Are you one of those millions that wake up tired despite having been in bed 7 to 8 hours? Or do you find yourself reaching for a sugar or caffeine fix about 3 pm? Symptoms of an under-performing thyroid are becoming more common every day. These can include fatigue, dry skin, digestive issues and weight gain. The thyroid is often the diagnosed culprit, but what if there were other health concerns that could mimic or be the underlying cause of an under-performing thyroid?
There are several epigenetic or environmental factors that can cause the thyroid to be less effective than it should be. Birth control, body care products that mimic hormones, many chemicals in the form of pesticides, malnutrition, certain medications, are all things we need to be able to recognize if we are dealing with a hormone system that is struggling to be healthy. Stress can also be a factor causing the thyroid to make less hormones, think of a teeter totter, if the adrenals are up the thyroid is down. Balance is key!
Sometimes despite our best efforts we are not getting the nutrients we need to make the hormones we need. Labwork and assessment of your diet can help us determine whether or not you may be deficient in any of these very important nutrients. These nutrients and some sources are listed below.
-Protein: Eggs, Meat, Legumes, Nuts and seeds, Protefood
-Selenium: Brazil nuts, Cataplex E
-Vitamin D: Sunshine, Cataplex D
-Iodine: Seafood, Prolamine Iodine
-Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, Zinc Liver Chelate
-Iron: Ferrofood, Fe-Max
-Magnesium: Magnesium Lactate, EZ Mag
This is an example where taking a particular medication might really interfere. Antacids, like Tums or Omeprazole can cause a decrease in the absorption of minerals or a decrease in your ability to digest protein. The real solution is to fix digestion not cover up the symptoms.
WHAT DOES THE THYROID MAKE?
The thyroid under the direct control of the Pituitary, in the brain, makes about 93% of T4, (an inactive hormone), and about 7% of T3 (an active thyroid hormone). Conversion of T4 into T3 requires a healthy liver, healthy gut and important co-factors. Without these it might look like you have a lazy thyroid when in fact you have plenty of T4, you just can’t convert it into T3.
When you suspect the thyroid as a health concern, it is important to make sure before you add synthetic hormones or prescriptions which can have adverse effects. The way to do this is to find a health care practitioner who will order lab tests that include all your thyroid hormones not just TSH and T4. If the thyroid is making plenty of T4 but not converting it to T3 due to a liver not functioning well, or the lack of a co-factor, those limited tests of TSH and T4 are often in a normal range. By testing TSH, Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3, reverse T3 (and sometimes antibodies if we suspect an auto-immune condition such as Hashimoto’s) we can really track down the roadblock to why your thyroid may or may not be the cause of your fatigue and other complaints.
CAN THERE BE OTHER COMPLICATIONS?
We mentioned Hashimoto’s so lets talk about that for a minute. Auto-immune thyroiditis also known as Hashimoto’s is a condition where the body is attacking itself. Antibodies, measurable in the blood, are attacking the thyroid and interfering with its ability to manufacture thyroid hormone. There are ways to help reduce the body’s auto-immune reaction through dietary changes and restoration of the gut (a well known path to auto-immune conditions) to help manage Hashi’s and reduce the long term effects.
Finding a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner who is willing to discover the underlying cause of your health concerns is time well spent. Dr. Google can give you a generic answer that may or may not work, a personalized approach is often a better fit. I use a combination of labwork results, food logs, muscle testing, and a Zyto scan to evaluate your unique situation and create a plan that is personalized to you. If I haven’t seen you before, you can call for a free 15 minute consultation with me regarding your thyroid health, or schedule a new patient appointment (about an hour). If you are able to send your labs in advance I can review them before your appointment!
Dr. Virginia S. Irby D.C.,DABCO, ACN
2371 Iron Point Rd. Ste. 130
Folsom, CA 95630