Is your thyroid medication actually working for you?

Do you take Synthroid or levothyroxine but continue to have symptoms of hypothyroidism?

One of the most common reasons that many people don’t feel great on T4 only medications (such as Synthroid or levothyroxine) is that their body is doing a poor job turning their medication (T4) in the active thyroid hormone T3. In order to feel energized, maintain your weight, and feel your best, you need high levels of T3 hormone which is the active thyroid hormone.

You can take medications which make your TSH and even T4 levels “normal” but if no one is testing your Free T3 levels you have no idea if your body is actually converting your medication into the active hormone.

Why do so many women struggle to convert their medication to T3? Well, there are several factors which can quickly derail conversion of T4 to T3.

Here are the most common factors that reduce conversion of T4 to T3:

  • Deficiencies of selenium, iodine, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamins B2, B6 & B12
  • Increased stress and high cortisol
  • High levels of cadmium, mercury, lead and fluoride
  • Starvation or very restrictive eating patterns
  • High carb/low protein diet OR very low carb diets
  • Chronic illness
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Certain medications: beta blockers, birth control pills, estrogen

Wondering if you’re having a problem converting your medications properly? Find a practitioner who will test your Free T3 and Reverse T3 levels. Click here to read by article about my 5 Essential Thyroid Tests.

Want to learn more about my approach to thyroid health?

Book your FREE, no obligation, 15-minute Meet & Greet consultation with me.

Is Estrogen Dominance causing your weight gain, heavy periods, and breast tenderness?

digestive-upsetWhat is estrogen dominance?

Estrogen is one of the primary female sex hormones. In women, estrogen helps initiate sexual development, regulates menstruation, and effects the entire reproductive system. Normally, estrogen is in delicate balance with another primary sex hormone, progesterone. This balance is necessary for both to function efficiently, and can be susceptible to disruption if levels in either shift.

There are two ways that estrogen dominance can present itself in the body. When the body has either too much estrogen from overproduction, or a lack of progesterone, it enters a state referred to as “estrogen dominance.” That is, too much estrogen relative to progesterone.

The body produces three main types of estrogen: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Many women’s ailments, including breast cancer, uterine fibroids and cancer, ovarian cysts and cancer, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and hypothyroidism are caused or promoted by excesses of estradiol, estrone, environmental estrogens, and synthetic estrogens.

Estrogen in our bodies comes from five possible sources:

  • FROM INSIDE THE BODY: estrogen is made in the ovaries, placenta, adrenal glands, and fat cells.
    • Estrogen-like foods and herbs (e.g. soy, legumes, pumpkin seeds, licorice root, etc.)
    • Animal products that has been raised using hormones (e.g. meat, poultry, fish, dairy.)
    • Environmental chemicals or xenoestrogens (e.g. pesticides, plastics, parabens, cleaning products, personal care products, etc.)
    • Synthetic estrogens (e.g. birth control, fertility drugs, hormone replacement therapy.)

What Causes Estrogen Dominance?

During the course of a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen is the dominant hormone for the first two weeks leading up to ovulation. Estrogen is balanced by progesterone during the last two weeks. However, as a woman approaches perimenopause and begins to experience anovulatory cycles (i.e. cycles where no ovulation occurs), estrogen can often go unopposed, thus causing symptoms. Skipping ovulation, however, is only one potential factor in estrogen dominance. Other causes may include:

  • Being overweight (i.e. body fat greater than 28%) since fat cells produce estrogen
  • Having a burdened liver, which leads to estrogen not being broken down and eliminated from the body efficiently. The result is estrogen recirculating and accumulating.
  • Being overstressed. This results in excess amounts of cortisol, insulin, and norepinephrine, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion and adversely affect your overall hormonal balance.
  • A low-fibre diet containing too many refined carbohydrates, and not enough nutrients and high quality fats. Fibre helps eliminate estrogen through bowel movements.
  • Environmental exposure to estrogen-like compounds such as phthalates and BPA.

Estrogen dominance has also been linked to allergies, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and increased blood clotting, and is also associated with acceleration of the aging process.

Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance:

Estrogen dominance can result in serious long-term complications, as well as other signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Weight gain (especially in the hips and thighs)
  • Irregular/abnormal menstruation (heavy bleeding, large clots)
  • Insomnia (especially waking up in the middle of the night)
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Fibrocystic breasts, breast swelling and tenderness
  • Low libido
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Foggy thinking, memory loss
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Headaches

Ways to Decrease Estrogen Dominance:

  • Follow a hormone-balancing diet (i.e. eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, enough protein, and healthy fats.)
  • Increase your fibre intake to help the excretion of estrogen, which can also prevent its reabsorption through the bowel
  • Consume cruciferous veggies (such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts) daily to help with estrogen metabolism and clearance
  • Choose organic meat and dairy to reduce your exposure to environmental hormones used in farming
  • Reduce excess body fat and exercise regularly to promote detoxification and circulation
  • Manage daily stress
  • Reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics in your environment and diet
  • Avoid synthetic estrogens (e.g. birth control pills, synthetic hormone replacement therapy)
  • Switch your personal care products to those that are free of phthalates, fragrances, parabens and other hormone disrupting chemicals
  • Get rid of plastic water bottles and food storage containers. Replace them with ceraminc, glass or stainless steel.


Intravenous (IV) Vitamin Therapy

IV vitamin therapy is gaining popularity for providing rapid benefits such as boosting energy, providing high doses of nutrients, reducing pain, and boosting the immune system.

IV vitamin treatments are customized to meet your needs and typically contain a combination of vitamin, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. 

Conditions that can benefit from IV vitamin therapy:

  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Cold & flu
  • Chronic infections
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Athletic performance & recovery
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia

Interested in trying IV vitamin therapy?

Contact Naturopathic Doctor Sarah Vadeboncoeur for a free consultation.

Is Plastic Making You Fat?

Did you know that chemicals found in plastics (such as BPA) can contribute to weight gain?

Plastic 101

More than 2.2 million tonnes of BPA are produced each year to make plastics used in food and drink containers, food packaging, and the lining of canned goods.

Up to 90% of the population is exposed to chemicals such as BPA mainly through dietary consumption, but also from drinking water, dental sealants, and inhalation of household dusts. Higher levels of BPA in the body have been associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

How does plastic make me fat?

Chemicals found in plastics can mimic estrogen in the body. These higher levels of estrogen can trigger and activate insulin, a fat storage hormone. Higher insulin levels can cause weight gain, especially in your midsection, and put you at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

But my water bottle is BPA-free…

Even plastics that are BPA-free can still contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. You’re best to avoid plastics all together!

How can I avoid plastics?

  • Limit your consumption of canned foods which can contain BPA. Buy dried beans instead of canned and look for glass jars of tomato sauce,etc. Sensitive groups, such as children and pregnant women should limit their intake of canned foods or look for BPA-free brands such as Amy’s and Eden Foods. You can also rinse canned fruits and veggies to lessen BPA exposure.
  • Never heat plastic or leave it exposed in the sun. Heat can increase BPA leaching into food and drinks.
  • Ditch plastic containers and invest in glass or ceramic containers for your food storage needs.
  • Choose a glass or stainless steel water bottle. I love my Life Factory bottle.
  • Reuse glass food jars to store leftovers.

What are your favorite tips for avoiding plastics?




Is your BPA-free plastic waterbottle safe?

A recent study has found that almost all plastic products leached chemicals that act like estrogen when exposed to everyday stresses (including microwaving and sunlight exposure.) This includes products advertised as BPA-free. In fact, some BPA-free products released more estrogen-like chemicals than BPA-containing products!

How to avoid plastics:

  • Ditch all your plastic water bottles
  • Get a water bottle made of glass or stainless steel
  • Never re-use bottles made with soft plastic
  • Pack your lunch or leftovers in glass or ceramic tupperware
  • Never put plastic in the microwave
  • Never leave a plastic water bottle in the sun

What’s your favorite tip for avoiding plastic?