Eighty percent of malfunctioning thyroids are low thyroid hormone function, or hypothyroidism. Frequently thyroid disorders go undetected because the symptoms can be attributed to a variety of other disorders. Some people also accept the less bothersome symptoms as a normal sign of aging and never get treatment.

The Thyroid's Job

Thyroid function begins in the pituitary gland with TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). The thyroid gland produces two different hormones, T3 & T4. The T4 hormone regulates cellular metabolism or your body's energy. T3 regulates body temperature, digestive metabolism and helps burn body fat. Proper function of T3 prevents you from feeling cold and getting fat. The thyroid gland also regulates function of the liver, your kidneys, and skin.

The Symptoms Of An Under-Functioning Thyroid

  • Weight gain or trouble losing weight
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hair loss (especially the eyebrows)
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Low energy
  • Mood swings
  • High cholesterol
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Memory problems
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Low libido
  • Aching joints

Thyroid Testing

The most common traditional way to diagnose hypothyroidism is when testing finds the TSH level is elevated beyond the normal reference range. For most labs, this is about 4.0 to 4.5. This is thought to reflect the pituitary's sensing of inadequate thyroid hormone levels in the blood and would be considered consistent with hypothyroidism. This is far too insensitive a measure, and the vast majority of patients who have levels under 4.0 will be missed. There are many patients with TSH levels of greater than 2.0 (not 4.5) who have classic symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism. So, if your TSH is above 2.0 there is a strong chance your thyroid gland is not working properly.

Ways To Treat A Low-functioning Thyroid Gland

Synthetic drugs, such as Synthroid, Levoxyl and Levothroid (levothyroxine), are commonly prescribed for hypothyroidism. Some of the many reported side effects of Synthroid, for example, include: headaches, excessive sweating, diarrhea, hair loss, hives, weight gain/loss, mood swings, and heart palpitations. The problem is that Synthroid contains only T4 and no T3. A 1999 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that patients benefited in mood and neuropsychological function from a combination of T3 and T4 as opposed to T4 alone.

Try A Natural Thyroid Booster

You probably already know that iodine is your thyroid's number one nutrient. The easiest way to get enough iodine is to season your food with iodized sea salt. You can also try eating edible marine plants, such as wakame and nori, which are high in iodine. Almost as important is the amino acid L-tyrosine. Your thyroid uses tyrosine as the second primary nutrient, along with iodine, to make thyroid hormones. You can get it from protein-rich foods, or take it as a supplement.


Armour Thyroid – A Natural Alternative To Synthroid

Armour thyroid is desiccated thyroid that includes both T3 and T4. A 1999 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that a natural hormone product, such as Armour, was far better at controlling brain problems commonly found in hypothyroidism. Taking Armour thyroid twice a day overcomes the variability in blood-levels that traditional medicine objects to. The reason this variability happens with Armour and not Synthroid is that the T3 component in Armour has a short half-life and needs to be taken twice daily to achieve consistent blood levels.

The Immune System

There are many reasons a person might have hypothyroidism or a low functioning thyroid. Often an unbalanced immune system can work against the thyroid seeing the hormones it secrets as invaders. So it is imperative that the thyroid be nurtured and kept healthy. In order for that to happen the immune system must be balanced. And a healthy immune system supports a healthy thyroid.