What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid problems in the United States.  At greatest risk are women, older individuals (over 60 yrs) and those with a family history of thyroid conditions.  Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone.  Resons for this can range from low iodine and selenium to heavy metal toxicity and a variety of other issues.

Testing for Hypothyroidism

Allopathic doctors will diagnose a thyroid problem on the basis of the TSH test. TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone.  This hormone is not a thyroid hormone but a pituitary hormone.  TSH stimulates the thyroid to produce T4 and T3.  
Because this is not a thyroid hormone many holistic and integrative doctors prefer to use the Free T4 and Free T3 tests as a marker.

These are common tests to check thyroid function & what they mean:

TSH - Thyroid Stimulating Hormone - a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland.  The TSH receptors are found on the follicular cells of the thyroid. Stimulation of these receptors increases T3 and T4 production and secretion.

T3 - Triiodothyronine - a hormone that helps regulate growth and development, helps control metabolism and body temperature, and, by a negative-feedback system, acts to inhibit the secretion of thyrotropin by the pituitary gland. Triiodothyronine is produced mainly from the deiodination of thyroxine in the peripheral tissues but is also synthesized by and stored in the thyroid gland as an amino acid residue of the protein thyroglobulin. Triiodothyronine circulates in the plasma, where it is bound mainly to thyroxine-binding globulin and thyroxine-binding prealbumin, proteins that protect the hormone from metabolism and excretion during its half-life of 2 days or less before it is degraded in the liver. The hormone is the most active thyroid hormone and affects all body processes, including gene expressions.{1}

Free T3 - This is the free (unbound form) of T3.  It is believed that only this form of T3 is responsible for biological action such as energy and metabolism.  In many hypothyroid conditions you will see low values of this hormone.  The values can even be in the range and still be considered low when other clinical signs are present.  Most seem to feel best in the upper 1/3 of the ranges.  To determine this take the high number of the range and subtract the low number.  Take that number and divide by 3 then multiply that number by 2.  Take that number and add it to the lower number of the range.  This will give you the low number of the new upper 1/3 range and the upper end of the lab range is the high end. 

T4 - 99.95% of this hormone released from the thyroid is protein bound - mainly to the thyroxine binding globulin (TBG).  The half life of this hormone once released into the blood stream is about 6 days.  This is the precursor to the active T3 hormone.  Conversion of this hormone to the T3 hormone occurs in the kidney and liver.  If your liver or kidney is compromised by heavy metals or other environmental toxins or even toxins in your food such as preservatives the ability to convert effectively will be compromised.  In many cases a good liver and kidney cleanse can increase the level of active thyroid hormone.  Maintaining a clean /organic whole foods diet will help as well.

Free T4 - The Free T4 test is a newer test.  It is not effected by protein level in the blood as the T4 only test is.  Since the Free T4 hormone is the active form of thyroxine many consider this test a more accurate reflection of the thyroid hormone function. In most cases it has been used as a replacement to total T4 by many doctors.

Thyroglobulin - This test measures the thyroglobulin protein in the blood stream. It is used in the thyroid hormone creation process by binding to tyrosine and iodine.  Thyroglobulin levels are elevated when iodine deficiency is present.  It is also used for those who have had a thyroid cancer diagnosis and have received a thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine treatment (RAI).  Only normal thyroid tissue and thyroid cancer tissue will produce this protein.  

Comment from site owner:  The problem I believe with using this as a marker for recurrent cancer is that iodine deficiency in many cases causes iodine resistant tissue.  The receptors shutdown (aka go to sleep) due to lack of iodine passing by them to be brought into the cells. The tissue may not take up RAI but will continue to produce Tg.  It may in fact not be cancerous tissue at all but just iodine resistant.  The doctors will continue to hit you with more RAI and external beam in an attempt to eradicate cancer that may not even be there.  This does nothing more than kill your immune system and spiral you closer to death.  This is the condition I faced with Tg levels of 24 after 3 RAI's.  I have negative RAI scans as well.  I opted no treatment with more radiation.  Just natural therapies to heal my body of the underlying causes of cancer.  My Tg is now 13.

Thyroglobulin Antibodies (Tg Ab) - This is a measurement of antibodies that the body has created against the thyroglobulin.  Thyroglobulin is used in the iodine / tyrosine binding process to form thyroid hormone.  A positive test result for these antibodies is an indication of autoimmune thyroid disease.  In the case of thyroid cancer when these antibodies are present the thyroglobulin level is not accurate and testing of the Tg level must be done by a special laboratory.  

Thyroperoxidase antibody  (TPO Ab) - This is a measurement of antibodies against the Thyroperoxidase enzyme.  The TPO enzyme is expressed in the thyroid by liberating iodine for binding to tyrosine residues on thyroglobulin for the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones.  Testing positive for these antibodies is an indication of an autoimmune thyroid condition.  

Normal Function of the Thyroid Gland

The function of the thyroid gland is dependent on the intake of Iodine to make thyroxine (T4) and tiiodothyronine.  The thyroid cells absorb iodine from the blood stream which binds with the amino acid tyrosine.  After creation they are released into the blood stream to control metabolism, conversion of oxygen and more. Every cell in the body depends on thyroid hormone for regulation.  The normal thyroid produces 80%  T4 and 20% T3.  This seems to be the reason why synthetic thyroid hormones such as Synthroid, Levoxyl and Levothyroxine are problematic for thyroidless or very low functioning thyroids.  

Issues With T4 Only Medications

Medications such as Synthroid, Levoxyl and Levothyroxine can be problematic for many - especially those without a thyroid.  Many suffer from fatigue, aching joints, depression, anxiety, weight gain, loss of hair, dry skin and the list goes on. Doctors, when presented with these long lists of complaints will frequently dole out prescriptions for antidepressants like prozac and zoloft as the magic fix.  We are NOT DEPRESSED!  The underlying cause is nothing less than low thyroid levels - more specifically low Free T3.  

Most allopathic doctors will prescribe a T4 only medication to thyroidless patients telling them that they will not notice a difference from the time when they had their thyroid.  WRONG!  We feel it.  We need T3.  The T3 hormone possesses about four times the "strength" of T4 thyroid hormones.   Remember that 20% of the body's T3 comes directly from the thyroid gland so supplying T4 only causes us to lose that 20%. The other issue is in counting on the body's ability to convert the T4 to T3. This hormone being supplied is a chemical and does not look like the chemical structure of what your thyroid would produce and this I believe causes problems for the body.  

When T3 levels drop the body's metabolism slows down yet there are still demands on it to continue to "perform".  As an effort to maintain homeostasis the body will then draw off of the adrenals until they become totally fatigued and the patient collapses.  This is when it becomes very difficult to recover.  You now have to deal with low thyroid and adrenal fatigue.  The adrenals are the sprinters of the body.  They kick up the adrenaline when you experience the fight or flight response but when taxed daily to support normal body functions and forced into marathon running they will crash and burn.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid Hormone Therapy

I was told by my endocrinologist over and over that Synthroid is "The Cadillac" of thyroid hormone therapy.  After suffering on Synthroid for 6 years I was able to find a holistic doctor that would prescribe Armour Thyroid for me.  Within 4 days the fog lifted and I began to gain energy and experience an overall feeling of wellness.  So I say that if Synthroid is "The Cadillac" then Armour Thyroid is "The Rolls Royce" of thyroid hormone therapy.  

What is different about Armour you ask?  Armour is derived from desiccated pig thyroid glands.  It is approved by the US Pharmacopia and contains T1, T2, T3, T4 and Calcitonen - all the components that a normal thyroid would produce.  I believe this is key in its unparalleled success with patients.  Especially those without a thyroid to supply all it needs.  

But my endocrinologist said that since I had thyroid cancer so I can't take it.  
HOGWASH!  Take some time and look at who supports the local endocrinologist schools.  It's Abbott Pharmaceuticals for the most part that is there paying for grants and supporting speaking engagements of the staff.  Abbott is the maker of Synthroid.  New Endocrinologists come out of school in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.  Armour has been around for over 100 years.  It was  used successfully by thyroid cancer patients for years prior to the creation of Synthroid or any other levothyroxine product.  

Comments / Objections from Endocrinogists
No the potency does not vary from pill to pill as endocrinologists will tell you.  The US Pharmacopia maintains tight controls on the potency of each batch produced as it does with all drugs.

No you cannot get mad cow disease from this drug as it comes from porcine not bovine sources.

No this does not put you at higher risk for thyroid cancer.  It increases your metabolism which puts you at a lower risk.

Determining If You Are Hypothyroid:

Basal Body Temperature Testing   

This method was one that was promoted by Dr. Broda Barnes.  One way that thyroid function can be determined is to take the temperature of the individual under the arm before rising.  The temperature should be 97.8 -98.2 degrees F.  This method is especially useful for monitoring children.  

Lab Testing:  You Can Order Without a Doctor

When trying to determine thyroid health it is necessary to gather a full picture. Since low ferritin and B12 along with issues in the kidney and liver can affect thyroid levels, I highly recommend the following two lab packages.

www.healthcheckusa.com  Health Check USA
Thyroid Panel II  - Includes TSH, Free T3 & Free T4
VIP Plus - Includes Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and Ratios, Triglycerides, Glucose (Diabetes), Kidney, Liver, and Heart Functions, Potassium, Calcium, Uric Acid, Electrolytes, Iron, Ferritin, PLUS a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and Comprehensive Thyroid Profile I: T3-Uptake, T4 Total, T7,& TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).

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