About 25 million citizens of the US have some kind of problem with the thyroid, but the real problem is that half of these people are not even aware of this.
Hypothyroidism is a condition of under-dynamic thyroid gland, which represents almost 90% of all thyroid related issues.
The thyroid gland is located in the neck, and it is the main organ of the metabolism. The work of the thyroid is related to every system in our body- if it`s not working properly, than neither are you.
These are the 10 most common symptoms that your thyroid is under-active:
- Feeling exhausted after 8-10 hours of sleep, or a nap during the day.
- Unexplained weight gain/ difficulties losing weight.
- Anxiety, depression, mood changes.
- Pain in the joints and muscles, tendonitis.
- Your hands and feet are almost constantly cold, even when it`s hot outside. Body temperature below 98.5.
- Cracked skin, brittle nails, hair loss.
- Problems with concentration and memory, brain fog.
- Swollen neck, snoring, hoarse voice.
How does the thyroid work?
The thyroid hormone is produces as a result of a feedback loop between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the thyroid gland. The TRH (hypothalamic thyrotropin-releasing hormone) is stimulating the production and secretion of TSH (pituitary thyrotropin).
Then, the TSH triggers the thyroid gland to produce T4 and T3. When there are proper amounts of T4, the gland sends signals to TRH and TSH not to produce more thyroid hormone, because there is enough in circulation.
T4 represents 85% of hormone produced by the thyroid gland. This is the inactive form of the hormone. A small amount is then converted into T3, the active form on the thyroid hormone.
T3 then gets converted into Free T3 (FT3) or Reverse T3 (RT3). The FT3 is the one that matters, because it`s the only hormone which can attach to a receptor and boost the metabolism, maintain bowel movements, keep you warm and keep all the hormones in check.
The role of the RT3 is not well known, but it can increase when we are under stress or in case we have mercury poisoning.
The most common form of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto`s thyroiditis, where the body attacks itself and some organs and tissues, because it sees them as foreign.
In the USA, hypothyroidism is under-diagnosed
Most of the symptoms of thyroid problem are vague, and doctors don`t spend enough time investigating the cause of the patients` complaints. They usually use 1-2 screening tests for T4 and TSH, skipping FT3, RT3 and thyroid antibodies. Most doctors use optimal lab values as their guide, without taking into consideration the real symptoms.
The best lab tests to determine a thyroid problem
If you suspect you are suffering from some thyroid-related condition, make sure the doctor is using tests for:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
Optimal lab values
- TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
- FT4 >1.1 NG/DL
- FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
- RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
- TPO – <9 IU/ML or negative
- TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative
Also, in order to establish a proper diagnosis, the doctor has to listen well to the patients and take into account how they are feeling.
10 ways to improve thyroid function:
- Take enough vitamins and minerals like Zinc, Iodine, Iron, Selenium, B-complex vitamins and vitamin D.
- In order to help FT4 and FT3 conversion, you should take tyrosine and iodine supplements.
- Start a gluten-free diet. For Hashimoto`s, completely avoid legumes and grains.
- Lower down the stress levels and support the work of the adrenal glands, they work together with the thyroid. Try adaptogenic herbs, yoga and breathing exercises.
- You need 8-10 hours of quality sleep every night.
- Remove all the amalgam filling from your teeth.
- Be careful with the consumption of cruciferous vegetables, there`s still a debate about their effect on the thyroid gland.
- Remove all bromide, chlorine and fluoride sources from your diet and surrounding.
- Improve the work of your digestive system, it will restore your good health.
- Find a good doctor who will perform all the necessary tests and help you find the real cause of the thyroid problem.