A healthy thyroid gland produces the correct amount of thyroid hormones necessary to keep important bodily functions, including your metabolism, balanced.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why your thyroid may become damaged, bringing on sluggishness and weight gain among other symptoms.
Common imbalances fall into two general categories; when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) causing you to use up nutrients and calories too quickly, or when the thyroid doesn’t produce sufficient hormone (hypothyroidism), resulting in your body slowing down and not converting energy well, causing weight gain and fatigue.
The common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include extreme or quick weight loss, nervousness and excess sweating, infrequent periods, eye issues, skin issues, muscle weakness, and a fast heart rate.
The common symptoms of hypothyroidism include unexplained weight gain or having trouble losing weight, sluggishness, heavier periods, brain fog, dry skin and hair, sensitivity to cold, slower heart rate, fatigue, more frequent and stronger menstrual periods, memory issues, and dry skin and hair.
What causes thyroid imbalances or disease?
Many things that can compromise thyroid health. Nutritional factors, stress, environmental toxins, pregnancy, and genetics can all play a role in thyroid disease. Depending on the type of thyroid imbalances or disease, most people experience multiple symptoms.
In some cases, genetic factors can impact your thyroid, like in the case of Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that can be triggered by a stressful event, gut issues, or even a stealth chronic infection. Women can contract thyroiditis after giving birth…this is also referred to as postpartum thyroiditis.
Nutrition also impacts your thyroid functions. A diet high in sugar, junk food, inflammatory foods containing gluten and poor quality fats, and regular alcohol consumption can all disrupt thyroid health. Deficiencies in important thyroid nutrients, like iodine, selenium, and zinc may also be to blame.
The Conventional Approach To Testing Thyroid Issues
Worldwide over 200 million people have some type of thyroid disease and it’s on the rise. While everyone is susceptible to thyroid disease, women are 7 times more likely to have issues with thyroid imbalances.
Traditionally, testing for thyroid issues would include a TSH and possibly total thyroxine (T4) or a Free T4. The TSH represents the signal given by your pituitary telling your thyroid to produce hormones. Now if your TSH is high, most likely your doctor will prescribe thyroid medication, but there are many other ways that thyroid hormone imbalance can manifest.
The Functional Medicine Approach To Thyroid Health
The functional medicine approach emphasizes comprehensive labs of the full thyroid metabolism cycle in addition to a root cause analysis of why there is a breakdown in that cycle. It is also important to include testing on nutrients that are important for the optimal function of the thyroid including vitamin D, selenium, zinc, iodine, b vitamins, and iron. Surprisingly, many people are nutrient deficient even though they have plenty to eat! There may be other reasons for thyroid hormone disruption such as excess inflammation in the body (from unknown food sensitivities or dysbiosis), exposure to environmental toxins, and imbalance of other hormones such as cortisol or estrogen.
As you can see, it’s complex. There really isn’t “a one size fits all” approach when it comes to thyroid support and this is why it’s crucial to work with a practitioner who can find the right formula for you so you can finally regain your energy and banish your thyroid symptoms.
That’s why we follow a functional medicine approach to identify what factors are compromising your thyroid health. Together, we can create a custom-tailored protocol to address all the issues that are causing thyroid symptoms, or other health issues that may be mistaken as thyroid issues. Feel free to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to see what the best next steps are for you to overcome your current thyroid related health issues.
Take The First Step On Your
Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make the decision to become a patient. Our patient coordinator is standing by, happy to answer any questions you may have to determine if Awaken Functional Medicine is right for you.