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September 2014


Today, September 22nd marks the fall equinox, the first day of fall. YAY! Yay for officially saying bye-bye to tourists jamming up the PCH, and days so hot you’re reminded that LA truly is a desert. 

Summer was fun but I love fall. It’s such a dynamic time.  Moving away from the externalized (yang) energy of summer, fall is a time to reassess and regroup, while bringing to harvest projects and goals that were started earlier in the year. All the while, spending a bit more internal, quiet, restorative (yin) time in preparation for the winter ahead. 

Word to the wise for fall… Protect your immune system.  As the wind blows, so do colds and allergies.  Sleep in an extra hour, take your probiotics, vitamin C, zinc and immune boosting herbs, get an acupuncture tune-up, do your neti-pot and most importantly listen to your body.  

In case you were traveling over the summer and missed my blog, here were some of the highlights:

8 Ways to Heal Your Adrenals

The Hidden Cause of Illness: Environmental Toxins

Recipe: Paleo Blueberry Muffins

In this issue of Malibu Acupuncture & Herbs Online learn about hypothyroidism.  Check out Tired, Moody, Can’t Lose Weight? Maybe it’s your thyroid.  After getting the lowdown on hypothyroidism, learn about where it comes from in What is the cause of hypothyroidism? If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or stop by the office.


With Love,

Malibu Acupuncture & Herbs

NewsStudy Proves Acupuncture Points

Exciting new study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena reveals what acupuncture lovers have known for ages, acupuncture points do exist! They really do!

CT scans show that acupuncture points have a higher density of micro-vessels than non acupuncture points.  Specifically acupuncture points “contained fine structures with more large blood vessels… plus beds of high density vascularization of blood vessels 15- 50 micrometers in size.” 

Researchers noted that state of the art CT imaging techniques were used for this study, allowing for an improved 3D image compared to previous studies conducted. 

Special Points
Tired, Moody, Can’t Lose Weight?  Maybe it’s your thyroid.Special Points

Thyroid disorders are a secret epidemic. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists more than 27 million people suffer from thyroid dysfunction, 60% of which go undiagnosed.

Are you one of them? Hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid disorder, includes it’s not- so- fun friends fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, mood swings and more. It’s a party you could definitely do without.   

How you can tell if you have Hypothyroidism

Check this list of symptoms

Fatigue or exhaustion
Brain fog, poor memory, or difficulty concentrating
Sensitivity to cold, cold hands/feet
Constipation, sluggish bowels
Dry skin
Thinning or dry hair
Depression, anxiety, frequent mood fluctuations
Weight gain or inability to lose weight with diet/exercise
Hoarse voice
Decreased heart rate
Fluid retention
Low body temperature
Low sex drive
Muscle cramps, pain or weakness
Blood sugar issues
High cholesterol

Get tested

Have you been tested for hypothyroidism and told by your doctor that you’re normal? It’s a highly common scenario. Here’s the reason so many hypothyroid cases go undiagnosed: improper testing and interpretation of lab results. To correct this and truly find out if you have hypothyroidism: 

Ask your doctor to test all thyroid markers. Thyroid markers include TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Total T3, Total T4, Reverse T3, FTI, and thyroid antibodies TBG and TPO Ab. If they suspect hypothyroidism, most doctors will only test for TSH, and possibly free T4. Hypothyroidism often shows up in a marker other than TSH and free T4, in which case it goes unseen.

Note that the TSH normal lab range has changed. In 2002 the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) changed the normal range for TSH to 0.3- 2.5. For those on thyroid replacement therapy TSH should be 0.3-2.0. Many doctors are not aware of this and labs have not adjusted their ranges accordingly. I have looked at some of my patients labs and seen “normal” lab ranges up to 4.5 -6.0. 

Work with a functional medicine practitioner. There are many types of hypothyroidism. A functional medicine practitioner knows this and will view your labs accordingly. 

What does the thyroid do anyways?

The thyroid, a butterfly shaped gland located just below the adam’s apple, is the master metabolic control for the body. When most people hear the word metabolic, they think of metabolism as in weight control. But the thyroid does much more than that. It controls the metabolic rate of every cell in the body. Thyroid hormone acts on the brain, the cardiovascular system, the GI tract, liver and gallbladder function, body temperature regulation, glucose metabolism, cholesterol and protein metabolism to name just a few. If the thyroid slows down, so does the functioning of every single one of these systems.

Ask Lauren
Recommendations What is the Cause of Hypothyroidism?

Great question! With the exception of congenital or surgery- induced hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism is rarely caused by a problem with the thyroid itself.  Rather it is due to a complex matrix of underlying health issues that lead to the thyroid under producing thyroid hormone.  

In order to heal from hypothyroidism, it’s essential to know the causes.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

Hashimotos/ Autoimmune Approximately 90% of hypothyroid cases are caused by Hashimotos, an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.

The immune system must be addressed in Hashimotos, particularly leaky gut (abnormally increased permeability of the small intestine) and underlying infections and viruses.  H-Pylori (the same bacteria that causes ulcers), Borrelia burgdorferi (associated with Lyme disease), Epstein Barr and Herpes are some of the common infections and viruses found in Hashimotos patients. Treatment for Hashimotos also should include the potential causes below where indicated. 

Stress and Cortisol Stress plays a huge factor in hypothyroidism. Many women even report symptoms beginning following a high stress time in their lives. The thyroid is directly linked to the adrenal glands, which produce cortisol, aka the stress hormone. Adrenal fatigue, a condition of either high or low cortisol levels can result from stress, and will impair functioning of the thyroid. 

Gluten intolerance Research shows a strong link between gluten intolerance and hypothyroidism. This is due to the fact that the molecular structure of gluten resembles that of the thyroid gland. Thus every time gluten is consumed, the thyroid produces less thyroid hormone, mistaking thyroid hormone for gluten.  Important note: Some patients ask, “Is it ok if I only eat a little gluten?” Unfortunately, no. Even a little will disrupt thyroid function.

Endocrine Disruptors aka Environmental Toxins They’re in your face wash, hair products, cleaning products bottled water, canned food and even your mattress. Environmental toxins wreak havoc on the thyroid, all of them: PCBs, BPA, phthlatates, flame retardants and perfluorinated chemicals. 

Nutritional Deficiencies Despite our accessibility to food and multivitamins, many of us are nutrient deprived. Stress also plays a factor as it causes the body to uptake large amounts of vitamins and minerals, leaving cells without their required nutrients. Nutrients required for proper thyroid function include selenium, zinc, iron, potassium iodine, vitamins a, c, d e and all the b vitamins.

Low Blood Sugar Do you skip meals sometimes? Are you a vegetarian who skims on protein or a carb-addict? All of these can result in low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. When the pancreas is forced to pump out too much insulin due to chronic spikes in blood sugar, blood sugar levels can swing rapidly from high to low. Overtime this cycle wears on the adrenals and the pituitary gland, causing them to become more sluggish. Since these glands communicate directly with the thyroid, the thyroid becomes sluggish as well.

Menopause 1 in 4 women in or near perimenopause are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. No one really knows why these occur simultaneously. The late clinician John R. Lee, M.D. hypothesizes that estrogen dominance may be to blame for many cases of midlife hypothyroidism.  Dr. Lee surmised that when estrogen was not properly balanced with progesterone (as occurs during perimenopause), it can block the action of thyroid hormone, thus triggering an underactive thyroid.

Recipe of the Month
RecommendationsSpaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi 
Courtesy of Paleo Grubs.Original recipe here

I just made this recipe last night and it was a total hit! If you ever feel like having pasta without having pasta, this is your dish.  

Did you know that once cooked, spaghetti squash shreds into strands just like spaghetti? Yup, that’s where it got its name. Plus spaghetti squash is high in nutrients like vitamin A, beta carotene, folic acid, potassium and low in calories. An extra serving of vegetables– check!


For the “pasta”
. 1 spaghetti squash
. Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
. Salt and pepper
. 1 tsp dried oregano
. 1 tsp dried basil

For the shrimp scampi
. 8 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
. 3 tbsp butter
. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
. 2 cloves garlic, minced
. Pinch of red pepper flakes
. Salt and pepper, to taste
. 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
. Juice of 1 lemon
. Zest of half a lemon


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the halves, with the cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until you can poke the squash easily with a fork. Let it cool until you can handle it safely. Then scrape the insides with a fork to shred the squash into strands.

2. After removing spaghetti squash from the oven, melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the shrimp, salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and add in desired amount of cooked spaghetti squash. Toss with lemon juice and zest. Top with parsley to serve.


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Malibu Acupuncture & Herbs: 23410 Civic Center Way , Malibu, California 90265

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23410 Civic Center Way , Suite E1, Malibu, California, 90265, United States