Hypothyroidism causes chronic fatigue and can cause any number of other low thyroid symptoms including weight gain, depression, insomnia, fibromyalgia symptoms, hair loss, dry skin, cold hands, cold feet, brittle nails, constipation, infertility, acne, brain fog and menstrual irregularities.
In mainstream medicine we use a TSH blood test to decide whether or not you have hypothyroidism. This test will pick up more obvious cases; however it is not very sensitive. There are many other ways to check thyroid function but I mainly use the simple TSH test along with checking for the active Thyroid Hormone, T3. You may have several different symptoms of hypothyroidism yet still have your TSH and Free T3 be within “normal limits”. So, being within “normal limits” does not necessarily mean you are at a neither healthy nor optimal level.
My training in standard mainstream medicine taught me to decide who received therapy by the TSH test. Many of the patients today that I treat for hypothyroidism would not meet criteria for treatment based solely on this less sensitive standard. Apart from labs, my diagnosis actually takes signs and thyroid symptoms into account. The treatment I offer aims for optimum improvement of thyroid symptoms as opposed to only adjusting the TSH to within “normal limits”. I believe having you feel as good as possible is more important than making a lab test look good.
For treatment, there is an inactive or less active thyroid hormone called Thyroxine (T4) and an active form Triodothyronin (T3). Mainstream physicians only use synthetic T4. T4 must convert to T3 to become functional. As we age this transformation becomes more difficult. Using only T4 (synthroid) leaves a lot of people sorely under treated.
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The handful of physicians in alternative medicine who think outside the box prefer to use the natural form of thyroid replacement that includes T4 and T3. In some cases I prescribe a long acting form of T3 that does not include T4.
I prefer to prescribe either desiccated thyroid (a natural form of T3 and T4) and or long acting T3. I often allow patients the latitude to slowly titrate, their dose of long acting T3 upward based on symptoms. The main symptom I use for titration is energy level. By the time one has achieved optimum energy without symptoms of hyperthyroidism, all of the other associated thyroid symptoms will have improved as well.
You know that you have over done it a little if you have palpitations, nervousness, hand tremor or a heart rate over 100 beats per minute. An overdose of thyroid is similar to having drank too much coffee. For a relatively healthy person this is not dangerous, however it is not desirable and it is uncomfortable. All one has to do under this circumstance is to back off to the previously better tolerated dose. After titrating to a comfortable dose and stabilizing for several weeks, I customarily check a TSH to see you are still within “normal limits”.
For anyone considering Thyroid Replacement Therapy, I strongly recommend making sure that you have an adequate intake of Selenium and Iodine. There is a good dose of both in our multi-4, multi-2, immune formula, and our adrenal formula. Adrenal weakness will also hamper your response to thyroid. Our adrenal formula is a potent, cheap way to address weak adrenals. Thyroid treatment may not work very well or may not work at all if the adrenal problem has not been addressed.
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