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Hormones: Understanding an Underactive Thyroid

Hormones are the chemical messengers in our bodies, orchestrating a wide array of functions from metabolism to mood regulation. However, when one of these hormonal regulators, the thyroid gland, isn’t functioning optimally, it can send ripples through our entire system. In such cases, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) emerges as a vital solution, offering individuals a chance to regain balance and vitality in their lives.

The endocrine system is indeed our body’s chemical messenger system, maintaining overall homeostasis. The Endocrine secretes hormones directly into the bloodstream, communicating between different cells, tissues, and organs.

Here are the primary components of the endocrine system:

  1. Pituitary Gland (Hypophysis): Often referred to as the “master gland,” the pituitary gland is a pea-sized structure situated at the base of the brain. It secretes various hormones that regulate other endocrine glands, including growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, and oxytocin.
  2. Pineal Gland: Located in the brain, the pineal gland produces melatonin, which regulates sleep-wake cycles (circadian rhythms) and has other roles in the body.
  3. Thyroid Gland: Located in the neck, the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3), which regulate metabolism, growth, and development.
  4. Thymus Gland: The thymus gland is intricately linked with white blood cells, particularly a specific type known as T lymphocytes or T cells. T cells undergo maturation and education. T cells originate from precursor cells in the bone marrow.
  5. Adrenal Glands: Situated on top of the kidneys, the adrenal glands produce several hormones, including cortisol (which helps regulate metabolism and stress response), aldosterone (which regulates blood pressure and electrolyte balance), adrenaline (epinephrine), and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) (which are involved in the fight-or-flight response).
  6. Pancreas: Although primarily known for its role in digestion, the pancreas also functions as an endocrine gland. It secretes insulin (which lowers blood sugar levels) and glucagon (which raises blood sugar levels.)
  7. Reproductive Glands: In males, the testes produce testosterone, the primary male sex hormone. In females, the ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, the primary female sex hormones.

Understanding the Thyroid:

Before we dive into the complexities of hormone imbalances, let’s get acquainted with the thyroid gland. Situated at the base of the neck, this butterfly-shaped gland produces hormones—thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)—that play pivotal roles in regulating metabolism, energy production, body temperature, and even heart rate. When the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient hormones, a condition known as hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid ensues.

Hormonal Harmony:

Our bodies operate like finely tuned machines, with hormones acting as the conductors of this symphony. When thyroid hormone levels are off-kilter, it can disrupt the delicate balance of other hormones. For instance, thyroid hormones interact with insulin, impacting glucose metabolism and potentially contributing to insulin resistance in hypothyroid individuals. Moreover, disruptions in thyroid function can influence reproductive hormones, potentially leading to irregular menstrual cycles, fertility issues, or even pregnancy complications.

Metabolic Maze:

Metabolism, the process by which our bodies convert food into energy, is heavily influenced by thyroid hormones. Individuals with an underactive thyroid often experience a sluggish metabolism, manifesting as weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty losing weight despite efforts to eat healthily and exercise regularly. Moreover, hypothyroidism can alter lipid profiles, raising cholesterol levels and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease—a sobering reminder of the far-reaching effects of hormonal imbalances.

Mood Matters:

Beyond its metabolic implications, an underactive thyroid can cast a shadow over mental well-being. Thyroid hormones exert a significant influence on neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood and emotions. Consequently, individuals with hypothyroidism may experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, brain fog, and cognitive decline, underscoring the importance of addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of thyroid dysfunction.

Navigating Treatment Options:

Fortunately, a diagnosis of hypothyroidism doesn’t signify a life sentence of discomfort and distress. With appropriate medical intervention and lifestyle modifications, individuals can effectively manage their condition and reclaim their vitality. Treatment typically involves hormone replacement therapy, wherein synthetic or natural thyroid hormones are prescribed to restore hormone levels to normal. Additionally, adopting a nutrient-dense diet, managing stress levels, prioritizing sleep, and incorporating regular exercise can support overall thyroid health.

Empowered Living:

Living with an underactive thyroid may present its fair share of challenges, but it doesn’t define who you are. By cultivating awareness, seeking support from a healthcare practitioner at Serenity Health Care. Embracing proactive self-care practices, you can embark on a journey of empowered living, reclaiming agency over your health and well-being. You’re not alone on this path—there’s a wealth of resources ready to support you every step of the way.

Conclusion:

Hormones wield remarkable influence over our bodies and minds, shaping our experiences and perceptions in profound ways. When the thyroid gland falters, it underscores the intricate interplay between hormones and health. By fostering understanding, resilience, and empowerment, we can navigate the complexities of hormonal imbalances with grace and grit.

Ready to prioritize your thyroid health? Contact Serenity Health Care Center today to schedule your appointment. Dial 262-522-8640 to schedule your appointment now!

Understanding Weight Gain in Thyroid Disorders

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Thyroid disorders are conditions that affect the thyroid gland, a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate various functions in the body, including metabolism, heart rate, temperature, and mood.

There are several types of thyroid disorders, including:

  1. Hypothyroidism: This occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, dry skin, and constipation.
  2. Hyperthyroidism: This occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness, and difficulty sleeping.
  3. Thyroid nodules: These are lumps that form within the thyroid gland. Most thyroid nodules are benign, but some can be cancerous.
  4. Thyroiditis: This is inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can cause temporary hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism.
  5. Thyroid cancer: This is relatively rare but can occur in the thyroid gland. It often presents as a lump in the neck.

Weight gain can be a symptom of hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating metabolism, the process by which the body converts food into energy. When thyroid hormone levels are low, metabolism slows down, leading to a decrease in the body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.

Several factors contribute to weight gain in hypothyroidism:

  1. Slowed metabolism: Thyroid hormones help regulate metabolism, so when levels are low, metabolism slows down. This means the body burns fewer calories at rest and during physical activity, making it easier to gain weight.
  2. Water retention: Hypothyroidism can cause fluid retention, leading to temporary weight gain due to increased water weight.
  3. Changes in appetite: Some individuals with hypothyroidism may experience changes in appetite, such as increased hunger or cravings for high-calorie foods, which can contribute to weight gain.
  4. Fatigue and reduced physical activity: Hypothyroidism often causes fatigue and lethargy, which can make it challenging to engage in regular physical activity, leading to weight gain.
  5. Changes in body composition: Thyroid hormone imbalances can affect the distribution of fat in the body, leading to changes in body composition and potentially contributing to weight gain, especially around the abdomen.

Treatment for thyroid disorders depends on the specific condition but may include medications to regulate hormone levels, radioactive iodine therapy to destroy thyroid cells, surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland, or hormone replacement therapy.

Here are some essential vitamins and minerals we recommend:

Iodine: Iodine is a crucial component of thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate metabolism, growth, and development. Adequate iodine intake is essential for thyroid hormone synthesis. However, excessive iodine intake can also be harmful, so it’s important to consume iodine in appropriate amounts. Good dietary sources include iodized salt, seafood, seaweed, and dairy products.

Selenium: Selenium is a trace mineral that is important for thyroid health and function. It is involved in the conversion of T4 to the more active T3 hormone and helps protect the thyroid gland from oxidative damage. Good dietary sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, fish, shellfish, meat, eggs, and sunflower seeds.

Zinc: Zinc is another trace mineral that plays a role in thyroid hormone production and regulation. It is involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones and helps support immune function. Good dietary sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.

Iron: Iron deficiency can impair thyroid function and lead to hypothyroidism. Iron is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones and the conversion of T4 to T3. Good dietary sources of iron include red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, and dark leafy greens.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Adequate vitamin D levels may help support immune function and reduce inflammation in the thyroid gland. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to thyroid disorders and may contribute to symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. Vitamin B12 is important for the production of red blood cells and the maintenance of nerve function. Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fortified cereals.

Magnesium: Magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including energy production, muscle function, and protein synthesis. It also supports bone health, heart health, and nervous system function. Dietary sources include nuts, seeds, whole grains, leafy greens, and legumes.

It’s important to note that not everyone with hypothyroidism will experience weight gain, and weight gain alone is not necessarily indicative of a thyroid disorder. Additionally, weight gain can occur for various reasons unrelated to thyroid function, such as diet, lifestyle factors, medications, and underlying health conditions.

If you suspect you have a thyroid disorder or are experiencing unexplained weight changes, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis. With appropriate treatment and management, including medication to replace thyroid hormone, dietary changes, and regular exercise, individuals with hypothyroidism can often achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Hyperthyroidism vs. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

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Thyroid disorders are complex and multifaceted conditions that can have a significant impact on an individual’s health and well-being. Among the various thyroid disorders, hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are two distinct conditions with unique characteristics, causes, and treatment approaches. In this blog, we unravel the differences between hyperthyroidism vs. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, shedding light on these commonly confused conditions.

Hyperthyroidism: The Overactive Thyroid

Hyperthyroidism is a condition characterized by excessive production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. This results in an overactive thyroid gland, leading to a range of symptoms related to increased metabolism and thyroid hormone levels. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
  • Tremors and muscle weakness
  • Heat intolerance and excessive sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Bulging eyes (in Graves’ disease, a common cause of hyperthyroidism)

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: The Autoimmune Thyroid Disorder

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland. In Hashimoto’s, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, leading to gradual destruction and decreased production of thyroid hormones. As a result, individuals with Hashimoto’s typically develop hypothyroidism, a condition marked by an underactive thyroid gland. Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Weight gain
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness and joint pain
  • Depression and memory problems

Distinguishing Between Hyperthyroidism vs. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

While hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may share some overlapping symptoms, such as fatigue and weight changes, there are key differences that can help differentiate between the two conditions:

  • Thyroid Function: In hyperthyroidism, thyroid function tests typically reveal elevated levels of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and low levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid function tests typically reveal low levels of thyroid hormones and elevated levels of TSH.
  • Autoimmune Markers: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is characterized by the presence of autoimmune markers such as thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO antibodies) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TG antibodies), which are often elevated in blood tests. These markers are not typically present in hyperthyroidism.
  • Physical Examination Findings: Physical examination findings, such as a visibly enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) and bulging eyes (exophthalmos), may be present in hyperthyroidism but are less common in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Treatment Approaches

  1. Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy: Thyroid hormone replacement medication, such as levothyroxine, is the cornerstone of treatment for hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s. By restoring hormone levels to normal, medication can alleviate symptoms and support overall well-being.
  2. Nutritional Support: Adopting a nutrient-dense diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help support thyroid health and reduce inflammation. Foods high in iodine, selenium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for individuals with Hashimoto’s.
  3. Stress Management: Chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of Hashimoto’s and disrupt thyroid function. Incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help promote relaxation and improve resilience.
  4. Regular Monitoring: Routine monitoring of thyroid function through blood tests is essential for assessing hormone levels and adjusting medication dosage as needed. Additionally, monitoring antibody levels can provide insight into the progression of the autoimmune component of Hashimoto’s.
  5. Holistic Approaches: Integrating complementary therapies such as acupuncture, herbal supplements, and mind-body practices into a comprehensive treatment plan can help support overall health and well-being for individuals with Hashimoto’s.

Empowering Individuals Through Education and Support

Education is a powerful tool in the journey to managing Thyroid health. By understanding the underlying mechanisms of your condition and implementing strategies for wellness, individuals can take control of their health and improve their quality of life. Additionally, seeking support from healthcare practitioners, support groups, and online communities can provide valuable guidance, encouragement, and camaraderie along the way.

In Conclusion

While hyperthyroidism vs. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are both thyroid disorders, they represent distinct conditions with unique characteristics and treatment approaches. Understanding the differences between these conditions is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. If you suspect you may have a thyroid disorder, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations. With proper management, individuals with hyperthyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can achieve optimal thyroid health and improve their quality of life.

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a condition which occurs because of our busy American lifestyle. With all of the demands placed on us today it is a commonly seen condition.   

More than 70% of people surveyed feel that their lives have been affected by the recession and feel more stress.   

Many of you are all ready seeing changes in your patients and practices. Times are very different.

Adrenal fatigue is defined as a deficiency in the functioning of the adrenal glands. People who suffer from adrenal fatigue do not suffer from full-blown disease. The extreme variations of adrenal disease are Addison’s and Cushing’s disease.  Addison’s disease is the rarest from of Hypoadrenia. 

It occurs in 4 out of every 100,000 people. It is also responsible for 70% caused by autoimmune disease.

Adrenal Fatigue is a collection of broad signs and symptoms, known as a “syndrome” that results when the Adrenal glands function below the necessary level.

Over the past century this disorder has been known as:

  • Non-Addison
  • Hypoadrenia
  • Sub-clinical Hypoadrenia
  • Neurasthenia
  • Adrenal neurasthenia
  • Adrenal apathy

Who Suffers From Adrenal Fatigue?

Anyone!

An illness, a life crisis, or a continuing difficult situation can drain the Adrenal resources.

Lifestyles can make one more prone to Adrenal issues such as:

  • Poor diet, substance abuse, too little sleep and rest, or too many pressures all result in the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue.

Life Events

  • Death, Marriage, Birth of a child

Lifestyle leading to Adrenal

  • Executive working 60-70 hours a week, juggling family life, kids, a home, and financial stress
  • This situation goes on for several years.
  • Finally symptoms start to present but the person keeps going.

What are the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?

  • Fatigue
  • Weight Gain
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Low Pulse
  • Depression
  • Light Headed/Dizziness
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hair Loss
  • Decreased Sex Drive
  • Decreased Immune Function
  • Allergies
  • Arthralgia/Myalgia

Do these symptoms sound familiar?  It is estimated that 50% of the people diagnosed with hypothyroidism also suffer from adrenal fatigue.

Common Diseases

Many associated diseases can occur with chronic stress or adrenal fatigue.  These diseases can occur in a variety of mild to severe symptoms.

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Allergies
  • Arthritic Pain
  • Decreased Immune Function
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Syndrome X

The Stress Response

The stress response cycle is very complex. There are four different zones of the cortex each secreting different hormones such as; cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, aldosterone, and progesterone. The cortex produces over 50 hormones all working as bridges to form other adrenal hormones.   

These changes affect: Carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, insulin and blood sugar control, fluid and electrolyte balance, cardiovascular system and Sex drive.  

Testing for Adrenal Fatigue

A simple saliva test can be conducted at home to diagnose adrenal fatigue.  Blood or saliva testing can used to evaluate hormones to determine if adrenal fatigue is a concern. The most common hormones tested are testosterone, DHEA in saliva or DHEA-S in blood. Cortisol should always be tested using saliva. Typically a diurnal cortisol is evaluated but you can order one or two if you prefer. 

If you chose to order one or two you will usually order a morning or evening cortisol or both.

The regulation of cortisol is done by the HPA Axis.  The hypothalamus mediates between external and internal states to keep the body balanced. Cortisol is a chief agents used by the hypothalamus to balance body chemistry.  Any factors listed above can act as stressors and interrupt normal requirements for cortisol.

Cortisol is a chief agent used by the hypothalamus to balance body chemistry.  Any factors listed above can act as stressors and interrupt normal requirements for cortisol.

Cortisol protects the body by normalizing blood sugar levels. A drop in blood sugar triggers adrenals to make more cortisol. Cortisol increases blood sugar by converting fats and proteins to energy. Cortisol also has Anti-Inflammatory properties when secreted in normal levels.

Cortisol levels affect White Blood Cells, it specifically produces lymphocytes. Cortisol regulates blood pressure and central nervous system function by affecting; behavior, mood, excitability and all other neurons in the brain.

Stress hormones and neurotransmitters provide a quick burst of energy. 

They speed up the necessary body systems by increasing heart rate and breathing.  It can also shut down the unnecessary body systems such as the reproductive system and immune system.

Cortisol receptors exist on almost every cell in the body and have an important role in brain function. If serotonin is depleted it can result in fatigue and depression. Moderate and transient amounts of cortisol increase the release of dopamine. While high and chronic levels of cortisol decrease the production and release of dopamine.

  • The immune system can be directly affected by the adrenal function. 
  • Allergies involve the release of histamine a pro-inflammatory.
  • Cortisol is a strong anti-inflammatory. 
  • It is the histamine & Cortisol reaction that produces the symptoms experienced with allergies. 
  • Food allergies are common during adrenal fatigue. 
  • The most common foods are corn, wheat, eggs, and dairy. 
  • The symptoms can vary and be temporary if the adrenal glands can be restored.

How Common is Adrenal Fatigue

According to “The Adrenal Fatigue Organization” it is estimated that 80% of North Americans suffer from Adrenal Fatigue at some point in their lives!

Treating Adrenal Fatigue

Once Adrenal fatigue is diagnosed an Essence of Health and Vitality adrenal program can be initiated.  An adrenal program contains life style changes and nutritional support which will help balance the body.  It will restore the body’s ability to balance and correctly utilize sugar, support in digestion, and rebuild the adrenal glands to properly handle stress and return you back to normal.  In some cases it is necessary for hormones to be replaced for short period of times until the body can repair and produce them on their own.

Unfortunately, restoring the adrenals is not a quick fix.  You can expect a patient to be on this program for six to twelve months at minimum.  If patients have been ill for several years they can expect one to three years before they are healed.  Patients can expect to have periods of time that they feel good and then crash.  It is important to provide patients with education and support during this time.

If this type of approach interests you but you feel that you need more training on adrenal dysfunction  sign up for my free teleconference on Adrenal disease or attend my seminar “Unraveling the Mystery of   Adrenal Fatigue. ”

Testing for Adrenal Fatigue

A simple saliva test can be conducted at home to diagnose adrenal fatigue.  Blood or saliva testing can used to evaluate hormones to determine if adrenal fatigue is a concern.  The most common hormones tested are testosterone, DHEA in saliva or DHEA-S in blood.  Cortisol should always be tested using saliva.  Typically a diurnal cortisol is evaluated but you can order one or two if you prefer.  If you chose to order one or two you will usually order a morning or evening cortisol or both.

The regulation of cortisol is done by the HPA Axis.  The hypothalamus mediates between external and internal states to keep the body balanced.  Cortisol is a chief agents used by the hypothalamus to balance body chemistry.  Any factors listed above can act as stressors and interrupt normal requirements for cortisol.


Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can cause a variety of symptoms

  • Have you approached your doctor, complained of fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, high cholesterol, depression, hair loss, dry skin, hair and nails, menstrual abnormalities and a loss of libido?
  • Have you tried to tell your doctor that you think you have a thyroid imbalance?
  • Have you had a blood test only to be told that your results were within the “normal range”?

At Serenity Health Care Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin, we use a multi-tiered approach to treating hypothyroidism. We will perform a blood test to measure all the thyroid hormones as well as thyroid antibodies to determine if you have an autoimmune condition.

We look at total cholesterol and LDL levels because these are often elevated in patients with hypothyroidism. However, our primary criteria for diagnosis and evaluating the effects of hypothyroidism treatment are how the patient feels.

Your history combined with our medical examination and tests determine if thyroid supplementation may be of benefit to you. If this is the case, then we will recommend desiccated thyroid, known as Armour thyroid, a well-established, safe and effective thyroid medication, rather than synthetic thyroid drugs that contain only T4, the inactive form of the thyroid hormone.

If you experience clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism, we may recommend a therapeutic trial of desiccated thyroid, unless you have a health condition that prevents the use of this medication. We will monitor you and incrementally adjust your dose, checking your thyroid lab values, until your hypothyroid symptoms are resolved.

For additional information on hypothyroidism and low thyroid, click here.

Get tested to help determine if you may need treatment for hypothyroidism.

Speak with our patient care expert today

Thyroid Tests

Thyroid Testing

Have you been treated with Thyroid hormone for more than six months, but still have symptoms of thyroid imbalance?

This is a common problem among people with hypothyroidism. At Serenity Health Care Center, we have found that many patients feel better when they use Armour Thyroid instead of the synthetic thyroid hormones such as Levothyroxine or Levothyroid.

It is true for a while Armour was not available in the United States, but that has changed, and it is available through the pharmacy. Another option to Armour is Compounded Thyroid that can be formulated specifically for each patient. This option allows the practitioner to change the dosage of T4 and T3 based on exactly what the patient needs.

In order for the practitioner to know exactly what hormones to replace, blood testing is necessary. The thyroid tests you want to request are TSH, FT4, FT3, and Thyroid Antibodies. More recently, it has become popular to order Reverse T3 as well. These thyroid tests can be ordered from a local lab and taken to an Integrative Medical Practitioner for evaluation. An Integrative doctor will look at these tests differently than your general practitioner. Conventionally, practitioners were trained to only look at FT4 and TSH this does not always show the entire picture. It is also important that your doctor is up to date with the normal ranges for thyroid tests. If your thyroid tests are being evaluated based on old data, then you can wait many years for treatment to begin.

TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is a test used by all conventionally trained practitioners to determine if the thyroid is functioning properly. This test has been utilized since 1973. This test actually measures a hormone from the pituitary gland, not the thyroid. A feedback loop within the body is what determines how much hormone to produce in response to the level of hormone circulating in the bloodstream.

FT4 is a measurement to determine the level of thyroid in the blood stream. FT3 is the hormone used to determine how much hormone is available on a cellular level. Often times the FT3 can be low, and you can have all the symptoms of disease, but the other hormones can be normal. Functional medicine doctors will treat patients who have a low FT3 even if all the other hormones are normal.

Symptoms of Hypothyroid (Low Thyroid)

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Dry, rough pale skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido

If you have any of the symptoms below and are receiving treatment for thyroid disease, you may benefit from choosing a different type of treatment. If you are not being treated and have these symptoms, we recommend that you have your blood evaluated for thyroid disease.

Thyroid Symptoms

These are general symptoms that are seen in people with an underactive thyroid also known as hypothyroidism:

  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Loss or thinning of the eyebrows
  • Cold intolerance
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Dry or thinning hair
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Thin, brittle fingernails

Thyroid Tests

Have you been treated with Thyroid hormone for more than six months but still have symptoms of thyroid imbalance?

This is a common problem amongst people with hypothyroidism.  At Serenity Health Care Center we have found that many patients feel better when they use Armour Thyroid instead of the synthetic thyroid hormones such as Levothyroxine or Levothyroid.

It is true for a while Armour was not available in the United States but that has changed and it is available through the pharmacy.  Another option to Armour is Compounded Thyroid that can be formulated specifically for each patient. 

This option allows the practitioner to change the dosage of T4 and T3 based on exactly what the patient needs.

In order for the practitioner to know exactly what hormones to replace blood testing is necessary. The thyroid tests you want to request are TSH, FT4, FT3, and Thyroid Antibodies.  More recently it has become popular to order Reverse T3 as well.  These thyroid tests can be ordered from a local lab and taken to an Integrative Medical Practitioner for evaluation. 

An Integrative doctor will look at these tests differently than your general practitioner.  Conventionally, practitioners were trained to only look at FT4 and TSH this does not always show the entire picture.  It is also important that your doctor is up to date with the normal ranges for thyroid tests.  If your thyroid tests are being evaluated based on old data then you can wait many years for treatment to begin.

TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is a test used by all conventionally trained practitioners to determine if the thyroid is functioning properly.  This test has been utilized since 1973.  This test actually measures a hormone from the pituitary gland, not the thyroid.  A feedback loop within the body is what determines how much hormone to produce in response to the level of hormone circulating in the bloodstream.

FT4 is a measurement to determine the level of thyroid in the blood stream.  FT3 is the hormone used to determine how much hormone is available on a cellular level. Often times the FT3 can be low and you can have all the symptoms of disease but the other hormones can be normal. 

Functional medicine doctors will treat patients who have a low FT3 even if all the other hormones are normal.

If you have any of the symptoms below and are receiving treatment for thyroid disease you may benefit from choosing a different type of treatment.  If you are not being treated and have these symptoms, we recommend that you have your blood evaluated for thyroid disease.

Symptoms of Hypothyroid (Low Thyroid) may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Dry, rough pale skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido
If this sounds like you call today to make an appointment for thyroid tests with one of our thyroid specialists today 262-522-8640.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Are you suffering from Hypothyroid?

Are you suffering from thyroid dysfunction and receive treatment, but still not feel balanced? Are you concern of dry hair and nails, fatigue, weight gain, cognitive dysfunction, and more symptoms that are not treated?

My practice includes many patients who suffer from thyroid dysfunction who are not properly managed.  Before coming to me, they were prescribed replacement with synthetic T4 or Synthroid, a common hormone replacement protocol taught to conventional medical practitioners.

For more than 100 years, it has been known that supplementation with a combined T4/T3 product, marketed as Armour, is the better treatment.

I believe supplementing with combined thyroid products and mineral supplements, find their patients obtain balance and relief of symptoms more quickly.

Thyroid disease affects 52 million Americans. Approximately 10% of the population is not diagnosed with thyroid disease, but suffer from clinical symptoms. This scenario is described as clinical or subclinical thyroid dysfunction.

You need to learn about balancing thyroid disease. This can significantly grow your practice and allow you to become a thyroid expert in your area.

Protocols such as these and many others can grow your practice. If you are interested in providing quality nutritional supplements to your patients, learning quality protocols is essential.

CLICK HERE to read more about thyroid issues

Thyroid Dysfunction

Thyroid hormone helps the body convert food into energy, regulates metabolism, and body temperature.  It also assists in proper function of the brain, memory and mood.  Thyroid imbalances can create a wide variety of problems.

Studies show that currently 52 million Americans are affected by Thyroid dysfunction.  Approximately 10% of the population is not diagnosed with Thyroid dysfunction and suffer from clinical symptoms.  This scenario is described as clinical or subclinical thyroid dysfunction.

There are multiple reasons which cause the thyroid to become imbalanced resulting in a reduction in thyroid hormones such as; chemical exposures, autoimmune dysfunction, age, medication, and nutritional deficiencies.

TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is a test used by all conventionally trained practitioners to determine if thyroid is functioning properly.  This test has been utilized since 1973.  This test actually measures a hormone from the pituitary gland, not the thyroid.  A feedback loop within the body is what determines how much hormone to produce in response to the level of hormone circulating in the bloodstream.

The normal range for TSH has been lowered several times over the years.  Currently, the AACE, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist recommend a TSH level of 0.3-2.0.  Many patients are still not being treated based on these guidelines. Most are being treated based on the old guidelines using a TSH level up to 4.5 or 5.0 as the cut off.  This leaves many people untreated and symptomatic.

If a person suffers from an autoimmune thyroid disease the TSH level can be within the normal range.  The antibodies attack the thyroid causing symptoms of underactive or hypothyroid.  It is estimated that 1out of 5 American’s suffer from thyroid disease.

The human thyroid produces T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin.  For almost 100 years, practitioners have used porcine thyroid to treat the symptoms of thyroid disease.  The treatment was increased until symptoms were relieved.  Today we still use similar treatment protocols, however, caution is taken not to overdose the patient.

In the 1960’s Dr. Broda Barnes proved that when thyroid function was not adequate, cholesterol levels would raise, but once Thyroid hormone replacement was given these levels fell.

Dr. John C. Lowe has documented a clear relationship between fibromyalgia and thyroid function.  Many fibromyalgia patients benefit from thyroid treatment that includes T3 hormone.  It is important for people to receive a combined product that contains both T4 and T3 especially when the body cannot make the appropriate conversion.

The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine from foods and convert it into thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).  Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine.  There is a combination of iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4, these are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism.  Every cell in the body depends on these hormones for regulation of various metabolisms.

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is a small gland, normally weighing less than an ounce located in the front of the neck.  It is separated into two halves which are known as lobes.  This gland is situated just below the “Adams apple”.

What does the thyroid gland do?

  1. It is responsible for controlling the rate of which energy is converted from food.  It regulates digestion, oxygen consumption, and mobilization from fat storage.
  2. It is involved in every process conducted by the body.  In a healthy balanced body the thyroid gland helps increase the activity of virtually all organs, glands, and cells.
  3. The Thyroid gland assists in regulating body temperature by regulating heat and energy production.
  4. In children, it assists in controlling the body’s rate of growth as well as brain development.  It has a direct affect in determining IQ.
  5. It assists in regulating mood and emotion by balancing brain chemistry.
  6. The thyroid has an important role in immune function.

What are the major effects of thyroid hormone?

Basal metabolism and temperature regulation is controlled by thyroid function.

Carbohydrate and lipid metabolism is affected by thyroid function.

The Nervous system is affected by the various levels of thyroid hormone produced.

Cardiovascular system is balanced with proper thyroid hormone production.  The hearts ability to pump efficiently is affected by the amount of thyroid hormone produced.

The Muscular system is affected by thyroid production.  When the levels are low, muscle weakness and pain is noted.

In the Skeletal system the thyroid assists in maintaining proper growth and maturation of the skeleton.

The Gastrointestinal system is affected by becoming sluggish or over stimulated depending on the amount of hormone being produced.

The Reproductive system is affected by causing irregular ovulation and menstruation based on the amount of hormone produced.

The Integumentary system is balanced with proper hydration based on the amount of hormone produced by the thyroid gland.

Symptoms of Hypothyroid (Low Thyroid) may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Dry, rough pale skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido

Types of Thyroid Replacement

The oldest type of thyroid supplement is desiccated thyroid, commonly known as Armour Thyroid.  This thyroid replacement contains T4 (Thyroxine) which has four iodine atoms per molecule, and Free T3 the (unbound) portion of triiodothyronine which is believed to be responsible for the biological action. Approximately 20% of T3 is produced by the thyroid gland with the remainder produced through conversion of T4 in the body.  In order for this conversion to be effective the body needs trace minerals and iodine.

Various nutritional deficiencies, medications and diseases can interfere with conversion of the T4/T3 process.  The following chart is an example of things that affect this conversion process.

Nutritional Def. Medications Other
Chromium Beta Blockers Aging
Copper Birth Control Pills Alcohol
Iodine Estrogen Lipoic Acid
Iron Iodinated contrast Diabetes
Iron Lithium Fluoride
Selenium Phyenytoin Lead
Zinc Steroids Mercury
Vitamin A Theophylline Pesticides

T4 is a common thyroid supplement which has been used in conventional practices for over 40 years.  Each of these products should be standardized.  The common drug names for these products are Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, and Unithroid.  These products contain Inactive ingredients which include cornstarch, lactose, and dyes which contain Aluminum Lake.

Studies show that replacement with T4 known as levothyroxine may not be effective.  If a person cannot convert T4 to T3 patients treated with Levothyroxine have a tendency to be left with many of the symptoms they had prior to treatment.  People may need a combined T4/T3 for optimal management of symptoms.

Products which contain combined T4/T3 are Armour, Naturthroid, Thyrolar, and Westhroid.  These are glandular products that have been around for over a 100 years.   The inactive ingredients include cornstarch.  People with corn sensitivity may not tolerate these natural thyroid products.

Glandular thyroid replacement is a controversial treatment because it was believed to have inconsistent results in controlling the TSH level.  Armour had a dextrose base making it a good sublingual dosing product until 2009 when it was reformulated to contain a cornstarch base.

Cytomel is the most commonly used T3 supplement.  It is not the best T3 supplement because it has a short half life, 95% of the drug is absorbed within four hours.  Therefore it should be dosed three to four times a day to obtain consistent blood levels.  It contains talc as a base which has been known to cause cancer when used in higher amounts.

The Holistic Approach to diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism

Differs from standard conventional model where we rely only on blood tests.  This approach consists of a complete blood panel which includes TSH, T2, T4, and Thyroid Antibodies.  A complete medical history is taken and patients are asked to obtain a minimum of three to four body temperatures so they can be averaged.  If the temperatures are below normal with symptoms the diagnosis for hypothyroid can be made.  A physical exam looking specifically the signs of hypothyroid disease is conducting along with an evaluation of nutrient deficiencies.

Physical signs of hypothyroidism

  • Lack of Eyebrow growth, known as the “Sign of Hertoghe.”
  • Periorbital edema
  • Diminished sweating
  • Cold skin
  • Thick tongue
  • palpitations
  • Slow speech
  • Headaches
  • Coarse hair
  • Ridges on nails
  • Pale skin
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of hair
  • Swollen feet

Individualized Hypothyroid Treatment

Patients who suffer from autoimmune thyroid feel better on a non-corn derived source.  Patients with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia do better on a non-corn derived source.    Patients who suffer from depression respond better to higher T4 preparations.

Nutritional support is necessary when treating patients with thyroid disease.  The following are the basic nutrients needed.

  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • B-vitamins-non synthetic source
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A-not Beta Carotene
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium –non carbonate unavailable calcium adds to hypothyroid

You now have the basic information to assist your patients in restoring thyroid function from a functional medical approach.  Can you imagine helping half of the 52 million people who are currently not treated properly with thyroid disease?  What would that mean to your practice, your revenue, your reputation?  Functional and Nutritional Protocols can be utilized in those patients who are not properly treated for thyroid disease.

If this type of approach interests you but you feel that you need more information on thyroid dysfunction you can either download my MP3 “How Your Thyroid Works” or sign up for my free teleconference on Thyroid disease or attend my seminar “Staying Ahead of Thyroid Disease. ”

Midwest June 3, 2010