In our experience, the ‘normal’ lab ranges for thyroid function that are used
in conventional medicine are not specific enough to identify subclinical problems.
most conventional medicine labs set the ‘normal’ range for TSH as typically between 0.4 to 4.0 mIU/L, but we like
to see TSH stay as close to 2.0 mIU/L as possible; a higher level can indicate low thyroid function in many women. Ideally,
we like your thyroid levels to stay in the middle of these ranges, rather than at either end of the extremes. Near this mid
range is where most women feel and function best. We also often look at a patient’s trends in thyroid function to see
if her levels are creeping up or down over time. And we always pay attention to the specific symptoms a patient reports.
Many doctors only look at TSH and treat based on that number alone. We look at the complete function of the thyroid
by measuring at minimum:
- Free T3
- Antibodies to check for autoimmunity
It’s important to understand the basics so that you’ll know how to best support your thyroid health at
every point in your life.
If you have
Hashimoto's and up to 90% suffering from hypothyroid do then thyroid medicine is not the only answer to your problem. Hashimoto's
is an autoimmune disorder and must be treated from that perspective. We specialize in this. Please take time to read
the special report at the Special Thyroid Report Page on this website. Link at top of page.
What does the thyroid do?
Centrally located at the base of the throat, between the brain
and rest of the body, the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland helps maintain overall balance in the body. Its hormones affect many
systems and functions, including:
- Breathing, heart and nervous system function
- Muscle and bone strength
- Body temperature
- Menstrual cycles
- Weight gain and loss
- Cholesterol levels
- Skin hydration
Your thyroid helps determine how you metabolize food, how you store
and use energy, how you think, talk, sleep and more! So it makes sense that when your thyroid isn’t functioning properly,
your life can seem significantly off.
The hormones of the thyroid, thyroxine (T4) and
triiodothyronine(T3), influence the metabolism of each and every cell in our bodies. T3 is the thyroid hormone that
our cells recognize best; it is actually the only biologically active thyroid hormone in the body. T4 can be thought of as
a “preparatory” hormone for T3; T4 is converted into T3 in the liver and kidneys.
conversion process of thyroid hormone is a series of events. When T3 and T4 are low in the bloodstream, the part of your brain
known as the hypothalamus— the “command center” for most hormones — sends a message in the
form of TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone) to the pituitary gland. Functioning as a sort of “halfway
house” between the brain and the endocrine system, the pituitary gland interprets the message to secrete more TSH (thyroid-stimulating
hormone), which in turn, prompts your thyroid gland to take up iodine and the amino acid, tyrosine, to produce more T3
and T4. If your thyroid hormones range too high, the hypothalamic and pituitary signals become much quieter until your thyroid
hormones are in balance again.
With its elegant system of checks and balances,
your body has the natural tendency to restore thyroid balance. So as long as your hormonal system is fairly well balanced
and your thyroid is properly supported, it will generally move toward its default “normal” state. This support
becomes increasingly important as we age.
Common thyroid imbalances
When your thyroid hormones are too low to support your daily
activities, it is known as hypothyroidism. This can be due to either inadequate production of T4
in your thyroid gland, or poor conversion of T4 to the more active T3 hormone. Hypothyroidism can cause severe fatigue and
loss of energy, dry skin, hair changes, general puffiness, constipation, cold intolerance, and more. It can also increase
cholesterol levels and aggravate issues like PMS, menstrual irregularities, and fibrocystic breasts.
most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Sometimes women with autoimmune
thyroiditis go back and forth between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
When the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, it is called
hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroid hormone can cause nervousness and anxiety, increased heart rate or palpitations,
breathlessness, diarrhea, insomnia, and depression.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is
an autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease. Chronic Graves’ disease may cause a person’s eyes to bulge
(exophthalmos). For more on symptoms and causes, see our page on hyperthyroidism.
When someone experiences symptoms
of hypothyroidism even though her thyroid test results are still in the “normal range,” it’s probable that
her lab tests are at either extreme end of the normal range. This is called subclinical hypothyroidism. Despite having what’s
considered “normal” lab test results, people in this category often feel much better when their thyroid function
Because thyroid imbalances and related disorders typically occur along a continuum,
it’s a good idea to track both your lab work and your symptoms.
imbalances are common during hormonal flux
Because the thyroid and ovaries are connected by a
feedback loop in the brain, periods of naturally-shifting hormones can cause disturbances in the thyroid.
Pregnancy.During a healthy pregnancy, estrogen and the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic
gonadotropin) cause increased thyroid hormone levels in our blood. Because of the natural shifting of hormones during this
time, hypothyroidism and/or hyperthyroidism can occur during or after pregnancy.
we begin the journey toward menopause, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are in flux. This fluctuation can affect messages
sent to the brain regarding thyroid hormones. As we produce less estrogen, thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH) can also slow down,
resulting in less available T3 and T4 for our cells.
Periods of stress.The
thyroid gland can be affected when we’re under stress because of its connection to the adrenal glands (our stress responders).
During periods of chronic stress, the adrenal glands pump out the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin. Although these
hormones help our bodies adapt to stress, they can also inhibit thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the conversion of T4
into the more active thyroid hormone, T3. The result is low thyroid function.
Given the importance of the thyroid and its responsibilities
in your body, it’s surprisingly easy to provide support in your daily life. Here are the three most important areas:
Food for your thyroid. Food plays an essential role in every day thyroid function. We give you
a dietary therapy plan outlining what to eat and when to eat.
Herbs and minerals
to support healthy thyroid function. The correct phytotherapy agents can also help support thyroid hormone
production and balance hormonal signals to the thyroid gland, thus boosting energy and protecting other functions in the body.
Thyroid-healthy lifestyle changes. Correct lifestyle therapy could make a significant difference
when it comes to thyroid health. These suggested steps can also support your adrenal glands, which are intimately connected
to thyroid health.
We’ve made it even easier for you to take care of your thyroid with our
Program for Thyroid Support with recommendations of thyroid-supporting foods, suggestions for appropriate
lifestyle changes, and phytoceuticals, you can cover all the basic physiological needs of your thyroid on a consistent
Call us today at 727-938-9966. If you are unsure we offer a FREE 10 minute consultation
to dicuss you particular concerns.