The Truth About Thyroid Disease – Natural Options Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About

A Guest Post by Dr. Peter Osborne, Founder of Gluten-Free Society and Glutenology

Addressing Thyroid Disease Naturally

Classic signs of thyroid hormone deficiency include fatigue, memory loss,  cold hands and feet, muscle and joint pain, depression, high cholesterol, and  constipation. Over the past 2 years, I have seen a large influx of patients that  had been placed on thyroid hormones to treat the above symptoms.

Many of these  individuals responded well to thyroid hormone initially, but were no longer  receiving as much benefit from its use. Furthermore, many of them continued to  develop additional symptoms such as dry eyes, dry and bleeding nasal passages,  and dry hair and skin. Most of them were also experiencing greater loss of  hair.

What You Should Know About Thyroid Hormone Production

Thyroid hormone production is under the influence of a chemical called  thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is made by the pituitary gland. When  circulating levels of thyroxine (T-4) are low, TSH sends a message to your  thyroid gland to start producing more T-4. The building blocks your body uses to  make T-4 come from food constituents that we obtain from the diet (tyrosine – an  amino acid from protein and certain minerals – iodine, zinc, etc).

Once your  body makes T-4, it must be activated by other nutrients (vitamins and minerals)  into something known as T-3 (1). T-3 is the active form of thyroid hormone that  works to increase the body’s metabolism. However, certain nutrient deficiencies  and stress can lead to a reduction in T-3 and instead the production of Reverse  T-3. This form of T-3 is not as effective and leads to symptoms of  hypothyroidism.

Unfortunately, Reverse T-3 is cannot be distinguished from T-3  in traditional thyroid lab reports and this is a common oversight by many  physicians. Once T-3 is made it will attach to the nucleus inside your cells and  increase the body’s metabolism appropriately.

Once again, however, certain  nutrient deficiencies can decrease the responsiveness of our body’s cells to  T-3, causing symptoms of hypothyroidism. For these reasons lab reports commonly  performed by physicians that look at TSH, T-4, and T-3, can be misleading. A  simplified diagram of thyroid hormone production is listed below:

  • TSH Stimulates the thyroid gland to make T-4.
  • T-4 Converts to either T-3 or  Reverse T-3 (RT3).
  • RT3 is inactive. Normal T-3 attaches to the cell nucleus.
  • Once attachment of T-3 occurs the body’s metabolism increases.

As if the above information were not complicated enough, there are also  environmental factors that can also effect thyroid hormone production:

  • Oral  contraceptives and estrogen containing medications have been shown to reduce the  conversion of T4 to T3.
  • Many herbicides and pesticides contain estrogen  mimicking compounds known to effect thyroid hormone production.
  • Soy foods and  sodas can cause a reduction in thyroid hormone.
  • Certain food allergies and  selenium deficiency are linked to autoimmune thyroid dysfunction (3,4).
  • Heavy metal  exposure through air, water, dental fillings etc. have been linked to poor  thyroid function.

Remember that thyroid disease is never just as simple as taking a medication  whether it is bio-identical or not. Thyroid dysfunction has a cause. An astute  physician will take an active roll in care and seek to perform a comprehensive  exam and laboratory work up that will identify the cause.

Keep in mind that your  body has the ability to make its own thyroid hormone providing that your thyroid is not under the autoimmune attack, all the  essential nutrients necessary are present in the diet or through  supplementation, providing that the environment is conducive to the expression  of good health, and providing that the individual is properly educated in the  care of his/her body.

Many patients that come to me initially are taking some  form of thyroid medication. Many were instructed that the medication was a life  long necessity. And in many it is very common that the medication becomes  unnecessary.

Learn more about the proper natural treatment for thyroid disease at Dr.  Osborne’s website. You will find test explanations, natural treatment options, true gluten-free diet and more.

In his recent article Dr. P.Osborne explains how Gluten, Selenium Deficiency and Thyroid Disease are connected and what dietary changes you can make to improve your thyroid symptoms.

 

P.S. Do you like what you read and would like to get more? Subscribe to Thyroid in Women blog updates here and get new FREE articles delivered direct to your email box.

References:

1. Moncayo R, et al. The role of selenium, vitamin C, and zinc in benign  thyroid diseases and of selenium in malignant thyroid diseases: Low selenium  levels are found in subacute and silent thyroiditis and in papillary and  follicular carcinoma. BMC Endocr Disord. 2008 Jan 25;8:2.

2. Pansini F, et al. Effect of the hormonal contraception on serum reverse  triiodothyronine levels. Gynecol Obstet Invest 1987;23:133.

3. Mazokopakis EE, et al. Effects of 12 months treatment with  L-selenomethionine on serum anti-TPO Levels in Patients with Hashimoto’s  thyroiditis. Thyroid 2007 Jul;17(7):609-12.

4. Negro R, et al. The influence of selenium supplementation on postpartum  thyroid status in pregnant women with thyroid peroxidase autoantibodies. J Clin  Endocrinol Metab 2007 Apr;92(4):1263-8. Epub 2007 Feb 6.

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