January is National Thyroid Awareness Month! This is such a huge issue today and so many women (and men) go though life with thyroid problems and are never diagnosed, not properly diagnosed, or not properly managed based on their individual diagnosis! A vast majority of my practice has ended up revolving around Thyroid disorders, and I’ve seen too many patients in practice who have not been diagnosed because their doctor isn’t running the right labs, or doesn’t know functional Thyroid values. Most of the time people get diagnosed years after there has been an issue because “your labs look fine”. I want to break the silence on this issue and help inform people that aside from traditional medical intervention (totally necessary for some cases) there are more natural and alternative supportive options! In this article we will touch on common thyroid conditions, lab testing the Functional Medicine way. Please stay tuned for Part 2 where we will discuss: Natural Medicine support for the thyroid and dietary considerations.
High or Low- the basic breakdown
1- Hypothyroidism: The more common of the two disorders. The most common cause of “under active” or sluggish thyroid function is actually an Autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Common symptoms of low functioning thyroid (whatever the cause) are: weight gain/inability to lose weight, fatigue, muscle ache, horse voice, brain fog, neck enlargement (goiter), infertility… there are actually an astounding number of symptoms that relate to this which is why diagnosis this disorder can be complicated (if you’re doctor isn’t paying any attention to you and putting all your info together!) Click the graphic below for the long list of symptoms, and ask yourself how many times a day/week you feel these:
2- Hyperthyroidism: The most common cause of “over active” thyroid disorders is actually an Autoimmune disorder called Graves Disease. In this condition there in an increased synthesis and release of thyroid hormones. Sings and symptoms include: excessive weight loss, bone loss, cardiac abnormalities, psychiatric disorders, nervousness, weakness, fatigue, restlessness, and protruding eyes. If left untreated this condition can lead to burn out of the thyroid resulting in hypothyroidism…because who doesn’t love the roller coaster that is hormone production!!
Lab Tests (What did your doctor miss?!)
- TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, this comes from the pituitary and tells your body to convert T4 to T3, the usable form of Thyroid hormone for the body. Functional Range ( 1.3-2.0) What your doctor may tell you is normal: 0.4-4.5 (depending on the lab). Most Doctors think by only checking TSH they are checking your thyroid function- they’re VERY wrong as this is only one aspect.
- Many times the other lab values will be off with a NORMAL TSH level which is why so many people walk around undiagnosed!
- Free T3: This is the heavy hitter. Free T3 is the hormone doing all the work in your body. Note this isn’t total T3, which includes T3 that is bound to protein or inactive and unusable! Functional Range (3-4) What your doctor may tell you is normal: 2.3- 4.2 (depending on the lab).
- Free T4: This is the hormone that is converted into T3 or otherwise activated. Sometimes the body has plenty of Free (usable) T4 but cannot convert it into T3 which is why it is SO important to know all these values. Functional Range (1-1.5) What your doctor may tell you is normal: .0.8-1.8 (depending on the lab).
- TPO antibodies and TG antibodies: These are the two gems almost ALWAYS left off of the lab order…these are the tests that indicate whether or not you’re having an autoimmune response to your thyroid (remember autoimmune disease is the leading cause of both hypo and hyperthyroidism!!) Why isn’t your doctor checking for this?! Most doctors don’t check for the antibodies to your thyroid because it doesn’t change THEIR treatment protocols- either way your medication is what it is. This is a VITAL piece of information as a natural practitioner, as it can drastically change my recommended support and dietary plans for the individual. These should NOT register in a normal healthy functioning thyroid.
- D3-25 OH: You got it folks, your Vitamin D3 should also be assess if you think you have a thyroid issue. Why? In our bodies D3 isn’t a vitamin- it acts like a hormone. D3 is essential to the formation of proper hormone production and if D3 is low, you can bet your thyroid isn’t working as well as it could! Functional Range 60-80! Your doctor will tell you between 30-100 is normal, but keep in mind D is in over 300 processes in your body. Also, knowing your level helps natural medicine folk and Functional Med doc’s get you the right dose of D3 (not D2! Mega dosing prescription D2 is hard on the liver and causes more damage than good)
At Tranquility Spa and Wellness Center Dr. Kalli Prater is able to do physical examinations, run lab tests, assess your thyroid health, and address the underlying cause of your dysfunction and health concerns. Dr. Kalli cannot prescribe medications but will work with your prescribing physician. Heal from Within at Tranquility. Now Accepting New Patients!! Visit us at http://www.relaxattranquility.com or schedule a Complimentary 30 Minute Natural Medicine Consultation with Dr. Kalli to discuss your personal needs and get started on a personalized path to wellness today!
Nutritional Medicine by Alan R. Gaby, M.D. : http://www.doctorgaby.com/
The Textbook of Natural Medicine By Pizzorno and Michael Murry: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14610275-textbook-of-natural-medicine