In the mainstream medical community, treating low thyroid can be fairly straightforward. You run a blood test called TSH, and if its high, you give someone thyroid replacement hormone. But often this is not satisfactory for the many number of patients who still have many thyroid symptoms.Thyroid symptoms include fatigue, being very cold, having a puffy face or eyes, constipation, low mood, and foggy thinking. Is there more to the thyroid story than just your TSH?
Indeed, the thyroid can still be not balanced, even if your blood test is normal. At the recent A4M conference, Dr. Monaco, MD, presented 3 types of hypothyroidism:
1. Hypothyroid: Low output of thyroid hormone – low T4 and low T3
2. Functional hypothyroidism: Poor conversion of inactive T4 to active T3
3. Functional hypometabolism: Blocked receptors – labs show normal T4 and normal T3 but symptoms of low thyroid still occur; this has also been coined type 2 hypothyroid (similar to type 2 diabetes where there is resistance at the level of the receptor)
It’s rational that if there are different types of hypothyroid, there would be different treatment strategies. For the first type, there may be more digging required for low thyroid output. I often run anti-TPO antibodies and if positive, I will run a celiac panel and also do a trial of no gluten. Toxins can also affect the thyroid as well as nutritional deficiencies. Proper thyroid functioning requires iodine, tyrosine, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamins B2, B6 and C. Iodine testing is also available at our clinic.
For functional hypothyroidism, this is best detected by running free T4, total T4, free T3 and total T3 hormone levels, rather than just TSH. Poor conversion can be due to too much estrogen, chronic sleep disturbances, nutritional deficiencies, and many types of drugs, chemicals, and toxic metals. A detoxification program can be helpful as well as sustained release T3 hormone.
For the third type, hypometabolism or type 2 hypothyroid, the main cause is stress. Cortisol blocks the thyroid receptors and can lead to many types of thyroid symptoms, despite having a “normal” TSH. Treatment needs to comprehensive including stress reduction, lifestyle changes, and herbs for adrenal support.
If you have been experiencing many symptoms of low thyroid and feel unsatisfied with your doctors answers, consider more in depth evaluation and treatment. Call us at 604 737 0012 for more information.