Finally! Your Answer to The Age-Old Question: Is Thyroid Imbalance The Cause of Your Fatigue, Brain Fog, or Inability to Lose Weight?
We know that driving a car without gas in the tank is futile. Sure, you may last on fumes for a few miles, but in the end, it will be very difficult to get to your destination. Your thyroid is no different when it comes to weight loss. According to the Canadian Thyroid Association, an estimated 200 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease. Recent studies indicate that 30% – over 10 million people – suffer from a thyroid condition of one type or another. That means one in every three Canadians has a thyroid disorder, and of those, as many as 50% are undiagnosed.
Thyroid hormones regulate our metabolism and organ function. They directly affect heart rate, cholesterol levels, body weight, energy, muscle contraction and relaxation, skin and hair texture, bowel function, fertility, menstrual regularity, memory, mood, and other bodily functions. Without enough thyroid hormone, every system in the body slows down. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism feel tired and tend to sleep a lot. Their digestion is slow and weight gain typically occurs. They can also experience extremely dry skin, hair loss, and even slower mental processes. In fact, without enough thyroid hormone, attaining your perfect weight is almost impossible.
What’s really slowing your thyroid down?
In order to boost your thyroid, we need to understand what’s causing the problem in the first place. Hypothyroidism is a complex disorder that can stem from a number of different causes, including:
a) The thyroid may fail to produce enough thyroid hormone as a result of an autoimmune response against the thyroid (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) or other problems with the function of the thyroid gland itself.
b) Toxic levels of mercury, typically resulting from mercury fillings in the mouth or consuming large amounts of mercury-laden ocean fish, may inhibit thyroid gland function.
c) High levels of estrogen or a converse deficiency of progesterone inhibits thyroid function. Many menopausal women using estrogen replacement therapy may develop the symptoms of an underactive thyroid. Menopausal women who are already taking medication for hypothyroidism may also need to increase their dosage if they choose to use hormone-replacement therapy (HRT).
d) High levels of stress hormone cortisol may prevent the activity of thyroid hormone in the body. It also prevents the conversion of thyroid hormone from the inactive (T4) form to active (T3) form.
e) The excess consumption of soy-based foods and beverages may decrease the activity of thyroid hormone in the body.
f) Nutritional deficiencies may prevent the proper manufacture or function of thyroid hormone in the body. For example, iodine and tyrosine are necessary for the formation of thyroid hormone, while selenium is necessary for the normal function of thyroid hormone. Many individuals with decreased thyroid hormone levels also have zinc deficiency.
What Are the Symptoms to watch out for?
The symptoms of underactive thyroid disease can vary, and not all individuals will show the same signs. If you, however, experience two or more of the following symptoms a thyroid imbalance could be at the root of your health concerns:
• Frequently feeling cold or having an intolerance of cold temperatures
• Dry skin, brittle hair, and splitting nails
• Lack of or diminished ability to sweat during exercise
• Hair loss
• Irregular menses or heavy menstrual bleeding
• Poor memory
• Decreased libido
• Unexplained fatigue or lethargy
• Unexplained weight gain or an inability to lose weight
• Many individuals with hypothyroidism have associated iron-deficient anemia and/or high cholesterol
How is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?
It’s almost impossible to have low body fat, let alone optimal health or fertility, with an improperly diagnosed or managed case of hypothyroidism. And four tests – TSH, Free T3, Free T4 and thyroid antibodies – are required to accurately assess the function of the thyroid gland, our master gland of metabolism. An optimal TSH should be less than 2.0, not the currently accepted 4.7 reported by most labs. T3 and T4 should be in the middle of your lab’s reference range (when I was in practice as an ND, and for my own personal blood results I look for these to be in the upper end of normal) and your thyroid anti-bodies should be negative.
But here is the catch: Many people experience thyroid symptoms even though their thyroid blood tests are reported to be “normal”. For instance, I have seen patients with weight gain, chronic low iron, hair loss, irregular periods and constipation even though their TSH is 2.64 (within the normal range), their Free T4 is 9.4 (normal range 7 to 21) and T3 is 4.2 (normal range 3.5 to 5.7). Unfortunately, because there are so many factors influencing the production of thyroid hormone and activity of thyroid hormone in the body, it can be quite common to experience symptoms of hypothyroidism even with normal blood findings. Ultimately this means it is imperative for your doctor to treat you, versus simply your blood tests.
Regardless of your blood test results, if you feel you are experiencing the symptoms of hypothyroidism, or sluggish metabolism, you can follow our 4 –week plan to optimize your thyroid:
Rid: your body of inflammation with a 2-week hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory diet exactly like that laid out in the #1 Bestseller The Hormone Diet and The New York Times Bestselling book The SuperchargedHormone Diet Detox. The fall is the perfect time for you to do it.Why? Every time you eat a food you are sensitive to, it triggers an inflammatory response, which in turn causes stress on your body. Ultimately this manifests with symptoms related to the allergy such as headaches, gas, bloating, congestion, eczema, swelling, indigestion, fatigue and more. But it also results in an increase in stress hormone as your immune system is activated, the most energetically expensive system in your body, leading to fatigue and an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol. If you want to optimize your thyroid function, a surge in cortisol must always be avoided since it suppresses thyroid hormone activity in your body.
Reduce: the hormones that suppress thyroid activity, which can lead to the symptoms of hypothyroid when tests are normal, including excess estrogen and cortisol. Start by increasing your fiber intake to 35 grams per day and by taking probiotic supplements daily. Both fiber and probiotics are essential for riding toxic estrogen from the body, not only by promoting healthy bowel movements to one to three times daily, but also by supporting the breakdown and elimination of harmful estrogen metabolites. To additionally enhance estrogen-detox support Include Clear Detox – Hormonal Health at breakfast – take at lunch if you are currently on a thyroid prescription on rising. Warm lemon water each morning along with these nutrients is a simple way to aid healthy liver function for thyroid health. Take your Clear Detox Digestive Health at bed. These two products will last you for the complete 30 days. You can also purchase these as a kit here.
Next we must combat cortisol, and the herbal medicine Ashwagandha, is particularly beneficial. This supplement is also known to increase both thyroxine (T4) and its more potent counterpart, active thyroid hormone, T3. This is included in 2 capsules of Clear Metabolismthat you will take on rising with your Clear Flora. This can also be taken with prescription thyroid medications. You can also consider using a supplement that contains thyroid glandular to stimulate your own thyroid function and Biothyfrom Biomed is a viable choice (we have some on sale at the moment) that also contains tyrosine.
Replenish: the nutrients your thyroid needs to make thyroid hormone. Clear Metabolism also provides vital minerals and vitamins like iodine, selenium, tyrosine and zinc.
Continue your detox diet: This week you can add in one serving of gluten free grains, sweet potato or white potatoes. These foods are hypoallergenic, but we remove them at the start simply to get your cravings under control. If you want to continue being carb-conscious choose quinoa or buckwheat as they are the lowest in carbs, but still gluten free.
Discover your food sensitivities that cause bloating, water retention, fatigue, weight gain, headaches, joint pain and other symptoms of thyroid disruption due to increased inflammation and stress. The testing is simple – you will introduce the foods you have been avoiding one new food each day – and pay attention to how you feel. The test foods include cheese, yogurt, rye, whole wheat, citrus and red meats.
Eat often – and enough – and don’t over exercise: Even though you might think that cutting calories and hours on the treadmill if the solution to weight loss – it’s not – especially when it comes to thyroid hormone imbalance. As soon as we cut calories, wait too long between meals or excessively diet, our thyroid hormone drops. This is why eating the right blend of macronutrients every four hours and a weekly cheat meal is essential. It is also why your one to two hour workouts, most days of the days a week, are not your fat-loss solution. I know this all too well from my own personal experience. I exercised an hour and a half a day – yet still gained 25 pounds. And researchers at the University of North Carolina documented why. They linked strenuous, fatiguing exercise to higher cortisol andlower thyroid hormones. Their study found thyroid hormones remained suppressed, even 24 hours after recovery, while cortisol levels remained high throughout the same period. This is not the result you are looking for when you go to the gym. The right workout for optimizing thyroid function is 30 to 40 mins three to five times a week – and not more.