Thyroid Health

Thyroid Health

thyroid health

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck just underneath your voice box. Its job is to make thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones help your body to make more energy when needed. It is also important in keeping your body warm and making sure every organ and muscle is working great. So, being attentive to your thyroid health is necessary for a healthier life.

Thyroid hormones

Thyroid hormones are produced in the thyroid gland with a combination of iodine and L. tyrosine amino acid. Because iodine is not produced in the body, it’s absorbed from the food we eat. After the iodine gets absorbed into the blood, it is carried up to the thyroid gland. Then, the thyroid cells take that iodine and make thyroid hormones. There are two types of thyroid hormones known as T3 and T4. Both these hormones help in breaking down nutrients and the use of oxygen to produce ATP.

The pituitary gland is the master gland behind thyroid hormone secretion. If the thyroid hormone count of your body falls low, the pituitary gland releases a hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Then, the thyroid starts making more thyroid hormones. After the hormone level is back to normal, the pituitary gland senses it and stops releasing TSH. Then, the thyroid gland haltsthe manufacturing of more thyroid hormones. That way, TSH acts like an on and off switch that controls the thyroid gland.

Naturally, the thyroid gland produces more T4 hormones than T3 hormones. T3 hormones can readily go into cells and control metabolism. T4 has to be converted to T3 in peripheral tissues using an enzyme; this conversion requires Selenium as an essential nutrient. So, the T3 hormone is the biologically active form of the thyroid hormone. It is the fuel for energy production and metabolism in each and every cell of your body.

Thyroid hormone imbalances

Due to various reasons, the manufacturing of thyroid hormones can increase or decrease. Your body will start showing different symptoms when there is an imbalance of thyroid hormones. By paying careful attention to these symptoms, you can get treatment and bring the thyroid hormone level back to normal.

There are two conditions related to thyroid hormone imbalance;

  1. Hyperthyroidism
  2. Hyperthyroidism happens when your thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormones than your body needs. This condition speeds up your metabolism. Usually, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are unnatural weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, feeling nervous or irritable, and being hot even at room temperature.

  3. Hypothyroidism
  4. Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormones. When the thyroid hormone level of your body decreases, it slows down metabolism.

Signs that you have hypothyroidism

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Feeling cold
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle cramps
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Hoarse voice

Thyroid disorders and related symptoms mostly affect women rather than men. But, a lot of men experience these symptoms too. Because these symptoms are vague, hypothyroidism is difficult to diagnose. So, it's ruled out as a side effect of getting older by conventional doctors. But, with proper care and treatment, you can restore your thyroid health to its natural balance.

What causes thyroid disorders?

The optimal balance of thyroid hormones can change due to various reasons. Chronic stress, age, and poor diet are some factors that can interfere with thyroid hormone secretion.

Conditions like autoimmune thyroid diseases too can affect the balance of thyroid hormones. In these conditions, your immune system starts attacking the thyroid, and as a result, the thyroid gets damaged. When the thyroid is damaged, the thyroid gland will not function properly. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one of the most common autoimmune thyroid conditions.

Overall, three main factors cause thyroid disorders.

  • Decreased production of the thyroid hormone T4
  • Insufficient conversion of T4 to T3 (T3 is the most active thyroid hormone)
  • Increased production of reverse T3 (Most T4 thyroid hormonesare converting to an inactive form of T3which cannot be used to produce energy)

Identifying a thyroid disorder

The best way to identify a thyroid disorder is by testing a full thyroid function profile. Testing this full profile helps to get an accurate idea about the thyroid gland and its activities. I personally follow this method.The full thyroid function profile includes testing the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Free T3 and T4, and reverse T3.

TSH test – A TSH test is the best way to get an overall idea about the thyroid. Keeping track of the TSH level can help to identify imbalances before symptoms begin to show. A high level of TSH means that you may have hypothyroidism. A low level of TSH in the blood is a sign of hyperthyroidism. A healthy individual should have a normal level of TSH.

Free T3 and T4 tests – T3 and T4 hormones are usually attached to proteins in the blood circulatory system. But only free, unattached T4 and T3 hormones can enter cells. Free T4 and T3 tests measure the level of free hormones in the blood. A high count of free T3, T4 hormones, and a low TSH level indicates hyperthyroidism. A low free T3 and T4 level with a high TSH level mean that you have hypothyroidism.

Reverse T3 test – This test measures the level of inactive T3 hormones in the blood.

Getting treated for thyroid disorders

Thyroid disorders can be treated by introducing essential vitamins and minerals to improve thyroid hormone production. Apart from nutritional changes, herbal treatments and Natural Desiccated Thyroid are also used to treat thyroid disorders. Natural Desiccated Thyroid or NDT is made from porcine. It helps in improving the balance of T4 and T3 thyroid hormone levels. All these treatment options are available with Dr. Morais.

Final thoughts

Thyroid disorders should not be ignored. With proper treatment, thyroid imbalances can be handled easily. So, if you’re experiencing any symptoms, testing a full profile of thyroid functions is the best way to start identifying what is causing the imbalance in your thyroid hormone production.

It’s time to start caring about your thyroid health. So, book your appointment today.

Come in for a 20 minutes free consultation to explore how Naturopathic medicine can help your health concerns.