Thyroid problems are the talk of the town lately – as they should be! Thyroid hormones are extremely important because they impact virtually every cell in the body. Approximately 1 in 8 women will be affected by a thyroid condition at some point in their lives. The risk for women is about 10 times higher than it is for men. Why are thyroid issues so common?
Causes of Thyroid Problems
- Too much exposure to estrogen may inhibit thyroid function. High blood levels of estrogen signal to the liver to increase the production of thyroid-binding globulin (TBG). This is an inhibitor protein that binds to the thyroid hormone, reducing the amount of T3 and T4 available for use by cells (Silva, J. Biology of Reproduction).
- Studies show the more stress an organism is under, the more thyroid dysfunction (Ranabir, S. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011). As we age, we encounter more stressors. The thyroid will go down when a person is under stress because the metabolism needs to reserve energy. This is an adaption and protection mechanism.
- The Standard American Diet can create problems for our thyroid. The best example of this is how polyunsaturated fats in industrial vegetable oils may block thyroid hormone secretion. Thyroid peroxidase levels were reported to decrease in rats fed on polyunsaturated fats (Bajaj, J. J Clin Diagn Res, 2016).
Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid:
- When a patient has an underactive thyroid, they tend to have a magnesium deficiency.
- An underactive thyroid does not always mean a patient will be lethargic. Actually, it can be the opposite. A low thyroid state causes us to live on adrenaline and cortisol, which is destructive to our tissues. Too much adrenaline leads to an increase in cortisol production.
- High cholesterol is an indicator of underactive When a doctor removes a patient’s thyroid glands, cholesterol goes up. Cholesterol usually goes down with thyroid supplementation.
- Other symptoms include low body temperature, cold hands, and cold feet.
Think You Have an Underactive Thyroid? Here’s What to Do:
Test and supplement when needed.
Usually, doctors review thyroid problems based on blood tests. It is also important to look for symptoms of low thyroid function. When doctors treat hypothyroidism they usually prescribe a synthetic T4 hormone medication. In order to understand why T4 medications are problematic, we must remember that the active thyroid hormone is T3 and that T4 is the storage hormone, which is converted to T3 in the tissues, mainly in the liver (Biochem Nordic).
Women and seriously hypothyroid-affected people often have trouble on a pure T4 medication, because they have a less effective liver function and thus less effective conversion of T4 to T3. When T4 is not converted efficiently to T3, it accumulates and the T4 in itself will have anti-thyroid effects, leading to the many symptoms of low thyroid function. Thus, as the dose of T4 is increased, the symptoms often get worse.
We recommend using a thyroid replacement therapy containing both T4 and T3 in ratios similar to that secreted by the human thyroid gland, although there can be situations where more T3 or even pure T3 treatment is needed. Natural desiccated thyroid contains T4 and T3 in ratios similar to that secreted by the human thyroid gland.
Eat well and consume protein and saturated fats.
Eat well. Protein and saturated fats are beneficial.
Thiamine deficiency among thyroid sufferers is rampant and tends to go hand in hand with individuals with thyroid problems. Thiamine is one of the B vitamins, known as B1. Its main responsibility is to change carbohydrates into energy. Thiamine also helps with the digestion of proteins and fats, as it is necessary for the proper release of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs (which is required for proper protein digestion). Given that most people with Hashimoto’s have or do not release any stomach acid at all, it’s important to have optimal levels of thiamine.
One thing to note is that in many peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women, symptoms of hypothyroidism occur despite normal serum levels of thyroid hormone. Estrogen interferes with the intracellular utilization of thyroid hormone. Thus, many women with clinical signs of hypothyroidism such as fatigue, lack of energy, intolerance to cold, etc., are actually suffering from unrecognized estrogen dominancy and will benefit from supplementation with natural progesterone. Women taking thyroid supplements will find that their dose can be reduced or eliminated when natural progesterone is restored to adequate levels. In this regard, the test for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a better guide for thyroid dosage than are the T3 or T4 tests.
If you’re concerned about thyroid problems, especially as a woman, it’s important to get care now. Join Moment today to for comprehensive testing and consultations. With Moment, you’ll learn how to maintain vitality and vigor while supporting longevity as you age. Questions? Contact us today – we’re here to help!
Silva, J. Biology of Reproduction, Volume 99, Issue 5, November 2018, Pages 907–921. Thyroid hormones and female reproduction.
Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/biolreprod/article/99/5/907/4995900
Ranabir, S. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011. Stress and hormones
Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/#
Bajaj, J. J Clin Diagn Res. 2016 Jan; 10(1): FE01–FE03.Various Possible Toxicants Involved in Thyroid Dysfunction: A Review
Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4740614/#