Can Laser Help Your Thyroid?

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid Disease

f5016a12-5295-4c66-b58d-6462b12586d3According to the American Endocrine Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians the only accepted treatment for Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism is T4 replacement hormone therapy.  That paradigm just got turned on its head with a South American research article titled: Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.  Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT) is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism and typically requires life long (T4) levothyroxine replacement.  According to the American Endocrine Society, 90% of those diagnosed with Hypothyroidism (elevated TSH, low T4) will also have positive anti-thyroglobulin antibodies or thyroid peroxidase antibodies (or both).  The presence of these antibodies indicates autoimmune thyroid, AKA Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

The typical person with Hashimoto’s Disease is female, although men can have Hashimoto’s.  The development of symptoms are usually associated with a significant hormonal fluctuation such as pregnancy or a period of stress.   Symptoms such as low energy/fatigue, hair loss, depression/anxiety, constipation, cold hands and feet, heart palpitations, increase in weight even though they may not be excessively consuming calories, and mental sluggishness (brain fog) are some of the most common complaints.  Sounds familiar?  Then blood is pulled and hopefully the TSH level is elevated (people can still have all of the symptoms and normal TSH because of CAT) indicating hypothyroidism.  Medication is given and the patient is told to take this the rest of their life, regardless if they continue to have symptoms after hormone replacement!

This is why I am so excited about the research coming out of South America.  For the first time a randomized, placebo control trial indicates that a very reasonable amount of low level laser therapy (10 sessions according to the trial) may increase thyroid hormone levels (T4), start regeneration of the thyroid follicle cells (think damaged thyroid tissue from autoimmune activity) and decrease thyroid peroxidase antibodies!  WOW!  The researchers actually suspended thyroid hormone replacement therapy after 30 days and re measured levels 9 months later.
Here is a snippet from the research, please note LT4 is the Thyroid hormone replacement, L group is the treatment group and P group is the control (did not receive therapy).

Excerpt from Lasers in Medical Science, 2013 (743-53).
“A reduced LT4 (thyroid hromone replacement) dose or complete cessation of therapy was possible in 22/33 patients (95.7%) in the L group (therapy group).  In the P group (control, no therapy), a reduced LT4 dose was observed in only 1 of the 20 patients (5%).  There was no need to reintroduce LT4 before the ninth month of the follow up-period in 11 of the 23 patients (47.8%) in the L group, but all of the P-group patients required LT4 reintroduction.  None of the L-group patients needed increased LT4, while 8 of the 20 patients (40%) in the P group did.”

According to the research, 9 months after thyroid hormone discontinuation only about 50% needed to restart the LT4 therapy to reach a normalized TSH!  I think this is absolutely amazing because in only 10 laser sessions ½ of the study participants did not need LT4 therapy at 9 months!  Of course it would have been wonderful to see a 2,5 or even ten year follow up but it still points that by reducing the inflammation in a tissue it may become less susceptible to autoimmune attack plus low level laser therapy is consistently shown to regenerate tissue destroyed in auto-immune disease.

Dr. Autoimmune is looking into developing cold laser protocols.  I anticipate that this therapy will add another level to the healing process and can help optimize the recovery of those suffering from Hashimoto’s hypothyroid.  From helping fractures recover faster, decreasing pain in autoimmune disease to chronic pain patterns in the back, knee and shoulder it is exciting to start employing this noninvasive therapy for our patient’s benefit.

If you are curious how functional medicine and our cutting edge technologies can help you optimize your recovery please consider attending our next lecture Wednesday, August 26th at 5:30PM.  Seating is limited so to reserve your spot please contact 303-882-8447.

Supporting Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, Celiac, Rheumatoid, Multiple Sclerosis and other auto-immune conditions since 2008.

Yours truly in health & wellness,
Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP, DAAIM

The ADD/ADHD Brain And Gut Connection


ADD/ADHD spectrum disorders are often thought of as strictly brain related.  In fact, that is often what gets addressed when looking for ways to control the symptoms associated with the diagnoses.  However, there is a strong link to what is happening in the brain to what is happening in the gut.  According to Dr. Perlmutter, the author of “Grain Brain” and “Brain Maker”, around 6.5 million children are living with a diagnosis of either ADD or ADHD.

That’s an astounding number when you also consider the high usage of stimulants being used to treat these kids whose brain and bodies are yet to fully mature. Beyond looking at the head as the source of the issues, there are studies that looked at the whole body.

There are connections to ADD/ADHD to babies born via cesarean -they do not get covered in the same bacteria that vaginal birthed babies receive, a link between heavy antibiotic use, and a high incidence of bowel issues and these children.

“A new study evaluated 742,939 children and demonstrated that those children with ADHD had a dramatic increased prevalence of constipation almost threefold higher than those without ADHD. Fecal incontinence was sixfold higher in the ADHD group, and visits to the doctor because of bowel issues was also dramatically increased in kids with ADHD. Importantly, these findings did not differ depending on whether or not the children with ADHD were on medication.”

The human body is covered in billions of bacteria both inside and out.  When a person either lacks enough of the good bacteria or is overrun with the “bad” bacteria, the entire ecosystem is affected.  The undesired bacteria may flourish and produce toxins that travel systemically, including into the brain.  The brain then reacts to the imbalance, trying to regain homeostasis.  The result is expressed as hyperactivity, acting out, and distractibility and low concentration.

Fortunately, medication is not necessarily the only answer or an answer at all.  Along with a healthy diet and taking steps to create a healthy gut biome, neurofeedback is a well-researched adjunct to therapy that can help relieve symptoms of ADD/ADHD.  Neurofeedback works by coaxing the desired brainwaves into a pattern consistent with focus and concentration.  By removing a stimulus when the brain is producing brainwaves associated with hyperactivity and rewarding the brain with a return of the stimulus (in this case a movie and the accompanying sound) when the brain is producing focus-linked brain waves, the brain learns on a subconscious level where its “happy place” is.  Once the brain learns to live in a balanced environment, it will remain there.  Studies thirty years out have shown little to no changes from the learned brainwave behaviors; meaning the positive learned patterns remained!  Beyond the brainwave patterns changing, the relief of symptoms will be greatly reduced.  In the cases of persons on the ADD/ADHD spectrum, they should see a marked increase in their ability to study, focus, and complete tasks.  This can be noticeable in as few as 10-20 sessions.

The brain of the child with ADD/ADHD fully develops, but studies have shown that this happens at a slower pace, on average of three years..  The cerebral cortex and the structure that communicates between both halves of the brain are functionally and structurally behind the curve.  Neurofeedback works using operant conditioning on both halves of the brain along the cerebral cortex.  It does this from a unique algorithm based on a brain map (EEG) done at the beginning and at intervals throughout treatment.  It is a fluid program that coaxes brainwaves  into optimal function both over the cortex and along the individual halves to create a cohesive, smooth system of communication therefore reducing symptoms of ADD/ADHD.




Neurofeedback: Training for Your Brain

Chances are that you have heard the term “neurofeedback” in relation to new techniques being used to help with symptoms of: ADD; anxiety; autism; PTSD; dementia; depression; “brain fog”; insomnia; chronic pain; and other neurologic based conditions. But what is neurofeedback and how does it work?

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive “brain training” neurotherapy that uses real-time EEG readings to look at the brain waves of an individual and employs specific rewards to modify those waves to reflect the patterns that are most desirable. It is based on a similar model to that of Pavlov’s dog, also called operant conditioning; the brain associates the brainwaves that it is producing with the reward or removal of the reward being provided. Over time, the brain works hard to control the subconscious in search for that reward. The goal is for the brain to be re-trained and that the hard work that it emits during neurofeedback sessions will eventually become second nature. All of this is achieved by utilizing both audio and visual stimulation to help return the brain to a more efficient powerhouse.

An EEG (electroencephalogram) is a test that uses electrodes placed superficially to the scalp that monitors the energy of the brainwaves as the test is being performed. The information is relayed to a computer that breaks that data down into measurable units.

For neurofeedback therapy, the examiner will specifically look at the following bandwidths from the lowest frequency to the highest –Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta– using what is called a “Brain Map”. Each range of frequencies reflects specific brain function. Delta waves are responsible for sleep, emotions, and the unconscious thought processes. Theta waves are the creative side of a person, but also play a role in insight. A person’s Alpha waves help to regulate relaxation. And finally, Beta waves range from low to high within their spectrum and influence mental alertness, attention span/focus, and conscious thought. People with high levels of Beta waves often express symptoms related to PTSD, anxiety, and hyper vigilance. Based on the Brain Map and reported symptoms, a specific program for neurofeedback sessions is generated to help teach the brain to raise or lower specific frequencies. A brain map is repeated at regular intervals during neurofeedback therapy. This is a tool that is used along with client report of symptoms to monitor effectiveness of the set of parameters; changes may be made to fine-tune the learning process of the brain. The actual process of neurofeedback is often provided in a calm environment with no excess exertion from a client.

Clearmind Develops New Protocols For PTSD!
Clearmind Develops New Protocols For PTSD!

The brain is a pliable, organic machine that is able to learn and rewire itself. Similar to the way the musculoskeletal system works out, the brain also needs exercise to keep it at its highest functioning level. This is where neurofeedback comes into play. It is a mental exercise; think of brain training as a way to keep the mind fit. People with injuries or events that have lead to disorganized brainwaves enter into ruts of poor wave patterns.

Neurofeedback uses operant conditioning to reteach the brain, essentially pulling it out of its undesired repetitions of those Delta, Theta, Alpha and Beta waves. The object is a relief of symptoms by teaching the brain over time, utilizing its elasticity.

Here at The Clear Mind Center of Boulder, our Neurofeedback therapist employs the Clear Mind software to both obtain a Brain Map and administer therapy sessions. Over time, the brain works hard to control the subconscious in search for that reward. The goal is for the brain to be re-trained and that the hard work that it emits during neurofeedback sessions will eventually become second nature. All of this is achieved by utilizing both audio and visual stimulation to help return the brain to a more efficient powerhouse. The reward is the desired brain wave, which is connected to normal physiology, or in other words less symptoms.

We are leading the field with the latest protocols specific to PTSD and emotional-oriented conditions. Clear Mind has developed a range of very specific frequencies tailored to individuals who suffer from neuroemotional extremes. In people with PTSD, the ability to remain calm in situations they do not have control of can be key to a healthier, more social existence. One of the most soothing protocols is called “Alpha/Theta” neurofeedback. It is an eyes-closed therapy that encourages the crossing of two frequencies, Alpha and Theta, by lulling a person into the deeper realm of the subconscious. By evoking a relaxation of the mind, the Alpha/Theta program brings a person’s body and mind back to a centered, zen-like state. After several sessions, the brain will draw on its learned patterns and activate the Alpha/Theta waves when faced with anxiety and fear related to uncontrolled emotional responses.

This is a permanent, learned response that will carry with a person for the rest of his/her life.

Neurofeedback | Dr. Diane Brain Health. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2015.
Please visit our website at www.clearmindboulder.com

Clear Mind Center of Boulder
4520 N. Broadway C.
Boulder, CO 80304