There is NO tired like THYROID tired.
Written by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care
Whenever I ask my Thyroid Loving Care community what they’re suffering with most, fatigue is always at the top of the list.
And I can empathize! Before I was properly diagnosed, there were days I could barely lift my head off the pillow. I was so exhausted, it’s a good thing I could breastfeed my son, because otherwise I’m not sure either of us would have survived that first year! It was all I could do to accomplish the bare minimum to keep us alive and functioning each day.
But once I had a solid diagnosis and started changing my diet and lifestyle to heal my thyroid, my fatigue slowly began to fade. I had more energy, more “pep”. I was getting better sleep, too, and that translated to better days.
For me, diet and lifestyle changes made a huge improvement in how I felt overall, but that isn’t the case for everyone. Sometimes, you may feel like you’re doing everything right — eating a thyroid-healthy diet, taking the right supplements, getting the right kind of movement in — but you’re seeing very little progress.
That doesn’t mean you’re doing anything “wrong”. It means there’s something missing in your healing plan — and finding it will make a world of difference.
Fatigue and thiamine
Fatigue is a very common symptom of underactive thyroid, but it can also be a symptom of other things, which may be at the root of your problems, including adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities, or nutrient deficiencies.
Sometimes people who are diagnosed with underactive thyroid are prescribed thyroid medication or go on a thyroid-friendly diet and see almost immediate improvement in their energy levels — but some don’t. That’s because we’re all unique, and there are many different root causes of thyroid disease.
For some people, research is suggesting that a mild thiamine deficiency could be to blame.
Thiamine is a B vitamin (B1) and is primarily responsible for helping to convert carbohydrates to energy and helping with digestion. It’s necessary for the proper release of stomach acid, and many people with Hashimoto’s don’t produce or release enough stomach acid.
When you’re battling thyroid disease and related problems, you may not be getting enough thiamine due to malabsorption issues in the gut, and if you’re on a Paleo or autoimmune diet, you may be especially prone to thiamine deficiencies, because most natural sources of thiamine are restricted (including fortified grains, eggs, legumes, peas, nuts, and seeds).
Beyond that, B vitamins are often depleted when we suffer from chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, and autoimmune problems.
Thiamine deficiency is rare in the developed world because of the prevalence of fortified grains — but those of us who have adopted a grain-free diet for other health reasons could be at risk.
An interesting study out of Italy showed promising results in a very small study that used thiamine to treat fatigue in women with Hashimoto’s. Interestingly, none of the women tested as thiamine deficient on a standard blood test, but they all reported relief from their fatigue after taking thiamine supplements.
Treating fatigue naturally
If you’re still suffering from fatigue even though you’re “doing everything right”, try these suggestions:
Before I was diagnosed, I drank gallons of coffee to keep my energy up. Now that I know it’s best to skip the caffeine—which can make fatigue worse—I dry brush first thing in the morning. It only takes me 5 minutes! And it has all these benefits:
- Assists body’s lymphatic system to release toxins
- Exfoliates the skin
- Promotes cell regeneration
- Can improve cellulite (I’m still waiting to see those results! 😉
- Leaves you feeling energized and invigorated (no need for the coffee!)
- Buy a good dry brush.
- Make sure your skin is dry (best to do this before your bath or shower).
- Begin from bottom and move upwards. You’ll use gentle circular motions or longer smoother strokes or a combination of both. I like to do smooth strokes for the legs but round strokes for the ankles, knees, bum, tummy, and elbows.
- Always start at your ankles and move toward your heart. Make sure to move the brush in the same direction.
- When you get to your back brush from the neck down instead toward your lower back.
- Be careful with sensitive skin and never brush over sores, shingles, scars, sun burned areas or areas with skin cancer.
You probably tried rebounding when you were a kid—without even knowing it! Rebounding is basically just bouncing on a trampoline or rebounder. It is gentle enough for people who suffer from thyroid disorders and other chronic fatigue disorders, but it’s powerful enough to get your blood pumping and your body working. Plus, it helps your body detoxify by sweating out the toxins. You can find an affordable rebounder here. I like this one because it can fold up and be stored almost anywhere.
Supplements & alternative therapies
Of course, herbs and supplements are powerful medicine, and should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor, herbalist, naturopathic doctor or qualified practitioner, but these are some treatments that have had amazing results for people in my practice:
- Holy Basil
- Peter Gillham’s Natural Calm
- Coffea cruda 30C
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Tea
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Acupuncture and Acupressure
My friend and colleague, Dr. Izabella Wentz had tried all the diet and lifestyle changes and hit a wall. That’s when she had herself tested and discovered a thiamine deficiency. Dr. Wentz is author of the New York Times bestseller Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.
Izabella saw almost immediate results with a thiamine supplement (she recommends this brand) not only in her energy levels, but also in her blood pressure and digestion. (Of course, don’t just add a supplement to your program without working with your doctor or a qualified health professional first.)
Looking into a thiamine deficiency might be helpful for those of you who are doing “everything right” but still haven’t unlocked the root cause of your thyroid or autoimmune condition. Taking a closer at some of the hidden conditions that can be at the root of your disorder can be the key to feeling better.
Healing your thyroid is a big-picture game. You have to address your leaky gut problems with diet and lifestyle changes — but you also need to investigate and discover the root causes of your disease if you want to truly heal.
About Jen Wittman
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to heal thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.