Thyroid conditions are seemingly epidemic. However, it is essential to understand that there are numerous types of thyroid imbalances. Ironically, most thyroid conditions are treated by allopathic medicine in the same blanketed fashion. Nowhere does allopathy even come close to touching the core issues of thyroid dysfunction, nor the causative, underlying factors that lead to the manifestation of thyroid dysfunction.
In our clinical practice, we have coached and properly educated countless individuals who have thyroid conditions. Those who follow our nutritional protocols, support their body's functions, and commit to healing, get better. In our practice, we recommend individualized diet, glandular supplementation, herbal formulations, key nutrient therapies, and lifestyle factors to help facilitate our client's healing process. Below is a brief compilation of our observations regarding the multitude of thyroid imbalances we encounter. READ the whole article and find out if you are in need of our clinical experience to help with your health issues.
The Numerous Types Of Thyroid Dysfunction
In reality, it is literally impossible to discuss matters of thyroid dysfunction without discussing the interconnected web of other imbalances, toxicities and nutritional deficiencies that are always at play.
- Hashimoto's Autoimmune Hypothyroidism - The core etiology with Hashimoto's is autoimmune-derived inflammation. TPO (thyroid peroxidase) antibodies are on an assault of thyroid tissue. In the case of Hashi's, unless the immune-derived inflammation is brought under control, it is an endless parade down the route of symptoms and allopathic medicine. Key research shows that imbalances between immune-derived TH1, TH2 and TH17 helper cells is a core factor in the immune assault. CORE NUTRITIONAL FACTORS involved with Hashimoto's: gluten and other food intolerances, nutrient deficiencies, methylation defects, systemic inflammation, heavy metal toxicity, gut flora imbalances and GI dysbiosis. A common presentation in Hashimoto's and other autoimmune conditions are methylation cycle dysfunctions. Gene mutations such as MTHFR, MTRR and CBS may be major players.
- Non-autoimmune Hypothyroid Activity - In this case, there are no known elevations in thyroid-related antibodies. The issue is related to a decrease in the thyroid hormones, T4 and T3. If you experience non-autoimmune hypothyroidism, there are a lot more things going on in your body besides low thyroid activity. It is incredibly common that these folks have: varying degrees of adrenal fatigue, core nutrient deficiencies, hypoglycemia, dietary protein deficiency, GI inflammation, iron-deficient anemia, and a network of other issues.
- Low T4 To T3 Conversion - In this situation, the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 appear normal. However the T3 (triiodothyronine) is low. Most of what the thyroid makes is T4. But T3 is the most active form of thyroid hormone, and is made from T4. If the conversion to T3 is compromised, then a person can have identical symptoms of hypothyroidism. The factors that most influence a low T4 to T3 conversion are: abnormal levels of adrenal stress hormones such as cortisol, liver dysfunction, selenium and zinc deficiencies (very common), issues of oxidative stress and free radical toxicity.
- Anterior Pituitary Hypofunction - Here, the core imbalance is low production of TSH by the anterior pituitary. The T4 and T3 values may look normal, or possibly slightly decreased. The thyroid is signaled by the anterior lobe of the pituitary to make T4. But if there are problems "up-stream" with the pituitary or hypothalamus, the thyroid may not be receiving the correct signals. Possible factors involving Anterior Pituitary Hypofunction: adrenal stress hormones are erratic, imbalances between estrogen and progesterone, heavy metal toxicity, gut dysbiosis. Negative feedback mechanisms that exist between the thyroid and pituitary can also play a factor here.
- Graves Disease Autoimmune Hyperthyroidism - Is a potentially very serious condition in which the thyroid is under attack by immune antibodies. Like with Hashimoto's, TH helper cell dysregulation has run amok. The result is an excess of thyroid hormones in circulation. From our experience, like with many other autoimmune situations, the issue is the immune response, and not the thyroid itself, per se. We have observed those with Graves have severe heavy metal or chemical toxicity that is an underlying factor. This contributes to a severe degree of oxidative stress, and wasting of vital antioxidant reserves such as glutathione. Additionally, Graves may feature strong liver and organ toxicity and dysfunction. Over time, if the inflammation is not brought down, rising levels of phosphorous result in poor tissue minerals, causing bone deterioration, and poor skeletal health.
- Non-Autoimmune Hyperthyroidism - Hyperthyroidism is usually assumed to be Grave's Disease. However, remarkably the antibodies may be negative. In such a situation, excessive thyroid hormone exist not because of immune assault. Overall dysregulation of the HPA/HPT axis is a core component here. And from our experience, so is liver dysfunction, heavy metal toxicity, nutrient deficiencies and GI dysbiosis.
ALL Thyroid Conditions Are MULTI-FACTORIAL
Like with all health issues, the factors at play are MULTI-FACTORIAL. If you try to address the problem ONLY from the level of the symptoms, you will not get well. Taking thyroid hormone will not make your thyroid gland work better. It will only act as a substitute for what your thyroid is not producing. IODINE, while being a core nutrient for thyroid function, is in reality ONLY ONE NUTRIENT. If you have any of the above thyroid issues, your issue is MULTI-FACTORIAL and will best be addressed from a holistically-oriented perspective, one that addresses and supports the normal functioning of the body.
Some of the many factors that can be involved in thyroid and HPT axis imbalances:
- Methylation cycle dysfunction - Methylation plays a key role in detoxification, B-12/Folate/B-6 utilization, glutathione formation, immune cell activity and neurotransmitter function. Gene mutations, or functionally aberrant methylation enzymes can disrupt these normal processes, leading to hormone and inflammatory imbalances. Some of these methylation gene/enzymes are: MTHFR, MTRR, CBS, NOS, PEMT, COMT, MAO-A, FUT2. 23andme offers genetic testing to identify the inherited status of these genes. Functional methylation blood testing can be ordered through online companies.
- Adrenal Fatigue/HPA Axis Dysfunction - It is known that changes in adrenal and HPA axis hormones (cortisol, ACTH, CRH) can affect and be affected by thyroid hormone imbalances. Stress on all levels can derail thyroid and HPT axis function. Saliva hormone testing is best used to detect "free-fractioned" (the most desired) cortisol levels.
- Nutrient Deficiencies in Thyroid Hormone Cofactors - Selenium, Zinc are major cofactors (3) for thyroid hormone function. The conversion of T4 into T3 not only involves zinc, selenium and healthy liver function, but research has also shown that glutathione (1, 2) status is imperative for this conversion. Remember that methylation and transsulfuration directly impact how our bodies make glutathione, as well as how we use B-12.
- Liver Dysfunction - The liver is the organ that converts the majority of the T4 into T3. If liver function is compromised, it can directly impact how this conversion takes place. On a routine blood test, the relevant markers of liver function are: Albumin, ALT, GGT, AST, Bilirubin. The liver needs an assortment of nutrients to function optimally. This is especially true of protein, B-vitamins and minerals. Glutathione is found in the highest concentration in the liver, and its status is directly affected by methylation activity. Glutathione is a critical antioxidant to prevent free radical toxicity from the high metabolic output of the liver.
Low Thyroid Activity: low basal body temperature, can't gain weight or sudden weight gain, goiter, extreme fatigue, startled by loud noise, persistent headaches, poor digestion, constipation, iron-deficiency, low blood sugar episodes
Hyperthyroid Symptoms: Anxiety, panic, insomnia, can't gain weight or sudden and rapid weight loss, no appetite, or extreme appetite, blood sugar roller coaster
Hypo-Pituitary Symptoms: Increased or decreased sex drive, always active: never a day off, too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it, stress, stress, stress.
Low T4 To T3 Conversion: Symptoms may be similar to low thyroid activity.
Supporting the Body's Function's To Improve Outcome
Because the issue surrounding thyroid imbalances are multi-factorial, in order for real progress to be made, you need to address the issue from a multi-faceted approach. Taking an approach that only supports the thyroid is not effective, especially in the longterm.
Many people are realizing that standard, medical approaches are totally inadequate to address thyroid concerns. There are droves of people just like yourself who have taken their health into their own hands, in order to reclaim their health. We find that this type of person, when equipped with the right information and the right persistent attitude, are the one's who get better and improve their health.
In our nutritional consulting practice, we are adamant about education, compliance, re-testing on time, and excellent nutrition. We find that this approach yields the best results, because it is truly holistic and multi-faceted.