The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in your neck area. It is by far one of the most important glands in our body. Approximately 1 in 10 Canadians suffer from thyroid issues and women are 4-7x more likely to be affected. Of those, as many as 50% are underdiagnosed! Your thyroid is an extremely important gland in your body since it regulates, temperature, metabolism, energy and more.
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone – known as T3 and T4. The prevalence of hypothyroidism increases with age and impacts about 2 in every 100 individuals. Often you may feel fatigued, tired of not losing weight and constantly cold – this is a sign that you need a comprehensive work up to determine how to best support your thyroid.
Causes of hypothyroidism: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, low iron, surgical or chemical treatment of hyperthyroidism, hormonal shifts, viral infections, dysbiosis
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Intolerance to cold
- Dry, coarse skin
- Brittle hair
- Muscle weakness
- Hoarseness of voice
- Hair loss, thinning of eyebrows
Treatment of Hypothyroidism
Typical treatment of hypothyroidism is to replace the lack of thyroid hormone with the use of T4 hormone, by using the drug Levothyroxine. Some studies have shown that a combination of T3 and T4 hormones can result in greater relief of hypothyroidism symptoms than T4 only medication. This combination therapy is known as Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) which comes from natural sources of the thyroid glands from either bovine or pork.
Other important treatments include dietary and lifestyle modifications (ie. stress, sleep, exercise, digestion), vitamins and minerals specifically iron, selenium and zinc, and botanical medicine.
Together, we will create a plan that you feel most comfortable with in regards to your diet, lifestyle and supplement plan.
You deserve to feel good! If you are feeling fatigued, cold, or any symptoms above, it is time to get a full workup on your thyroid!
Hyperthyroidism is much less common than hypothyroidism. This is when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. The symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism can be very frightening. Working alongside your endocrinologist with the medications (ie. Tapazole or Propylthiouracil) you have been prescribed is the best approach in this case.
Causes of hyperthyroidism include Grave’s Disease or other autoimmune conditions, acute thyroiditis, viral infections, hormonal shifts, dysbiosis
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism or Grave’s Disease
- Weight loss
- Intolerance to hot weather
- Excessive Sweating
- Hair loss
- Increased bowel movements
- Muscle weakness
- Other signs: rapid pulse, palpitations, loss of body fat and muscle bulk, thyroid enlargement (aka goitre), fine tremors of the fingers and hot, moist, velvety skin
Naturopathic Treatment of Hyperthyroidism
Working in conjunction with your prescribed medication we can help to understand the underlying autoimmune cause of your specific case. Hyperthyroidism can be terrifying to experience, that is why a collaborative approach is important. Furthermore, working on the foundations of health (ie. diet and lifestyle) is important to stabilize your thyroid and help you feel confident in your health.
We will work together to create a plan that you feel most comfortable with. Using lab testing results we will create a plan involving individualized dietary recommendations, supplementation, and botanical medicine.
A full thyroid panel is important to fully understand the health of your thyroid, especially if you feel unwell.
A full Thyroid panel includes the following
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Anti-Thyroperoxidase (Anti-TPO)
- Anti-Thyroglobulin (Anti-TG)
- Reverse T3
Typically TSH will be a test that is run to confirm Hypothyroidism, and sometimes Free T4. Current guidelines from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and American Thyroid Association (ATA) recommend not testing Free T3 to diagnose Hypothyroidism. However, Free T3 is the active form of the thyroid hormone that is produced from T4. T3 hormone controls many of the functions of the thyroid in all of our cells. Often times women still feel unwell even though they are told their thyroid is working fine. This is typically due to the fact that they are not converting T4 to T3, the active form of the thyroid hormone. This is why a full thyroid panel is required to assess the overall health of your thyroid.
Anti-TPO and Anti-TG testing are tested to rule out Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. A common cause for hypothyroidism, cause for recurrent miscarriages and can appear in postpartum.
- Ferritin (aka Iron storage)
- Vitamin B12, Vitamin D
- Zinc, Magnesium
- Insulin Resistance
Why do I still feel unwell when my labs are okay and I’m taking Levothyroxine/Synthroid?
This is often due to the fact that you may not be creating enough of the active thyroid hormone known as T3. Levothyroxine/Synthroid contains T4 hormone and your body needs to be able to convert T4 into T3 (our active thyroid hormone). If you have nutritional deficiencies, stress, or inflammation this conversion may not be occurring. Additionally, it is common not to run T3 labs to assess the health of the thyroid in conventional medicine.
Is it possible to not be so fatigued all the time?
Yes! Definitely, with dietary, lifestyle support, supplementation and possibly natural thyroid hormone therapy it is very possible to gain your energy back and be able to feel well and in control of your health.
I have a healthy diet and I exercise, so why I am not losing weight?
Sometimes it is a hormone issue. Again, it is possible your thyroid is affected and you aren’t producing enough Thyroid hormone. It is time for a thorough workup on your health.
How long does naturopathic medicine work?
The goal of naturopathic medicine is to support the body’s natural processes. This takes time, especially if you have been suffering for years. Give your body time to heal. This often can take a few months to a year. However, this treatment outcome is to maintain your health long term and is preventive medicine. This strategy allows you to really understand your body so that you can prevent future health issues.
Thyroid | Naturopathic Treatment Ontario