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The Power of Corrective Nutrition

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in nutrition, originally published in issue 27 - April 1998

Jane had always been full of life, slim and very energetic. She worked hard running her own preparatory school, and taught full time.

However, in 1993, at the age of 52, she encountered health problems. She started to suffer from extreme mental and physical tiredness, and her weight started to creep up. She was often breathless and developed an embarrassing cough that resulted in large amounts of phlegm accumulating in her throat.

In August 1994, Jane attended a hospital appointment for a thorough examination. She was diagnosed as having an inactive thyroid gland. The doctor prescribed Thyroxine and said that she would have to take it for the rest of her life. The dosage started at 50mg, but after six weeks, it was increased to 100mg. The effects of the 100mg made her feel dreadful and she was tired to the extent that some days she did not feel like moving. Her weight started to increase rapidly and by December 1994 Jane was 14 stones, which was far too heavy for her small frame. Her face, ankles and hands were swollen and she had puffy eyes.

Eventually, she was referred to a thyroid specialist who advised her to take Tertroxin, a stronger and a more rapidly metabolised drug than Thyroxine. Jane took these new drugs for a number of months, but her symptoms remained.

Jane tried desperately to lose the extra weight. She attended "Weight Watchers" and "Slimming Club" and saw a dietitian and a specialist at the hospital. All of these measures failed and left Jane feeling depressed.

It was at this point, in 1995, that Jane contacted me.' The case study revealed that she had been on many strict diets over the years and until 1993 had, to some extent, kept her weight under control. Apart from the symptoms already mentioned, her skin and hair were in a poor condition and cellulite was present on her thighs and the top of her arms.

Jane had very clear health goals which were to have a good body shape, to tone up the muscles and to stimulate her poor circulation.

She wanted to feel healthy, to start exercising regularly and to wean herself off the drugs for the thyroid.

Intuitively, I believed that there was hope that the thyroid gland could be reactivated as it was only in recent years that Jane had encountered health problems. Previous to that, she had always had good health, and lots of energy. It may well have been her persistent dieting that had altered her thyroid function.

The nutritional strategy was therefore to target the fat loss and to reactivate the thyroid gland, along with raising Jane's general level of health. To target the fat loss I focused on rebalancing the body. In order to achieve this Jane followed a cleansing program to rid the body of toxins. This was followed by a diet containing a high percentage of raw foods based around Leslie Kenton's "Biogenic diet" The diet included white meat, fish, essential fatty acids, lots of vegetables, organic brown rice, sprouted seeds and beans, and some fruit. Lots of water was recommended, along with vegetable juices diluted 50% with water.

To reactivate the thyroid gland tyrosine, iodine, zinc, copper and selenium are needed and we made sure that foods containing these nutrients were included in the diet. Iodine is the most important nutrient as 2/3 of the body's iodine is found in the thyroid gland. Foods containing iodine were therefore emphasised in the diet and included kelp, onions, seafood egg yolks, radishes, watercress and fish.

Some foods, called goitrogens, were omitted from the diet as they hinder iodine utilisation. These included kale, cabbage, peanuts, soy flour, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi and turnips.

As Jane was committed to being drug free, and with the permission of the doctor, she reduced the dosage of Tertroxin gradually whilst taking a combination of herbs to activate the thyroid gland. She also took a multi vitamin, vitamin C and Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for people suffering from hypothyroidism as they are not able to convert Beta Carotene, from vegetables, into Vitamin A efficiently.

An exercise program was put into operation which helped both in fat loss and thyroid activation. Jane took a walk in the fresh air each day and for six days followed either an aerobics or a rebounding program. She also completed a fifteen minute resistance training session, on four days each week, to maintain her lean body mass.

We used the Barnes basal temperature test to monitor the thyroid gland. To do this we took the axillary temperature for 10 minutes before getting up in the morning and recorded the results in graph form. The average ranges should be somewhere between 97.8 to 98.2F. If the temperature is below this range it suggest hypothyroidism.

From June to September 1995, Jane lost three stones, felt energetic and had a sense of well being. The swelling in her ankles, hands and feet had disappeared together with the cough. Her skin was clearer and her hair was shiny. Studying the temperature graphs over the months we could see that the thyroid gland was functioning more efficiently. By February 1996, the blood test at the doctors proved that the thyroid gland was absolutely normal. Naturally, Jane was really pleased with her progress.

However, at this point in her recovery, a few problems came into her life, and she lost her focus and direction. This caused her to lapse from the program for a few months.

She contacted me again in June 1996 to inform me that her recent thyroid blood test was positive, and her doctor had advised her to take thyroxine. She wanted to restart her nutrition program and follow it on a permanent basis. This she did, and her thyroid blood tests from October 1996 to the present date reveal a normally functioning thyroid gland.

"Falling by the wayside" can often be very positive in therapy. In Jane's case it reinforced the important role that nutrition plays in her health, and the need to keep moving in the right direction.


Better Health through Natural Healing. Ross Trattler ND,DO. Thorsons Publishing Group. 1985 ISBN 0-7225-1382-8.
The New Biogenic Diet. Leslie Kenton.Vermilion, Ebury Press. 1995 ISBN 009-178444-1
Solved: the Riddle of Illness. Stephen E. Langer, M.D and James F.Scheer.Keats Publishing, Inc. 1995 ISBN 0-87983-667-9.
The Optimum Nutrition Bible. Patrick Holford. Mackays of Chatham. 1997 ISBN 0-7499-17482.


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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;

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