What is Hypothyroidism?
Nearly 5% of Americans are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough thyroid hormone to support metabolic functions in the body. The thyroid gland secretes two main hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T4 is mainly produced by the thyroid gland and then converted in the liver and kidneys to the metabolically active T3 hormone. T3 is responsible for regulation of metabolism, energy production, body temperature, body fat, cholesterol, and cognitive function. When corrected, T3 has the most impact on improving symptoms.
At Vitality, we understand the importance of looking at all the thyroid hormones, so we measure Free T3, Free T4, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), and Reverse T3. We also check thyroid antibodies to see if you are suffering from an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
There are surprisingly over 200 symptoms of thyroid dysfunction that improve greatly (and often disappear) with treating the thyroid deficiency by optimizing your Free T3 levels:
|Colder body temperature||Symptoms of poor circulation in the hands and feet||Fatigue|
|Depression||Forgetfulness, fuzzy thinking and word-finding difficulty||Muscle and joint pain|
|Dry skin and hair; dry, brittle nails||Digestive ailments (constipation, IBS)||Menstrual irregularities and infertility|
|Emotional instability||High cholesterol||Weight gain|
My doctor will only prescribe Synthroid or Levothyroxine, but I still don’t feel well.
Most medical providers were taught that TSH is the main thyroid hormone to monitor and that Synthroid (or Levothyroxine) is the best (or only) treatment for healthy thyroid function. Synthroid has been FDA-approved for over 60 years and has always been the go-to medication of choice. Many people find that when they take Synthroid (Levothyroxine) their symptoms worsen. Their hands and feet are colder, and they have more word-finding difficulty and memory issues. They remain fatigued and unable to lose weight.
If your body is capable of converting T4 to T3, Synthroid (Levothyroxine) can be beneficial. However, if you are one of the estimated 20% of the population who genetically cannot convert T4 to T3, Synthroid is likely not going to help you. When taken alone, it may actually lower T3. Furthermore, if you’re 40 or older and are quickly losing (or have lost) the ability to convert T4 to T3, this medication will likely be of little to no help.
Why do many medical providers seem to only look at your TSH level if the real issue is Free T3?
Most doctors are taught to monitor TSH and that TSH is diagnostic of thyroid function and of thyroid disease. Free T3 is often not checked and is often overlooked.
My doctor says that my thyroid is “normal” but I still feel terrible. Why?
We see many people with symptoms of hypothyroidism, but lab work done with other medical providers show that they are “within the normal range.” Every person is different and as such, every person’s “normal” can be different. We look at your symptoms and your lab results and develop a personalized plan to give you relief and disease prevention. Our goal is to optimize your thyroid function while also giving you protection from Alzheimer’s, heart disease, depression and functional decline.
How do you know if your thyroid levels are low?
The first step is to get blood tests. Once we have your results, our team at Vitality will review it and determine how well your thyroid is functioning. The lab work is simple and fairly inexpensive. If we find evidence that your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally, we will develop a plan to support it.
I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or no longer have a thyroid. Can you still help me?
Yes, we can certainly help you! Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks your thyroid, and you start to have symptoms of Hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can be triggered by trauma, infection, foods, toxin exposure, a stressful event and other issues and often involves your Gastrointestinal (or Gut) Health. While we work on repairing the damage caused by the initial insult to your thyroid, we also treat you to optimize your thyroid function while we work to heal the underlying issue.
If your thyroid has either been removed or is non-functioning, we can also help you get back to feeling as good (or even better) than you did before your thyroid was non-working. Whether your issue is simple Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or a poorly functioning thyroid gland, we can help decrease (and ideally eliminate) the symptoms you’re experiencing so that you not only feel better, but we can also lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Heart Disease in the process.
Why are my symptoms starting out of nowhere, around age 40?
Our bodies make T4 and must then convert the T4 to T3 in order to access the benefits it provides to have an optimally functioning thyroid. Some people inherit the inability to convert T4 to T3, while most others start to lose the ability for conversion of T4 to T3 at about the age of 40.
How do we correct the issues?
At Vitality Medical Wellness Center we treat you as a whole person and not simply as one body part to be “fixed.” We look closely at your complete medical history, toxin exposures, nutrition, habits, lifestyle and symptoms and develop a personalized approached to help you achieve your goals to optimizing health.
For treating thyroid disorders like the ones mentioned above, we first assess to see if you are converting T4 to T3. If you are not, we try to determine why this is happening, support the condition with nutrients, lifestyle changes, and adrenal support. If your symptoms are severe, we may recommend medications containing T3, such as dessicated porcine thyroid hormone. We have found it to be the most effective tool for the largest number of people who want to feel good but also optimize disease protection. It can be compounded or found as a commercially available preparation in the form of Nature Throid, NP Thyroid, WP Thyroid or Armour Thyroid. Most every option has specific benefits, but we will carefully consider a diversity of factors when determining which we think is best for you. A small handful of patients do well on Synthroid (Levothyroxine) and need to add Cytomel (which is T3) to their regimen.
If you are suffering from an autoimmune thyroid condition, we will take a whole body approach to heal your digestive system (leaky gut), remove triggering infections and detoxify your body.