Functional Medicine Approach to Healing Hypothyroidism

Functional Medicine Approach to Healing Hypothyroidism

Looking at the whole picture of hypothyroidism
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TSH Wars: The Unreliable Thyroid Lab Test

TSH Wars: The Unreliable Thyroid Lab Test

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is the gold standard lab test for measuring thyroid function in mainstream medicine. Unfortunately this one thyroid lab test does not provide a complete picture. Many doctors don’t run a full thyroid blood panel which should include at minimum Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies. First problem.

I was fortunate to find a great thyroid doctor who treats “me” the person and not strictly my lab numbers. I personally take a natural desiccated thyroid called Nature-throid plus a time-release T3 medication created by a compounding pharmacy. Second problem. Mainstream medicine insists that T4-only levothyroxine medications like Synthroid are the only treatment for hypothyroidism. Yet so many are struggling on these medications.

Third problem. The “normal” reference range for TSH sucks. Yes, you read that correctly. It sucks. My TSH is suppressed BELOW the “normal” reference range. Yes my TSH is suppressed but I feel fabulous without symptoms of over-medication, similar to the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as elevated pulse rate, heart palpitations, jitteriness, profuse sweating, anxiety, insomnia, shaking hands, tremors, difficulty concentrating, diarrhea, unusual hunger, dramatic weight loss (and absolutely yes some patients will be over-medicated at the lower end of the reference range or below and contact your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms). My doctor focuses on my symptoms and testing that includes Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3 at every blood testing. My doctor listens to me. Really listens. I don’t know why that’s so hard for so many thyroid doctors to do.

Let me guess.

When you think back on your personal history of hypothyroidism, you may recall a time when a doctor gave you a dosage of thyroid medication that began to make you feel better (okay I know that many of you have received such terrible thyroid care from doctors that you’ve never had the experience of improving symptoms but this article is still important because it shows you what pitfalls to avoid when dealing with thyroid doctors on your road to healthy). Some symptoms actually started improving and you began to feel better and for some you felt so good you could hardly believe it. You recall that you went to your follow-up doctor’s appointment, you were told that your TSH was below the “normal” reference range and your dosage must be immediately lowered. Your symptoms one by one began reappearing and you felt terrible all over again. Your doctor believed that every single thyroid patient’s TSH must remain within this reference range.

WRONG.

If I was being treated by a doctor with this limited view of thyroid treatment, I would be a very ill woman today.
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PCOS and Thyroid Health

PCOS & Thyroid Health

I read an article entitled Thyroid and Fertility by a Naturopathic Doctor based in Toronto Canada named Dr. Fiona McCulloch and I was intrigued. I discovered that Fiona has PCOS herself and that she commonly works with women who have PCOS and suboptimal thyroid hormone levels. I knew she would be the perfect person to invite to write a guest post about this important connection between PCOS and thyroid health. [Read more…]

Hypothyroidism and Autism: The Story of Micah Boy Genius

Hypothyroidism and Autism: The Story of Micah Boy Genius

Micah (image via Jadranka Isabel Photography)

In August 2013 an article appeared in Endocrine Today entitled Gestational hypothyroxinemia associated with autism occurrence. It referred to a large-scale study published in the Annals of Neurology that revealed mothers with severe hypothyroxinemia (defined as maternal free T4 in the lowest 5th percentile with normal serum TSH) were four times more likely to give birth to a child with autism. I think of this article often and wonder about the madness of a medical system that fails to protect our children. Despite the research showing the potential dangers of thyroid disease in pregnancy there is currently NO routine thyroid testing in pregnancy. I am so passionate about this topic since miscarrying my baby needlessly due to maternal hypothyroidism that I wrote an entire book with thyroid expert Mary Shomon to help women with thyroid disease have healthy pregnancies. Part 3 of our book provides comprehensive checklists of lab tests, optimal ranges, prenatal vitamins, supplements and more so our readers will know even more than their doctors about having healthy pregnancies.

A mother named Jessica wrote a comment on my Hypothyroid Mom Facebook page. Jessica has hypothyroidism and her two sons have congenital hypothyroidism. Her son Micah has congenital hypothyroidism and autism. This photo of Jessica’s son Micah on their Facebook page Micah Boy Genius (the same one I’ve used above for the photo of this article) grabbed my heart. I just knew that I had to hear more of his story.

I write Hypothyroid Mom for us the adults with hypothyroidism. However to tell you the truth, I really write Hypothyroid Mom to create change for our children, so they do not suffer the same struggle for proper diagnosis and treatment as us. A child is never too young to be tested for hypothyroidism. Watch your children for signs. You must read Micah’s story and you will be convinced. [Read more…]

The Thyroid World’s Queen T3

The Thyroid World's Queen T3

When my Free T3 levels reached the top quarter of the normal range, it was like magic. One by one my hypothyroidism symptoms disappeared. I felt so good I cried.

Optimal Free T3 changed my life. Could it change yours? [Read more…]