Human anatomy is comprehensive. It’s necessary to understand the interconnectedness and the functions of its various organs prior to establishing any final conclusions. Symptoms such as chronic energy loss, excessive hair loss, brittle nails, thinning skin, heavy breathing and loss of concentration are routinely assessed as signs of aging, but may also be the result of a thyroid disorder. Symptoms are not causes, they are indicators of causes. That realization is paramount to continued good health.
How The Thyroid Works
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ located under the voice box and plays a primary role in human growth, metabolism and the continued maturation of the body. Two hormones, T3 (Thyroxine) and T4 (Triiodothyronine), released by thyroid gland into the bloodstream, regulate various body functions which include heart rate, bone development, brain development, neurovascular coordination, digestive health and hormonal balance. An efficiently functioning thyroid releases 20% T3 and 80% T4 in normal circumstances. A malfunctioning thyroid, however, can disturb the metabolic regulation in every cell of our bodies.
Thyroid functions are regulated by the hypothalamus, with help from the pituitary gland. When T3 and T4 levels drop dangerously low, hormones secreted by the hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). This means that along with the deficiency (or excess) of thyroid-regulating nutrients such as iodine, a malfunctioning pituitary gland (or hypothalamus) can also lead to thyroid disorders.
Common Thyroid Hormonal Problems
The most common thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Abnormal body functions reflect poor internal health which is why these signs should never be ignored. Laboratory tests are recommended after identifying the warning signs of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid starts releasing more hormones than the body requires. More common among women, hyperthyroidism may occur due to excessive iodine intake, menopause, thyroiditis (swelling of thyroid), thyroid nodules (lumps in the thyroid gland), an over-consumption of synthetic thyroid hormone and/or Grave’s disease (an autoimmune disorder). Warning signs include:
- Mood swings
- Nervousness or irritability
- Poor bone or muscle performance
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Weight loss
- Hand tremors
- Sleeping disorders or trouble sleeping
- Heat intolerance
Hypothyroidism indicates low thyroid activity, resulting in the release of lesser than required thyroid hormones. It is also more common among women and may be caused by iodine deficiency, thyroid nodules, thyroiditis, surgical removal of some (or all) parts of the thyroid, Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disorder) and thyroid radiation treatments. Hypothyroidism may also occur as a side effect of some medicines – most commonly hormone-related medicines. Warning signs of hypothyroidism include:
- Cold intolerance
- Dry skin/dry hair
- Excessive hair fall
- Irregular/slow heart rate
- Decreased sweating
- Puffy face
- Weight gain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Decreased immunity
- Gastric ulcers
- Difficulty sleeping, waking up or staying asleep
- Heavy/irregular menstrual cycle
Endocrinologists recommend three tests for diagnosing thyroid disorder, for thyroid autoimmune disorder, as well as for any other hormonal imbalance in the human body.
Hair Mineral Analysis
Hair mineral analysis is a non-invasive method (also suitable for children), to determine the mineral imbalances at the cellular level. As T3 and T4 are mineral-based in nature, adjusting mineral imbalances can help improve the condition of the thyroid. Hair mineral analysis can diagnose not only the levels of common minerals but also evaluates the levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and aluminum in the patient’s system.
Adrenal Stress Index
Adrenal Stress Index is based on an advanced saliva-based test. Saliva samples taken at different intervals of the patient’s schedule help to determine the condition and performance of adrenal glands. They are also beneficial for helping to evaluate 17-OH Progesterone, DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) and Total Salivary SiGa levels in both children and adults.
Male or Female Hormone Panel
Male or female hormone panel tests include saliva-based tests to determine hormone imbalance, mineral imbalance and nutritional deficiencies. The International Journal of Health Sciences published a study on relationship of thyroidism and vitamin D in November 2013. Among 30 healthy people and 30 hypothyroidism patients studied, all of the hypothyroidism patients were found to have dangerously low vitamin D levels, as compared to the others. Hormone panel tests can help determine the risk factors associated with hypothyroidism and help manage these symptoms along with treating hypothyroidism.
What Can I Do To Improve My Thyroid Function?
Thyroid dysfunction and thyroid autoimmune disorder needs to be treated as soon as possible, as one autoimmune disorder can trigger other autoimmune disorders in the body. This includes Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and the like. Proper diagnosis of thyroid disorder and its associated disorders, such as hormonal imbalance and mineral deficiency, is a pre-requisite to starting any treatment.
You can improve your thyroid health with a few changes in your lifestyle. Just remember that a proper diagnosis is beneficial, necessary, and a requirement for obtaining the desired improvements in function and lifestyle.
Eliminate Processed Foods and Simple Carbohydrates, Including Sugar
Many thyroid patients switch to caffeine and sugar to manage their deteriorating energy. It’s worth noting, however, that caffeine, sugar and simple carbohydrates serve as a temporary energy crunch in our bodies and can do more harm than good in the long run.
Consume More Thyroid-Boosting Fats
Healthy fats are necessary to maintain optimum thyroid, hormonal and metabolic health. Fats are helpful in regulating bowel movements, managing hormone balance, improving energy, skin and brain health. Healthy fats are obtained from seafood (preferably salmon as it is rich in sea minerals), but also nuts and lean, organic meats.
Incorporate Thyroid-Boosting Fermented Foods and Drinks
Hypothyroidism can lead to serious gut problems, including an imbalance in the intestinal flora. Fermented foods and drinks made of collard, kale and cabbage can be consumed to improve a thyroid condition. Fermentation should be done with sea salts only! All kinds of fermented or non-fermented soy products should be avoided as rich quantities of copper in soy and its byproducts can aggravate thyroid condition.
Replace Refined Salt with Sea Salt
Refined sea salt supplies you with iodine, but your body requires other salts and minerals to moderate quantities. These include selenium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. As well it requires zinc, copper and iron. The quantity of sea salt recommended is dependent on the type of thyroid dysfunction experienced.
Eat Your Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables are included among the world’s healthiest foods. These are not only rich in salts and minerals but are also anti-cancerous just by the nature of their makeup. Sea vegetables include edible seaweed, nori (sushi wrapper), arame, combu, agar, kelp, dulse, hijiki, wakame, sea lettuce, and alaria.
Is Bioidentical HRT Suitable To Improve Your Thyroid Function?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help improve the lives of men and women suffering from a thyroid disorder. It comes as a surprise to many to discover that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has been around for almost a century. It’s an anti-aging procedure designed to address hormone imbalances, including (but not limited to) the replacement of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone; directed at reversing existing thyroid disorders and improving the overall health. This can include maintaining a healthy weight, decrement in andropause and menopause, an increment in the male and female libido, muscle enhancement and an abundance of other worthwhile advances in experience and life expectancy. It’s consistently proven to be one of the most effective treatments for thyroid disorder.
If you have symptoms of hyperthyroidism or other thyroid related disorders, Bioidentical HRT could be a solution for you. Request a No Obligation, Complimentary Consultation with a member of our Wellness Team today to learn more.