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Thyroid Balance – Your Key To Brain And Body Harmony

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front part of your neck.  Its job is to secrete hormones that control growth/development during childhood, regulate your metabolism and body temperature, and drive the production of many neurotransmitters in your brain.  Specifically, the ones that help you feel good and enough have motivation to accomplish your goals: serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

It’s estimated that tens of millions of people worldwide have thyroid problems—anywhere from 5-25% of the world’s population.  In the book, Thyroid Mind Power, it’s reported that, “the last 40 years have witnessed a massive increase in the amount of hormone-disrupting synthetic chemicals, finding their way into our air, food and water…The most sensitive and highly susceptible of human tissues turned out to be the thyroid gland.”

8 Factors that Inhibit Healthy Thyroid Function

  1. Excess stress and cortisol production
  2. Selenium deficiency
  3. Deficient protein, excess sugar
  4. Chronic illness
  5. Compromised liver or kidney function
  6. Cadmium, mercury, lead toxicity
  7. Herbicides, pesticides
  8. Oral contraceptives, excessive estrogen production

Thyroid problems are increasing in the population and especially among women, often surfacing after pregnancy and during middle age. It’s estimated that 1 out of 4 postmenopausal women has thyroid imbalances, and according to Ridha Arem, M.D., editor of the journal, Thyroid, nearly 45% of people over 50 have some degree of thyroid gland inflammation, which is an early sign that thyroid imbalance is likely to occur.

Thyroid imbalance is a major cause of depression, anxiety, mental fog, and memory issues:

  • One-third of all depressions are directly related to thyroid imbalance.
  • 80-90% of postpartum depression is associated with thyroid abnormalities.
  • More than 80% of people with low-grade hypothyroidism have impaired memory function.

The two most common thyroid imbalance issues are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism:

  • Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid – when the gland does not produce enough hormone.  Symptoms include:
    • Feeling tired all the time
    • Weight gain
    • Dry skin
    • Brain fog, or “feeling spacey”
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Feeling cold all the time, even when others feel hot
    • A body temperature that tends to be lower than 98.6
  • Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid – when the gland produces too much hormone, causing everything in your body to work too fast.  Symptoms include:
    • Feeling jittery, as if you have had too much caffeine
    • Sleeplessness
    • Anxiety
    • Irritability
    • Racing thoughts
    • A fast pulse
    • Breathlessness
    • Weight loss, despite an increased appetite
    • Feeling too hot for no clear reason

Suspect Thyroid Imbalance?

It’s difficult to know if your thyroid is truly balanced without a simple blood test, which is something that your primary care physician should be willing to provide.  The main thyroid hormones—TSH, T3, and T4—all have to be in the right balance for you to feel your best.

Blood Test Checklist

When your doctor checks your thyroid, don’t settle for a TSH test alone—it only measures your thyroid stimulating hormone.  TSH levels can be normal, even while you have an undiagnosed thyroid problem.  Instead, if you have any symptoms, insist your doctor order the following tests:

  • TSH (according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, anything over 3.0 is abnormal and needs further investigation)
  • Free T3 (active)
  • Free T4 (inactive)
  • Thyroid antibodies
      • Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO)
      • Thyroglobulin antibodies (TG)
  • Liver function tests (95% of T4 is “activated” in the liver) so having a healthy liver is essential).
  • Ferritin level (ferritin is like the bus that drives the active T3 into the cells for the activity to occur.  Ferritin needs to be above 90 for this to occur).

Balancing Your Thyroid

Thyroid issues can be effectively treated with a number of thyroid medications, but your doctor needs to test your levels regularly to assure that you are not taking too much or too little.

There are also a number of natural dietary supplements that support thyroid function, including the herb rosemary, zinc, chromium, potassium, iodine, l-tyrosine, vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, C, D, selenium, seaweed, and ashwagandha.  Also, make sure to have healthy testosterone, insulin, and melatonin levels.

While these thyroid tests can be helpful, in the final analysis your doctor should treat YOU, not the blood test.  We have seen many women with hypothyroidism not treated by their physicians because their thyroid numbers were low but “within normal limits.”  It’s a little like saying a vitamin D level of 31 is normal (normal rage is 30-100).

How you feel and how you function (e.g., energy, constipation, dry hair, dry skin, cognition, body temperature) is more important in assessing thyroid function than just using arbitrary blood test normal ranges.

If your doctor refuses to order these tests see someone else, or order them yourself at websites such as www.saveonlabs.com, then schedule a consult with one of Amen Clinics – we are here to help you feel, think, and look your best!

In this video, Dr. Mark Filidei, Director of Functional and Integrative Medicine at Amen Clinics talks about balancing the thyroid (and other hormones) through Bioidentical Hormonal Replacement Therapy.

Already have your lab results? Great! Dr. Filidei is available for consultations too. Call us at 888-288-9834 or tell us more.

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COMMENTS

  1. Ingrid Johansson says:

    I have had hypothyroidism for 30+ years and I am coming to find out that it is actually based from adrenal gland exhaustion. I’m also coming to find out that my thyroid issues are based from copper overload and possibly Pyroluria. There is so much we don’t know that affects our delicate body balance and body functions (from micro and macro nutrients to hormones) that can give us symptoms of hypothyroidism what the root causes actually from other things like adrenals. If your doctor says you have hypothyroidism look at your diet and your lifestyle And see if it’s actually an adrenal exhaustion problem. If you look at the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion you will see that they mirror the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Also look into copper overload and Pyroluria . You will be amazed at the information you will find that would greatly help balance your body and decrease your symptoms.

  2. Jindi Hodge says:

    Here in the UK, it is impossible to get all the tests done once you have been diagnosed. So people like me are left taking medication dosages that might not be working within the full spectrum of all the tests. Of course, if I can pay privately, then it will be a different story. I hardly have any hair on my head, I can’t lose weight, Brain fog has gone to new heights, and the doctor says, “it’s your age”. I am nearly 61!

  3. Linda says:

    I cannot afford to come to the clinic…what tests can I do ftom here for hormones and thyroid

  4. Elaine Sauer says:

    I’ve was dx with thyroid cancer in 2009, and total thyroidectomy. I find that the even with the meds and the range kept at 0.01-0.11 the symptoms of hypothyroidism aren’t corrected (weight gain, temp, dry skin and hair, memory & motivation, depression/anxiety and I have found adding HRT to have the most amazing effect on my health, improved memory and mood since starting last year. Seems the thyroid docs just don’t have enough to get their patients to optimal health and it’s been very frustrating for me to hear you labs are great!

  5. Barbara Frazier says:

    Can you help me , Why and how? I have had myalgia encephalitis for decades. I have a very thick file on all my ailments and diagnosis over the years. I was lucky to be treated by Dr Teitlebaum and got me out of 6 years in bed with a compounded thyroid. I currently am treated by a nurse
    Practioner for hormones but the rest of ailments I have to sort out on my own .always have to direct any current doctors who are at a loss but one does what tests etc. that I tell him .
    I live now on a 3rd world island but all many tests are sent to the US. I have been diagnosed with The vowing ailments some at top university hospital University of Pennsylvania , which many add up to my overall diagnosis but would like one doctor to be my overall “ project manager” because it is complicated and Am sick of the job and want to retire from it! I want the Doctor to be integrated..
    Here are the ailments diagnosed low thyroid,adrenal fatigue,Lyme disease,neurially mediated hypotension,bi polar,fibromyalgia,reactive hypoglycemia reduced IQ ,candida,
    I sold my business years ago and moved to an island, changed my diet,learned to meditate ,try to limit my exercise. And for 3 yrs have cold symptoms every other day or two or more when I over do it,. No one can explainone that so am being tested for allergies and I am suddenly having more memory problems and trouble spelling some simple words.I have not been treated for the lead that was as the chart would go.How can you help ,what are the different ways,and how can I or my insurance pay for it ? I f you can help let me know why you think you can help. Your response is much appreciated !
    All the Best
    Barbara Frazier

  6. barb says:

    I have been diagnosed with Hashimotos but drs..refuse to give me meds. as they say my thyroid ranges are fine. I’ve had Free t3, free t4 TAG and a bunch.of other tests and the thyroid levels are in the LOW END..My hair is super dry and has been falling out AT THE ROOTS for 2 years now!

    • Emily says:

      You may want to read Dr. Daniel Brownstein’s books on thryoid and Iodine therapy. Very helpful. He is in Michigan and has a very active practice

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