Recovering from and even reversing thyroid dysfunction is possible, I’ve seen it in countless patients in my clinic.
While each patient is unique, there are often just a few common factors that need to be addressed in order to reclaim your health.
So if you’re struggling to overcome thyroid dysfunction and finally feel like yourself again, here are 6 factors that could be holding you back.
1. Not Getting the Right Testing
Most conventional doctors rely solely on TSH and T4 markers when it comes to thyroid health, but these are only 2 pieces of the puzzle.
To assess how your thyroid is actually functioning we need to look at the whole picture, and for that we need to run a complete thyroid panel, including TSH, T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies.
Because your thyroid may be producing plenty of thyroid hormones, but if they’re not being converted to their active state or actually binding to the receptors in your cells, they’re not doing you any good.
Furthermore, we want to aim for optimal ranges instead of the outdated “normal” ranges that many doctors use.
It may also be necessary to look at other hormone levels, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormones work in tandem with your thyroid hormones and if one is out of balance, it’s likely the others are impacted as well.
2. Not Finding the Right Medication
The go-to thyroid medication for Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism is Synthroid®, or its generic form Levothyroxine. In fact, it was the second most prescribed drug in America in 2018.
However, this is a synthetic T4 only medication, meaning it’s the storage form of thyroid hormones. If, like many thyroid patients, your body doesn’t convert T4 to its active form very well then you may continue to struggle with fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, and other thyroid symptoms.
In this case switching to a dessicated thyroid medication such as Armour®,WP Thyroid®, or Nature-Throid® might be a better fit. These medications contain all 4 of your thyroid hormones and their effect is the most similar to your body’s natural hormone process.
Every patient is different and it’s important to find the medication that works best for your body, rather than relying on a cookie cutter solution.
3. Not Addressing the Immune System
This means your immune system is attacking your thyroid and causing the imbalance, your thyroid is just the innocent bystander.
In order to actually reverse your condition instead of just treating the symptoms, you need to pinpoint what caused your immune system to go rogue in the first place and address those factors so that it stops attacking your thyroid.
4. Overlooking Nutrient Deficiencies
In order for your thyroid and its hormones to function optimally, it relies on a number of key vitamins and minerals, including selenium, zinc, iron, Omega 3s, and vitamins A, D, and E.
It’s critical to test your levels of these nutrients so that you can uncover any deficiencies and address them using dietary changes and supplements.
5. Missing Gut Infections
Did you know that 20% of your thyroid hormones are converted from their inactive state to their active state in your gut? Your digestive tract is also where you absorb those essential nutrients for thyroid function.
However, many thyroid patients are dealing with hidden gut imbalances, including Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, infections like H. pylori, or low stomach acid.
Using functional lab testing, we can identify and overcome these imbalances for improved thyroid function.
6. Chronic Stress
Finally, if your stress levels are high for a long period of time, it can suppress thyroid hormone production, keep your thyroid hormones stuck in their inactive state, and even lead to thyroid hormone resistance.
The truth is, stress plays an enormous role in your overall health. That’s why we work with our patients at GrassRoots Functional Medicine to help you create sustainable stress relief practices to minimize its impact on your wellbeing.
If you’re ready to finally see breakthrough results in your thyroid health, my team and I are here to partner with you.
About the Author: Dr. Seth Osgood is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner. Dr. Osgood received his post-graduate training in Functional Medicine through the IFM and from working with Dr. Amy Myers. He has helped people from around the world improve their health utilizing a Functional Medicine approach.