by Glen Depke and Lynda Buitrago
Millions of women and men have symptoms of hypothyroidism, including:
- Being tired all the time
- Weight gain
- Can’t lose weight
- Joint and muscle pain
- Brain fog
- Hair falling out
- Brittle hair
- Feeling cold most of the time
- Low sex drive
- High cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Feeling miserable
Based on conventional testing standards many of these people have thyroid blood test results that look normal.
The conventional medical standard is to test only for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). This is not a good measure of whether thyroid hormone is being absorbed by the cells of the body.
If your TSH level is found to be abnormal, then the standard of treatment is a prescription for Synthroid or Levothyroxine (synthetic forms of T4 thyroid hormone).
This approach very often does NOT work. In fact, it does not work about 70% of the time! Millions of women and men who are treated with Synthroid do not feel any better, or may feel better for a while, but then later end up feeling just as bad as they started.
Addressing the true underlying causes of your symptoms allows you to potentially:
- Resolve these issues without thyroid medications
- Avoid further destruction of your thyroid gland
- Reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
So why isn’t Synthroid or Armour thyroid the answer to your thyroid problems?
To understand the answer, first you need to have some background on how thyroid hormone works in your body.
TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone. TSH is released by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid to make thyroid hormones and 95% of the hormone manufactured in the thyroid is an inactive form, unusable by your body, called T4.
Your body cannot use T4 directly; it has to convert T4 into T3. T3 this is the active form of thyroid hormone that your body’s cells can use to create energy. T4 is converted into T3 mostly by the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.
Many health conditions block the conversion of T4 to T3. These include stress, adrenal dysfunction, insulin resistance, diabetes, liver congestion and dysbiosis which is bacterial imbalance in your GI tract.
This is why many people do better on a natural supplement like Armour thyroid, which contains both T4 and T3. While Armour may be preferred, it often still does not solve the problem and will only give temporary symptom relief at best.
This inability to convert T4 to T3 or inefficiency is getting T3 to cells is why some people have “normal” thyroid test numbers but still have lots of hypothyroid symptoms like fatigue, hair loss, joint pain, brain fog, constipation, depression and low libido, even if their lab results of TSH, T3 and T4 are normal.
In addition, most diagnosed cases of hypothyroidism may be an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Most doctors do not bother testing for thyroid antibodies to detect this condition and most of the doctors who do test for thyroid antibodies do not treat autoimmune thyroiditis any differently from other forms of hypothyroidism. Simply covering up the symptoms when autoimmunity is involved not only continues your suffering of the symptoms above, but it also increases your risk for developing degenerative brain diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.
If you are managing your hypothyroidism by taking thyroid medication but you still suffer from depression, loss of motivation, fatigue or any of the other symptoms discussed in this article, consider getting comprehensive thyroid testing. Working with a functional medicine based practitioner empowers you to improve your thyroid health and brain health while providing you the knowledge to take charge of your total wellness for life.
You may request a full thyroid panel from your doctor, but many medical insurance will not approve the full panel of 11 thyroid markers that we recommend for suspected hypothyroidism.
The eleven essential thyroid markers:
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
- T3 uptake
- Free thyroxine index (T7)
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) antibodies
- Antithyroglobulin antibody
- Thyroxine Stimulating Immunoglobulin (TSI)
- Reverse T3
- Thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG)
To comprehensively test your thyroid, this is the test we recommend via Walk-In-Lab for the clients and followers of Depke Wellness.
Once you have your complete comprehensive thyroid markers tested, your functional medicine practitioner should be able to assist you in getting to the bottom of your thyroid challenges. As mentioned previously, this could be tied into your adrenal function, liver congestion, gastrointestinal disorders and/or autoimmunity. Also note that the underlying triggers for these challenges would include, but not limited to, food sensitivity, inflammation and chronic mental/emotional stress.
If you do not have the availability to connect with a qualified functional medicine practitioner to properly review your thyroid testing and get to the core of your thyroid challenges, feel free to reach out to the Depke Wellness team. We have assisted thousands in getting to the core of these issues and taking control of their health.
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