The incidence of thyroid conditions has been on the rise for decades. Active thyroid hormone is found inside of every cell of the body, and it is this reason that leads many clinicians to believe that conventional diagnostics to detect certain thyroid conditions are largely unreliable. Blood TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) values are not reflective of intracellular levels of thyroid hormone, because TSH is a blood measurement, not an intracellular measurement.
Additionally, it should be noted that the thyroid and the hormones it uses to function do not exist in isolation inside of the human body. The point being is that there are a variety of functional relationships that exist between the thyroid and various organs, glands and systems.
Conventional Treatment For Thyroid Conditions
Thyroid hormone is prescribed for thyroid conditions, particularly hypothyroidism and in some people with autoimmune thyroid conditions, such as Haschimoto’s or Graves Disease. Numerous studies demonstrate that longterm use of thyroid hormone significantly increases bone loss and conditions associated with osteopenia.
Oftentimes patients with autoimmune thyroid conditions and hyperthyroidism are given radioactive iodine (RAI). RAI is radioactive and thus destroys tissues. Precautions are given to people taking RAI to not engage in sexual intercourse for 30 days, and to not plan on conceiving a child in 6 months following treatment, due to the volatile and toxic effect of the radiation.
Addressing Causation & Dysfunctions
Often it is the case that the thyroid gland is not the primary issue in thyroid conditions. For example, it is not uncommon for certain conditions like anterior pituitary hypofunction to be a primary endocrine imbalance, while hypothyroid function is secondary. This is due to the fact that the thyroid is an intricate part of the HPT (hypothalamus pituitary thyroid) axis. If malfunction exists in the anterior portion of the pituitary there will be a direct, inhibitory effect on TSH levels.
A clinical test can be performed to determine if anterior pituitary hypofunction is present. If the intravenous administration of TRH (Thyroid releasing hormone) does not cause a rise in TSH, this is indicative of anterior pituitary hypofunction. This is because TRH tells the anterior pituitary to release TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which then goes to the Thyroid and signals the the thyroid to produce T4. If TRH administration does not trigger TSH release, consider dysfunction in the anterior lobe of the pituitary where TSH is sent out in response to TRH.
There is also an intrinsic link between the thyroid and the adrenals. Abnormal amounts of the adrenal hormone cortisol will inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3 and may also give rise to the competitive negative T3 (rT3). Other stress-related hormones such as CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone) have an inhibitory effect on thyroid activity, inhibiting TSH transport to the thyroid.
The truth is that the thyroid is one endocrine gland, and the route it took to make T3 (the active form of the thyroid hormone) is highly involved and includes numerous hormones and glands of the body. Dysfunction can arise anywhere along the HPA/ HPT axis. It is important to investigate thyroid issues deeper and to address dysfunction and causation.
Iodine, Selenium & Toxicity
Iodine is one critical nutrient that the thyroid needs in order to function. Iodine deficiency is more common than believed. This may not be due to a quantitative deficiency of iodine from diet as much as the decrease in iodine availability in tissues due to increased amounts of environmental toxins such as bromines, fluoride, chlorine, halogens, drugs and toxic metals. Many people with thyroid conditions respond well to iodine supplementation, and yet many do not.
It is also important to note that the trace mineral selenium plays an important role in thyroid function. Selenium is involved in the conversion of T4 into the active T3 hormone. Deficiencies of selenium may be more common among people with hyperthyroid conditions.
Low circulating levels of T3 (the most active form of thyroid hormone) may be reflective of liver dysfunction, because the conversion of the active T3 takes place in the liver. This may be why many patients with thyroid dysfunction often have elevated liver enzymes such as GGTP and ALT. Elevated liver enzymes are reflective of dysfunction inside the liver, and may also impair normal detoxification mechanisms.
Get Your Diet In Order
Improving the quality of one’s diet cannot be understated. Eating in a way that is harmonious with one’s Metabolic Type® is foundational for improving the nutritional needs in the cells of your body. There is no ‘one size fits all’ diet that works for each person. In fact, biochemical individuality pervades every cell of the body.
Improved diet, detoxification and enhancing basic bodily functions all can have very positive influences upon one’s health. Investigating and addressing causation in issues related to thyroid conditions may lead you on the path to healing.