Are you unable to lose weight? Feel anxious or depressed? Experiencing hair loss? Low energy levels? Overly sensitive to cold weather? Is the outer 3rd of your eyebrow thinning? If so, you may have a sluggish thyroid.
Your thyroid is vital to your health---the master gland of your metabolism. It is your body’s internal thermostat, regulating temperature by secreting two hormones, T3 and T4 that control your ability to burn calories and use energy. The thyroid controls your weight, body temperature, heart rate, energy levels, menstrual regularity and muscle strength.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped, hormone-producing tissue the size of a walnut located at the lower front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. Every cell in your body needs small amounts of thyroid hormone to function optimally.
Hypothyroidism is a health condition in which there’s insufficient thyroid activity, and very often undiagnosed. Approximately 27 million Americans are experiencing a thyroid disorder, and <25% of those with an underactive thyroid have been properly diagnosed or treated. Some early symptoms are mistaken for fatigue, anxiety, or aging. Untreated hypothyroidism dramatically increases your risk of serious health concerns and degenerative diseases.
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is secreted by the pituitary gland in your subconscious brain. In early stages of hypothyroidism, the pituitary gland releases more and more TSH, causing elevated TSH levels. This causes the thyroid to work overtime to secrete more thyroxin (T4) and T3, the biologically active form of thyroid. Most of the T4 produced is converted to T3 by your liver. If the TSH is >0.5 and <3.0, there is a 90% probability it’s anterior pituitary hypofunction.
Measuring different hormones in the blood can determine if the thyroid gland is working properly, however subjective indicators should not be overlooked. To most effectively screen for hypothyroidism and other thyroid imbalances, Dr. Galitzer recommends that doctors also request blood tests that also include thyroid antibodies. It’s recommended that all individuals be tested for hypothyroidism by the age of 50 as well as women who are or are planning to become pregnant in order to detect thyroid problems.
Most doctors only test TSH. TSH alone is not a thorough screening of thyroid function. Data from a study of 25,000 participants whose TSH was measured argued that the ideal TSH level is 1.4 or less, not the usual 5.5 limit still cited by some labs. Ugh!
One study showed that individuals with TSH values >2.0 have an increased risk of developing clinically significant thyroid deficiency over the next 20 years (Vanderpump MP et al 1995). Other studies show that TSH values >1.9 indicate risk of autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland (Hak AE et al 2000). Another study showed that TSH values >4.0 increases the likelihood of heart disease in postmenopausal women (Hak AE et al 2000).
“Thyroid blood panel without symptoms is useless. 90% of the time the patient is normal on the lab test. If you know the symptoms, numbers become useful.” ~ Harry O. Eidenier Jr., Ph.D.
Suggested Thyroid Testing (Download the List of Labs)
- At Home Thyroid Test Before going to bed, set a thermometer on your nightstand. The moment you wake up, place the thermometer under your left armpit for 10 minutes. (This would be the perfect time to set your intention for the day). Monitor your temperature for 5 consecutive days. Total the number. Divide by 5 for an average temperature.
A morning temperature consistently <97.3˚F may suggest hypothyroidism, whereas temperatures consistently <97.0˚F are highly probable of low thyroid function
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Beware most all of the so called “normal” ranges are simply dead wrong. The ideal level for TSH is between 1 and 1.5 mIU/L.
- T4 panel
- Free T4 – The normal level of free T4 is between 0.9 and 1.8 ng/dl.
- T4 Thyroxine – optimal levels are 8-12.5
- Free Thyroxine Index – optimal levels are 1.5-5
- T3 Panel
- Free T3 – Optimal ranges are between 1.8-5.4
- T3 Uptake – optimal levels are 27-37
- T3 Total – optimal ranges are 72-170
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody – optimal ranges are 0-19
Low Adrenal Function: Cortisol levels (8 a.m. and 4 p.m.); DHEA and DHEA-S; Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) and ACTH.
Homocysteine Clinical research has shown that homocystinuria is found with many cases of primary and secondary thyroid hypo-function.
Read Part 2 Conditions and Symptoms of a Sluggish Thyroid
Read Part 3 Natural Solutions for a Sluggish Thyroid
Contact me to determine the specific plan that works for you. My Ultimate Personal Plan is a personalized lifestyle plan designed specifically for you that promotes natural hormone balancing with healthy and delicious menu options, nutrient support to balance deficiencies or excesses, exercise suggestions, lifestyle recommendations and guidance, plus optional ongoing support. Guaranteed Results!
Copyright © Paula Owens
- Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 2006.
- Shames, Richard and Shames, Karilee. Thyroid Power. 2002.
- Goldberg, Burton. Alternative Medicine. 2002.
- Page, Linda. Healthy Healing. 2002.
- Alter Intern Med. 2008 Apr 28;168(8):855:60.
- “NEJM Study Proves Armour Thyroid Better Than Synthroid” January 2, 2008.