At least 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder and half—15 million—are silent sufferers who are undiagnosed, according to The American Association of ClinicalEndocrinologists.
Women are as much as 10 times as likely as men to have a thyroid problem, says integrative medicine specialist Robin Miller, MD, co-author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to MidLife & Beyond.
Located above the Adam’s apple, your thyroid produces thyroid hormone (TH), which regulates, among other things, your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat. Things can start to go wrong when your thyroid is under- or over-active.
Here are 10 signs that you could have an underactive thyroid:
1. Fatigue after sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night or needing to take a nap daily.
2. Weight gain or the inability to lose weight.
3. Mood issues such as mood swings, anxiety or depression.
4. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, irregular periods, infertility and low sex drive.
5. Muscle pain, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis.
6. Cold hands and feet, feeling cold when others are not, or having a body temperature consistently below 98.5.
7. Dry or cracking skin, brittle nails and excessive hair loss.
9. Mind issues such as brain fog, poor concentration or poor memory.
10. Neck swelling, snoring or hoarse voice.
Which lab tests are best to determine if you have a thyroid problem?TSH
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
What are the ‘optimal’ lab values for thyroid tests?
TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
FT4 >1.1 NG/DL
FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
TPO – <9 IU/ML or negative
TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative
What are 10 things you can do to improve your thyroid function?
1. Make sure you are taking a high quality multivitamin with Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Vitamin D and B vitamins.
2. Take a tyrosine and iodine supplement to help with the FT4 to FT3 conversion.
3. Go gluten-free! If you have Hashimoto’s, try going completely grain and legume free.
4. Deal with your stress and support your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands and thyroid work hand and hand. I recommend restorative yoga and adaptogenic herbs, which support the adrenal glands in coping with stress.
5. Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
6. Have a biological dentist safely remove any amalgam fillings you may have.
7. Watch your intake of cruciferous vegetables. There is a bit of a debate surrounding this.
8. Get fluoride, bromide and chlorine out of your diet and environment.
9. Heal your gut. A properly functioning digestive system (gut) is critical to good health. To learn more, click here.
10. Find a functional medicine doctor in your area and have them run the above laboratory test and work with you to find our root cause of the thyroid imbalance.