Many individuals come to us wondering why they are having difficulty losing weight. They have tried increasing their activity and have been watching their portion control – however the scale isn’t budging. While this scenario could be caused by several factors – an under active thyroid might be the culprit. Some of the common causes of a low thyroid include: chronic stress, pesticides, excessive amounts of iodine, gluten intolerance, and eating large amounts of genetically modified foods.
The thyroid is a gland that has two lobes and is located in the front of the neck close to the adams apple. One of it’s main functions is to control the bodies use of energy (calories). If the thyroid is under active (hypothyroidism) it results in a slower metabolism. This slower metabolism can make weight loss quite difficult. If you are counting calories/exercising and still not losing weight the thyroid could be playing a role.
While difficulty losing weight is often a symptom there are several others. Extreme sensitivity to cold, fatigue even with adequate rest, hoarseness, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, joint pain, and menstrual abnormalities. If you are suffering from several of these symptoms a test for low thyroid might be in order.
While a test might be in order there isn’t always a consensus on which test is the most accurate and what are the most agreed upon numbers. By some estimates as many as 50% of individuals with low thyroid go undiagnosed. According to Dr. Mark Hyman “Most doctors just check something called the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which doesn’t give a full picture of the thyroid. In fact, even the interpretation of this test is incorrect most of the time. The newer guidelines of the American College of Endocrinology consider anybody with a TSH level over 3.0 as hypothyroid. Most doctors think that only anything over 5 or 10 is worth treating.” In addition there are other tests that look at free T3/T4 levels, anti-thyroglobulin, TPO which Dr. Hyman and many other experts think are imperative and often more important that the standard TSH test.
Similar to the controversy over the tests there is debate on which treatments are most effective form of treatment. The traditional medical community typically recommends levothyroxine and/or synthroid whereas others suggest the use of natural armour thyroid. I would suggest doing your own research and talking to your doctor prior to making a decision.
While determining which course of treatment is best I feel Dr. Hyman looks at it from both perspectives and provides a holistic approach for treatment. Here is Dr. Hyman’s 7 step plan for addressing a low thyroid:
- Treat the Underlying Causes — Identify and treat the underlying causes of hypothyroidism, like food allergies, gluten, heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, and stress.
- Optimize Your Nutrition — Support your thyroid with optimal nutrition, including foods that contain iodine, zinc, omega-3 fats, selenium, and more.
- Minimize Stress — Eliminate adrenal exhaustion and minimize stress by engaging in a comprehensive stress management program.
- Exercise — Engage in thyroid stimulating exercise, which boosts thyroid function.
- Supplement — Use supplements to help enhance thyroid function, including all the nutrients needed for proper thyroid metabolism and function.
- Heat Therapy — Use saunas and heat to eliminate stored toxins, which interfere with thyroid function.
- Thyroid Hormones — Use thyroid hormone replacement therapy to help support your thyroid gland.
While a fairly complicated issue – identifying and treating an underactive thyroid can be an effective tool for increasing energy, health, and weight loss. If you have questions, please e-mail me at email@example.com