Hypothyroid and Hashimotos

The thyroid is gland on the front part of the throat.  The thyroid produces two hormones T3 and T4.  Thyroid hormones are involved in almost every body function. It turns on the factories in your cells that produce energy and the protein building blocks that make all of the different parts of our body.  The thyroid produces 93% of T4 and 7% of T3.  T4 then has to be converted to T3 to be used by the body.  T3 is the most active of the two thyroid hormones.  T3 is circulated in the blood stream bound to a protein molecule (total T3).  When it reaches the area of the body in of thyroid hormones, it he has to be released from its protein and becomes free T3. Here are the main symptoms:

Hypothyroid

Tired/sluggish

Feel cold―hands, feet, all over

Require excessive amounts of sleep to function properly

Increase in weight even with low-calorie diet

Gain weight easily

Difficult, infrequent bowel movements

Depression/lack of motivation

Morning headaches that wear off as the day progresses

Outer third of eyebrow thins

Thinning of hair on scalp, face, or genitals, or excessive

hair loss

Dryness of skin and/or scalp

Mental sluggishness

Hyperthyroid

Heart palpitations

Inward trembling

Increased pulse even at rest

Nervous and emotional

Insomnia

Night sweats

Difficulty gaining weight

One of the most common thyroid problems is when the thyroid stops working right and doesn’t make as much T4 as it should.  The most common cause of this is Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is a type of autoimmune reaction. Autoimmune reactions occur, because the body becomes confused and attacks itself. The most common culprit in thyroid is Gluten (wheat). The body has an immune reaction against gluten and attacks the gluten. And then the body becomes confused and attacks the thyroid, because of the molecular similarity of the receptors on the thyroid and gluten.  There are other triggers that can cause an attack against the thyroid as well. This is why in many cases we have to work on calming down the immune system and autoimmune reactions as well supporting the thyroid.

The other main problem with thyroid hormone dysfunction is poor conversion of T4 to T3.  Poor conversion of T4 to T3 is caused by elevated stress hormones, inflammation and dysbiosis (abnormal microbes in the gut). To improve the T4 to T3 conversion we will need to work on the balancing your cortisol, controlling inflammation, correcting any dysbiosis. Another problem is elevated binding proteins.  Binding proteins carry the thyroid hormones in the blood. When there are too many binding proteins, the thyroid hormones aren’t released efficiently and the hormones don’t get transported into the cell.  This can be caused elevated estrogen (either from the body or a drug or xenobiotic).  Occasionally, there are too few binding proteins and the thyroid receptor sites on the cells become over saturated (thyroid resistance) and stop responding and the hormones can’t get into the cells. 

The other cause of thyroid hormone problems is when there is a deficiency of the neurotransmitters serotonin or dopamine.  When this happens the pituitary can’t release TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which tells the thyroid to release T4.  Elevated stress hormones and inflammation can cause this as well.

Most doctors only look at TSH. If TSH is high, that means that the thyroid isn’t producing T4 or thyroid hormones and they prescribe thyroid hormone. This may be necessary.  But as you can see above, there are many more factors to look at to really understand why you are having thyroid hormone dysfunction. I run a comprehensive thyroid panel to get the complete picture.

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