Symptoms of Hypothyroidism or Under-Active Thyroid Hypothyroidism, also known as under active thyroid, is a condition where the thyroid gland does not manufacture enough of the thyroid hormone (thyroxine). Thyroid hormones regulate the way in which the body uses energy in every single cell of the body (your metabolism) and without enough thyroxine, many of the body’s functions slow down including your metabolism causing weight gin and many, many other issues.
How do I know if I have Hypothyroidism? Firstly, there is NO perfect test for thyroid but some are better than others. Here is a list of some of the tests used to detect thyroid function and whether or not they are effective:
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) Testing: This is the most common test done today by your medical doctor. TSH is a hormone that tells the thyroid gland that more thyroid hormone is needed and to release more into your bloodstream. If TSH is high then this is thought to mean that your thyroid gland is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone therefore you must have hypothyroidism. The problem with this is that there are so many extraneous factors that influence the function of the thyroid gland which could include but are not limited to aging, stress, infection, blood sugar issues etc. Also, this test is basically a snapshot of the thyroid function AT THAT VERY MOMENT only. It’s also important to note that doctors typically prescribe T4 only medications like Synthroid, which can easily lower TSH without actually improving your thyroid function.
BTT (Basal Temperature Test): This is a simple and highly effective thyroid test that can measure your thyroid function in a truly basal state (completely at rest) at home. By simply taking your temperature upon waking, you can quite reliably determine if your thyroid is able to keep up with the metabolic demands of your body, or if you truly are hypothyroid.
How do I do this test? Take your temperature as soon as you wake up, after a solid stretch of sleep (at least 3 consecutive hours) and before moving around (must be at the same time every morning). Use an accurate thermometer (fertility/basal thermometer available at your drugstore/pharmacy) and keep it at your bedside so you do not have to get up to get it. Record your temperature. Do this 3 days in a row. If the average temperature over the three days is less than 97.8oF / 36.6oC then you could have hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid: So what are some symptoms of an underactive thyroid? There are so many I cannot list them on one page but I will list the most common ones. The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism also vary, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. But in general, any problems you have tend to develop slowly, often over a number of years.
At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain, or you may simply attribute them to getting older. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more obvious signs and symptoms. Hypothyroidism signs and symptom may include:
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Dry skin
• Weight gain
• Puffy face
• Muscle weakness
• Elevated blood cholesterol level
• Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
• Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
• Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
• Thinning hair
• Slowed heart rate
• Impaired memory
• Thinning of the outside of the eyebrows
Treatment of Hypothyroidism: So you have many of the symptoms above and you have done the Basal Temperature Test and have discovered that your temperature was below 97.8 for 3 consecutive days. Now what? How can I treat this naturally?
Iodine: You need an adequate supply of iodine to make thyroid hormone. The recommended minimum iodine intake for most adults is 150 mcg a day, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Good food sources include iodized salt, milk, cheese, poultry, eggs, kelp and other seaweeds and fresh ocean fish.
B Vitamins: B Vitamins are important because the B vitamins have many interactions with thyroid function and hormone regulation. It’s best to take a nutritional supplement that includes the entire vitamin B complex. Good food sources of vitamin B include whole grains, legumes, nuts, milk, yogurt, meat, fish, eggs, seeds, and dark leafy greens.
Selenium: Selenium supports efficient thyroid synthesis and metabolism. Foods that provide selenium include tuna, shrimp, salmon, sardines, scallops, lamb, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, and shitake mushrooms. You can also take 100 to 200 mcg of selenium in supplement form per day.
Zinc: Zinc plays a key role in the conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 to T3. Selenium and zinc are beneficial in improving thyroid function and hormone levels. Food sources of zinc include shellfish, mollusks, meat, legumes, and nuts. You can also take a zinc supplement of 30 mg per day.
Tyrosine: Tyrosine is an amino acid involved in thyroid hormone production and conversion. One of the best ways to get more tyrosine is to make sure you’re getting enough protein. You can get protein supplements from nutrition house and simply mix a scoop of protein powder with water or milk in a shaker cup.
Vitamin D: Research has shown a strong association with vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism. Good sources of vitamin D come from milk, yogurt, and orange juice however food sources of vitamin D are often not adequate. You can take Vitamin D supplements which come in tabs, soft gels or even liquid drops. Take 1,000-3,000 mg of Vitamin D per day.
Probiotics: Gut bacteria play a critical role in many physiological processes, including thyroid function. Get your probiotics from nutrition house and be sure to get one that has multiple strains of different bacteria.
Note: Be mindful of ‘goitrogens’, which are foods that can interfere with thyroid function. Goitrogens include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, and soybeans.