Updated: Jun 10, 2021
Original post: December 21, 2010
Thyroid insufficiency might be one of the most controversial epidemics to sweep our nation with implications as far reaching as the pace of the human race. As our first world technological advancements intrude on the activity of the thyroid and slow the pace of the individual’s metabolism the pace of humanity can become limited as this epidemic becomes a pandemic effecting the masses of our human and pet populations. Thyroid insufficiency impedes mental, emotional and physical potential. It simply just prevents the full pace of each cell, each tissue, each organ and each human being from surfacing. Can this pandemic reset man’s biological clock and evolutionary pace to slow the human race? The philosophical ramifications make for interesting discussion but let’s step in from the broader view of humanity to discuss the intimate health implications for each of us. And then ,let`s see how we can take immediate and personal action to compensate for the common thyroid challenge.
The thyroid and TSH controversy is a manmade phenomenon that you have to take charge of to identify and overcome for yourself. More of us are affected than once thought. As the medical debate evolves you might not want to stand by waiting for the outcome while coffee, caffeine and even ephedrine intake ramp up to play a bigger and bigger crutch in your life as compensation. The thyroid might very well be the factor that is driving our North American epidemic rates of obesity and depression. Taking charge of this health issue could be the biggest life change you’ll make for yourself in your adult years.
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is the common marker used to identify or measure thyroid function by your medical practitioner. Endocrinologists have established what is called a reference range for TSH levels in the body. This is the range (0.5 – 5.0 uU/ml) that is determined to be the healthy normal value for the population. Values lower than 0.5 indicate that hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) might be health challenge and values greater than 5.0 are indicative of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid is more common).
The controversy stems from the fact that this range was itself established based on population mean – a population that has been grossly influenced by the fluoride, chloride and other environmental, dietary and lifestyle unknowns that could cause TSH to be higher than the healthy normal uninterrupted range. In other words, a TSH result of 5 uU/ml might not have you diagnosed with a hypothyroid condition by current standards but this might be a marginal insufficiency that makes a monumental impact on your life.
Researchers are moving to consider a narrower range reflective of what is believed to be that un-interrupted healthy thyroid activity of young adults. This corrected range is expected to be 0.3-3.0 uU/ml TSH. That 4 or 5 uU/ml test might justifiably be a clinical problem that you’ve been forced to simply drag your weighed down feet through. If you’ve been tested before and have not been diagnosed, your test today might be interpreted differently and you’d get the help you need to put youthful spring back in your life.
The symptoms of mild and advanced hypothyroidism can include some or all of the following:
Fatigue, Weight gain, Lack of drive, Irritability, Memory loss, Constipation, Decreased libido, Mind fog, Limb and muscle aches, Joint pain, Coarse brittle hair, Hair loss, General weakness, Immune system sluggishness and weakness, Dry skin and even vision impairment in advanced stages. It leaves one gasping for energy spikes from coffee and other stimulants just to feel `with it`.
Nutrient-deficiency cravings are not a coincidence either.
Since energy is low the cells of the body strive to attain energy creating an insatiable desire for carbohydrate and calorie-rich foods. This vastly compounds the problem. Other interesting phenomena accompany this condition even if mild. These include cravings for salt which may be a result of several possibilities. One possible cause is the iodine content of salt due to the iodization of our salt supplies. Interestingly we see this same veracity for salt in thyroid deficient canines that might have an even finer tuned nutrient-deficiency craving system than humans. Iodine is an important element for thyroxin production by the thyroid gland and a lack of thyroid activity might drive the body to gather what it needs nutritionally despite the devastating sodium consequence.
If your recent need for eye glasses coincides with multiples of the above symptoms check for thyroid insufficiency and don’t settle for the common T4 (thyroxine) treatment. While scientists are re-evaluating the TSH scale this investigative work along with our thyroid research in other species such as dogs, has revealed that there`s much more to thyroid therapy than just basic T4 (thyroxine) administration.
A deeper look at the thyroid phenomenon.
There are different forms of thyroxin circulating in the body as well. T4 is the main thyroxin form that serves as a pool of the hormone that the body converts into T3 – the more potent, faster acting form. The thyroid gland, itself produces T4 and some T3. The small T3 output serves as that immediate signalling for the cells while the T4 is a back up slow release source or pool.
Typical thyroid therapies involve the administration of T4 to build the pool of that slow release form. It can take several weeks to take effect. However, this positive activity is dependent on effective conversion of T4 to T3 as well – most of which takes place in the liver. Interestingly, the metabolic activity of the liver is regulated by thyroxin as well and the organ’s conversion of T4 to T3 might, itself, be compromised by the long term low of the thyroxin preceding the therapy. So this step could be slow in the thyroxin deficient person being a self-limiting step in the therapy using T4 exclusively.
T4 administration on its own might not be enough to get the metabolic ball rolling in the right direction and at the right pace. T3 reference ranges are now being re-evaluated as well because it appears that different folk require and respond to a wide range of T3 doses that makes a FIT-ALL reference range and treatment for T3 difficult to establish. This might be caused by receptor sites of T3 being desensitized in the body as we age much like the development of resistance to sex hormones and insulin is known to develop. When this happens the cells become less sensitive to the hormone signal and more might be needed to get the job done.
If the thyroid gland is not producing T4, it is likely not producing T3 either so the common T4 drug might be short of delivering the result you need. The more appropriate solution might be a combination therapy that includes both T3 and T4 at the same time to emulate what the healthy and fully functional thyroid gland does in the first place. Your health care practitioner can help you define these needs. If you’ve been tested but not been diagnosed with a thyroid insufficiency ask for the test results to determine which TSH reference range is being used and consider that 0.3-3.0 TSH could, very well, be the new range to come based on these recent investigations. This might finally help you identify the cause of your metabolic insufficiency with greater accuracy. It might explain why energy is deficient, mental drive isn’t what it was and why that extra weight just keeps piling on despite your escalating exercise and calorie restriction. Depression may stem from these underlying issues as well.
Do you qualify for re-evaluation?
Thyroid insufficiencies can also be accompanied by swollen lymph glands as a function of the immune system engagement. The use of the steroid sex hormones is now known to interfere with thyroid and thyroxin activity. This includes birth control drugs, performance testosterone analogues, and many forms of hormone replacement therapy.
Interestingly the common way we treat the symptoms of autoimmunity can also lead to thyroid insufficiency as a secondary disease. Extended use of corticosteroids, like Prednisone, has been linked to thyroid insufficiency. And these anti-inflammatory, immune bending steroid drugs are prescribed prolifically in human and pet health care to treat all kinds of chronic inflammation from skin disease, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmunity and more.
With so many causes and so many contributors to thyroid interference and a North American population that’s careening towards a senior majority, it’s no wonder that obesity, depression and chronic fatigue are prolific in our new world. Every one of us has been exposed to multiples of these thyroid intrusions. Without a finite clinical diagnosis many suffering from marginal thyroid insufficiency are incorrectly diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or other conditions related to metabolic insufficiency. Many just struggle with fluctuating body weight, lack of drive and depression.
Push your health care provider for thorough testing and proper therapy using both forms of the thyroid treatment – T4 and T3. In addition to these pharmaceutical supports, natural compounds can be utilized as complementary treatment: thyroid glandular (usually porcine source) can be used as a supply of both thyroxin hormone forms but these are not consistently standardized sources of the hormones. Iodine (5 mg/day) sources (seaweed) and tyrosine supplementation (2000 mg / day) also serve very well. Supplementing with a good vitamin B complex (with 100 mg B6) provides support for thyroxin production from iodine since B6 is a cofactor and iodine a critical component.
But don’t settle to stay with the natural alternatives if they are not working to alleviate the symptoms on their own. A completely effective thyroid therapy is life changing at many levels and dimensions of life. It puts you back in the Universal scheme allowing you to contribute to mankind in your own unique way. This might require the use of the pharmaceutical cocktail; it might require a complementary (thyroxin + nutraceutical) program; it should include a lifestyle change as well.
Evaluate your diet and environment to eliminate sources of toxicity and regularly cleanse and detoxify to eliminate toxicity that has settled within your cells. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and healthy fibres, and supplement this antioxidant intake to increase the body`s antioxidant load. Antioxidants are powerful neutralizers of free radicals and the toxicity free radicals create.
Try the different thyroid support described to find what works for you and change lifestyle at the same time the thyroid support is administered. They`ll support each other making the lifestyle change easier to commit to and stay with. Your health is in your hands; it`s up to you to push through the metabolic and mental sludge created by hypothyroidism to clear a path to smoother sailing and greater life potential.