Do you have a hidden thyroid problem?
Are you struggling with feeling fat, sick and/or tired all the time?
Did you know these could be signature signs of an underlying thyroid problem?
It has been estimated that 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition sometime during their lifetime.
And of those people, up to 60% don’t or won’t know they have a thyroid issue (usually because it’s been misdiagnosed).
And women are 5-8 times more likely to have a thyroid condition than men.
I know I’m part of the 12%. Could you be too?
If you struggle with high cholesterol, depression, weight gain, relentless fatigue, feeling unwell often or even constipation you just might have a thyroid problem.
If you don’t know, the thyroid is a hard working, butterfly shaped gland that sits right at the front of your throat. It produces a variety of thyroid hormones and is part of the endocrine system, which is a group glands that work together and produce hormones.
The thyroid is in charge of some really critical bodily functions such as:
- Appetite, absorption of nutrients and digestion of fats
- Heart rate, heartbeat strength and the intake of oxygen
- Blood flow and body temperature
- Cellular energy production
- Brain development and maturation
- Sexual function, sleep and thought patterns
So I’d say it’s pretty important to make sure your thyroid is up and running, and to be aware IF you might have, or be at risk for, a thyroid condition.
Symptoms of a thyroid condition can include:
- Constipation, bloating or weight gain or loss
- Depression, anxiety or mood swings in general
- Hair loss, facial hair growth, dry hair or skin
- Irregular periods, infertility, miscarriages, or low libido
- High cholesterol, heart racing or trouble breathing
- Cold hands or feet, or feeling cold when others aren’t
- Fatigue even after a full night’s sleep or brain fog
And those are just some of the most the common ones.
Because the thyroid oversees so many actions in the body and symptoms can be far removed from the root cause, the thyroid is often overlooked as a factor when your health heads south.
In this week’s video and blog I’ll help you get to know your thyroid a little better so you can get to the bottom of a potential thyroid problem or prevent one in the future.
The traditional approach to testing thyroid function usually involves a blood test to look at Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, also known as TSH, and if you’re lucky your doctor might also include a marker for thyroid hormone T4 or T3.
But unfortunately traditional testing typically falls short when evaluating thyroid health for a number of reasons.
Let’s take a look at how the thyroid works first to understand why a traditional thyroid test might not give you all the clues you need to know if you have a hidden thyroid problem …
Step 1 – The pituitary gland releases Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to do exactly what it implies, to stimulate the thyroid to do its job, making TSH more of a direct marker for pituitary function and an indirect marker for thyroid function.
Step 2 – The thyroid gland produces an abundant amount of inactive T4 and a small amount of inactive T3 hormone known as “total” T4 and T3. These inactive versions actually can’t be used by the body, they have to be converted into active versions.
Step 3 – Various tissues of the body, primarily the gut and liver, convert Total T4 into “free” T4 and then into free T3, and Total T3 is also converted into free T3, making thyroid hormone available for use by the body. Some Total T3 is also converted into Reverse T3, a signaling hormone that stops the uptake of T3 into the cells when they’ve had enough.
Seems a little complex, right?
Do you see how a standalone TSH test, or even one that includes an additional thyroid hormone marker or two still leaves a lot to be wondered about in regards to how your thyroid might actually be performing when you consider all of the moving pieces?
To more accurately evaluate your thyroid health and function, you’ll want to ask your doctor or health practitioner (like me!) to run a full thyroid panel that includes at least:
- Total AND Free T4
- Total AND Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Plus both thyroid antibody markers TPO and TG Ab
If you suspect you have a thyroid problem and can’t get your hands on a full thyroid panel, or if you just want to prevent a thyroid problem from developing, there are some proactive steps you can take to boost your thyroid health…
#1 – Support Your Liver
Believe it or not, but your liver plays a pretty big role in keeping your thyroid healthy. It’s where a good chunk of thyroid hormone is converted, plus it gets rid of excess estrogen and toxins which can trigger a thyroid problem. Eat liver supporting foods such as beets, dandelion greens, and grapefruits, and consider taking a good quality liver support supplement daily such as this one.
#2 – Get Your Gut In Gear
Your gut is where another big chunk of thyroid hormone is converted for use, and it’s where you absorb nutrients to produce thyroid and other hormones necessary to keep your body in balance. If your gut is a mess, your thyroid will be too. Pay attention to how foods make you feel and avoid the ones that upset your stomach or make you feel gassy and bloated – you can also do a food sensitivity test to specifically identify what foods might be wrecking your gut. Also aim to incorporate gut healing foods and substances such as bone broth, collagen peptides and a good quality probiotic.
#3 – Take A Stand Against Toxins
On average an adult uses 9 personal care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients, most of which are known as endocrine disruptors meaning they directly and negatively affect thyroid function. And that’s doesn’t include toxins encountered in household cleaning products, bathing water or foods. Do your thyroid a favor and take a stand against toxins. Eat organic foods as much as possible, only drink and cook with filtered water, and shift to using non-toxic environmentally friendly cleaning and personal care products such as BeautyCounter.
If you’re proactive in these 3 areas you’re going to significantly lighten the load on your thyroid so it can return to balance or stay that way.
Taking action in these 3 areas helped me restore my thyroid function, too, so I could lose weight, get my energy back and start feeling like myself again, and I still practice them to keep it that way!
If you need help getting your hands on the right lab tests and resources to uncover a possible thyroid problem or restore its function, then schedule a complimentary Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me today here!