The thyroid gland has really been getting a bad rep these days! Cold, constipated, gaining weight, brain fog? It must be your thyroid’s fault! But did you know that this is almost never the case? Your thyroid hasn’t done anything wrong and that is why your current treatments aren’t working the way you have hoped!
My thyroid isn’t the problem?
That’s right. Your thyroid, a butterfly shaped gland in the front of the next, is the canary in the coal mine. It is incredibly sensitive to changes in your environment and it is also commonly targeted by the immune system.These two factors cause you to have symptoms associated with poor thyroid function, and can sometimes even affect the amount of thyroid hormones produced. But again, it is not your thyroids fault! Let’s break it down.
It is your environment!
As I said previously, your thyroid is incredibly responsive to the environment it is in. This means that chronic stress, inflammation, exposures to chemical, environmental pollutants etc, nutrient deficiencies and hormone imbalances can all contribute to changes in the amount of thyroid hormones that are being produced or activated.
If you have a low TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)** this can result in low levels of thyroid hormones and symptoms. This is a signal from the BRAIN to your thyroid though. This is not your thyroids fault, it is simply not being told to make hormones. In this situation we need to figure out why your body is trying to slow down. Is it stress? Hormone imbalances, head trauma?
If you have a normal TSH** and low T3, which is the most active thyroid hormone, then this can result in symptoms! Again, this is not your thyroids fault. It is trying to make the precursor hormone but you are not taking that fuel and using it to make what your body needs. T3 is like gas in the gas tank, so if inflammation, liver issues, insulin issues, bacterial imbalances or any number of other factors are preventing you from making that gas you will have symptoms of hypothyroidism despite ‘normal’ labs!
It is your immune system!
The number one cause of thyroid issues, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, is an autoimmune process. The names of these conditions are Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis respectively. If you have been diagnosed with either hyper or hypothyroidism it is important to ask for your ‘antibodies’ to be checked. These are components of the immune system that are either damaging your thyroid or alternatively causing your thyroid to pump out hormones. Again though, this is not your thyroids fault, it is the victim here! Your immune system is what is contributing to your symptoms. And your immune system is what we need to treat!
This is an area that I am extremely passionate about treating because although the conventional medical system can provide you with medication to either add to thyroid hormones, or reduce in the case of Grave’s, it does not treat the whole picture. No matter what, if you are still having symptoms then your environment or your immune system are at play. And they can be treated!
To learn more about my approach to thyroid treatments, see our thyroid treatment programs (Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism) Or contact us to book now!
**Note: here we take an evidence based, functional medicine approach to understanding your laboratory tests. If you have been told by someone that your thyroid labs are ‘fine’ that doesn’t mean they are optimal or even good. Absence of disease is not health, we encourage you get a second opinion!