Ever been told your thyroid test was in the “normal” range but you have all the symptoms of an underactive thyroid? Take heart, you’re not alone. The truth is, you could be suffering from hypothyroidism – but you didn’t hear that from me!
We hear a lot about thyroid issues from customers in our retail store. The stats on thyroid disease in the population are all over the map ranging from 5% to over 20%. The alarming reality is, millions of people have thyroid problems and half of them don’t even know it.
You may have seen our post on hyperthyroidism which affects only about 1% of the population. I’m going to focus on hypothyroidism – or under-active thyroid. It means your thyroid has a case of the drags and isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone.
A whole bunch of us suffer from it, myself included!
Since thyroid problems are so common, you might wonder, what’s the big deal? Trust me, it matters. Your thyroid plays a huge role in your overall health and thyroid cancer rates are rising significantly – which is a big red flag.
Your thyroid is part of your endocrine system, which means it affects your hormones. The organs in your body need to work in synergy with one another – your thyroid is no exception. Dr. Mercola has this to say about the thyroid:
“It produces the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body.”
Did you catch that? The thyroid impacts every function in your body – if your thyroid doesn’t work right, neither do you!
Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- weight gain
- poor concentration or memory
- thinning hair and brittle nails
- cold hands and feet
- depression and anxiety
- increase in cholesterol levels
- weakness or cramps
- low body temperature
- hoarse voice
- dry skin
- fluid retention
- Trouble sleeping
Often, people with these symptoms think they’re just part of aging or they have it because it runs in the family. Not true. Hypothyroidism is an epidemic today and so is depression, irritable bowel syndrome, PMS, infertility, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases.
You might be surprised to know that any of these conditions may indicate a problem with your thyroid.
Even elevated cholesterol that doesn’t respond to other measures (diet, exercise, etc.) could be the result of hypothyroidism. So before your doctor tells you to go on a statin drug, make sure your thyroid is working properly first. Carpal tunnel is another condition that may be related to your thyroid. Think of all the people having surgery for that when it could be a thyroid problem!
Do you suffer from hypothyroidism?
How do you know for sure? The only true way is to have a comprehensive thyroid panel done with your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor or your doctor isn’t willing to run the full thyroid panel, you can order a testing kit through Life Extension (better yet, join the Life Extension Foundation and save on your test.) Here’s what a comprehensive panel will look like.
Now what do you do? First, let’s look at why your thyroid may not be working properly.
Causes for hypothyroidism:
- Chronic stress-there is a direct correlation between your adrenals and chronic stress and you can read more about that here.
- Heavy metal toxicity – if you have amalgam fillings, get flu shots, or eat a lot of large fish, you could have a heavy metal burden from mercury. Mercury is a neurotoxin and can affect your thyroid function.
- Fluoridated water – yes, that good ‘ol industrial waste in you drinking water, is wreaking havoc with your thyroid. Remember fluoride is also used as an agricultural pesticide, so if you don’t eat organically raised foods, you’re getting a double dose.
- Nutrient deficiencies – these include, but aren’t limited to vitamin D, iodine, zinc, omega-3 fats and B-vitamins.
- Environmental toxins like pesticides, BPA, phthalates, etc. – these are endocrine disruptors. From The Endocrine Society’s report on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals, an endocrine disruptor is:
An endocrine-disrupting compound was defined by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “an
exogenous agent that interferes with synthesis, secretion,
transport, metabolism, binding action, or elimination of
natural blood-borne hormones that are present in the
body and are responsible for homeostasis, reproduction,
and developmental process.”
6. Chronic inflammation-this can be caused by too many processed and sugary foods, a food allergy or intolerance (like gluten), GMOs, soy, etc. Soy is a known endocrine disruptor, but eating raw broccoli, kale & brussels sprouts can also interfere with thyroid function. If you’re putting things in your body that put you in a constant state of inflammation your thyroid will pay the price! A simple elimination diet may help.
7. Bromine toxicity – Our foods, plastics, fire retardants are full of endocrine disrupting bromines. As you’ll see in this article from PreventDisease.com, “If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body will not hold on to the iodine that it needs. And iodine affects every tissue in your body – not just your thyroid.”
The good news now is there are natural things you can do and take to support your thyroid. But for best results, get the proper thyroid testing done first! Dr. Mark Hyman recommends TSH, free T3, free T4, TPO, and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies.
Natural treatments for hypothyroidism:
- First, get to the cause! Get the proper testing or at least review the checklist and online test above. Is it heavy metal toxicity, a food allergy or stress?
- Eat healthy, organically raised meats, fruits and veggies and avoid GMOs and processed foods.
- Exercise – it stimulates thyroid hormones. Sweat helps you to detoxify, too.
- Get your vitamin-D levels checked. If your doctor won’t do it, you can order a test online.
- Work to remove toxins from your body. Don’t try to do this all at once! Get rid of toxins before you lose weight or the toxins will interfere with your weight loss. In addition to exercise, a sauna can help you remove toxins.
- Drink pure water without fluoride.
- Take supplements that support your thyroid.
- Minimize your stress. Not so easy I know, but figure out what you can do to make things better. ASK FOR HELP if you need to! Your health is your most irreplaceable asset.
So maybe some of the things you’re suffering from aren’t in your head, and taking a drug that simply addresses the symptoms may not be the answer. Why take a statin drug or an antidepressant when the solution may be getting your thyroid to work properly?
If you’ve been dealing with thyroid issues, how are you making them better – or are you? Let us know!