day of her life, for 18 years straight, AND simultaneously took mega-doses of Vitamin C ?
- How about a teenage girl who unexplainably developed cysts, from out of the blue, in her mid-teens? Did you know that the body sometimes eliminates iron through cysts and tumors?
- How about a person who spent the first three decades of her life living in the Midwest, where industrial iron pollution is prevalent in the air, soil and water?
- How about a woman who hardly ever menstruated during her entire reproductive cycle, and so did NOT drop the iron load from periods that doctors presume she had. She is therefore NOT less likely to contract hemochromatosis early in comparison to men. She is actually as likely or even more likely to contract it.
- How about a woman who used petroleum-based, heavy-metal containing pharmaceuticals and injections of many kinds in order to get or maintain a pregnancy?
- How about a woman who doesn’t usually test anemic yet ALWAYS tests positive for gestational anemia? What if that woman obeyed all that she was told to do by the allopaths to increase her iron intake: use iron cookware… take molasses… eat prunes, red meat, liver, eggs, etc… injest herbal iron (Floradix, yellow dock tea, etc)… take prescription high-iron prenatal vitamins, and on top of that, prescription iron supplements? And after all that, had none-to-no change in her “anemic” status with the midwives? And what if NONE of these practitioners ever tested first for the REASON for the anemia before prescribing increased iron? And what if NONE of them investigated why the gestational anemia remained, despite all their iron-loading efforts?
- How about a woman who developed goiter – swelling of the thyroid gland – during her third pregnancy? One that was low-salt (thereby low-iodine) and high, high, high iron by midwives orders?
- How about a woman who has sometimes set off the security alarms in the metal detectors at libraries and stores, just by walking through them?
- How about a woman who seems to attract zaps of energy from the sky whenever a thunderstorm threatens? Not quite being struck by lightening, but still scary, and it’s happened four times now.
- How about a woman whose very near and direct relatives struggle with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, gall-bladder loss, liver disease, dairy allergies, etc?
- How about a woman who is beginning to wonder if the rare times she “cycled” were really all miscarriages?
- How about a woman who decided to be proactive in her latest pregnancy by drinking beet root/beet leaf/carrot juice daily to prevent being diagnosed with gestational anemia only to miscarry again?
What if it isn’t just “rare” hereditary hemochromatosis anymore but widespread but unrecognized acquired hemochromatosis?
The herbalist view of hemochromatosis. After much digging about, I learned that herbalists believe the condition is caused by weakness, damage or toxicity in the liver, adrenals, heart and/or a combination. I read of a natural practitioner with a believing and hopeful client whose goal was to LIVE. This person followed a program designed for him by a natural practitioner unfamiliar with hemochromatosis, but with experience helping the body to cleanse and heal itself. Initially, it was raw vegetable juicing only, with no other foods, Sprouts soon became a featured food, and eventually cooked vegetables were added. Any food coming from something with a face was strictly prohibited. The three main elements of the therapy were intestinal sanitation, anti-inflammatory diet and anti-microbial/fungal therapy. I was reminded, suddenly, of multiple witnesses of this same healing program, and that it works: The Gerson Therapy, the Mucusless Diet and Juice Cleansing recommended by Master Herbalist Dr. John R. Christopher as well as his protogee, Dr. Richard Schulze. The natural practitioner’s client was able to get control of his hemochromatosis, and lived on for many years.
The crossroads: Whether or not I have HHC or Hashimotos or whatever, I can go the pharmaceutical route, which only manages pain, symptoms, “disease processes”, etc. but never promises a cure. Or I can try the road less traveled.
Iron chelators. Foods containing plant polyphenols and flavonoid compounds are antioxidants and iron chelators.
- flavanones: citrus foods
- flavones: fruit skins, peppers, leafy veggies
- flavonols: leeks, onions, leafy veggies, tomatoes
- isoflavones: soy foods (traditionally, soy is always consumed in naturally fermented form)
- anthocyanidins: berries
- proanthocyanidins: apples, chocolate, nuts
- curcumin (tumeric) – an iron chelator with “profound effects” Also represses hepcidin and blocks yeast growth
- quercitin – found in cranberries, pomegranates, grapes and grape-seed extract
- wheatgrass – 30 ml daily of fresh-juiced 5-7 day old leaves, for 6 months, has been found to chelate bound iron out of the body with the same effectiveness as prescription drugs
- R-lipoic acid
- phytic acid, especially in combination with Vitamin C (ascorbate). There is a phytic acid extract made from rice bran called IP6
- picororhiza kurroa (Ayurvedic herb)
- mucana pruiens (Ayurvedic herb)
- Garcina kola seeds (kolaviron)
- dioclea grandiflora
- maritime pine
- Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi
- Ligustim wallici francha (ligustrazine)
- EGCG – found in green tea extract. Also prevents and may even reverse Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’
- milk thistle? (read mixed reviews)
- humid acid, fulvic acid
- amino acids
- cilantro (said to be able to remove aluminum, mercury and lead in 2 weeks of use)
- food-grade activated charcoal
- high-sulfur foods – onions, garlic, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage
A note on flouride: Arsenic > Fluoride > Lead. Yes, fluoride is slightly more toxic than arsenic but less toxic than lead. Do you regularly use arsenic or lead in your diet and water?. Fluoride when combined with aluminum, activates the aluminum in the body. The book or documentary, the Flouride Deception, is worth looking into.
What I am going to do about it: While I have known about the raw juice cleanses for about a decade now, and have done some partial cleanses, I must confess that I have never completed a fully-obedient 5-day cleanse, such as those recommended by my new hero, Dr. Richard Schulze. I think the longest I have ever lasted being a strict vegan was two weeks: I was doing so well, jumping in the living room on my cellerciser, when dinner was served. I just couldn’t stand denying myself anymore! The smell of taco salad defeated all my good intentions, and I caved in to the temptation. This dilemma reminds me of a quote from Brigham Young, that goes something like this: “The sin that will cling to every son of Adam and every daughter of Eve is that they did not do what they knew.” I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I decided today to get with the program and do this thing, 100%, full-bore. I plan on religiously juice-fasting for at least 60 days, and in that time, completing the 5-day bowel cleanse, the 5-day liver cleanse, and the 5-day kidney cleanse. I think I will lose weight, at least, but I am what I am really hoping to do reverse the effects of decades of unwise health choices. I am hoping to heal my soul enough to conceive and carry a healthy baby to full-term and live birth.
I am tired of being tired. I am tired of having little-to-no periods. I am tired of early miscarriages, and, as I age, of the miscarriages getting worse. Though I have sought so hard and so long for truth, for REAL answers, I am tired of 20 years of allopath after allopath not being able to fully cure me. I am tired of fully believing in the herbalist philosophy, but not living it. I hate hypocrisy, yet not doing what I know IS being a hypocrite. I am tired of the increasing accumulation of physiological signs that all is not well in what should be the oneness, the Zion, of my spirit-body union. Last year it was blood in the urine along with horrible gut aches, and sometimes that keeps happening. What will be added this year? And the next? And the next? I am tired of how long I have been a vacillating butterfly, not fully committal, in BOTH camps, herbalist AND allopath. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” – 1 Kings 18:21
From the magnificent no-nonsense tough-love kick-your-booty Dr. Richard Schulze of herbdoc.com : “Only 10% of my patients ever made it through the first month. Everyone said they were willing to do anything to get well, but when they found out what anything was, they wiped out. Ninety percent of the people who came to see me didn’t have what it takes to get well using natural healing… people don’t want to take responsibility for their own health, or ‘just say no to drugs.’ People want the temporary ‘quick fix’ of medicine. For many, life isn’t worth living if they have to give up too much of the ‘good life’… FOOD: until you are well, regardless of your disease… you must be a total vegetarian…All animal food is unhealthy…I don’t care how little of it you eat, or if you think that it is normal to eat a little, or what your parents did or your protein-need fantasy, or even if you eat animal food that is organic and the animal was allowed to pray before its head was cut off…CLEANSING: clean the bowel, clean the liver, and clean the blood. EXERCISE: move every day… do your hot and cold showers! (hydrotherapy) EMOTIONAL: The person who is responsible for your current health is the person in the mirror. HOW MUCH CAN YOU TAKE? Many people spend 30-40 years killing themselves [with dietary and lifestyle choices] These same people then worry if a herb may hurt them, if they are getting enough protein in a vegetarian diet, or if they can physically take a health routine. Get real! You’re lucky to be alive after what you have done… Probably the only reason you are sick is because the life you led was not healthy enough for your particular constitution…The 10% who stayed and did the work… almost everyone one of them got a miracle healing. They came looking for a good doctor; I was looking for good patients.”
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Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. – Matthew 7:24-25