Online Medical Glossary
Terms Used in The Thyroid Cure

Online Medical Glossary of Important Terms Used in The Thyroid Cure

Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease is an autoimmune inflammation of adrenal glands. As the glands are gradually destroyed, they fail to make sufficient quantities of the adrenal hormones: cortisol and aldosterone. Addison’s disease can be tricky to diagnose, as the main distinct symptom is a darkening of the skin, which doesn’t affect all patients. Diagnosis is made through looking at blood cortisol levels.

Adjuvant: An adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to stimulate (aggravate) the immune system to ensure the vaccine is effective enough. Aluminum stirs the immune system because it is a known neurotoxin and carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation, and associated neurological complications. Peanut oil is another common vaccine adjuvant.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH): Also known as corticotropin, ACTH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. ACTH is part of the messaging and feedback mechanism between the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal lands and is often produced in response to stress.

Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs): White flour and sugar can cause inflammation and disease by forming advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs. When certain proteins react with sugar, AGEs are produced, resulting in damaged, cross-linked proteins. When immune cells respond to these AGEs, they secrete large amounts of inflammatory chemicals.

Agglutinin: Agglutinin is a peanut lectin, associated in studies with leaky gut syndrome and colon cancer.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid found inside every cell in the body. It converts glucose (blood sugar) into energy. Alpha lipoic acid is also an antioxidant and helps to protect against free radicals. This substance in unique in that it has the ability to recycle other antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione and coenzyme Q10 after they have been used up.

Amalgam Filling: Silver dental fillings containing mercury.

Amines: Amines are produced by the breakdown of amino acids in foods. Some people are sensitive to amines, resulting in digestive distress and headaches and affecting blood pressure, and mental and emotional states. Amines are particularly elevated in foods that are fermented, overripe or aged. Foods commonly high in amines are wine, chocolate, aged cheese and a number of OTC and prescription drugs.

Anorexia: A condition where one deeply fears gaining weight to the point that one stops eating properly, or at all. Anorexics have an unrealistic perception of their bodies, and see themselves as overweight, even if they are very thin. Anorexia carries all the consequences of moderate to severe malnutrition, leading to heart problems, low blood pressure, loss of bone and muscle mass, and without treatment, even death.

Antibody: Antibodies are proteins in the blood that the immune system produces to respond to and counteract a specific antigen. Antibodies combine with bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances in the bloodstream, tagging them for destruction.

Antigen-presenting cells (APC):  Antigen-presenting cells are specialized immune system white blood cells and include macrophages, dendritic cells and B- lymphocytes. They process antigens and present them in a form that the T-cells recognize to attack.

Antigen: An Antigen is foreign substance that stimulates an immune response particularly through production of antibodies.

Antinuclear antibodies test (ANA): This tests for antinuclear antibodies (ANA), and is used to screen for autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, scleroderma, Sjögren’s syndrome, and some types of chronic hepatitis. Many people with autoimmune thyroid conditions also have these antibodies.

Antithyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb): This tests for antibodies to the protein thyroglobulin, which are also commonly found with both Graves’ and Hashimoto’s. If you have hyperthyroid symptoms, you should ask for this additional test.

Antithyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO): This tests for antithyroid peroxidase antibodies, which are commonly found in both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ conditions.

Armour Thyroid: A prescription medication made from desiccated (dried) porcine (pig) thyroid, which contains both T4 and T3. It also contains T1, T2, and calcitonin, which make it closer to what your own healthy thyroid would produce. The only caveat about desiccated thyroid is that it can provoke an immune response in some people, because it’s mostly not thyroid hormone but is thyroid tissue instead, which is what the antibodies are attacking in the first place.

Autoimmune condition: Any condition in which the immune cells of the body attack it’s own tissues as if they were a foreign pathogen.

Autonomic Nervous System: The autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling all of our “automatic” body functions such as heart rate, digestion, body temperature and blood pressure. The “fight or flight” stress response happens through the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system aspects of the autonomic nervous system.

Ayurveda: Ancient system of medicine from India that considers the unique mind-body type of each individual and attempts to restore balance for wellness and to empower the body’s innate healing ability.

Beta Blockers: Beta blockers are drugs, including propranolol (Inderal), atenolol (Tenormin) and metoprolol (Lopressor), which are prescribed for Graves’ in order to relieve the symptoms of rapid heart rate and nervousness. These drugs can potentially have side effects and do not address the cause of the autoimmune process.

Betaine HCL with pepsin: Supplement used for countering low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria). Betaine HCL with pepsin should never be taken along with NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin or corticosteroids like prednisone. These medications can irritate and even damage the delicate lining of the GI tract. Adding betaine HCL to these medications can put you at risk for gastric bleeding or an ulcer.

Bisphenol-A (BPA): BPA is commonly used to make the plastics found in food and drink containers, baby bottles, toys, flame retardants, dental sealants, plastic wraps, and often comprises the linings of tin cans. Studies have linked BPA to autoimmunity, breast and prostate cancer, and infertility. In recent years growing awareness of the dangers of BPA has led some manufacturers to eliminate it from their products and advertise the item is “BPA-free.” BPA is a known Endocrine Disrupting Compound.

Bulimia: Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating, followed by purging to avoid weight gain. Purging can mean self-induced vomiting, obsessive exercise and compensatory fasting. Bulimics often have relatively normal body weight and can sometimes even be overweight.

Candida albicans: Candida is a common yeast present in everyone’s intestinal system.  However, Candida can grow out of control and cause negative reactions. Growing unchecked, Candida can infiltrate our intestinal lining making it porous and permeable, allowing a host of potential allergens and partially digested proteins into our bloodstream, creating what’s known as “leaky gut syndrome.”  Candida is even more common as a vaginal infection. It is estimated that 75% of all women will get a “yeast infection” sooner or later. Candida can also become overgrown in the mouth, in which case it is commonly called “Thrush.”  Conventional doctors are familiar with the common vaginal and oral infections but are often slow to test for, or recognize, candidiasis in the gut or throughout your system. They expect this only in patients who are severely ill with other conditions but my testing and experience suggest Candida overgrowth is much more common that doctors realize.

Capric Acid: Capric acid is found in coconut oil. It is a healing fat known as a medium-chain triglyceride. Medium-chain triglycerides are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. These medium-chain triglycerides are fuel for your cells and support immune function in the GI tract. They may potentially help prevent cancer, stimulate thyroid function, and even lower cholesterol and help with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Celiac Disease (CD): Celiac disease is a multi-system autoimmune condition involving changes in function of the liver, digestive tract, and other organ systems but the small intestine plays a critical role in CD. Celiac is triggered by the body’s reaction to gluten proteins. Celiac can even affect older infants. Celiac has probably been around for thousands of years but was only been identified in the 19th century and was connected to wheat in the 1940s. Flour was scarce during the Dutch famine of 1944. Dutch pediatrician Dr. Willem Dicke noted the death rate among children with Celiac Disease dropped from over 35% to almost zero when they couldn’t get bread. He observed that when bread became available after the famine, the death rate once again soared.  Better screening of patients without symptoms reveals that celiac may affect 1% of the US population or more. About 10% of people with celiac disease also have an autoimmune thyroid condition. A blood test measuring the ratio of antibodies to tTG can be used to screen for celiac disease.

Chelation Therapy: Treatment for heavy metal exposure which involves circulation chelating agents like EDTA or DMSA in the bloodstream which binds to the toxins in order to mobilize them for excretion.

Chlamydia: Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur “silently” before a woman ever recognizes a problem. Chlamydia also can cause discharge from the penis of an infected man.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a disorder causing overwhelming fatigue and a host of other symptoms that are not improved by bed rest and that can get worse after physical activity or mental exertion. Besides severe fatigue, other symptoms include muscle pain, impaired memory or mental concentration, insomnia and post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours. In some cases, CFS can persist for years. There are no tests to diagnose CFS, so doctors diagnose it purely by symptoms, such as severe chronic fatigue for 6 or more consecutive months not due to ongoing exertion or other medical conditions associated with fatigue. Results studies provide evidence that CFS is probably autoimmune in nature.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): “Complementary Medicine” is any treatment outside of standard conventional medical practice that is used in addition to allopathic treatments. “Alternative Medicine” is any treatment outside of standard conventional medical practice.

CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10, (ubiquinol) is a vitamin-like substance found in all parts of the body. It is similar in its properties to Vitamin E. It aids circulation, stimulates the immune system, increases tissue oxygenation, and has vital anti-aging properties. Many health care specialists use COQ10 in the prevention of cardio-vascular disease as well as in the treatment of mental health abnormalities such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. COQ10 is often dramatically low in patients with Graves’. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for anyone with an autoimmune condition, and also because COQ10 strengthens the immune system without stimulating it.

Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH): CRH is a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in stress response. CRH triggers the pituitary gland to release corticotropin (ACTH). Increased CRH production has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and depression. High levels of CRH have been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of suicide victims.

CRP: This tests for levels of C-reactive protein in the blood. High values indicate inflammation somewhere in the body, which may be caused by insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, food allergies, or infections.

Cytochrome P450: Enzyme system the liver utilizes in Phase I detoxification

Cytokines: Helper T-Cells release proteins called cytokines that activate other white blood cells to fight off infection. Cytokines include interleukins, growth factors, and interferons. Cytokines are responsible for controlling inflammation in the body and are triggered by stress, infections, toxins, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Cytomel: Brand name of synthetic T-3 replacement hormone.  Suffers from not being time released and from having gluten in its binding agents. For those who can afford it, time release T-3 from a compounding pharmacy is the ideal choice for those who need to supplement T-3.

Cytotoxic T-Cells/CD8+ T/Killer T-Cells: Form of T-cell important in directly killing certain tumor cells, viral-infected cells, parasites, bacteria and fungus.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL): Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is a supplement that helps protect from the damage caused by NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen and is also effective at healing ulcers without reducing stomach acid.

Dendritic cells (DCs): Dendritic cells are immune system antigen-presenting cells. Their chief function is to process antigens into a form that the T-cells recognize to attack. Dendritic cells are located in tissue that comes in contact with the environment like the skin and the inner lining of the nose, lungs, stomach and intestines. DCs also play a role in B-cell function and play a role in establishing immunological memory.

DHEA: DHEA is a hormone in the body and also available as a supplement. DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands and is responsible for proper immune function, fat burning, muscle building, tissue repair, proper liver function, and energy production. DHEA will also convert into other sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.

Digestive Enzymes: The body uses digestive enzymes to break down food into nutrients for digestion. The body has different enzymes for carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Digestive enzymes are found in the mouth, stomach and small intestine. It is often helpful to take supplemental digestive enzymes to aid good digestion.

Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) are a class of highly toxic chemicals that have remained in the environment long after their use was restricted. Small particles of dioxins accumulate in the food chain in fish, meat, dairy products, and even breast milk. We are mostly exposed to dioxins through contamination of our food. Dioxins and DLCs are still one of the most prevalent toxic chemicals even though levels have been decreasing due to regulations instituted in the 1990’s. Dioxins are known Endocrine Disrupting Compounds.

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid, the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of the information for our genetic blueprint.

Dysbiosis: Dysbiosis is an imbalance of the flora of yeasts, bacteria and other microbes in the GI tract. Dysbiosis can be caused by poor nutrition, antibiotics, infections, candida and a variety of other factors.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs): EMFs are the electrical fields given off by electronic devices. EMFs can constitute electromagnetic “smog” that can negatively affect us since our body itself relies on electrical signals. EMFs have been implicated in cancer, sleep disturbances and migraines. Devices like cell phones, routers and computers that transmit wirelessly are a particular concern for EMFs.

Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs): EDCs are synthetic compounds or external hormones that mimic our natural hormones when they are absorbed by the body. EDCs are found everywhere from lotions and sunblock to pesticides, plastics, and industrial and household chemicals. Exposure to xenoestrogens and EDCs has been directly linked with allergies, autoimmune conditions, and elevated antinuclear antibodies (ANA). Examples of EDCs are bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), parabens, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) and organophosphates and organochlorines in pesticides and herbicides.

Endocrine System:  Endocrine glands secrete hormones or other substances directly into the blood to regulate a host of body functions. This system of hormonal regulation is called the endocrine system.

Enzyme Inhibitor: Certain plants, particularly nuts and seeds, contain enzyme inhibitors, which constitute a natural defense against insects but can make them difficult to digest. The negative effects of enzyme inhibitors are greatly reduced by soaking and sprouting, or roasting.

Epigenetics: Epigenetics is the science that studies the ways in which our genes interact with the environment. Nutrition, stress, environmental exposures and other factors can deeply influence the manifestation or inhibition of genetic variations and vulnerabilities.

Epsom Salt: Epsom salt is made up of the minerals magnesium and sulfur, and is an old-time remedy for treating minor inflammation and muscle aches. Both minerals are readily absorbed through the skin when added to bath water.

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or SED): This measures the speed at which red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube filled with blood. Your doctor may use this test to detect inflammation in the body. The faster the red blood cells fall to the bottom, the more inflammation is present. A high ESR or SED can be caused by some cancers, infections, and autoimmune conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Essential Fatty Acid (EFA): EFAs are healing fats that are essential for health and are not manufactured in the body so they must be obtained through diet. There are four categories of EFAs: omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, and omega-12. The three most nutritionally important omega-3 fatty acids are alphalinolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Food sources of ALA include flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, rapeseed, and certain dark leafy green veggies. Healing omega-6 fatty acids include cis-linoleic acid, linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and are found in certain plants and vegetable oils. Many people benefit from supplementing EFAs.

Esters: Esters are VOCs found in plastics, lacquer solvents, resins, plasticizers, perfumes and flavorings.

Estrogen: There are three types of the hormone estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estrogen is known as a female hormone, but both men and women have it. The estrogens have many functions and are important for tissue growth, sex drive, and healthy bones and, when balanced, may protect from heart disease. Too much estrogen can lead to low thyroid function in two ways: it can inhibit the conversion of thyroid hormones T4 to T3, and it can bind to thyroid proteins, blocking thyroid hormone from its own receptors.  Xenoestrogens are estrogens introduced from outside the body by oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy or by endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) that mimic estrogen.

Ethers: Ethers are VOCs found in varnishes, resins, lacquers, paints, dyes, cosmetics and soaps. Acrylic acid esters and epichlorohydrin released from aerosols, window cleaners, paints, paint thinner, cosmetics and adhesives like epoxy.

Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition resulting from the body’s abnormal responses to various kinds of stress. Its main symptoms are debilitating muscle pain and fatigue. It is difficult to diagnose and not well understood. Most cases remain undiagnosed and the average case takes five years to be recognized. It doesn’t appear to be inflammatory or autoimmune in nature although it often occurs side by side with autoimmune conditions. 9 out of 10 patients with fibromyalgia are women. Fibromyalgia often accompanies rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Food Allergy: Food allergy refers to food reactions that are mediated by the immune system.Food reactions not directly addressed by the immune system are called food sensitivities or intolerances.

Food Sensitivity/Food Intolerance: Food Sensitivity refers to food reactions that are not mediated by the immune system. These foods may still cause inflammation or create problems with digestion. Food reactions directly addressed by the immune system are called food allergies.

Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a VOC found in tobacco smoke, certain foam insulation (UFFI), wood products like plywood, chipboard and particleboard, fabrics, household cleaners and water-based paints.

Free Radicals: Free radicals in the body are unstable oxygen molecules that are highly reactive and can cause damage to cells through those reactions. Free radicals are an unavoidable result of many body processes such as phase I detoxification in the liver but are neutralized by antioxidants

Free T3: This refers to the unbound “active” form of triiodothyronine (T3) in the blood. Remember, the thyroid makes large amounts of T4 and then relies mostly on the liver to convert it into the active form of the hormone T3 by an enzyme called 5’deiodoinase. If you don’t have enough selenium, or if your liver is compromised by stress, infection, or toxins, you may not be converting T4 into T3 and remain hypothyroid even if you are taking supplemental T4. “Poor converters” often benefit from taking supplemental T3 in addition to T4.

Free T4: The unbound form of thyroxin (T4) in the blood. This test is considered to be a more accurate reflection of thyroxin than total T4.

Functional Medicine: An approach to integrative medicine that incorporates cutting-edge, advanced scientific testing. Genetic information from specialized testing may also be utilized. Practitioners focus on restoring the body’s balance and innate healing ability instead of aiming at symptoms without remedy for the root causes.

Functional Testing: Advanced medical testing utilized in functional medicine that may both identify pathogens as well as assess the sufficiency of bodily nutrition and body processes.  Genetic testing may also be utilized as functional testing.

GALT: Throughout the entire length of the small intestine are patches of lymphoid tissue called Peyer’s patches, which make up what is called “gut-associated lymphoid tissue,” or GALT for short. The GALT is home to as much as 80 percent of the body’s immune cells and represents the largest mass of lymphoid tissue in the human body.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a condition where stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the esophagus, often causing mucosal damage. GERD is caused by a failure of the lower esophageal sphincter to keep acid down in the stomach, which may be induced by low stomach acid, obesity, hiatal hernia, dietary aggravations and other factors.

Glutamine: Glutamine is found in animal protein, beets, spinach and parsley. Glutamine deficiencies have been associated with intestinal degeneration after times of stress, infection, surgery and radiation. Glutamine supplementation has been shown to stimulate intestinal cell growth and repair the intestinal lining. Some people take glutamine powder while in the phase of healing the GI tract.

Glutathione: The body’s master antioxidant. Glutathione directly neutralizes free radicals, reduces hydrogen peroxide into water (reducing inflammation), and assists in the role of other antioxidants like vitamin C, E and lipoic acid. Glutathione contains sulfur groups, which are sticky compounds that adhere to toxins and heavy metals and carry them out of the body. Your body makes its own glutathione from the amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamine, and then recycles it via methylation.

Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, kamut, and spelt. Gluten remains after all the starch is washed away from the flower of these grains, and is made up of two protein groups called gliadins and glutenins. Gluten creates an autoimmune reaction for those with celiac disease, and many people are sensitive to gluten, for whom it can be a strong trigger for leaky gut syndrome and contribute to other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s.

Glycation: If the body has too much sugar, protein molecules can bond with sugar molecules in a haphazard manner known as glycation.  Once this bonding happens, the new sugar proteins are called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The body doesn’t recognize AGEs as normal so it creates antibodies in an immune response that creates inflammation.

Glycemic index: The measurement of how quickly a food is converted into sugar is called its glycemic index. The glycemic index is a scale of one to one hundred, with pure glucose sugar at the top of the scale at 100.

Glycemic Load: Glycemic load is a sophisticated measure of the glycemic effects of food. Glycemic load considers the actual amount of carbohydrates present in a typical serving of a food. A glycemic load number below 10 is considered low, 11-19 medium, and 20 or above is high. For example, while watermelon has a high glycemic index number of 72, its glycemic load number is only 7.21 because of the limited amount of carbs in a serving.

GMO: Genetically modified organism. Genetic engineering is a technology for introducing genes from one living thing into another, in an attempt to introduce new qualities such a climate tolerance or pest resistance. For example, genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), a natural pesticide, are introduced into corn so that it will have a built-in pesticide. Critics suggest this results in creating BT resistant pests and that the consequences of continual ingestion of BT are unknown.

GMP, NSF facility: These are designations for dietary supplements that guarantee the manufacturer is in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices and maintains strict manufacturing guidelines set by NSF/ ANSI Standard 173, which is the only accredited national standard in the dietary supplement industry.

Goitrogenic Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables (Brassicas) appear to block thyroid peroxidase (TPO), causing the thyroid to grow more thyroid tissue resulting in a goiter. This generally happens only in the presence of iodine or selenium deficiency and the effect is greatly reduced by cooking. These vegetables otherwise have positive healing properties.

Granulocytes: Granulocytes are a type of immune system white blood cell. The types of granulocytes are basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils and mast cells, which are all produced in the bone marrow from stem cells, after which they die after a few days. Considered a “scavenger cell,” granulocytes have a non-specific, broad-based activity, unlike T- and B-cells which target specific antigens. The pus in an infected wound is mostly made up of dead granulocytes.

Graves’ (Thyrotoxicosis): Autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which becomes enlarged and produces excessive amounts of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which affect a multitude of body processes. Graves’ can eventually swing into a low thyroid hormone condition. Named after the Irish doctor Robert James Graves, who first discovered it in 1835. Roughly 2.5 million people in the U.S. have Graves’, which is most common in women, usually between the ages of 20 and 40.

Halogens: Halogens are a group of chemically similar elements including chlorine, bromine, and fluorine, along with a very rare radioactive element, astatine. All these substances are toxic and cause particular trouble to the thyroid because of their similarity to iodine, which is also a halogen, which the body converts into thyroid hormone. Thyroid receptors accept these other halogens as look-alikes to iodine, but can’t convert them to thyroid hormone.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Autoimmune condition where immune system cells attack the thyroid gland resulting in its gradual destruction and increasingly low thyroid hormones. Hashimoto’s was first discovered by the Japanese specialist Hashimoto Haruko in Germany in 1912.  While it is estimated that roughly 12.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, many medical experts feel the number is much higher. Women are between 10-20 times more likely than men to develop Hashimoto’s. The typical age of onset is 30-50 years old; however, it can affect children as well.

Helicobacter pylori (H-Pylori): H. pylori bacterium is a spiral shaped bacterium that lives in the stomach and duodenum (section of intestine just below stomach). It is estimated the roughly 50% of the world’s population is infected with the organism. H-pylori infection may cause symptoms such as peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, abdominal pain, nausea, and non-ulcer dyspepsia. It is a Type I carcinogen and has been associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer. Many times it is asymptomatic which means there are no symptoms at all.

Helper T-Cells, also called CD4+T:  Once “activated,” these cells play a major role in controlling and regulating the immune system by communicating with other cells by the secretion of proteins called cytokines that activate other white blood cells to fight off infection. Cytokines include interleukins, growth factors, and interferons. Cytokines are responsible for controlling inflammation in the body and are triggered by stress, infections, toxins, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle

Hematopoiesis: All the cells of the immune system are formed in the bone marrow through a process called hematopoiesis. During this process, white blood cells called leukocytes change into either mature cells of the immune system or into precursors of cells that mature elsewhere

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis.

Hepatitis A, B and C: Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C which are caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A appears only as an acute or newly occurring infection and does not become chronic. People with Hepatitis A usually improve without treatment. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can also begin as acute infections, but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and long-term liver problems.

Herxheimer (Herx) reaction: Also known as a healing crisis or “die-off.” “die-off.” This results when the toxins released from dying pathogens overwhelm your body’s capacity to clear them and a feeling of sickness results.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH): is secreted by the pituitary gland, which causes the liver to produce another hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 affects almost every cell in the body and is responsible for rejuvenating the skin and bones and regenerating the tissues of the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Thyroid hormones regulate the release and synthesis of HGH, and many people with low thyroid levels have low IGF-1. Chronic illness, stress, hypothyroidism, liver toxicity, and aging all slow the production of IGF-1, which results in accelerated aging.

Humoral Immunity: Humoral immunity involves B-cells, which are also known as antibody-producing lymphocytes. B-cells proliferate and differentiate into plasma cells. Their job is to look for the invaders and then “tag” them with proteins called antibodies, which stick to antigens on the surface of parasites, bacteria and fungi. The invader is thus identified as a pathogen marked for destruction. Each B-cell produces a specific type of antibody called an immunoglobulin. This secondary B-cell antibody response is called the Th2 response.

Hyperthyroidism: State of having too elevated thyroid hormones. Can be a result of a number of causes such as a goiter. If the cause is autoimmune in nature, it is called Graves’ disease. People with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may also experience hyperthyroid symptoms.

Hypochlorhydria: Low stomach acid, which can cause GERD and retard the absorption of certain nutrients like B vitamins (particularly B12), folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc. Hypochlorhydria can also interfere with thyroid hormone absorption and allow proliferation of bad bacteria in the GI.

Hypothyroidism: State of having too low thyroid hormones. Can be a result of a number of causes such as autoimmune thyroiditis, deficiencies in selenium and iodine, chronic stress and adrenal fatigue, or in rare cases pituitary dysfunction,

Integrative Medicine: Approach to medicine in which practitioners make use of all appropriate healing modalities, which can include alternative, traditional, and conventional treatments, to achieve the goal of wellness. A good integrative practitioner may use the best tools of allopathic medicine for any given condition, but will also keep the entire state of being of the patient in mind, aiming to restore them to a healthy, disorder-resistant state of wellness.

Iodoral: High potency iodine supplement. May be beneficial in case of gross deficiency but there are significant issues involved with high iodine supplementation so Iodoral should only be used under the direction of a knowledgeable practitioner in combination with sufficient selenium.

Isoflavones: Isoflavones are found in soy and other legumes and have been shown to negatively affect thyroid hormones.

Ketogenic diet:

Kupffer Cells: Specialized immune cells in the liver called Kupffer cells, destroy bacteria, small foreign proteins, and old blood cells, helping the body fight infections.

Lauric Acid: Lauric acid is found in coconut oil. It is a healing fat known as a medium-chain triglyceride. Medium-chain triglycerides are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. These medium-chain triglycerides are fuel for your cells and support immune function in the GI tract. They may potentially help prevent cancer, stimulate thyroid function, and even lower cholesterol and help with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Leaky Gut Syndrome:  If the GI tract becomes inflamed due to food intolerance, lectins, toxins or infections, the villi and microvilli become damaged and the surface area of the inner part of the GI tract is reduced. This irritation and inflammation ultimately leads to compromised digestion, malabsorption and immune stress. Over time, the constant irritation breaks down the tight junctions of the GI tract, resulting in a condition called leaky gut. In this condition, undigested proteins and toxins escape into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response, which in turn can triggers allergies and autoimmune conditions.

Lectins: Lectins are referred to as “anti-nutrients” and are proteins that plants use as a natural defense against pests and fungus. They tend to be bitter and difficult to digest. Lectins can stick to the walls of the small intestine, causing inflammation and obstructing the natural healing process of the GI wall, leading to cell death and contributing to leaky gut syndrome. Lectins are particularly found in grains, dairy, legumes (particularly soy), nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, and more) and nuts.

Legume: Vegetables in the pea family such as: beans, soy, peas, lentils and peanuts. Some people have difficulty digesting legumes and so they are excluded from Phase I of the Sensitivity Discovery Program.

Leukocytes: Leukocytes are white blood cells that change within the bone marrow into either mature cells of the immune system or into precursors of cells that mature elsewhere.

Levothyroxine: Synthetic thyroid hormone medication to replace T4 thyroid hormone; (brand names: Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid)

Levoxyl:  Brand name of synthetic thyroid hormone medication to replace T4 thyroid hormone.

Liver: The organ responsible for responsible for many of the vital functions in the body, including detoxifying chemicals and heavy metals, metabolizing drugs and hormones, breaking down fats, regulating blood sugar, synthesizing vitamins and minerals, and converting T4 into the more bioavailable T3.

Lupus: Lupus is a chronic autoimmune condition. “Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)” can affect much of the body such as the skin, joints, heart, kidneys, blood vessels, brain and lungs. “Discoid (cutaneous) lupus erythematosus (DLE)” mainly affects the skin above the neck. Up to 16% of patients with DLE go on to get SLE. One notable symptom of lupus is heightened sensitivity to light (photosensitivity.) Symptoms are treated with immunosuppressive drugs. Like most autoimmune diseases, women are far more likely to be affected. Lupus commonly alternates between flare-ups and remission.

Lymphocytes: Lymphocytes are immune system cells including B-cells and T-cells. On the surface of each lymphocyte are cell receptors that enable them to recognize only one specific antigen.

Macrophages: Macrophages are scavenger white blood cells (like granulocytes) produced in the bone marrow from stem cells. They engulf and then digest cellular debris and pathogens. They also stimulate lymphocytes along with other immune cells to respond to pathogens. They live longer granulocytes.

Mast cells: Mast cells are immune system granulocytes that cause inflammation by releasing histamine and thus attract other immune cells to needed areas. Mast cells can also create inflammatory problems and are implicated in autoimmune responses in rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis as well as in allergic reactions. They live in the skin and connective tissue as well as the respiratory and GI tract.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides: Lauric and Capric acids, found in coconut oil, are healing fats known as medium-chain triglycerides. Medium-chain triglycerides are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. These medium-chain triglycerides are fuel for your cells and support immune function in the GI tract. They may potentially help prevent cancer, stimulate thyroid function, and even lower cholesterol and help with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Memory T-Cells (can be either CD4+ or CD8+):  Memory T-cells are derived from normal T-cells that have learned how to overcome an invader by “remembering” the strategy used to defeat previous infections. They can live in the body for up to twenty years.

Methimazole (Tapazole): Anti-thyroid drug used to treat Graves’ that blocks the formation of T4 and T3.

Methyl Donor: A methyl donor is any substance that can transfer a methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) to another substance, making methylation possible. Common Methyl Donors are S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), cysteine, taurine, folate, B vitamins and TMG trimethylglycine (betaine).

Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE): MTBE is a VOC and a common gasoline additive used to replace the lead formerly used in gasoline, increase octane ratings, and ironically, reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions. Unfortunately, now MTBE pollutes our water instead.

Methylation: Methylation is a biochemical process involved in almost all of your body’s functions. Methylation is the addition of a single carbon and three hydrogen atoms (called a methyl group) to another molecule. The removal of a methyl group is called demethylation. Think of billions of little on/off switches inside your body that control everything from your stress response and how your body makes energy from food, to your brain chemistry and detoxification; that’s methylation and demethylation.

Mold: Mold is a type of fungus. Common household types include alternaria, aspergillus, cladosporium and penicillium, as well as the more rare and dangerous stachybotrys, known as “black mold.” All of them need moisture to grow. Some species of mold are mild allergens while others can produce harmful mycotoxins.

Molecular Mimicry: When the body’s immune responses are distorted because of the molecular similarity between it’s own tissues and that of some foreign substance; the mistaken identity is attributed to molecular mimicry. This can result in endocrine disruption or even an autoimmune response.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is an additive used to increase flavor, particularly in Asian foods and processed snacks. Many people are sensitive to MSG and become bloated, experience severe headaches, or have other adverse reactions. Yeast extract, autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed protein, and “hydrolyzed yeast” are other common ingredients that contain naturally occurring MSG.

MTHFR: MTHFR is short for the enzyme “Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase” and also stands for the gene that regulates it.  The MTHFR enzyme is critical for turning folic acid into forms the body can use like methylfolate. This is important as methylfolate is critical for methylation, and other body functions.  Up to 40% of people have a genetic variation of the MTHFR gene that interferes with MTHFR enzyme production and can thus contribute to the health problems arising from hypomethylation (insufficient methylation).

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): An often-progressive autoimmune disease affecting the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in impaired muscle control, balance, vision and sensation. MS can have mental and emotional symptoms as well. The autoimmune attack creates scar tissue (sclerosis) in the brain and/or spinal cord. Approximately 400,000 people in the US have MS and is twice as common in women as men.

Mycoplasmas: Mycoplasmas are a specific and unique species of bacteria that differ from other bacteria in that they do not have a cell wall. Mycoplasmas can grow in tissue fluids (blood, joint, heart, chest and spinal fluids) and can grow inside any living tissue cell without killing the cells, as most normal bacteria and viruses will do.  Some species of mycoplasma can even mimic the cell wall of the host cell they have attached to, completely fooling the immune system! Soon they then begin competing with the host cell for the nutrients found inside such as cholesterol, amino acids, fatty acids and even DNA.  As the host cells become depleted of nutrients, mycoplasmas usually migrate to the bronchial tubes of the respiratory tract where they can find ample supply of the cholesterol they need for membrane function and growth.

Mycotoxin: Mycotoxins are poisonous secondary metabolites produced by fungi. Examples are the aflatoxins released by molds that affect peanuts, cereals, figs, seeds, tobacco and nuts. Another example is the toxins released by molds that grow in damp places in households and cause allergic and respiratory problems in people sensitive to those mycotoxins.

N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC): NAC is a metabolite of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine. This substance is produced in the body and helps to synthesize glutathione, one of the body’s most important antioxidants and detoxifiers. N-acetyl-cysteine also detoxifies the body from other substances such as lead, mercury and arsenic. It promotes healthy liver function, helps the immune system and aids in the breakdown of mucoproteins, which improves conditions like bronchitis and flu.

Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells): Natural killer cells, often referred to as NK cells, are similar to the killer T-cells and directly kill certain tumors such as melanomas, lymphomas and viral-infected cells, such as herpes and cytomegalovirus.

Natural Medicine: Also a form of alternative medicine, Natural Medicine is a system that originated in the early 1900’s. Natural medicine defines itself as the “science and art of preventing, curing or alleviating ill health using treatment modalities in harmony with the laws of nature.”

Nature-Throid: A prescription medication made from desiccated (dried) porcine (pig) thyroid, which contains both T4 and T3. It also contains T1, T2, and calcitonin, which make it closer to what your own healthy thyroid would produce. The only caveat about desiccated thyroid is that it can provoke an immune response in some people, because it’s mostly not thyroid hormone but is thyroid tissue instead, which is what the antibodies are attacking in the first place. Nature-Throid is less allergenic that the other desiccated thyroid product, Armour Thyroid.

Nightshade Vegetables: Nightshades are tomatoes, green and red peppers (both sweet and hot), eggplant, white potatoes, and spices such as cayenne, paprika, and pepper-based sauces such as Tabasco.. There are nightshades used medicinally, such as goji berries and ashwagandha, mandrake, belladonna, and tobacco. Nightshades contain alkaloids, lectins and saponins that some people are sensitive to and for them may contribute to problems with digestion and leaky gut syndrome and thus aggravate their autoimmune condition.

Noradrenalin/Norepinephrine: A part of the brain called the locus coeruleus manufactures the neurotransmitter noradrenalin, also called norepinephrine. Noradrenalin is the fuse that ignites the explosion of the fight-or-flight response within the sympathetic nervous system.

Organophosphates/Organochlorines: Organophosphates and organochlorines are active ingredients in some pesticides and herbicides that can be toxic to the nervous and reproductive systems. They play a role in autoimmune diseases such as Parkinson’s, as well as childhood acute leukemia. Organophosphates/Organochlorines are known Endocrine Disrupting Compounds.

Oxidative stress: Our bodies are constantly processing oxygen from breathing and various bioprocesses. These processes generate free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that are highly reactive and can cause damage to cells. That cell damage from unstable oxygen molecules is called oxidative stress and is integral to aging, cancer and other degenerative processes. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.

Paleo Diet: The Paleo Diet is based on the premise that it is optimum for health to eat foods that humans have been adapted to eating since ancient times. The Paleo diet consists mainly of fish, organic pasture raised meats, vegetables, eggs, fruit, fungi and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, nightshade vegetables, processed carbs, sugar and unhealthy oils. The Thyroid Cure generally endorses a modified Paleo diet for avoiding food sensitivities and providing abundant nutrition.

Parabens: Parabens are compounds used as preservatives in thousands of cosmetics, foods, and pharmaceutical products. They are used as inexpensive antifungal/antibacterial agents and can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Parabens are known Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs).

Parasympathetic nervous system: The branch of the autonomic nervous system that turns off the fight-or-flight response.

Pathogen: Pathogens are bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms that can cause disease

Pathological Detoxifier: Someone who has an imbalance between an overactive phase I detoxification and a slower phase II detoxification. This can be due to toxic exposure, nutritional deficiencies or genetics.

PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers): These are found in flame retardants, which are used on furniture, curtains, mattresses, carpets and television and computer castings. Categorized as persistent organic pollutants, these substances are stored in animal fats and thus found in dairy products, meat, fish, and human breast milk. They have been banned in several countries and have also been detected in house dust. PDBEs are known endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs).

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls): These are another group of highly toxic synthetic chemical compounds found on the list of POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants). They were once used widely as insulation fluid in electrical transformers, lubricating oil in pipelines, and components of plastics and mixed with adhesives, paper, inks, paints and dyes. Since 1976, PCBs have been banned in new products, but they are highly stable compounds that degrade very slowly, so these chemicals still persist. PCBs are known endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs).

Pernicious Anemia: A autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the parietal cells in the GI that make the intrinsic factor (IF) needed to absorb vitamin B-12. Because B-12 is needed to make red blood cells, pernicious anemia results in a shortage of red blood cells (thus “anemia.”) Pernicious Anemia symptoms are treated with B-12 injections and supplements but those treatments don’t reduce the autoimmune response. There is evidence H-pylori infection may be a significant splinter for pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia like all autoimmune conditions, can be reversed by removing the underlying triggers, i.e. bad bugs, gluten, toxins etc.

Peyer’s Patches: Throughout the entire length of the small intestine are patches of lymphoid tissue called Peyer’s patches, which make up what is called “gut-associated lymphoid tissue,” or GALT for short. The GALT is home to as much as 80 percent of the body’s immune cells and represents the largest mass of lymphoid tissue in the human body.

Phagocytes: A group of immune cells specialized in finding and “eating” bacteria, viruses, and dead or injured body cells. When they come across a foreign invader, they surround it, eat it and then die. In some cases, they kill microbes by dumping toxic chemicals on them such as hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid. There are three main types of phagocytes: the granulocyte, the macrophage, and the dendritic cell.

Phase I and Phase II Detoxification: The liver removes toxins in two phases, known as Phase I and Phase II detoxification, which require a number of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytochemicals found in foods in order to work properly.  Phase I processes the toxins through an array of chemical reactions involving P-450 enzymes. They are either neutralized or converted into intermediate forms and passed on to Phase II for further processing and elimination. Oxidation and/or hydrolysis are important parts of Phase I. Phase II continues the neutralizing process by transforming toxins into water-soluble substances that can be excreted via urine from the kidneys or by bile through the gut.

Phthalates: Phthalates are chemicals added to plastics for flexibility, resiliency, durability and softness. Phthalates are found in plastic bags, children’s toys, IV tubing, perfumes, food packaging, vinyl flooring, pesticides, glues, nail polish, inks, shampoos, detergents, shower curtains, hair spray, and soaps. Phthalates are known Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs).

Phytic acid: Phytic acid is form of potassium locked as an antinutrient found in seeds, nuts, grains, soy and beans that interferes with the absorption of certain minerals like iron.  The negative effects of phytic acid are greatly reduced by soaking and sprouting.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) are common flame-retardants used in a host of materials. PBDEs are persistent organic pollutants, which accumulate up the food chain in animal fats, and consequently are found in fish, dairy products, meat, and even human breast milk. PBDEs Parabens are known Endocrine Disrupting Compounds.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic organochlorine compounds on the list of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). PCBs were banned in 1976, but degrade very slowly, so PCBs still pollute the environment and find their way into our bodies. PCBs are known Endocrine Disrupting Compounds.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): PAHs are VOCs that are released when burning hydrocarbons like gasoline, coal, diesel, or kerosene but also by incomplete burning of wood, fat, tobacco and even incense. PAHs have been found in meat cooked at high temperatures and oils, like coconut oil, that were used repeatedly at high temperatures.

Prakriti: An individual’s unique mind-body constitution in the Indian medical system of Ayurveda is called their prakriti, literally “nature.”

Pregnenolone: Pregnenolone is made primarily in the adrenal glands, from cholesterol. It’s the precursor for all the sex hormones: testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and cortisol. Low levels of pregnenolone are common in people with hypothyroidism and adrenal burnout.

Probiotics: Probiotics are supplements or foods that contribute to the positive flora of bacteria, yeasts and other microbes in the GI tract. Besides specialized probiotic products, kimchi and kefir are known food probiotics. Broad-spectrum probiotics usually contains a combination of several strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Saccharomyces (a beneficial yeast) can be a helpful probiotic when taking antibiotics, which kill other bacteria but not this yeast.Prebiotics: Prebiotics are indigestible dietary fibers that support the bacteria that is naturally found in your intestines. Some prebiotics include oligosaccharide and inulin. Psyllium fiber is a good prebiotic that can bulk up your stool, keep you regular and help eliminate toxins.

Progesterone: Progesterone hormone is primarily produced from pregnenolone in the ovaries in the second half of a woman’s cycle, but small amounts are produced in the adrenal glands. Men produce small amounts of progesterone in the adrenals and testes. Progesterone is the hormone that supports a healthy pregnancy. Progesterone can enhance thyroid hormone function, but if your thyroid hormones are out of balance, it can lower your progesterone levels.

Propylthiouracil: Anti-thyroid drug used to treat Graves’ that blocks the formation of T4 and T3.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): Medications such as omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix) and esomeprazole (Nexium) which are designed to protect the lining of the esophagus by significantly reducing stomach acid but which are intended to be used only on a temporary basis and which may cause issues associated with low stomach acid.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI): Branch of science that explores how our psychology affects our biology, health and resistance to disease. It demonstrates how chronic negative emotional states keep us in chronic flight-or-flight mode, which plays a key role in the development and exacerbation of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune disorders.

Radioactive Iodine Treatment (RAI (I-131): A treatment for Graves’ that permanently shrinks the thyroid gland with radioactive iodine (I-131). The treatment is taken orally, either in liquid or pill form in a single dose, and takes three to six months to shrink the gland. The amount of damage that that this treatment does cannot be controlled, so most people wind up becoming hypothyroid afterwards.

Radon: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can exist in homes and buildings that the Surgeon General states is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The EPA estimates that radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Low-cost radon test kits are available at hardware/home improvement stores and online.

Raynaud’s Phenomena: Raynaud’s Phenomena is a condition in which the body overreacts to cold or emotional stress by suddenly reducing circulation to the capillaries of the extremities, causing cold and discolored skin. It affects mostly women, particularly those under 25 years of age. The cause of “primary Raynaud’s” is unknown but “secondary Raynaud’s” is often due to an underlying autoimmune condition like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma.

Regulatory T-Cells/CD4+ reg:  Peacekeepers cells that tell the immune system when the battle with infectious pathogens is over and direct it to stop fighting. They also suppress the activity of “self-attacking” T-cells that may have escaped destruction in the thymus. These are the cells that are very important in healing an autoimmune condition because they regulate (turn off) the immune response.

Reverse T3 (rT3): In times of acute and prolonged stress, the body slows the process of converting T4 to T3 in the liver and other tissues. The body renders the thyroid hormones to an inactive form called reverse T3, or rT3. The job of rT3 is to block the active hormone T3 so that you don’t totally burn out. The production of rT3 is not a disease, but rather a survival mechanism. Because of rT3, it’s possible to take sufficient T-4 replacement hormone and remain hypothyroid if you suffer greatly from stress.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disease that causes inflammatory symptoms in multiple joints of the body. The inflammatory process primarily affects the lining of the joints (synovial membrane), but can also affect other organs. The inflamed synovium leads to erosions of the cartilage and bone and sometimes, joint deformity. Rheumatoid Arthritis appears in the joints as pain, swelling and redness but early symptoms may include malaise, fatigue, weakness, muscle soreness, low-grade fever and weight loss.

Rheumatoid Factor: Rheumatoid Factor may be found in the blood and joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition.

Salicylates: Salicylates are chemicals found naturally in fruits and vegetables (they’re a kind of natural pesticide) and are used in aspirin and other medications in addition to many household products and fragrances. Some people have an allergic or sensitivity reaction to salicylates, which creates inflammation.

Scleroderma: Scleroderma is a chronic rheumatic autoimmune condition affecting the connective tissue. It’s name, translated as “hard skin” comes from one of its most visible signs, hardening of the skin. When the symptoms are only found in a few places on the skin or in the muscles, it is called “localized scleroderma.” “Systemic scleroderma” is much more serious because connective tissue throughout the body is affected, potentially including the GI, lungs, kidneys and heart. Scleroderma can range from mild to life threatening. Women patients outnumber men 4 to 1.

Selenium: Mineral critical to the creation of thyroid hormone. Even if you get enough iodine, you won’t be able to create enough thyroid hormone if deficient in selenium. Selenium is found most abundantly in Brazil nuts, seafood and organ meats, and is easily supplemented.  It’s also needed to make glutathione peroxidase.

Sensitivity Discovery Program: The Sensitivity Discovery Program gives your immune system a break, allows healing and sets the stage for discovering which foods you have a sensitivity reaction to. Stop eating gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, nightshades, grains, legumes, nuts and processed foods for 30 to 90 days. Start eating fresh organic berries, tons of certified organic veggies, fermented foods, healing fats, and small amounts of lean organic fish, meat, or poultry. If you are adverse to animal protein you can try hypoallergenic rice protein powder. Cook with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. Phase II involves adding your favorite foods back into your diet slowly, one by one, paying attention to any changes or reactions you might have to each one. If you’ve healed your GI tract, you may now “tolerate” them fairly well. The universal exceptions are gluten, junk, and processed foods. Many people also report feeling better by staying off all grains, dairy, nightshades, and legumes long-term.

Sjögren’s syndrome: Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the salivary and lacrimal glands (exocrine glands). The salivary glands produce saliva and lacrimal glands produce tears. The inflammatory autoimmune response causes dry mouth and eyes, and the glands become enlarged and damaged. “Primary Sjögren’s” occurs alone but “Secondary Sjögren’s” happens in tandem with other autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. 30-50% of rheumatoid arthritis patients also have Sjögren’s along with 10-25% of lupus patients. Nine out of ten people with Sjögren’s are women.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate are toxic foaming emulsifying agents that cause irritation and build up in the body’s organs and tissues.

Spleen: The spleen’s is an immune system organ that acts as a filter for the blood and makes antibodies. It is made up of B-cells, T-cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, natural killer cells and red blood cells. Not only does it filter out old red blood cells, but it also removes abnormal cells and certain harmful bacteria floating in the blood.

Splinter: If a shred of wood punctures your skin and becomes embedded and irritated, it is called a splinter. For the purposes of the thyroid cure book “Splinter” is used to denote any factor that contributes to, or aggravates, a person’s autoimmune condition. The broad categories of possible splinters are: Chronic Emotional Stress, Unhealthy Coping Patterns, Poor Nutrition, Gastrointestinal (GI) Stress, Adrenal Burnout, Hormonal Stress, Inflammatory and Infectious Stress, Toxic Stress

Staphylococcus aureus: Staphylococcus aureus (staph), is a type of bacteria that about 30% of people carry in their noses. Most of the time, staph does not cause any harm; however, sometimes staph causes infections. In a healthcare setting, the risk of more serious staph infection is higher because patients often have weakened immune systems, have undergone invasive procedures, or have intravenous catheters.

Stealth Infection: A stealth infection is an infection that does not have acute symptoms or sometimes any symptoms.  Still, the immune system aggravation resulting from persistent stealth infections can present a powerful splinter in autoimmune conditions. Examples of possible stealth infections are Epstein-Barr, herpes, hepatitis B, coxsackie B, parvovirus B-19, Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori, Yersinia enterocolitica, periodontal disease, Proteus mirabilis infection of the urinary tract, mycoplasma infections, chlamydia, mycobacterium tuberculosis, brucella, Borrelia burgdorferi, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and chronic sinusitis.

Sulfites: Sulfur-containing preservatives are used in dried fruits, wines, and many other processed foods. Between 1980 and 1999, the United States Food and Drug Administration received more than 1,000 reports of adverse reactions, some fatal, to sulfites. It has been estimated that at least 1 percent of all people with asthma are sensitive to sulfites.

Sympathetic nervous system: The branch of the autonomic nervous system that initiates the fight-or-flight response.

Synthroid: Product name of common T4 thyroid hormone replacement

T-lymphocytes or T-cells: T-lymphocytes or T-cells are immune system cells responsible for cell-mediated immunity. The “T” stands for thymus. T-cells mature and are “educated” in the thymus gland and then circulate throughout the bloodstream, the lymphatic system and the GALT. They are in charge of initiating, directing and stopping the fight against the foreign invaders (antigens). The initial T-cell response is called a Th1 response.

Testosterone: Testosterone is a male hormone, but both men and women have it. Testosterone is produced by ovaries/testicals and adrenal glands. Like estrogen, it plays a crucial role in the growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues.

Th1 Response: The T-lymphocytes (T-cell) immune system response responsible for cell-mediated immunity is called a Th1 response. The “T” stands for thymus. T-cells mature and are “educated” in the thymus gland and then circulate throughout the bloodstream, the lymphatic system and the GALT. They are in charge of initiating, directing and stopping the fight against the foreign invaders (antigens).

Th2 Response: Th2 response is a secondary B-Cell antibody immune response, which constitutes humoral immunity. B-cells proliferate and differentiate into plasma cells. Their job is to look for the invaders and then “tag” them with proteins called antibodies, which stick to antigens on the surface of parasites, bacteria and fungi. The invader is thus identified as a pathogen marked for destruction. Each B-cell produces a specific type of antibody called an immunoglobulin.

Thimerosal: Thimerosal is 49.6 percent ethylmercury (eHg) and is used as a vaccine preservative. Mercury is an extremely toxic heavy metal linked to all kinds of physical and behavioral conditions. thimerosal use is mostly limited to multi-dose vials of seasonal flu vaccine, tetanus toxoid, and certain meningococcal vaccines. Single-dose vials of flu and meningococcal vaccines are available without thimerosal, and there are vaccines for tetanus without mercury as well.

Thymus Gland: The thymus gland is a lymphoid immune system organ in your neck. The thymus gland matures and educates T-Cells and then circulates them throughout the bloodstream, the lymphatic system and the GALT. Often referred to as the “master gland of the immune system” There is no doubt that in the early stages of our development, the thymus is responsible for “programming” the way we fight infections. Within this important gland is the “code” for making sure the immune system does not turn against itself. Exactly how it does this is unknown, but one thing scientists have observed is that it appears that 95 percent of the lymphocytes that are matured in the gland are actually destroyed there.

Thyroglobulin: Thyroid hormones are synthesized form the protein thyroglobulin in the thyroid gland.

Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO): Enzyme critical to the body’s production of thyroid hormones.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test (TSH): A TSH test measures the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland and signals the thyroid gland to make and release the hormones thyroxin (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin (TSI) aka Thyroid Receptor Antibodies (TRAb): This tests for antibodies to TSH receptors. These antibodies are more commonly found in people with Graves’.

Thyroid-Releasing Hormone (TRH): The hypothalamus tells the pituitary to produce thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) by producing thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH). This hormone is part of the feedback look of thyroid hormone regulation. One test for a recovering thyroid gland involves administering thyroid releasing hormone (TRH). If the thyroid has recovered, TRH will cause an increase in T3 and T4 released from the thyroid

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH): When the levels of thyroid hormones drop too low, the pituitary will produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which in turn stimulates the thyroid to make more hormones. As the levels of thyroid hormones rise in the blood, the pituitary senses the elevation and decreases TSH levels. A common test for diagnosing hypothyroidism measures TSH.

Thyroxine (T4): The inactive form of thyroid hormone in the blood. The body converts thyroxine (T4) in the bioactive thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3). If the body’s ability to convert T4 into T3 is impaired, symptoms of hypothyroidism may occur even if the body has adequate T4. Hashimoto’s patients are often prescribed synthetic T4 replacement hormones to be taken daily to make up for inadequate T4 in the body.

Traditional Medicine: Opinions, doctrines, practices, rites, and customs handed down over time by different cultures, especially by oral communication. “Traditional medicine” designates Chinese, Ayurvedic, Tibetan, or other ancient indigenous medical systems.

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition of the pancreas, resulting in a lack of insulin. Lack of insulin affects sugar levels (glucose) in the blood stream and in the cells, disturbing the metabolism. The autoimmune process begins years before Type 1 diabetes is usually detected. Type 1 diabetes symptoms are managed with daily insulin injections and careful diet.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a class of organic chemicals that are usually gaseous at room temperature. VOCs are found in a wide variety of products, particularly home maintenance products, and products that off-gas a chemical odor. Increasing public awareness of the toxic qualities of many products has led some manufacturers to advertise “No VOCs” on their packaging. Examples of VOCs are methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), formaldehyde, esters, ethers, acrylic acid esters and epichlorohydrin, ketones, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

Xenobiotic: Substance that is foreign to the body

Xenoestrogens: Xenoestrogens are estrogens introduced from outside the body by oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy or by endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) that mimic estrogen. They can turn on, turn off, or even change normal hormonal signals. EDCs can dock in our body’s hormone receptors, thus blocking natural hormones. When this happens, there can be no hormone activity, or it may become altered or mutated, resulting in unnatural hormone expression.

Zinc: Zinc is an important trace element, and is critical for immune function and the production of stomach acid. Zinc deficiency goes hand in hand with malnutrition, especially protein deficiency, which is common in people with digestive disorders. Zinc deficiency is also common in people with hypothyroidism and chronic fatigue. Zinc has been shown to improve leaky gut in people with Crohn’s disease.

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