Living with a hypothyroid isn’t easy and 5 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism. There are many side effects and frustrations that come along with this autoimmune disease. I personally have hypothyroidism as does my mother. I have been lucky to not have serious hypothyroid symptoms aside from weight gain and cold hands and feet, but many of my clients experience significant symptoms. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone, which is necessary to help our bodies convert beta-carotene (a nutrient found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables) into vitamin A. Because this conversion wasn’t happening in my body, one of my symptoms was yellow hands!
Many thyroid medications contain common allergens such as gluten, lactose and cornstarch (and we all know that people with hypothyroidism are sensitive to gluten and dairy, which contains lactose). Synthroid (T4) is filled with both lactose and cornstarch and Cytomel (T3) is filled with modified food starch, which contains gluten as a filler. Even natural products such as Armour may cause issues in your body due to their fillers. Armour, for instance is filled with dextrose and methylcellulose fillers that can cause reactions inside our bodies. This happened to me since I have a sensitivity to dextrose and methylecellulose. Your best option when it comes to medication is to work with your Integrative M.D. and ask them about compounded pills that you have to purchase from a compounded pharmacy using fillers that you aren’t sensitive to. Many insurance companies don’t cover compounded prescriptions so this can be quite expensive – but remember it’s your health and it’s worth it, believe me – you’ll end up spending a ton of money in a few years when you get very sick due to years of ingesting these ingredients. If your doctor puts you on Armour, Cytomel or Synthroid, PLEASE make sure the prescription does not contain gluten or dairy. Check with the prescription company because these fillers are most likely to be in your prescription. My best friend Kirstin from the blog My Gluten Free Family has taught me so much about thyroid health – she is a wealth of information and has helped heal my thyroid the past few years.
When you visit your Integrative Medical doctor, make sure to ask for the proper thyroid panel, which should include tests for a number of thyroid hormones: TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), Free T4, T3, TPO (thyroid peroxidase antibodies), and reverse T3 (RT3). Most Western medicine doctors do not run all of these tests – my doctors didn’t even know what these meant or how to test for them. Once I switched to Integrative M.D.s they ran these full panels and were able to see exactly what was going on. For instance, your TSH may be normal in blood work, but you can still have hypothyroidism, which is why it’s crucial to get this full panel done to see how your T3 and T4 are functioning. Be sure to ALWAYS get a copy of your blood work from your doctor and don’t rely on getting the results via phone. I spent 10 years of my life not knowing the results of my blood work and simply just relying on what my doctor said – this was a huge mistake because when I looked back at my results, there were numerous numbers that were out of range and needed attention.
After years of trying every trick in the book, I’ve been working to heal my hypothyroidism. Some days I feel great, others not so great but I stay positive and push through it by not exhausting myself and taking ME time each and every day through meditation, walks, massage or relaxing. I always get quality sleep; I get at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night.
Here’s how I manage my life with hypothyroidism when a flare up occurs:
- Acupuncture as often as possible. Ask for attention on your adrenal points. Check out my Adrenal Fatigue Page for more info.
- Eating lots of organic green leafy vegetables.
- Drinking organic green juices. Check out my Fresh Juices Page for more info.
- Cooking all cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and not eating them raw, which can effect and slow your thyroid.
- Remove sugar, gluten and alcohol from my lifestyle. Check out my Sugar-Free How To Page and Gluten-Free How To Page for more info.
- Drink organic dandelion root tea.
- Daily walks and meditation.
- Taking daily Epsom salt baths.
- Taking Gaia Herbs Adrenal Support supplements. Check out my High-Quality Supplements Page for more info.
- Taking Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle to support my liver and detox stored toxins.
- Finding a balance with Selenium/Zinc in my body to support my thyroid.
- Removing parabens from all beauty products including makeup, shampoo, conditioner, soaps, sunscreen, dish soap, etc. Check out my Toxin-Free Beauty Page for more info.
- Using organic dyer sheets and organic laundry soap from Seventh Generation.
- Using organic cotton shower curtains, towels and sheets.
- Using infrared saunas weekly to help detox and assist with auto-immune symptoms.
- Cold hands and feet/Sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Join pain, swelling or stiffness
- Thinning hair
- Impaired memory
- Unexplained weight gain
- Unable to loose weight
- Tired or fatigued
Here are a few Integrative Medicine Tests that I asked my Integrative M.D.s to check me for – these tests were crucial in finding out what was causing my pain.
It is essential to work with a nutritionist and an Integrative M.D. because I am sharing general information that is not intended to be medical advice. This information is only given for informational purposes.