7 Steps to Improve Your Thyroid/Immune Health In 2023
When seeking to restore our health, we should always aim to give our bodies the best possible conditions for success.
That means, regardless of your specific diagnosis or the treatment route you choose to follow, certain foundational steps must be in place.
Today I’m discussing the top seven tips (and a bonus one!) you can implement in your life to support your thyroid and immune health. From diet to movement, sleep and supplementation, I’ll be sharing research, best practices, and my recommendations for further reading, tools, techniques, and products you can use starting today.
I hope you’ll learn a lot, and I look forward to catching you in the next episode.
During this episode, you’ll learn about:
- Step #1: Eat Whole Healthy Foods
- What all the diets I recommend to my patients have in common
- The recommended approach to including vegetables in your diet
- Why it’s worth prioritizing organic options and which foods matter the most
- Eating enough protein is critical
- The main differences between the AIP diet and the standard Paleo diet
- How nuts, legumes, and grains impact the gut
- What to keep in mind when it comes to dark chocolate, coffee
- Step #2: Always Work On Stress Handling
- Block out at least 5 minutes per day and then gradually increase
- The benefits of mind-body medicine
- Try not to sweat the small stuff
- Step #3: Always Work On Reducing Your Toxic Load
- How to become an expert at reading ingredients
- What you need to know when choosing which water to consume
- Filtering drinking and non-drinking water
- How to find low-tox personal care and cleaning products
- My recommendations for air purification
- Important considerations for sauna therapy
- Optimizing your bedroom environment
- Additional factors to consider if your home is in a toxic location
- Step #4: Do Everything You Can To Improve The Health of Your Gut Microbiome
- Focus on eating probiotic foods and supplements
- Try to eat 15 to 20 different whole-plant foods each week
- Minimize the use of gut-disrupting drugs like antibiotics
- How antithyroid medications impact the gut microbiome
- What you can do to minimize your exposure to glyphosate
- Step #5: Get Sufficient Sleep
- Diet plays a big role in sleep quality
- Strategies you can implement to improve the quality of your sleep
- How to use blue-blocking glasses appropriately
- There’s a time and place for herbs and supplementation
- Step #6: Exercise Regularly and Be Active
- Who should be cautious about high-intensity exercise
- Regular movement and exercise are important
- How you can create an office space that’s conducive to movement
- Step #7: Keep Your Vitamin D Levels Above 50 ng/mL or 125 nmol/L
- Vitamin D is important for immune system health, and it has anti-inflammatory effects
- How to test your vitamin D levels and how frequently to retest
- Why supplementation can be useful and what dosage you should take
- You should always take vitamin D with vitamin K2
- Bonus Step: Keep A Gratitude Journal
- How to create a routine around a gratitude journal
- Heart rate variability and how I use HeartMath for stress management
- Why you might want to limit your use of sunscreen
- Reducing your environmental toxin exposure in a manageable way
Mentioned in this episode
- EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
- Save My Thyroid | Q&A Episodes
- Save My Thyroid
- Blog Post | Can People With Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Safely Eat Eggs?
- ThyroSave Supplement | Hepatommune Supreme
- Inner Balance Lightning-Wired Sensor (the HeartMath unit I use)
- Berkey Water Filters
- Blueair Air Purifiers
- IQAir Air Purifiers
- Avocado Green Mattress®
- Naturepedic Organic Mattresses
Free resources for your thyroid health
Get your FREE Thyroid and Immune Health Restoration Action Points Checklist at SaveMyThyroidChecklist.com
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Here is the transcript for this episode:
Welcome to the Save My Thyroid podcast. This is Dr. Eric Osansky, and in this episode, I am going to discuss seven steps to optimize your thyroid and immune health in 2023.
Let’s start with step one, which is to eat whole, healthy foods. Most listening to this probably understand that there is no single diet that fits everyone perfectly. For a lot of my patients with Graves’ or Hashimoto’s, I recommend AIP (autoimmune Paleo). I also like the standard Paleo diet, so I do have a lot of people who follow that as well. There is also ketogenic, carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, low FODMAP. There are lots of different diets out there. What just about all of these diets have in common is they involve eating whole, healthy foods.
I can’t say all diets recommend eating plenty of vegetables. Carnivore does not. Same thing with ketogenic. Most other diets recommend eating plenty of vegetables as well as a good variety of vegetables. This includes AIP and Paleo.
Some people get the impression that with Paleo and AIP, these are largely meat-based diets. You certainly can eat a lot of meat, and some people do choose to eat more meat. You also typically want to eat a lot of vegetables and a good variety. You don’t want to have five salads per day. Ideally, you want to mix things up.
Should you cook your vegetables or eat them raw? I encourage people to do both. When I have my smoothie in the morning, it’s pretty much raw vegetables. I also have some cooked vegetables throughout the day. I probably tend to eat more raw vegetables than cooked vegetables. There are some people who can’t tolerate raw vegetables. If you can’t tolerate raw vegetables, then we might need to work on improving the health of your gut while in the meantime eating cooked vegetables.
Organic is of course preferred if you are able to purchase mostly organic foods, especially the produce. If you eat meat and poultry, you want those to be organic. If you eat eggs, assuming you’re not following AIP, you want those to be organic. Pasture-raised, organic is even better.
Fruits and vegetables are ideally organic. If you can’t get completely organic fruits and vegetables, I would encourage you to check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list by the Environmental Working Group. I believe the website is EWG.org.
Protein is important. Even though I encourage people to eat a good amount of vegetables and a good variety of them, I also want to make sure people are eating enough protein. This honestly is something I think that I’ve neglected in the past, even after getting into remission from Graves’ over the years, just looking back, not having enough protein. That’s something I’ve been more aware of lately. Make sure that if you are eating a lot of vegetables, you are also getting enough protein as well.
The main difference between AIP and standard paleo is that with AIP, you will avoid eggs, nuts, and seeds, and nightshades, things like tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes, peppers. It doesn’t mean that everybody can’t tolerate these.
There are numerous reasons why they are avoided on AIP. A big reason is because they have compounds which can affect the permeability of the gut. Eggs are a common allergen. A lot of people can tolerate eggs, but not everyone can. Same thing with nightshades. They have some compounds that can be inflammatory. People can reintroduce nightshades, and some people can tolerate them. If you’re following AIP, you don’t want to eat them.
Let me just clarify: If you are following most of these diets, I would recommend avoiding nightshades. I do have a separate episode where I talk about nightshades. I think I have one about eggs. If not, I do have an article on my website, NaturalEndocrineSolutions.com, that you can check out.
Pick and choose. If you are going to do AIP, then be strict with it. Avoid eggs, nuts and seeds, and nightshades. If you are following Paleo, then you can eat eggs, nuts, and seeds. Certain nuts seem to be more friendly to the gut than others, not as harsh on the gut. Cashews tend to be harsher on the gut. I do love my cashews, but you want to minimize, if not cut them out, while trying to restore your health. Almonds also tend to be more harsh on the gut.
Legumes are not allowed on either an AIP diet or a regular Paleo diet or a ketogenic diet or a carnivore diet. If someone is following a vegan/vegetarian diet, they are allowed.
There is also the plant paradox diet by Dr. Steven Gundry. He wrote an excellent book called The Plant Paradox, which I recommend. He does recommend legumes properly cooked. One way to properly prepare them is by using a pressure cooker. He also allows certain nuts. Some of his favorite nuts include pecans, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nuts. He recommends avoiding cashews and almonds.
Even though he recommends more of a vegetarian-based diet, the reason why it’s called Plant Paradox is because of the compounds that plant-based foods have. As a result, even though he does allow certain nuts and legumes properly prepared, he is not a big fan of grains. Regardless of what type of diet you’re following, I would recommend taking a break from grains.
I do have some people bring up dark chocolate. If you’re following strict AIP, ideally, you will avoid dark chocolate. If you are following carnivore, I can’t say I’m super familiar here. I did do an interview that won’t be released until January of 2023, I believe. I don’t think carnivore allows dark chocolate. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it does not. I need to dive more into the carnivore research, something I should have probably asked the person I was interviewing, but it didn’t come to mind.
Some diets you can have some dark chocolate. Some diets, you can’t. It’s up to you. If someone is following a carnivore diet, and they choose to eat dark chocolate, they can choose to do that. It just may be straying from that diet.
Coffee is another big one. A lot of people can’t or won’t give up their coffee. They will give up gluten and everything else, but they won’t give up coffee. Coffee is not all bad. There are polyphenols and some health benefits, but the caffeine can have some negative effects on one’s health, especially the adrenals. It does depend on how someone metabolizes caffeine. There are slow and fast metabolizers of caffeine. If you are a fast metabolizer, like I am, then maybe you can get away with it.
I am not a coffee drinker. Even though I am a fast metabolizer, I don’t drink coffee. I do drink green tea, which does have some caffeine. I do like my dark chocolate, which has caffeine. But I don’t drink coffee.
I’ll just reinforce if you are eating meat, you want to make sure it’s ideally organic. Grass-fed, grass-finished beef for example. If you are eating chicken, organic, ideally pasture-raised. You can’t always get that. I can’t say I eat pasture-raised, organic chicken 100% of the time, but pretty much organic, yes, when I purchase chicken. If you can’t do it 100% of the time, I understand. Just stick with the whole, healthy foods. If you eat fish, you want to eat wild fish.
I spent a good amount of time on step one. Why don’t we move on to step two, which is always work on stress handling.
What I encourage people to do is to block out at least five minutes per day on stress handling. Gradually increase to at least 10-15 minutes per day. Also, what I’ll say is that it doesn’t mean you have to block out the same amount of time each day. For example, initially, I would say definitely five minutes per day every day. Once you gradually increase, maybe certain days you stick with five minutes. Other days, you are doing 10-15 minutes. Maybe eventually, 25-30 minutes. If you try to block out 30 minutes per day initially, there will be some people who do it, but a lot of people will fall off the wagon, and they will give up. Just get in that routine of five minutes per day, every single day.
As far as what you should do, ultimately it’s up to you. I would say some type of mind/body medicine, whether it’s yoga, meditation, biofeedback. Really, whatever you’re willing to do is what I would do. Choose something that you’re willing to do. You might find the need to join a group, maybe like a yoga studio or an online program. Maybe not. You could maybe just do it on your own.
The final thing I’ll say here is try not to sweat the small stuff. Most people know this, but a lot of people still sweat the small stuff. I do it sometimes, but I try to laugh the small things off. Again, I can’t say I’m always successful in doing that. Really, it all comes down to your perception of stress. Even with the bigger stressors, not the big stuff, it is still the perception of stress. Obviously, there are certain things we cannot eliminate from our life with regard to stressors. We just need to do our best and try our best to become an expert at handling the stress.
Step three is always work on reducing your toxic load. When it comes to foods, you want to eat mostly organic food. Also, you want to become an expert in reading ingredients. If you are purchasing whole, healthy foods like at Whole Foods, then this isn’t as important. If you are purchasing any type of packaged foods, then you do want to become competent in reading ingredients. The only way to do this is start reading ingredients. When you’re not sure of something, look it up.
I could have brought water up in step one when it comes to diet. Our water, at least the tap water, arguably is toxic, which is why you want to drink purified water or spring water out of a glass bottle, definitely not out of a plastic bottle. I like Mountain Valley Springs.
I also like reverse osmosis water. There is controversy over reverse osmosis water because it removes all the minerals. My argument is you are not getting most of the minerals from the water. You could also add outside minerals if you really want to, or you could do what I do, which is I drink reverse osmosis water, but I also drink some Mountain Valley spring water, which has minerals.
There are other types of purifications like Berkey, a well-known purifier. I would minimize drinking out of plastic water bottles as well as tap water. Every now and then, not a big deal. If it’s something you’re doing regularly, I would focus on switching. That would be one of the main things initially in 2023. The main goal is to switch if at all possible when you’re not drinking tap water and/or water out of plastic bottles on a regular basis.
Then we can’t ignore the water we bathe in. if you could afford a whole house filter, great. If not, at the very least, get a shower filter. I realize some people listening to this are renting, so even if you wanted to get a whole house filter, you probably can’t. That’s where you’re just getting a shower filter, or if you have multiple showers, like we do in our home, get multiple shower filters. If you have a bath, a little bit more challenging to filter the water. You might have to rely more on showers.
Also, I would encourage you to use natural cleaners and cosmetics. Again, this is something that some people are resistant to, especially things like deodorant. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that people can’t find a good deodorant that works. Not necessarily good quality, but one that is natural, doesn’t have aluminum, doesn’t have things like parabens. I know there is one called Pink Hippo. There are a number of different ones out there. You might have to try one or search in the Facebook groups or forums and see what others are using.
I personally don’t use deodorant unless I go out. Even then, it depends on what I’m doing. If I’m just running to the grocery store or things like that, most of the time, I’m not wearing deodorant. It’s not an absolute necessity. I realize if you are working closely with people, you might want to wear deodorant. I’m not saying not to use deodorant. I’m just saying you don’t absolutely have to use it.
Of course, there are a lot of other products, not just deodorant. There are shampoos, soaps, shaving creams, makeup. Just try your best. The things you use regularly, like cleaners.
For example, when spraying in our house, we have natural sprays. You can even make your own. Use things like vinegar. You don’t have to go out and purchase things. When we are spraying countertops, for example, I definitely wouldn’t recommend using harsh chemicals all the time. Maybe once or twice a month, we might want to use the chemicals. We don’t in our house, but if you really want to use harsh chemicals, my wife, every few months, when she thoroughly cleans the toilet, she uses chemicals because she doesn’t like the natural stuff for that purpose. For the most part, we use natural products. We have been happy with them.
I also would recommend looking into getting an air purifier. We have a few Blueair units. There is also IQAir. Blueair is not that expensive. At least, I don’t think it’s that expensive. We have a few of them in our home, one for the office. The reason for this is because the air we breathe also has some toxins in there as well. That’s something I would recommend.
Also, infrared sauna is something to consider. Sweating out the toxins. I wouldn’t say this is an absolute necessity. I didn’t get an infrared sauna until five or six years after I was in remission from Graves’. Maybe it’s playing a role in helping me maintain remission, but I was maintaining remission without a sauna. It’s also great for circulation. There are other health benefits, not just for reducing one’s toxic load. If you use sauna therapy, make sure you take some electrolytes after the sauna to replenish them.
If you have hyperthyroidism and have an elevated resting heart rate, you might not want to do sauna therapy. That will further increase your resting heart rate. You want to get the hyperthyroidism under control before doing sauna therapy ideally.
I do sauna therapy at least twice a week. Sometimes, I do only once a week. But most of the time, twice a week. Every now and then, three times a week. I aim for twice a week.
Some people, if they have a much higher toxic load, which is difficult to tell. Sometimes, you can do testing. If you know through testing that you have a higher toxic load, you might want to do sauna therapy four or five times a week.
Also, I’ll mention where you sleep at night, your bedroom. You will be spending a lot of time in the bedroom. Most people are going to spend at least a quarter and hopefully more like a third of your life in bed. You want to try to get eight hours of sleep. If you are getting eight hours of sleep, that’s a third of your life in your bed.
First of all, consider the entire environment of your bedroom. Even electronic pollution. But I want to focus on the mattress. If you purchased a newer mattress, don’t worry about this. Next time you’re on the market for a mattress, go get a more natural one. This way, you are not inhaling the toxins that come from the flame retardants, things like that. We have an Avocado mattress, and we love it. Honestly, the first week or two, we didn’t like it. It took some time to get used to it. We have had it now for four or five years. There are others like Naturepedic. There are a few others to look into.
Also, something to ask yourself: Is your home in a toxic location? You might not know. Most probably will know or have an idea at least. If they are in a toxic location, it’s not like you’re going to move next week. But you might want to take extra precautions. For example, if your home is located on a busy road or near a highway, then I definitely would encourage you to get multiple air purification systems and get more aggressive with sauna therapy. At least I would recommend something like sauna therapy if you live in a place where you’re more likely to get exposed to toxins. Maybe next time, if you are going to move in the future, then just consider the location.
These are things that I didn’t know of when I was a child. Even as a young adult, I didn’t really pay attention to where I was living for the most part. I didn’t live near any busy highways, but there are other things to consider when buying your home. Some people listening to this are like, “Oh yeah, I make sure to do my due diligence.” Some people don’t think about these things.
If you ride a bike or jog, I would try not to do this on a major road. I know a lot of people do it and will continue doing it. My younger sister lives in Brooklyn, and she rides her bike sometimes to work. No matter what I tell her, she will continue riding her bike to work. If you do that, focus more on detoxification. I am pretty sure she is not focusing more on detoxification. If you are listening to this, I am hoping you will.
Again, this might sound extreme, but if you are going for a run in the morning, let’s say, where a lot of cars are passing through, obviously, you will be exposed to the exhaust. Maybe you could just take a walk or drive to a greenway or a neighborhood where you can just walk, and you are not getting exposed to as many cars or exhaust from the cars.
I am not going to get into great detail with electronic pollution. This is coming out December 2022. After this episode, there will be an episode on electronic pollution with Lloyd Burrell. Definitely check that out. That will be a great interview. I already recorded it; it just hasn’t been released yet because that’s what happens. I have recordings in the bank. This way, if I get sick, I will already have episodes ready to be released. It was a really good interview. I think you’ll learn a lot from that.
I just released a new supplement line. One of the supplements is called Hepatommune Supreme. Definitely check that out. Visit the website ThyroSave.com.
Let’s move on to step four, which is to do everything you can to improve the health of your gut microbiome. You want to eat whole, healthy foods as already mentioned. I would focus on eating probiotic foods and supplements. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, for example. You could take prebiotic inulin or acacia fiber or that variety of foods I mentioned earlier. Eat a good variety of vegetables. That will help support the gut microbiome.
A number of years ago, I attended an online course by Dr. Jason Hawrelak, who has a website called ProbioticAdvisor. Dr. Hawrelak was actually my instructor when I went through my master’s in nutrition degree. During the online course, he encouraged people to eat 40 different types of whole plant foods each week. I can’t say I do that. That’s extremely difficult. Not to say it’s not doable, but I’ll say to eat at least 15-20 whole plant foods each week. That is where the variety comes in. Even that is not easy, but if you’re eating two or three different whole plant foods each week currently, then you’re probably not going to make the jump to 15 or 20. Just try to add one new vegetable each week. Before you know it, you will be up to 10, 15, 20 eventually.
Try to minimize the use of gut-disrupting drugs. We all know antibiotics. There is a time and place for antibiotics. Some people do take them unnecessarily. There are acid blockers, proton pump inhibitors. There are others. Antithyroid medication. I have a podcast episode where I talk about the negative effects of methimazole and PTU on the gut microbiome. Everything is risks versus benefit. It doesn’t mean that you can’t restore your health if you take antithyroid medication. They are arguably not as harsh on the gut as antibiotics. Still, they can disrupt the gut microbiome and contribute to a leaky gut. Check out that episode for more information.
It’s important to be safe while dealing with hyperthyroidism. I took the herbs bugleweed and motherwort. The herbs don’t work on everybody. If someone is taking antithyroid medication, and they are tolerating it well, I am not going to recommend for them to stop taking it. Either way, I can’t tell people to stop taking their medication. I just wanted to bring up minimizing the use of gut-disrupting drugs.
Also minimize the use of antibacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers. I’m not saying every now and then you can’t use them. Of course, there are natural ones. I have a tendency to use those. If I go out and about, let’s say if I am at someone else’s home or in a business, and I have to use the restroom, some people actually bring their own soap. I can’t say I do that. I use the person’s soap, which is probably an antibacterial soap. Not the end of the world, but there are some people who have their sanitizer. They spray their hands sometimes multiple times per hour, if not multiple times per day. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but I would say to be careful about overdoing it.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. Minimize your exposure to that. Eating organic will help to minimize exposure. It won’t completely eliminate your exposure to glyphosate. We are talking about minimizing exposure.
I mentioned that I use a natural hand sanitizer. You still want to minimize your use of those.
Even things that you take orally, like there is a time and place for oregano oil. Sometimes I do recommend it. Sometimes I recommend for people to take it for a few months. There are some people who might take it continuously for a long time for other things. Just be careful that some of these natural antimicrobials could affect the good bacteria as well.
Step five is to get sufficient sleep. First of all, you want to go to bed at a reasonable time. I am getting better at this. It used to be 10:30-10:45. Now, I am getting into bed before 10pm. Sometimes, it’s after 10pm, closer to 10:15/10:30. More often than not, it’s around 10, between 9:30-9:45. Work on that. I know it’s not easy, but that can make a big difference.
Eating a healthy diet overall can also play a big role when it comes to getting sufficient sleep, especially reducing your consumption of sugar. I have a sweet tooth, so I know it’s not easy to reduce one’s consumption of sugar. It can be done.
You might want to test adrenals. If someone has high cortisol levels, then you want to do things to correct this. Sometimes depressed cortisol could have a compensatory effect on sleep.
I mentioned stress management, mind/body medicine. You might want to practice mind/body medicine before going to sleep. For some people, that can help a great deal. Maybe take a hot bath before going to bed. I can’t say I do that, but for some people, that can also help.
Essential oils. My wife uses essential oils more than I do. I have essential oils, but I can’t say I’m great at using them. Things like lavender can be helpful.
Improve your bedroom environment. Try to make the room completely dark before going to bed. This is the best advice I could give. If you have to wear an eye mask, go ahead and do that. Blackout curtains can work really well. Try not to have a TV in the bedroom. It might not only be up to you. Your spouse might overrule you. Try your best as far as the electronics in your bedroom and making it completely dark.
I would say to limit your screen time before going to bed. Ideally, I would say try not to be on your computer or smart phone an hour before going to bed. Maybe even two hours before going to bed if you’re struggling to fall asleep. I can’t say I always do this. I definitely don’t stay off my electronics two hours before going to bed most nights, I’ll admit that. I do try 30-45 minutes at least. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen. If you are having difficulty going to sleep, definitely give these a try. For the most part, I sleep pretty well. Everybody is affected differently by these electromagnetic fields.
Also, at night, another thing you can do is consider using blue blocking glasses at night. There is also a program you get on the computer called f.lux. It will offer some protection. That program is completely free.
One thing I want to say about blue blocking glasses that I learned is you don’t want to wear them during the day. If they have specific blue blockers, you probably won’t wear them during the day. A lot of people these days are getting prescription glasses with the blue blockers built in. They are wearing them all day.
I was listening to an audiobook The Circadian Code, where the author specifically mentioned not to do this. I was thinking about getting the blue blockers on my prescription glasses. I’m still considering it. Now, what I will probably do is get two pairs. I will get one that has blue blockers and one that doesn’t. I will wear the regular ones throughout the day and the blue blockers at night. I wanted to mention that.
That’s something I didn’t think about, for someone who has prescription glasses with blue blockers built in, they might be wearing them all day, and that can have negative effects on someone’s mood, not just how they sleep, but how they feel. They might be more depressed from wearing blue blockers throughout the day. You want some blue light exposure. I will leave it at that.
There is a time and place for supplements and herbs. I left this for last because ideally, you don’t want to rely on supplements and herbs. That being said, there are definitely times where I recommend them to help people get better sleep. Sometimes it’s hit or miss. People try things on their own like melatonin, and that’s hit or miss. There are other things, too. Ideally, you don’t want to rely on supplements for sleep. There is a time and place for supplementation.
Step six is to exercise regularly and be active. As far as how frequently you should exercise, I exercise at least three or four days a week. I can’t say I do it every single day. The intensity, it does vary. I do some high intensity interval training (HIIT), but if someone is dealing with hyperthyroidism, you probably want to be cautious about doing any real high intensity interval training or high intensity exercise. You might just want to do some light walking and resistance training.
Even if you have hypothyroidism, then your adrenals are in a weakened state. Probably don’t want to do real high intensity exercise until you improve the health of your adrenals.
HIIT, I like to do on a wellness basis. I do it a few days a week. I definitely don’t do it every single day.
Resistance exercise, now that I am thinking about it, I go to the gym to do lower body resistance training only once a week. WhenI’m at home, I am doing two or three times per week. That comes out to like three or four times per week, I’m doing upper body. I don’t balance it out admittedly. There are things I’m sure I could do without weights at home, but I rely on the gym for lower body resistance training. I do have weights at home. I have a bench. I use that a few days per week. I do more for the upper body than lower body. I probably should balance it out more. Either way, you want to incorporate weight bearing exercise.
Regular movement definitely is important. You don’t want to be sitting at a desk, if you have a desk job, for eight hours straight. Sure, you will probably take a few breaks. There are some people who are at a desk for eight, nine hours. They eat lunch at their desk and are taking some quick restroom breaks. They are probably sitting for most of that time. Maybe they have 10-15 minutes where they get up. Take frequent breaks. Try to move around regularly. This is on top of the regular exercise.
Also, sticking to the topic of taking frequent breaks. One thing I have in my home is a treadmill desk, which works. I’m not on the treadmill desk now while doing this podcast episode, but sometimes I’ll do work and walk at the same time. You could also get a standing desk. Not everybody can get a treadmill desk, but a standing desk is good. This way, you are doing some work while standing. Some work while sitting.
Step seven is to keep your Vitamin D levels about 50 ng/ml. For those who live in a different country, 60 ng/ml is equal to 125 nmol/L. I do see where especially like in the United States, most labs will say if you’re 30ng/ml, you’re fine. 50 is more of the optimal level. Some will say 60-80. I’m saying 50. Some sources say it should be above 60. There are a few sources that say above 80. I don’t necessarily agree with that.
With the nmol/L, some labs will say 75 is great. Some will say if you’re 125, that’s too high, that it’s at a toxic level, which is not true.
The reason why you want healthy Vitamin D levels is because it’s important for immune system health. It also has anti-inflammatory effects. A Vitamin D deficiency can make you more susceptible to developing autoimmunity. For those listening who already have Graves’ or Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune conditions, it will be very difficult to recover if you don’t have optimal Vitamin D levels.
Having optimal Vitamin D levels alone isn’t sufficient to restore your health. But if your Vitamin D levels are low or less than optimal, it will be difficult to recover. Of course, you can easily test for Vitamin D in the blood. It’s called 25 hydroxy Vitamin D or 25 OH Vitamin D.
As far as how frequently you should test your levels, it really depends. I test my levels like once or twice a year now. That’s because I know what I need to take. I do supplement with Vitamin D. I try to keep my levels about 50. Usually, my levels are in the upper 50s/lower 60s. There are times where it’s been in the 70s.
If you’re deficient, if your levels are 25, then you are going to supplement under the guidance of a health care practitioner. Maybe a few months, like after three months, you might want to retest. After that, you might want to retest after another few months.
Initially, you might want to retest more frequently, just to see what dosage is good for you. And you might take a higher dose. If you are taking a higher dose, you probably will scale back. You want to see if the higher dose worked. Also see if a lower dose is maintaining optimal levels. At least, that is the approach I take.
In different times of year, you will get different sun exposure, especially if you live up north. In the winter, you definitely get less sun. I am in North Carolina, and we get some cold weather in December, January, February. We are getting less sun because we won’t be outside as frequently. When we are outside, we will be more bundled up.
Speaking of sunlight, that is one area I definitely need to improve. I have been working on it. I’m better. In the cold weather, I don’t get as much sun, but I think that holds true for most people. I would say on sunny days, try to get 15-20 minutes of sun exposure.
I do take vitamin D supplements. There is controversy over that. Some people say, “Oh no, you don’t need supplementation.” I could say that there are people I work with who live in sunny areas who still have low Vitamin D levels. I’m not going to get into great detail about reasons why. There are some genetics involved, like the VDR receptor can be one reason. Pollution, like air pollution, also could be a factor when it comes to not being able to rely on sunlight to get those Vitamin D levels to optimal levels. I find a lot of people need to supplement.
As far as the dosage of Vitamin D3 you should take, this really depends on the person. I take 5,000 IUs per day on a wellness basis. If I got more sun, I maybe wouldn’t be taking as much of a dosage. That’s what I take. Some people initially need to take more to build up those levels.
I need to mention you should always take Vitamin K2 with D3. The reason is that K2 helps to guide the calcium into the bone. Otherwise, it can deposit into other soft tissues, like the arteries, which isn’t a good thing.
Those are the seven steps. I have a bonus step, which is to keep a gratitude journal. You want to write down at least three things you’re grateful for. I would do this every night before going to bed. I would review your journal in the morning as well.
For example, I am grateful for the opportunity to share this information with you through this podcast. Obviously, I am not writing this down right now; this is just verbally expressing my gratitude. I am also grateful for my wife and two daughters; they are happy and healthy. Those are some of the things that I’m grateful for.
It’s fine to write the same things over and over. I can’t tell you I always do that, but it’s not like I come up with new things every time I do this. I would say get into the habit of doing this. What are you grateful for? Start tonight. Keep that gratitude journal.
Let’s go ahead and summarize the seven steps:
- Step one: Eat whole, healthy foods.
- Step two: Always work on stress handling.
- Step three: Always work on reducing your toxic load.
- Step four: Improve the health of your gut microbiome.
- Step five: Get sufficient sleep.
- Step six: Exercise regularly and be active.
- Step seven: Keep your Vitamin D levels about 50 ng/ml, or 125nmol/L.
- The bonus step: Keep a gratitude journal.
That’s it. Hope you learned a lot. These are the seven steps you need to take to improve or optimize your thyroid and immune health in 2023. I look forward to catching you in the next episode.