Some of the latest researches show that 1 in 8 women aged to 65 have some form of thyroid disease which makes it being the most common. About ¼ of women in peri-menopause are diagnosed with hypothyroidism when insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones are produced.
Thyroid hormones are necessary for the growth and development in children. They send signals for the production of all growth factors in your body, virtually including:
- Somatomedins (skeletal tissue growth)
- Erythropoietin (involved in the development of red blood cells)
- Nerve growth factor
- Epidermal growth factor
The poor thyroid function has been linked to a wide array of serious health conditions from fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome to infertility, autoimmune diseases ad thyroid cancer.
Our thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the neck. As all gland thyroid produces hormones which are secreted into the body and help it use energy so that it maintains the brain, heart, muscles and other organs and keep them working properly. It produces three types of hormones:
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
- Thyroxine (T4)
- Diiodothyronine (T2)
These hormones interact with other hormones, including insulin, cortisol and sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The thyroid dysfunction is a complex issue with many variables and many potential underlying causes like the following: If your thyroid dysfunction is caused by factors such as these, detoxification and changing your lifestyle to avoid hormone disrupting chemicals may be the key components for a successful intervention.
Estrogen dominance – Midlife hypothyroidism can be related to some underlying estrogen dominance and then taking thyroid hormone fails to address the root of the problem.
Medications – Certain medications like steroids, barbiturates, cholesterol – lowering drugs and beta-blockers, too can disrupt your thyroid functions when the most appropriate remedy may not be to add thyroid hormone.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals – These include lead, mercury, phthalates and bisphenol – A (BPA) and they have been linked to early menopause and thyroid problems.
Bromine exposure – They can be found in pesticides, plastics, bakery goods, beverages. They contain brominated vegetable oils (BVOs) and flame retardants also have a disruptive effect on the thyroid function.
Bromine, fluoride and chlorine are all in the same family as iodine, so it’s logical that they can displace iodine in your thyroid gland.
Fluoride – It is still routinely added to water supplies, but back in the 1970s it was used in Europe to reduce thyroid activity in hyperthyroid patients.
According to a 2006 report by the National Research Council of the National Academies, fluoride is “an endocrine disruptor in the broad sense of altering normal endocrine function.”
This kind of an altered function can involve your thyroid, parathyroid and pineal glands, as well as your adrenals, pancreas and pituitary.
Altered thyroid function is associated with fluoride intakes as low as 0.05 to 0.1 mg fluoride per kilogram body weight per day (mg/kg/day) or 0,3 mg/kg/day with iodine deficiency.
Fluoride has the ability to:
- Mimic thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
- Damage the cells of your thyroid gland
- Disrupt conversion from the inactive form of the thyroid hormone (T4) to the active form (T3).
Symptoms of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) are:
- Loss of energy, fatigue and general lethargy
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Decreased sweating
- Forgetfulness, impaired memory and inability to concentrate
- Sleep apnea
- Coarse or dry skin and hair
- Bradycardia (reduced heart rate)
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased hearing
- Mental impairment
- Emotional instability
- Blurred vision etc.
The most common way to diagnose thyroid dysfunction is by measuring how much of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) your pituitary gland excretes. When your thyroid doesn’t produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormone, your pituitary sends out THS to encourage the thyroid to increase production.
In order to get a fuller picture of your thyroid health, you should use the following laboratory tests:
TSH Test – The higher your level of TSH, the higher the likelihood that you have hypothyroidism. The ideal TSH level is between 1 and 1.5 milli-international units per liter.
Free T4 and Free T3 – The normal level of free T4 is between 0.9 and 1.8 nanograms per deciliter. T3 should be between 240 and 450 picograms per deciliter.
Thyroid Antibody Testing – It includes the thyroid peroxidase antibodies and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. These two measures help you to determine if your body is attacking your thyroid or overreacting to its own tissues (i.e. autoimmune reactions). Unfortunately, conventional physicians nearly always leave this test out. Still, you can do it yourself if your doctor refuses to include it.
Basal Body Temperature – There are a few different protocols about this test. Still the most commonly used is the Broda Barnes System, which measures your body temperature at rest.
TRH Stimulation Test for more difficult cases – TRH can be measured using the TRH stimulation test. TRH helps identify hypothyroidism that’s caused by inadequacy of the pituitary gland.
Reverse T3 – While reverse T3 (RT3) is metabolically inactive, elevated levels may indicate that heavy metal toxicity is affecting your thyroid function.
When it comes to thyroid hormone replacement the most recommended medications are:
Bioidentical thyroid hormones – the most recommended ones are Nature-Thyroid and Westhroid. They’re made from desiccated pig thyroid glands and contain the full spectrum of thyroid hormones: T4, T3, T2 and T1.
Synthetic hormones, like Synthroid (generic brand: Levothyroxine) which only contains T4. One of the trickiest parts of thyroid hormone replacement is finding the ideal dose. This requires a typical fine-tuning over a period of time with regular blood testing to see how the dose is affecting your thyroid hormone levels and keeping track of your symptoms. The two key signals that you’re taking too much hormone are excessive sweating and rapid heartbeat, as well as heart palpitations. If you get any of the symptoms, you’re getting too much thyroid and you certainly need to cut back on the dose.