Q & A with Mike Furci
Q: Several months ago I started using BSN’s Nitrix and NO-Explode after hearing so much about them. After three to four weeks, I began seeing tremendous increases in muscle and strength. I was truly feeling like a monster when I hit the gym. I was at the point where I wanted to share my experiences with other guys in the gym until one week where I started noticing puffiness in my face, hands and tongue. In addition, I started getting light-headed and was tired all the time. To make a long story short, I eventually was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. So I have several questions:
1. Have you heard of this happening to other people using a NO2 or NO-explode type of supplement?
2. Since I'm taking synthroid med now, am I done with those NO-explode days of feeling incredible strength and increases?
I appreciate your time and any knowledge you might have regarding my situation.
A: Hypothyroidism is the most common form of thyroid disease. The CDC estimates more than 20 million people have a thyroid disorder. Most people, including doctors, have no idea just how widespread the problem is. And unfortunately, those who get diagnosed are treated improperly. This is very troubling because every cell in our bodies is affected by the thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by a variety of things. In this country, diet is the main culprit. Our food supply is so deficient in nutrients and loaded with anti-nutrients that it’s really no surprise we are experiencing health problems in epidemic proportions. Vegetable oils (polyunsaturated fats) are a huge contributor to hypothyroidism, obesity, cardio vascular disease and other health problems. These are man-made foods that have only been around since the early 1900s, with soy oil becoming the number one cooking oil by the 1950s. Before then, beef tallow, lard, olive oil and tropical oils were in use, and heart disease, hypothyroidism, obesity, diabetes and other diseases were but a fraction of the incidence they are today.
Soy products are another cause of hypothyroidism. Soy products, like soy oil and protein, contain extremely high amounts of goitrogens. Goitrogens are naturally occurring substances that interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. Goitrogens block the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Other foods like cruciferous vegetables also contain goitrogens, but are easily neutralized through cooking. Soy is different. Cooking or other processing methods will neither neutralize nor remove these nasty substances. It’s been shown in Japanese research that 30g per day of soy can lead to thyroid disruption in 30 days.
In Japan, where soy consumption is the highest of any Asian country, thyroid disease is widespread. The prevalence of thyroid disease has prompted researchers to undertake important studies showing the adverse effects of soy foods on the thyroid.
Iodine deficiency will also cause problems with the thyroid, and our food supply contains almost none of this crucial mineral, essential for the manufacture of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Another, perhaps even more dangerous contributor to iodine deficiency, is our consumption of chlorine, fluoride and bromide. Chloride and fluoride are in the water we drink and bromides are contained in food products like breads and cookies. Food manufacturers used to use iodine in various foods like salt, but bromide is much less expensive.
Chlorine, fluoride and bromide displace iodine, which in turn disrupts the normal function of your thyroid. Iodine is the nutrient for a properly functioning thyroid. Without iodine, it doesn't matter what amount of a synthetic drug you’re on, the problem will continue. I’ll bet your doctor didn't even give you an iodine test to see if a deficiency was the problem? Almost none do. How ridiculous is that?
Thyroid conditions are extremely difficult to diagnose and treat. It requires an expert to put together a proper diagnosis using proper testing. Synthetic hormones should be a last resort. The first step in treating hypothyroidism is eating correctly. Eat 100 percent organic, whole, natural foods. Avoid processed foods, vegetable oils and soy products. Obtain an iodine test through a chiropractor or physician. Diet and supplemental iodine alone may correct the problem. If they don’t, go to an expert to get properly tested for hypothyroidism. In order for a proper diagnosis, testing requires that T3, T4, TBG (thyroid binding globulin), cortisol, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone levels are determined, in conjunction with a properly performed health assessment.
Just consuming T4 is simplistic and archaic. Good luck!
Q: Hi Mike,
I am suffering from soft and big chest. I have been gyming the last two months and there is no positive effect. I feel very bad about it. So please help.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. If it’s fat accumulation around the chest area, diet and training will be able to take care of the problem. If it’s breast tissue, it’s a condition called gynecomastia (AKA “man boobs” or “bitch tits”).
Unfortunately, the only way to remove it is plastic surgery. Some of the most common causes of gynecomastia are obesity, puberty, steroid abuse and marijuana use. Some researchers believe the increase in the incidence of “man boobs” is a result of environmental estrogens contained in plastics and pesticides. Whatever the cause, it can be emotionally devastating. Some men feel embarrassed and humiliated. I’ve heard some men say they feel it takes away from their masculinity and almost never take their shirt off, even by the pool.
A good resource of information I’ve passed along to many people is a site called http://www.gynecomastia.org/
I train four times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday). I’ve been doing this for two months. My current weight is 220 pounds and I’m 5-foot-7. I’ve been told if I stop taking protein shakes my body will use my body fat to repair my muscles. Is this truth or just a load of B?
A: It’s a load of B. Fat stores have absolutely nothing to do with the repairing or maintaining muscle. Stored fat is an energy source. If you stop taking a protein supplement, you won’t notice much as long as you are consuming enough quality protein in food.
Protein repairs and maintains everything in our bodies from muscles to hormones. Amino acids, which proteins are made of, are essential to life. Essential, meaning we have to ingest them because our bodies cannot manufacture them. If your protein intake is too low, your body will get the amino acids it needs from your existing muscle tissue. This is the kiss of death for anyone trying to improve his or her physique.
Stew, don’t lower your protein. Why anyone would consciously eat a diet low in protein is beyond me. There are two things that begin with the letter “p” that I would never reduce -- one of them is protein, and the other word ends in “y.” ( I love that line.) Try to get at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight if you’re training intensely.
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating correctly is the number one way to do it. You can lift all the weight you want and do abs till you’re blue in the face and never see much improvement. The biggest roadblock on your path to physique enhancement is carbs. Carbohydrates are by far the leading cause of obesity and diabetes. Around the world there is no correlation between protein or fat consumption and obesity. However, there is a very strong correlation between sugar consumption and obesity and diabetes.
In the U.S. we’ve gotten heavier each year since the late ‘70s, when our consumption of carbohydrates started to rise dramatically. Fructose (a simple sugar) was also starting to be used more frequently in fat-free foods. As our sugar consumption went up each year, our waistlines have gotten bigger. And they continue to get bigger. As a nation we are the heaviest we’ve ever been. And obesity among our children is reaching epidemic proportions.
In the U.S., being fat as a nation is almost entirely due to excessive carbohydrate consumption. This trend is becoming evident around the world. Foods are not created equal -- they are metabolized, assimilated, utilized and stored in different ways. Carbohydrates are a fuel source for the body. It is important to understand that even though carbs can be a good fuel source, they are a nonessential nutrient. Unlike protein and fat, we do not have to ingest them to live and be healthy. Carbs in the quantities Americans eat them can and will lead to a very unhealthy existence.
Q: Howdy Mike,
So -- what are your thoughts on vegetarians, vegans and soy? Ha ha!
As for a real question, I’ve recently started to take Omega-3 supplements but my head is spinning with all of the different options that are available. Do you have any suggestions on specific brands and/or the best place to buy? Beyond that, what exactly should I look for when buying? I see some bottles that say “Omega-3” and list fish oil as well as flaxseed in the ingredients. Others say “Fish Oil: Omega-3.” Should I just be sticking to straight fish oil?
I've also seen bottles that are strictly Omega-3, while others are a combination of Omega-3 and Omega-6, and I even saw one that had 3, 6 and 9. Huh?
Please point me down the right path, oh Wise Fitness Guru.
Do not take Omega 6s or 9s.
We already get for too many 6s in our diets. All vegetable oils, which should be avoided, are loaded with Omega-6s, so there is absolutely no reason to supplement them. Omega-6s are responsible for many health issues.
Omega-3 fish oil is what you’re looking for. Do not waste your time with flax or borage oil. Both are very poor sources of Omega-3s and contain 6s and 9s.
The brand I like is Nutraceutical Science Institute’s Mega EFA.
Another top of the line brand is Flamout by Biotest.
Questions or comments? Send them to email@example.com.