Thyroid health is becoming a real concern these days, especially as our modern day living contains many things that negatively affect our thyroid, including poor gut health.
We've actually been chatting about all of this in my health group - the fact that standard tests commonly won't pick up our thyroid issues (ironic I know!) plus how to find and fix the cause and know all of your options on how to treat it (not just with medication!)
If you haven't already, to see my last post on women's thyroid issues in the group to see what other ladies say.
Truth is, most doctors know hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease, however they don’t tell their patients, because it doesn’t affect their treatment plan i.e. thyroid medication.
The cause of wonky thyroid can be varied and very individual. The big problem in conventional medicine is patients aren't being told they could reverse their autoimmune reaction by addressing their health holistically.
As a holistic health professional, we look at what in this person's life has actually caused their over-reactive immune system? The causes are varied and very individual - and often some thorough testing and an in-depth health consultation will reveal the underlying cause.
In conventional medicine, the standard of care for the most common thyroid disorder in women - Hashimoto’s, is to simply wait until the immune system has destroyed enough thyroid tissue to classify them as hypothyroid, and then give them thyroid hormone replacement! (I had someone this week tell me this is exactly what their GP said to them!!)
Alarmingly, If patients start to exhibit other symptoms common with this condition, like depression or insulin resistance, they’ll get additional drugs for those problems.
This is an insane way to treat people's long term health!
These days misdiagnosis is common in the management of hypothyroidism. In my opinion, the medical advice we're getting is not good enough. We need our health professionals to investigate the intricate connections within our entire body, which works as one system.
Below are five causes of thyroid dysfunction that won’t show up on standard lab tests. So If you go to your GP, it's common you'll be told there's nothing wrong with you, even though your thyroid isn’t functioning properly and you have symptoms such as: fatigue, constipation, hair loss, poor sleep, weight gain, cold feet and hands.
Five Underlying 'Causes' Which Won't Show Up on Standard Lab Tests:
1. HYPOTHYROIDISM CAUSED BY PITUITARY DYSFUNCTION: Essentially caused by stress! So, Elevated cortisol, which is in turn caused by active infection, blood sugar imbalances, chronic stress, pregnancy, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. These stressors fatigue the pituitary gland so that it can no longer signal the thyroid to release enough thyroid hormone.
2. T4 TO T3 AREN'T CONVERTING ENOUGH: T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. It must be converted to T3 before the body can use it. It may not convert enough which is typically caused by inflammation and elevated cortisol levels (Stress.)
* Here, you’ll have hypothyroid symptoms, but your TSH and T4 will be normal (GP's usually only test TSH and you can see how this is missed. If you have your T3 tested, which it rarely is in conventional settings, it will be low.
3. HYPOTHYROIDISM CAUSED BY ELEVATED TBG: The Thyroid binding globulin (TBG) is the protein which transports the thyroid hormone. When TBG levels are high, levels of unbound (free) thyroid hormone will be low, leading to hypothyroid symptoms.
* Elevated TBG is caused by high estrogen levels, often from birth control pills or estrogen replacement. To treat this pattern, excess estrogen must be cleared from the body using food and lifestyle changes.
4. HYPOTHYROIDISM CAUSED BY DECREASED TBG: This is the mirror image of the pattern above. So, even though there’s more than enough thyroid hormone, the cells can’t use it and you’ll have hypothyroid – but not hyperthyroid – symptoms.
* Decreased TBG is caused by high testosterone levels. In women, it is commonly associated with PCOS and insulin resistance. Reversing insulin resistance and restoring blood sugar balance is the key to treating this pattern.
5. THYROID RESISTANCE: Both the thyroid and pituitary glands are functioning normally, but the hormones aren’t getting into the cells where they’re needed. This causes hypothyroid symptoms. Note that all lab test markers will be normal in this case.
* Thyroid resistance is usually caused by chronic stress and high cortisol levels. It can also be caused by high homocysteine and genetic factors.
Not only do people get a 'normal' result reading in standard lab work, they won't respond well to conventional thyroid hormone replacement, because the medication won't 'fix' the reasons above. Medical procedure is then to increase the medication dose, often multiple times, which can harm our overall and long term health.
Who goes to labs to get tested? People who are sick. If a lab creates its “normal” range based on test results from sick people, is that really a normal range?
Therefore the key to a successful treatment is first of all find an accurate cause. The reason the conventional approach fails us is that it skips this step and gives the same treatment (medication) to everyone, regardless of the cause of their problem.
The Connection Between Thyroid & Gluten
Many studies show a strong link between autoimmune thyroid disease (both Hashimoto’s and Graves (high thyroid) and gluten intolerance.
What explains this connection? A case of mistaken identity. The protein portion of gluten, closely resembles our thyroid gland. When this leaks through the protective barrier of the gut (usually happens with prior poor gut health) and enters our bloodstream, then our immune system registers it for destruction. Then antibodies cause the body to attack thyroid tissue.
* Our immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it therefore it's crucial to eliminate gluten completely. Unfortunately, being “mostly” gluten-free isn’t going to cut it. If you’re gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid.
Your Thyroid is Complex
Hopefully this post can help you see that there's much more we need to consider (other than what we're told in our doctor's office.
We need to be the CEO of our own health, because normal conventional advice simply does not consider and take into account the quality of our long term health.
If you are concerned ab