Lacking Juju? A Functional Medicine Approach to Thyroid

Thyroid disorders are all too common and are all too commonly missed. Your thyroid gland produces less than 1 tsp of thyroid hormones per year, but this micro dose is your juju. If you are having trouble losing weight, are feeling constantly agitated, flat, deeply fatigued or get chilled easily, there may be a very good reason. Your thyroid gland, which looks a lot like a butterfly, is delicate and wildly influential.

The role of the thyroid is vital to the our embodiment of health.

Even if your doctor has run a thyroid test, I urge you to read on, you may still need further investigation. The reason is that the current standard for thyroid testing is not up to date with our broader understanding, and so many people bounce around to medical professionals with undiagnosed thyroid dysfunction and never get to the root cause.

They are misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety, and sent on a downward trajectory of prescription roulette that only makes matters worse and impedes healing.

Most of my patients who are showing low thyroid symptoms, come back with thyroid anti-bodies or high reverse T3, which indicate early subclinical thyroid disorder is beginning.

This is a major problem because your thyroid is your essence, it is what drives all of your metabolic processes, regulates DNA function, facilitates messaging in the body via neurotransmitters and other hormones. It’s huge. When the thyroid is under-active, we see a whole range of symptoms including weight gain and lethargy, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, infertility, low libido, depression and sensitivity to cold. On the other end of the spectrum hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) presents as anxiety, inability to gain weight or muscle, insomnia and irritable bowel.  Both extremes cause a great deal of discomfort and need treatment. And yet because all of these symptoms are easily confused with other conditions, far too often women are sent home with anti-depressants or told to diet their way thin.

Conventional medicine professionals are missing the thyroid cry for help altogether.

The thyroid needs more investigation, attention and care. It is easily damaged by nutrient deficiencies, medications and stress; which put a lot of women at risk. Statistics in the USA estimate 20% of women have a low thyroid and only half of those are diagnosed.

Here are the key reasons you may need to use your own initiative to look further than your General Practitioner.

  1. General Practitioners do not test for the full range of thyroid hormones because this is not part of their approved testing options. What they test for is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), they use this as the indicator, but this is only part of the story.
  2. To add further confusion, thyroid disorders present a range of symptoms that can be vague and hard to differentiate from other disorders. Fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, weight loss; these are all often written off as part of normal aging or even depression.
  3. Most thyroid disorders have an underlying autoimmunity as a root cause. This dysfunction sets your body up to attack its own thyroid, and so until this is addressed synthetic thyroid treatment will not fully resolve the issue.
  4. In order to access full thyroid testing, which includes TSH, T4, T3 and reverse T3 plus Thyroid Antibodies, you will likely need to speak to a functional medicine practitioner such as a Naturopath or a Holistic Nutritionist like myself. We have access to specialised thyroid testing.

Often times we suffer for far too long, being told that there is ‘nothing wrong’ and thinking our thyroid is fine, when it fact it’s not. And until we know we can’t do anything about it. In addition to understanding the root cause, and where all your thyroid levels are, there are some important nutrients we need to look at that are very important for healthy thyroid function.

Deficiency in any of these can impede our body’s ability to keep up with demand:

  • Iodine
  • Tyrosine
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Fats and cholesterol

Prolonged stress resulting in adrenal push is a major contributor to a lot of health imbalances, and in particular anything endocrine related – yes, that’s the thyroid and sex hormones too. We always have to look at the thyroid, adrenals and sex hormones together.

There is often a direct association between prolonged stress, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance and thyroid dysfunction.

The Mind Body Reset online program will teach you more about the thyroid connection and what is needed for optimising thyroid health.

You can also request Extensive Thyroid Tests via a Functional Testing Session or a Full Consultation.

There are options, you just need to be empowered to find them.

Yours in shining health,

xo Sita Huber