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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 visit us online to schedule a visit.

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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!

    • Keith says:

      The article had a great message in it, “While these thyroid tests can be helpful, in the final analysis your doctor should treat YOU, not the blood test”. In the USA lab tests often cause doctors to ignore patient symptoms in favor of lab results, so you may be better off with less lab work and more symptom management. The key is finding a doctor with some real experience managing thyroid issues.

    • Elisha says:

      Hi there – Try searching for a functional medicine practitioner.

    • Sharon Mitchell says:

      Find a new doctor!

    • Ellen-Sue Diamant says:

      See Paul Robinson’s books on the use of T3 and tests needed in addition to the all important signs/symptoms. Naturopaths in my area are doing all this just the past 5-6 years and I’ve been experimenting with T3 dosing for a year as per signs/symptoms (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, brain fog etc.) Typically, there is another infection going on. For me it is lyme/babesia for which one of my naturopaths is treating with different herbs. It’s made a huge difference, but not enough in my 60s (living with this since the birth of my 30 year old) to totally ‘heal’ me and send me back to work.

    • Patricia says:

      At least in the UK you can get the initial tests done to get a diagnosis and some treatment before you have to think about “going private” and having to “pay out of your pocket.” Herein the US, for the majority of the population, that is the situation when it comes to even getting the initial workup, and if you are lucky enough to have insurance or be able to pay for the doctors visit and medication, if your numbers are then ok, even at the bottom baseline, but you are still symptomatic, it is just as impossible to get a doctor to look any further, and the few who will, and I hate to say it, but this INCLUDES THE AMEN CLINICS, are far too expensive for the average person too afford. I have called the ANEN CLINICS, and even though I have insurance, they DO NOT ACCEPT the insurance as payment and the out of pocket cost is equal to 3 months of my mortgage payments, so my choice is left between getting tratment or losing my home, so even though I have a clinic only about 75 miles from me, it is TOTALLY UNAFFORDABLE and so inaccessible and I continue to suffer, not only from my hypothyroidism, but from my ADHD and the lasting effects of a severe concussion suffered in an auto accident, combined with several minor concussions I’ve suffered over the years. Be thankful that you live in a country where at least primary and emergency health care is accessible to all, because you are leaps and bounds ahead of those of us who live in the United States, where even Emergency, Lifesaving, medical treatment can cost you everything that you’ve worked for your entire life, including your home, and specialized care, such as that offered by AMEN CLINICS, is just as INACCESSIBLE!!!!

  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

    • Megan Long says:

      Check out the book (Medical Medium Thyroid Healing) by Anthony William . I am reading it now and feel that it may offer some hope.

  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

  7. Linda says:

    My thyroid test results are always low but WNL. When I ask if we should up the dose, they remind me that it will make my osteoporosis worse. What to do?!

  8. Margaritha Swanepeol says:

    I have nodules on my thyroid, what does this meen and what is the best treatment for it . Thank you

  9. Pat Chuppe says:

    I would love to be evaluated at AMEN CLINICS for my ADHD, hypothyroidism and effects from a severe concussion suffered in a car accident, as well as a few minor concussions suffered in other accidents over the years. However, upon calling the clinic to try to schedule an appointment, I found out that they do not accept insurances and the complete cost of a workup is more than three months of my mortgage payments, extra money that I do not have lying around, so I am left suffering. Having help so close to me, and yet so inaccessible, actually feels worse than if it were not available at all. I had hoped that someone who had thecompassion to do the hard work to be on the cutting edge of his field to be able to help people, would have a policy of accepting insurance plans as payment, so that the average person could get help without having to make a choice between getting help and feeling “normal” and losing their home to be able to get that help, but that is the sad state of health care in the US. It all comes down to money…..the doctors to whom that is the most important factor, far above a person’s medical problems……and the inassessability of state of the art care to the average American who is living paycheck to paycheck, even if they have at least managed to get medical insurance. PLEASE DR. AMEN, CHANGE YOUR POLICY AND ACCEPT INSURANCE PLANS AS PAYMENT FOR YOUR CARE, SO THAT THOSE OF US WHO ARE SICK, AND NOT RICH, CAN BE TREATED AND HELPED BY YOU, SO WE MAY ACTUALLY BECOME NORMAL, FUNCTIONING, HIMAN BEINGS AGAIN….P L E A S E ! ! !

  10. C.C. says:

    Another thyroid problem worth noting is Reverse T3, i.e. T3 which is not usable by the body. Reverse T3 can often be successfully treated with selenium.

  11. Jan says:

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism seven years ago. I am currently taking Naturethroid to treat. Even though this medication has helped quite a bit (no longer have the mantra of “life shouldn’t be this hard” going through my mind constantly), I have continued to feel unwell. When asked by others what that “means” all I can say is I lack clarity and drive, I often have brain fog, my digestion is hampered and I don’t have the energy of other women my age. I have been receiving acupuncture for several years for a different condition. Recently, I was referred to a new practitioner. He diagnosed my condition as Gu Syndrome. This condition can result from an actual parasite infection or virus. I, like many worldwide, have had the Epstein-Barr virus. Viruses can stay in the body all our lives. My practitioner has no way of knowing the exact cause but he knows the symptoms and that is what he is treating me for. It can be a long commitment, time and money. Treatment can take 6 months to several years. I have been on an herbal formula for a week and a half and I feel that I am thinking more clearly and have a bit more energy. I am not a doctor, but, if all else fails I would recommend consulting an acupuncturist. Google Heiner Fruehauf. He has written about Gu Syndrome. If possible, never stop looking to heal.

  12. Ktistina says:

    I have Hashimotos had it for many years but its always amused me why the most important hormone in the body seems to get so liitle attention. Once or may be twice a year get a TSH blood test which is considered adequate in Australia .There are drs who are toward the alternative and do a full test but often are hard to find.I have found one but still wonder as my mental health is far from well.

  13. Karen van Heiningen-Kess says:

    I was diagnoses with a perfect thyroid organ that does not work at all. It was decided I was born with this. The first 27 years of my life were, mildly put, hell: hated my body, the Wright, the diets etc. once I got the meds, it went great till 12 years later I was diagnosed with diabetes Ii, most likely as a result of the thyroid dysfunction. It too years to get everything balanced out. Till recently! I am 61, my T4 is too high with meds and T3 meds doesn’t seem to balance it all out. My diabetes is compromised because after years on Byetta, I can not afford the $600 p/ m meds anymore. I can not eat any carbs or I bloat, gain weight and my life is back to a daily struggle. I have an upcoming appointment with an endocrinologist in town. But my Healthcoverage still only covers $14,95 of the Bydureon or Ozympic and I have a manufacturers card that covers $150, but it is still too much. If I choose to have a lower deductible, the premium goed up too much. Ordering it from Canada is something I have done before and it is “ only” $300 a month then. But they don’t ship in June, July and August because of the hot weather( even in foam boxes with blue ice, last year the three month supply was ruined and I got no rebate. My question is, is there anything to be done outside of the mainstream western meds? I am somewhat leery about the herbal products that claim to be helpful.

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