by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Last week we discussed fatigue and it’s tie into thyroid function and all underlying factors tied into this.
If you did not catch that article, you can read it here.
Today we are going to discuss the thyroid even deeper, getting in the most common diagnosis for thyroid disorders and more importantly, I am going to share with you the most common thyroid disorder that nobody is talking about.
Before we get into what thyroid challenges look like, let’s discuss healthy thyroid function. Last week we addressed all the surrounding factors with thyroid function such as adrenals, liver, gut and more, so this week we’ll focus on the thyroid itself.
When your thyroid is functioning properly the brain (hypothalamus specifically) is communicating with the pituitary and the pituitary produces TSH which is thyroid stimulating hormone, to tell the thyroid that it needs more thyroid hormone produced. If all is working properly, the more TSH is produced, the more thyroid hormone is produced.
With the stimulation of the TSH, your thyroid will produce about 93% T4 and 7% T3, both of which are thyroid hormones. Also note that the T4 will also create a feedback loop to the brain for further communication.
Your T4 is converted into T3 in your pituitary, liver, gastrointestinal tract and other cells of the body. This is very important because these active and free forms of T3 are essential for you health, such as metabolism, energy and so much more.
The T4 that is converted has particular functions also.
About 60% of the converted T4 into T3 is the engine that is driving many functions in our body. Obviously if you are generally fatigued, you can see that your engine is running on empty.
About 20% of the T4 is converted into Reverse T3, which acts as the brake for our body. When you are dealing with illness or any healing crisis, your body will typically create more Reverse T3 to slow you down.
The problem is that your body is trying to slow you down to balance and heal, yet most of us simply suck it up and push through this.
As you can imagine, this is typically not a good idea.
Also about 20% of the T4 is converted into T3 in your gastrointestinal system or as you may refer to as your gut. This additional T3 can be used by other cells in your body, yet plays a big role in keeping your gut lining happy and healthy. You’ve likely heard me talk about Leaky Gut in the past, which is common with low thyroid function due to the lack of T3.
With all this said, let’s get further into the thyroid itself and recognize the different challenges that can occur.
Typically, you are going to be assessed as either having normal thyroid function, hyperthyroid function or more commonly, hypothyroid function.
Normal thyroid function occurs when your T4 and your TSH are balanced and you have proper conversion of T4 into T3 in your body.
Hyperthyroid function occurs when TSH is low and T4 is elevated. Hyperthyroid conditions should be watched closely because if a hyperthyroid condition is not address properly, you could drop into what is referred to as a thyroid storm.
Symptoms of a thyroid storm are:
- Racing heart rate (tachycardia) that exceeds 140 beats per minute, and atrial fibrillation
- High fever
- Persistent sweating
While a thyroid storm is not common, you do not want to take any chances here because this can actually be fatal.
A hypothyroid condition occurs when your TSH is high and your T4 is low and/or you may have poor conversion of T4 into T3 due to liver, gut or pituitary challenges.
When you are living in a hypothyroid condition, you will often experience symptoms as listed below.
- Cold sensitivity
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Brittle nails
- Enlarged thyroid
- High cholesterol
- Sexual dysfunction
- Slow heart rate
- Irregular uterine bleeding
- And more…
Now we get to the missing link for most people with thyroid conditions.
This condition is almost never discussed, diagnosed or addressed properly for most. This is the pituitary or brain pattern of a hypothyroid condition. This brain pattern occurs when both the TSH and the TT4, also known as Total T4 are both low. Typically the TSH would be below 1.8 and the TT4 would be below 6.0.
If you have the brain pattern, simply taking thyroid hormone is not the answer. Addressing brain health would be a major key factor for this condition that simply cannot be ignored.
Yet it is most often ignored…
These brain challenges could be tied into:
- Lack of simple brain support
- Blood sugar issues
- Poor circulation
- Neurotransmitter imbalance
- And more…
Knowing what the underlying brain issue would be is obviously very important.
If you are wondering if your brain health is creating a challenge for your thyroid I have attached a link to an assessment that will shed some light on your brain health. When you click on the link below go to the Neurotransmitter Assessment.
Once you have completed the assessment, pay attention to areas that you have noted more “2’s” and “3’s” as these are areas that would be a challenge for you. This can be leading to thyroid challenges as well as many other chronic issues.
If you would like to understand the results of your neurotransmitter assessment contact the Depke Wellness Center and our holistic thyroid specialist, Lynda Buitrago. She offers a complimentary 20 minute phone or in office consultation to provide some answers and direction for you. There is a refundable deposit for this session to hold your appointment time.
Lynda understands thyroid function at the deepest level and can assist you in understanding the core challenges that are leaving you frustrated, or even hopeless with your current thyroid care.
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