Have you been feeling totally off lately?
Dealing with chronic fatigue or brain fog?
Have you gained weight – even though you haven’t made any diet changes?
Perhaps you have more aches and pains than usual, including muscle weakness and stiffness.
Or you take a sweater with you (even in July!) because air conditioned stores and restaurants leave you shivering.
Perhaps you’ve been feeling down lately, dealing with blue moods that you’ve never had in the past.
Whether you suffer from all these symptoms or just a couple, you could be suffering from a thyroid problem.
Your thyroid gland has a huge impact on your energy level and many other functions. Located in the base of your neck, the thyroid gland makes hormones that control your metabolism, how well your heart beats, digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood and bone maintenance. The thyroid also regulates how quickly your body uses calories from the foods you eat.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function):
- Feeling tired all the time (especially at the end of the day)
- Needing lots of sleep
- Feeling cold
- Weight gain (or difficulty losing weight)
- Brain fog
- Bad memory
- Hair loss
- Dry hair
- Dry skin
- Dry eyes
- Mood problems, including feeling depressed or anxious
- Irregular menstrual cycles or heavy periods
- Problems with fertility
- Loss of interest in sex
- High cholesterol
- Puffy eyes
- Stiff or sore muscles
Thyroid health is very important for metabolism. Thyroid tells your body to burn fat to generate energy, so you can imagine what happens (or doesn’t happen!) when you don’t have enough….
The Conventional Approach To Treating Thyroid Issues
Worldwide over 200 million people have a thyroid problem, and thyroid issues are 7 times more common in women.
The conventional treatment approach does not test or look at the underlying factors that cause thyroid imbalances, like heavy metal and gut issues, which may be why you have thyroid issues in the first place.
Our approach to thyroid health
We do a comprehensive thyroid panel, including TSH, Free T4, Free T3, reverse T3, TPO antibodies and antiTG antibodies.
We also look for underlying factors that may be interfering with how you are using your thyroid hormones, including stress, inflammation, and digestive problems.
Why are you hypothyroid in the first place?
Most women have no idea why they are hypothyroid. The question is not usually asked. But wouldn’t you like to know?
There are some environmental factors that can damage your thyroid gland, like heavy metals and toxic chemicals in the environment. Deficiencies in iodine can do it too, although that is not so common in our modern life.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in women (accounting for about 90% of cases!) is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.
I was sure it had to be my thyroid, but my doctor tested me and said everything was normal....
We hear this all the time.
In medical school, doctors are taught to measure TSH, the screening thyroid lab test. If you don’t feel good, and request a thyroid test, your doctor will typically be happy to measure this for you on a blood test. If you are full blown hypothyroid (low thyroid), your test will be abnormal and your doctor will diagnose you with hypothyroidism.
Here is why this issue is so frustrating to so many women.
There are a lot of reasons why the TSH screening test will be within the “normal” lab range, but you still won’t feel good. One reason is that the lab range is very broad and is somewhat controversial. Your level may be “normal” but not optimal.
Even more often, we find that the TSH really is perfectly fine, and your thyroid gland is making the right amount of thyroid hormone, but you can’t USE the thyroid hormone in your cells. If you can’t use it, then your cells behave as though you are hypothyroid, and you have the symptoms, but your TSH test will look normal!
Your thyroid gland make T4 (thyroxine). T4 circulates around in your bloodstream, but it doesn’t actually do much. When it gets to your tissues (especially your liver) you have to convert it into T3. T3 is the hormone that actually activates your cells and tells them to burn fat and generate energy. You could have a problem converting the T4 from your thyroid gland, into the T3 your cells need.
Here are just a few common reasons why you may not be doing a great job converting T4 to T3:
Stress (cortisol, the main stress hormone, reduces T3 conversion)
Nutrient deficiencies (certain vitamins are needed as co-factors for T3 production)
Imbalances in your gut microbes (your gut bacteria either help or hinder the process)
Estrogen dominance (imbalances in your estrogen and progesterone levels)
If this is your problem, your thyroid gland is fine and you don’t necessarily need thyroid replacement – we need to correct the underlying factors so you can USE your thyroid hormone properly!
I’m already on thyroid replacement, but I still don’t feel good…
We hear this all the time too.
Hypothyroidism is typically treated with thyroid replacement – Synthroid or levothyroxine (the generic version). For many people, starting on thyroid replacement will help them feel like normal again. But some women find that many of their symptoms remain.
If this is you, you have likely already gone back to your doctor to complain. They retested your TSH (which is now probably within the normal range due to the treatment) so you’re told that you are normal.
Any remaining symptoms must be from something else – like maybe you’re lazy or depressed. Well, feeling tired all the time and gaining weight no matter what you try is certainly depressing! And it’s hard to feel motivated to get to the gym when you can barely make it through the day without a nap!
Here is the problem.
Levothyroxine is made of T4. What your cells need is T3. If your body isn’t doing a great job converting T4 into T3, then your standard lab tests (TSH and T4) will look normal, BUT YOU WON’T FEEL NORMAL!
We need to measure more labs! A Free T3 level will help us see whether your cells are getting the form of thyroid that you need. If not, then adding some T3 may make a big difference.
We also want to address the underlying factors that are interfering with your ability to convert T4 into T3.
You may feel better on a more natural form of thyroid called desiccated thyroid.
Approximately 90% of all hypothyroid cases in women are due to Hashimotos. This is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland.
The sad truth is that millions of people are suffering from chronic autoimmune disorders like Hashimotos (without even knowing it!) and many aren’t receiving the right care or have been misdiagnosed.
In order to know whether you have Hashimotos, we simply do a blood test for thyroid antibodies (called TPO antibodies).
Why is it important to know whether you have Hashimoto’s?
When you have one autoimmune disease (like Hashimotos) it means you are at risk for developing another autoimmune disease (some women even develop 3 or more!) Focusing on your immune system (which is largely located in your digestive tract!) may help us reduce your risk of developing another autoimmune disease.
Examples of autoimmune diseases include:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Crohns disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
If you have Hashimoto’s, we may also recommend additional testing besides looking at thyroid function. This may include specialty tests for digestive function, gut microbiome and hidden food sensitivities.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned or are concerned that you may be at risk for Hashimoto’s, please schedule a free discovery call to learn more about how we can help.
Take The First Step On Your
Looking to explore our programs or learn more about your individual case? Our patient coordinator is standing by, to help you to learn more about our process.