Thyroid Case Study - Robyn NelsonRobyn Nelson is a highly experienced nurse who believes in holistic medicine. Robyn lives on the south coast of New South Wales Australia and has an organic farm where she raises organic chickens, eggs and meat and vegetables. Robyn developed chronic fatigue and weight gain after working long hours as a nurse and became so tired she could no longer work as a nurse. She stayed very fatigued, overweight, bloated and constipated for years despite getting plenty of exercise on her farm. Robyn eventually decided she would try to do some volunteer work as a nurse as she wanted to keep up her exposure to medicine. Luckily for me she came to help me in my medical practice in Pambula on the south coast.

After investigating Robyn I discovered some important clues namely –

  • Hidden gluten intolerance (she was not a coeliac so this had been missed)
  • Diverticulitis and unhealthy bacteria in her colon
  • Early Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis causing a slightly underactive thyroid gland shown by raised TSH and high thyroid antibodies
  • Very severe iron deficiency (due to bowel damage from gluten intolerance and this had reduced absorption of iron from her intestines)

Robyn’s Treatment program was started as the following –

  • Iron injections (as she could not absorb iron from foods or oral supplements)
  • A gluten free diet high in vegetables
  • Low dose of synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (also known as T4 as it contains 4 molecules of iodine)
  • A supplement for thyroid health containing vitamin D, selenium, zinc and iodine
  • A bowel detox, a probiotic supplement and fermented foods

Robyn gradually improved with energy levels increasing and her abdominal pains went away. Her iron levels took a long time to come up even though she was having injections. Her weight loss was painfully slow even though she was gluten free. I decided to give Robyn another type of thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine (also known as T3 as it contains 3 molecules of iodine). This T3 form of thyroid hormone is 10 times more active then T4 and is important in weight control. I also gave Robyn a liver formula to help her to convert T4 into T3. These two things did the trick and she started to lose weight.

I have found that in a significant number of women with an underactive thyroid gland weight loss is very difficult unless we also give the T3 form of thyroid hormone. It also is vitally important to improve the liver function in women with a thyroid problem. The vast majority of thyroid problems are autoimmune in cause and to overcome these problems we must improve the function of the liver and the gut.

Robyn is now feeling 20 years younger and has lost 22 pounds in weight. She has the energy to work full time again and look after her large family and her farm. Well what a difference – just look at Robyn now!