If you scored high in the ‘Thyroid Low’ section of the Health Score Quiz, please read this article as it contains some useful information and resources to help you.
What is the thyroid gland?
Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the front of your neck. Thyroid hormone is responsible for the metabolic rate of every cell in your body. Why is this important? Well, if there is either too much or too little, this will significantly change how your cells function. Too much thyroid hormone and you might feel over-stimulated, drastically lose weight or find it hard to sleep at night, whereas too little and you may feel tired all the time, be gaining weight without changing anything, have sluggish bowels and poor memory.
As you can see high levels of thyroid hormone speed things up and low levels slow things down to keep things very simple.
If your thyroid function is out of balance this can impact on all other systems in the body, this is why this is such a fundamental area to check no matter what symptoms someone is presenting with, but especially if they present with some of the classic “high” or “low” symptoms.
Here are just a few areas that thyroid hormone influences:
- Bone Health
- Digestive Health
- Hormonal Health
- Brain Health
- Cardiovascular Health
- Liver Health
- Anaemia and poor oxygen delivery
- Muscular health and recovery
I discuss thyroid function, physiology, symptoms, testing and imbalances in much more detail with related videos within my article – Why the Thyroid is important and what symptoms, imbalances and testing options you should be aware of. Within it, I talk predominantly about imbalances that result in sub-optimal thyroid function, thus would create the thyroid (low) symptoms as highlighted in your results.
What negatively affects thyroid function?
There are a number of factors that can impact thyroid function, these include:
- Nutrient Status
- Toxins like pesticides, heavy metals etc. Fluoride which can be antagonistic to iodine
- Certain medications
- Irradiation or surgery on or around the thyroid gland
- Cellular resistance or miscommunication to thyroid hormone
- Inflammation & infections
- Consistent and repetitive caloric restriction and crash dieting
- The function of other organs like the brain, adrenals, liver, kidneys etc
As you can see there can be broad involvement of other areas, which is also why a holistic approach to thyroid function is important if you are wanting to discover the underlying causes of the low thyroid state.
With our 1-2-1 clients we look to assess anything from emotional health and past traumas through to the biochemical function of other systems in the body, depending on what the initial discussions and testing shows us. It is crucial that you first review your foundational areas first such as stress, sleep, movement, nutrition etc. Building on from that more intricate areas can be assessed.
In a large majority of hypothyroid cases the cause is actually a dysregulated immune system/autoimmunity, this is classed as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This can present as primary hypothyroidism when looking at standard bloods (TSH, Free T4 & Free T3) and because the conventional standard care is just to treat with thyroid hormone replacement therapy either way the antibody markers used to diagnose Hashimoto’s are often overlooked. However, when considering a longer-term resolution to your low thyroid state without lifelong thyroid hormone replacement therapy, it is crucial that Hashimoto’s is ruled in or out as this will dictate the investigation and treatment process. If there is immune system involvement then the approach is more to do with understanding what has caused the immune system to act in this way, whereas without immune system involvement it allows you to look more specifically at the thyroid gland and system itself as well as the glands and systems that directly influence its function.
Nutrient Considerations with low thyroid function
Nutrients can play a significant role in the function of the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormones. Some of the key nutrients include:
- B2, B2, B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
This does not mean we should all be supplementing with these nutrients. The first step is a nutrient dense diet, appropriate caloric intake to physical activity as well as sleep and stress management. Assessments of nutrients through testing or symptom analysis can be useful and where necessary, micronutrient therapy may assist the function of the thyroid gland and hormone production. We should also be cautious with certain nutrients as well. Iodine for example may help thyroid function, but there are also reports of excessive iodine contributing to autoimmune thyroid conditions.
Appropriate Testing for Thyroid (low) individuals
Hypothyroid (low thyroid hormone production) is largely under reported. With the broad reference ranges this means that only the most significant cases of hypothyroidism are picked up. This leaves a huge number of people with sub clinical hypothyroidism. For many of these people it will be enough to have a dramatic impact on how they feel yet will not be recognised and treated. Instead blood tests are reported as “normal” and that individual is left non the wiser as to the cause of their symptoms.
Interpretation of tests is crucial, and the reference ranges used are also critical to help understand if there is any thyroid involvement in one’s symptoms.In my article – Understanding your thyroid hormone blood test results, I discuss the following:
- What thyroid markers you should consider testing
- Understanding each of these thyroid markers
- Normal vs Optimal Reference Ranges
- Summary of imbalances that may lead to a low thyroid state
I hope you have found this content useful. If you feel that you could benefit from additional support in this area, don’t hesitate to get in touch using the enquiry form below.
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- Why do I still have thyroid symptoms when my lab tests are normal – Dr Datis Kharrazian
- Hashimoto’s Protocol – Izabella Wentz