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It happened again this year.  The Thanksgiving table got cleared and the dishes done and immediately the over 30s crowd sunk deep into the living room couch (there is a very long couch at my folks' house) and started the evening dozing.  It took the promise of decaf and multiple desserts (gluten-free for me, various cakes and pies for others) to rouse us from our naps. Which raises the annual question: does turkey cause drowsiness? The reputation of turkey to cause sleepiness is so widespread that it has attained the status of Urban Legend.  This reputation is based on the fact that turkey contains the amino acid L-tryptophan.  L-tryptophan is an important amino acid in brain chemistry.  It converts to 5


Here’s the story, repeated countless times in my office over my 32 years of practicing medicine. It goes like this: "My doctor found that I had thyroid disease, he put me on Synthroid (or other thyroid medicine) and told me the numbers were better. But I still feel tired, sluggish, bloated, constipated and depressed!" Another version: "I have gained all sorts of weight, I’m exhausted all the time, my skin is dry, my hair’s falling out and I’m constipated. I went to my doctor, sure that my thyroid was low. But she blood-tested me and told me I was fine! Now what do I do?" This is why I wrote Thyroid Balance, and this is why I’ve launched the Thyroid Balance Blogsite. I’d like

Thyroid and the Brain

Another study has confirmed the relationship between thyroid function and mood. In this study, reported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 2/3 of 65 patients diagnosed with depression from Bipolar Disorder have “sub-optimal” thyroid levels. These patients with low-normal thyroid levels took an average of 4 months longer to respond to their depression medications. You can read about this study and a lot more interesting information on Dr. Daniel Amen's website. Dr. Amen is a physician who is in the forefront of innovative brain research and therapy. Two things interest me about this study. One is that medicine is weirdly compartmentalized these days. There are Thyroid Specialists who will not look at the adrenal, the ovaries or the other
Five absolutely baffling things said to my patients by other physicians: To a patient with persistent stomach problems, said by a gastroenterologist: "Take the Nexium". Don’t worry what you eat; food doesn’t make a difference in stomach problems." To a patient who had just completed an unsuccessful very toxic chemotherapy program, and was being offered another toxic regimen that was experimental (explanation: I suggested an intravenous vitamin C therapy to see if it would help with how he felt, and with his immune system): "We consider intravenous vitamin C to be too dangerous to give in our clinic." To a patient about to under go chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer, said by her oncologist: "Don’t eat any fruits or vegetables. The anti-oxidants
Things to blame chocolate cravings on…. Excuse #1: Gut Microbes Swiss researchers at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, recruited men - some who craved chocolate and some reportedly indifferent to its charms - then fed them all the same diets for five days. Urinary analyses found that the chocolate-lovers had a distinctly recognizable metabolic profile that involved gut microbe differences, low levels of LDL cholesterol, and marginally elevated levels of the beneficial protein albumin. This profile was identified even when they ate no chocolate. Excuse #2: Phenylethylamine This chemical compound, classified as an amino acid (protein building block), increases blood pressure, raises heart rate, and increases sensitivity. Boston Globe science writer Chet Raymo calls it

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