The Epidemic of Under Active Thyroid
There is an epidemic of under active thyroids or hypothyroidism as it is also known. Indeed, the prevalence of hypothyroidism has increased in the past 50 years. It occurs so frequently that it is often not considered to be a disease, rather an inevitable commonality. Women make peace with this condition and continue to take thyroid medication for the rest of their lives, without even questioning the cause and potential cure.
What is an under active Thyroid?
The most common form of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your own thyroid gland. You are often unaware of the complexity of this problem and are misguided into thinking that thyroid medication will change the outcome of the disease.
Due to lack of information provided by some conventional doctors, patients agree to take symptomatic medication and suffer from the disease indefinitely. However, having Hashimoto’s means that something is very wrong in your body and intervention is required.
When Do You Know You Have the Deficiency?
Thyroid hormones are used by every cell in the body to regulate your metabolism and body weight by controlling the burning of fat for energy and heat.
A deficiency of thyroid hormones contributes to myriad symptoms that can be difficult to recognise, for two reasons: it affects many organs and tissues unrelated to one another, and often only a few of the symptoms are present.
These include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold; lethargy; constipation; dry, scaly skin; dry hair; loss of hair, unexpected weight gain, muscle aches and stiffness (often presenting as fibromyalgia pain); joint pain; depression; anxiety; irregular menses; heavy menstrual bleeding; low libido and high LDL cholesterol.
One of the symptoms that is always present in an under-active thyroid is tiredness. Patients wake up feeling tired; once they start moving, they start to feel better, but as soon as they sit to have a rest, tiredness invades the body again.
Risk factors and causes of an under active thyroid are:
- Being a woman (first period, after pregnancy, menopausal period, oestrogen dominance);
- Family history (several genes are identified: CTLA4 gene, HLA, thyroglobulin gene);
- Stress and adrenal fatigue;
- Iodine deficiency, due to bromide and fluoride environmental toxicity;
- An excessive amount of goitrogenic food (especially soy or raw cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli or kale);
- Having an additional autoimmune disease;
- Potential immune triggers, such as viruses, bacterial parasitic and yeast infections, environmental radiation and pollution, heavy metals, pesticides, and especially cosmetics; and
- Leaky gut with different food sensitivities: gluten, dairy, GMO soy, nuts, etc, and chronic alcohol intake.
How To Treat It
The most predictable and typical stream of reasons which contribute to an under active thyroid and Hashimoto’s is stress with adrenal fatigue, oestrogen dominance (overuse of the birth control pill), and environmental toxicity with compromised detoxification and leaky gut.
Taking all of these reasons into consideration, it is very clear that prescribing only T4 thyroid drugs in a conventional manner will not cure the problem. In fact, many of these patients are convinced that if their blood results are normal, their hypothyroidism is cured. It is only when it is pointed out that many of their symptoms, such as body weight, tiredness, muscle pain, etc, are still there, that they realise this. Often, just checking body temperature would be enough to see if the condition is still prevalent.
You Need Vitamin Boosting
The thyroid gland produces the less active form of a hormone, T4, that needs to be converted into a more active form, T3. The problem is that you need to be perfectly healthy for this to happen. Low iodine, selenium, iron, zinc, vitamin A, B2, B12 and B6 will decrease this conversion. High mercury and aluminium block this conversion. Abnormal cortisol levels, due to stress, vitamin D deficiency, oestrogen dominance (birth control pill), ferritin deficiency and high antibodies stimulate conversion to reverse the T3 form, which blocks activity of the T3 hormone. When T4 medication is given to these unhealthy patients, the conversion into an active T3 form is compromised, and many symptoms persist.
Hypothyroidism is a complex and stubborn condition that requires detecting the cause, and using comprehensive integrative approaches to alter lifestyle and dietary habits, as well as detoxification, stress control and hormonal balances – but it doesn’t have to be ongoing.
About Dr Sly Nedic
Dr Sly Nedic is a regular contributor to Longevity in South Africa. She is the founder and director of 8th Sense Medi-Spa and is a registered doctor with the Health Profession Council of South Africa, Dr. Nedic holds numerous global credentials in aesthetic, anti-aging and integrative medicine.
- Board Certified Physician in Anti-Aging Medicine by the World Organization of Anti-Aging Medicine (WOSAAM)-Anti-aging Diplomat
- Registered doctor with the Health Profession Council of South Africa
- Certified Acupuncturist with the Allied Health Profession Council
- Faculty member of Scientific board for Preventive Genetics by Laboratories Reunis, Luxembourg, Europe
- Board member of A2 Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Magazine
- Board member of Health intelligence magazine
- Member of Anti-Aging panel for Longevity magazine
- Board member of Prime magazine – Aesthetic and Anti-Aging magazine from Europe