The Broda Barnes Self Test for Thyroid Deficiency

26 Aug

We know there is a hormonal component to cellulite, so nurturing a healthy endocrine system is likely a crucial aspect of cellulite recovery.   It is now well known that a large segment of the current population is hypothyroid (I’ve seen estimates in the millions).  Most people who are hypothyroid don’t even know it.

If a patient display severe symptoms, a doctor might order a blood test to check for “normal” thyroid levels.  But as Dr. Broda Barnes observed decades ago, this method of diagnosis fails to identify many patients who are hypothyroid.  A better indicator is to measure the Basal Body Temperature, the temperature of the body immediately after waking from several hours of sleep.

According to Dr. Barnes’ research, the most effective measure for gauging thyroid health is to place a mercury thermometer under the armpit for 10 minutes immediately after waking, before getting out of bed. Even a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night could affect the reading.  A Basal Body Temperature below 97.8 is indicative of a sluggish thyroid.  Since body temperature fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle, women in their menstruating years should take their temperature on the second and third day of their period to best gauge thyroid health.

I’ve been tracking my Basal Body Temperature for the last two years (I don’t use the armpit method –I use a digital thermometer to take my temperature orally).  It’s an easy way to learn more about your body.  You start to notice correlations you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, such as moods or symptoms that correspond with excessively low temperatures.  It’s also helpful in determining when you’ve ovulated and hence when to expect your period, since Basal Body Temperature increases significantly during ovulation.  Most importantly, gauging thyroid health early provides an opportunity to correct imbalances with gentle treatments such as dietary changes, instead of the lifelong medications most doctors prescribe upon diagnosis.

To learn more, read Dr. Barnes’s book, Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness.

*This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday hosted at We Are THAT Family and Fight Back Friday hosted at FoodRenegade.

A Cellulite Investigator Update

Thanks for stopping by The Cellulite Investigation.  Things are a little quite around here at the moment.  I’m taking an extended break as I get married and settle into married life and a new home.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon!

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Matt Stone says:
8/26/2010

It’s important to note that this “hypothyroidism” probably has nothing to do with the health of the gland itself when blood tests are normal, but is induced by either low insulin and leptin levels in the underweight and insulin and leptin resistance in the overweight, which put the body in a state of starvation from a functional standpoint. It has everything to do with the rate of fat burning and deposition and probably couldn’t be more central to cellulite. A low body temperature is something Barnes estimated to inlude 50% of the general population, but that is incorrect. In my experience, at least 3 out of 4 people have a mornning basal temperature below 97.8 degrees F. Fortunately, I have incredible success using simple diet and lifestyle changes to bring body temperature up to the optimal range in people with temperatures as low as 95.0. It works wonders, and faster than what Barnes could do using medication.

http://180degreehealth.com

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jasminetea3 says:
8/26/2010

I just started charting my temperatures last month – it’s really interesting! So should your basal body temperature ALWAYS be above 97.8, or does it depend on the time of the month for a woman? I know you said 2nd or 3rd day of the period, but do low temperatures throughout the month mean something too? Mine has been below 97.8 before ovulation and above it during the 2nd half of my cycle, although it remains high days 1&2 of my period… Maybe I should just read the book, huh? ;-)

Also, do you know how getting up during the 3 hours before taking the temperature affects the reading? Would it go up or down?

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Melissa says:
8/26/2010

Interesting stuff, Matt. Perhaps the difference in percentage is reflective of the dietary changes we’ve experienced as a society since Dr. Barnes performed his research 50 years ago. Are maybe it has something to do with the development of mass fluoridation???

Jasminetea3, you ask some good questions. I don’t know if Dr. Barnes writes more about this in his book (it’s still on my reading list), but Katie Singer writes about it in The Garden of Fertility. She says a basal body temp under 97.5 more than five times in one cycle is indicative of hypothyroidism. When I lived in flourideville, I often had a waking temp around 97.2 for several days in a row, then it would jump above 98 after ovulation. I believe getting up in the middle of the night will increase the temperature reading (I look at it as the extra activity transfers into heat). It’s also important to check your temp at close to the same time every morning. As I recall, Katie said every hour later is the equivalent of a .2 degree increase.

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jasminetea3 says:
8/26/2010

You are such the wealth of information, Melissa – thanks! I have Taking Charge of Your Fertility, but I’ve been wanting to get The Garden of Fertility, too. Sounds like there may be some additional (and useful) information.

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Melissa says:
8/27/2010

Thanks, Jas! I have to check out Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I’m not planning on having kids anytime soon, but it’s so interesting to learn about these things. I can’t believe how little I’ve known about my own body all this time. Why don’t they teach girls these things in high school “health” class?!

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Latebloomer says:
8/29/2010

This is really interesting, but I wonder if the book has any information that would be useful to women of a certain age, such as myself. I took my temperature this morning, and it was 36.3 C, or 97.34. I never would have guessed. It will be interesting to see where this goes; could explain a lot!

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Melissa says:
8/29/2010

If you’re specifically interested in the hypothyroid info, Dr. Barnes’s book would probably be the most relevant. It’s on my list to order from Amazon but it’s a long list!

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Charlene says:
9/15/2010

Humpf – funny I never even connected my cellulite (which I mentioned in today’s post BTW) with my thyroid issue which was recently discovered. Great info as always!

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Jennifer says:
5/5/2011

You said that getting out of bed in the middle of the night can affect the reading. I ALWAYS have to get up at least once, but more often at least twice every night to use the bathroom. Should I be checking the temp the first time I need to get up? Or just live with the fact that the reading will never really be accurate because of my nightly trips to the bathroom?

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Great question, Jennifer. According to webwomb.com, your reading will be accurate if you get at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you wake up within 3 hours of your normal waking time, then it is best to take your temperature then (and make a note of the time on your chart so you know it was an abnormal time).

Another option is to work toward decreasing your need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I’ve been giving this some thought lately on behalf of a family member who has the same issue. Obviously, you could see if decreasing the amount of fluids or foods that you eat within a few hours of bedtime makes any difference. But beyond that, I am wondering if there is a way to heal the body somehow so you won’t have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Perhaps there is a hormonal element to it? Perhaps it is a nutritional thing? There must be a reason some people have to pee in the middle of the night and others do not… Any ideas?

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Lauren says:
6/19/2012

For people who wake up bright as a penny at 2am, a cortisol surge is often the culprit. Often this is related to blood sugar dysregulation. The immediate treatment is a small, high-fat low-carb snack before bed (1/2c plain full-fat yogurt, a handful of macadamias). In the longer view it’s sensible to track your blood glucose (see Chris Kresser’s post on preventing heart disease for $16) and probably reduce carbs and raise fats to keep your fires burning happily throughout the day. Nora Gedgaudas calls carbs “kindling” and fats “cured oak logs” in reference to metabolism.
There is, however, a phenomenon called biphasal sleep which seems to be natural. It is not accompanied by negative symptoms on waking, and those who experience it (who usually live far from the rat race and artificial light, I might add) report that the waking phase is peaceful and contemplative.
Light sleeping may also be related to interruptions during REM cycles. Mark’s Daily Apple has a series on sleep hacks which includes total darkness (I have fleece blankets clothespegged to the backs of my curtains) and a cool sleeping environment, as well as the elimination of blue-spectrum light from the bedroom and the hour before sleep. You can download F.Lux for free and it will change the colour balance of your computer’s display at sundown, which helps, as does holding on to old-fashioned tungsten lightbulbs for evening use – they have a much orangier light than the new bulbs. Oh yeah, and going to bed by 10:30 and geting up at a consistent time. I try to suppress that one, personally, but it’s true!

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This is great info, Lauren! For anyone who is interested, here is the link to Chris Kresser’s article.

I installed F.Lux and love it. Do you know of something similar for television? Someone mentioned orange glasses but I didn’t know how effective that would be. My fiance seems to be very sensitive to light from the tv in the evenings.

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Lauren says:
6/28/2012

Actually, that’s the only semi-reasonable application for BluBlockers (remember those!?) I’ve ever heard of. The only other thing I can think of is watching TV via your computer, but it obviously has its drawbacks. Worse yet is applying the ‘no blue light in the hour before bed’ rule – novels are a lost art worth finding, right?

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I would like you to know that I just ordered a pair of BluBlockers thanks to you! Ha! My fiance is particularly sensitive to television light and I’m curious if they will make a difference. In the sleep book I read, I learned that the body absorbs blue light through the skin, too. I’m curious if the glasses will be enough. We’ll see… Thanks for the suggestion, Lauren!

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Lauren says:
7/22/2012

LOL! Let us know how it works! I was just reading a book that suggested blue light was “soothing” and women in late prgnancy should sleep with a small blue night light on to counter insomnia, which I thought was the most direct pitting of science against alternative therapies I’d seen in a while (such a shame because they could be so complementary).
BTW, re jasminetea3′s August 26, 2010 comment, Taking Charge of your Fertility is great for *not* getting pregnant too.

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Blue light for sleeping? Why would they recommend that? That’s awful! I’ll be sure to write about the BluBlockers experiment. Should be a fun post!

About the Fertility book, AGREED! Every woman should know this information!

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Sigurd J. Ogland says:
12/21/2011

Hi,
I wonder if you have any experience comparing oral BBT values and armpit BBT values. Will you read the same value or slightly lower or higher the oral way? I find it important to find any “calibration factor”, since all Broda Barnes-values and diagnosis are based on Armpit values. Furthermore, it is important to make such differences clear to everyone and that e.g. Oral values have to be increased with x,xx or decreased with y,yy degrees.
As to female values through the menstruation cycle, a clear picture may be obtained only by building 3 averages and compare them over time: Average from 1 day M(ens) to Ovulation day, normally around day 16 = the low values. Then from day after Ov to last day before M = the high values or luteal phase and finally the average of the whole cycle. This may again be compared to the long range averages over many cycles.
By using Laycomp or Pearly Personal Fertility computer, all these values are automatically calculated. Both have a super acurate sensor for taking the temperatures and are recommended. See http://www.ladycomp.com

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Thanks for your question, Sigurd. i have not tried the armpit method. I haven’t had a need for more precise readings since I’ve been able to use my own previous readings as a baseline. I started taking my BBT a few years ago when I lived in a fluoridated community and had severe fluoroderma (acne caused by fluoride exposure). My waking temp was often down around 97.1 degrees, especially on days when I had a really bad flare-up which I later figured out were the dame days I had been exposed to extra amounts of fluoride (through the food I was eating in addition to the water).

Now I live in a non-fluoridated house and I know how to avoid fluoride in the food supply. My skin is clear and my waking temp is pretty much always above 97.5. I don’t take my BBT as much any more. Now I just use it to confirm ovulation. I’ll start taking my BBT a few days prior and then stop after I see the increase in temperature. Thanks for your informative comment, Siguard!

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