It is estimated that as many as 25 million Americans have a thyroid problem, and half of them have no idea that they do. Hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, accounts for 90% of all thyroid imbalances. The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the center of your neck, is the master gland of metabolism. How well your thyroid is functioning is inter-related with every system in your body. If your thyroid is not running optimally, then neither are you.
10 Signs of an Underactive Thyroid
- Fatigue after 8-10 hours of sleep
- Weight gain or cannot lose weight
- Mood swings; anxiety or depression
- Hormone imbalance
- Muscle or join pain
- Cold hands or feet, or low body temperature
- Dry skin and hair loss
- Brain fog, poor concentration
- Neck swelling, snoring, hoarse voice
Why Thyroid problems are often missed
Many symptoms of thyroid imbalance are vague and often missed in a quick office visit. Some providers only screen for TSH and T4 and T3 and do not do a full panel. Most conventional medical providers use the lab reference range as their guide only. I use “optimal” lab values, as well as the lab reference range.
How does your thyroid gland work?
Thyroid hormone production is regulated by a feedback loop between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the thyroid gland. Hypothalamic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulates pituitary thyrotropin (TSH) synthesis and secretion.
In turn, TSH stimulates production and release of T4 and T3 from the thyroid gland. When enough T4 is produced, it signals to TRH and TSH that there is enough thyroid hormone in circulation and not to produce more.
About 85% of the hormone produced by our thyroid gland is T4, which is an inactive form of the hormone. After T4 is made, a small amount of it is converted into T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone.
To complicate matters, T3 also gets converted into either Free T3 (FT3) or Reverse T3 (RT3). It is the Free T3 that really matters since it’s the only hormone that can attach to a receptor and cause your metabolism to rise, keep you warm, keep your bowels moving, mind working, and other hormones in check. The role of Reverse T3 is not well known. I have seen it elevated in persons with mercury toxicity and those who are under extreme stress.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, is the most common form of hypothyroidism and its numbers are rising every year. An autoimmune disease is one in which your body turns on itself and begins to attack a certain organ or tissue believing it is foreign.
Because of the increase in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I like to screen for autoimmune thyroid disease.
What thyroid lab tests need to be ordered?
I like to order this panel on my patients. I do additional tests on an individual basis. Make sure your health provider does the same for you.
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO)
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
What are “optimal levels” for thyroid tests?
In my practice, I have found that these ranges are where most patients tend to thrive.
- TSH: 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Dessicated thyroid or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
- FT4: 1.1-1.5 NG/DL
- FT3: >3.2 PG/ML
- RT3: < 10:1 ratio of RT3:FT3
- TPO & TgAb: < 4 IU/ML or Negative
Nine things you can do to improve your thyroid function!
- Consider Tissue Mineral Test and Micronutrient Test to identify your unique biochemistry and possible deficiencies.
- You may need a quality thyroid support formula.
- Go gluten-free! If you have Hashimoto’s, try going completely grain and legume free as well.
- Deal with stress and support your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands and thyroid work hand and hand.
- Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
- Get fluoride, bromide, and chlorine out of your diet and environment.
- Heal your gut. A properly functioning digestive system is critical to good health.
- Consider getting amalgam fillings removed but only with nutrition protocol a minimum of one month before, during, and after the removals. I can help you with this.
- Get to the root cause of your symptoms with a health professional that can help identify any thyroid and adrenal imbalance.
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