BY TIME February 18, 2022
Thyroid conditions generally fall into two categories: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. The most common thyroid problem is hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, which leads to a slow metabolism, hormonal imbalances, a weak immune system, muscle pain, weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, heart problems, and much more.
How To Tell If Your Thyroid Is Slow
There are various testing methods for poor thyroid function, but the testing is problematic. Most physicians use outdated reference ranges when testing thyroid function. Also, studies have demonstrated that standard thyroid tests do not correlate well with tissue thyroid levels, which causes inaccurate diagnoses.
Most physicians and endocrinologists believe TSH is the best indicator of the thyroid function of an individual. However, someone can suffer from a significantly slow thyroid despite having a normal TSH, free T3, and free T4.
Some will test for T3. People can also have low T3 and show normal T4 and normal TSH. Many practitioners do not realize that this indicates a selenium or zinc deficiency, rather than a problem with the thyroid.
There are other problems with standard testing as well, and many thyroid specialists will tell you that more than 80% of patients with low thyroid function do not show thyroid problems with standard testing.
Naturopaths and many of the more progressive physicians and endocrinologists are using a combination of lab tests and looking at symptoms, while many holistic practitioners recognize the testing is flawed, therefore, they look at the symptoms and the function of the body as a whole.
Some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include a dry, flaky scalp and pain, tightness, or a feeling of joints being “out of place” (in need of a chiropractic adjustment) in the trapezoid muscles including and especially in the back of the neck and shoulders, hip pain, bursitis, elbows, and wrists (carpal tunnel). When any of these symptoms is going on, the thyroid is struggling.
The thyroid becomes swollen and inflamed, as any part of the body should be when it’s hurting, and puts constant pressure on the vertebras in the neck and shoulder area. This causes issues including misalignment that can be temporarily relieved by chiropractic, but the thyroid has to be healed in order for the pain to stop reoccurring. Carpal tunnel also a common symptom. This syndrome is often primarily caused or solely caused by thyroid problems. And last but not least, flat feet are also a sign of hypothyroidism. I know, weird, right? But the body is all connected in so many fascinating ways.
Here’s a comprehensive list of symptoms indicative of hypothyroidism:
List Of Hypothyroidism Symptoms
- Allergic rhinitis
- Angina pectoris
- Conditions related to the cardiovascular system
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Carotenodermia (slight orange tinge to the skin, usually on the palms of the hands and soles of feet)
- Cold extremities, intolerance to the cold
- Coarse, dry, or thinning hair
- Decreased libido
- Dry, rough, and/or itchy skin
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fallen arches
- Fibrocystic breast changes
- Fibromyalgia symptoms
- Itchy and/or flaky scalp
- Memory loss
- Mood swings, irritability
- Muscle aches
- Menstrual irregularities (amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, menorrhagia)
- Neck pain, stiffness, aches (especially in the back of the neck)
- Knee pain (due to fallen arches)
- Pallor (an unhealthy pale appearance)
- Pain in the trapezoid and/or neck area
- Poor mental concentration
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Postpartum depression
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Reactive hypoglycemia
- Recurrent infections
- Sluggishness, tiredness
- Shoulder pain
- Vasomotor rhinitis
- Weight gain
While weight gain, an inability to lose weight, and increased appetite can be signs of hypothyroidism, in severe cases one can actually lose their appetite and consequently lose weight. This is just a step before myxedema, when one loses brain function as a result of severe, longstanding low level of thyroid functionality.
Causes Of Hypothyroidism
There are many pathways available for the regulation of the production and conversion of thyroid hormones. Consequently, there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. A healthy thyroid relies on many factors, including but not limited to, a healthy endocrine system, hormone levels being stable, healthy and balanced gut flora, a healthy liver, properly functioning adrenals, healthy kidneys, and clean, healthy blood.
Candida overgrowth leads to a host of problems and eventually causes autoimmune disease. It also inhibits the body’s ability to properly digest and assimilate nutrition. An overabundance of Candida toxifies the blood in many different ways, which inhibits all gland activity.
Hashimoto’s disease is a condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid. Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system produces antibodies that attack your own tissues. This is typically due to a leaky gut as a result of an overabundance of Candida due to poor diet and/or antibiotic use.
Conventional hypothyroidism treatments
People with overactive thyroids are often treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications intended to normalize thyroid function. Often these treatments result in permanent hypothyroidism (permanent by conventional medical standards).
Removing a portion of your thyroid gland will diminish or halt hormone production. A person who wants to balance their hormones after thyroid removal surgery (or partial removal) needs to either take hormones for life or grow back their thyroid.
Radiation used to treat cancers of the head and neck can do serious long-term damage to the thyroid gland.
Many medications contribute to hypothyroidism, including but not limited to medications for mental health, sleep medications, painkillers, and allergy medications.
Other drugs (nicotine, caffeine, marijuana)
Any stimulant will wear out the thyroid and the adrenals. Many people consume a lot of caffeine over a period of time, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism.
Marijuana disrupts the entire endocrine system, affecting all glandular hormone production. THC, in particular, lowers the immune system’s ability to fight infection, and can, with heavy use, lower thyroid hormonal output. Also, smoking anything causes the blood to become thick and toxic with free radicals and carcinogens that clog glands and hinder hormone production.
The thyroid gland converts iodine into thyroid hormones. Iodine is a trace mineral found primarily in seafood, seaweed, plants grown in iodine-rich soil, unrefined sea salt, and iodized table salt. Many people do not get enough iodine, and contrary to popular belief, this includes many people in developed countries.
Iodine from iodized salt is poorly absorbed and is not a healthy choice for raising iodine levels in the diet. Refined table salt contributes to a host of health problems. Iodine is absolutely necessary for thyroid function, but too much iodine (especially iodine outside of food) can impair thyroid function as well.
Genetically modified foods
Eating genetically modified foods can trigger autoimmune conditions like Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. GMOs destroy the gut lining and lead to a host of problems.
Vaccines can wreck havoc on the endocrine system and cause autoimmune issues that can end up attacking the thyroid. Formaldehyde and heavy metal toxins such as mercury and aluminum are huge contributors to the hypothyroidism epidemic. Many studies have concluded that the ingredients in vaccines harm thyroid function.
Mercury amalgam fillings
A mouth full of mercury is usually synonymous with a problematic thyroid. Mercury wrecks havoc on the endocrine system, the nervous system, the brain, and well, the whole body. Amalgam fillings absolutely must be removed to restore normal, healthy thyroid function.
Even small amounts of fluoride lessen the pituitary gland’s ability to function, which in turn slows thyroid production. Larger amounts of fluoride, which most people do consume from tap water, disrupt the whole endocrine system and wreck havoc on hormone production. Fluoride consumption over time essentially slows the whole body down, including the brain.
The thyroid is quite vulnerable to environmental toxins including, but not limited to, pesticides, herbicides, BPAs, jet fuel, perchlorates, thiocyanates, PCBs, lead, chlorine, fluorine, bromine, and many other chemicals we come in contact with that have been proven to cause hypothyroidism. We are bombarded with these chemicals due to the way we construct buildings, the way we produce products, the way we travel, and the way we grow food. Our only defense is high quality nutrition and avoiding toxin exposure through diet, chemical exposure in our environment, and the products we use for personal care.
Less often, hypothyroidism may result from congenital disease, a pituitary disorder, and pregnancy (due to lack of nutrition while pregnant).