Suffering from fatigue, constipation, weight gain, depression, brain fog, cold intolerance, hair loss, irregular menstrual periods, low libido and perhaps a host of other unexplained symptoms? Had tests for thyroid and results come back normal? Could it be that the “thyroid tests” only consisted of TSH (a pituitary hormone) and T4? Let’s say that “all” the thyroid tests were done and everything came back “normal”, is it still possible to have some underlying thyroid issues? Have you been tested for free T3, thyroid antibodies or reverse T3? Is there a family history of thyroid problems? Any history of sub-normal body temperatures (average body temperature less than 98.6)? Are you “freezing” all the time? Do you ever get a fever when you’re fighting off an infection? If any of the above questions got you thinking “could I possibly have thyroid issues?”, then you may be right. It’s always helpful to listen to your body (or intuition) coz in this society, we are brainwashed to think that medical authorities know our body more than we know it ourselves (although in certain instances, we need “expert’s” opinions).
Back to making a diagnosis of thyroid issues. Free T3 is the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone. If it’s “low normal” and if a person has concomitant low thyroid symptoms, then it will be helpful to support the thyroid. In a holistic practice, one may start with nutritional support of the thyroid and if that doesn’t work, a trial of actual thyroid hormone could be used. The use of animal glandulars with both T3 and T4 such as Armour thyroid is preferable since some people who use synthetic T4 alone may not be able to convert it to T3 due to nutritional deficiencies including that of the mineral selenium. By the way, it’s also important to address adrenal dysfunction if a person has thyroid issues in the first place. In Chinese medicine, these are considered yin yang organs and are supposed to support each other. Substances that help the adrenals are called adaptogens and include rhodiola, ashwaghanda, ginseng, cordyceps and holy basil. Nutrients such as vitamin C and pantothenic acid also support adrenal function.
Anyway, for those with auto-immune type of thyroid conditions, it would be helpful to test for food sensitivity as well. Sometimes, getting off offending foods could resolve the thyroid issue. Interesting, huh?
Why is it that we’re seeing a lot of thyroid problems nowadays? The thyroid is one of the most vascular organs in the body. Toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis usually affect our thyroid. Some of these toxins are so ubiquitous in the environment that it’s sometimes difficult to avoid them. Some could be avoided entirely though (such as water that’s been purified with halides such as chlorine, bromine or fluoride). They all compete with iodine in the formation of thyroid hormone. Stress also affects thyroid function (elevated cortisol preventing the conversion of T4 to T3). Nutritional deficiencies also plays a major factor in the prevalence of thyroid disorders nowadays.