I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid (helloooo awful Hypothyroidism symptoms) in my 20s. Fabulous, I thought. I had no idea what it was, what I was doing or how to help myself. I went to a random Western medicine MD who gave me Synthroid and I took it. I didn’t ask questions, heck, I didn’t even know what to ask back then. Now, I’m in charge of my health and I’ve got my Integrative MDs on my time and I question and challenge everything they say, do and tell me. Why?
Because I’ve learned the hard way that you’ve gotta be your own doctor. You can’t rely on a doctor to figure you out because we’re all different and one thing for me might not work for you. Catch my drift?
Now, let’s talk about this little bugger called the THYROID.
It’s a complicated thing and it’s not as easy as giving someone a prescription drug to make it ‘better’ because that most likely won’t work. The goal is to reset your thyroid so you don’t need drugs to get you through your day to keep yourself at optimal health.
Thyroid issues can lead to an infinite number of health issues from mental health to chronic physical pain. It’s a tricky little bugger and SO many doctors do not do the right tests therefore your thyroid levels could look perfectly fine to them but you’re tired, loosing hair, loosing or gaining weight, etc…. so, I’m gunna whip you into shape with a little Thyroid 101.
Who’s with me?
Here we go!
You’ve got these lovely thyroid hormones called T3 and T4 that convert oxygen and calories into energy. They work to increase your basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy you burn when you’re sittin’ still and not doing a thing. They determine the growth of lots of tissues in your bod pod, including your bones and brain.
So, TSH (aka Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is produced by the pituitary gland, which stimulates production of T3 and T4. Now, what produces these hormones is dependent on enough iodine intake from your food and/or supplements. Then these T’s try to regulate cell development and growth by converting your carbs, fat and proteins into energy. Vitamin D is SO important here; without vitamin D, these hormones can’t do their job.
So, for all of you healthy thyroid folks, your T3 and T4 hormones are fabulous and working well but for those of you with thyroid problems, there’s a few things to learn and know so that you can take charge of your own health.
a.k.a. An underactive thyroid, which means you aren’t making enough T3, T4 or both. It’s caused by radiation exposure, an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s, removal or inflammation of the thyroid, or other reasons.
Symptoms include hot and cold sensitivity, weight gain, memory loss, high cholesterol, vision problems, dry hair and skin, depression, joint pain, throat tightness, irregular periods, infertility and more.
Usually high TSH and/or low T4 indicate hypothyroidism.
Treatment is very individualized. For more info on hypothyroidism, check out my Hypothyroidism page.
a.k.a. An overactive thyroid, which means you are making more thyroid hormones than you should, which causes lots of problems because your body functions get sped up. You’re more likely to get hypothyroidism if you have a B12 deficiency, were pregnant in the last 6 months, have type 1 diabetes, are over age 60, and are a woman. Symptoms include heat intolerance and goiter (swollen thyroid gland), taking too much iodine or too much synthetic thyroid hormone to treat your hypothyroidism, irregular and rapid heartbeat, mood swings and irritability, weight loss, nervousness, insomnia, Graves’ disease and more.
Usually low TSH, high T3 and T4 and abnormal radioactive iodine uptake indicate hyperthyroid.
Treatment is very individualized. For more info on hyperthyroidism, check out my Graves’ disease page.
Blood Tests: Full Thyroid Panel
The blood tests you need to ask for when checking your thyroid are below. It’s SO important to get the FULL thyroid panel done because 99% of doctors do not run the full panel and you won’t be able to tell what’s going on without all these tests.
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Antithyroglobulin antibodies (anti-TG)
- Anitthyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO)
How to Help Your Thyroid Heal
Eat Organic! Pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and antibiotics in the foods you eat harm your thyroid gland.
Eat enough complex carbs like brown/wild/black rice, quinoa, millet, teff, sorghum, etc. You needs carbs to function properly!
Eat A LOT of good fats like organic coconut oil, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, and avocados. Fat is healing to your thyroid!
Remove gluten. That’s a no brainer!
Remove stress from your life or manage your stress via sleep, naps, yoga, meditation and laughing!