What you need to know about your Thyroid
What does your thyroid do? Hint: A lot!
The thyroid is a small gland located in your throat. It provides many different functions including:
- Hormone production that affects energy production in your mitochondria that affects every cell and organ of your body.
- Metabolism, or how efficiently you turn food into energy, plus appetite control.
- Body temperature
- Heart rhythm
- Muscle strength
- It also modulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Menstrual cycle balance
- Affects libido and fertility for both sexes
- Regulating the immune system to prevent disease
- Mentally energizes memory, concentration, and motivation
The Root Cause Medicine approach is to always evaluate your body as a whole rather than focusing solely on a single gland or organ. The reason is that no part of your body works in a vacuum; it is influenced and affected by many other parts.
It is a lack of appreciation of this interdependency that results in so many failed thyroid treatments.
Symptoms of thyroid imbalance
Based on the long list of functions mentioned above, you will not be surprised to learn that the symptoms you can suffer are equally lengthy. Some common ones associated with hypothyroid are:
- Weight gain
- Cold intolerance
- High cholesterol
- Impaired cognitive function
- Hair loss
If your thyroid is hyperfunctioning common symptoms include:
- Rapid pulse
- Heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
Why is your thyroid mistreated by conventional medicine?
In women especially, the thyroid gland is highly underappreciated and often mistreated.
Let me defend my accusation with some common scenarios we see here at Root Cause. Which of the below have you experienced?
- You are diagnosed with low thyroid (hypothyroid) and offered medication as your only treatment option. You then enter the nightmare of trying to find the “right” dosage as you experience either no change in your symptoms, or new symptoms due to overtreatment, resulting in “hyper” symptoms.
- You are diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which often causes hypothyroid symptoms. You are offered no solution other than medication to manage your symptoms and are told there is no known cause nor treatment available to reverse the condition.
- You are diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid (Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease) and are offered radiation or surgery as your sole option.
- You feel terrible with a variety of thyroid-related symptoms, but your doctor says that your labs look good and therefore does not want to make any changes in your treatment. Note: it is vital to perform labs, but doctors must never ignore your symptoms.
The last scenario is classic of conventional medicine, and something we consider to be its major downfall. As a “thyroid” patient you are treated based on your thyroid lab tests, often neglecting how you feel. The facts are your lab test may “appear” normal but if you have symptoms, the likelihood, in my experience, is that either the lab was not looked at sensitively enough, a full thyroid panel was not performed, or the underlying cause lies elsewhere, and your doctor is missing it.
I could go on and on with examples. Just yesterday we met a patient who had clearly been overmedicated based on her symptoms and lab test results, but her doctor told her to continue with her medication and that no changes were necessary. If you’ve never experienced this is may sound unbelievable, but unfortunately it happens frequently.
What conventional medicine misses when treating your thyroid:
As I mentioned above, the conventional medicine approach is to treat your thyroid symptoms, typically with medication, as its sole approach.
What is this methodology missing?
The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system which includes your brain (hypothalamus and pituitary), adrenal glands and sex glands. Each of these glands produce hormones that influence each other along with the rest of your body. Traditional medicine fails to take this interplay into consideration, instead trying to treat your thyroid gland as if it existed alone.
Much like the scenarios mentioned above, and perhaps similar to what you have experienced, your symptoms remain unchanged or rollercoaster, and you continue to feel bad.
The Root Cause Solution
Our success rate with balancing the thyroid gland and in many cases, reversing Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is based on evaluating your body as a whole and having the best tools to properly diagnose and treat, the true root cause underlying your thyroid symptoms.
Examples of Root Cause Treatments
- Your adrenal glands work hand in hand with your thyroid; evaluating their health and function is critical in most thyroid patients. Conventional medicine fails to look at adrenal function because they focus on disease states only, and adrenal gland disease is rare. Adrenal malfunction, however, is very common.
The close association between the adrenal glands and thyroid is evident not only from an understanding of basic biochemistry, but in the common symptoms they share when they malfunction.
Symptoms of adrenal gland malfunction include:
- hormonal imbalance
- weight gain around the mid-section
- panic attacks
- high blood pressure
- elevated heart rate
- and more.
Interestingly, overtreating the thyroid with medication, will result in adrenal function suppression, leading to continued imbalance and symptoms.
It is vital to find a clinician who understands this association. We are happy to help you with this.
- The connection between your thyroid, sex hormones, and stress hormones is another underappreciated association. Therefore, if you have suffered acute or chronic stress, taken birth control pills, have recently had a baby, engaged in infertility treatment, or are a woman in menopause, you are at risk of thyroid malfunction. Clearly, without also balancing the sex hormones, stable thyroid function will not occur.
- Digestive imbalance, particularly insufficient stomach acid is another unappreciated cause of thyroid malfunction. Adequate stomach acid is required to absorb thyroxine (the major thyroid hormone, also known as T4). If you take antacids or suffer from lack of normal gastric acid (an extremely common scenario), you will not absorb thyroxine adequately, making thyroid hormone balance very difficult.
- The thyroid tends to be a “magnet” for infections and toxins; when such things are present, they attack and weaken your thyroid. This means that if their presence remains unidentified, thyroid medication will act as a temporary band-aid but your health will continue to suffer because the infection or toxin is still there.
An example of infections are viruses such as Epstein Barr virus (EBV) and Cytomegalovirus. (CMV), Lyme disease, bacterial and parasitic infections. Few conventional doctors test for the presence of chronic viruses and only are aware of the active form of the infections.
Toxins that attack the thyroid include heavy metals, pesticides, environmental toxins, and mold.
If you have thyroid malfunction or autoimmune disease, our Root Cause program will always rule out these potential infections and toxins as a causative factor. The good news is they can be treated naturally.
Not everyone needs drugs
Most patients would love to not be tethered to medication for the rest of their lives. The Root Cause Medicine approach often allows our patients to reduce or eliminate their medication once the underlying cause is identified and treated.
Our success rate stems from our ability to evaluate your body as a whole and determine exactly what is stressing and overburdening your thyroid.
Your treatment options
Sometimes our very best efforts to support diet, lifestyle, adrenal glands and sex glands, still results in the need to augment with thyroid hormones. If this is the case, it is vital to know of the most natural, sustainable support options for you and your thyroid. Natural hormones and dosages tailored to your precise needs, provide the highest efficacy.
Iodine – one of the earliest natural treatments for thyroid. It is still used by us today when thyroid malfunction is mild, and is often part of our supplemental program for hypothyroid conditions.
Armour thyroid – made from pig thyroid glands and research has shown that it can cause inflammation in the human thyroid gland while elevating immune markers, potentially causing autoimmune disease.
Nature-throid – very similar to Armour.
Synthroid – created after Armour, Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium) is a nearly bio-identical T4, the hormone your body uses to create the active T3 form. If you have tried Synthroid and not been successful, you are likely someone who is not adequately converting T4 to T3.
The root cause for this lack of conversion typically lies in nutritional deficiencies and toxicity issues. We can successfully address these in your thyroid treatment program.
Note: if you take levothyroxine, Synthroid is simply the brand name for it, along with Levoxyl and Levothroid.
Cytomel – a drug prescribed, often with Synthroid, to provide T3 in a synthetic form. Results are often unsatisfactory, likely because the underlying root cause for T3 conversion, as mentioned above, is missed.
The Root Cause Medicine approach uses bio-identical hormones
When needed, we prefer to use bio-identical T4 from a compounding pharmacy. It is not only bio-identical, meaning a compound identical to what your thyroid makes, but a compounding pharmacy will allow us to tailor your dosage very precisely. Synthroid as an example comes in 25 mcg (microgram) tablets and multiples of 25 mcg. In other words, you can get a dose of 25, 50 mcg, etc, but if we find you do best with a dose of 56 mcg (real life example), you would not be able to get such a tailor-made dose from a Synthroid tablet, resulting in having to take more or less than what is ideal for your body.
Of course, dietary, lifestyle, natural supplementation, sex hormones, and adrenal support would all be part of a well-rounded thyroid program.
How is your overall health and thyroid function?
I reviewed a lot in this blog. Was it helpful to you? Please let us know the questions you have or challenges you have run into trying to receive effective thyroid care.
We are here to help and would be delighted to offer you a free phone consultation to better assess what help you may need.
Do you need help with your health?
We have the tools to discover why you may be having trouble with a weakened immune system. It’s not difficult as long as you’re ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will hold your hand through the changes and make each step of change an easy one.
For more information, call Saratoga: (408) 542-0354 or Clearwater: (727) 339-6008
Dr. Vikki Petersen DC. CCN
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr Vikki Petersen is a public speaker, author of two books, several eBooks and creates cutting edge content for her YouTube community. Dr Vikki is committed to bringing Root Cause Medicine and its unique approach to restoring health naturally to the world.