There is a butterfly-shaped organ that is located at the base of a person’s neck known as the thyroid. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system and plays a major role in releasing hormones throughout the body and converting it into energy. When the body is going through a growth and development phase, the thyroid hormones can help regulate all the vital bodily functions and make sure that each system is doing its part. When the body starts to underproduce or overproduce the thyroid hormone from harmful pathogens it can cause the body to develop chronic diseases and make individuals not feel good. In this 3 part series, we will be discussing how to spot a low thyroid function and its symptoms. Part 1 discussed how does a normal thyroid function work in the body and how disruptors can affect the thyroid. Part 3 will be discussing and taking a look at hyperthyroidism and how the elimination diet can help the thyroid. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialized in hormone wellness services and we advise our patients to appropriately refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key when asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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How to Spot Low Thyroid Function?
When the thyroid is functioning normally, it releases T3 and T4 hormones that help regulate the body’s metabolism and makes sure that each organ system is doing their jobs properly. When the body starts to be attacked by harmful pathogens and affects the thyroid, it can make the thyroid produce fewer hormones and causes the body’s metabolism to slow down. This condition is known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid isn’t making enough hormones for the body to function properly and is a common condition for thyroid hormone deficiencies. Studies have found out that hypothyroidism can range from no symptoms or signs to life-threatening if it is left untreated. There are many factors that can cause hypothyroidism, some of the factors that can be spotted physically include:
- Dry skin, elbow keratosis, brittle nails
- Diffuse hair loss
- Puffy face, swollen eyelids; edema in legs, feet, hands
- Loss of hair in varying amounts from legs, axilla, and arms
- Poor night vision
Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism can develop over time slowly and usually don’t take effect on the individual for years. What causes hypothyroidism can be numerous things from inflammation on the thyroid to Hashimoto’s disease which is common for pregnant women. Some of the other symptoms include:
- Being unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
- Having frequent and heavy menstrual periods.
- Brain Fog
- Prolonged Achilles tendon reflex
- Enlarged thyroid gland
If the symptoms of hypothyroidism are not treated properly, it can become serious and life-threatening to individuals when they don’t see their healthcare provider. From having mental health problems to developing goiter or even developing myxedema coma, having the thyroid produce normal hormone levels is important as the body needs hormones to function properly.
High Insulin & Thyroid Function
As everyone knows insulin and hormones help the body function properly by being released to the proper organ systems and making sure that each system is doing its jobs right. If there is a harmful pathogen that is affecting the body it can cause numerous problems. With glucose, it can cause a homeostasis disorder known as insulin resistance. Since insulin helps the body regulate its blood glucose levels and provides energy to the body when there is insulin resistance it can lead to many disorders that can cause the body harm. It can range from diabetes to arterial hypertension. Some of the other symptoms that insulin resistance does cause are:
- Inflammation (arthritis, skin rash, urge incontinence)
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Any of the high adrenaline or high cortisol symptoms
When it comes to hypothyroidism, high amounts of insulin can cause the development of impaired glucose tolerance which is the result of hepatic insulin resistance and can damage the peripheral tissues in the body.
High Adrenaline & Thyroid Function
When a person is reacting to a huge event that is happening to them and their body goes from being relaxed to being tensed, well that is adrenaline. Adrenaline is what keeps the body moving from danger and is a hormone that helps prepare the sympathetic nervous system. Adrenaline is also known as the fight-or-flight response hormone and can increase the blood flow for the muscles, release blood glucose into the bloodstream and make your body more alert.
Granted that adrenaline can help the body be more alert, it is a hormone so it can be overproduced and can cause problems to the body. Simples things like chronic stress, inactivity from sports, and digestive problems can cause the adrenaline hormone to be overproduced and cause problematic issues in the body. Some of the issues include:
- Losing weight/low BMI
- Hot flashes (midlife)
- Cold (compensatory hypothyroidism)
- Muscle wasting if not exercising to build muscles
- Bone loss
High Cortisol & Thyroid Function
In today’s world, everyone is always dealing with stressful situations from work-life to physical stress, it is all around the world. Just like glucose, cortisol and hormones play hand in hand with the body. Studies have shown that when the body is responding to stress that the hormone level change in various amount of ways. When stress is being mixed with hormones it can help the body increase the growth hormone and mobilization of energy sources in the body.
But when the body has developed too much cortisol in the body it can affect not only the body itself but the organs as well including the thyroid. High levels of cortisol can cause the body to develop chronic pathogens that can harm the body. When the body produces too much cortisol, it can cause inflammation around the joints and even the thyroid. Some of these include:
- Depressed +/- anxiety
- Weight around midsection
- Frequent infections
- Elevated cholesterol
- Any of the high adrenaline symptoms
All in all the thyroid is an important organ that plays a huge role in the world of hormones for the body. When unwanted pathogens are affecting the body and are attacking the thyroid, it can cause many problems and develop chronic diseases that can cause a person to be in pain. When the hormones start going crazy and affect the body, the individual does not realize that they are developing chronic illnesses until years later on. But with a healthy lifestyle change, the body can begin the healing process and repair the damaged area.
Chaker, Layal, et al. “Hypothyroidism.” Lancet (London, England), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 23 Sept. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6619426/.
Gierach, Marcin, et al. “Insulin Resistance and Thyroid Disorders.” Endokrynologia Polska, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2014, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24549605/.
Lyons, Gila. “What Is Adrenaline? – Adrenaline Is a Hormone Released …” Endocrineweb, 12 July 2021, https://www.endocrineweb.com/adrenaline.
Professionals, Cleveland Clinic. “Hypothyroidism: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Medication.” Cleveland Clinic, 19 Apr. 2020, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12120-hypothyroidism.
Ranabir, Salam, and K Reetu. “Stress and Hormones.” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medknow Publications, Jan. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/.
The information herein on "Taking A Metabolic Approach On Thyroid Disorders | Part 2" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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