Thyroid hormones explained
The most important thyroid hormone is thyroxine (also known as T4), which outside the thyroid is converted to T3, which is the active form of the hormone. Basically, the more T3 you produce the faster your metabolism. If you don’t produce sufficient thyroid hormones many systems in your body begin to slow down – heartbeat, circulation, blood pressure, energy levels, metabolism and temperature. Slow metabolism will mean that you don’t burn calories as efficiently as you could so you gain weight more easily. Also, when the body slows down, the body’s ability to detox is greatly impaired.
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid
Symptoms that should make you investigate whether your thyroid may be underactive include low energy, mental fogginess, depression, cold hands and feet, weight gain even with a poor appetite, high cholesterol even when you eat sensibly, a slow pulse, low blood sugar, headaches, infertility, dry and sometimes puffy skin, brittle nails, poor vision, thinning hair, low libido and heavy periods.
An underactive thyroid is seven times more common in women than in men, unfortunately because some of the symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid are so often attributed to the menopause thousands of women go undiagnosed and are offered orthodox HRT treatment. Further standard GP tests for TSH and total T4 are less than useless and 100,000s of people go undiagnosed.
Testing for thyroid Function
It is very rare that people have thyroid problems without some element of adrenal dysfunction. We then look to support the Client and improve their ability to handle stressful situations using life style changes and often herbal adaptogens.
One of the main problems with thyroid health is that if you are tested by your doctor it is very likely that they will report that everything is fine. Unfortunately, the tests are rather crude and your thyroid would have to be very underactive indeed before it will show up as altered blood levels. We use a urine metabolite test that involves collecting urine for 24 hours and assess both T3 and T4 levels.