Time to take care of your thyroid

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Feeling exhausted all the time? Then perhaps you could be suffering from an undiagnosed thyroid condition, writes Naomi Murray of Botanica Health. Here she reveals what you can do to investigate further…


Perhaps you have visited your GP with common low thyroid symptoms and a blood test revealed that all was ‘normal’, or maybe you are already taking prescription thyroid medication but still don’t feel as well as expected.

Did you know that one in five women will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime, but the majority of these women will remain undiagnosed?

There is an epidemic of thyroid disease in this country and many women are suffering unnecessarily.

Hypothyroidism is also frequently accompanied by cardiac dysfunction and high blood pressure. In fact I know of one woman who after years of trying to get to the bottom of her obvious symptoms of low thyroid, eventually needed a pacemaker.

Studies by PubMed even show that treatment of hypothyroidism may lead to normalisation of blood pressure.


What is The Thyroid and Why Is It So Important

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the throat, just below the Adam’s apple. Sometimes you can feel it or the neck may appear puffy.

Thyroid hormone is one of the hormones that regulate metabolism and weight; hence why many women although not eating a huge amount of food and regularly exercising, just can’t shift extra weight.

Healthy thyroid function is vital for the overall well-being of the body.

It plays a huge role in the functioning of the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin and without the correct nutritional fuel the thyroid is unable to function properly and so symptoms appear.

The thyroid influences every tissue in the body and to do this it utilises multiple hormones, including T4, T3, T2 and T1. Perhaps the most important, and frequently discussed hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).


The “Gold Standard” TSH Blood Test

You might have visited your GP with some of the symptoms above and routinely you will be offered the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) blood test. This lab test was developed in the 1970s using about 200 volunteers to establish a ‘normal’ range. They didn’t really know at the time if these people were already becoming hypothyroid.

Many people are informed their results are normal when symptoms persist.

This can go on for years and years until the TSH test finally comes back as above-range.

But according to the late physiology expert Ray Peat he believed that:

“Measuring the amount of thyroid in the blood isn’t a good way to evaluate adequacy of thyroid function, since the response of tissues to the hormone can be suppressed (for example, by unsaturated fats).”

He also added: “Over a period of several years, I never saw a person whose TSH was over 2 microIU/ml who was comfortably healthy, and I formed the impression that the normal, or healthy, quantity was probably something less than 1.0.”


Not Relying on a Blood Test

In Canada Dr David Derry was practicing medicine when the TSH test was introduced. He adds: “The consensus of thyroidologists decided in 1973 that the TSH (lab) was the blood test they had been looking for all through the years. This was about two years after I started practice. Having been taught how to diagnose hypothyroid conditions clinically, I was in a position to watch to see what the relation of the TSH was to the onset of hypothyroidism. What I found was many people would develop classic signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism but the TSH was ever so slow to become abnormal, rise and confirm the clinical diagnosis. Sometimes it never did. Finally I began treating patients with hypothyroid in the normal manner I was taught. I could not see why I had to wait for the TSH to rise for me to be able to treat them.”

So, in other words he treated a patient the old-fashioned way, according to their symptoms.

Thyroxine is the medication of choice and has become the standard treatment for thyroid conditions because it influences the TSH levels. But this isn’t getting to the crux of the matter.

As I have mentioned above the TSH test is not a good method to gauge thyroid health. It doesn’t consider vital factors such as thyroid hormone conversion and transport or the patients’ nutritional status. By improving a patient’s T4 levels, doctors can normalise TSH levels without ever dealing with the actual true cause of thyroid dysfunction.


Support The Body With Supplements

Nutrients are vital for healthy thyroid function but deficiencies are prevalent due to the modern diet.

Zinc and selenium are essential for the conversion of the storage thyroid hormone T4 to T3 the active thyroid hormone.

Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormone and when used alongside selenium it can play an instrumental role in healing.

The adaptogenic herb Ashwagandha has been shown to have thyroid enhancing properties and can relieve fatigue and anxiety and combat.

Of course there is more to it. So if you would like further support please do get in touch…

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