Most people who follow a natural treatment protocol realize that it takes time to see results, let alone restore one’s health back to normal. But many people still want to know how long it should take before they feel better, before they begin to see positive changes in the blood tests, and how long it will take to restore their health back to normal. And so I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about the expectations one should have when following a natural treatment protocol.
Because everyone is different, it is impossible to predict exactly how long someone will begin to notice an improvement in their condition, or in their blood or saliva tests, etc. With that being said, in most cases it shouldn’t take too long before someone notices positive changes from a symptomatic perspective. For example, when I consult with a patient for the first time, I will go through their case history and ask them numerous questions, which is the case with most healthcare professionals. Most of the time I will also recommend certain tests in order to determine what the underlying cause of the condition is. Sometimes this can be a challenge, especially since many people have more than one problem which may be causing or contributing to their condition.
In any case, once I recommend a specific natural treatment protocol to a patient, I usually want them to notice an improvement in their symptoms within one or two months. Some people notice positive changes sooner, as I’ve had patients who felt better after only a couple of weeks on the protocol. But the goal of this article is to set you up for realistic expectations, and while there’s a chance you might feel better after a few weeks, in most cases it will take one or two months before noticing any positive changes. And of course in some people it can take longer than this, although if someone isn’t showing any improvement in the symptoms after a few months then you really have to question whether changes need to be made in the natural treatment protocol you’re following. Don’t get me wrong, as I don’t expect people to be symptom free after one or two months, but in most cases there should be at least SOME positive changes.
Having Realistic Expectations With The Blood Tests
Now that you have an idea as to how long it should take before you notice positive changes in the symptoms, the next question is “how long does it usually take to see an improvement with the blood tests? Of course if someone is on medication then this sometimes can be a challenge, as they might already have good numbers with regards to the TSH and thyroid hormone levels. So for example, if someone with Graves’ Disease is taking Methimazole, then they might already have a normal TSH and/or thyroid hormone levels. So in this case, how would you know if the natural treatment methods are working? Well, assuming the person remains on the same dosage of Methimazole, if the natural treatment methods are doing what they’re supposed to do then the TSH should continue to increase, and the thyroid hormone levels should continue to decrease. When this happens the endocrinologist usually will lower the dosage of the medication.
But how long should it take to see these changes on a blood test? With most people I like to see positive changes in the blood tests within 2 to 4 months of starting the natural treatment protocol. This doesn’t mean I expect the levels to be normal (assuming the person isn’t on medication), although every now and then this will happen. How long should it take before someone has normal blood tests without being on the medication? Once again, this will vary from person to person. When I was following a natural treatment protocol for my Graves’ Disease condition it took about 6 months before my TSH and thyroid hormone levels normalized. With some patients it will take longer than this, although I’ve had a few patients who had normal levels within three months. This doesn’t necessarily mean they were stable at this point, but it’s still a great feeling when the labs normalize without you being on medication.
However, keep in mind that it’s not just about normalizing the TSH and thyroid hormone levels. In people with Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, they will typically have high thyroid antibodies on the blood tests. And so you want the antibodies to eventually normalize as well. One problem is that the antibodies can fluctuate, and so you can’t get overexcited just by seeing an improvement in the thyroid antibodies. But one of the goals of following a natural treatment protocol is to normalize the thyroid antibodies, and then keep them at a normal level.
Having Realistic Expectations With Other Tests
I commonly recommend other tests to my patients. The main tests I recommend are saliva testing for the adrenals, along with a hair mineral analysis test. Sometimes I’ll also test the hormones, and at times I’ll recommend an intestinal permeability test to find out if someone has a leaky gut. But how long does it take for these tests to normalize? By now you should know that it depends on the person. With the cortisol levels and DHEA, it’s not uncommon to see these normalize within two or three months, although for some people it will take longer than this. If someone has a problem with intestinal permeability, then the average period of time to correct this condition is three to six months. If someone has a hormone imbalance then this can also take a few months to correct.
The Patient Needs To Do Their Part
Of course it’s very important for the patient to follow the necessary recommendations. For example, if someone gets the cortisol levels tested in the saliva and they’re out of range, it is important for the person to 1) eat a healthy diet consisting mostly of whole foods while minimizing their carbohydrate intake, and 2) do a good job of managing their stress. While adrenal support supplements might be necessary, if someone takes the recommended supplements but does a poor job of managing his or her stress, then they won’t recover as quickly as someone who does an excellent job of managing their stress.
Similarly, if someone has a leaky gut that was caused by eating gluten, and if they continue to eat gluten, then it will take a longer time to heal the gut compared to someone who is compliant. Expecting to heal the gut within three to six months is unrealistic for someone who continues to eat poorly and doesn’t avoid food allergens which might be responsible for the gut problem. And the same concept applies to correcting other compromised areas of the body.
How Long Does It Take To Achieve Optimal Health?
The ultimate goal of any natural treatment protocol is to help the person to achieve optimal health. But how long does this take? 6 months? One year? Two years? You probably already know the answer to this, which is that this will vary from person to person. If you want to have realistic expectations then 6 to 12 months is a good range for most people. However, for some people it will take longer than this. But as I discussed in this article, you should be seeing positive changes along the way. Most people reading this understand that it takes time to restore one’s health. But in most cases it shouldn’t take 6 to 12 months to notice positive changes.
In summary, many people can benefit from following a natural treatment protocol. However, some people have unrealistic expectations, as they expect to receive almost miraculous results very quickly. Usually it takes time for these conditions to develop, and as a result, it almost always takes a good amount of time to restore one’s health back to normal. And of course numerous factors play a role in the speed of recovery, such as the severity of the condition, as well as the compliance of the patients. To no surprise, those who comply with the recommended treatment protocol are more likely to recover faster than someone who isn’t compliant with the recommendations.
Lynn Gauthier says
What natural treatment would you recommend for a 2cm mass on the thyroid. Have had 2 biopsies but with no results. What would you recommend? Thanks for whatever you can suggest.
Dr. Eric says
There really isn’t a specific treatment for thyroid nodules, although sometimes iodine can help if someone has a deficiency. Here are a few articles I’ve written on the topic:
Can you prescribe a protocol to someone who lives in a different state bases on blood tests and a health summary?
Dr. Eric says
I won’t recommend a protocol unless if I first speak with the person, as I want to ask them certain questions, and then I usually want to see other tests, such as saliva testing for the adrenals, along with a hair mineral analysis.