THYROID FUNCTIONThe reasons women are so prone to this condition are complex, though one important factor is simply the delicate nature of a woman’s hormonal system. The thyroid gland belongs to a group of glands in the HPAT axis. This stands for “hypothalamus, thyroid axis, pituitary, adrenal.” The HPAT axis is the locus of all hormonal direction and instruction in the body. All of the glands in it work in synergy. If the body detects a state of stress or starvation, the hypothalamus tells the pituitary and the thyroid gland to slow down. The thyroid gland is yoked to the success and health of other glands in a woman’s body, so it’s no wonder that it is so sensitive to damage.There are several different ways that the thyroid gland can malfunction. The most prominent way is due to the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of cases of clinical hypothyroidism in the US.An autoimmune disease is one in which the body’s immune system has gone into overdrive and accidentally started attacking its own cells as a result of poor gut barrier health. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the thyroid gland is the victim.You can find out for certain if you have Hashimoto’s (as opposed to other kinds of thyroid malfunction) only through getting blood work done. A quick explanation of thyroid function is helpful for understanding this blood workFirst, your thyroid gland works only after it receives a “green light” signal for production by the pituitary gland, which comes in the form of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). When TSH gets to the thyroid gland, the thyroid gland makes a molecule called T4. That’s not the end of it, though. T4 is not used by your body’s cells. T3 is. T4 is converted to T3 by the liver. T3 then goes on to be active in the body. It is responsible for delivering energy to all of your cells.In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body receives a TSH signal from the pituitary gland, but the thyroid gland struggles to produce T4. As a result, low T4 is the primary marker most doctors look for on a blood exam to signal Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. High TSH is also a potential indicator of Hashimoto’s, as TSH levels increase when the body tries to convince the weakened thyroid to make more T4. The final and most definitive test for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a test for the actual thyroid antibodies (TPO) themselves. When present in high quantities in the bloodstream, you know that your thyroid gland is being attacked.The way to overcome Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is to heal the gut as well as possible. Do so using the recommendations made earlier: avoiding gut irritants such as grains, dairy, and even legumes, focusing on vitamin-rich foods like vegetables, organ meats, and egg yolks, consuming fermented foods or probiotic supplements on a regular basis.Unfortunately, with Hashimoto’s, some or much of the thyroid gland is irreparably destroyed. If that is the case, you will likely need to go on some form of thyroid hormone supplementation to achieve optimal health.While Hashimoto’s may be the most common form of hypothyroidism, it is not the only one. The other primary form of hypothyroidism that affects women is simple thyroid sluggishness. Many women struggle from this regardless of whether their blood thyroid hormone levels are clinically “low” or not. It is entirely possible to suffer from this problem and not test “officially low,” but close to it.Regardless of whether you test “super low,” “low,” or simply “moderate,” nearly all women can benefit from optimizing thyroid function.Thyroid production slows down in response to stress. This is what I have called thyroid “sluggishness” (and no, this is definitely not a medical term). This includes both physical and psychological kinds of stress. Physical stressors include undereating, a low-carbohydrate diet, excessive weight loss, over-exercise, or an inflammatory diet. Psychological stressors are all the usual pressures that come from adult life. In response to both types of stress, thyroid production shuts down in two primary ways. First, signals from the HPAT axis say, “Stop!” This “stop!” signal shows up on blood tests as lowered TSH production. With low TSH comes a lower T4 level, and often a lower T3 level as well.The second way that stress impairs thyroid function is to throw a wrench in the link between T4 and T3 production. Stress causes the body to produce something called Reverse T3, which actually blocks T3 from working in your body. Therefore, a blood test that indicates this kind of hypothyroidism will show lower T3, elevated RT3, and possibly T4 and TSH on the low end as well.The way to overcome “sluggishness” is to reduce stress, sleep more, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, and perhaps, most importantly, make sure you eat plenty of carbohydrates. The liver needs carbohydrate in order to convert T4 to T3. Be sure to eat at least 100 grams of dense carbohydrate every day (approximately four servings of fruit or starch) on a low-fat diet, and at least 25-50 grams (1-2 servings of fruit or starch) on a low-carb diet.You can also bolster thyroid health by making sure you have some iodine and selenium in your diet, as these nutrients are necessary for thyroid function. Include iodized salt in your diet. If you do not consume iodized salt (note that most sea salt does not have iodine in it), consume seaweed once a week if you can. For selenium, you can take a supplement or simply eat Brazil nuts, which are an excellent source of selenium. Seafood also contains selenium. If you have Hashimoto’s, be certain to keep iodine and selenium in good balance (or avoid supplementing altogether), as excess iodine for Hashimoto’s patients can cause a brief period of intense hyperthyroid activity called a “thyroid storm” and damage to the thyroid gland.
We all have hormones and if they are not in ‘balance’ you can find yourself experiencing symptoms such as depression, headaches, insomnia, fatigue & weight gain, to list a few. Thyroid Disease is one of the most common hormone disorders, after Insulin Resistance and Diabetes. The majority of individuals with thyroid imbalance have hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) a small minority has hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). The problem is that symptoms of low thyroid function are often mistaken for depression, signs of aging, or are not identified.Your ThyroidYour thyroid – a small butterfly shaped gland located in the front of your neck, controls the functioning of every cell, organ and gland in your body.In addition your thyroid regulates:o the use of oxygen in all tissues,
o the rate of repair of damaged or diseased tissues,
o your blood sugar levels by controlling the release of glucose (sugar) from the liver to the bloodstream,
o electrolyte and water balance in the cells and body,
o your circulatory system,
o the energy and strength of the muscles,
o the speed of the impulses going to the nerves, your libido, and last but not least your fat metabolism.Four main hormones produced by your thyroid gland directly affect your metabolism and body fat. They are thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine/levo-thyroxin (T4), and calcitonin (used in calcium metabolism).Although your thyroid gland secretes and regulates these hormones, about 80% of the body’s T3 is produced outside the thyroid gland, in the liver, by chemical modification of Thyroxine or T4.One of the main reasons why hypothyroid people gain weight is because their T4 is not being converted by the liver to the metabolically active form of T3 or the converted T3 hormone is not getting to the cellular level of the body – meaning you are producing it, but your body can’t use it.Although most conventional practitioners only test for the inactive T4 hormone level, it is important to remember that active T3 thyroid hormone doesn’t work only in the blood – it works inside every cell of the body.If T3 isn’t available at the cellular level, then those cells can’t function properly. The T4 blood test does not test for this, but taking your body temperature does! I personally feel that your body temperature is the single best test of your thyroid function.SymptomsEvery cell and tissue in your body is affected by hypothyroidism and deficient levels of the active T3 thyroid hormone can produce one or more of the following symptoms:o Weight Gain
o Shortness of breath
o Poor memory
o Difficulty concentrating
o Intolerance to cold
o Low body temperature
o Dry, coarse hair/dry skin
o Hair loss
o Muscle or joint pain and stiffness
o Decreased Libido
o Elevated cholesterol or triglyceridesSadly, many hypothyroid symptoms are frequently dismissed by physicians as a normal part of aging, a psychological problem, overwork, or some other condition. As a result, thyroid tests are never performed and the patient never receives the proper medical treatment they require.What interferes with Thyroid Functiono Insulin Resistance/Metabolic Syndrome
o Chronic stress/Adrenal depletion – there is a strong interplay between the thyroid and the adrenals.One is usually weak first and then weakens the other.o Prescription drugs – (including Dilantin, Lithium, Beta Blockers, Premarin, Birth Control Pills and some anti depressants
o Frequent X-rays – from dental or medical exams or radiation treatment to the head, neck or chest
o Thyroid inhibiting foods – Over-consumption of soy & raw thyroid-inhibiting foods, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale
o Hormones – Synthetic and genetically engineered hormones (estrogen and other hormones) in meat, dairy, poultry and eggs. Also conditions such as Poly Cystic Ovarian Disorder, Fibroids, IVF treatment & Menopause.
o Exercise – The receptors for the thyroid hormones are found deep within the cells and exercise stimulates the thyroid by increasing oxygen to the cells. When you exercise and breathe more oxygen into your body, you speed up your metabolism and the heat in your body rises. So, to pump up your metabolism, you need to pump some iron to heat up your cells “fat burners” by giving them more oxygen.o Dieting – During a restrictive diet that is either too low calorie or deficient in essential nutrients, the body produces less of the liver enzymes, therefore converting less T4 and producing less T3. Perhaps the biggest problem with diets is that most diets leave you with less muscle and more fat than when you started. Researchers have found that low calorie and low carbohydrate diets eventually suppress T3 hormone levels in the body by providing insufficient fuel for the thyroid and body to function properly.o Heavy Metal Exposure – Mercury is a toxic heavy metal, which comprises over 50% of “silver” dental fillings & is found in cigarettes. Mercury interferes with the livers production of 5-deodinase an enzyme that is critical in converting thyroid hormones
o Chlorine – (added to most municipal water supplies as a disinfectant)
o Fluoride – (primary sources include toothpaste, dental products, municipal water supplies, pesticide, and residues on commercially grown foods).These last two elements, fluoride and chlorine, block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland. In fact, fluoride is such a potent thyroid suppressor, that it was once prescribed medically for people with overactive thyroid glands (hyperthyroidism) to slow down their thyroid activity.Tests for thyroid functionIf you are doing everything right and still feeling unwell, there is definitely something going on that needs to be addressed. Perhaps you are suffering from clinical hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid) or sub-clinical hypothyroidism (you have symptoms but the blood tests are normal).Let’s assume you are overweight and think you have hypothyroidism. You’ve been to the doctor with complaints of weight gain, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and “brain fog”. The doctor examines you and performs some blood tests, including thyroid tests. And all the tests come back normal. But you are sure you must have an under-active thyroid. You have all the symptoms including a low body temperature, but doctor decides to not prescribe any treatment. You go home, sentenced to a life of weight gain and feeling plain unwell. This scenario is played out again and again until one day you finally fall below the ‘reference’ ranges.The Barnes Temperature TestIf you feel your thyroid is sluggish and you think you may be hypothyroid, testing your thyroid is important. You can take the do it yourself Barnes Thyroid Temperature Test (see below), as an inexpensive, yet surprisingly accurate, initial test. Before the advent of the blood test, the Barnes basal temperature test and patients symptoms were all physicians had available to them to test thyroid function.
Doing the Barnes self temperature test, will give you a starting point to determine if you may have hypothyroidism and need to have further confirmatory tests.Instructions1. Place a thermometer (preferably digital) within easy reach on the bedside table.
2. Place the thermometer in your armpit for five minutes try to move as little as possible because movement will raise your body temperature
3. Record your temperature each morning for five days. (For women, additional consideration is needed during ovulation, since ovulation somewhat elevates temperature. Because of this, women who menstruate should start recording their temperature on the second or third day of menstruation.)
4. A reading of 36.4 degrees or lower may indicate low thyroid function.
Serum (Blood) Test for HypothyroidismIf your temperature is low, you may want to request further testing. If you want to go the conventional medical test route you need to request that your physician perform the T3, free T3, sensitive TSH, Reverse T3, and anti-thyroid antibody tests. Remember that the Standard T4 blood test for thyroid function only measures T4 (the inactive form of the hormone) function and is rarely sensitive enough to determine hypothyroidism. That is why I recommend that you ask your doctor to perform the other blood tests.In my clinical experience, I have found most thyroid blood tests will come back within a ‘normal range’, but the patient still shows signs of (sub-clinical) hypothyroidism such as a low body (basal) temperature etc. There is research indicating that the reference ranges are too broad & do not cater for the individual – I guess we are not all the same after all!The good news is that new and more accurate salivary and urine thyroid tests have become available.The Salivary Thyroid TestSalivary and urine thyroid testing to the rescue! That’s right although not readily available Salivary thyroid testing can be an alternative solution. Your saliva and urine now holds the key to determining whether or not you have an under-active thyroid. This brand new technology promises to change the lives of the millions of individuals suffering with an undiagnosed under-active thyroid. Because it tests thyroid function at the cellular level, the salivary/and or urine thyroid panel has been found to be
more accurate than the blood tests in identifying an under-active thyroid.The thyroid salivary test measures T3, T4 and free TSH. The salivary or urine thyroid test also measures antibodies against thyroperoxidase, an important enzyme involved in the production of thyroid hormone. Positive antibodies are a sign of an autoimmune process (the immune system attacking the body’s own thyroid tissue).Reviving Your ThyroidIf your thyroid gland is found to be sluggish, through any of the various tests, you may first try the natural non-drug approach to reviving your thyroid.
o Identify what is causing it to be sluggish – eg stress, chemical exposure etc
o Check your basal body temperature
o Consult your GP if necessary & request specific blood tests & discuss any possible need for medication changes
o Change your diet – different foods do interfere with thyroid function. You may wish to consult a naturopath for help with this
o Consult an herbalist – herbs such as Withania, Coleus, Rehmania, Kelp etc are helpful if used in the correct dosages.
o Improve your liver functionAvoiding the toxins I mentioned earlier and increasing your intake of iodine-rich foods such as seafood, asparagus, sea vegetables (kelp), garlic, lima beans, sesame seeds, spinach, Swiss chard and sea salt can be helpful.The bottom line is most of the above symptoms may sound familiar – it’s not unusual for a 30, 40, or 50 something woman to feel tired, burnt out, and a little bit overweight and this makes hypothyroidism that much harder to diagnose. However there are few things more frustrating than feeling unwell & it can take a while to get the right diagnosis. Remember though, if you are feeling unwell – there is most likely something triggering it. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.Getting a correct diagnosis is crucial when you realize that being treated can be a life-affirming event. So explore your options & strive for a better, healthy life!
On a global scale, a staggering 200 million people have problems with their thyroid glands, with over 50 percent remaining undiagnosed. In the US alone, the instance of thyroid disease is running close to epidemic levels and equally as worrying is the number of un-diagnosed or mis-diagnosed cases. So just what is responsible for these runaway statistics?The Thyroid Gland – So Small, Yet So VitalMost people would locate their thyroid gland in the neck area, and many know it is somehow linked to weight-gain or weight-loss. How many times have you heard an over-weight person say “I have thyroid problems”? Well what does that really mean?The thyroid gland sits wrapped around the windpipe behind and below the Adam’s Apple area. This small bowtie-shaped gland produces several hormones in both men and women, the two most important being triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones help convert oxygen and calories into energy, making the thyroid the master gland of metabolism. The hormones are also essential for the proper functioning of all our organs, including our heart, musculoskeletal system and brain.Hypo or Hyper?The two most common forms of thyroid disease are Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism and as their names suggest, they are at opposite end of the scale.When it functions as it should, the thyroid will produce T3 and T4 at a 20% – 80% ratio. An under-production of these hormones will slow down the body’s metabolism, causing Hypothyroidism. Common symptoms of this condition are weight-gain despite eating sensibly, feeling cold, fatigue, depression and possibly increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels.Hyperthyroidism occurs when an excess of T3 and T4 speeds up the body’s metabolism and, if the mild condition is left untreated it can lead to complications such as severe weight-loss despite a healthy appetite, nervousness, staring eyes, accelerated heart rate and insomnia.Causes of Hypothyroidism- Autoimmune thyroiditis, where the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, is the major cause of hypothyroidism.- A lack of iodine in the body. Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, and iodine deficiency due to inadequate intake can lead to problems.- This is also true for a deficiency of protein in the body and a deficiency of magnesium and zinc.- Heavy metal poisoning (as with mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium) of the thyroid can also lead to hypothyroidism; chemicals and pesticides can also be a factor.- Root canal teeth can leak toxins into the body and enter the thyroid gland, producing malfunction.- Babies can be born without a thyroid gland, or with one that is not properly functioning.- Surgical removal of the thyroid gland or treatment with radioactive iodine, often for hyperthyroidism, can also lead to hypothyroidism.Causes of Hyperthyroidism- In 70% of people with hyperthyroidism, the cause is a genetic disorder called Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease may be secondary to dental infections, root canals or mercury fillings.- Lumps or nodules in the thyroid may gradually grow and increase in activity also leading to an overproduction of thyroid hormones.- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland), where the thyroid gland leaks thyroid hormones into the blood.- Overmedication with triiodothyronine (T3) and/or levothyroxine (T4) may also cause hyperthyroidism.Why This Epidemic?Thyroid disease is one of the silent epidemics of our time. The shocking fact is that nearly half of all women and a quarter of all men in the US will die with evidence of an inflamed thyroid.As with many of today’s illnesses, the increased incidence of thyroid disease can be linked to an over-burden of toxins caused by pollution through air, water and food. If you have a concern about your thyroid, you may want to note the following potential causes of problems:Iodine – deficiency is one cause of hypothyroidism. However, studies are also showing that in the case of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, the highest prevalence occurs in countries with the highest intake of iodine, such as the US and Japan. So, although iodine supplementation should be implemented to prevent and treat iodine-deficiency disorders, supplementation should be maintained at a safe level.Soy – high soy consumers and users of isoflavone supplements can be at risk of thyroid disorders since soy isoflavones can damage thyroid function. This is actually a rare occurrence.Smoking – has a negative impact on thyroid function and can cause a 3 to 5 fold increase in the risk of all types of thyroid disease.Tap water – Standard water-treatment plants cannot remove the chemical perchlorate from the water supply. According to one researcher, “There is a statistical association between low-level contamination with ammonium perchlorate and elevated or abnormal thyroid function.” Also, chlorine content in the water can displace the much-needed iodine.Fluoride – is an enzyme poison which accumulates in the body. Since the body can only eliminate 50% of its total fluoride intake, this build-up can cause harm to the thyroid by blocking the use of iodine.Pesticides – such as sumithrin (Anvil) and resmethrin (Scourge), are coming under considerable criticism for their adverse chronic effects on the thyroid.Family history – of thyroid disease is a warning signal. Also a family history of depression, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue or weight issues can signify thyroid problems.Radiation and X-Rays – are known to cause damage to the thyroid and technicians should always cover the patient’s throat.Stress – is a factor in almost every kind of disease and can affect the thyroid.Pregnancy – It is estimated that between 5-10% of all pregnancies will result in PPT (Postpartum Thyroiditis).Menopause – hormonal changes during this period of a woman’s life can wreak havoc on her thyroid.Why This Misdiagnosis?The statistic that more than 50 per cent of thyroid disorders remain un-diagnosed is alarming. Why is this? One problem is that because symptoms of hypothyroidism often vary from person to person and are non-specific, the correct diagnosis can easily be missed. Many cases remain undiagnosed because some practitioners and the patients themselves, mistake the symptoms of hypothyroidism for depression, obesity or menopause.Hyperthyroidism tends to run in families, occurring most often in young women. It is often misdiagnosed as an eating disorder, anxiety or stress.The thyroid affects all the other hormones in the body and its proper regulation is essential to good hormonal balance and health. With the disturbing increase in thyroid disease, at LifeWorks Wellness Center we suggest that an annual screening of thyroid function be done. This would include blood tests that check on thyroid hormone levels and body iodine levels.
Millions of people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis take synthetic thyroid hormone on a daily basis. Many of these people are told that they will need to take this for the rest of their lives. But are endocrinologists and other medical doctors too hasty when it comes to making this recommendation for patients with this condition? Being a healthcare professional and someone who has personally dealt with an autoimmune thyroid disorder, I think in some cases the answer is “yes”.On the surface, it might seem like common sense to recommend synthetic thyroid hormone to someone who has a deficiency and can’t produce their own thyroid hormone naturally. After all, we can’t survive without thyroid hormone, and if our bodies are not producing a sufficient amount of it, or in some cases not producing any whatsoever, then what other options do we have?How about natural thyroid hormone? Well, without question this can be an option for someone with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or other cases of hypothyroidism for that matter. This is especially true with regards to people who don’t respond well to synthetic thyroid hormone. There are many people who don’t receive enough symptomatic relief when taking synthetic thyroid hormone, but do well when taking a natural form of thyroid hormone, such as Armour or Westhroid.In fact, many holistic doctors will recommend natural thyroid hormone to their patients instead of synthetic thyroid hormone. The problem is that natural thyroid hormone also doesn’t do anything for the actual cause of the problem, but simply covers up the hypothyroid symptoms.An Option Most Doctors Don’t Consider:By the way, the goal here isn’t to criticize medical doctors for recommending synthetic thyroid hormone to their patients. After all, most doctors are just doing what they have been trained to do when they attended medical school, which in most cases means giving some type of prescription drug to help manage the symptoms. As for holistic doctors recommending natural thyroid hormone, once again, what I’m about to say isn’t meant to criticize these doctors, as most doctors are of course just trying to help their patients. In other words, when a doctor recommends synthetic or natural thyroid hormone, they are usually doing what they feel is best for the patient.The problem I have with giving everyone with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis synthetic or natural thyroid hormone is that many of these doctors underestimate the self-healing ability of our bodies. While there are people who definitely need synthetic or natural thyroid hormone, there are also a high percentage of people taking these hormones that potentially can restore the normal function of their own thyroid gland. I’m not suggesting this is an easy process, but neither is losing weight, yet many people are willing to put in the time and do what is necessary to shed some pounds.Similarly, in order to restore the normal function of your thyroid gland so that it can produce it’s own thyroid hormone, it usually will take some time, and some form of a commitment on your part. I realize that many people are fine with taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone forever, and if this describes you, then that’s perfectly fine. However, if you don’t want to take synthetic or natural thyroid hormone for the rest of your life, then you might want to consider a natural treatment protocol.Don’t Stop Taking Your Thyroid HormoneAlthough there is the possibility of restoring the normal function of your thyroid gland through natural treatment methods if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I am by no means recommending that you stop taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone. In fact, I can’t tell you to stop taking thyroid hormone, even if I wanted to.In some cases taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone is necessary, such as in some cases where people have received radioactive iodine, or if you had your thyroid gland completely removed through surgery. So everyone’s situation is different, which obviously means that everyone with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis should be treated on a case-by-case basis.Consider Natural Treatment Options For Hashimoto’s ThyroiditisIf you like the idea of trying to restore the normal function of your thyroid gland through natural treatment methods so that you don’t have to rely on taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone forever, then here are a couple of steps you can take:Step #1: Speak with your endocrinologist or primary care physician. Now to be honest, most endocrinologists and general practitioners won’t be supportive of your decision to treat your condition through natural methods. In addition to being skeptical about the effectiveness of natural treatment methods, they most likely will tell you that it can be dangerous to treat an autoimmune thyroid disorder naturally.The truth is that it CAN be dangerous, if you don’t do it under the guidance of a competent natural doctor. Some people will try to treat their condition on their own, while others might consult with a self-proclaimed natural healer with no true credentials. This without question can be risky and is not recommended.Step #2: Consult with a natural doctor that focuses on endocrine conditions. It admittedly can be difficult to find a holistic doctor that focuses on endocrine disorders, but they can be found if you do a little bit of research. You do need to be careful here as well, as some “holistic doctors” will simply recommend natural thyroid hormone in place of synthetic thyroid hormone, and not do anything to try to restore the normal function of your thyroid gland.The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to consult with a natural doctor that practices locally in your area. If you can find a competent natural doctor within driving distance then that’s great. But assuming you have already been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, there is no reason why you can’t consult with a natural doctor remotely over the phone and still receive great results if it is determined that you’re a good candidate for receiving natural treatment methods. In fact, there are some advantages to remote consultations, as you don’t have to drive a great distance and/or deal with traffic, wait for a long period of time in a doctor’s office, etc. You can simply consult over the phone with a doctor from the comfort of your own home.In the opening paragraph I mentioned how I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disorder. I personally was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, which is a hyperthyroid condition. But while it might seem like the complete opposite of a hypothyroid disorder such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, there are a number of similarities, as both conditions affect the immune system, and in many cases other areas of the body, such as the adrenal glands.Both autoimmune thyroid disorders often are labeled as being “incurable” by most medical doctors. While I’m not going to tell you that there is a cure for your disorder, I will let you know that many people with both Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves’ Disease have received excellent results through natural treatment methods, and this includes myself. And by the way, some of these people with Hashimoto’s who were on synthetic thyroid hormone for many years still received great results. So please don’t give up hope if you have had your condition for a long period of time.A big reason why natural treatment methods can be so effective with autoimmune thyroid disorders is because they address the underlying cause of the condition. Rather than just controlling the symptoms through medication, a good natural treatment protocol will attempt to strengthen the weakened immune system, address the adrenal glands and other areas that might be contributing to the problem, and will ultimately restore the normal function of the thyroid gland when this is possible.Once again, this isn’t suggesting that everyone who has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a good candidate for natural treatment methods. There are some people who won’t benefit from a natural treatment protocol. On the other hand, there are some people with this condition whose health can’t be completely restored to normal, but can still receive some positive benefits from a natural treatment protocol.In summary, if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and are sick and tired of taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone everyday, consider consulting with a natural doctor to see if you are a candidate to receive natural treatment methods. Try to have an open mind and realize that the body has an amazing ability to heal and regenerate itself, although sometimes it admittedly needs some outside help to accomplish this. You have nothing to lose by speaking with someone, and it just might be possible to restore the normal function of your thyroid gland so you won’t have to rely on taking medication for the rest of your life.
The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland located in your neck. Though it weighs only about an ounce, the thyroid gland has some very important functions to carry out that have a major impact on one’s health. It maintains body temperature, controls the rate of energy production (including oxygen use and basal metabolic rate), regulates the skeletal and muscular growth of children and heavily influences brain chemistry and thus brain function.Additionally the thyroid gland has major influence in all of these areas: Enhances a portion of the nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system.
Promotes breakdown of blood sugar, mobilizes fats, essential for protein synthesis, enhances the liver’s synthesis of cholesterol.
Promotes normal adult nervous system function and mood.
Promotes normal functioning of the heart.
Promotes normal muscular growth and function.
Promotes normal GI motility and tone; increases secretion of digestive juices, particularly that of the gallbladder and the stomach.
Promotes normal female reproductive ability and lactation.
Promotes normal hydration and secretory activity of the skin.The thyroid gland takes iodine, which is found in many foods, and converts it into thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). It is estimated that Iodine makes up about 0.00004% of total human body weight and iodine is found in highest concentration in the thyroid the gland cells. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine and hydrogen peroxide (using an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase or TPO) to make the hormones T4 (thyroxin) and T3 (triiodotyrosine), which are then released into the blood stream and transported throughout the body attached to a protein called Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG).It is important to understand that T4 is inactive thyroid hormone and about 93% of the thyroid’s production of hormone is T4. Only about 7% of the hormone the thyroid gland produces is active thyroid hormone (T3). The 93% inactive T4 hormone must be converted to T3 in order for this active hormone to generate all the important effects in the body. 60% of T4 is converted to T3 in the liver and 20% is converted into another inactive thyroid hormone called reverse T3 (rT3). Another 20% of T4 is converted to T3 Sulfate (T3S) and triiodothyroacetic acid (T3AC) and is acted upon by the digestive tract bacteria (assuming your digestive tract is in healthy balance of bacteria) and fully converted to T3. Any remaining T4 hormone that wasn’t transformed into T3 or inactive T3 forms will be converted into T3 by the peripheral tissues (such as in brain cells, kidneys and muscle cells).Only the active T3 hormone exerts is controlling effect on metabolism and all the other functions it governs or modulates. The thyroid is the master gland of your metabolism and so it has a very important job. People who suffer from thyroid malfunction experience many different kinds of health complications affecting a multitude of systems in their body. Every cell in your body had thyroid hormone receptor sites so that little gland affects the function of every cell in your body!An estimated 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction, half of which go undiagnosed. Women are at a and estimated 24 times greater risk of developing thyroid malfunction and this risk increases with age and also for those who have thyroid dysfunction within their family.When the thyroid gland begins to malfunction many doctors neglect to ask the very important question of why. Adrenal problems, hormonal imbalances, poor blood sugar metabolism, irregular immune function and gut infections are all signals that the thyroid might be depressed.Many times replacement hormones are used in an effort to wipe out symptoms without understanding what has caused the thyroid to malfunction in the fist place. More often than not the relief these drugs provide is short-lived, or never really works, because in order to really address the health of the very important thyroid gland, the systems of the entire body must be taken into account. So even though you are taking medications for thyroid dysfunction you may still have problems with your thyroid (even though your TSH levels are in the normal range). For example you can have problems with how the thyroid hormones are transported or how inactive T4 hormone is converted to active T3 hormone. You may have issues with the end effect the thyroid hormone is intended to have at the cell level.Here is a List of The Influences of Thyroid Hormones on Physiological and Metabolic FunctionBone: Deficiency of thyroid hormones lead to a decrease in bone development and an abnormal architecture of the bone that is created. Generally, a functionally low (which means low but not flagged as of yet) serum calcium is noted in hypothyroidism. Elevated thyroid hormones causes an increased serum calcium, as it pulls calcium from the bone, leading to increased risk of pathological fractures of the spine and weight-bearing joints.
Gastrointestinal Function: Transit time is affected directly by thyroid hormones as is absorption of nutrients.
Male Hormones: Hypothyroidism has been linked to diminished libido and impotence. Although this condition is more rare in men, it must be considered in treating these conditions.
Liver and Gallbladder Function: Low thyroid function caused decreased liver clearance and gall bladder congestion through thickening of the bile, often also associated with an elevation of cholesterol. Unfortunately, also often treated with cholesterol lowering drugs while the thyroid function is the cause of the elevated cholesterol.
Body Composition: As you may know all too well, low thyroid function causes an inability to lose weight. This is caused by a slowed conversion of glucose and fat into energy, and altering the way Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is metabolized in the body.
Blood Sugar Regulation: Low thyroid slows the insulin response to glucose following eating carbohydrates or sugar and it also slows glucose uptake into cells and tissues, and slows absorption of glucose from the intestinal tract. In other words, your entire energy production system is slowed. It is quite confounding to your body and brain, in that the glucose is in the blood, but the tissues are not able to absorb it. This really confuses the pituitary gland and adrenal glands, resulting in a “stress physiology,” even if life is good.
Cholesterol: As mentioned earlier, low thyroid increases your cholesterol and triglycerides, so your doctor tells you your diet is poor. You become even more strict in your diet, and the tissue starvation (low glucose, low energy) gets worse, which makes the stress physiology worse, which makes your cholesterol higher, which prompts your doctor to put you on cholesterol medication, which interferes with energy production, which further stresses your physiology…whew! You are frustrated!
Depression: Low thyroid impairs the production of stimulating neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that antidepressants work on. Low stimulating neurotransmitters leaves you, as one of my professors described, feeling “lower than a snakes belly.”
Female Hormones: Low thyroid changes the way estrogen is metabolized in the body, shifting toward an estrogen metabolite that has been proven to increase the risk of breast cancer.
Stress: Low thyroid slows the elimination of the stress hormone cortisol, which leaves you feeling stressed out, not because of “stress,” but because the stress hormone can’t be removed efficiently.
Detoxification: Low thyroid slows an enzyme critical for metabolic biotransformation, or detoxification, the process by which the body binds and removes all environmental chemicals, and normal byproducts of metabolism, including hormones. “Toxicity” further slows your metabolism, and leads to headaches and other toxic symptoms.
Digestion: Low thyroid reduces the release of Gastrin, which determines the output of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, leading to poor protein digestion, sour stomach, and GERD.
Thermoregulation: Regulation of body temperature is affected by low thyroid, resulting in hot flashes and night sweats, which is especially prominent in perimenopausal women. This is often blamed on estrogen dropping, but may be directly caused by low thyroid.
PMS and Infertility: Low thyroid affects the progesterone receptors, making them less sensitive to progesterone, which feels like low progesterone, although the progesterone levels may be normal. Since the activity of progesterone is diminished, the health of the uterus is insufficient for implantation in the second half of the female cycle, leading to difficulties getting pregnant and PMS. Low thyroid also reduces sex hormone binding proteins, leading to an increase in estrogen activity.
Anemia: Low thyroid, as mentioned affects protein metabolism, which then lowers the red blood cell mass, which carries oxygen to tissues for metabolism of energy. Yes, another mechanism for feeling lousy.
Homocysteine: Low thyroid slows a process called methylation, often evidenced by elevated serum levels of homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine in the blood has been proven as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders, and cervical dysplasia.Due to the effect the thyroid hormones have on so many systems of the body, including metabolism and nervous system function, a minimum of two mechanisms can lead to sleep apnea. Number one is the weight gain that typically occurs about the face and often, an enlarged thyroid gland, which can physically impede airflow through the airway, leading to sleep apnea. In addition the reduction in proper thyroid hormone leads to impairment of the part of the brain stem that is in charge of the cardio-respiratory centers, thus leading to abnormal breathing patterns during sleep. Weakened respiratory muscles due to hypothyroid myopathy can be a third cause for sleep apnea.As you can see, living with low thyroid has far reaching effects on your health and function. There are as many as 24 published mechanisms for thyroid function to be impaired. Visit http://www.helpmychronicpain.com/Shelby-Township-Thyroid-Answers/ to become informed about how to get a functional diagnosis, that truly gets to the root of your thyroid health challenges so you can regain the zest in your life and sleep better.
What’s the connection between fibromyalgia & your thyroid?As I work with clients, I find that nearly all of them have undiagnosed thyroid issues. The most common thing for me to recommend in a consultation is for someone to get a full thyroid panel done by a good doctor who understands thyroid disease.Why? Many symptoms of thyroid disease overlap with fibromyalgia symptoms. It just makes good sense to check to see if some of your fibromyalgia symptoms, or symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), could be caused by low thyroid.In addition, thyroid issues could be amplifying your CFS or fibromyalgia symptoms, making them worse than they would be if your thyroid was functioning properly. If it is, then…Treating your thyroid could improve your fibromyalgia.Here are some of the symptoms of low thyroid that can mimic fibromyalgia:Fatigue
Sleeping more than average
Muscle pain, especially lower body
Pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints
Increased sensitivity to temperature, particularly coldOther common symptoms of low thyroid are:Constipation
Pale, dry skin
Elevated cholesterol levels
Unexplained weight gain
Difficulty losing weight
Heavier than normal menstrual periods
Brittle fingernails and hairThere are three things that make discovering a thyroid condition tricky.First, the most common symptoms of low thyroid look like fibromyalgia.One down side to being diagnosed with fibromyalgia is that doctors may put all of your symptoms under the “fibromyalgia” heading and not look further for causes. This may be what happens with your thyroid.If you complain to your doctor that your legs are hurting more than normal, but everything else feels the same, your doctor could very well say, “Your fibromyalgia is flaring up. You must’ve done something different with those muscles.”However, if your doctor is familiar with the lesser known symptoms of low thyroid, you might discover that your leg pain is due to low thyroid.Second, your doctor and/or lab may not know about the updated lab standards.In November 2002, new guidelines were published by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) for what the normal range should be for your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Before this revision, a range of 0.5 to 5.0 was considered normal.However, the AACE found that patients within the range of 3.04 to 5.0 had symptoms of hypothyroidism. (This is one test where the higher number indicates low thyroid function.)In light of this, the AACE shifted the normal range to be 0.3 to 3.04 – a much narrower range.According to the AACE, this shift doubles the number of people who are considered to have abnormal thyroid function. The reality is, these folks already had abnormal thyroid function; the test now correctly reflects this, allowing these people to get proper treatment.If your doctor is still using the old standards, I suggest bringing this press release from the AACE to your next appointment. If your doctor remains resistant after reading the press release, it’s time to look for a new doctor – at least for your thyroid needs.Third, your doctor may only know how to diagnose basic low thyroid.In order to properly diagnose some thyroid disorders, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where your body thinks your thyroid is evil and tries to kill it, your doctor needs to run a full thyroid panel, not just a simple TSH test. Only by running a full thyroid panel, will a doctor who understands the intricacies of thyroid disease have the information needed to treat you.Your TSH levels can actually look normal while you are having a problem with your thyroid.It was the thyroid antibodies that told my doctor that I had Hashimoto’s; one of my clients doesn’t manufacture enough T3 from the T4 in her body. These are things you’d never know by only running the TSH test.Most MD’s will only run the TSH test. However, your thyroid test should include Free T3, Free T4, and thyroid antibodies TPO/TSI, along with the TSH level if you want to get a complete diagnosis.Of course, you’ll also need to see a doctor that knows how to interpret these test results! Normally, that means visiting a naturopath. If you need help finding a good one, let me know.You’ve finally gotten a diagnosis of low thyroid. Now what?When treating your thyroid, there are two options: synthetic medications or natural glandulars.Most MD’s will prescribe synthetic medication such as Synthroid or levothyroxine to treat your hypothyroidism. These medications only contain the T4 thyroid hormone. I believe that glandulars are a much better option.Using a natural glandular, such as Armour Thyroid, gives you both the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. They are made from pig thyroid, which is similar to human thyroid. However, if you go with a natural glandular, choose Armour Thyroid.Why is Armour Thyroid brand the only way to go?I’ve read that many MD’s prescribe synthetics because they think that the natural glandulars are not standardized, meaning that you may not get a consistent amount of thyroid hormone in a natural pill.Forest Laboratories, the manufacturer of Armour Thyroid, tests both the raw material and the actual tablets, to make sure that you are getting exactly what you are prescribed. Armour Thyroid is standardized.In addition:Armour Thyroid is gluten free. The generics are not.
Natural glandulars have been proven to work better on depression than many antidepressants! Synthetics cannot make this claim.
Your thyroid produces both the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. Natural glandulars contain both T3 and T4; the synthetics most MD’s prescribe do not.
It’s almost always true that natural products are utilized by your body more fully than synthetics.If you want to read more about diagnosing thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s, and how an undiagnosed thyroid disorder could be affecting you, I highly recommend reading Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian. It’s an excellent, groundbreaking book about this subject.Action StepsCheck out the symptoms of low thyroid. Do any of them apply to you?If they do, make an appointment to talk with your doctor about running a FULL thyroid panel to test your thyroid. Treating your thyroid can make a huge difference in your fibromyalgia symptoms. You owe it to yourself to check this out as soon as possible!
Introduction:Inflammatory disorders of thyroid gland are a mixture of various disorders characterized by variable clinical presentations, etiologies and treatment modalities. These disorders cause the thyroid gland to be diffusely enlarged, nodular. Functionally speaking these patients may be euthyroid, hypothyroid or hyperthyroid. These patients may not suffer from pain except in cases of post viral and suppurative thyroiditis.Inflammatory thyroiditis are often associated with certain characteristic triggering factors:1. Parturition2. Viral infections3. MedicationsClassification of inflammatory thyroid disorders:This takes into account the subjective history (painful or painless), its temporal course (acute, subacute or chronic), histopathologic features (hyperplastic, lymphocytic, granulomatous, or fibrous), and the name of the physician who first described them (Graves, Hashimoto, DeQuervain, and Riedel). These parameters cause a lot of confusion when classifying this disorder.A simple classification of inflammatory thyroiditis has been evolved. It divides the various disorders into four main groups:1. Autoimmune2. Amiodarone induced3. Infectious4. IdiopathicAutoimmune thyroid disease:This is the commonest of inflammatory thyroid disorders. Disorders under this group include:a. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis)b. Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditisc. Postpartum thyroiditisd. Grave’s diseaseThis group of disorders is characterized by immune reaction against thyroid autoantigens. There are three serologic markers for disorders belonging to this group. They are:1. Antibodies against thyroid globulin (the large protein on which T3 and T4are synthesized and subsequently cleaved)2. Thyroid microsomal antigen (also known as thyroid peroxidase)3. Thyrotropin receptorThe presence of thyroid antibodies facilitates lymphocytic infiltration of the thyroid gland which is a feature of autoimmune thyroiditis. If thyroid receptor stimulating antibody is present, it can cause hypertrophy of the gland with minimal lymphocytic infiltration. This picture is seen in Graves disease.Autoimmunity also can induce a thyrotropin receptor antibody which blocks normal thyrotropin from activating it causes hypothyroidism without lymphocytic infiltration.Autoimmune thyroid disease may present either with thyroiditis or as a hyperplastic disorder i.e. Graves disease. When a clear precipitating factor could be associated with this disorder then it could be used to name the subtype of the disorder i.e. (Postpartum thyroiditis, interferon induced thyroiditis) etc. Sometimes these various subtypes of autoimmune thyroiditis could be seen in the same patient.Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: is the most common inflammatory disorder of thyroid gland. Patients present typically with goitre, nodules, with hypothyroidism. High titres of circulating thyroid antibodies is a feature of this disorder.Histologically, the gland shows follicular degeneration with a diffuse lymphocytic infiltration. There may also be associated fibrosis. These features are identifiable in FNAC. If there is palpable cervical node associated with Hashimotos thyroiditis then FNAC of thyroid should be performed to rule out malignancy.Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis: This disorder comprises of three subtypes. They are Postpartum thyroiditis, silent thyroiditis and interferon induced thyroiditis. All these three subtypes have positive microsomal antibodies.Postpartum thyroiditis: affects 5% of females. Women with positive thyroid antibodies during the first trimester of pregnancy have roughly 50% chance of developing postpartum thyroiditis. Hyperthyroidism usually develops during the first three months following delivery. It is usually mild and may last for a few months. The patient may then become euthyroid and later hypothyroid. These patients commonly have a mild to moderately enlarged thyroid gland. TSH levels may be raised. Antithyroid drugs are not indicated in these patients on the other hand steroids may have a role to play.Silent thyroiditis has no clear cut precipitating risk factors. Silent thyroiditis may precede or succeed other types of autoimmune thyroiditis. The diagnosis is usually one of exclusion.Interferon a commonly used immunoactivating agent in the treatment of viral hepatitis can cause thyroid dysfunction. Pre existing auto immune thyroiditis is considered to be a risk factor in the development of interferon induced thyroiditis. This type of thyroiditis is generally mild and self limiting.Graves disease: is an autoimmune disorder involving the thyroid gland. It also carries with it the risk of developing other subtypes of autoimmune thyroiditis. The classic presentation of Graves disease include:1. Hyperthyroidism2. Goitre3. Opthalmopathy4. Dermopathy (unusual)5. AcropachyTests used to diagnose Graves disease:
Serum TSH estimation (elevated)
Total or free T4 assessment
Presence of microsomal antibodies
Radioactive iodine uptake
Hyperthyroidism in Graves disease is caused by activating thyroid stimulating antibody against the thyrotropin receptor. There is also an increased incidence of thyroid carcinoma in these patients.Treatment:In the short term these patients can be managed with antithyroid medications. Long lasting effects can be produced with ablation of gland function by 131I administration, followed by life long supplements of thyroid hormones.Surgical ablation of the gland is another option. Before embarking on it the patient should be made euthyroid by use of antithyroid drugs. Oral administration of Iodine should be discouraged in these patients unless and until the patient has been started on antithyroid drugs.Amiodarone induced thyroiditis: Amiodarone is a potent antiarrhythmic drug. This drug is structurally related to thyroxine. It initially causes hyperthyroidism which is unwelcome in cardiac patients. The types of thyroid dysfunction caused by amiodarone is as follows:Type I: This type behaves like toxic multinodular goitre or graves disease with normal or high radioactive iodine uptake. It responds well to antithyroid medications.Type II: Behaves like chemical thyroiditis and is responsive to steroids.Diagnostic tests to clinch the diagnosis include:1. TSH estimation2. Free T3 T4 estimation3. Microsomal antibodies4. Radio active iodine uptake scanManagement: In most of the cases it is necessary to discontinue the drug. Thyroidectomy may be considered in patients who need to continue taking amiodarone because of their heart condition.Infectious thyroiditis: Is commonly caused by viral infections. Post viral thyroiditis is also known as De Quervain’s disease, whereas bacterial thyroiditis tend to suppurate. Suppurative thyroiditis is painful.Fibrous thyroiditis: Also known as Riedel’s thyroiditis. This is a very rare entity causing fibrosis of thyroid gland and surrounding tissue. Etiology is unknown. It is associated with retroperitoneal fibrosis, pseudo tumor of orbit and sclerosing cholangitis. Majority of patients are women in the fifth decade of life.Diagnosis involves use of biopsy. In cases of tracheal compression, excision of isthmus will suffice. Otherwise it is a self limiting disease.Medical therapy includes glucocorticoid administration. Tamoxifen could also be used.Radioactive iodine uptake studies:RAIURAI ScanInflammatory thyroiditisLowMinimal trappingToxic multinodular goitreNormal to highCannonball patternGrave’s diseaseHighHomogenous / diffuse
People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a thyroid disorder. In the general population, approximately 6% of people have a thyroid problem in some form or other. However, this percentage increases to more than 10% in people with diabetes.Indeed, thyroid disorders are very common in the western world… second only to diabetes as the most common condition to affect the endocrine system.The endocrine system is a group of glands that secrete hormones that help regulate the use of nutrients by cells, ie these glands play a central role in the proper functioning of your metabolism.Abnormal thyroid function can have a major impact on the control of diabetes… untreated thyroid disorders can increase the risk of diabetic complications and can aggravate symptoms of diabetes.But thyroid problems can easily be diagnosed through simple blood tests and effective treatment is available. Anyone with diabetes should be screened periodically for thyroid disorders.What is the thyroid?The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly sitting around the windpipe in your neck between your Adam’s apple and your collarbone. It makes two hormones, T3 and T4, which set the speed for your metabolism… how fast your heart beats, how deeply you breathe, your body temperature, and how your body uses insulin are thyroid-related functions.Hyperthyroidism, ie too much thyroid hormones being produced, increases insulin resistance, while hypothyroidism, too little of the hormones being made, raises cholesterol.Hypothyroidism is far more common than hyperthyroidism.Both hypo- and hyper-thyroid greatly increase the risk of heart disease.Symptoms of thyroid problemsThe symptoms vary with age and gender, and whether you have hypo- or hyperthyroidism.The symptoms of hypothyroidism include feeling tired, feeling cold, gaining weight, experiencing depression, dry hair and skin, and constipation.With hyperthyroidism you are like to experience weight loss, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, muscle weakness, and diarrhoea.Both kinds of thyroidism, hyper- and hypo-thyroidism, can cause a goitre, a swelling of the neck as the thyroid grows bigger.Many of the symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. For example, one symptom of a thyroid problem is cold feet. But someone with type 2 diabetes can easily mistake this symptom for diabetic neuropathy.Testing for thyroid problemsBecause you can’t really tell from the symptoms alone whether you have a thyroid problem, you should get your thyroid checked regularly through blood tests. This is usually done by testing your blood for TSH, the thyroid-stimulating hormone.TSH is the hormone your pituitary gland uses to tell the thyroid to get working. If thyroid function is low, the TSH level in your blood will be high which signals that your thyroid should be producing more thyroid hormones. If the thyroid is overactive, TSH will be low, trying to slow it down.A TSH level between 0.4 and 4.0mU/L (milliunits per litre) is considered normal. But some people can have significantly low thyroid functioning with a TSH of 2.0-4.0mU/L. Levels in this range may already be raising your lipids to harmful levels and possibly your glucose. In some European countries, patients with a TSH above 2.0 mU/L can be put on thyroid medication.How to manage thyroid problemsThere are three things you must do to manage thyroid problems… get tested periodically… take prescribed medicines, and… eat a thyroid friendly diet.Testing… according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), anyone diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes should be checked for thyroid disorders and then at five-year intervals thereafter. Those with Type 1 diabetes should be screened every year. It’s also a good idea to be tested whenever you have unexplained changes in your glucose levels.Medicine… hypothyroidism can be treated with levothyroxinen, a synthetic version of T4, the main thyroid hormone, which is made and released by the thyroid gland. However you have to try it out at different doses to find the best dose for you, which can take several months.But levothyroxinen does not work for everyone. However, there are other medications, such as liothyronine, that can be used instead.Note that it is important to take your thyroid pills every day at the same time.There are medical and surgical treatments for hyperthyroidism as well.Diet… eating the correct foods makes a difference.Iodine is the most important nutrient for your thyroid. It is added to most commercially-sold salt in Europe and North America. If you use other, more specialist salts or no salt, you may need to ingest more iodine. Sea vegetables (seaweed) and sea animals are the best sources.Medicine, food and exerciseThe most common form of thyroid issues is hypothyroidism, ie a sluggish thyroid that is under-performing.The get your thyroid working up to speed you should:Medicine… take the correct amount of medicine as directed by your doctor. Don’t skip doses and take it at the same time of the day. Taking it at varying times during the day can prevent it working as it should. As you will probably have to take it for the rest of your life, make it part of your set daily routine.Take your thyroid medicine on an empty stomach. Food can decrease its absorption, especially foods high in fibre. High fibre foods are good for you, so don’t stop eating them… just eat them several hours before or after taking your thyroid medicines.Avoid taking calcium supplements or supplements that contain iron (such as a multivitamins) along with your thyroid medicine as these can also block absorption of the medicine.Food… cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage can affect the production of the thyroid hormone. These are very healthy foods, so you must continue to eat them… just don’t eat them at the same time as you take your medicine. Cooking these vegetables seems to lessen this effect.Go easy with soy foods… soy contains genistein, which can decrease the production of the thyroid hormone… and, while you should keep eating them, do limit them to a few times per week.Eat foods that boost the production of the thyroid hormone. These foods contain nutrients such as B vitamins, selenium, zinc, tyrosine, and iodine. Poultry, seafood, lean meat, whole grains, onions, beans, almonds, avocados, seeds, and low-fat dairy foods may be helpful.Avoid or limit fatty and sugary foods… just as you do to control your diabetes.Watch your portion sizes. Not overeating seems like a no-brainer. If you need to lose weight, cut back on how much you eat.A deficiency in iron is one cause of hypothyroidism. Ask your doctor to check your levels of iron if you have hypothyroidism.Don’t take dietary supplements, such as iodine supplements, geared towards treating thyroid problems without first discussing this with your doctor. Also, don’t stop taking your thyroid medicine in the hopes of “treating” hypothyroidism by diet alone.Exercise… not necessary to solve your thyroidism (or your diabetes) but helps the process. Keeping fit with a daily exercise routine will boost your efforts… you will also feel the better for it.
Come a little closer and listen up. This is the well-hidden “Ultimate Strategy” for dealing with thyroid disorder symptoms, you’ve been waiting to hear about. Although there is no agreement on exactly ‘HOW’ it happens, top researchers now agree that there is absolutely NO DOUBT the major CAUSE, if not THE primary cause of your Thyroid disorders in the United Stated is… autoimmune attack of the thyroid. As I have stated, research points to the immune system mounting an attack on the thyroid gland – causing it to be destroyed over time as a major cause – of thyroid disorder symptoms.In most cases, since the actual autoimmune response is ignored, over time you will continue to lose more thyroid cells, and the requirements for your thyroid replacement hormone continue to rise. Even more importantly, despite the fact that “TSH is considered managed” with replacement thyroid hormones, autoimmune thyroid patients will continue to have all the symptoms of low thyroid function. But worse yet is the fact that your immune system will continue the unrelenting attack on OTHER areas of your body.So in a nutshell, you are guaranteed to fail with replacement hormones alone, because 90% of the time the primary mechanism is an autoimmune attack against the thyroid gland, and the thyroid replacement hormone does nothing to stop, slow down, or modulate this immune attack.Since the autoimmune mechanism is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, you would think that it is commonly screened for. In reality, rarely is it ever checked. This is mostly because the treatment would still be thyroid replacement hormones only. Why run extra tests if you are not going to alter the treatment based off the test results? This is considered “waste” in the HMO insurance model that has become so prevalent in this country.The “Ultimate Strategy” is to determine what metabolic and neurologic “weaknesses” exist in the individual with thyroid symptoms. There are at least 24 different patterns of causes of thyroid symptoms. It is quite the puzzle to unlock. Fortunately, Dr. Datis Kharrazian, DC has trained me in the methods used to solve the puzzle. Dr. Kharrazian wrote the book entitled; “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Labs Are Normal”. He has a specialized testing and treatment approach that helps solve the riddle of why you still have thyroid symptoms. I have received training from Dr. Kharrazian.When the thyroid gland begins to malfunction, many doctors neglect to ask the very important question of why. Adrenal problems, hormonal imbalances, poor blood sugar metabolism, irregular immune function and gut infections are all signals that the thyroid might be depressed. Many times replacement hormones are used in an effort to wipe out symptoms without understanding what has caused the thyroid to malfunction in the fist place. More often than not the relief these drugs provide is short-lived, or never really works, because in order to really address the health of the very important thyroid gland, the systems of the entire body must be taken into account. So even though you are taking medications for thyroid dysfunction you may still have problems with your thyroid (even though your TSH levels are in the normal range). For example you can have problems with how the thyroid hormones are transported in the body or how inactive T4 hormone is converted to active T3 hormone. You may have issues with the end effect the thyroid hormone is intended to have at the cell level.There are six major thyroid patterns that can be tested for with thyroid blood tests. When I say thyroid blood tests, I don’t just mean testing TSH and T4. To really evaluate for these 6 major patterns a full thyroid blood panel needs to be ordered. I’ll list those tests later in this article. To further complicate things there are 24 known patterns of low thyroid function (many of which need testing other than thyroid blood tests to find). Only one thyroid pattern is effectively treated with medication. Once you understand why this is true, you will be begin to see the folly of considering medication for any other pattern without also working to correct the underlying reason for the pattern. Unfortunately the concept of using thyroid medication and only monitoring two blood indices (TSH and T4) is a 1960′s version of treatment. The modern approach is to be aware of the various abnormal body function patterns (and the underlying physiological mechanisms) that can cause the other 5 major patterns of thyroid trouble.The first major pattern is primary hypothyroidism. In this case the thyroid gland gets sort of lazy and the pituitary gland rushes in by pumping extra TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Primary hypothyroidism affects the entire body. A person may begin to feel sluggish, though there are various symptoms that can occur.In the second pattern the TSH will be low but not as low as with primary hypothyroidism. This pattern is termed hypothyroid symptoms secondary to pituitary hypo-function. The pituitary gland, through various mechanisms fails to produce proper quantities of TSH and therefore the thyroid gland is not stimulated adequately to produce T4 and T3. One common way that this occurs is from chronic stress.Sampling of Stressors That Negative Impact The Thyroid Gland Include:Chronic stress fatigues the pituitary gland
Hormone pills including Synthroid & estrogen creams
Inflammation & Infection
Toxicity (mercury, gluten, casein, flu shot)
Poor nutrition (Standard American Diet = S.A.D.)
Postpartum depression; pregnancy can fatigue the pituitary gland
Fluctuating insulin/glucose levels (adrenal gland fatigue)How do we know this second pathway is malfunctioning? Blood testing reveals TSH is less that 1.8 and T4 is less than 6.The third pattern is thyroid under conversion. This is when the gland is making enough quantity of T4 but the conversion to T3 is inadequate and therefore there is low T3. The reason for this reduced conversion can be due to chronic infection or inflammation. Increased cortisol produced by the adrenal gland that is responding to stress from a chronic infection or otherwise may also cause this. High cortisol levels are also toxic to the temporal lobe of the brain causing poor memory and mental fogginess. This pattern is often missed because low T3 doesn’t affect TSH levels (only T4 does) and T3 is rarely checked for with the standard blood tests performed by medical physicians. A clue to this pattern is that all other thyroid tests are normal except T3 is low (300-450 is normal).The fourth pattern to cause low thyroid symptoms is thyroid over conversion of T4 to T3. This can be due to decreased Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). This pattern occurs when too much T3 is made and it is overwhelming the cells. The number one cause of this pattern (especially in women) is high blood sugar (glucose) due to a resistance to insulin (the hormone produced by the pancreas whose job is to usher sugar into our body cells for energy processes). Glucose will typically be found in the 100-126 and higher range. Increased glucose causes increases testosterone levels in females resulting in too much free T3 and too little TBG. Insulin resistance due to over consumption of carbohydrates is also a very common cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and subsequent difficulty getting pregnant (infertility).The fifth pattern is Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG) elevation. This is when there is too much TBG in the blood and too little T3. When TBG is too high, it is like having too many taxis for T3 hormone and the taxis won’t let out their passengers, because they are concerned they won’t get other passengers. This is mainly caused by oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives or estrogen replacement therapy causes an increase in estrogen, which leads to increases in TBG.The sixth pattern is thyroid resistance. With thyroid resistance chronic stress is a root cause. Chronic stress stimulates the adrenal glands, which, in turn, produces far too much cortisol. High levels of cortisol from the adrenal gland cause cells throughout the body to be resistant to thyroid hormones. The pituitary and thyroid are OK but the hormones are not getting into the cells.Many parts of the body become involved when thyroid function is interfered with including bone metabolism, the immune system, the nervous system, the endocrine system, gastrointestinal function, liver and gallbladder, growth and sex hormones, fat burning, insulin and glucose metabolism, healthy cholesterol levels and proper stomach acid. Sometimes the thyroid gland will not produce enough hormones and this is called hypo-secretion. On the other hand, it can produce too many and this is called hyper-secretion. There is a normal level of secretion and a delicate balance that must be kept. If, for example, there is a hypo-secretion of the thyroid gland the nervous system will be affected and people will have mental dulling, depression and memory impairment. If there is a hyper-secretion of the thyroid gland then a person will experience irritability, restlessness and moodiness. In the cardiovascular system hypo-secretion will cause low heart rate and blood pressure and hyper-secretion will cause rapid heart rate and possible palpitations. The thyroid is so important that when it malfunctions you will find that many of your body systems are affected.The bottom line is that poor testing leads to improper treatment, which in turn leads to poor results. If the diagnosis is incorrect then the treatment will be ineffective. More often than not a TSH test is ordered to evaluate thyroid function but there are many other tests to consider when understanding the condition of your thyroid. For example, the list below is a list of tests that can produce a much more accurate reflection of thyroid hormone function.
Total T4: Thyroxine (inactive thyroid hormone)
Total T3: Triiodothyroxine (the active thyroid hormone)
FTI: Free Thyroxine index (amount of T4 available)
FT4: Free Thyroxine (non-protein bound inactive thyroid hormones)
TBG levels: Thyroid Binding Globulin (the protein “taxi” that shuttles T4 and T3 around the body)
T3 Uptake: (how much of T3 is taken up by TBG)
FT3: Free Triodothyroxine (non-protein bound active thyroid hormones)
rT3: Reverse T3 (the body cannot use this variation of T3)
TPO Antibodies (TPO Ab) and TBG Antibodies (TBG Ab): (Indicator of Hashimoto’s)
TSH antibodies: (Indicator of Graves’ disease)
In order to know the underlying cause of your thyroid malfunction one must run the proper tests. It is unwise to just treat the symptoms (that’s reserved for medical treatment). A very important note: If you have an autoimmune attack on your thyroid gland – then this immune system challenge becomes the HIGHEST PRIORITY of testing and treatment. To handle this immune system imbalance requires specialized testing and treatment by a doctor who has been thoroughly trained in the proper protocols. The first thing we have to do is run a complete metabolic profile. This includes a complete thyroid profile. Also we must test for vitamin D levels (both active and storage form), anemia, liver and kidney function. The second thing we must do is check for immune imbalance. We must give you an adrenal stress index test. A food sensitivity test must also be given testing for immune reaction to gluten, milk, soy, yeast and eggs as well as testing for gluten sensitivity genes and celiac genes.Recent advancement in testing allows us to test the gluten sensitive individual to 24 foods that can cross react with the gluten (gliadin) antibody. If you are avoiding gluten, but are still creating an immune response to one of these other common foods, then you will not get better. So this cross reaction test is very important. We must also check for gut infections and if you are harboring parasites and/or yeast overgrowth. Other factors related to digestive system health must be measured as well (20 percent of T4 to T3 conversion occurs in the gut). Without a healthy digestive tract you can miss out on as much as 20% of your intended thyroid hormone function! The main point to keep in mind with this thorough testing is the thyroid gland influences many bodily functions AND many systems of the body impact the thyroid gland function. This two-way street is often referred to as thyroid cross-talk. Taking a whole body approach to testing for why you have thyroid symptom is the only way to fully evaluate this disorder so a resolution can come about.Another very important point is that your specific lab tests need to be evaluated and analyzed as a group. Once analyzed from this all-inclusive perspective a Neuro-Metabolic Treatment (NMT) plan should be geared around four key elements:1. Dietary changes to eliminate those foods that may be contributing to your condition. Certain herbs and foods can have a negative effect on the balance of your immune system. Specific dietary advice should be given so that your immune system regains balance.2. Lifestyle changes are necessary to reduce stress on various body systems and glands. For example; eating 5 meals per day to maintain steady blood sugar levels so your adrenal glands have a chance to heal. One of the jobs the adrenal glands have is to balance blood sugar between meals and when under stress. Taking this job away by eating 5-6 smaller meals lets the adrenals rest up and rebuild.3. Along with diet and lifestyle changes there are specific nutritional supplements that must be taken in order to facilitate healing and recovery. The consumption of these nutritional supplements will ensure that the repair process goes smoothly and that the immune system is brought back into balance.4. Finally a customized and carefully monitored Brain Based Therapy protocol, designed especially for the thyroid disorder patient, based on a functional neurological examination is in order.This 4 prong approach provides the foundation for assisting the malfunctioning body to bring itself back into balance so it can heal the cause(s) of your thyroid symptoms. Hopefully now you understand what it takes to really get to the bottom of your various thyroid malfunction symptoms (sleep problems, fatigue, pain, ill health, cold hands and feet, brain fog, depression, anxiety, muscle weakness, etc.) and finally get you feeling more like you used to feel!References: Autoimmunity and hypothyroidism. Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 Aug;2(3):591-617. Am. J. Med. Volume 123, Issue 2, Pages 183.e1-183.e9 Multiple common variants for celiac disease influencing immune gene expression. Nature Genetics 42, 295 – 302(2010) Published online: 28 February 2010 | Corrected online: 12 March 2010 | doi:10.1038/ng.543
Thyroiditis is actually a broad expression that describes inflammation in the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis symptoms incorporate a selection of unique conditions which all trigger thyroidal inflammation and, consequently, leads to a variety of clinical presentations. For instance, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is regarded as the most frequent cause of hypothyroidism in North America. Postpartum thyroiditis, that causes temporary thyrotoxicosis (excessive thyroid hormone concentrations within the bloodstream) followed by temporary hypothyroidism, is a very common trigger of thyroid conditions following the birth of a child. Sub acute thyroiditis certainly is the principal reason for pain and discomfort in the thyroid gland. It may also be observed in individuals using the medications interferon and amiodarone.The various clinical signs and symptomsThere aren’t any symptoms which are entirely unique. In the event the thyroiditis brings about gradual and long-term thyroid cellular deterioration and destruction, ultimately causing a drop in thyroid hormonal levels in the bloodstream, the actual signs or symptoms will be those of hypothyroidism. Common hypothyroid symptoms comprise of tiredness, an increase in weight, bowel irregularity, dried-out skin, depressive disorders as well as below average physical exercise endurance. This is frequently the scenario for patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. When the condition brings about accelerated thyroid cellular deterioration and destruction, the actual thyroid hormone which is held in the particular gland escapes, raising thyroid hormonal levels in the bloodstream, and then results in signs and symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, which can be very much like hyperthyroidism. These types of signs and symptoms frequently consist of anxiousness, sleeping disorders, heart palpitations (rapid heartbeat) exhaustion, weight reduction, and also becoming easily irritated. It is observed in individuals with the toxic stage of subacute, painless and post-partum thyroiditis. The signs and symptoms of thyrotoxicosis and hyperthyroidism are exactly the same because raised quantities of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream bring about both of those health conditions. Thyrotoxicosis is the expression used with thyroiditis for the reason that the gland isn’t overactive. In subacute, painless and post-partum thyroiditis, the thyroid gland frequently ends up being exhausted of thyroid hormone while the duration of inflammation persists, resulting in a drop in thyroid hormonal levels in the bloodstream and signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. Discomfort in the thyroid gland may be observed in individuals suffering with subacute thyroiditis.What can cause the condition?Thyroiditis is actually brought on by an attack on the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and destruction of the thyroid gland cellular material. Antibodies which invade the thyroid bring about nearly all kinds of thyroiditis. As a result, thyroiditis is generally an autoimmune condition, comparable to juvenile diabetes and also rheumatoid arthritis. Nobody understands precisely why specific individuals manufacture thyroid antibodies, however this has a tendency to run in families. It may also be brought on by infection, say for example a virus or perhaps bacterias, which often operate in much the same way as the antibodies to result in inflammation within the gland. Ultimately, medications that include interferon and amiodarone, also can harm thyroid gland cellular material and trigger symptoms.What’s the clinical course?The path of the condition is determined by the particular type. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – Individuals typically present with hypothyroidism, that is in most cases irreversible. Painless and post-partum thyroiditis – These types of conditions offer a similar experience and also keep to the same exact standard clinical course of thyrotoxicosis followed by hypothyroidism. Really the only distinction between them is the fact that post-partum thyroiditis arises following the birth of a child whilst painless thyroiditis only occurs in individuals not associated with a pregnancy. Not every patient displays evidence of undergoing the two stages; in the region of one third of sufferers will develop both stages, whilst one third of individuals would have just a thyrotoxic or hypothyroid phase. The thyrotoxic phase can last for between one and three months and it is related to signs and symptoms which includes anxiousness, sleeping disorders, heart palpitations (rapid heartbeat) exhaustion, weight-loss, and also becoming easily irritated. The hypothyroid stage generally takes place one to three months following the thyrotoxic stage and can continue for as long as nine to twelve months. Prevalent signs and symptoms consist of exhaustion, excess weight, irregular bowel movements, dried-out skin, depressive disorders and below average physical exercise endurance. The majority of sufferers (~80%) should have their particular thyroid function return to normalcy within Twelve to Eighteen months from the start of their symptoms.Exactly how is it treated?Treatment methods vary depending on the kind of symptoms and also the clinical presentation of the condition. Thyrotoxicosis – Beta blockers to reduce heart palpitations and minimize shakes and tremors can be beneficial. When symptoms get better, the medicine is tapered off because the thyrotoxic stage is temporary. Antithyroid medicines aren’t employed for the thyrotoxic stage of any sort considering that the thyroid is not overactive. Hypothyroidism – Treatment solutions are started with thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism as a result of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis In individuals that are symptomatic with the hypothyroid stage of subacute, painless and post-partum thyroiditis – thyroid hormonal treatment is in addition suggested. In the event the hypothyroidism in these latter conditions is slight and the individual has very few, if any, signs and symptoms, then simply no therapy might be required. If thyroid hormone treatments are started in individuals with subacute, painless and post-partum thyroiditis, therapy needs to be ongoing for about Six to Twelve months and after that tapered to ascertain if thyroid gland hormone is needed on a permanent basis. Thyroidal discomfort – The discomfort related to subacute thyroiditis in most cases may be controlled with minor anti-inflamatory medicines for instance aspirin or ibuprofen. In some instances, the discomfort may be extreme and call for steroid treatment solutions with prednisone.Subacute thyroiditis – This adheres to the exact same clinical course as painless and post-partum thyroiditis, except for the signs and symptoms of thyroidal pain. The thyroidal discomfort in individuals with subacute thyroiditis generally adheres to the very same time-frame of the thyrotoxic stage (1-3 months). Even so, not every patient with thyroidal discomfort inevitably has thyrotoxicosis. As mentioned with painless and post-partum thyroiditis, resolution of all the thyroidal irregularities after Twelve to Eighteen months is observed in the majority of individuals (~95%). Recurrence of subacute thyroiditis is uncommon. Drug-induced and radiation thyroiditis – Both thyrotoxicosis and hypothyroidism could be observed in these kind of conditions. The thyrotoxicosis is generally short-lived. Drug-induced hypothyroidism frequently resolves with the stopping of the substance, whilst the hypothyroidism in connection with radiation thyroiditis is normally irreversible. Acute/Infectious Thyroiditis Symptoms range from Thyroidal pain, wide spread illness, painless enlargement of the thyroid as well as hypothyroidism. The particular signs and symptoms in most cases resolve as soon as the infection goes away.