naturopathic medicine

Optimize Your Thyroid Function

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Dr. Heather Krebsbach is a naturopathic physician seeing patients at Inner Gate Acupuncture’s Halsey street location. She has been practicing naturopathic medicine in Portland Since 2006. She specializes in bio identical hormones and endocrine health. In this post she offers her insights on understanding and optimizing thyroid health.

The thyroid is a little butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck responsible for metabolism and other essential bodily functions.

The Thyroid Controls:

  • Digestive function

  • Heart rate

  • Mood

  • Muscle control

  • Menstruation

  • Body temperature

  • And much more!

The body relies on the thyroid to be balanced and secrete appropriate amounts of its hormones. When the thyroid is not in balance, there can either be too much or too little thyroid hormone being secreted, therefore causing hyper or hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of too much thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, is less common then the latter and diagnosis is typically much easier to determine due to the severity of the symptoms. Compared to hypothyroidism, which can create low-grade symptoms or mimic other illnesses.

Common Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:

  • Heart racing or palpitations

  • Weight loss

  • Insomnia

  • Diarrhea


Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue

  • Hair loss

  • Weight gain

  • Constipation

  • Cold body temperature

  • Menstrual irregularity

  • Foggy thinking


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Treatment Options:

Treatment considerations for hyperthyroidism are very different from treatments for hypothyroid, it is important to be properly diagnosed for the right treatment focus. When we think about optimizing the thyroid function, we are usually talking about improving a sluggish or hypo-thyroid.

Certain nutrients, such as Selenium, Zinc, Iodine, Vitamins C, A, E and D are needed to help the thyroid function properly and to convert thyroid hormones to active forms that the body can use.


The Thyroid Loves these Foods:

  • Brazil nuts: high in Selenium

  • Pumpkin seeds: rich in Zinc

  • Green leafy veggies (spinach, collard greens and kale): have a bounty of Vitamin C, A and E

  • Fish and Seaweed: contains iodine


Consuming a diet with a bounty of veggies, nuts and seeds along with protein and a small amount of whole grains can be helpful to keep the thyroid functioning optimally.

Dr Krebsbach assesses thyroid function through blood tests as well as symptoms to determine the appropriate thyroid treatment. If lab results are out of normal ranges, medication in addition to diet and supplements may be needed to help support the thyroid and all the body’s essential functions.

Quality Foods = Quality of Life

 Beets, peppers, onions, green beans, spices on a dark background. Fresh garden vegetables. Vegetarian, detox, diet food

What Do Diets Have In Common?

We are constantly inundated with the latest and greatest diets or food trends. All this information can make it difficult to know what we really should be eating. But if we strip away all the hype, we can see that the majority of diets have a couple similar themes; such as eating more vegetables, less refined carbohydrates and minimal sugar. For the best outcomes, we can skip the latest dietary trend and instead focus on incorporating these main principles to improve the quality of our health!

A Bounty of Vegetables, a Bowl of Grains and a Dash of Sugar

To promote optimal health, we need the cells in our body to function as optimally as possible. When we eat vegetables, they are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are essential anti-oxidants for healthy cellular function and the prevention of disease. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamins A, C, K, B, Folate, Calcium and Iron. And, when we add an array of colorful veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, purple kale, radishes and squash we are eating our daily multi-vitamin. These foods can decrease inflammation to lessen pain, protect our vessels, support our brain and improve our energy level. 

On the flip side, cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup is considered to be pro-inflammatory and can damage our cells and vessels, which contributes to dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Refined carbohydrates, like bread, pasta and crackers increase our blood sugar levels and can have the same impact in our body when consumed in high amounts or on a regular basis. 

A 2014 review of studies examining carbohydrates and chronic disease showed that a diet low in refined carbohydrates may offer anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce the risk of type 2-diabetes and heart disease.[1]

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How Should I Add These Foods Into My Diet?

  • Strive for 2 servings of green leafy vegetables per day. Such as spinach, kale, chard, arugula, mustard greens

  • Add 3-5 servings of colorful vegetables per day 

  • Avoid cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup 

  • Eat refined carbohydrates no more than 20% of the time. Instead choose intact grains like brown rice, wild rice, Forbidden rice, quinoa, millet, oats and squash

  • Choose organic fruits, vegetables and meat whenever possible

  • Incorporate healthy fats at every meal like avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds

  • Pay attention to the cooking temperature of oils and store them in a cool, dark cabinet

Ward Off Disease by Looking In Your Refrigerator!

The old saying “you are what you eat” holds true. We now know that quality matters and not all calories are the same. And in order to spark your metabolism and improve the function of all your cells, you need proper nutrition. So, if you want your body to perform at it’s highest level then you need to fuel it with the highest quality foods. 

Research is now supporting the benefit of high quality food such as organic, free-range meat and wild caught fish. A study published in 2018, showed that eating a diet high in organic food was associated with a reduced risk of cancer.[2]And not only is the quality of our food important, but how we prepare them as well. Incorporation of healthy fats is essential, but keeping them from spoiling will reduce oxidative damage

CLICK HERE to find our more about how you can optimize your diet and improve your health with Dr. Krebsbach. 


[1]Buyken, AE, Goletzke, J, Joslowski, G, Felbick, A, Cheng, G, Herder, C, Brand-Miller, JC. Association between carbohydrate quality and inflammatory markers: systematic review of observational and interventional studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Am J Clin Nutr. 99(4): 2014;813-33.[2]https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2707948

SUGAR, IT’S NOT GOOD FOR YOU!

Many of us have been searching for the best diet to help us achieve optimal health. Some of us have tried plant-based diets, while others have explored eliminating certain foods. Traditional diets from all around the world, some completely plant-based and others heavily animal-based, have all produced healthy populations. All of these diets have one thing in common:  no or little sugar or processed foods. 

What is Sugar?

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Many foods we don’t think of as containing sugar actually convert to sugar. For example, all carbohydrate foods such as breads and pasta are converted to sugar by the body. 

The glycemic index is a great tool for understanding the effects of sugar on the body.  The index is a measure of how quickly a particular food turns to sugar in the body.  High levels of sugar in the blood are associated with kidney failure and increased cardiovascular risk. 

White sugar or glucose, which enters our blood stream very quickly, is given the index of 100.  All other foods are rated relative to glucose.  

The highest glycemic foods are the worst for your blood sugar, these include:

·     White Bread 

·     White Rice

·     Potatoes

·     Processed Corn Foods

·     High-Glucose Corn Syrup

How Does Sugar Cause Diabetes?

When we eat sugar, our bodies break it down and send it into our blood stream. From the blood stream, the sugar can be picked up by our cells for use.  The cells use insulin as a mechanism to move sugar from the blood stream into cells.  If the body has been overloaded with sugar for long periods of time, the cells will develop insulin resistance.  The excess sugar in the blood cannot be used by cells and begins to cause all the problems we associate with diabetes:  kidney failure, excessive urination, fatigue and headaches. 

How does Sugar Cause Cardiovascular Disease?

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Sugar in the blood stream is damaging to the cell walls of our arteries. When this damage occurs, our bodies try to repair the damage by laying down cholesterol to protect the arteries.  If the damage continues, it eventually impedes blood flow. 

Dr. Heather Krebsbach is a knowledgeable and caring resource at Inner Gate Acupuncture here in Portland. She can help you design a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

Call to make an appointment today at our
Inner Gate Acupuncture Halsey Clinic
971-279-2294

Introducing Dr. Heather Krebsbach Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist

Dr. Krebsbach is a family practice Naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist practicing in Portland, Oregon at Inner Gate Acupuncture.

She specializes in bio-identical hormones, thyroid care, digestive health, and autoimmune conditions.

A love for medicine and cultivation of Eastern healing systems

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Dr. Krebsbach's love for medicine and Eastern healing systems developed during a six-month undergraduate sabbatical in India. These studies sparked a desire to search for the root causes of illness and implement treatments focusing on the whole person. She began learning how our health relates to the environment around us. She returned inspired to deepen her understanding of natural medicine.

Nationally board-certified specializing in women’s health

After college,Dr. Krebsbach moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend the National University of Natural Medicine. Throughout the six-year Naturopathic and Chinese medicine program, she mentored with doctors specializing in cancer care, women’s health, HIV, and endocrinology. Once Dr. Krebsbach graduated and became nationally board certified, she completed a two-year Residency program specializing in adjunct cancer care. 

As a Naturopathic doctor, she has over ten years of clinical experience treating people of all ages and has developed a family-based practice. She cherishes treating whole families, their friends and communities.

An educator, investigator, and perpetual student

Dr. Heather Krebsbach prides herself in being an educator, investigator, and perpetual student.  She inspires her patients to heal themselves with the foundations of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. She encourages her patients to feel empowered by their health choices and strives to help her patients eliminate the obstacles to wellness. 

Dr. Krebsbach commonly treats:

  • Digestive Disorders

  • Menstrual Irregularities and PMS

  • Infertility and Pregnancy Support

  • PCOS, Uterine Fibroids

  • Hot Flashes and other Menopause Symptoms

  • Hypothyroidism and Autoimmune Disorders

  • Allergies, Asthma and Skin Issues

  • High Cholesterol and Diabetes

  • Weight-Loss or Weight-Gain

  • Anxiety, Depression, ADD/ADHD

  • Migraines

  • Fatigue and Insomnia

  • Adjunct Cancer Care

  • Acute and Chronic Pain 

Call our Halsey Clinic 
To schedule your appointment today
971-279-2294