Do You Have a Thyroid Problem?
Some indications of thyroid problems are:
Various thyroid hormone levels are measured in blood tests. There are 5 limitations of these tests and their interpretations:
1) The reference ranges are very broad and experienced doctors will tell you that the ratios between these numbers, for example, are also important and can indicate problems even within the "normal" range.
2) What appear to be healthy hormones on the test may not be what you think because an iodine molecule may have been displace by a toxic chemical: chlorine, fluoride, or bromine. These molecules are all halogens, which is why one can substitute for another. Tap water is full of the first two, and fire retardants on furniture and breads contain bromine. The cause here is toxicity.
3) Even if hormone levels are normal they may not be converted to their active form. T4 must be converted to T3, then T3 to active T3. The hormones also have to be utilized by tissues, like cell membranes, which may also have toxic molecules blocking their receptor sites or problems with permeability of cell membranes due to nutritional deficiency. So you could have normal hormone levels that are still not being properly utilized.
Cause or Symptom?
Are thyroid problems a cause or an affect of slow metabolism?
Most people think the thyroid sets the body's metabolic rate, but the reverse is also possible: a low metabolism can cause the thyroid system to slow down to adapt.
If the body were a car, the thyroid gland is like the gas pedal and the liver is like the gas tank. Pressing down on the gas pedal will not fill up the gas tank.
The thyroid partly works as an emergency response system for heart rate and breathing to mobilize existing energy suddenly when needed; it does not create energy like the liver and digestion. So if the liver and other organs are unhealthy and functioning slower the thyroid hormone levels will slow down to match. This is recognized in hospitals when people in accidents are observed to have lower thyroid levels to match to the slow metabolism due to injury.
When the thyroid is weak due to toxicity the liver and kidneys should be supported with nutrients and detox protocols.
The question for treatment is "what is the weakest link?" To start with: if the thyroid system is more toxic than the rest of the body, it is worth treating directly with taking thyroid hormone medication. To treat the cause, detoxification is necessary to prevent toxins from interfering with the thyroid system.
The auto-immune thyroid disease, Hashimoto's disease, can be approached the same way in terms of the root causes, which are essentially the same for all thyroid disease and similar to chronic fatigue.
In most cases the most important thing to do first is to boost metabolism with comprehensive nutrition that address all deficiencies at once.
Metabolism is basically the sum total of all the energy produced by all the organs. These organs, like the liver, gut, kidneys, and immune system, produce energy and protect the body from the toxicity that disrupts thyroid function and other bodily processes.
It is worth treating the thyroid system directly when it is the weak link. Meaning, it is more toxic or nutrient-deficient than the rest of the body. Using natural thyroid hormone can work very well, then, to speed up the thyroid gland to the degree to which the body can respond and speed up, too. Dosage can be gradually increased until symptoms appear.
If no benefits from taking thyroid hormone are obtained then it is not the weak link, so efforts need to be shifted to work directly on the metabolism, which is basically the sum total of everything else: nutrition, toxicity, infection, stress, physical misalignment.
Primal Rejuvenation focuses on these few root causes of the many symptoms like thyroid diseases, so that the body can heal itself.
4) Reverse T3 blocks utilization of active T3. But this seems to assume that the body has made a mistake. The theory does not consider the possibility the body has a reason to slow down thyroid activity to achieve an equilibrium that is the best it can do at that time. Some of these theories proceed under the banner of natural medicine but in actuality, they do not respect the body's wisdom.
5) Because hormone tests are unreliable, body temperature is a more accurate measure of metabolic rate. That may be true, but simply measuring body temperature does not determine what causes the metabolic rate to slow down--it assumes the thyroid rules the metabolism unilaterally. This may be natural medicine, but it is not holistic and systemic enough to see the body in complex relations of multiple causation, two way influences, and equilibrium of the whole. These relations of cause and effect are explained in the next column, Cause or Symptom?
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Paul Hess, Ph.D.
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