Although the thyroid glad only makes up a very small part of the human body, it is a part that affects almost everything inside of us. This isn’t only true of our metabolism and our core temperature, a lack of thyroid hormone could even lead to bipolar disorder and medical resistant depression. That issue could be caused by thyroid resistance in the brain as well.
When you stop to think about what the thyroid does, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there is a rather long list of symptoms that could occur if it isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone. This issue, known as hypothyroidism, often appears to be an issue with your metabolism. Although it is a common problem, as it affects some 20 million Americans, hypothyroidism is still often missed or misdiagnosed.
When your body does not produce enough thyroid hormone, the processes in the body begin to slow down. You then begin to experience some of these symptoms associated with hypothyroidism:
Signs of Hypothyroidism
1. Fatigue, or tiring more easily
2. Dry skin
3. Body feels colder
7. Muscle Cramps
8. Hair Loss
9. Weight gain
10. Abnormal menstrual cycle
What if you have the symptoms of hypothyroidism? Watch this video:
If you have one or more of the symptoms, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does my diet consist of natural whole foods with lots of fruits and vegetables?
2. Do I avoid sugar, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners?
3. Do I take action to reduce my stress levels on a daily basis?
4. Do I focus on getting 7-8 hours of quality deep sleep every night?
5. Do I exercise to maximum intensity on a regular, weekly basis?
6. Do I take medications that slow down my metabolism? (beta blockers, muscle relaxers or narcotics)
If you answered no to any of those questions, it gives you a starting point. Altering your lifestyle will improve the thyroid function but it might not be enough.
Keep in mind; you can make changes but stay away from the bad advice you may have received from nutritionists and doctors.
The following recommendations will do more than help you lose weight. They will balance your hormone levels and reduce inflammation.
If you have tried these suggestions and are still dealing with symptoms, you should seek out a practitioner who known how to interpret thyroid lab studies.
Your Doctor Should Order These Tests
Ask your doctor for the following blood tests:
* TSH – if your TSH is > 2 you are hypothyroid, a TSH < 2 does not mean your thyroid is normal (4)
* Free t3 – Should be in the upper 1/3 of the normal reference range
* Free t4 – Should be in the upper 1/3 of the normal reference range
* Reverse t3 – Should be < 15 * Free t3 to reverse t3 ratio – Should be > 0.2
* Thyroid antibodies (thyroglobulin antibodies and thyroid peroxidase antibodies)
* Sex hormone binding globulin – should be > 70 in women and > 30 in males
Make sure your doctor just not go by the reference numbers on the lab results. They are not a good indicator of your health. Those ranges are bad because someone in their 70s or 80s could have thyroid issues that have gone undetected.
There is also a difference between optimal and normal. When you look at the values above, those are the optimal ranges.
If you fall outside of the normal range, you do have a thyroid issue. If you fall outside of the optimal, then you are likely suffering from a thyroid problem.
You could have optimal numbers and still be hypothyroid.
The reason why that is the case is they have no way of identifying the numbers where you feel best. That is why, if you have a clear cut issue with hypothyroid symptoms it may be best to do a trial of hormones.
Use this example for clarification:
This patient has thyroid hormone resistance when you calculate the free t3/reverse t3 ratio which in this case is 3.5/18.8 = 0.18.
Another patient, who isn’t shown, has prediabetes and a few symptoms of hypothyroidism. They responded well to therapy with liothyronine and experienced a loss of weight and lower blood sugar.
In other words, don’t just accept that your labs are normal if you have symptoms.
What if you have symptoms and are already on thyroid meds?
If you do, then you may be being treated with the wrong meds or are being under-treated.
Here is the average dose that most patients need to eliminate symptoms.
* Synthroid (T4 alone)- 200-400 mcg per day
* Armour thyroid (combination of T4 and T3)- 2-4 grains per day (120-240mg)
* Cytomel or liothyronine (pure T3) – 75-125 mcg per day
If you are still having symptoms after being on one of the medications above, you might need to have your dosage increased.
Your doctor should not base the dosage on your TSH, which is a common mistake.
Your pituitary gland is responsible for pumping out TSH and it has unique deiodinase enzymes, making it different from all other cells in the body.
Those differences make it very sensitive to T4 and T3. Therefore, it is both possible and common that your pituitary is getting enough thyroid but other cells aren’t
It is also common for those on Synthroid to only convert T4 into the inactive T3. This will serve to further block the action of T3.
If you have been on T therapy and are at 200-400 mcg per day, your doctor should check the reverse T3 levels.
If your reverse T3 levels are less than 15 or your free T3 to reverse T3 ratio is greater than 0.2, you likely have thyroid resistance. It may be necessary to switch to T3 therapy.
It is more likely for you to have thyroid resistance if you are also experiencing the following problems: weight loss resistance, fibromyalgia, depression, bipolar disorder, insulin resistance (diabetes or prediabetes), chronic fatigue syndrome, and high levels of inflammation
What If Your Doctor Isn’t Agreeing?
If your doctor isn’t listening, you may need to find another doctor. Make sure you find one that understands how to evaluate thyroid function properly.
You can find helpful information at the following websites:
H/T: The Hearty Soul
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