The thyroid gland is called the “Master Gland” because it controls so many body functions. When it does not function well, it affects us mentally and physically, as it is responsible for regulating body temperatures, energy levels, and the heart. Even our hair, nails and skin is regulated by this amazing gland! It is for these reasons that it is important to monitor the thyroid for the early detection of disease or health problems in the rest of the body. If you see any abnormalities or changes in the areas mentioned, do go to your doctor to get your thyroid checked out. For example, are you the one in the room who gets too hot or too cold? Brittle nails? Hair falling out? Skin either dry or clammy? Fatigued? These may all be signs that your thyroid is functioning poorly. Do keep in mind what I alerted you to last month – look closely at those lab results. What most labs report as a “normal” functioning level for the thyroid, may be off by 25%. (FYI: I keep my patients’ T3 levels between 3.5 and 3.8).
This month, we move on to correcting a thyroid problem. There are a number of thyroid nutritional therapies to try before resorting to a prescription for Synthroid, a common thyroid medication. First of all, we check to make sure your adrenal glands are functioning well. This is done by checking DHEA and Cortisol levels. If the adrenals don’t work well, the brain will not be able to signal the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone. To help the brain better communicate with the thyroid, add Tyrosine 500mg, twice a day.
Next we look at iodine and selenium levels. The thyroid makes a chemical, T4, which is then converted to T3, which is the active thyroid hormone. Iodine and Selenium is needed to accomplish this. We add a vitamin/mineral complex, along with B-Complex, to supply the necessary nutritionals to allow the thyroid gland to function. The thyroid needs small amounts of vitamins and minerals to make T4 and T3 and B-Complex. If the patient has an over-active thyroid (Hyperthyroid), it is recommended that they take iodine, mineral complex, B-complex and that they add Carnitine 2-4g daily, because this amino acid makes the body less sensitive to both T3 and T4.
To illustrate, I had a patient diagnosed with an over-functioning thyroid. Her doctor had placed her on drug to reduce her symptoms and reduce the thyroid production of thyroid hormone. By the time I saw her, she still had to take the drug for several more weeks. Unfortunately, the side effects of the drug were so great, she was in physical distress and extremely discouraged. I put her on 3 grams of Carnitine for 3 days. In 3 days, her levels stabilized. She stopped taking her prescription medication. Besides getting her levels close to normal, physically she felt great! Her rapid recovery is a-typical. Most patients see an improvement in 1-2 weeks.
If the patient has a thyroid that is under functioning (Hypothyroid) and they have tried different nutritional therapies, their next option is to take prescription medication. Synthroid is a synthetic T4. I don’t use this much because most of my patients want a more natural treatment and you still have to hope the body turns the T4 into T3. An alternative prescription thyroid drug is called Armour Thyroid which is a combination of T4 and T3. This medication is made from pork. The compound pharmacist can make a T4/T3 combination from goose feathers.
There are may options and opinions when it comes to the thyroid gland. Your doctor will best help you navigate your options.