THYROID HEALTH 101
Updated: Mar 20
The thyroid gland is the master gland of the body, it sets metabolism, and body temperature and is involved in a host of areas.
It is a magnet for toxins, chemicals and absorbs these throughout your life. Once the ratio of chemicals versus healthy nutrients is out of alignment, it has little to protect itself from overload. The thyroid is located in the neck, or throat chakra and is a leading cause of fatigue in the modern world, particularly for women. Read on...
Getting the right test for your thyroid levels
Many clients I see don’t know if they have Hypothyroidism or Hasimotos
Most have both, hasimotos thyroid autoimmune disease, is the biggest cause of hypothyroidism. This is where the immune system creates antibodies against thyroid tissue eventually destroying the gland, making it hard to produce thyroid hormones.
The same goes for Hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease. Getting thyroid antibodies tested is essential!
Graves Disease has its own unique antibodies called TRAb, or Thyrotropin Receptor Antibodies, or TSI or Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin.
Heart palpitations can be caused by excessive thyroid hormones stimulating the heart muscle in hyperthyroidism, and by high antibodies, inflammation and poor circulation, caused by low thyroid hormones in hypothyroidism.Once hyper triggers abnormal heart rhythms, it can carry on when you’re back to hypo.
Getting thyroid antibodies down below the reference range is key to all thyroid recovery treatment.
If all your getting tested is TSH you wont know if your thyroid is functioning well or not. A full thyroid panel shows the whole thyroid story.
I’d also add, a thyroid ultrasound and a thyroid physical examination here also.
It comes down to the above testing plus symptoms to fully evaluate your thyroid function.
A full Thyroid Panel to assess Thyroid function looks like this:
TPO and TG Antibodies
TRAb/TSI antibodies for graves disease thyroid ultrasound
= A full thyroid panel
GF - go Gluten Free. 60% of autoimmune thyroid disease is reversed with the removal of gluten.
DF - dairy free. Dairy is loaded full of growth hormones, which are unsuitable for adults. They are linked to tutor growths.
Finding food intolerances - identify what you body needs now to support it and eliminate what is acting as a pain in your body and stimulating inflammation. Once the offending foods are removed the immune system can calm down, take rest and the inflammation can subside. Then its time to get to work!
If there are very high antibodies, ( > 100 = autoimmune, so very high is anything over 50 to 1,000's!) and poor gut health, I recommend the AIP (Auto immune Paleo Protocol). this is ideal to quickly reduce inflammation so the immune system can relax and learn how to reset in a health range!
Generally, diet wise, think high quality proteins, organic fruit and veg, low grain, nutrient dense, Paleo style.
Have you heard of cellular hypothyroidism?
This is where your cells don’t let thyroid hormones in to have a metabolic effect.
Lets back up a bit here, and dive into some basic thyroid anatomy…so the thyroid hormones which go out into the blood stream (T4, T3) and head to our cells where energy is needed, well these thyroid hormones must cross over into our cells.
In cellular hypothyroidism, thyroid hormones are blocked and can’t get into the cells. This can be caused by inflammation, stress, high cortisol, and fibromyalgia…pretty much any condition of low energy in the body. this can result in elevated rT3.
The result is normal thyroid hormones, because Doctors test TSH and this is actually produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid and is not a reflection of the thyroid itself. …but you will have hypothyroid symptoms, as the cells are fatigued due to the lack of thyroid hormones entering the cells.
So, if you have lots of hypothyroid symptoms, such as:
Fatigue - extreme lethargy
Weight gain - inability to lose weight or keep it off
Dry skin - dry skin, cracked nails
Brain fog - forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty with arithmetic
Period issues - infertility, fibroids, PCOS, painful etc
Hair loss - alopecia, shedding post part which continues
Feel the cold - cant get warm
Digestive issues - constipation, difficulty digesting meals
But keep getting told your thyroid is fine…you may have cellular hypothyroidism.
I recommend a full thyroid panel test wither with a Doctor or Naturopath.
Naturopaths and other functional practitioners can request a full thyroid panel but you will have to pay for it. It is not covered on health care and it is preventative medicine as you are identifying a possible pathology before it manifests for the medical system to take note!
In case your wondering here is a list of signs and symptoms of Thyroid dysfunction. If you have more than 10 then you have a thyroid which is need of attention:
Extreme tiredness, lethargy, lack of stamina, motivation, memory loss, brain fog, depression, mood swings, hearing loss
Intolerance to cold/heat/sweating/low body temperature
Tingling & numbness in extremities
Sparse eyebrows especially outer ends
Swelling of the face especially around the eyes
Changes at the back of the eye (at fundus oculi)
Wasting of tongue
Listless, dull to look eyes
Rapid heart rate with weak force of contraction
Slow pulse rate
Non-pitting edema of ankles
Cold/dry/sore/scale skin/brittle nails
Low basal activity level temperature
Dry/coarse/brittle hair or hair loss
Unexplained weight gain
Pounding heart beat
Some of the many causes as to why people develop a thyroid condition
Did you know that women are 8-10 times more likely to develop a thyroid condition and are more susceptible to autoimmune conditions?
Women have dramatic hormonal events throughout their lives such as puberty, pregnancy’s, perimenopause, and menopause – all phase can trigger a thyroid condition.
Women tend to lather themselves daily with toxic personal products – from their perfumes, shampoos, deodorants, make up, nail polis…Chemicals and environmental toxicants actually build up in thyroid tissue, block iodine uptake and trigger a thyroid condition.Takeaway tip… choose organic or low tox personal care products. That means eco cert: no parabens, petro chemicals, or fragrances
Women are generally the busier sex. The multitaskers. Wee go-go-go without stopping or taking time out for yourselves. Stress and adrenal dysfunction is a major trigger.
As an integrated Naturopath I offer function testing including thyroid panels. If you feel 'unwell' and 'not right', then I do recommend a full examination to address your health concerns.
I'd love to hear what you thought, let me know in the comments section. You can share this information if you think someone will find it useful.