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Do You Have Poor Thyroid Function?

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

What are symptoms of poor thyroid function

Poor thyroid function has been linked to serious health conditions like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, acne, eczema, gum disease, infertility, and autoimmune diseases.

Other Symptoms include:

The symptoms of hypothyroidism usually develop slowly over time – sometimes years. They can include:

  • Feeling tired (fatigue).

  • Experiencing numbness and tingling in your hands.

  • Having constipation.

  • Gaining weight.

  • Experiencing soreness throughout your body (can include muscle weakness).

  • Having higher than normal blood cholesterol levels.

  • Feeling depressed.

  • Being unable to tolerate cold temperatures.

  • Having dry, coarse skin and hair.

  • Experiencing a decrease sexual interest.

  • Having frequent and heavy menstrual periods.

  • Seeing physical changes in your face (including drooping eyelids, as well as puffiness in the eyes and face).

  • Having your voice become lower and hoarser.

  • Feeling more forgetful (“brain fog”).

The thyroid is one of the largest endocrine glands in our body and influences almost every cell and function in our body. It regulates metabolism and weight by controlling the fat-burning process.

Thyroid hormones are involved in growth and development and in nearly every physiological process in your body. If our thyroid levels are out of balance, so are we. The Thyroid Gland: The thyroid is responsible for producing the master metabolism hormones that control every function in our body. It produces three types of hormones: ·     Triiodothyronine (T3) ·     Thyroxine (T4) ·     Diiodothyronine (T2) Hormones secreted by our thyroid interact with all your other hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. To drive home this point, if your thyroid is out of balance, you are out of balance.

Almost 90 percent of the hormone produced by your thyroid is in the form of T4, the inactive form. Your liver then converts the T4 into T3, the active form, with the help of an enzyme. This is why liver health is so important for thyroid function.  So is the gut, because some conversion takes place there also. T2 is the least-understood component of thyroid function and the subject of a number of ongoing studies. If everything is working properly, you will have the correct amounts of T3 and T4, which control the metabolism of every cell in your body. If your T3 is inadequate, either by scarce production or not converting properly from T4, your entire health and wellness suffers. T3 is critically important.  One of its functions is to tell the nucleus of the cells to send messages to your DNA to increase metabolism by burning fat. This is how T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair, and helps maintain a proper weight. Your T3 levels can be disrupted by nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, infections, and stress, and this lead to a series of complications, including thyroid cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism, which today are three of the most prevalent thyroid-related diseases.

Many people are hypothyroid and go untreated because of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of lab tests, particularly TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Physicians are taught if your TSH value is within the “normal” range, your thyroid is fine. More and more physicians are now discovering that the TSH value is grossly unreliable for diagnosing hypothyroidism.

Factors that affect thyroid function:

Chronic stress

Stress is anything that disrupts the body's natural balance (homeostasis). Sometimes hearing your doctor chalk up your symptoms to stress can feel unsatisfying. Immediately, we think of the usual stressors like a heavy workload, financial worries, significant life shifts, etc. But other factors that we think of less frequently as "stress" also burden the adrenal glands.

Things like blood sugar imbalance, gut dysfunction, food intolerances, chronic infections, environmental toxins, and inflammation can cause the adrenal glands to produce more stress hormones. Like many hypothyroid symptoms, adrenal stress symptoms are often nonspecific and can affect virtually every system in the body.

Common symptoms of adrenal stress are:
  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Decreased immunity

  • Decrease sleep quality

  • Mood swings

  • Sugar and caffeine cravings

  • Irritability or lightheadedness

  • Eating to relieve fatigue

  • Dizziness when standing

  • Gastric ulcers

Weak adrenals may cause hypothyroid symptoms without any problem in the thyroid gland itself.

A saliva cortisol test or a urine cortisol test helps to assess adrenal hormones.

Poor thyroid hormone conversion

Your body needs to convert T4 into T3 to be able to use it. If the conversion of T4 to T3 is weak, you may experience some common hypothyroid symptoms.

Some causes of poor thyroid hormone conversion may include:

—Leptin resistance

Leptin is a protein produced by fatty tissue that helps to regulate fat storage in the body. If the body shows resistance to leptin, where the leptin is unable to produce its usual effects to stimulate weight loss, the body senses it as starvation. Then, the body increases fat stores instead of burning excess fat.

—Insulin resistance

Similarly, insulin resistance, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome may also impact the conversion of T4 to T3. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. If the body shows resistance to insulin, your muscle tissues and liver don't easily take up glucose. Instead, the body will store the excess sugar in the fat cells.

—Acute or chronic dieting

Acute or chronic dieting can significantly decrease T3 levels, which substantially reduces metabolic function. The thyroid levels and metabolism aren't able to return to normal levels with chronic dieting. The body stays in starvation mode for years, making it challenging to lose or maintain lost weight. It's essential to fuel your body with enough calories, focusing on nutrient-rich foods like fruits, veggies, wild-caught fish, nuts, and seeds.

—Environmental toxins

Numerous toxins can block tissue thyroid receptors and reduce the T4 to T3 conversion. Often human-made, these chemicals are in everyday products that we use and ingest, including plastic bottles, detergents, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides.

If your lab results come back normal, but you still experience symptoms that resemble hypothyroidism, we recommend a comprehensive approach to understand the root cause of your symptoms and optimize your treatment! ‍Functional medicine practitioners consider a much narrower range optimal for patients. When aiming for optimal, not just "normal", we see patients' symptoms reduce and they feel better and functional again.

Feel Fully Alive Again with Personalized Thyroid Treatment

Don’t Neglect the Treatment of Your Hypothyroidism Any Longer...If You suspect you may be suffering from hypothyroidism or have already been diagnosed with the condition.

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