How To Tell If Your Thyroid Is Struggling And 13 Tips To Help It Naturally
May 26, 2015
If you have a normally functioning thyroid, you may be a bit sceptical when you hear a woman with some extra weight blaming it on her thyroid.
But thyroid conditions are absolutely real and becoming much more common, especially in women over 35. And if you have low levels of thyroid hormone it is extremely difficult to lose any weight believe me Ive been there!
You see, our thyroid hormones are a bit like a thermostat for our cells. So they either turn us up or they turn us down , depending on how much hormone we have available.
Hypothyroidism is a lot more common than hyperthryoidism, and mainly affects women over 35, due to genetic inheritance, the demands of pregnancy and the hormone imbalances we go through during our peri-menopausal years.
Hyperthyroid and hypothyroid symptoms
Reduce Your Exposure To Chemicals At Home
Reduce toxic exposure to personal care products, household cleaners, plastics, and other toxins in the environment as best you can. Many of the beauty products and household cleaners are immunotoxins. In other words, they contain ingredients that can impact your hormone health. As result, it can negatively influence your overall health and cause autoimmune disease. Moreover, cosmetics that contain parabens, sulfates, and other toxic chemicals may increase your chance of developing infertility, diabetes, and cancer.
How To Track Body Temperature
Wilsons Temperature Syndrome is the colloquial term used to refer to a state where you consistently have low body temperature and demonstrate the symptoms of a slow metabolism.
Measuring your basal body temperature regularly could help you to determine if you have a metabolic or thyroid issue, particularly if it consistently reads lower than the average 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is thought that during extreme periods of stress or illness, more of your T4 is converted into reverse T3 , which eventually builds up in the body. The excess reverse T3 effects the conversion of T4 into T3 and cannot provide the energy that cells require to function properly. As a result, this thyroid deficiency can result in a lower body temperature.
If you believe that you could have an issue with thyroid hormone conversion like the above, then you need to learn how to test your basal body temperature. The process is free and can give you excellent insight into your overall well-being.
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Is Tsh Over 25 Indicative Of Disease
1 in 10 of people with TSH values above 3.0 mIU/L has Hashimotos .
TSH itself, as a marker of disease is not enough. If you have any symptoms connected to thyroid, talk to your health provider and get the full thyroid blood work done. This is the best first step towards understanding the health of your thyroid.
Supplement With Vitamins And Minerals
Vitamin B12 helps improve red cell metabolism and increases energy production in cells. By supplementing with B12, you can strengthen your nervous system, and get rid of fatigue which is a common symptom of hypothyroidism.
Good food sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish, eggs, yogurt.
Selenium is a mineral that helps support a healthy thyroid hormone synthesis, reduce thyroid antibodies, and the severity of hypothyroidism symptoms.
You can find selenium in foods like fish, beef, nuts, and grains.
Zinc is another mineral that helps support an effective synthesis of thyroid hormones. It aids in regulating thyrotropin-releasing hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone .
Although zinc deficiency is rare, in people with hypothyroidism, zinc may become depleted. Therefore, you should enrich your diet with foods like beef, chicken, oysters and other shellfish, pumpkin, hemp, and flax seeds.
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Minimize Stress Using Relaxation Techniques
Stress causes an increase in adrenaline and cortisol levels which can make your symptoms of hypothyroidism worse. Thats why its important to make relaxation techniques a part of your daily routines.
These are some of the relaxation techniques you could implement:
- Dynamic Neural Retraining System
- Reduced exposure to social media and negative news
Frequent Muscle Aches And Tenderness
A common complaint of those with undiagnosed thyroid issues is frequent muscle aches.
It can be characterised by long-term and widespread pain and soreness. This pain is often not specific to one particular area- much like those diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
In fact, both an underactive thyroid and fibromyalgia can be linked to a food intolerance .
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What Are Thyroid Hormones
TSH Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is manufactured in the pituitary gland in the brain. Its job is to stimulate the thyroid to produce thryroxine and triiodothyronine . When the levels of T4 and T3 in the body drop too low, the hypothalamus in the brain gets the message that we need more and signals to the pituitary gland to produce thyroid hormones. So TSH is the first marker to look at when assessing thyroid function .
T4 is a pro-hormone, i.e., it converts into either T3 or RT3.
T3 is the active thyroid hormone. Total T3 is typically elevated in hyperthyroidism and lowered in hypothyroidism.
RT3 is made by the body to tone down energy. If T3 is the accelerator, then RT3 is the handbrake. It stops the T3 hormone from signalling the cell to make energy. It allows the body to turn down the energy when it needs to. Elevated RT3 can result in hypothyroid symptoms.
Controversy Over Optimal Tsh
While most laboratories define a normal TSH as between roughly 0.5 mU/l and 5.0 mU/l, some experts argue that the upper limit of a normal TSH should be loweraround 2.5 mU/l.
The reasoning behind this is that the vast majority of adults without thyroid disease have a TSH value between 0.45 and 4.12 mU/l.
In addition, some physicians believe older patients should have a TSH level that is greater than 4.0 mU/l or 5.0 mU/l, since TSH normally increases with age.
Doctors can avoid some of this controversy simply by looking at each person as an individual. For example, a person who still has significant symptoms of hypothyroidism at a TSH of 4.0 mU/l may do better with a goal TSH of around 1.0 mU/l.
In contrast, someone who has health riskssuch as heart disease or osteoporosismay benefit from having a goal TSH that is higher, perhaps around 5.0 mU/l or 6.0 mU/l.
In pregnancy, TSH should not be allowed to rise above 3.0 mU/l for the health of both the baby and mother.
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What Might Tamper With Test Results
- The time of the day and seasonTSH is not produced by the thyroid at the equal rate during the entire day. It follows a circadian rhythm and is mostly produced during your sleep. Currently, a normal reference range of serum TSH for adults is 0.44.5mIU/L. In some countries that upper limit has been disputed, and reduced to 2.5mIU/L .
- Type of the test used
- Eating too little or overeatingIf you are under nourished you might experience the decrease in fT3 and total T3. Overeating will have an opposite effect and increase fT3 and T3.
- StressStress is a big factor in thyroid health and it decreases T3.
- Certain medicationsMedications can increase fT3 and fT4, but not in a good way. These medications block the activity of T3 and T4, so it doesnt matter if theres more T3 and T4 found in the blood as theyre unable to fulfil their functions.
- ExerciseIf youve recently did any type of long, excessive, or high-intensity exercise, you should a couple of days before going to be tested. In general its not good not to overexercise if you have a thyroid condition.
- Sometimes labs make mistakesThis doesnt happen often, but people make mistakes. Sometimes the chemicals used for testing might be old or spoiled. Usually people in the lab realize this quickly and can re-test with the same blood sample and freshly prepared chemicals.
Thyroid And Basal Body Temperature
One of the major clinical signs of hypothyroidism is low body temperature. Analyzing the bodys basal body temperature through axillary testing is a fantastic way to assess your thyroid function in a low-cost, non-invasive way.
This test was popularized by Dr Broda Barnes MD, and has been used by many medical and natural health care practitioners over the years . Some research has been doing on BBT, showing that it is highly correlated with low thyroid activity
While most people are aware that the standard body temperature is 98.6 degrees F, the normal underarm temperature is 97.8-98.2 deg F or 36.6-37 deg C. If your temperature is consistently under 97.4 deg F or 36.5 deg C, then you most likely have under functioning thyroid activity. If the temperature is consistently above 99 degrees than you may have hyperactive thyroid activity.
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How Are Thyroid Problems Treated
While drugs containing synthetic thyroid hormones are available and commonly used, Turner only recommends turning to drugs if natural treatment has had no effect after six months. There are also some food-related remedies you can try, especially if your TSH is between 2.0 and 4.7 . You may want to consult a naturopath with expertise in hormonal issues, Turner adds, especially if your TSH is 4.0 or higher.
Turner recommends trying the following three supplements to help support thyroid function, including if youre experiencing thyroid-related symptoms but have normal blood work. Speak to a health professional to ensure youre supplementing in a way that works with your body. These are the 6 thyroid cancer symptoms you need to know.
Memory Loss And Brain Fog Is A Sign Of Hypothyroidism
The brain is a major target organ for thyroid hormones. This is why the onset of hypothyroidism can affect brain function.
Clinical trials and functional imaging studies of the brain confirm that advanced hypothyroidism is associated with cognitive decline- largely reversible with treatment .
In contrast, subclinical hypothyroidism is not linked with major neuropsychiatric problems, although studies show small deficits in memory and executive function do occur. This is most often described by patients as experiencing brain fog.
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Mildly Hypothyroid Subclinical Hypothyroid And Hypothyroid Whats The Difference
Theres a big difference between subclinical, mildly hypothyroid, and hypothyroid. These diagnoses determine the treatment options youll be offered.
Usually doctors wont prescribe thyroid therapy until a patient is clearly hypothyroid. Symptoms typically become stronger as hypothyroidism intensifies.
However, even mild hypothyroidism can be aggravating as TSH levels and symptoms increase. Talk to your doctor to determine your personal normal ranges and the best therapy to undertake. Logging your blood test results in the app might help you and your doctor when assessing your health.
1. Carvalho GA, et al. The clinical use of thyroid function tests, 2013
2. Wartofsky L, et al. The evidence for a narrower thyrotropin reference range is compelling, 2005
3. Hollowell JG, et al. Serum TSH, T, and thyroid antibodies in the United States population : National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , 2002
4. Dunn JT. Guarding our nations thyroid health, 2002
5. Hubner U, et al. Continuous age-dependent reference ranges for thyroid hormones in neonates, infants, children and adolescents established using the ADVIA Centaur Analyzer, 2002
6. Surks MI, et al. Age-specific distribution of serum thyrotropin and antithyroid antibodies in the US population: implications for the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism, 2007
7. Kumar A, et al. Thyroid function tests in pregnancy, 2013
10. Lewandowsky K. Reference ranges for TSH and thyroid hormones, 2016
Underactive Thyroid Sign: Your Skin Is Dry
Hallmarks of an underactive thyroid include dry, rough, cool, and even pale skin. Thats what my husband experienced, and the itch that comes with that dry skin could be unbearable at times.
This is partially due to decreased blood flow and a slower turnover of skin cells, says Izabella Wentz, Pharm.D., licensed pharmacist and author of Hashimotos Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back. Patients often see a reduction in sweating, as the bodys metabolic fat burning is turned off.
So why does this happen? The short answer is that lower levels of thyroid hormones compromise your sweat glands and causes a glitch in the skins growth and replacement cycle. This is why guys with Hashimotos disease and hypothyroidism end up with peeling, cracking, and flaking skin. Moisturizer can help, but not eliminate, the problem.
But dont go running to your doctor in a panic at the first sign of dry skin, warns Dr. Adimoolam.
It is important to recognize dry skin as one symptom of hypothyroidism, she says. Men should be aware of all symptoms and look at the whole. When one has dry skin along with other symptoms of hypothyroidism, that is when one should go and see their doctor.
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Understanding Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
As mentioned above, the thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. It works sort of like the master of the hormones, and rules the production of T3 and T4 from its control center.If you have too much TSH, it might mean that your thyroid gland isnt making enough T3 or T4. Remember, the TSH is supposed to stimulate the thyroid gland but if the gland isnt responding, then youll have too much TSH in your system.If your TSH levels are too low, it may mean that your thyroid gland is making too much thyroid hormone. This excessive thyroid production could actually suppress the TSH.
A word of warning for pregnant women: Its incredibly important that your hormones are balanced in pregnancy, as thyroid stimulating hormone plays a role in the development of a healthy fetus.
Feeling Down Or Depressed
Hypothyroidism is linked to depression. The reasons for this are unclear, but it might be a mental symptom of an overall decrease in energy and health .
64% of women and 57% of men with hypothyroidism report feelings of depression. About the same percentage of men and women also experience anxiety .
In one study, thyroid hormone replacement improved depression in patients with mild hypothyroidism, compared to a placebo .
Another study of young women with mild hypothyroidism showed increased feelings of depression, which were also connected to decreased satisfaction with their sex lives (
Feeling depressed is a good reason to talk to a physician or therapist. They may be able to help you cope, regardless of whether the depression is caused by thyroid problems or something else.
Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause depression and anxiety. These conditions are shown to improve with thyroid hormone replacement.
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Medical History And Physical Exam
If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you might have thyroid cancer, your health care professional will want to know your complete medical history. You will be asked questions about your possible risk factors, symptoms, and any other health problems or concerns. If someone in your family has had thyroid cancer or tumors called pheochromocytomas, it is important to tell your doctor, as you might be at high risk for this disease.
Your doctor will examine you to get more information about possible signs of thyroid cancer and other health problems. During the exam, the doctor will pay special attention to the size and firmness of your thyroid and any enlarged lymph nodes in your neck.
The Link Between Body Temperature And Metabolism
Body temperature can be an important indicator that something is amiss in the body. For example, we might spike a fever when a particularly awful sickness invades our immune system. With this known link, some researchers thought that there might be other connections that can be made by measuring body temperature.
Here are a few studies that have been done on this topic:
Lower body temperatures is mice may correspond to lower metabolic rate: One group of scientists began to test the theory that body temperature influences metabolism by inserting a thermometer sensor into the stomach region of a mouse. They measured both the core body temperature through this thermometer and the amount of oxygen that the mouse consumed out of the air around it. This secondary measure is a way of testing the overall metabolic rate. They discovered that the basal body temperature of the mouse directly corresponded with their oxygen consumption. When body temperature took a direct dip, so did their oxygen intake.
Lower temperatures in humans may correspond to lower metabolism: Another study in humans compared the temperature readings between obese participants and lean participants during a twenty-hour time period. Obese patients had a slightly lower body temperature than the lean volunteers. However, that one-degree difference could be indicative of an issue with metabolism, especially given their weight.
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What Does It Mean To Have A Blood Value Out Of Range
Medically accepted averages vary from country to country.
If youve moved around a lot, it can be challenging to determine which countrys averages are applicable to you do the averages from your country of origin apply to you or has your averages changed to fit your new environments averages? Keep this in your mind if you are relocating.
One measurement at one point in time will not tell you much. You should re-test one or two times for accuracy. This way you and your healthcare practitioner can actually get a solid overview of your health.
TSH test is a first step towards the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. However it can be very misleading, as its shown to increase with age and its not an immediate sign of a disease .
The same is true for kids. From birth to late childhood they have high TSH values, which eventually drops as they reach puberty .