Anatomy and Physiology:
The thyroid is often overlooked when dealing with and treating underlying health conditions. Many people, especially in Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas, are affected by hormonal imbalances. This is based on the many endotoxins found within the environment. Xylene, chlorine, phthalates, etc are found within the environment and eventually begin to attack the thyroid gland. If you looking to improve your thyroid imbalances then, Functional medicine could be the right solution for you.
Two major disorders involving the thyroid are hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is caused by too much thyroid hormone while hypothyroidism is caused by too little thyroid hormone. At times, when a thyroid is off balance it can swing from hypo to hyper states and vice versa. The hormonal system is an enigmatic and responsive system, responding to internal stimuli. It is rare that the hormone stays at a fixed state of hypo or hyper at all times, although trends can be more forward to hyper than hypo states depending on the severity of the thyroid imbalance.
The pituitary gland produces a hormone knowns as TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. This gland stimulates the thyroid to produce T4. T4, another hormone, then circulates the body and converts to hormone T3. T3 is the active hormone that is absorbed by all the tissues and the cells within the body. Most often allopathic doctors test the TSH to determine if a thyroid is off balance if this number is within reference range than it is assumed that the thyroid is working properly. However, TSH only tells a part of the story.
- Fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and depression are all common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- Digestive issues such as constipation, low body temperature, stubborn weight loss, under functioning metabolism are all related to thyroid dysfunction.
- There are many suspected causes of thyroid imbalances.
- These are your standard imbalances such as bacteria, viruses, yeasts, parasites, molds, heavy metals, chemicals, etc.
Genetics are contributing factor to any condition, however a small factor. You are not a victim of your Genes, but merely genetics accounts for less than 30%, with some doctors claiming even less than that. It is important to note environment and gut health have a lot to do with the development of hormonal imbalances. When you think hormones, think GUT! Immune System, think GUT! Neurological system, Think GUT!=
Women are five times more likely to suffer from thyroid conditions and are more susceptible as they age. Free estrogen can suppress the thyroid function while progesterone declines to enhance thyroid function. The adrenal glands, as well as hormones produced by the adrenal glands, are also able to throw off the thyroid function, creating more underlying hormonal imbalances. Since the majority of the hormonal system is housed in the GI system it is also recommended to heal the GI system before healing the hormonal system. It is seen that thyroid imbalance is clearly an autoimmune response to the GI system, which is why elimination diets are necessary for balancing the hormonal system.
Whole blood testing on the thyroid includes TSH, Total T3, Total T4, Free T3, Free T4, Reverse T3, and TPO, as well as Thyroid antibodies, are all common blood panels used to measure the health of the thyroid. Often reference lab ranges are used to determine thyroid hormone health, however optimal or functional ranges are considered more accurate when determining underlying causes contributing to thyroid imbalances. It is understood that the thyroid may be under stress but may not have developed into a full diagnosis as of yet. In order to address the thyroid health effectively, it is also recommended to look at overall contributing factors to thyroid imbalance.
Synthetic hormone treatments are standard medical treatment. Prescriptions such as levothyroxine (Synthroid), Armour, and NaturThyroid are often used to balance T4 and T3 hormones.
Subclinical Iodine deficiencies can lead to thyroid imbalances especially since so many of our food has been stripped of this mineral. Selenium is also another mineral the body needs in order to fully support the thyroid. Tyrosine, an amino acid is a building block for both the thyroid as well as the brain. This non-essential amino acid can be used to help with the mood and energy levels.
Healing the adrenal glands; as well as lifestyle components relating to stress is key to restoring the health of the body. Addressing any underlying mineral as well as electrolyte deficiencies does provide the body with the necessary nutrients in order to heal itself.
Healing the gastrointestinal system is critical by removing allergens from the diet including gluten as well as dairy. Supporting the lining of the GI system and rebuilding the integrity of the lining of the gut is helping in healing from an autoimmune condition such as thyroiditis. Eliminating bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts, and molds also help to rebalance the GI system by removing irritants.
Identifying and removing toxic irritants such as Xylene, Phthalates, Chlorine, etc from the system after rebalancing nutrient as well as mineral needs. It is important to not attempt to chelate these toxic substances without the help of a professional. The body is on balances and removal of toxic substances too quickly can be harmful to the body. It is recommended to seek help when identifying and eliminating these substances.
Mediterranean diets have been found to be effective when working with patients with thyroid complications. Foods that are high in selenium, as well as iodine, should be noted and added to the diet in order to continue healing the digestive system.
Dr. Erica Steele, Naturopathic Doctor, and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner have been working with people with an assortment of health imbalances since 2001. She is multifaceted combining advanced scientific laboratory testing with holistic health to work with you to find the causes of your imbalances of health. Consider it like peeling an onion one piece of skin at a time in order to uncover your ideal health. She offers 15 mins complimentary consultations in her practice to learn how natural healthcare can help you and your family heal naturally.