A 7-Step Plan to Boost Your Low Thyroid

A 7-Step Plan to Boost Your Low Thyroid

I’m smiling today!

Health guru Dr. Mark Hyman is here at Hypothyroid Mom.

Dr. Mark Hyman is an EIGHT-TIME New York Times bestselling author. He is currently medical editor at the Huffington Post and on the Medical Advisory Board at The Doctor Oz Show. He has testified before the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine, and participated in the White House Forum on Prevention and Wellness in June 2009. Dr. Hyman continues to work in Washington on health reform, recently testifying before a Congressional hearing on Functional Medicine, nutrition and the use of dietary supplements.

Written by Dr. Mark Hyman, Founder of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA

LOW THYROID FUNCTION affects more than 30 million women and 15 million men. So why are we seeing such an epidemic of thyroid problems? Well, chronic thyroid problems can be caused by many factors…

What Causes Hypothyroidism?

One of the most important factors that leads to hypothyroidism is exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, which act as hormone or endocrine disruptors and interfere with thyroid hormone metabolism and function.

In fact, one study found that as people lost weight they released pesticides from their fat tissue.

This then interfered with their thyroid function and caused hypothyroidism. The toxins created a slow metabolism and prevented them from losing more weight.

This study highlights the importance of overall detoxification. It is quite a significant finding that shows exactly how toxins interfere with thyroid function.

Heavy metals such as mercury can also affect thyroid function. I see many people with chronic hypothyroidism and other thyroid problems because mercury interferes with normal thyroid function.

The other big factor that interferes with thyroid function is chronic stress.

There is an intimate interaction between stress hormones and thyroid function. The more stress you are under, the worse your thyroid functions.

Any approach to correcting poor thyroid function must address the effects of chronic stress and provide support to the adrenal glands.

The next major factor that affects thyroid function is chronic inflammation. The biggest source of this chronic inflammation is gluten, the protein found in wheat, barely, rye, spelt, and oats.

Gluten is a very common allergen that affects about 10 to 20 percent of the population. This reaction occurs mostly because of our damaged guts, poor diet, and stress.

I also think eating so-called Frankenfoods, such as hybridized and genetically modified grains with very strange proteins, makes us sick.

Our bodies say, “What’s this? Must be something foreign. I’d better create antibodies to this, fight it, and get rid of it.”

This chronic inflammatory response interferes with thyroid function — and contributes to the epidemic of inflammatory diseases in the developed world.

Lastly, nutritional deficiencies play a big role in thyroid dysfunction. These include deficiencies of iodine, vitamin D, omega-3 fats, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, and the B vitamins.

Once you have confirmed that a sluggish thyroid is contributing to your symptoms, the good news is that there are many, many, many things you can do to help correct thyroid problems.

There are so many reasons for low thyroid function, yet I have seen lots of patients with this problem who were just ignored by their doctors.

For example, one young female patient of mine had more than 30 percent body fat and was unable to change her body, no matter how hard she worked. She ate perfectly, exercised with a trainer every day — and her body still wouldn’t budge.

She also had a slightly depressed mood and other vague symptoms.

So I treated her with a low dose of Armour Thyroid, which is a natural thyroid replacement.

What happened?

Well, she not only lost 20 pounds and improved her body composition, but her mood improved and all her other symptoms went away.

How did I know she had low thyroid function?

Once I have asked about symptoms, done a physical exam, and considered all the potential causes of thyroid problems, I do the right tests.

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.

Unfortunately, this leaves millions suffering unnecessarily.

There are also other tests, including free T3 and free T4 and thyroid antibodies, which are essential.

I also look for associated problems such as gluten intolerance, food allergies, and heavy metals, as well as deficiencies of vitamin D, selenium, vitamin A, zinc, and omega-3 fats.

There are many things to consider in a careful approach to hypothyroidism.

It is one of the most common problems I see, and treating it properly makes one of the biggest differences in my patients’ quality of life.

Unfortunately, by using the old guidelines and thinking, conventional medicine misses millions who suffer with hypothyroidism.

In fact, in one study, researchers tested everybody who walked through the gates of a county fair with conventional thyroid testing. They found that according to even conservative conventional standards, half of all the people who had hypothyroidism were undiagnosed, untreated, and suffering.

So what’s the solution?

How You Can Overcome Hypothyroidism

I encourage you to take the following steps to rebalance your thyroid:

  • Make a thorough inventory of any of the symptoms that I mentioned in my article Thyroid Disease: Are You Sick, Tired, Overweight? to see if you might suffer from hypothyroidism.
  • Get the right thyroid tests including TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, TPO and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies.
  • Check for celiac disease with a celiac panel.
  • Consider heavy metal toxicity.
  • Check your vitamin D level.

Once you have confirmed that a sluggish thyroid is contributing to your symptoms, the good news is that there are many, many, many things you can do to help correct thyroid problems.

I have developed the Ultra Thyroid Solution, a seven-step plan to address hypothyroidism:

  1. Treat the Underlying Causes - Identify and treat the underlying causes of hypothyroidism, like food allergies, gluten, heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, and stress.
  2. Optimize Your Nutrition – Support your thyroid with optimal nutrition, including foods that contain iodine, zinc, omega-3 fats, selenium, and more.
  3. Minimize Stress - Eliminate adrenal exhaustion and minimize stress by engaging in a comprehensive stress management program.
  4. Exercise - Engage in exercise, because exercise boosts thyroid function.
  5. Supplement - Use supplements to help enhance thyroid function, including all the nutrients needed for proper thyroid metabolism and function.
  6. Heat Therapy – Use saunas and heat to eliminate stored toxins, which interfere with thyroid function.
  7. Thyroid Hormones - Use thyroid hormone replacement therapy to help support your thyroid gland.

I believe a comprehensive approach is needed to address chronic thyroid issues and to diagnose them. Unfortunately, most of the options for healing by conventional care are quite limited and only provide a partial solution. But by following my seven-step plan you can achieve lifelong vibrant health.

About Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman has dedicated his career to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach known as Functional Medicine. He is a family physician, an eight-time New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader in his field. Dr. Hyman’s book The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body’s Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast is included in Hypothyroid Mom’s Favorite Thyroid Books.

Dr. Hyman is a sought-after speaker. He was one of 38 thought leaders at world-renowned functional medicine physician Dr. Amy Myers’ online event The Autoimmune Summit. Experts in the fields of Functional Medicine, nutrition, and autoimmune disease explained how leaky gut, genetics, and environmental triggers such as toxins, food sensitivities, infections, and stress all play a part in the development of autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. While the free event ended on November 17, it is still available to order: Lifetime Access for The Autoimmune Summit.

Register for The Autoimmune Summit

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About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? I founded Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Winner of two 2014 WEGO Health Activist Awards: Health Activist Hero & Best In Show Twitter. *Hypothyroid Mom includes Affiliate links. Connect with me on Google+

Comments

  1. I am so happy to see articles like this! So helpful!!!!

    I was diagnosed as hypothyroid about a year and a half ago. I have seen 3 doctors and 2 endos since. ALL of them looked confused when I asked what causes it and said something like “We don’t really know. It just happens.” All they knew to do for me was prescribe levothyroxin.

    My husband has been on levothyroxine for about 6 years and his dose keeps going up. We both sat in wide-eyed disbelief when his doctor casually stated at his last checkup, “Well, whatever is causing this is apparently still doing it. I’m increasing your dose to 200mcg. See you in 3 months.”

  2. I had my thyroid completely destroyed with radioactive iodine 30 years ago. I have lived to regret that decision. I never feel good and most of the time I feel too bad to leave the house. Recently discovered that while my TSH test was high my TS & T4 were very low. For a good many years my levothyroxine dosage was being constantly lowered based on just my TSH results. I have doubled in size, developed rashes, nail problems, a sleeping disorder, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia. IBS, interstitial cystitis, chronic dry eye…etc. The list goes go on and on. Since my hormone has been increased the only positive change has been that my eyelashes, eyebrows and hair are better. I still feel badly and cannot drop any weight despite trying. I cannot find a doctor who will treat me with anything other than more drugs to mask my growing symptoms and health problems. I am at a loss and ready to give up. Because I feel so bad most of the time I have lost my zest for life. Of course telling most doctors that gets you a handful of mood altering drugs. I wouldn’t feel mentally bad if I didn’t feel physically so.

    • I am SO with you on this…what have you found out since this post??

      • I am in the process of filling out the needed paperwork in order to get an appointment with an Integrative physician. I cannot recall the name of the blog that lists these doctors which are added by patients. In order to be on this list the doctors must…1) Do all thyroid related blood work and 2) Prescribe desiccated thyroid and/or T3 hormone.
        There was only one doctor on the list in my state even remotely close to me. Thankfully my she is covered by my insurance plan. She has 31 years experience and rated very favorably. This is the most excited I have been about seeing a doctor ever.

  3. kellie schroeder says:

    I would love to read this.

  4. I’d like to read the book and I wish I could find a doc like this in central PA!

  5. Nistoli Archer says:

    Thyroid Healthy by Suzy Cohen sold at Amazon. I found this book helpful. I suffer depression and chronic fatigue since I was a teenager. I’m in my 30s now and it got so bad I found out I have hypothyroidism. I went to see Dr. Heimlich and I started a sugar free, gluten, and grain free diet. My fatigue felt like I was intoxicated all the time. I use to cry I could not think. I’m still in working progress to heal. I only been on this diet for 3 months and my fatigue was decreased. Is shocking to me I’m starting to seeing improvement. To you who feel you can’t take it anymore. Don’t loose hope. You have to fight and give it all you got to heal. I’m also taking supplements vitamin B,A,d3,C, Zinc, I buy at biotic research. I’m in process of finding the right thyroid medication. Synthroid did not work for me. I sent a big hug to you with love.

  6. Hi. I am a 44 year old mother of three. After my third child in 2004 I thought I had post-partum depression. then after two years of nagging my Dr. to death, she finally checked my thyroid. HYPOTHYROID. Boy has my life changed for the worse! I am on Synthroid and some symptoms have lessened, but I still feel like crap most days. I was always energetic, felt great and never in my life weighed more than 110 lbs. Now I am 140 lbs, feel horrible, look even worse, and my life isn’t getting any better. I don’t like alot of veggies, but have cut out junk, started exercising every day, and walking/jogging 3 miles a day, six times a week, in the dead of heat!. Went to the doctor for check-up, and after a month of all this dropped .02 of a lb!! So discouraged, I came home and cried, then ate a big bowl of cereal!
    So disappointing!!!!!!

  7. jill dawson says:

    I want to know if Laura remembers name of blog she got list of good thyroid drs on

  8. Great information. How I wish the UK health professionals would wake up and look at hypo patients holistically. I am going to ask for a referral to see if I can be prescribed T3. I don’t hold out much hope as Levo is the cure all apparently! Nobody has told my body this though and right now I am keeping laxative suppliers in business!

  9. Arminda Cook says:

    Hi:
    I came across your website today via Facebook and I am excited to read all of the information. In 2003 I had my thyroid removed due to suspicious cells on nodules (cancer). Now I have been on levoxythrine for many years. Are is there any particular articles for someone who doesn’t have a thyroid anymore and is considered hypothyroid? Would I abide to the same diets and things as someone who still has a thyroid but has hypothyroidism? Any suggestions of articles or books would be very helpful as I need to lose weight and I’m tired all of the time. Thank you.

    Arminda Cook

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