Feeling fatigued? Poor memory and concentration? Cold hands and feet? Weight gain? Struggling to conceive?
These are common symptoms of hypothyroidism or subclinical hypothyroidism.
Commonly, a doctor will request a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test. If that is within the normal range of 0.4 - 4.00 mU/L, you are usually told there is nothing wrong. Generally, no further investigations are conducted.
So why is it when you go to see your naturopath or nutritionist, you are told a different story?
Put simply, we are looking at the test in a different way than your GP. A doctor diagnoses disease and writes a prescription.
Thyroxine is given if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism (your TSH is higher than 4 mU/L and your T4 and/or T3 is low).
A naturopath assesses your body for optimal functioning and wellness
He or she wants to stop the deterioration in its tracks. Reversing it before it becomes a disease.
An optimal TSH level is between 1.0-2.5 mU/L and optimal T4 is higher than 14 pmol/L. You may have a sluggish thyroid if your TSH is higher than 2.5 mU/L and T4 and/or T3 is low.
T4 and T3, thyroid hormones
When the level of T4 drops (usually due to a lack of iodine in the diet) then the pituitary gland pumps out higher levels of TSH to produce more T4.
T4 converts to T3 and T3 is the more “active” hormone in the body.
If there is a deficiency of zinc and/or selenium, T4 doesn’t convert efficiently and there may be a decline in T3 levels.
A naturopathic prescription includes iodine, zinc and selenium as part of a multi. NaturoBest’s Ultimate Multi & Antioxidant contains excellent levels of these minerals as well as activated B vitamins to support energy levels.
Controlling stress is important as high cortisol levels interfere with thyroid hormone functioning
I prescribe the herb withania for use at night. It is excellent for thyroid support and helps reduce stress and anxiety.
I will also prescribe herbs to support energy levels during the day. An active lifestyle is another important factor in healthy thyroid function. Exercise helps increase the thyroid hormones T4 and T3 and decreases TSH as shown in this study.
A subsequent test is performed 6-8 weeks later if they haven’t responded well to this protocol. I test their thyroid antibodies (this may be performed straight away depending on their first test results). If thyroid antibodies are high it indicates the person has Hashimoto’s disease.
Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition in which immune cells attack the thyroid. This causes inflammation and eventual destruction of the gland. I recommend a high-quality echinacea supplement to help treat this. However, if it’s not good quality, it simply won’t work. That's why I choose Mediherb’s Echinacea Premium.
Bovine thyroid extracts
These can be purchased from iherb. A randomised controlled trial showed people have the same response to bovine thyroid as thyroxine. But with fewer side effects and a better feeling of well-being.
Educate yourself and become empowered
You can learn more about the thyroid and how to treat it in my Female Fertility & Preconception Care package.