What Is A Goitre (Goiter) and Can It Be Treated?

The term goitre, which is the British/European variant of goiter, refers to the swelling of the thyroid. The thyroid is located at the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. This small, butterfly-shaped gland produces the hormones T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine).
The majority of T4 hormone is converted to T3 in the liver and the gut. T3 thyroid hormone is the hormone the body can use. These hormones regulate many body functions, such as body temperature, heart rate, mood, digestion, and energy levels.

Symptoms of goiter include:

Swelling, just below the Adam’s apple.

Tightness in the throat area.

Scratchy voice (Hoarseness)

Neck vein swelling.

Dizziness when the arms are raised

Unexplained coughing

Unusual weight gain or loss

Mood swings

What causes goitre?

Common causes of goiter are autoimmune disease, iodine deficiency, and thyroid nodules.

However, goiters have different causes and different types.

  • Simple goiters will develop when the thyroid gland does not make enough hormones to support the body, causing the thyroid gland to make up for this shortage by growing more prominent. These are called simple or smooth goiters due to the absence of nodules. 
  • Endemic goiters are most common in people in parts of the world who do not have sufficient iodine in their diet (iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone). For example, the lack of iodine is still a common problem in parts of central Asia and Africa. Iodine is added to table salt in modern countries like the United States, so this type of goiter is rare in these countries. However, since more people cook at home and many home cooks use sea salt instead of the more processed, iodine-enriched table salt, there has been an increase in thyroid issues since sea salt does not have added iodine.
  • Sporadic goiter has no known cause. However, for some, certain drugs can cause this type of goiter. Lithium is one example of a drug used to treat certain mental health conditions and other medical conditions that can cause this type of goiter.
  •  Multinodular goiter- The patient or an observant friend or family member often notices multinodular goiters due to a visible lump. Many are discovered during a physical exam by a healthcare provider. These nodules can be nodular, smooth, localized or diffused, hard, soft, fixed, mobile, painful, or not bothersome at all.

Additional risk factors for goiter include:

  • Hereditary (family history)
  • Female gender
  • Age over 40

These diseases and conditions may cause a goiter

Graves’ disease: This autoimmune disease causes your immune system to attack your thyroid gland causing it to grow larger and produce too much thyroid hormone.

Symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • Increased resting pulse rate
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Sweating or feeling warm 
  • Hand tremors
  • Irritable 

Hashimoto’s disease: This autoimmune disease causes thyroid gland inflammation, resulting in the thyroid producing fewer hormones. Many times adding thyroid hormone will ease the inflammation.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease include:

  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual irregularities

Nodular goiter: Growths called nodules will occur on one or both sides of the thyroid, causing it to enlarge.

Thyroid cancer: Cancer of the thyroid will often result in swelling or nodules.

Pregnancy:  A hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, which a woman produces during pregnancy, can cause goiter.

Thyroiditis: Inflammation caused by a virus or after a woman gives birth can cause goiter to develop.

Radiation exposure: A person who has undergone medical radiation treatments to the head or neck is more at risk of developing goiter.

Diagnosing Goiter

There are several tests used to diagnose goiter. They include:

Physical exam: Your doctor can tell if the thyroid gland has swollen by feeling the thyroid for nodules and any tenderness.

Hormone test: The TSH test checks thyroid hormone levels and if the thyroid is functioning correctly.

Antibody test: This blood test checks for antibodies produced by some goiters; it also checks for antibodies associated with thyroid autoimmune diseases Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease.

Thyroid ultrasound: An ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves through the body’s tissues. These echos are recorded and developed into photos or videos revealing the thyroid’s size and the presence of any nodules.

Thyroid scan: This imaging test provides information on the function and size of the thyroid gland. For this test, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream producing an image on a computer screen of the thyroid. This test is often done when diagnosing Graves’ disease.

CT scan or MRI: These imaging tests are done if the goiter is large or has spread.

Treating goiter

Treatment is based on symptoms, the thyroid’s size, and what caused the goiter.

  1. Watching and waiting with no treatment- When the goiter is small and not bothersome, your doctor may decide not to treat and monitor for changes.
  • Medications- Levothyroxine (aka Levothroid, Synthroid) is prescribed if the goiter is caused by hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid). Methimazole(Tapazole®) and propylthiouracil are prescribed if the goiter is caused by hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). In addition, your doctor may prescribe aspirin or a corticosteroid medication if the goiter is due to inflammation.
  • Radioactive iodine treatment (RAI)- Commonly used in cases of an overactive thyroid gland (Graves’ disease), this treatment involves taking a radioactive iodine pill by mouth. Since only the thyroid absorbs iodine, it is absorbed and destroys the thyroid cells, shrinking the thyroid and causing it to produce less thyroid hormone. After this treatment, most patients have to take thyroid hormone replacement for the rest of their life.
  •  Biopsy- A biopsy is a tissue sample removed from the thyroid to be examined at a laboratory. For example, a biopsy is done if there are large nodules and must rule out cancer.
  • Surgery- The removal of all or part of the thyroid. It may be necessary if the goiter is extensive, causing problems with swallowing and breathing. Surgery is also done to remove nodules and if cancer is present. As with RAI, most patients will need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of their lives.

The treatments I described above are how you will be treated when visiting a convention medical doctor. These are the doctors that work in hospitals and clinics. They must follow the treatment plans the CDC and insurance companies set. Unfortunately, most patients are told that removal or treating the thyroid with RAI is the only treatment that works. Therefore, your doctor will tell you that you must take thyroid hormone replacement therapy for the rest of your life. However, they will also tell you that hormone therapy is just a little pill, and you will feel like yourself again once your dose is adjusted to your needs.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that approximately 50% of surgical removal or RAI patients have ongoing symptoms after treatment. In medical school, our doctors are taught that thyroid issues are a one test, one treatment, and one pill disease to treat, and nothing could be further from the truth. There will be some cases where the only choice will be thyroid removal or RAI, but most patients want to try to heal their thyroid before removing or destroying it.

Non-conventional goiter treatments

I mentioned earlier that most goiters are caused by iodine deficiency and thyroid nodules. But, nowadays, most thyroid diseases are caused by autoimmune diseases triggered by toxins in our environment, stress, and nutritional deficiencies. So, goiters are just one of the results of these factors.

So many products we use daily expose us to harmful and toxic chemicals. These chemicals mimic our hormones and disrupt them, causing problems in the communication between cells. The thyroid is a member of the endocrine system of glands; these glands produce hormones that send messages back and forth, regulating the functions of our bodies. The thyroid is in charge of regulating the speed of metabolism, so if your thyroid is not producing enough or too much thyroid hormone, you will have symptoms. One of those symptoms is goiter.

Many patients find that conventional treatments do not ease their symptoms, so they turn to holistic or functional medicine doctors for treatment. These doctors focus on treating the whole body, clearing out toxins that have built up within the body, and testing for nutritional deficiencies you may have. Then, using that information, they will set up a treatment plan based on the testing results of your body. 

These doctors will also recommend diets that help clear out toxins, boost energy, ease digestive issues and improve mood.

These diet plans also help you give your thyroid the nutrition it needs to heal and function properly. 

Natural Treatments that can ease goiter

According to Dr. Farrah, MD., several natural treatments can help reduce your goiter.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

ACV is slightly acidic, helping detoxify your body and restore pH balance. In addition, by reducing toxins, the thyroid can increase its absorption of iodine and reduce swelling.

 Stir a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and ½ teaspoon of honey into a glass full of warm water. Mix well and drink every morning on an empty stomach.

Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil has high levels of lauric acid. When consumed, this acid converts to monolaurin, which boosts metabolism and aids with iodine absorption from foods we eat. In addition, coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce thyroid swelling. Coconut oil can be used when cooking and added to smoothies or hot drinks.

Green Tea

Green tea has antioxidants, is a stimulant, and is an energy booster.

Green tea also has high fluoride levels, which can slow an overactive thyroid. Try to drink 2-3 cups throughout the day.

Garlic

For years, garlic has been used to treat various illnesses. This is because it helps with glutathione production in our body and contains selenium. In addition, selenium is a mineral vital for the healthy functioning of our thyroid.

Crush 3-4 garlic cloves, add some honey, and chew.

Moringa (Malunggay)

This earthy-tasting herbal has anti-inflammatory properties that help ease thyroid gland swelling. Consume a tea made by steeping a tablespoon of dried moringa leaves in a cup of hot water. Strain and enjoy this tea every morning.

Beets

Beetroots have betalain pigments that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Boil fresh beetroots to enjoy or add to salads. You can also try drinking beetroot juice or adding it to a smoothie.

Turmeric

This superfood has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to treat various diseases. In addition, these properties protect the body from free radicals and help reduce goiter swelling. To use this remedy, heat one cup of water in a pan and add 1/2 cup turmeric powder. When it forms a thick paste, after about 5-10 minutes, add one and a half teaspoons of black pepper and 70 ml of cold-pressed olive oil to it. Store the paste in an airtight container. Consume one teaspoon of the paste daily.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling, relieving the symptoms of goiter.

Grind 2-3 teaspoons of flax seeds and mix with water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the neck and leave it on for 20-25 minutes. Rinse off with clear water and pat dry.

Garlic And Lemon

These two are anti-inflammatory and help clear toxins accumulated in the body. Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice, honey, and a crushed garlic clove to use this remedy, consuming the mixture on an empty stomach every morning.

Sorrel Leaves

These leaves contain high amounts of iodine and have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce swelling and acting as a cooling agent.

Make a paste by adding a handful of crushed sorrel leaves to warm water. Apply the mixture to the neck and let rest for 25 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with clear water and repeat this process every day.

As I mentioned earlier, most thyroid diseases are caused by autoimmune diseases triggered by toxins in our environment, stress, and nutritional deficiencies. I have written a post about the numerous toxins in our environment; you can read it here: https://knowyourthyroid.com/improving-your-thyroid-gland-function-17-toxins-to-avoid/.

Many patients I know and have talked to wish they had known this information before surgery or RAI. Taking steps to heal your body will result in much better health and renewed vitality. For many, if you clear the overwhelming amount of toxins from your life and support your body with better nutrition, you will find your thyroid function will improve, along with your health and a disappearing goiter. 

You can also follow one of the many programs to help heal your thyroid and improve your overall health. One of my reader’s favorites is this one: https://knowyourthyroid.com/recommends/hyposolution (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

This hormone-balancing program is popular with ladies going through menopause: https://knowyourthyroid.com/recommends/thyroidfactor/

Remember, taking care of yourself benefits everyone! Thyroid imbalances make life miserable! Start with small changes such as switching to a thyroid-friendly cooking oil like olive or coconut oil. You will want to continue to add thyroid healthy foods once you start to feel more energetic and healthier!

Take care,

Corri

References

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12625-goiter

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/goiter/symptoms-causes/syc-20351829

https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/august/goitre

https://www.jove.com/v/10098/thyroid-exam

https://drfarrahmd.com/

https://drfarrahmd.com/2019/08/common-remedies-and-natural-ways-to/

Is Losing Weight With Hypothyroidism Even Possible?

Is losing weight linked to thyroid function? Unfortunately, no matter what you try, losing weight with hypothyroidism is almost impossible, and you probably are still gaining!

Are you trying to lose weight, but instead, you have been gaining weight steadily for the last few months or maybe years? The frustrating part is that many of you have had your thyroid checked but were told everything is normal. Not to mention, those with low thyroid hormone levels are told that only 10% of the weight gain is linked to hypothyroidism. Yea, right!

So, What Gives?

Losing Weight With Hypothyroidism

If you have been gaining weight, look at what else is going on in your life, specifically- are you tired, do you have brain fog, moody or depressed, or constipated?

There are many reasons we gain weight; age, poor diet, stress, lifestyle, and health problems, and unfortunately, those issues contribute to poor thyroid function, (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.) which often leads to weight gain.

The thyroid, located at the base of your neck, secretes hormones that regulate all the functions in your body. These hormones are the messengers between the body’s cells, keeping everything in sync. If your thyroid function slows, you will notice symptoms including fatigue, constipation, mood changes, weight gain, skin issues, vision changes, memory loss, and feeling cold.

However, the changes often happen slowly, and you may not even notice until those changes start interfering with your life. And you are far from alone; it’s estimated that over 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid dysfunction.

What Causes Thyroid Dysfunction?

Many functional medicine and holistic doctors believe stress, nutrient deficiencies, and environmental toxins are the top three contributors to thyroid dysfunction. In addition, environmental toxins are linked to the rise in autoimmune diseases. The toxic burden damages the thyroid and overloads the body’s detoxification process, leading to the inflammation that is the root cause of autoimmune diseases.

Is Your Weight Gain Linked To Your Thyroid?

I know that some of you are saying, “My doctor checked my thyroid. Everything is normal!” However, many are still suffering from the symptoms of low thyroid hormone, including weight gain.
Many who have thyroid dysfunction or disease will test at the high or low end of the hormone level chart, leading doctors to believe all is well and dismiss the symptoms’ severity. These patients fall into the “subclinical hypothyroidism” class, where many doctors believe no treatment is needed because the thyroid will correct itself. However, some doctors believe that “subclinical hypothyroidism” is the start of full-blown thyroid disease.

At-home thyroid test by Dr. Broda Barnes

Losing Weight With Hypothyroidism

If you have had your TSH levels tested and were told everything is fine but still have symptoms, you can try Dr. Barnes’s at-home test.

Dr. Broda Barnes studied endocrine disease, particularly hypothyroidism. During the 1970s, he wrote several books claiming hypothyroidism was underdiagnosed in the U.S. and was the cause of a wide variety of health issues.

Dr. Barnes developed and promoted a diagnostic test for thyroid function in the 1970s known as the “Barnes Basal Temperature Test.” 

Immediately upon waking and before rising for 5-7 consecutive days, place a thermometer in the armpit for 10 minutes. If you are premenopausal, start the 2nd-3rd day of menstruation.

Some physicians recommend taking your temperature for 2 to 4 days in a row, while a few believe (including Dr. Barnes) that you need to take your temperature for several consecutive days for the most reliable information.

Dr. Barnes considered an average measurement of 97.8 °F (36.6 °C) or below to indicate hypothyroidism, especially if hypothyroid symptoms are present. Barnes also believed a reading over 98.2 °F (36.8 °C) was indicative of hyperthyroidism. 

Losing Weight With Hypothyroidism

As I said earlier, the increase in thyroid disease and the problem of losing weight with hypothyroidism are linked to three triggers: stress, environmental toxins, and nutrient deficiencies. Making some changes will help take the pressure off your thyroid, allowing it to produce enough thyroid hormone to balance out your body and regulate your metabolism, helping with weight loss and easing symptoms.

Reduce Stress

Losing Weight with Hypothyroidism

Stress has an impact on your thyroid. Stress also can trigger autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Mild exercise will help reduce stress and ease anxiety; keep in mind if you have thyroid disease, start slowly and gradually increase your activity. Extreme cardio will increase joint discomfort and cause more stress. Instead, focus on stretching, yoga, and walking for easy workouts that don’t overdo an already out-of-balance body.

Honestly, I’m not a yoga fan, and I don’t do much stretching, but I love my walks. Those walks ease my stress, lower my anxiety and boost my mood. I try to walk a mile to a mile and a half every day. I love to walk out in nature, but I walk at the mall during the colder months since I live in South Dakota. We have gotten to know several walkers at the mall, so we get socialization, exercise, and have a few laughs.

The key is to do an activity you like, but you still have to get up, get started, and do it, which is easier said than done. My partner and I have an agreement that we can only skip our walks twice a week. Illness and family gatherings are the only exceptions; we try to work around all other conflicts. Do we always walk? No, but we have gotten a lot more consistent. We do laugh at the excuses we try to come up with!

Eliminate Environmental Toxins

Losing Weight With Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is highly susceptible to environmental toxins because these toxins have a structure similar to thyroid hormones. The thyroid is intended to draw up iodine (a halogen) and selenium (a metalloid) to produce thyroid hormones. Unfortunately, the thyroid also accumulates harmful halogens and metals that mimic thyroid hormones, disrupting hormone production and slowing metabolism.

These toxins are divided into four groups: industrial chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, toxins in consumer goods, and heavy metals, all of which make losing weight with hypothyroidism practically impossible.

Industrial Chemicals– 

The three most common are perchlorate, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxin. Research has shown they significantly disrupt thyroid function.

PerchloratePerchlorate contains chlorine, a halogen with the same ionic charge as iodine. As a result, perchlorate competes with iodide, a vital component of T4, for uptake by the thyroid resulting in lowered thyroid hormone production.

Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs– PCBs disrupt thyroid function in various ways. PCBs also contain chlorine and are similar to thyroid hormone, leading to multiple disruptions with hormone receptors and thyroid transport proteins, leading to decreased available T4. PCBs are also responsible for hindering liver enzymes needed to convert T4 to T3 and are linked to increased thyroid antibodies associated with autoimmune thyroid disease.

Dioxin Like the previous two chemicals, dioxin is a manufacturing by-product, including plastic and pesticide production. Acceptable exposure levels are linked to decreased T4 and slowed thyroid function, affecting females more than males. Dioxin mimics thyroid hormone and interrupts the excretion of hormones out of the body.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides interfere with gene expression, stop iodine uptake by the thyroid, bind to uptake proteins, and remove thyroid hormone from the body.

Toxins in Household Products-  

Losing Weight With Hypothyroidism

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)- also known as flame retardants, are one class of toxins that harm the thyroid. These chemicals are in furniture, computer and tv screens, synthetic textiles, and carpet padding. PBDEs contain bromine, a halogen that mimics thyroid hormone and prevents T4 from being transported in the blood. They also compete for receptor binding sites and disrupt estrogen levels.

Plastics- BPA, and phthalates, known as plasticizers, mimic natural hormones and disrupt the endocrine system, which includes the thyroid. For example, BPA (Bisphenol A) found in plastic bottles, and food-can linings alter thyroid cells. While phthalates, found in vinyl flooring, plastics, and personal care products, inhibit thyroid hormone from binding to its receptors, disrupting function.

The last three household toxins to be aware of-

Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical found in liquid hand soap and many personal care products linked to breast cancer.

PFOA-This chemical used in non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics can cause testicular and kidney cancer. In addition, studies show that triclosan and PFOA lower T4 slowing thyroid function.

Fluoride-Last but not least is fluoride. Did you know that in the 1940s and 1950s, doctors used fluoride to slow overactive thyroids? If you drink tap water, you are most likely ingesting enough fluoride to slow your thyroid function. 

Heavy Metals

The metals impacting thyroid function the most are lead, cadmium, mercury, and aluminum.

Lead is found in inexpensive jewelry, children’s toys, and paint in old homes. Exposure has been linked to slowed thyroid function and elevated TSH.

Cadmium This heavy metal is found in plastics, pigments, batteries, sewage, and phosphate fertilizers. Exposure has been linked to goiter and may lead to thyroid cancer.

Mercury Sources of exposure include seafood, dental amalgams, and coal-burning power plants. Mercury reduces iodide uptake, reducing thyroid hormone production.

Aluminum is commonly found in antacids, deodorants, food additives, and aluminum-based cookware. Aluminum damages the thyroid, reducing iodide uptake and limiting hormone production. It can also trigger an immune response leading to the production of antibodies, which may target the thyroid.

As you can see, the thyroid has several toxins that mimic its structure and disrupt its function. The main problem isn’t so much of each toxin; it’s so many toxins from so many areas of our lives.

Nutritional Deficiencies 

My doctor explained that a dysfunctional thyroid causes problems everywhere in the body. The thyroid is a gland in the endocrine system. This system is made up of glands that produce hormones; these hormones act as messengers between the cells in our bodies. So when one gland starts having issues, it doesn’t take long for the whole system to get out of sync.
So the plan he laid out for me included supplements, foods to nourish the thyroid, and foods to avoid or eat in moderation.

The supplements recommended included-

Vitamin D– It’s believed that this vitamin deficiency leads to an underactive thyroid. Doctors once believed vitamin D was linked to autoimmune thyroid disease, but a recent study discovered all hypothyroidism was linked to vitamin D deficiency.

Selenium- In the ’90s, selenium was identified as a vital component of activating thyroid hormone. Now, selenium deficiency is studied as a cause of thyroid disorders. Selenium supplementation has been shown to help ease Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease and may help with postpartum thyroiditis.

Iodine– Since your thyroid needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones, adding iodine to your diet can improve your thyroid function. However, adding too much can cause the over-production of thyroid hormone or hyperthyroidism.

Zinc- This mineral is vital for making the thyroid hormones T3, T4, and TSH. Zinc is often combined with magnesium, selenium, and copper. However, testing is recommended, so only the supplements you need in the proper amounts are taken.

Probiotics-  Leaky gut syndrome is a common cause of hypothyroidism. Probiotics are a proven treatment for leaky gut and a risk factor for Hashimoto’s.

Tumeric- Taking turmeric daily may help reduce inflammation and reduce the risks of clinical hypothyroidism.

Vitamin B12- People over 50 are commonly deficient in B12, plus under-treated hypothyroidism combined with a vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of stroke.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids- These healthy fats are primarily in fish, fish oil supplements, and nuts. The anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting acids are beneficial for those who have autoimmune thyroid disease.

If you take Biotin for better hair, skin, and nails, you should not take it for a few days before checking your TSH levels. This is because Biotin may make your TSH levels appear lower than it is.

Your Thyroid Needs Your Help

Losing Weight With Hypothyroidism

It’s no wonder you feel the way you do! 

But, I have good news! You can fix this!

Will it be easy? No, not going to lie! 

But if you want your life back, you need to make some changes. Some changes are as easy as changing the vegetable oil you use. Another change I made was to drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning. Lemon water helps the liver clear out toxins and improves T4 to T3 conversion. Other changes will be more complex, and keep in mind that what works for some may not work for you. There are many causes of thyroid dysfunction, such as menopause, but supporting and caring for your thyroid will only make your life better including losing weight with hypothyroidism.

One way to get the support you need from the medical community is to find a functional medicine doctor to test for deficiencies you may have and adjust medications if needed. In addition, they focus on whole-body wellness and finding the root cause of your thyroid dysfunction. Also, following a thyroid healing diet eases symptoms and relieves inflammation allowing healing throughout the body. Another plus of focusing on whole-body wellness is a stronger immune system, which lessens the chances of developing another autoimmune disease.

Take care,

Corri

References

https://medicaltransformationcenter.com/what-are-early-warning-signs-of-thyroid-problems/
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8541-thyroid-disease#:~:text=Thyroid%20disease%20is%20very%20common,thyroid%20condition%20than%20a%20m
https://www.palomahealth.com/learn/benefits-turmeric-curcumin-thyroid
https://www.drdekel.com/hypothyroidism/
https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/hypothyroidism/stress-relief-tips/
https://revivelifeclinic.com/how-to-take-your-basal-body-temperature-bbt/
https://kresserinstitute.com/environmental-toxins-harm-thyroid/
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/teflon-and-perfluorooctanoic-acid-pfoa.html
https://primehealthdenver.com/thyroid-supplements/
https://www.verywellhealth.com/thyroid-disease-dietary-supplements-3231589

3 Common Tests For Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

By Corri Peterson

If you are being tested for thyroid peroxidase antibodies, there is a reason your doctor believes you may have an autoimmune thyroid disease.

Thyroid peroxidase antibodies’ presence indicates that the cause of thyroid disease is an autoimmune disorder, such as Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease. With these autoimmune disorders, your immune system makes antibodies that attack the normal thyroid tissue, causing swelling and tenderness and leading to increased or reduced thyroid function. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) is an enzyme typically found in the thyroid gland. TPO plays an essential role in producing thyroid hormones. A TPO test detects antibodies against TPO in the blood. If you have a thyroid disease diagnosis, your doctor may suggest a TPO antibody test and additional thyroid tests to help find the cause.

How Do They Test For Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

After a physical exam, blood samples are drawn to test the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones and the levels of thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

Here are the reference ranges for the three antithyroid antibodies:

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb): Less than 35 IU/mL.
  • Thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb): Less than 20 IU/mL.
  • Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin antibodies (TSI): Less than 140% of basal activity

Here are the reference ranges for thyroid hormones:

TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone): Reference range- 0.5-4.70 mIU/L

Some labs have upper limits of 8-10 mIU/L, while others have upper limits of 5.0 mIU/L. Many functional medicine and holistic doctors use upper limits of 2.5 mIU/L.

T4 (Thyroxine): Reference range: 4.5-12.5ug/dl

FT4 Free t4-(free thyroxine): Reference range: 0.8-1.8ng/dl

T3 (Triiodothyronine): Reference range: 87-180 ng/dl

FT3 (Free T3): Reference range-230-420pg/dl

RT3-(reverse T3/reverse triiodothyronine)– Reference range-10-24 ng/dl

Free T3/reverse T3 ratio– A ratio of 2 or higher

Your doctor may request a Radioactive iodine uptake test to measure the rate the thyroid absorbs iodine. This test reveals if the thyroid is overactive or underactive.

Your doctor may also request imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imagery (MRI).

The Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases

Graves’ Disease

Graves’ disease creates an overactive thyroid that makes more thyroid hormone than the body needs, known as hyperthyroidism. In addition, Graves’ disease causes your immune system to produce antibodies known as thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins. These antibodies attach to healthy thyroid cells causing your thyroid to create too much thyroid hormone.

These symptoms are more specific to Graves’ disease:

Feeling tired

Fast or irregular heartbeat

Irritability and anxiety

Frequent bowel movements

Trouble sleeping

Weight loss

Sensitivity to heat

Risk Factors of Developing Graves’ Disease

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Family History- Having a family member with Graves’ disease increases your risk

Sex- Women are more likely to develop Graves’ disease

Age- Graves’ disease usually develops before the age of 40

Pregnancy- Being pregnant or childbirth may trigger Graves’ disease, especially if there’s a family history

Physical or Emotional Stress- Illness or stress may trigger Graves’ disease, again, if there’s a family history

Other autoimmune disorders- If you have one autoimmune disease, you are at risk to develop another. Diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are examples.

Smoking- Cigarette smoking increases the risk of Graves’ by lowering your immune system. Smokers with Graves’ disease also have an increased risk of Graves’ ophthalmopathy.

Treatment Options for Graves’ Disease

Radioactive iodine-

The most common treatment for Graves’ disease is radioactive iodine (RAI) or radioiodine. This treatment destroys overactive thyroid cells and is given in liquid or in a capsule.

There are concerns that radioiodine may put you at a higher risk for Thyroid Eye Disease. Consult with your health care provider if you feel at risk.

Antithyroid Medicines-

Antithyroid medicines reduce the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces, however, lasting results depend on treating the actual autoimmune disease and slowing the production of thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

Surgery-

The least common form of treatment for Graves’ disease is a Thyroidectomy, the complete or partial removal of the thyroid gland. This is for those with extremely enlarged thyroids or goiter and pregnant women who can’t tolerate antithyroid drugs.

Those patients who have had radioactive iodine or surgery will have to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives.

While RAI is sometimes necessary, many people receive this treatment method when they could have restored their health through natural treatment methods. Functional medicine doctors will recommend adding selenium and a whole foods diet to slow the production of thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

FYI- Most conventional doctors will not give their patients any options other than RAI. They tell their patients that is the only treatment available and that Synthroid is the only replacement hormone that works!

There are many people who have received radioactive iodine therapy who are depressed and angry when they realize that they might have “saved” their thyroid gland instead of permanently damaging it.

They wonder if natural remedies would have corrected the disease without damaging or removing it.
Keep in mind that even if you have had RAI or surgery, following a natural thyroid healing program will help ease any remaining symptoms and help restore your health.

After all, damaging or removing your thyroid does nothing to address the autoimmune disease, but does leave you at risk of developing another autoimmune disease.

How to Know If Natural Thyroid Treatments Will Work

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Ultimately, the goal of natural thyroid treatment is not to manage symptoms but to get to the underlying cause of the disease. Natural treatment methods will often restore the individual’s health, eliminating the need for thyroid medication for the rest of their lives.

However, other times it’s not possible to completely restore their health. Still, it is possible to strengthen other areas of their body that led to their thyroid condition, which will help prevent future diseases from developing.

The reason is radioactive iodine therapy does nothing for the root cause of the thyroid condition. While it does help manage some of the symptoms, one needs to understand that the malfunctioning thyroid gland isn’t the cause of a hyperthyroid disorder in most cases. Destroying the gland makes absolutely no sense unless someone has severe symptoms and has tried every treatment method available.

However, the truth is that while RAI should be used as a last resort, you need to know that this is how most endocrinologists and other medical doctors are trained to treat such conditions.

While some great endocrinologists are out there, most are trained to use drugs and radioactive iodine therapy as their only treatment methods for hyperthyroid conditions. So, if you asked your endocrinologist or general practitioner about natural treatment methods, they would advise you not to follow such an unproven protocol.

Even if this isn’t the case, remember that what initially caused your thyroid condition to develop most likely still exists. Because of this, you should consider natural thyroid treatment methods to “optimize” your health and help prevent other autoimmune conditions from developing in the future.

Risk Factors for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

While some scientists believe a virus or bacterium triggers the response, others feel it’s a genetic flaw, and a growing number believe environmental toxins are to blame.

These symptoms are more specific to Hashimoto thyroiditis:

Enlarged thyroid, also known as a goiter

Fatigue (tiredness) and sluggishness

Weight gain

Sensitivity to cold

Slowed heart rate

Memory problems

Constipation

Pale, dry skin

Puffy face

Fullness in the throat

Untreated Hashimoto’s Can Cause Several Health Issues

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Here are five of the most common-

Goiter
Hypothyroidism is a common cause of goiters. Your thyroid’s constant stimulation to release hormones can cause the gland to enlarge, known as a goiter. A large goiter affects your appearance and may interfere with swallowing or breathing.

Heart Problems

Hashimoto’s disease slows thyroid function, so heart rate is slower, blood pressure increases, fluid retention is more significant, and increased cholesterol levels. Severe hypothyroidism can lead to heart failure.

Mental health issues

Thyroid disorders often cause emotional or mental health symptoms along with physical symptoms. As a result, it’s common for people to see a doctor for symptoms they had no idea were linked to thyroid disease.

A few of the most common mental health symptoms-

ADHD Depression and anxiety

Difficulties with concentration

Short-term memory lapses

Lack of interest and mental alertness

Slowed mental functioningIrritability

Short-temper

Dementia

It’s common for a person with symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and “brain fog” to mistakenly receive a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. As a result, they receive prescriptions for antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sedatives, or all three, instead of thyroid dysfunction treatment.

Myxedema (miks-uh-DEE-muh)

This life-threatening condition can develop due to deficient hormone levels caused by severely advanced hypothyroidism due to untreated Hashimoto’s disease. Symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, and hypothermia.

In addition, due to progressive thyroid disease, skin changes include swelling of the face, lips, eyelids, tongue, and thickening of the skin anywhere on the body, especially on the lower legs.

A life-threatening condition created by hypothyroidism is a myxedema coma, also known as a myxedema crisis. A more accurate term since a person experiencing a myxedema coma doesn’t always fall into a comatose state.

A myxedema coma can be triggered by colds, sedatives, infection, or other stress on your body. Myxedema coma requires immediate emergency medical treatment.

Higher Risk of Birth defects

Babies born to women with hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s disease or hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease may have a higher risk of congenital disabilities. Studies show that these children are more prone to intellectual and developmental problems.

In addition, there are links between hypothyroid pregnancies and birth defects, an increased risk of heart, brain, and kidney defects, and risk of premature birth, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

Because thyroid hormones are crucial to your baby’s brain and nervous system development, untreated hypothyroidism can cause problems with low IQ and normal development, especially during the first trimester.

If you’re planning to get pregnant or are in early pregnancy, be sure to have your thyroid level checked. This checkup is crucial there is a history of thyroid disease in your family.

Monitoring Your Thyroid During Pregnancy Helps Avoid Dangerous Health Issues:

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Preeclampsia- A severe high blood pressure condition in which organs like kidneys and liver are not working correctly. This pressure also stresses the heart and can cause pregnancy problems.

Pulmonary hypertension– This type of high blood pressure is in the lungs’ arteries and the right side of your heart.

Placental abruption– This is a condition where the placenta separates from the uterus wall before birth. The placenta delivers food and oxygen through the umbilical cord to the baby.

Heart failure– Your heart isn’t pumping as it should.

Thyroid storm– Your symptoms get much worse, suddenly. This rare, life-threatening condition puts pregnant women at high risk of heart failure.

Anemia– A lack of healthy red blood cells; they carry oxygen to every part of your body.

Gestational hypertension– This high blood pressure starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy and goes away after giving birth.

Myxedema– Severe, untreated hypothyroidism that may cause coma and death is a rare condition.

Postpartum hemorrhage-When a woman has heavy bleeding after delivery. The severe but rare condition usually happens one day after birth but is possible up to twelve weeks after the delivery.

Developing Fetuses Face Multiple Health Problems

Premature birth– Babies born before 37weeks of pregnancy are considered premature.

Goiter– When there is a lack of iodine, the thyroid gets larger, trying to capture all the iodine it can to make the right amount of thyroid hormone.

Low birthweight– A baby born weighing less than five pounds, 8 ounces.

Thyroid problems– Babies whose mothers have autoimmune thyroid disease risk developing thyroid problems because the antibodies can cross through the placenta.

Miscarriage or stillbirth– Rates for miscarriage are double in women with mild thyroid dysfunction. Simultaneously, stillbirth risk is seven times greater than women with normal thyroid hormone levels.

Infantile myxedema– Severe hypothyroidism can cause dwarfism and intellectual disabilities, leading to low intelligence and a lack of daily life skills.

Ongoing Problems with growth and brain and nervous system development– The nervous system helps you think, move, and feel. If left untreated, particularly in the first trimester, hypothyroidism can cause low IQ in a baby.

As you can see, if you suspect you have a thyroid problem or thyroid disease runs in your family, thyroid testing is vital for your health and the health of your developing baby. Remember, your body attacked your thyroid; your thyroid just responded. Many experts believe that the increase in thyroid disorders is a combination of stress, poor diet, and environmental toxins.

Lifestyle Changes Improve Thyroid Function

Holistic and functional medicine doctors recommend less processed food, avoiding toxins when possible (they are everywhere and in everything, so avoiding them is impossible), and reducing stress to ease any symptoms and improve your thyroid function. As I mentioned earlier, whole foods slow the production of thyroid peroxidase antibodies, making it easier for your thyroid to function properly.

I have written a post about how toxins affect your thyroid health. You can read it here: https://knowyourthyroid.com/improving-your-thyroid-gland-function-17-toxins-to-avoid/ Keep in mind: these toxins have a cumulative effect, even if you are getting a tiny amount of toxins from different sources, it adds up and your thyroid suffers.

You can improve your thyroid health and ease your symptoms with a few changes. It will be totally worth it!


Take care,

Corri


References:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/thyroid-disease/expert-answers/faq-20058114https://www.healthline.com/health/graves-disease#symptomshttps://www.healthline.com/health/graves-disease#treatmenthttps://www.google.com/search?q=heart+problems+linked+to+hypothyroidism&oq=heart+problems+linked+to+hypo&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j33i22i29i30l4.29669j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/expert-answers/thyroid-disease/faq-20058228https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20351855https://www.btf-thyroid.org/psychological-symptoms-and-thyroid-disordershttps://www.arundellodge.org/thyroid-dysfunction-is-often-confused-with-mental-illness/https://www.healthline.com/health/myxedemahttps://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20020118/thyroid-disease-increases-birth-defectshttps://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/pregnancy-thyroid-diseasehttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321886https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/thyroid-conditions-during-pregnancy.aspxhttps://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/patient-information/conditions-treated-a-to-z/goiterhttps://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/766266#:~:text=Hypothyroidism%20has%20been%20linked%20to,subclinical%20hypothyroidism%20has%20remained%20uncertain.SHAREhttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hashimoto-diet#supplements

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease-Are You At Risk

By Corri Peterson

Hashimoto thyroid disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, aka chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S. This condition tends to run in families and it’s most common in adult females, but anyone can develop it.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease targeting the thyroid, causing inflammation. This inflammation causes the thyroid to leak excess hormones causing hyperthyroidism. As the disease progresses, the inflammation causes thyroid cells to die, causing hypothyroidism. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

It is common for those diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease to experience hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) symptoms, followed by hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) symptoms as the disease progresses. Many patients diagnosed with Hashimoto’s describe it as being on a huge roller coaster ride.

In the early stages of Hashimoto’s, many are misdiagnosed with depression. In addition, fatigue, along with adrenal gland imbalances, often accompany Hashimoto’s.

Misdiagnosis Is Common With Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Early symptoms of Hashimoto’s have also been confused with several conditions, including:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS
  • An anxiety disorder
  • Cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder
  • ADHD

Being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease increases the risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Addison’s disease
  • Graves’ disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Vitiligo
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura

What Causes Hashimoto thyroid disease?

It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to make antibodies that attack your thyroid gland. Although doctors don’t know the exact cause, some think a virus or bacterium may be a trigger; others believe genetics may be involved. Heredity, sex, and age may also factor into the likelihood of developing the disease; plus, many researchers link environmental toxins, poor diet, and chronic stress to the rise in thyroid disorders.

As the disease progresses, the hypothyroidism symptoms become more and more apparent. However, many times symptoms are not noticeable until the condition has advanced or a goiter is noticed.

Here are a few of the symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Depression
  • Memory lapses

Diagnosing Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

After a physical exam, blood samples are drawn to test the levels of thyroid hormone. Your doctor may also test for thyroperoxidase antibodies if there is a suspicion you may have an autoimmune thyroid disease.

TPO antibodies’ presence suggests that the cause of thyroid disorder is an autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease.

Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) is an enzyme typically found in the thyroid gland. TPO plays a vital role in the production of thyroid hormones. A TPO test detects antibodies in the blood. If you have a thyroid disease diagnosis, your doctor may request antibody tests combined with TSH, Free T3, and Free T4 to help find the cause.

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Five Tests for Hashimoto’s:

1. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

2. Free liothyronine (T3)

3. Free thyroxine (T4)

4. Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb)

5. Thyroglobulin antibodies (TGAb)

You may undergo a Radioactive iodine uptake scan to measure the rate at which the thyroid absorbs iodine. This test reveals if the thyroid is overactive or underactive.

Your doctor may also request imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) to help confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Options

Conventional doctors will prescribe Synthroid or its generic version, levothyroxine. However, since most don’t believe or aren’t taught that diet and supplements help with recovery, they will tell you not to bother with either of them. Because Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid, treating just the thyroid will not resolve all symptoms. You have to treat the autoimmune disease also.

If you see a naturopathic or a functional medicine physician, they may switch you to desiccated thyroid hormones like Armour Thyroid or Nature-Throid containing T4 and T3 and calcitonin. Some patients with thyroid disease have trouble with the conversion of T4 to active T3, desiccated thyroid hormones have active T3 ready for the body to use.

Also, many patients who have had their thyroid removed or damaged by RAI report having better symptom control with natural thyroid hormones.

Naturopathic doctors will also test vitamin and mineral levels in the body to set up a recovery plan that focuses on healing the whole body, including supplements like vitamin D3, vitamin A, selenium, and amino acid L-tyrosine that support thyroid function.

Some medications and supplements that may affect levothyroxine absorption include:

  • antacids- that contain aluminum hydroxide
  • calcium supplements
  • iron supplements and multivitamins that contain iron
  • cholesterol-lowering drugs like cholestyramine (Questran)
  • sodium polystyrene sulfonate is used to treat high levels of potassium in the blood

Some foods can also affect absorption, including soy products and very high-fiber foods.

Cholesterol and Thyroid Hormones

Your body uses thyroid hormones to make cholesterol and remove the excess it doesn’t need.

Hypothyroidism slows bodily functions making it more difficult for your body to break down and remove LDL cholesterol, causing a build-up in your blood.

People with slightly low thyroid levels or subclinical hypothyroidism may have higher than normal LDL levels. Conversely, studies have found that high TSH levels can directly affect and raise cholesterol levels, even if thyroid hormones aren’t low.

FYI- Conventional doctors will advise you to start taking a statin if your cholesterol levels are high. If your thyroid hormones are slightly low, they may not give you thyroid hormone, but they advise you to take a statin or cholesterol-lowering drug while ignoring the thyroid connection.

Holistic or functional medicine doctors work with you through diet and lifestyle changes to improve your thyroid function, so hormone and cholesterol levels balance out naturally. They try to avoid prescriptions if possible.

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease Can Cause Reproductive Problems

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Without treatment, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to several reproductive complications. These include:

  • infertility issues
  • miscarriage
  • birth abnormalities

In addition, severe Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can result in several serious health conditions, including heart failure, seizures, or a coma.

Untreated, the disease may have links with Hashimoto’s encephalitis, inflammation of the brain that causes confusion, seizures, and jerking of the muscles. However, it’s unclear whether there is a direct link or how the two may be related.

Diet Choices Help Ease Symptoms

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Research does not suggest that dietary changes can cure or prevent Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. But research shows that diet and lifestyle changes can significantly affect the severity of your symptoms.

Most patients still have symptoms that affect their quality of life, even after treatment with medication. The medication may control the symptoms of hypothyroidism but doesn’t address the autoimmune disease, which is the root of the problem.

Researchers link inflammation to a wide range of Hashimoto’s symptoms, and inflammation is often tied to diet.

Diet and lifestyle changes will ease the inflammation within your body, and nutrition, combined with supplements, supplies your body with the support it needs to heal.

Since everyone responds differently to treatment, this disease is best treated with an individualized approach, including testing each person’s vitamin and mineral levels to implement the proper treatment plan.

Supplements That Support Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

Many with Hashimoto’s are deficient or will benefit from these supplements:

  • Selenium. Selenium helps reduce antithyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies and improves overall well-being.
  • Zinc. Zinc is essential for thyroid function. When used alone or with selenium, taking this mineral every day may improve thyroid function.
  • Curcumin. Studies have shown that this potent anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant supplement may protect the thyroid.
  • Vitamin D. People with Hashimoto’s disease are known for significantly lower levels of this vitamin than most. Studies link low vitamin D levels with disease severity.
  • B complex vitamins. People with Hashimoto’s disease tend to be low in B vitamins. Many benefit from taking a B complex vitamin to boost B12 and other essential B vitamins.
  • Magnesium. Low levels increase the risk of Hashimoto’s disease and higher thyroid antibodies. Improving magnesium deficiencies often improves symptoms in those with thyroid disease.
  • Iron. People with Hashimoto’s disease commonly develop anemia. Some may need supplements to correct the deficiency.

Supplements like fish oil, alpha-lipoic acid, and N-acetyl cysteine may also help ease symptoms for people with Hashimoto’s disease.

Be aware it’s common to develop more than one autoimmune disease.

Thyroiditis has been linked to celiac disease and lactose intolerance. However, many with thyroid disease find avoiding dairy and gluten helps their thyroid-related symptoms.

Patients with Hashimoto’s should limit sugars and processed foods. Processed food is high in saturated fats that increase cholesterol and preservatives that harm your gastrointestinal tract. Fast food is also full of preservatives and additives, plus the wrappers and boxes are coated with hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Those with Hashimoto’s run the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, so eating a thyroid-boosting diet focusing on your specific needs eases symptoms and helps control weight.

Nourishing Your Thyroid

Hashimoto Thyroid Disease

These foods support and nourish your thyroid for better health:

  • Eggs: Egg whites are full of protein, and the yolks have iodine and selenium.
  • Meat: Protein is vital to thyroid function, so include lamb, beef, and chicken in your diet. Avoid processed meats; they have chemicals that mimic our hormones.
  • Fish: Including salmon, tuna, halibut, and shrimp; avoid fish high in mercury. This heavy metal leads to thyroid inflammation and hypothyroidism by slowing or altering hormone response.
  • Vegetables: Consume as many vegetables as possible—they have the needed nutrients to heal and rebuild your body. You have more than likely heard not to eat cruciferous vegetables if you have thyroid disease. These vegetables have compounds that slow thyroid hormone production and reduce iodine uptake by the thyroid.
  • Fruits: Including berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc. Just like vegetables, your body needs the nutrients found in fruits. Try to avoid pesticides, but that’s not always possible. I soak my fruits in a sink full of cold water with a cup of white vinegar for 10-15 minutes, then rinse well. It’s incredible (disgusting) how dirty the water gets!
  • Gluten-free grains and seeds: Try rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, and flax seeds. You can experiment with this food group to determine which ones you like, and which best nourish your body.
  • Dairy: This category is somewhat controversial—dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., supply many beneficial vitamins and minerals. However, many with hypothyroidism experience inflammation and excess mucus after consuming dairy. Most feel better after avoiding dairy altogether.
  • Beverages: Filtered water and other non-caffeinated beverages. Try to avoid fluoride in your drinking water. A little know fact- fluoride was used until the 1950s to slow thyroid function in patients with hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease.

If you have Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, you should focus on a diet based on vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. They offer vital nutrients, are filling, and don’t have empty calories.

Which Foods Should You Avoid?

  • Soy foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc. There has always been concern over the harmful effects of the compounds in soy called isoflavones on the thyroid.
  • Certain vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc. As mentioned earlier, these cruciferous vegetables have compounds that slow the thyroid and inhibit iodine uptake.
  • Fruits and starchy plants: cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc. These are prone to raise blood sugar, so they are best limited or avoided altogether.
  • Nuts and seeds: These are harmful to some, so take caution when consuming millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc

These are not the only troublesome foods to avoid or limit; as you learn how to manage this disease, you will learn the foods that make you feel better and the ones to avoid.

As you work to regain your health, you may run across those who don’t believe that food and nutrition affect your thyroid and health, including most conventional doctors. Doctors are taught in medical school that thyroid disease is an “easy, quick fix. One test, one pill, and you’re done.”

The problem is for many; nothing could be further from the truth.

These doctors treat thyroid dysfunction but fail to address the root cause of the thyroid problem, the autoimmune disease.

As I mentioned before, many Hashimoto’s patients are deficient in magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Supplementing vitamin deficiencies helps fight the root cause of thyroid disorder, the autoimmune disease, and ease inflammation.

Hashimoto’s patients who still struggle with symptoms even while on medication can find relief following a custom treatment plan created for them by a holistic or functional medicine doctor. These doctors test vitamin and mineral levels to target deficiencies and are more likely to prescribe natural hormones than levothyroxine. In addition, these doctors focus on treating and healing the whole body, including clearing heavy metals and environmental toxins.

Take care,

Corri


References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/

https://www.healthline.com/health/thyroid-issues-and-cholesterol

https://www.webmd.com/women/whatis-autoimmune-thyroiditis

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266780#diet

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/ask_can_hashimotos_cause_other_autoimmune_diseases/article_em.htm

https://drjewilliams.com/five-tests-tell-hashimotos/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hypothyroidism-diet

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hypothyroidism-diet#effects-on-metabolism

https://www.verywellhealth.com/armour-thyroid-for-hypothyroidism-3233291

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/aip-diet-autoimmune-protocol-diet#how-it-works

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/aip-diet-autoimmune-protocol-diet

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0203335#:~:text=The%20thyroid%20gland%20like%20the,action%20%5B29%2C%2030%5D.

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/what-best-diet-hypothyroidism

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326275

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/thyroid-pictures/foods-to-avoid/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-with-hypothyroidism/vitamins/SHARE

How To Ease Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

By Corri Peterson

Underactive thyroid symptoms are most common in women over age 50. It’s a condition caused by an underproduction of thyroid hormone and it affects women six times as often as it does men.

It’s estimated that roughly 13 million people in the U.S. struggle with underactive thyroid symptoms, although many experts believe that number to be closer to 20 million.

However, low thyroid or underactive thyroid symptoms, also known as hypothyroidism, are on the rise in women of childbearing age, plus more young children are showing development issues linked to an underactive thyroid.

An Underactive Thyroid Can Trigger Many Illnesses and Diseases

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

The thyroid gland is linked to the immune system and metabolism. Everything from an inadequate diet to heavy metal poisoning to pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables can affect it. The thyroid can be linked to just about any condition.

This small, butterfly-shaped organ regulates our metabolism in every body cell and is linked to many organ system dysfunctions. (We are focused on sharing information and solutions to improve your health and quality of life. If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

The thyroid produces about one teaspoon of hormone per year. However, too little of this hormone results in fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, appetite loss, recurrent infections, muscle cramps and weakness, constipation, a slowed heart rate, depression, and dry and scaly skin.

Two common symptoms people complain about are fatigue and always feeling cold.

For women, painful periods, problems with fertility, and discharge from the breasts can commonly occur. Hormonal imbalances also occur when excess estrogen dominates over progesterone. Typically, a women’s ratio of progesterone is about 10:1 to estrogen. Too much estrogen has been shown to slow thyroid production. Progesterone, on the other hand, encourages it.

These providers also may suggest antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, anti-anxiety medications, and weight-loss aids when diet and lifestyle changes make a huge difference.

Many women who are going through menopause also develop problems with their thyroid glands. These women have several hormone disruptions that cause all kinds of symptoms, however, many conventional healthcare providers don’t link the two. Your provider may suggest HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) to ease hot flashes, but keep in mind, that HRT is known to cause blood clots. Plus, no one will tell you that when you stop HRT, it’s like starting the hot flashes all over again.

FYI-Adding progesterone helps ease several symptoms of both low thyroid and menopause.

If you are suffering from the above symptoms, check with your health care provider for a TSH test. Be aware that you may have symptoms, but your TSH test will be normal.

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

Many times, those with underactive thyroid symptoms will experience discomfort and illness symptoms but don’t show concrete evidence they are sick, known as subclinical hypothyroidism. Many women will experience hypothyroidism symptoms – fatigue, constantly feeling cold, low heart rate, weight gain – however, the disease is within normal ranges when medically tested. However, the results will most likely be at the high or low end of the acceptable levels.

Health care providers can be hesitant to prescribe thyroid hormone for subclinical hypothyroidism. Many believe exterior factors have affected the thyroid and will straighten itself out. However, other providers believe it is the beginning of full-blown thyroid disease.

The standard treatment of hypothyroidism is to prescribe thyroid hormone replacement drugs. Those can include Synthroid, Armor thyroid (the natural form of the thyroid), or levothyroxine. All three are effective at eliminating symptoms; treatment, however, will be ongoing for a lifetime.

Self-Testing for An Underactive Thyroid

If you have fallen into the category where your provider doesn’t believe you have a thyroid problem and there are millions who have, there is a standardized self-test for detecting an underactive thyroid developed by Dr. Broda Barnes.

After years of extensive research, Dr. Barnes concluded the TSH tests used by standard medical practitioners weren’t reliable indicators of thyroid function. Instead, he found that a six-day average of one’s basal temperature was a more accurate indicator of the thyroid’s ability to regulate the body’s function and metabolism.

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

How to Take Your Basal Temperature

Start with a thermometer next to your bed. First thing in the morning, before rising, place the thermometer under your arm for 15 minutes. Do not move while doing this, as movement can alter the reading. Do this for a minimum of at least five days and record the readings. Temperatures of 97.6 F or lower may indicate an underactive thyroid, or subclinical or borderline condition, especially if the readings are consistent.

If you suspect hypothyroidism, start by having your hormone levels in the blood tested. For blood tests come back within the normal range, but you are still experiencing symptoms, you may have a subclinical condition, this occurs when TSH levels in the blood are elevated, but T4 and T3 levels are normal.

Easing Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

Dr. Mark Ladner, a co-author of, The Encyclopedia of Women’s Health, believes nutritional deficiencies and stress are two significant factors of hypothyroidism. He also argues that iodine deficiencies, the main factor in hypothyroidism, are rare since common table salt, found in most people’s diets, has been supplemented with iodine.

However, some practitioners believe the use of healthier forms of sea salt leads to iodine deficiencies since many home cooks tout rink Himalayan salt as the ultimate mineral-rich seasoning, but this salt has no iodine, so the debate goes on.

Reduce Stress

Stress is known for slowing thyroid function and is a deterrent to maintaining a healthy thyroid. Ongoing stressful events strip many vital nutrients from our body and hinder the immune system’s functioning.

If you have ongoing stress on the adrenal glands, excessive cortisol amounts are secreted into the bloodstream. Over prolonged periods, high cortisol secretion levels suppress our immune system by making disease-fighting leukocytes less effective, weakening their ability to detect and kill off viruses and even cancer.

In addition, this shifting of immune function slows thyroid functioning by decreasing levels of active T3, causing underactive thyroid symptoms.

Since a slow-functioning thyroid is linked to sluggish immune function, finding ways to reduce stress is crucial.

Exercise, deep breathing, meditation, aromatherapy, journaling, listening to music, and long nature walks help manage stress levels.

High blood sugar from excessive carbohydrates and processed foods can also be a factor. High blood sugar increases cortisol production, causing blood sugar swings that alter the body’s thyroid hormone production.

Additional culprits Dr. Lader implicates To Underactive Thyroid Symptoms:

1 – Minimal calorie intake in women

2 – Diets high in caffeine

3 – Food allergies and sensitivities

4 – Imbalances in intestinal microflora, as the gut is where many problems can start, and thyroid hormones are broken down for absorption

5 – A stressed, abused, overworked liver, where enzymes that break down and help detoxify toxins also break down thyroid chemicals

6 – Certain medications, like antidepressants, affect thyroid function

Correcting Nutritional Deficiencies

Many times underactive thyroid symptoms are triggered by poor diet and other environmental factors. Improving nutrition and adding natural resources can help ease bothersome symptoms.

I share the danger of environmental toxins in this post – https://knowyourthyroid.com/improving-your-thyroid-gland-function-17-toxins-to-avoid/

Now that you know why you feel the way you do, what can you do to improve your thyroid health and function?

The following suggestions may help:

Keep in mind, that everyone has different triggers to their thyroid disorder, so what will help you feel better may not help someone else and vice-versa. The best way to supplement is by having your levels tested, so your specific deficiencies can be addressed.

The nutrients and supplements covered below are commonly recommended to those with underactive thyroid symptoms.

Under-active Thyroid Symptoms

Selenium, glutathione, and zinc– These three nutrients are required for converting T4 to T3, the thyroid hormone form used in tissues.

Although the link between selenium and hypothyroidism is unclear, many hypothyroid patients are deficient.

Glutathione-The Web Site, mindbodygreen.com, states that glutathione is a critical component because of its powerful antioxidant capacity to modulate and regulate the immune system. It also calms autoimmune flare-ups and protects and heals the thyroid.

Kelp-A natural way to increase the amount of iodine in your diet is to take a kelp supplement. Kelp is seaweed naturally rich in iodine. This may be beneficial if you are on an extremely low-salt diet. You can safely take up to 3,000 mg. daily.

Beware! If you have hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease, avoid adding iodine to your diet. Your body is already producing too much thyroid hormone, so adding iodine will only compound the problem.

B-vitamins-These vitamins are essential to immune function and healthy thyroid function. In addition, they are vital in fighting stress. Several nutritional supplements contain the entire vitamin B complex, plus you may need additional vitamin B12. Functional medicine or holistic practitioners use blood tests to reveal any nutrient deficiencies to recommend the correct supplementation.

Omega-3s-Adding more omega-3’s to your diet helps optimize thyroid health and eases symptoms linked to thyroid disorders. Essential fatty acids support thyroid function; studies have found that omega-3s can decrease inflammation that causes thyroid function. EPA and DHA, two fatty acids that help makeup omega-3s, create resolvins that ease inflammation and promote healing. In addition, omega-3 fats offer cellular membrane integrity, which protects them from damage and enables your cells to communicate well.

Vitamin C– is vital to immune function. Low vitamin C levels are linked to a risk of memory and thinking disorders like dementia. Conversely, a high intake of vitamin C from foods and supplements has been shown to have a protective effect. Those with adequate levels have fewer colds and viruses, less risk of chronic disease, lower blood pressure, and lower heart attack risk.

Foods to Limit or Omit

Because of their thyroid-blocking actions, there are foods to eat in moderation or omitted, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. In addition, holistic nutritionist and author Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, recommends cutting out kale, mustard greens, peaches, pears, radishes, spinach, and turnips.

Many practitioners recommend eliminating gluten from the diet. According to some researchers, the cellular makeup of gluten is similar to that of thyroid tissue. Many doctors will also recommend limiting or eliminating dairy from the diet.

Focus on removing foods that cause an inflammatory reaction. Inflammation-triggering foods cause stress on the body, asking it to work harder to fight the inflammation. With less stress, your body and liver aren’t working as hard, freeing your immune and endocrine systems, and making them more efficient.

Improving Liver and Gut Health

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

I can’t stress the health of your liver enough. This organ has more than it can handle detoxifying chemicals from our food and the environment. An overworked liver can work against someone with thyroid problems because when the liver becomes overtaxed, the enzymes working overtime then trigger thyroid hormone elimination. One more reason why a healthy liver is so important.

Foods to limit or eliminate include high sodium processed foods, caffeine, sugar, trans and saturated fats, and all foods containing synthetic chemicals for color, freshness, or texture.

Improving and maintaining a healthy gut with healthy intestinal microflora can significantly affect overall well-being and improve thyroid health. Your body detoxifies and eliminates thyroid hormones through the gut, where enzymes break down the thyroid hormones to absorb them into the bloodstream.

Individuals with inadequate or poor diets can have intestinal problems that lead to imbalances in microflora, reducing their body’s ability to absorb active thyroid hormone.

A probiotic is helpful, along with a diet rich in dark greens that supply plenty of digestive-friendly vitamin K. Look for fruits and vegetables that aren’t on the “Dirty Dozen” produce list. Many thyroid patients find that adding digestive enzymes may also be beneficial in aiding thyroid hormone absorption.

Nutritional supplementation can be tricky, let alone knowing how to supplement when working with a complex health condition. I can’t stress enough how important a customized supplementation program is; everyone has different chemistry, and everyone’s reaction to nutritional supplementation can vary.

Therefore, it may be necessary to be evaluated by a qualified professional. Personally, my health was declining from my Graves’ disease until I saw a functional medicine doctor. He tested my blood, urine, and saliva, and then he laid out a complete treatment plan from the test results.

Any time you are dealing with a chronic disease, there is always room for the positive aspects of the experience and opportunities for lifestyle improvements. People suffering from hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroid symptoms can view this chapter of their life as one that opens doors to enhancing well-being.

Take care,

Corri

References

Balch, Phyllis, A., and Balch, James R.; Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 3rd ed. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2000

“Alternative Thyroid Treatments, Hypothyroid Diets, & Natural Hypothyroid Therapies.” Dr. Podell. Podell, Dr. <http://www.drpodell.org/alternative_thyroid_treatments. HTML.>

“Alternative Treatment for Hypothyroidism – Help for low thyroid and hypothyroidism.” Womentowomen. Pick, Marcelle, OB-GYN-NP. <http://www.womentowomen.com/hypothyroidism/alternativetreatments.aspx>

“Can Hypothyroidism Be Treated Naturally?” About, 9 Nov 2006. <http://thyroid.about.com/b/2006/11/09/can-your-hypothyroidism-be-treated-naturally.html>

“Hypothyroidism.” MedlinePlus. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothyroidism>

“Hypothyroidism: Diet & Exercise.” Livestrong.

<http://www.livestrong.com/article/209155-hypothyroidism-diet-exercise/

“13 Ways to Treat Hypothyroidism Naturally.” Mindbodygreen, Grunewald, Jill.

<http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3139/13-Ways-to-Treat-Hypothyroidism-Naturally.html>

“Thyroid Disease: A natural/herbal perspective.” About. Shomon, Mary. 12 Aug 2009. <http://thyroid.about.com/cs/expertinterviews/a/shasta.html>

https://www.foodnetwork.ca/healthy-eating/blog/how-to-choose-healthiest-type-of-salt-for-cooking/

Randi Meares Brodmann, ND, MFA, CNC

Integrative Wellness Services for Women

http://www.iwellnesswomen.com

Holistic Health – Nutrition – Women’s Wellness

https://hopeforhealingfoundation.org/17-simple-ways-to-relieve-worry-stress-and-anxiety/

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Can-You-Take-Too-Much-Vitamin-B.aspx

https://www.google.com/search?q=Essential+fatty+acids+support+thyroid+function&oq=Essential+fatty+acids+support+thyroid+function&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160.1334j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.pnas.org/content/117/20/10621

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#2.-May-help-manage-high-blood-pressure

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-with-hypothyroidism/vitamins/

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a31916678/dirty-dozen-foods-2020-list/

https://www.designedforthriving.com/i-am-thriving/tag/Dr.+Broda+BarnesSHARE

Improving Thyroid Gland Function-17 Toxins To Avoid

By Corri Peterson

Are you trying to lose weight, or maybe you are struggling with depression? What if I told you that improving your thyroid gland function would improve your overall health?

Let’s talk about the weight issue, those pounds that won’t budge no matter what you try. But instead, the scale keeps creeping up.

You probably tried every diet there is, some you don’t want to tell anyone about because they were so crazy and bizarre, but you were desperate. Yet, you are here wondering what is wrong with you because no diet, program, or amount of exercise has done anything to help you lose any weight or feel any better. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

So, what gives! Even if you lose even a pound, you often find you have gained two or three back?

What about the depression? And the anxiety? Why does that keep showing up?

Why Does Thyroid Gland Function Matter?

What if I told you seventeen toxins are causing harm to your thyroid and creating the uncomfortable symptoms you are experiencing!

After treatment for my Graves’ disease, I slowly became sicker and sicker and heavier and heavier. So, about three years ago, after visiting several doctors trying to find relief for my symptoms and a way to stop or slow down the weight gain, a friend of mine who has Multiple Sclerosis recommended I see a holistic or functional medicine doctor.

I found a functional medicine doctor who could also write prescriptions due to my thyroid hormone replacement needs. FTI: not all holistic doctors can write prescriptions.

My initial consultation, which lasted over 3 hours, concluded with blood, saliva, and urine samples.

The results from the tests were eye-opening. The doctor explained how exposure to environmental toxins led to the build-up of toxins and chemicals that created this toxic overload within my body, starting with my thyroid gland function. Since only the over-active thyroid was treated, and not the autoimmune disease, I still suffered from debilitating symptoms.

His plan came in a three-inch-thick 3-ring binder that covered all the steps I needed to take to heal my body.

Here’s part of the information he shared:

Thyroid Gland Function

The endocrine glands are the drivers of metabolism. They direct activities by releasing chemical messengers called hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism and endocrine, cardiovascular, neurological, and immune function.

These glands include:

  • Thyroid and Parathyroid
  • Pancreas
  • Hypothalamus
  • Pituitary
  • Ovaries and Testes
  • Adrenals
  • Several other organs containing some Endocrine Tissues

These hormones in these glands also regulate our mood, growth, development, sexual function, and every other body function.

He shared The Neuroendocrine Theory states that “we age because our hormones decline, rather than the reverse assumption that our hormones decline because we age.”

Most aging-related diseases have their basis with hormone dysfunction: imbalances, insufficient levels, or hormone resistance.

Food, activity levels, stress, environmental factors, and many drugs can alter your hormones’ balance and effectiveness.

Furthermore, some cells become resistant to your hormones. The best-known hormone resistance is that of insulin resistance, found in diabetics. However, cells may become resistant to other hormones as well.

He explained how the chemicals, toxins, and the borderline lead poisoning in my body (that was a surprise), had made it impossible for me to feel well, let alone lose weight.

He had pages of recommendations for me to follow.

He made it clear that if I were to get better, I needed to clean up my diet and remove as many toxins as possible from my body and environment.

This purge included cleaning supplies, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, water bottles, plastic food containers, and processed foods.

He advised me to look at every aspect of my life and eliminate all the toxins I could.

One of the main areas he targeted was my diet.

One Of The Main Areas Targeted Was My Diet

Thyroid Gland Function

He discussed the chemicals in our food supply that had most likely contributed to my autoimmune thyroid disease, plus my grandmother’s family history of having a goiter removed. Then, he bluntly told me if I didn’t follow his plan, I wouldn’t get better.

He explained how the chemicals in my food and environment affected how my hormones interacted with each other.

His plan included organic beef and chicken, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. The program also stated no Teflon pans, no plastics, no processed food, no fast food. He explained that if it’s not a whole food, it most likely has chemicals added that are harmful to all my endocrine glands.

All these toxins and chemicals clog up the natural hormone balance in your body, making it difficult for your hormones to regulate your body’s functions. The problem with these toxins is they bear a structural similarity to thyroid hormones.

The thyroid is designed to pull iodine (a halogen) and selenium (a metalloid) to the thyroid to produce and metabolize thyroid hormones. Unfortunately, the thyroid also pulls harmful halogens and metals within the gland since the thyroid’s toxins mimic thyroid hormones. As a result, your thyroid can’t distinguish between natural or toxic halogens or heavy metals.

While doing some research on the seventeen chemicals my doctor wanted me to eliminate, I discovered their official name:

Obesogens

These are chemicals found in most common household products, cosmetics, plastics, pesticides, food, and water; these chemicals mimic hormones, disrupt your metabolism, and cause weight gain among other problems.

Once these chemicals are inside of us, even low doses can have a negative effect.

As a general rule, these toxins are divided into four categories:

-Industrial chemicals

-Pesticides and herbicides

-Toxins in consumer goods

-Heavy metals

These are the most common and disruptive Obesogens by category:

Industrial Chemicals:

Thyroid Gland Function

These toxins are byproducts of manufacturing processes.

PCBs- Polychlorinated biphenyls– These chemicals have been linked to cancer as well as several other non-cancer severe health issues that include your immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system. They reduce the number of receptors with which thyroid hormone can bind in the body, lowering the amount of circulating T4 and weakening the liver enzymes responsible for converting T4 to T3.

PCBs have been used as coolants and lubricants for electrical equipment. The manufacture of PCBs was stopped in 1977 due to evidence of build-up in the environment and harm to humans. Catfish, carp, and buffalo fish commonly have high PCB levels.

Perchlorate- This chemical hinders thyroid function and inhibits early brain development. It’s used to eliminate static electricity and is found in dry food packaging and drinking water. This chemical is used in military applications like rocket fuel and explosives and has leaked into the groundwater around most military bases. It’s also used in the production of leather, rubber, paint, and batteries.

Dioxin-Acceptable levels in the United States have been linked to decreased T4 and reduced thyroid function, with females more affected than males. This is because dioxin mimics thyroid hormones and reduces T4 by binding to cell receptors that enhance the biochemical process that facilitates the body’s excretion of hormones.

Toxins in Consumer Goods:

PBDEs Polybrominated diphenyl ethers-  These are flame retardants found in computer and TV screens, furniture, carpet padding, and synthetic textiles. PBDEs mimic thyroid hormones, and they displace T4 from hormone-binding proteins preventing them from being transported in the blood. They also disrupt estrogen activity making postmenopausal women particularly vulnerable to their effects.

BPA-Bisphenol A– This chemical is found in food-can linings and plastic bottles; BPA mimics the hormone estrogen structure and function. It also interacts with hormone receptors, like your thyroid, altering their function. We know low thyroid is linked to weight gain and out-of-balance estrogen, and progesterone is contributed to increased waist circumference, similar to what happens during menopause.

I also didn’t know that shopping receipts also contain BPA, so now I avoid them as much as possible.

My doctor also observed that you would automatically limit your BPA exposure if you eat fresh, whole foods. Plus, it’s worth noting that many BPA-free products have just replaced BPA with bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF), which aren’t any better for our health or hormones.

Phthalates– 

Thyroid Gland Function

These chemicals are used in vinyl flooring, adhesives, plastics, and as emollients in personal care items. These chemicals are not a single chemical but a family of chemicals linked to variations in sex hormone levels, problems with genital development, and low sperm count. As a result, these chemicals have been banned from products and toys for children under 3.

Triclosan- This antibacterial and antifungal agent is used in toothpaste, soaps, detergents, toys, and surgical cleaning treatments. It is associated with a decrease in thyroid hormone levels. Triclosan has a close cousin called triclocarban and an alternative name Microban, also in clothing and plastics. 

PFOA- Is used in nonstick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics. Studies suggest that triclosan and PFOA decrease T4, lowering thyroid function. PFOA from nonstick cookware can leach into food and be ingested.

PFCs Perfluoroalkyl chemicals- Lead to low-birthweight babies and issues with the immune system, thyroid, and fertility. They are found in fast-food wrappers, cardboard packages, water-repellant fabrics, and nonstick pans.

Microplastics– These tiny particles of plastics have made their way into our lakes, rivers, and oceans, leading to contamination of our food and water. Plus, much of our food comes wrapped in plastic, leading to these tiny particles breaking off into our food. Over time these particles leach off BPA and phthalates adding to our toxic overload.

Food Preservatives-

This Includes bromates in bread, nitrates, or nitrites in processed meats, MSG, dyes, and artificial sweeteners all harm your body and hormones.

The body’s detoxification systems have difficulty processing artificial chemicals that don’t occur in nature.

Artificial Food Colors-

Studies found these food colors aggravate symptoms of children with ADHD. They are found in all types of food products, particularly those for children.

Nitrates and nitrites

These chemicals interfere with thyroid function and the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen to the body. They may also increase cancer risks. They are found in processed foods, particularly meats, to preserve and enhance color.

Mercury-

Common mercury exposure sources include dental amalgams, seafood, and pollution from coal-burning power plants.

Although mercury is not technically in flu shots, Thimerosal is. Thimerosal is a compound containing mercury that prevents the growth of bacteria and fungus. The injectable flu vaccine contains 25 mcg of Thimerosal per 0.5-mL dose.

Aluminum-

This toxin damages the thyroid, affecting iodide uptake and hormone production. Aluminum triggers an immune response leading to the production of antibodies that may target the thyroid.

Fluoride

Thyroid Gland Function

This chemical is known for slowing thyroid function. There is a history of fluoride-causing goiters starting in 1854.

1949 – Richard May reports on the highly successful use of the organic fluoride compounds Pardinon (IG Farben) and Capacin (Knoll AG) to treat hyperthyroidism. Up until 1943, 10,000 patients had been cured using these compounds.

1950 – Richard May reports that between 1935 and 1947, over 5000 hyperthyroid patients had been treated successfully with Pardinon and Capacin in the May clinic alone.

1978 – George Waldbott writes that in most cases of poisoning from fluoridated water in which he had studied the thyroid gland’s action, its function was low. Within three months of consuming no fluoridated water, the thyroid function had returned to normal (BMR=0). Also, Waldbott writes that “simultaneously, other symptoms associated with low-grade fluoride poisoning – including excessive thirst, headaches, blurred vision, arthritis in shoulders, elbows, knees, and gastrointestinal disturbances – also disappeared.”

He did not know that the symptoms he ascribed to “low-grade fluoride poisoning” would likewise be considered symptoms of hypothyroidism some 20 years later.

Yet, dentists will tell you fluoride poses no danger; however, beware of the exposure levels.

Pesticides and Herbicides- These chemicals interfere with thyroid gland function by interfering with gene expression, reducing iodine’s thyroid uptake, binding to thyroid transport proteins, and reducing cellular uptake of thyroid hormones.

They also cause cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, neurotoxicity, kidney and liver damage, congenital disabilities, and developmental changes.

Heavy metals-

The heavy metals most often associated with poisoning are lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. In addition, heavy metal poisoning may occur due to foods, medicines, industrial exposure, air or water pollution, the ingestion of lead-based paints, and improperly coated food containers.

Lead exposure has been linked to lowered thyroid function and elevated TSH. But, beware of how you could be exposed; these heavy metals are everywhere! (My lead exposure came from an old lead water pipe that ran from our house to the street)!

Now, I know these chemicals are everywhere, and it’s impossible to avoid them altogether; but, there are some steps you can take.

  • Add two or more servings daily to the amount of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables your and your family eat.
  • Serve fewer processed meats.
  • Avoid heating or microwaving foods or beverages in plastic containers. Heat causes BPA and phthalates in plastic to leach into your food or drinks. Also, wash plastics by hand rather than the dishwasher.
  • Switch to using more glass and stainless steel in place of plastic.
  • Avoid plastics with these numbers: 3, 6, 7.
  • Clean all fruits and vegetables thoroughly. I soak fruits and vegetables in a sink of cold water and a cup of white vinegar. Let your produce soak for 15 minutes, rinse well, and pat dry.
  • Cut back on canned fruits, vegetables, and beverages.
  • Focus on reducing or eliminating fast and processed foods.
  • Buy naturally made and fragrance-free lotions, soaps, and beauty products.
  • Make your cleaning products. There are several sites with recipes on the internet, or you can use baking soda or vinegar.
  • Avoid nonstick cookware.

You will also notice your body feeling heavy and sluggish after eating processed foods once you have removed most of these toxins and chemicals from your diet. You will naturally avoid eating certain foods because you don’t like how they make you feel.

I want you to know, by just making some changes in your diet and lifestyle, you can improve your health and increase your weight loss efforts.

Take care,

Corri

References:

https://www.healthline.com/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.epa.gov/

https://www.cdc.gov/

beyondpesticides.org

https://www.webmd.com/

https://www.revivechiro.com/

https://www.reuters.com/article/legal-us-otc-roundup/800-million-common-fund-dispute-in-roundup-highlights-settlement-premium-issue-idUSKBN2AM2MQ

https://warddeanmd.com/articles/neuroendocrine-theory-of-aging-chapter-1/

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/heavy-metal-poisoning/https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/heavy-metal-poisoning/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/common-food-additives-and-chemicals-harmful-to-children-2018072414326

https://www.google.com/search?q=triclosan&oq=triclosan&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l9.1144j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://kresserinstitute.com/environmental-toxins-harm-thyroid/

https://kresserinstitute.com/environmental-toxins-harm-thyroid/https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2004/05/cdc-neutral-thimerosal-flu-vaccine-toddlers

What Causes Hypothyroidism- 3 Common Triggers

By Corri Peterson

Thyroid disease is on the rise, but what causes hypothyroidism symptoms?

It’s common to know a friend, relative, co-worker, or neighbor who has some version of thyroid dysfunction, the symptoms are becoming well-known.

But what causes hypothyroidism? According to Dr. Kevin Dobrzynski, D.N., A better question is, “What are the causes of my hypothyroidism?”

Possible Causes of Your Hypothyroidism

What Causes Hypothyroidism

These triggers cause the most common hypothyroidism in the U.S., Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.)

• Gluten intolerance

• Insulin surges

• G.I. infections

• Pregnancy

• Estrogen surges

• Heavy metal toxicity

• Iodine excess

• Vitamin D receptor polymorphism

• Combination of all of the above

There is Good News, says Dr. Kevin Dobrzynski-

You can control many of these triggers. However, you will need some help in identifying and treating the causes of your problem.

Looking at the list, you’ll notice most of them can be controlled by what you put on and in your body.

Gluten intolerance, insulin surges, and G.I. infections result from the incorrect diet.

Pregnancy and estrogen surges may be a little more challenging to correct.

First, start looking at how you can reduce the estrogen in your body.

Estrogen is everywhere, including the makeup and creams you put on your face and skin. It’s in the food you eat and the water you drink.

You can reduce many toxins, including heavy metals, by knowing what you’re putting in your body.

As for excess iodine, check the medication you may be taking and stop taking iodine supplements.

Most people are not getting enough vitamin D, and if you have hypothyroidism, you will need more than the average Joe.

The bottom line is you have to start doing some research and understand what’s going into your body. But, unfortunately, your doctor will not do this for you.

“The causes of hypothyroidism are many, but you can control many of these triggers by educating yourself about your condition – that is the best pill you can take”- Dr. Kevin.

Common hypothyroidism symptoms include:

What Causes Hypothyroidism
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • High cholesterol
  • Irritability
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Slow heart rate
  • Sluggishness
  • Irregular uterine bleeding

The thyroid is a primary member of the endocrine system and regulates nearly every organ in the body. For example, it regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, respiration, body temperature, brain development, cholesterol levels, the heart and nervous system, blood calcium levels, menstrual cycles, skin integrity, adult hippocampal neurogenesis, etc.

With the thyroid regulating every system in our bodies, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out there are many symptoms caused by thyroid disease that no one realizes. 

Many healthcare providers report patients scheduling appointments for symptoms they have no idea were related to their thyroid.

Some Lesser-known Symptoms of Thyroid Disease:

  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Period problems
  • Puffy face
  • Blurry vision
  • Carpal Tummel syndrome
  • Hair loss 
  • Coarse, brittle, straw-like hair
  • Dull facial expression
  • Coarse facial features
  • Yellowing skin and eyes (jaundice)

What Causes Hypothyroidism?

According to experts, the three main reasons for increasing thyroid problems are poor nutrition, stress, and environmental toxins.  

Poor Diet and Nutrition

What Causes Hypothyroidism

The levels of thyroid hormones are an essential factor to consider as a part of well-being and health. Many fatty, sugary, refined, and highly processed foods, do more than add unwanted weight. 

Nutrition, not age, determines the quality and resiliency of every organ, cell, and system in the body. As a result, your eating habits significantly contribute to your thyroid function and overall well-being.

How well your body renovates and repairs organs, tissue and DNA determines how you age on a cellular level. When the body needs new materials used for repairs, it must use what you give it: your food. The quality of that food determines the quality of the repair. 

Herbicides and pesticides 

These chemicals affect the thyroid’s ability to use iodine and cause excess thyroid hormone to be removed from the body. 

When improving your diet quality, focus on organic fruits and vegetables. However, if you find the cost of organic produce prohibitive, soaking your produce in a sink of cold water and a cup of white vinegar will dissolve the pesticides and other toxins so they can be rinsed off.

Be Aware of Goitrogens

What Causes Hypothyroidism

These compounds may interfere with the iodine uptake of the thyroid gland. Their name comes from the term goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland that may occur with hypothyroidism.

Surprisingly, many common foods contain goitrogens, including:

  • Soy and soy products included tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.
  • Vegetables including are cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc.
  • Fruits and starchy plants like sweet potatoes. Cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds like millet, pine nuts, and peanuts are also included.

People with hypothyroidism are advised to avoid goitrogens. However, this seems to be an issue for people who have an iodine deficiency or eat large amounts of goitrogens. In addition, research shows that goitrogens affect some individuals more than others.

FYI– cooking foods with goitrogens may inactivate these compounds.

One noted exception is pearl millet. Studies have found that pearl millet might interfere with thyroid function, even without an iodine deficiency.

In the last century, we have tipped the scales of food production technology with mass-produced goods made of concentrated sugars, refined flours, and preservatives. 

As a result, experts believe money saved on natural food production is now needed to pay billions of health care expenses associated with metabolic disorders. 

Gluten

Certain foods, such as gluten-containing bread and baked goods, can negatively affect thyroid balance and cause acne.

Immune reactions to gluten can trigger an autoimmune thyroid attack in many people. In addition, studies have shown a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten sensitivity.

The protein structure of gluten shares an amino acid that resembles the thyroid. So when a person reacts to gluten, the immune system may also respond to thyroid tissue. Unfortunately, this mistaken identity causes inflamed immune cells to attack the thyroid.

Sugar

What Causes Hypothyroidism

Sugar ages the skin and excites the thyroid. In addition, sugar adds to mood disorders, and inflammation and is Endocrine Disruptive. It can disrupt the sebaceous glands, cause acne, create dryness and add to premature aging. 

Sugar also causes leaky gut syndrome, is often the precursor to autoimmune disease and mucks up the whole endocrine system.

Excess sugar triggers insulin ( a hormone) to deal with excess glucose. Daily sugar spikes can destroy adrenal function, and challenge the thyroid & the endocrine system.

The human body has evolved with a limited ability to break down sugar and minimal access to it in concentrated forms, so processing the comparatively giant loads we consume nowadays puts a significant strain on our systems. 

In addition, excess sugar loiters in the blood and causes trouble by latching onto protein molecules; an age-accelerating process called glycosylation that causes cellular aging.

 In addition to damage caused by insulin, a sluggish thyroid gland will slow insulin removal from the bloodstream.

Acne

Acne can result from blood sugar issues and chronic inflammation. These trigger hormonal reactions that increase sebum production, blocked pores, and overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria. 

In addition, gluten can contribute to acne. It damages the small intestine and causes inflammation, leading to nutritional deficiencies and an increased toxic body load (leaky gut syndrome).

Environmental toxins

These chemicals are found in most common household products, cosmetics, plastics, pesticides, food, and water. These chemicals mimic hormones to disrupt your metabolism and cause obesity. Once these chemicals are inside us, even low doses can negatively affect you.

What Causes Hy
pothyroidism

These toxins are divided into four categories: 

BPA – BPA is a chemical used when manufacturing plastics and epoxy resins. BPA is commonly used in food storage containers and beverage containers like water bottles. BPA is also used to line metal food cans, water supply lines, and bottle caps. 

Not only does BPA damage the thyroid gland, but BPA exposure can also cause cardiovascular problems (hypertension, heart attack, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease), reproductive disorders (infertility, libido, and impotence), and increased risk of breast and prostate cancer.

In addition, BPA can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain and increase asthma and wheezing if that isn’t enough.

PFCs – PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) disrupt thyroid function, especially in women. PFCs are used to manufacture several items, including takeout containers, pizza boxes, and mattresses. 

PFC is a known endocrine disruptor that takes a long time to break down in the body. Currently, PFCs are being phased out in the United States; however, imported products could still contain PFCs.

Heavy Metals – Most people are aware of the dangers of lead, but many don’t know that several heavy metals can negatively impact the thyroid gland. These include mercury, aluminum, and cadmium.

Lead has been used in paint and gasoline. In addition, children’s toys and cheap jewelry have been known to contain lead. 

Cadmium is found in plastics, batteries, certain fertilizers, pigments, and sewage. Aluminum and mercury disrupt iodine uptake. Mercury is found in dental fillings, seafood, and vacines. 

Aluminum is used in cookware, vaccines, deodorant, antacids, and food additives. So, as you can see, it’s difficult to avoid being constantly exposed to heavy metals in our daily life.

Flame Retardants – This chemical reduces the flammability of fabrics, clothing, furniture, and carpeting can cause thyroid dysfunction. 

Flame retardants contain bromine (halogen) which mimics thyroid hormone and competes to attach to thyroid hormone receptors. Bromine can be found in pool cleaners, carpets, pasta, drinks, baby blankets, and everything in between.

A primary concern is bromine affecting the fetus’s development and the development of infants and children.

All these toxins and chemicals disrupt the natural hormone balance in your body, making it difficult for your hormones to regulate your body’s functions. 

The problem with these toxins is they bear a structural similarity to thyroid hormones.

What Causes Hypothyroidism

Fluoride

In today’s world, skin rashes and thyroid problems have ties to ingesting fluorides. In addition, the U.S. National Research Council has stated that fluoride exposure can affect thyroid function. 

Therefore, someone who drinks a lot of fluoridated water may risk developing thyroid problems. It has also been associated with perioral dermatitis, and acne-like bumps that form around the mouth as a chemical. A skin disorder that is often mistaken for acne.

Even though fluoride is added to water to prevent cavities, it can damage your thyroid health. Studies show that consuming small amounts of two to five milligrams of fluoride over a few months can lower thyroid function and can contribute to what causes hypothyroidism.

Sadly, that is about the amount of fluoride you drink in fluoridated water each day. Therefore, drinking fluoridated water could lower your thyroid function.

Fluoride also interferes with your cellular process, as well as causing the release of superoxide free radicals in resting white blood cells. As a result, minor infections take longer to clear and cause more severe illnesses. 

When people are bombarded with fluoride in fluoridated water, toothpaste, mouth rinses, muscles, and connective tissue elements, particularly collagen fiber and bone tissue, start to degenerate.

The most readily identifiable symptom of soft-tissue fluorosis is fatigue, frequently linked to thyroid deficiency.

Additional issues include:

  • Calcium levels fall as fluoride levels in the body rise.
  • Gastrointestinal tract mucosa damage, causing irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Blood fluoride levels are on the rise due to continuously using fluoridated toothpaste.

I will also note that through the 1950s, fluoride was used as a treatment for hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease due to its ability to slow thyroid function.

Adrenal Glands

Adrenal glands sit above the kidneys and secrete hormones. For example, the adrenals produce the stress hormone cortisol; too much results in Cushing’s disease, and not enough is adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease.

Nontraditional doctors (holistic or functional medicine) also recognize adrenal fatigue, a condition when you’re under continuous stress, and your adrenal glands fail to keep up with the body’s need for hormones.

The health of the adrenal gland can dictate the health and recovery of many types of disorders, including thyroid and skin issues. 

Skin issues can range from dry, itchy rashes, thin skin, aging, or dry scalp and weak, peeling fingernails. 

Stressed adrenals are another reason the body hangs onto weight. 

What Causes Hypothyroidism

Stress

When under chronic stress, the body produces the stress hormone cortisol. However, too much cortisol forces your thyroid gland to work harder to produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to thyroid hormone imbalances in your body.

Stress causes the thyroid to produce fewer hormones, slowing your body’s metabolism. Slowed metabolism leads to weight gain along with other symptoms. 

As thyroid function slows due to stress, T3 and T4 hormones fall, leading to lower conversion rates of T4 to T3. T3 is the useable hormone and the one needed for energy.

When under stress, men and women both release epinephrine and cortisol. Excess cortisol can cause sleep disturbances which can bring on more stress. 

Our cortisol levels can wreak havoc with unhealthy sleep habits and extra stress. 

As you can see, it’s a vicious circle. Plus, as you sleep, the skin eliminates toxins. So unhealthy toxins start to accumulate without a good night’s sleep, compounding existing symptoms.  

Healthy food, reducing toxins, and moderate exercise will help rejuvenate your skin, boost mood, and balance your thyroid health. In addition, a few lifestyle changes lead to feeling better and enjoying life. 

Take care,

Corri



www.nofluoride.com/what_doctors_donot_tell.cfm)
www.emedicinehealth.com/hypothyroidism_and_your_hands/article_em.htm
https://kresserinstitute.com/goitrogenic-foods-and-thyroid-health/
https://www.rosewellness.com/toxins-that-threaten-thyroid-health/
https://www.redriverhealthandwellness.com/gluten-first-thing-go-hashimotos-low-thyroid-diagnosis/
https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-heal-leaky-gut
https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/my-health-story/quitting-sugar-saved-my-thyroid-sarah-wilsons-story/
https://e360.yale.edu/features/pbdes_are_flame_retardants_safe_growing_evidence_says_no
https://www.aimu.us/2017/08/15/fluorosis-causes-diagnosis-management-and-prevention/
https://www.hotzehwc.com/2017/06/15-reasons-to-avoid-fluoride-in-water/
https://www.everydayhealth.com/thyroid-conditions/hypothyroidism/adrenal-fatigue/
https://www.healthline.com/health/hypothyroidism/stress-and-your-thyroid
https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/thyroid-disorders/how-does-stress-affect-hypothyroidism
https://chriskresser.com/5-ways-that-stress-causes-hypothyroid-symptoms/

Ten Common Low Thyroid Symptoms Many Suffer With

By Corri Peterson

Many symptoms are linked to poor thyroid function; however, there are ten common low thyroid symptoms that are the most bothersome.

To help you understand the symptoms you are experiencing, let’s start with some background information. There are eleven major regulatory systems in the body, one of which is the Endocrine System.

This system consists of glands that produce and secrete hormones. Metabolism, sexual function, and bodily growth are established and regulated through the hormones secreted by the endocrine system. These hormones are chemical messengers that transfer information from one group of cells to another to coordinate and control multiple bodily functions.

One of the vital glands of the endocrine system is the thyroid. With low thyroid hormone, your body doesn’t interact correctly, creating various uncomfortable symptoms. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.) Unfortunately, many low thyroid symptoms (also known as an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism) mimic other medical conditions, so getting the correct diagnosis is sometimes challenging.

Women experience most of the symptoms listed; however, more men are developing thyroid problems. The elderly with low thyroid function may develop memory issues and depression, and children may have slowed growth and mental development. Teenagers may start puberty earlier than normally expected.

As you can see, thyroid issues can affect a wide variety of people.

Ten Common Low Thyroid Symptoms:

#1 Tiredness

Low Thyroid Symptoms

The number one complaint from those with low thyroid symptoms is tiredness. It’s a persistent feeling of exhaustion that never seems to go away regardless of how much sleep or rest you get. For many, the fatigue becomes debilitating, causing sufferers to limit daily activities and skip social gatherings. Some can’t make it through the day without a nap.

If you are suffering from bone-numbing fatigue, schedule a check-up with your doctor. For those already taking medication, it could be that your thyroid medication needs to be tweaked. Or maybe you need a complete thyroid panel to determine if a course of action is necessary to improve your energy levels. A low functioning thyroid is a cause of tiredness; additional culprits include depression, sleep apnea, iron deficiency, and stress.

You can ease your tiredness with simple small changes that nourish and support your thyroid.

#2 Unexplained Progressive Weight Gain

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Weight gain is another common symptom of those with a sluggish thyroid. Since your thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism and energy levels, it makes sense that you will gain weight if your metabolism is slow. Unfortunately, those struggling with low thyroid function often find it impossible to lose weight even when eating very little.

However, many doctors will tell you that no more than 5 to 10% of that excess weight is due to a slow thyroid. They will recommend you to eat less, exercise more (for those so exhausted they can’t get off the couch, this poses a problem), and drink more water.

While drinking more water is usually a part of the weight loss plan, your metabolism is slower when your thyroid is not producing enough hormones. So your body retains fluids, leaving it bloated, constipated, and unable to clear out toxins as it should.

Also, keep in mind that low thyroid hormone can cause joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation, making physical exercise very uncomfortable, if not impossible.

If you are struggling with low thyroid hormone levels, look at reducing toxins in your diet and environment so your thyroid can start to heal, and then modify your exercise plan to match your fitness levels and energy levels.

#3 Constipation

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Constipation is a miserable, annoying symptom of low thyroid hormones. Since these hormones play a role in managing your bodily functions’ speed, every system throughout your body slows down when these levels are low. For many, treating low thyroid hormone levels solves most issues, but certain medications and supplements can cause constipation.

Some supplements can ease constipation, such as magnesium. Magnesium relaxes the muscles that line the digestive tract and helps the stool move more quickly. Unfortunately, many don’t consume enough fiber-rich foods, while others find relief by eliminating gluten and dairy.

#4 Hypersensitive to Cold

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Are you always cold? Being cold is a common complaint of those with low thyroid function. A slowed-down metabolism can lead to a drop in your core body temperature. Some people with low thyroid hormone levels feel cold all the time or have a low tolerance to the cold.

For many, this cold feeling persists, even in a warm home or during the summer months. Optimizing your thyroid levels eases this bone-chilling cold, as does an increase in your consumption of thyroid-boosting foods and improving your B-12 levels.

#5 Dry and Scaly Skin

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Low thyroid hormone levels can cause cool, dry, pale skin. In addition, many suffer from additional problems that include itchy, cracked, and scaly skin. A recent study found that dry, coarse skin was the number one skin symptom reported by participants with low thyroid symptoms—it affected 100 percent of them.

Many dermatologists recommend using moisturizers that come in a jar or tub because these tend to be more moisturizing than those with a pump. Holistic practitioners recommend using natural oils like coconut oil or shea butter to avoid skin irritations from chemicals found in many moisturizers. I also like to use baby lotions for my body; they are very gentle, moisturizing, and have no harmful ingredients.

#6 Brittle Hair and Nails

Low thyroid symptoms

Brittle, dry hair and nails are frequent low thyroid symptoms and one of the most commonly complained about. Unfortunately, many who have problems with their hair and nails aren’t aware that it’s linked to a thyroid issue. I have heard from many who suffer from low thyroid hormone levels about how bad their hair and nails are, but they often have no clue why.

As with all the other functions in your body, when hormone production is interrupted, it disrupts cells’ growth and reproduction; this is also true with your hair and nails.

Many women complain about losing the outer third of their eyebrows, another common low thyroid symptom. Many who have weak nails and dry hair will use biotin supplements to improve them, but be aware you should avoid taking those supplements a few days before having any thyroid testing done. Biotin is known to skew test results to show falsely lower TSH levels leading to an incorrect diagnosis or improper dosing.

#7 Depression and Anxiety

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Many times depression and anxiety are not recognized as low thyroid symptoms. Although they are separate conditions, depression or anxiety and low thyroid have so many similar symptoms that doctors sometimes overlook the possibility that if one is depressed, they may also have low thyroid or vice versa.

Anxiety is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism, but it is also a symptom of hypothyroidism. Researchers aren’t sure why there is a link between depression and low thyroid; however, they are sure some are taking antidepressants when they should be taking thyroid medication.

Pampering your thyroid and easing your stress levels will also help improve your mood.

#8 Irregular Periods and Loss of Sex Drive

Low Thyroid symptoms

Low thyroid hormones cause a hormone imbalance leading to problems with your menstrual cycle and your sex drive. Not only can your monthly period disrupt, but there are also several other issues linked to low thyroid. For example, vaginal dryness is a common problem for women with low thyroid.

Low testosterone causes low libido, and while often referred to as the “man’s” hormone, it can also lower sex drive in women.

Ejaculation issues, premature or delayed, and erectile dysfunction, are complications low thyroid can cause for men.

Improving thyroid function can ease the symptoms so you can have an enjoyable sex life again.

#9 Puffy Face

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Low thyroid hormone often leads to puffiness, fluid retention, and swelling in the feet, legs, and face. Swelling in the face from low thyroid hormone commonly refers to puffiness and swelling around the eyes, lips, and cheekbones. This symptom is so common that many doctors refer to it as “myxoedema.”

If you are experiencing puffiness in your face, boosting your thyroid function will reduce fluid retention and ease facial puffiness.

#10 Elevated blood cholesterol levels

Low Thyroid symptoms

One of the most common low thyroid symptoms is high cholesterol; you need thyroid hormones to produce cholesterol and dispose of the excess you don’t need. Unfortunately, low thyroid hormones slow your body from breaking down and removing LDL cholesterol efficiently, thus creating a build-up in your blood.

A slight decrease in your thyroid hormones can cause an increase in your cholesterol levels. Even those with subclinical hypothyroidism can have elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Many times increasing your thyroid function is all that is needed to keep your cholesterol in check.

When you aren’t producing enough thyroid hormones, the chemical reactions throughout your body can be upset. These upsets include autoimmune disease, treatments for hyperthyroidism, radiation therapy, thyroid removal, and some medications.

The thyroid regulates the speed of your body’s functions, so when you have low thyroid problems, your entire body feels like it’s out of sync and run down. If your thyroid function continues to slow, your quality of life will start to suffer.

Here are the most common thyroid problems:

Hypothyroidism: Your thyroid doesn’t produce adequate thyroid hormones to maintain your body’s functions correctly.

Hyperthyroidism-Your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, which can increase your metabolism, raise your heart rate and cause hand tremors.

Thyroid Cancer-Many times, the only symptom of thyroid cancer is a lump on your thyroid. The good news is that 98% of thyroid cancers are curable.

Thyroid Nodules-It’s estimated that up to 75% of the population risk developing thyroid nodules. However, less than 1% of nodules are malignant, and most are diagnosed during exams or X-rays looking for other health issues.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis-This autoimmune disease creates antibodies that attack your thyroid. As the disease progresses, your thyroid becomes inflamed and loses the ability to make thyroid hormones.

Graves’ disease-This autoimmune disease creates antibodies that cause the thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone. Disease progression includes heart palpitations, weight loss, and hand tremors.

Subclinical hypothyroidism-Many believe this is the beginning of hypothyroidism. Your TSH is above average but still within the laboratory range. One study shows that one-fourth of those with subclinical hypothyroidism will develop full-blown hypothyroidism within six years.

Many times stress, poor diet, and a lack of nutrients can affect your thyroid function. Reducing stress, focusing on thyroid-boosting foods, and eating a well-balanced diet will improve your thyroid function and ease symptoms.

Many of those frustrated when conventional medical treatments fail to ease their symptoms turn to holistic or functional medicine doctors who address slow thyroid function by lowering the toxic overload by cleaning out the body’s chemical build-up.

Then they focus on nourishing the thyroid and body with whole foods, clean water, and chemical-free personal and cleaning products.

There are thyroid-disrupting chemicals everywhere, in our food, air, water, cosmetics, household appliances and furnishings, pesticides, and herbicides, along with industrial compounds.

These are a few of the most common and damaging chemicals:

Low Thyroid Symptoms

DDT, Glyphosate

Two common, dangerous chemicals are found in pesticides.

Phthalates, lead, and Bisphenol A (BPA)

Common in children’s products, plastics, and food storage containers.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

Flame retardants in fabrics, paints, electronics, and bedding.

Perchlorates

Found in rocket propellants, airbags, and fertilizers.

Perchlorate is known to impair thyroid iodine uptake, reducing the functionality of the gland.

Bisphenol-A and Phthalates

Common in toys, cosmetics, tubes, food wrappers, and appliances. Studies show exposure leads to thyroid disruption and reduced iodine uptake.

There are hundreds of studies showing the impact of these various chemicals on human health. In general, these toxins are especially harmful to the endocrine, immune and nervous systems.

In addition, several cancers have links to many of these chemicals.

Your Path To Improve Your Low Thyroid Symptoms:

Most start on their thyroid health journey by having their TSH levels checked when experiencing low thyroid symptoms, but many fail to find relief from their symptoms with medication alone.

This approach is especially true with autoimmune diseases. Instead, they find the best approach to improving low thyroid function is a whole-body care plan aimed to cleanse, nourish, and support not only the endocrine system but the entire body.

Take care,

Corri

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/thyroid-issues-and-cholesterol#thyroidand-cholesterol

https://www.thyroidsymptoms.ca/en-ca/hypothyroidism-symptoms/swollen-face

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/thyroid-disease-diminishes-quality-of-life

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hypothyroidism/irregular-periods/

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/womens-health/2019/january/how-thyroid-problems-might-be-hurtine-your-sex-life

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid-cancer/thyroid-cancer#Types_of_Thyroid_Cancer

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-hypothyroidism

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/graves-disease#

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20351855#

https://www.healthline.com/health/subclinical-hypothyroidism#:~:text=Subclinical%20hypothyroidism%20is%20an%20early,a%20little%20bit%20above%20normal.

https://www.healthline.com/health/hypothyroidism/five-natural-remedies-for-hypothyroidism#natural-remedies

https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/have-a-thyroid-disorder-here-are-2-healthy-detox-drinks-to-flush-out-toxins-boost-thyroid-function/613876

https://imcwc.com/html5-blank/avoid-these-chemicals-and-save-your-thyroid/

https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-edcs

Thyroid Blood Tests-What They Tell You

By Corri Peterson

Thyroid blood tests should be the first laboratory tests run by your doctor if you are experiencing weight gain, fatigue, or moodiness. The thyroid gland is a member of the endocrine system.

Thyroid Blood Tests

The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce hormones. These hormones act like a messenger system regulating all the functions in your body.

One of those hormones produced is the thyroid hormone which controls your metabolism and regulates every other body function. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission) everything moves more slowly.

Your heart rate is slower, you may get constipated, and you may gain weight. If you have too much thyroid hormone, everything speeds up. You may have diarrhea, your heart might race, or you may lose weight.

Thyroid Hormone Levels Affect Several Functions-

Here are a few areas affected by thyroid hormone:

  • Metabolism (the way you break down food and get energy from nutrients)
  • Growth and development
  • Emotions and mood
  • Fertility and sexual function
  • Sleep
  • Blood pressure

It doesn’t matter your age; stress, infections, and exposure to certain chemicals can mess with your endocrine system. In addition, genetics or lifestyle habits can increase your chances of an endocrine disorder like hypothyroidism, diabetes, or osteoporosis.

Statistics state as many as 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction, with up to 60 percent unaware of their condition.

Women are diagnosed up to 8 times more often than men, with one in eight women developing a thyroid issue in her lifetime.

Common Symptoms of Thyroid Dysfunction-

Fatigue

Increased sensitivity to cold

Constipation

Dry skin

Weight gain

Puffy face

Hoarseness

Muscle weakness

Elevated blood cholesterol levels

Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness

Pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints

Heavier than usual or irregular menstrual periods

Thinning hair

Slowed heart rate

Depression

Impaired memory

Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

Weight gain and fatigue are probably the two most cited symptoms of thyroid issues when seeing a healthcare provider.

Thyroid Blood Tests

Many times those seeking relief from anxiety, depression, mood swings, or memory issues have no idea it’s their thyroid that’s to blame.

The Thyroid’s Long History

Thyroid disease has a long and ongoing history. William Gull first explained adult hypothyroidism in 1874 during a speech to the Clinical Society of London. A few years later, William Ord used the term “myxedema” to describe the edema he observed in some hypothyroidism patients. Ord’s observation was followed up by the first reported effective treatment of hypothyroidism—with sheep thyroid extract—by George Murray in 1891.

After reviewing the relationship between psychosis and hypothyroidism, Richard Asher, a British endocrinologist, added the terminology “myxedema madness” to the literature in 1949. Since then, case studies have continued exploring and reporting on the physical and psychiatric consequences of hypothyroidism.

If you feel like something is off you may have a thyroid problem, you should request thyroid testing. Thyroid disease symptoms can make you feel as if you are crazy; however, replacing and rebalancing your hormones, replenishing depleted nutrients, and reducing exposure to thyroid-disrupting chemicals will ease symptoms and improve thyroid function.


Common Thyroid Blood Tests


Most doctors start by testing your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels. However, unless there are obvious symptoms, like nodules or swelling, you will be limited to the testing you receive. The reason is that most insurance companies will only pay for TSH testing unless there are symptoms to support additional tests.

Here is a list of the tests available for thyroid diseases:

TSH-(thyroid-stimulating hormone)-

Reference range- 0.5-4.70 mIU/L FYI- Some labs have upper limits of 8-10 mIU/L

TSH made in the pituitary gland tells the thyroid how much T4 and T3 to make. Generally, high TSH levels mean hypothyroidism (underactive), and low TSH levels indicate hyperthyroidism (overactive).

Total T3-(triiodothyronine)-

Reference range-80-200ng/dl 

This thyroid hormone regulates your digestive and metabolic function and supports bone health. 

Free T3-(free triiodothyronine)-

Reference range-2.3-4.2pg/ml 

It’s the T3 hormone that doesn’t bind to proteins and circulates unbound in your blood. So it’s an active type of hormone.

This ratio of Free T3 to Reverse T3 tells the provider how effective the conversion from T4 to active T3 is.

RT3-(reverse T3/reverse triiodothyronine)- Reference range-10-24 ng/dl

A high reverse T3 level indicates you are converting most of your T4 into reverse T3. Reverse T3 is a variant of T3.

Total T4- (thyroxine)-Reference range-4.5-12.5ug/dl

A high level of T4 may point to hyperthyroidism, while a low level of T4 may point to hypothyroidism. Since certain medical conditions and medicines affect T4 levels, many doctors prefer to measure freeT4 levels.

Free T4-(free thyroxine)- Reference range-0.8-1.8ng/dl

Reference range-0.8-1.8ng/dl Since this hormone is not affected by medicines or conditions, many providers prefer to check these levels.

Thyroid Blood Tests

Testing For Autoimmune Diseases


TPOAb- (thyroid peroxidase antibodies- Reference ranges-0-35iu/ml

These antibodies are linked to the hypothyroidism observed in Hashimoto’s.

TgAb (thyroglobulin antibodies)- Reference ranges-0-4.0iu/ml

For those who had surgery to remove their thyroid, thyroglobulin levels are checked to determine whether any tumor (cancer) is left or if any thyroid remains.

TSI-(thyroid-simulating immunoglobulin antibodies)- Graves’ disease- Reference ranges-0-1.3

This test measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin in your blood. These antibodies tell the thyroid gland to release excess amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood. These antibodies are consistent with Graves’ disease.

Tg-(thyroglobulin)- No thyroid gland: 0-0.1 ng/ml Still have a gland:0-33ng/ml

This test is completed after a patient has had the complete removal of their thyroid. The Tg level in the blood sample verifies whether there is any cancerous tumor left behind.

The Four Basic Types of Thyroid Disease

NON-AUTOIMMUNE HYPERTHYROIDISM-The thyroid is overactive and produces excessive thyroid hormone. A few causes of hyperthyroidism are thyroiditis, thyroid nodules, benign thyroid tumors, infections, and some medications. Other triggers may include liver dysfunction, heavy metal toxicity, and nutritional deficiencies.

GRAVES’ DISEASE AUTOIMMUNE HYPERTHYROIDISM-This autoimmune disease causes the body to produce an antibody called TRAb. This antibody binds to your thyroid receptors, causing your thyroid gland to release more T4 hormone than the body needs.

Many times, treating inflammation and any infections will be part of Graves’ and Hashimoto’s patients’ treatment plan. 

NON-AUTOIMMUNE HYPOTHYROIDISM- For those who are dealing with non-autoimmune hypothyroidism, there are more causes than you realize. Like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism can also be caused by liver dysfunction, heavy metal poisoning, and nutritional deficiencies. Other ailments associated with hypothyroidism are depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, chronic stress, and chronic pain.

HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS- This autoimmune disease produces the antibodies thyroglobulin (TgAb) and thyroid peroxidase (TPOAb). These antibodies cause the thyroid to stop producing hormones and die. This disease can cause your thyroid to make too many hormones; then, as your thyroid loses function, it makes fewer hormones. Yes, Hashimoto’s is like taking a huge roller coaster ride.

Thyroid Blood Tests

Thyroid Hormone Replacement Options

Levothyroxine/T4- The standard of care treatment for hypothyroidism is a daily dose of synthetic thyroxine(T4), referred to as L-thyroxine or L-T4. FYI– Levothyroxine is the most prescribed thyroid hormone replacement.

Synthroid- The brand name of the synthetic compound T4 (Levothyroxine) used to treat hypothyroidism.

Levoxyl- This hormone was pulled from the market in 2013 due to a suspicious odor from the packaging. This recall caused Levoxyl to be off the market for about a year, so many consumers changed to alternatives. As a result, Pfizer lost their share of the market.

Levothroid- A generic T4 hormone that is no longer manufactured.

Tirosint (hypoallergenic, liquid capsules)-The brand name for Levothyroxine is designed for people with allergies to fillers and dyes found in traditional formulations. These soft gel capsules contain no dyes, gluten, alcohol, lactose, or sugar. In addition to T4, Tirosint contains only three inactive ingredients: gelatin, glycerin, and water.

Liothyronine/T3- The synthetic version of the T3 thyroid hormone.

Cytomel- The brand name for Liothyronine.

Compounded Hormones- These prescriptions combine T3 and T4 into a single dose, allowing your body to use the T3 and convert the T4 as needed. These prescriptions are only available at a compounding pharmacy.

Natural Thyroid Hormones

They are also known as natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) or porcine thyroid. Before the pure levothyroxine availability, desiccated animal thyroid extract was the only treatment for hypothyroidism.

Some patients who continue to have hypothyroidism symptoms while taking levothyroxine report improvement in those symptoms when switched to desiccated thyroid extract.

Armour thyroid- This hormone replacement was in the news when Hilary Clinton was running for president. Her doctor prescribed Armour Thyroid rather than Levothyroxine (Synthroid) to treat Clinton’s hypothyroidism.
Two comments were linked to the news report:
1) “Armour Thyroid. One would think we could do better for our former First Lady,” wrote one commenter.
2) “I am glad to hear she is taking Armour Thyroid rather than synthetic substitutes, which contain only T4 and not T3. I always prescribed Armour for my patients because it is more natural, safer, and more effective,” wrote another.

Nature-throid, WP Thyroid-

Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) drugs, including Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, NP Thyroid, and WP Thyroid, have been around for decades and remain popular with alternative, holistic, and integrative physicians.
Many patients feel much better on a natural thyroid medication that contains T3 and T4 and some amounts of T2, T1, and Calcitonin. Many patients feel much better, have more energy and relief of symptoms when switching from synthetic to natural thyroid.

ERFA Canada- Similar to Armour Thyroid. This desiccated thyroid replacement hormone is only available in Canada.

When starting on thyroid hormone, you start on a lower dose, with that dose increased every month or two until your hormones have returned to their proper levels and your symptoms are under control. 

Thyroid Blood Tests

Thyroid Doctor Choices-

Finding a doctor to treat your thyroid dysfunction can be a challenge, but you can find a doctor who will help you feel better with a bit of knowledge. I have listed the types of doctors available to treat thyroid problems and shared the kinds of care they provide.

The first five doctors I list are conventional physicians. They are the ones you will see when going to most hospitals or clinics. They will follow the “standard of care” treatment plan. The insurance companies and the CDC compile these treatment plans, so your health plan may not cover specific tests and medications.

Endocrinologist-

These are the specialists. These are the doctors you will be referred to when your primary doctor doesn’t know how to treat you or need more targeted or specialized treatment.

FYI: diabetes is the most diagnosed endocrine disease, so many endocrinologists out there mainly treat diabetes. They may have limited knowledge when treating thyroid disease. 

Ophthalmologist-

The eye specialists. If you have Graves’ disease or other issues affecting your eyes, you see one.

Primary care physician

For many, this is your primary doctor if you have one. In addition, some insurance plans require a primary care doctor. These are the same as an internist or family practice physician.

Internist-

These doctors care for adults. They are similar to primary care doctors.

Family practice physician-

These physicians are a combination of internists and pediatricians. They care for adults and children.

Natural Medicine

The following list of physicians focuses on natural medicine and nutritional methods to heal the body and ease symptoms when dealing with thyroid disease. These four doctors concentrate on healing the whole body while using as few medications as possible.

Naturopathic Physician-

These doctors use natural medicine along with conventional diagnoses and treatments. They address the causes, work on prevention, and teach healthy living.

Functional medicine physician-

These doctors focus on getting your body to work together, including the endocrine, immune and digestive systems.

Paleo physician-

These doctors follow our ancestor’s diet. It consists of whole meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—no processed food. Nutrition is the main focus for healing.

Holistic medicine physician-

These doctors treat the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs of the whole person. In addition, they focus on improved nutrition and avoiding chemicals that harm the body.

As you can see, there are several choices for finding a healthcare provider who will meet your needs. First, you want to find a doctor who practices healthcare the way you want to live your life.

That being said, I know many who have thyroid disease have problems finding a health care provider who understands the symptoms and how to treat them.

According to Mary Shomon, a thyroid patient advocate, thyroid disease is viewed as an “easy to test, easy to treat, take a pill, and you’re better” condition by many conventional doctors. Unfortunately, this attitude has many who continue to suffer from symptoms seeking alternative medicine options.

ADDITIONAL FACTORS TO MANAGING ONGOING SYMPTOMS:

Keep in mind these adjustments to my care plan only happened with my functional medicine doctor.

Work with your provider to optimize your TSH, free T4, and T3 levels, not just in the normal range. They need to be optimal for you, so the majority, if not all, of your symptoms are controlled.

For example, my TSH is 0.023 IU/ml and is flagged by the laboratory as low. The lab lists their reference ranges as 0.045- 5.330. 

My free T4 is 1.07, with the reference range of 0.61-2.00, and my free T3 is 3.1 with the reference range of 2.5-3.9, which is excellent. However, if my TSH levels get higher, it throws off the free T4 and T3 levels, and I have symptoms. 

My current doctor and I have discussed how a low TSH result would send many, if not all, conventional doctors into a panic, but my body responds the best at those levels, and he understands that. He has also told me that those who have had all or most of their thyroid removed or destroyed feel better with a lower TSH level. He is a functional medicine doctor, so his focus is getting my whole body in sync.

Also, don’t be afraid to change medications. Different brands have different ingredients. Some will feel better on synthetic brands, while others will feel better on natural hormones. For example, Levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone; it contains only the T4 hormone. Many doctors will tell you that since your body will convert T4 to usable T3, you will have no problems taking Levothyroxine. However, many thyroid patients lose the conversion capability, leaving them with uncomfortable symptoms.

FDA-Approved Medications

One thing to note here: all thyroid hormone medications are FDA regulated and are safe for consumption. Don’t let anyone tell you that natural hormones like Armour Thyroid are unsafe, unregulated, and the doses vary from pill to pill. This is not true. Statistics show that 50% of thyroid patients report fewer symptoms when taking natural hormones compared to Levothyroxine. So I am clear about this– I am not talking about the thyroid supplements available online. I am referring to prescription hormone replacement only. These are FDA-approved.
When I switched from Levothyroxine to Armour Thyroid, the constant cold feeling went away. Just remember: if one brand of hormone is not controlling your symptoms, try another. You do not have to suffer!

Thyroid Blood Tests

-Supplement any vitamin B, D, and magnesium deficiencies. These also contribute to fatigue, so supplementing them is vital!
Thyroid disease depletes your body of certain nutrients, so supplementation is crucial to healing and symptom control. But, as mentioned before, your diet alone won’t be able to meet those needs.

-Check for gluten intolerance and food allergies. Nutrition plays a significant role in dealing with and healing thyroid issues.

-Improve gut health and digestion. My doctor started me on two different Probiotics and recommended that I add one tablespoon of Diatomaceous earth to water and drink it once or twice a day. He said the earth scrubs the lining of my intestines for better nutrient absorbance. The funny thing is I feel so much lighter when I drink my dirt!

If you are having problems finding a health care provider, whether it’s wanting to try a different medication or having additional testing done, you can order lab tests online. Several laboratories offer to test online, and doctors can interpret your results online, over Skype, or via email. 

I know several who have had their tests done through online providers, with reports of thorough treatment plans with excellent results.

Please don’t give up. There is relief available. Sometimes it takes searching to find that relief. I went through six different doctors before finding the functional medicine doctor that listened to my symptoms and set up a treatment plan that controls them and heals my body.

Take care,

Corri

References

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diagnostic-tests/thyroid#:~:text=Doctors%20may%20order%20one%20or,to%20a%20lab%20for%20testing.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284

https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/#:~:text=An%20estimated%2020%20million%20Americans,thyroid%20disorder%20during%20her%20lifetime.

https://blog.medstarwashington.org/2016/02/01/hypothyroidism-a-common-misdiagnosed-condition/

https://www.google.com/search?q=endocrine+system&oq=endocrine&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i57j69i65l3j69i60l3.5595j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/endocrine-system-facts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Asher

https://www.endocrineweb.com/thyroid-what-are-t3-t4-tsh

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/t3-levels#what-is-t-3

https://www.google.com/search?q=RT3-(reverse+T3%2Freverse+triiodothyronine)&oq=RT3-(reverse+T3%2Freverse+triiodothyronine)&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i333l2.1477j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.optimaldx.com/blog/free-t3-reverse-t3-ratio/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/452668#:~:text=TPO%20antibodies%20(TPOAb)%20appear%20involved,be%20cytotoxic%20to%20the%20thyroid.

https://www.uhn.ca/PatientsFamilies/Health_Information/Health_Topics/Documents/Understand_Blood_Test_Results-differentiated_thyroid_cancer.pdf

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003685.htm#:~:text=TSI%20stands%20for%20thyroid%20stimulating,stimulating%20immunoglobulin%20in%20your%20blood.

https://www.thyca.org/pap-fol/more/thyroglobulin/

https://www.mary-shomon.com/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/levothyroxine-vs-combination-therapy-hypothyroidism-4571031

https://www.rxlist.com/synthroid-side-effects-drug-center.htm

https://www.google.com/search?q=levoxyl&oq=Levoxyl&aqs=chrome.0.0j0i20i263l2j0l7.1459j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.verywellhealth.com/tirosint-hypoallergenic-liquid-gelcap-3951537

https://www.goodrx.com/liothyronine/what-is

https://www.thyroid.org/patient-thyroid-information/ct-for-patients/vol-6-issue-8/vol-6-issue-8-p-3/

https://www.medpagetoday.com/endocrinology/thyroid/60471

https://www.canadadrugstore.com/medications-erfa-versus-armour-thyroid-tables/

https://www.canadadrugstore.com/erfa-thyroid/

https://www.google.com/search?q=Nature-throid&oq=Nature-throid&aqs=chrome..69i57.1856j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.everydayhealth.com/thyroid-conditions/hypothyroidism/best-worst-treatments-hypothyroidism/

Signs of Thyroid Problems That May Surprise You

By Corri Peterson

Often the signs of thyroid problems are first noticed by friends, family, and professionals. Many times you are surprised these symptoms are linked to your thyroid.

Low thyroid or hypothyroidism is a chronic condition when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.) Many professionals estimate up to 20% of the population has some form of thyroid dysfunction.

Primary causes of thyroid disorders are stress, nutrient deficiencies, and autoimmune disease. The rise in autoimmune disease is linked to exposure to environmental toxins. This toxic burden, which we are exposed to from an early age, damages the thyroid and overloads the body’s detoxification abilities.

Common symptoms linked to thyroid dysfunction are:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Sleepiness
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Constipation
  • A feeling of fullness in the throat
  • Hoarseness

Some of the above-listed symptoms can also be linked to several other diseases, including menopause, Lyme disease, COPD, hypertension, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to name a few.

What about mental health symptoms?

Did you know that several mental health symptoms are related to thyroid function? It’s common for a person to visit a health care provider complaining about symptoms they had no idea were related to the thyroid.

Hypothyroidism is often associated with cognitive impairment and mood disturbances, implying that thyroid hormones are critical for normal brain functioning.

It’s estimated up to 15% of women taking antidepressants have an undiagnosed thyroid issue being the root cause of their depression. That explains why antidepressants don’t help a subset of women – they were misdiagnosed and mistreated.

Since the brain uses so much energy, individuals with a slowed metabolism and low energy, normal with hypothyroidism, will lose their mental sharpness. As a result, it’s challenging to maintain clarity, focus, and sharp memory. As a result, low thyroid function is often a common cause of brain fog, depression, difficulty concentrating, and short-term memory loss.

The amount of thyroid hormone your body has can significantly affect your personality, including mimicking the symptoms of depression.

Thyroid disease and mental health issues have a long history; in 1850, the first case of hypothyroidism or Myxedema was recorded. In 1949, the term myxedema madness was introduced. Myxedema indicates low thyroid function, so the term myxedema madness indicated that people with low thyroid function were mad. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, you may very well agree with this statement.

Signs of Thyroid Problems

These signs of thyroid problems are often overlooked but are commonly linked to thyroid disease.

Depression

The amount of thyroid hormone your body has can significantly affect your personality, including mimicking the symptoms of depression. Research shows that hypothyroidism may affect as many as 20% of depressed people.

Mental health experts’ research states that 40% of clinically hypothyroid patients have significant depression.

According to the Thyroid Society, “most hypothyroidism patients have some degree of associated depression, ranging from mild to severe. While 10%-15% of the patients with a diagnosis of depression may have a thyroid hormone deficiency.”

Several medical professionals recognize and have studied the mental health effects caused by unstable thyroid hormone levels.

People with depression should be tested for thyroid disorders. Numerous studies have been done and are continuing to connect depression and thyroid disease. All forms of depression are linked to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism; however, it is more commonly found with hypothyroidism. In addition, many with hypothyroidism have some degree of associated anxiety, ranging from mild to severe.

If you have depression and thyroid disease but have not been treated for your thyroid problem, starting thyroid hormone therapy may help ease your depression.

If you have hypothyroidism and are on depression medication, your doctor needs to determine if the depression is caused by hypothyroidism or if the antidepressant treatment is causing the hypothyroidism.

Many providers believe that thyroid hormone replacement can help with the treatment of depression. However, remember that thyroid hormone medication alone taken by someone who doesn’t have a thyroid condition will not lessen depression. Still, when given together with antidepressants, many see improvements in their mental health.

Some will still suffer from depression that requires further treatment. Combining medication, herbal and vitamin therapy, and exercise all may help with easing depression symptoms.

For those suffering from either thyroid disease, depression, or both, there are treatments available. First, talk with your healthcare provider to set up a treatment plan to get your health back on track. Remember that different medications and treatment plans work better for some than others, so do not get discouraged if the first treatment plan does not give you the desired results. Instead, try different combinations of medications and supplements until you are feeling like yourself again.

Anxiety

A review from JAMA Psychiatry found that hypothyroid people are more than twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders, plus almost a third of all anxiety disorders are linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

Hypothyroidism symptoms like poor concentration, memory loss, and struggling with daily tasks add anxiety.

Typically, anxiety is a stress reaction. Anxiety may make it harder to remember taking your medications, going to the doctor, or managing a healthy lifestyle.

Treating hypothyroidism usually eases symptoms, but a few will need additional anti-anxiety medications.

Mood swings

Common signs of thyroid problems are depression, feeling achy, and exhaustion. These symptoms can lead to mood swings, while some have difficulty eating or sleeping.

Reducing stress by taking a walk, soaking in the tub, or watching a sitcom will ease mood swings.

Mental impairment

Several forms of cognitive symptoms develop in people with abnormal thyroid levels:

Forgetfulness and memory loss

You forget to run errands or items at the store.

Memory problems and difficulty concentrating

Studies have shown that verbal memory, in particular, can be affected by hypothyroidism.

Small changes in executive functioning

These changes have also been noted in untreated or under-treated hypothyroidism. Executive functioning includes abilities such as planning, impulse control, and making decisions.

Symptoms of mild dementia

These symptoms sometimes occur, but fortunately, treatment eases and controls them.

Slowed speech and movements Slow movement and thought-commonly referred to as Brain Fog.

Signs of Thyroid Problems

ADD/ADHD

Many people aren’t aware that hypothyroidism can cause ADHD symptoms. Low thyroid function slows the brain, causing brain fog, memory loss, anxiety, depression, inability to focus, and difficulty concentrating or performing basic tasks.

Research has shown that people with a general resistance to thyroid hormone have a higher incidence of ADHD than their unaffected family members. In addition, studies have shown that thyroid symptoms are higher in children with ADHD than in the average population.

There are several additional cognitive symptoms that those with thyroid problems experience, a few of those include:

Impaired and judgment

This is often linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease but is also linked to thyroid problems.

Impairment of communication and language

Studies have shown that dryness in the throat and larynx, combined with the feeling of a lump in the throat, leads to frequent speech disturbances occurring in patients with primary hypothyroidism.

Altered visual perception

Studies show that adult-onset hypothyroidism slows the conduction of information in the central nervous system.

Decreased hearing and smell-

Changes in hearing and the sensation of smell have been reported.

Inability to focus or pay attention

Low thyroid levels creates an inability to focus or pay attention. Adults with ADHD also have trouble paying attention and focusing.

Difficulty concentrating/ Inability to Concentrate-

It seems everything you do takes longer than it used to. The brain uses oxygen and glucose to function, so when thyroid hormone levels are low, metabolism slows, causing several cognitive problems.

Blurred vision

Many of the symptoms of thyroid eye disease are linked to Graves’ disease. This autoimmune disease causes dry eyes, watery eyes, redness, bulging, double vision, among other problems.

Withdrawal from friends and family

One of the signs of thyroid problems is not spending time with anyone. They may pass on activities due to fatigue or not feeling comfortable in a group. Keep in mind, anxiety and depression are usually present if dealing with thyroid disease.

General Loss of Interest

You don’t care about anything. This symptom is linked to depression and a sense of overwhelm. You may feel an increasing lack of motivation along with muddled thinking.

Loss of Interest in Sex

You have no desire. Your body processes slowing down can lead to a loss of sex drive, plus hypothyroidism symptoms of weight gain and fatigue can cause limited desire. In addition, higher-than-normal levels of the hormone prolactin can contribute to vaginal dryness, making sex painful.

Easing the Signs of Thyroid Problems

Nutrition typically plays a crucial role in thyroid health and can determine how well a person feels each day. If a healthy diet rich in thyroid-boosting nutrients is followed, it can make a world of difference—many with poor thyroid function are low in iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, and iron.

Magnesium is needed to regulate blood sugar; low levels are linked to diabetes, fatigue, leg cramps, and heart arrhythmias.

You can ease depression and boost cognitive function by adding omega-3 fatty acids and other essential fatty acids.

The issue is that most of us are not deficient enough to develop the more severe symptoms doctors would notice (such as a goiter in the case of iodine deficiency). Instead, we have nutritional insufficiencies; our nutrient levels typically fall at the low end of the normal range, not bad enough for a diagnosis but still causing symptoms.

Remember, nutritional deficiencies and food intolerances may have developed; this is especially true with autoimmune diseases.

Some patients will want to work with a nutritionist; some may wish to experiment independently; either way, it takes time to determine which foods are the best for their health and symptom control. Many patients with thyroid disease feel better once they have had specific deficiencies addressed with testing and have removed foods no longer well tolerated.

Another burden for our thyroids is that we live in an ocean of environmental toxins-about 80,000, ranging from hormones to heavy metals that disrupt thyroid function. These toxins’ daily and cumulative burden causes direct damage to our thyroid health and overloads our bodies’ detoxification abilities.

Pesticides, lawn chemicals, personal care products, household cleaners, plastics, personal makeup, municipal water systems, and air pollution contribute to the toxic overload.

Many people report noticeable symptom relief once they have eliminated or limited most of the toxins they unknowingly exposed themselves to. In addition, many feel happier, have more energy, and enjoy life again thanks to improved thyroid function, fewer toxins, and better nutrition.

Signs of Thyroid Problems

The Right Doctor

Finding the right doctor is also key to feeling better and controlling symptoms. If your doctor doesn’t listen to your concerns, it’s likely; you won’t get better quickly. Therefore, it is vital to find a thyroid doctor or program to treat the whole person, not only the thyroid lab numbers.

Many thyroid patients struggle with health care providers who only treat the lab results and dismiss any remaining symptoms as “in your head.”

This lack of compassion and symptom control leads them to seek out holistic or functional medicine providers. These providers look for the root cause of your symptoms, focus on diet, and test for nutritional deficiencies so they can recommend the correct supplements; plus, many use all-natural thyroid hormone replacement instead of levothyroxine. All-natural thyroid hormones replace several trace thyroid hormones not found in levothyroxine, giving patients better symptom control.

You can get your life back! Remember, if you have difficulty finding a healthcare provider who will offer the testing needed for a proper diagnosis and treatment, you have online options available.

Online laboratories test for various issues, and doctors do virtual visits to discuss the results. As a result, many thyroid patients who have had poor results with conventional doctors find virtual doctors offer more options and better care.

Take care,

Corri

References

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