Are you cold all the time? Does your hair fall out when you brush it? Always tired? Can’t Sleep? Gain weight easily but can’t loose it? You may have a thyroid problem. It is estimated that over 27 million people in US have a thyroid problem and don’t even know it. You may have gone to your MD and he said everything is ok, but you still have these symptoms. Your TSH may have been high so you were put on medication to bring it down. Your symptoms went away for a few weeks but now they are back. What is up with that?
Before we can talk about the thyroid we need to understand some basics first. Up inside your brain there is an organ called the hypothalamus. This organ senses and reads how much thyroid hormone you have in your body. If it is low it releases a hormone called TRH or Thyroid Releasing Hormone so it can stimulate the pituitary gland. Now the pituitary is also located in your brain and works by managing many of the hormones in your body. When it receives TRH it in turn releases TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone to activate your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. When the thyroid receives TSH it reacts with a substance called Thyroid Peroxidase or TPO and more thyroid hormone is produced. The thyroid then makes thyroid hormone and our metabolism SHOULD work correctly. If it doesn’t then there is a problem, a real big problem.
The way medicine treats thyroid conditions is based on 1961 technology, almost 50 years old, but did you know that there is more than one cause for your thyroid symptoms to be showing up. In fact there are 6 known causes for one to be suffering from hypo-thyroid symptoms. So let’s talk about the six different causes and why they show up.
The first is a true underactive thyroid. Your thyroid is just pooped out and doesn’t want to make enough thyroid hormone. The pituitary then tries to kick it in the pants and get it going again with TSH. That is why when you look at a blood test your TSH will be high, because it is trying to get things going. If you have this you may need medication and it may help you, but this is the only one that needs meds. Remember there are 5 other causes that DON’T need medication and can be treated naturally with supplements and lifestyle changes.
The second cause is that your pituitary can be lazy. Your pituitary is the gland that makes TSH (the only tests MD’s tend to look at) and if it is tired your TSH will be low. If your TSH is low on the blood work, one would think that you may have Hyper-thyroid but you will have all the symptoms of hypothyroid. This is because your pituitary can’t tell your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. So what causes this? It could be a bunch of things from pregnancy, stress, blood sugar problems or hormone pills(including Synthroid which may be taken for the first cause).
The next one is that you may not be converting your thyroid hormone the way you should. Did you know that when your thyroid makes hormones it makes 93% T4 and 7% T3, but your body can only use T3 for it’s functions. You must convert the T4 into T3 in other areas of your body. Your liver converts 60% of T4 into T3. Your stomach converts 20% of T4 into T3. Your peripheral tissues convert the remaining T4 into T3. So if you are having problems with your liver, not enough acid or the right kind of acid in your stomach or your peripheral tissue like your heart, kidneys, or muscles are not working correctly you CAN have the symptoms of hypo-thyroid disease. Now your hypothalamus only reads T4 so it will say that you are normal, but I have never seen a medical doctor check for T3 which is where you would find this problem.
You may be OVER converting your T4 and you have too much T3 but not enough of a protein called TBG (thyroid binding globulin) to carry it around the body. Well this is caused by blood sugar problems as well, more specifically insulin resistance. This resistance causes and increase in female production of testosterone resulting in too little TBG. If you don’t have enough TBG to carry the T3 around you WILL have symptoms of hypo-thyroid.
The next cause is your body is making too much TBG resulting in not enough T3 to fill it up. If you look at it like a taxi cab driving around New York it will make it a little more understandable. If you have 3 million cabs (TBG) but only 3000 passengers (T3) once a T3 molecule gets picked up by the TBG it doesn’t want to let it go. If it does, who knows where it will get it’s next passenger. So T3 is never dropped off at the receptor site and there for not used. This results in Hypo-thyroid symptoms. So the main culprit in this cause is oral contraceptives. If some one gains a lot of weight after starting birth control pills, this is what is happening to their bodies.
The last cause is just plain thyroid hormone resistance. Your pituitary and thyroid are working fine and doing what they are suppose to be doing. The only problem is that the hormone isn’t getting into the cells. They have become resistant to the hormone and will not let it in. This is caused by chronic stress and too much cortisol is produced and circulating in the blood. If it isn’t getting in you WILL have hypo-thyroid symptoms.
That is why it is so important to be checked for with ALL thyroid tests to determine what is wrong. If you only look at TSH and maybe T4 you will not get all the pieces to the puzzle. What about Total T4 and Free T4, Total T3 and Free T3, Thyroid Antibodies, FTI (Free Thyroxine Index), Reverse T3 and TBG. You need to look at everything if you want the real answer. Did you know that 90% of hypothyroid patients CAN and SHOULD BE treated naturally with whole food supplements and WITHOUT MEDICATION? Get all the tests done and find the real cause to your thyroid problem. Well, until next time Good Health and Good Living.