Unbalanced thyroid hormones can leave you feeling a bit unbalanced
Thyroid hormones play a role in keeping a happy balance in the body. This happy balance also known as homeostasis, is the process that regulates the delivery of hormones and nutrients through the blood as well as removal of waste products through the blood stream. Keeping your metabolism going strong and slowing it down when the body needs a rest.
Even small changes in thyroid hormones can negatively influence metabolism.
Changes such as hypothyroidism (underactive), hyperthyroidism (overactive).
The key is a happy balance from start to finish. We start with the storage form of thyroid hormone called T4 which is produced by the thyroid gland, this then needs to be converted to the active hormone called T3.
Having too much T3 can cause symptoms that speed up the body such as
o Heart palpitations,
o Rapid or irregular heartbeat,
o Heat intolerance,
o Irregular periods,
o Increased bowel movements,
o Tiredness, and irritability.
Having too little T3 can cause symptoms the slow down the body such as
o Low heart rate,
o Intolerance to cold,
o Weight gain,
o Poor memory,
o Infertility, and
o Muscle stiffness
There is also an inactive version of T3 called reverse T3 which can be tested through your blood tests but very rarely is tested. When the body wants to slow down metabolism, the production of thyroid hormones it basically puts on the brakes and instead of converting T4 to T3 it sends it down the reverse T3 path instead. Reverse T3 has the opposite effects of T3 (which is sometimes needed and why it exists, to create balance), however, it locks onto T3 receptors meaning that T3 has to fight for position when too much reverse T3 is being produced. High reverse T3 is very powderful at slowing down your metabolism.
When this happens it can be a way of the body conserving energy, the downside is that you wont be getting as much oxygen delivered around your body and then if this continues you will begin to notice some possibly all too familiar hypothyroid signs and symptoms:
- Constant fatigue
- Feeling cold all the time
- Difficulty losing or gaining weight
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Low blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Mood swings that can range from mild to severe
- Depressed mood, anxiety and/or bipolar disorder
- Brain fog and memory problems
- Swelling around the throat
- Hoarse voice
- Easily irritated
- Feeling stressed
- Muscles ache
- Joint pain and chronic pain
- Menstrual problems
- Dry skin
- Sluggish digestion
- Swollen, puffy face, hands and feet
What are the main triggers for reverse T3 production?
- very low calorie diet (making permanent weight loss impossible)
- chronic illness and infections eg Glandular fever, bacterial overgrowth, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer.
- chronic inflammation eg autoimmune, leptin resistance, insulin resistance, gut issues like IBS, SIBO
- chronic untreated gut infections eg parasites, long history with antibiotics, and inflammatory bowel disease
- emotional and physiological stress eg family problems, divorce, passing of a loved one, PTSD, car accidents
- medications eg blood pressure, diabetes, antidepressants
Blood pressure medications such as beta blockers are often used in the treatment of overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism.
As a Naturopath I feel that it is very important to have an understanding of what all of the thyroid hormones are doing not just TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Further testing may be required to gain an understanding of this.
Often is the case that testing has been done for thyroid and you have been told everything is normal, this usually means that what has been tested is within reference range. There is a big difference between reference range and optimal range. My Naturopathic assessment takes into consideration how you present to me in the consultation and I include your current pathology tests and sometimes may need to request more testing but not always.
An individulised treatment plan is designed just for you according to your signs and symptoms to get you back on track to feeling great again.
Who am I?
I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers. As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house.
Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
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- Tags: Anxiety, Chronic fatigue, Gut, Hormones, hypothyroidism, Liver, period, Stress, Thyroid, Women's Health