Thyroid disorders are becoming a growing problem, to the point that the American Thyroid Association (ATA) are conservatively estimating that up to 20 million people are suffering from it in some form, and 60 percent of people are likely unaware of their condition. This is due to the fact that the symptoms of thyroid problems is a long one and can be associated with many other disease labels, it often gets mistaken for something else.
It is also estimated that more than 12% of the U.S. Population will develop some type of thyroid condition in their life and women are five to eight times more susceptible to thyroid disease than men.
So, what is a person to do? How do you discover if you have a thyroid problem, and what do you really need to focus on if you do? Before you run to the doctor for another test, consider the holes in such an assessment and educate yourself on how you can deal with thyroid health naturally.
Signs of an under active thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
First of all, how can you at least preliminarily discover if you have a thyroid issue? Well, although the list is long, if you find you can associate with a few of these symptoms chances are your thyroid health is waning:
Low sex drive
Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema
Unfortunately, this is not an exhaustive list and you can begin to see how figuring out if you have an under active thyroid is difficult. Understandably, most people then go to their doctor for tests but there is also a serious issue with their accuracy and a diagnosis may only lead you in the completely wrong direction.
The issue with thyroid test results
Many medical professionals will admit that it is very easy to misdiagnose a thyroid disorder like hypothyroidism because the symptoms are plentiful and often vague in nature. However, an even bigger issue is that even if the testing is accurate it still compares you to a benchmark of collectively sick people, so the “standard” set is already very low. Not only that, but unless you have an indication of what YOUR ideal thyroid hormone levels are (which could only be ascertained through tests taken when you were young and healthy), you have no idea what your benchmark is for optimal thyroid hormone levels.
This is the issue with many tests, not just thyroid tests. You get sent home with indications that everything is “normal”, yet you know something is wrong and it conflicts with your inner intelligence. This is mostly due to poor benchmarks set by the general population, and the fact that you probably can’t compare the current test results to your optimal levels when you were younger and healthier.
Furthermore, the National Academy of Hypothyroidism (NAH) admits that conventional thyroid testing is not as accurate as people may be led to believe:
“The TSH is thought to be the most sensitive marker of peripheral tissue levels of thyroid, and it is erroneously assumed by most endocrinologists and other physicians that, except for unique situations, a normal TSH is a clear indication that the person’s tissue thyroid levels are adequate (symptoms are not due to low thyroid). A more thorough understanding of the physiology of hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and tissue regulation of thyroid hormones demonstrates that the widely held belief that the TSH is an accurate marker of the body’s overall thyroid status is clearly erroneous.”
In plain terms, the NAH doe not currently consider TSH and T4 testing to be reliable indicators of thyroid tissue levels, as previously believed.
While the NAH do concede there is no perfect thyroid test, testing free triiodothyronine, reverse triiodothyronine, and triiodothyronine/reverse-triiodothyronine ratios may be more accurate for low tissue levels of active thyroid hormone.
A very important sideline to all this testing is that most doctors will also complete abandon testing and interpreting other results that are crucial to proper thyroid function, including but not limited to your iodine levels (a nutrient your thyroid heavily depends on to be healthy), your adrenal function, digestive function (with emphasis on checking for leaky gut), and liver health. Since these are all key areas for thyroid health, identifying any disturbances in each of them would be prudent to help determine an appropriate course of remediation.
* Please note that iodine supplementation for hyperthyroid sufferers is generally not advised, and those who experience this condition should seek specific medical counsel.
Unfortunately, most doctors will use myopic testing methods that will commonly misdiagnose your thyroid hormone levels which will leave you more frustrated, on thyroid medication or synthetic hormone therapy, or both. This is actually a prescription for continued degradation of the thyroid (and other areas of the body), due to more mental stress and the toxic burden levied upon your body through toxicity associated with prescription drugs. Not only that, but there is typically no sound nutrition advice to actively support your thyroid and the areas of the body that affect its function.
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How to rejuvenate an underactive thyroid naturally
If you have somehow been able to meet with an expert in thyroid disorders and/or have determined through symptoms that your thyroid is in trouble, there are several things you need to consider to get it back in order. A compromised thyroid can take some time to heal, and a lifestyle overhaul is in order if you are truly serious about overcoming it.
For starters, for any thyroid condition you need to at least make sure you completely avoid or neutralize the following:
Unfermented soy products
In addition, you also need to keep your stress levels down as pressure on the adrenals will result in a negative effect on the thyroid. You don’t need perfection, but chronic underlying stress is murder on your thyroid so you need to keep that at the top of your mind.
For more information on these thyroid disturbers and where you might find them, read 6 Toxins That Destroy Thyroid Health.
In addition to avoiding things that are toxic to the thyroid, you must also support it and other areas of the body by cleansing and nourishing them appropriately. An excellent start is by cleaning up your gut and liver health, restoring your adrenal function, and focusing on clean, whole, and nutrient dense foods on a daily basis. A holistic approach is absolutely necessary.
Overcoming a thyroid disorder is possible (I’ve done it successfully myself), but it does take a persistent and intelligent approach. You can get an excellent nutritional and lifestyle plan, with The Thrivers Guide To Beating Hypothyroid.
Sources for this article include: