According to the National Women’s Health Information Center, 1 in 8 women will experience a thyroid disorder during their lifetime. Unfortunately, most doctors are only familiar with some thyroid disorders. As a result most thyroid problems are often misdiagnosed and improperly treated. Women are often affected the most.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, which produces hormones that influence nearly all of your body’s metabolic processes. This small gland functions in a unique way and affects every tissue in the body. The thyroid is the only known endocrine gland to have such a “global” effect on human tissue and physiology. The product of the thyroid gland is thyroid hormone (specifically T3 and T4) which are secreted into the blood stream to regulate the body’s metabolism.
When the thyroid gland is functioning properly, the metabolic rate is maintained at a consistent level – not too fast and not too slow. When the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones, it is called hypothyroid and the metabolic rate is generally slowed down. When the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, this is called hyperthyroid and the metabolic rate is generally too active.
What Causes Thyroid Dysfunction?
Research estimates that up to 90% of all thyroid cases are autoimmune in nature, Hashimoto’s disease being the most common. Medical treatment for Hashimoto’s (if it’s even acknowledged) is simply to ignore the underlying immune problem, put you on thyroid hormone, and try to manage your TSH level.
When a low functioning thyroid is suspected, doctors will typically run a TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) blood test. This is generally the only test doctors rely on, however, too many people continue to have ongoing symptoms in spite of normal TSH levels. If you are still having low thyroid symptoms, despite normal lab results, something is not being addressed. Through comprehensive testing, nutraceuticals and diet and lifestyle modifications, we will address the underlying immune or inflammatory condition that is causing your particular thyroid condition.
Low Thyroid Function & Other Problems
LOW ENERGY –
In addition to slowing your ability to burn fat, hypothyroidism will also decrease your energy, causing debilitating fatigue.
GUT PROBLEMS –
Low thyroid function can reduce intestinal mobility, which is essential for healthy digestion and elimination. The ability of your body to absorb nutrients is also altered when your thyroid is not working well. Healthy thyroid function keeps gut inflammation in check, while low thyroid function is linked with leaky gut syndrome, dysbiosis and gastric ulcers.
WEIGHT CHALLENGES –
When your thyroid hormones are low, your body will be less able to break down fat, making you resistant to weight loss. Weight gain is not the cause of your problem, but rather a symptom of something not being addressed. Once the underlying hormonal problem is addressed, weight loss becomes easier.
BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION –
When you body is in a low thyroid state, it decreases your body’s ability to absorb glucose (or blood sugar). To create energy for the body or ATP, your body needs to efficiently get glucose into the cells. Despite sluggish glucose metabolism, many people struggling with low thyroid hormones can feel hypoglycemic, or the feeling of low blood sugar. The vicious cycle of hormonal dysfunction can lead to metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance.
HAIR LOSS –
Since the thyroid determines your metabolism and absorption of nutrients, when your thyroid hormones aren’t functioning optimally this can lead to hair loss. Making sure your levels are optimal is essential to regaining hair health.
LOW LIBIDO –
Often people think low sex drive is a normal process of aging, when in fact it may be a symptom of a bigger hormonal problem. Thyroid function affects the metabolism of estrogen and testosterone in the body. Hypothyroidism in men is linked to erectile dysfunction and low libido in both men and women.
BRAIN FOG & ANXIETY –
The brain requires a regular stream of thyroid hormones to work at its best. When there is a lack of thyroid hormone being produced or not enough reaching the brain, a person can experience neurological disruption and brain fog. Hypothyroidism is also linked with poor neurotransmitter expression and an increased risk of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder.
TEMPERATURE DYSREGULATION –
When your thyroid levels are low, it affects your body’s temperature control. This can make you feel cold all the time, or have night sweats and hot flashes.
SLEEP CHALLENGES –
Lack of sleep is becoming an epidemic in modern society. Poor sleep is also a common complaint from hypothyroid patients. Unfortunately, poor sleep among those with a thyroid condition creates a cycle of further degrading health. The body needs rest to repair and restore various parts of the body including the brain and endocrine system. Loss of sleep can also lead to other common symptoms like weight gain, depression, brain fog and reduced libido.
Poor thyroid health can lead to challenges with your liver and gall bladder. This can significantly decrease your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins. We commonly see impaired detoxification pathways in patients dealing with thyroid problems.