You may already know that you have a thyroid problem, but knowing is only half the battle.
The only way to heal from low thyroid is to correct the factors that caused the disease in the first place! Taking a thyroid replacement supplement might help you feel better in the short-term, but that approach does nothing to fix the circumstances that caused your thyroid metabolism to malfunction.
The foundation of a functional medicine approach to any disease or imbalance is finding out WHY your body is not functioning properly; this means we must find the root cause.
Below are the 4 hidden factors that are secretly damaging your thyroid!
1. The Liver
Your liver produces the proteins responsible for transporting thyroid hormones and is also a central hub for T4’s conversion to active or free T3. Anything that reduces liver function can also affect thyroid function. Your liver is a primary site for detoxification, so if your body is overloaded with toxins from alcohol, medication, heavy metals, environmental pollutants and chemicals, or more, you may not be efficiently converting T4 to T3.
2. The Gut
Much like your liver, if tissues within your gut are damaged, efficient conversion of active thyroid hormone will be slowed down. It is extremely likely to find intestinal damage that results in malnutrition, autoimmunity, and a variety of other symptoms in people suffering from low thyroid. Repairing gut integrity and function is critical for healing low thyroid!
Stress triggers the adrenal glands to secrete glucocorticoids such as cortisol. Cortisol revs up the body and prepares it to face the stressor, whether it be real or imagined. In times of acute stress, cortisol works to support the body by reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune system.
However, chronic stress causes inflammation and hijacks the immune system. Cortisol competes for resources that your body uses to convert inactive T4 to active T3. Stress also damages the liver, reducing its capacity to filter toxins, hindering its ability to convert T4 to T3.
4. Toxins, Metals, Fluoride, and Medications
The environment is flooded with toxins, and many of those make it into our bodies via air, water, food, and surroundings. A few examples of thyroid-damaging toxins are
- Perchlorates, a chemical byproduct of jet fuel and car airbags, seep into drinking water and blocks the thyroid from taking up necessary iodine.
- Pesticides have also been named culprits in thyroid dysfunction.
- Heavy metals found in the environment and in common materials like vaccines, dental fillings, paint, or deodorant all have a damaging effect on the thyroid.
- Many medications are known to interfere with thyroid function. Some medications like glucocorticoids, dopamine agonists, or somatostatin analogs can reduce the production of TSH.
Don’t Ignore Your Thyroid
Thyroid hormone is so important to the proper functioning of metabolic processes, affecting everything from sleep, mood, energy, and weight, to skin, hair, bowel movements, and nails.
For this reason, it is critical that you, as the patient, are informed and in touch with your bodies and symptoms.
Utilizing that awareness while working with a functional medicine practitioner means that you will benefit from accurate testing, proper diagnosis, and effective treatment.