Hypothyroidism is a common condition that results when the thyroid gland-located in front of the neck below the Adam’s apple-produces an insufficient supply of thyroid hormones. This can occur naturally, or as the result of damage to the gland.
When this condition exists, the pituitary (master hormone) gland increases production of a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which causes the thyroid to make more thyroid hormone (T4). If increased thyroid hormone is a result of increased TSH for the short term it can be okay but if the thyroid gland has to overwork it will soon result in a thyroid gland that is dysfunctional. A dysfunctional thyroid has many health ramifications including an overdependance on the adrenal glands, which will cause them to eventually fail.
Symptoms of low thyroid include weight gain, fatigue, depression, constipation, irritability, feeling cold, extra sensitivity to cold, hair loss, recurrent infections, decreased immune function, hormone imbalances, menstrual problems, confusion, personality changes, dementia, and calcium disturbance (either too high or low).
Detection of Hypothyroidism
Blood tests (thyroid panal) can detect most hypothyroid cases.
Home test: one can get a rough idea of thyroid glad function by taking the following home test. Read body temperature at the armpit first thing after waking and before rising. Do this each day for several days. Temperatures that read consistently below 97.5 are indicative of hypothyroidism. The lower the temperature the more severe the hypothyroidism.
People with fatigue, weight gain, depression, hair loss and/or always feeling cold should consider low thyroid function as a possible cause.
Thyroid deficiencies or excess can be a serious medical condition and requires medical management. An integrative physician can consider including the following as part of a regimen for mild cases:
- Natural hormones via thyroid glandulars must be monitored as the correct dose is determined.
- Foods high in iodine (kelp, potatoes, fish and vegetables)
- Foods high in B vitamins (whole grains, raw nuts and seeds)
- Foods high in Vitamin A (dark green and yellow vegetables)
- Herbs (mugwart and gentian)
- Aerobic exercise
- Homeopathic therapy that can help stimulate the thyroid
- Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture
- Avoidance of foods that slow thyroid function (cabbage, broccoli, turnips, kale, spinach, peaches, and pears)
- Nutritionally with essential fatty acids, zinc and the amino acid tyrosine