The thyroid is a very important organ. It sits at the front of your neck in a butterfly shape. Your thyroid helps govern your metabolism.
Some people have a slow metabolism and it’s a good idea to get your thyroid checked.
Currently through a doctor, only TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) can be tested under medicare. If this shows up to be out of balance, then other parameters can be tested.
However, sometimes it is one of the other parameters which are our of balance, and TSH is normal. TSH is actually a pituitary hormone, not a thyroid hormone, so it can be a bit misleading. Often when the thyroid is out of balance, TSH is out of balance too, but not always.
What other thyroid markers are there?
Free T4 and Free T3: TSH (made in the pituitary gland) stimulates the production of Free T4, and this is then converted to Free T3 which is what helps govern your metabolism around your body.
Iodine: Iodine is a nutrient that is required to convert Free T4 to Free T3. For people who are deficient in iodine, this can have a great impact on the way your thyroid works. For some people, just taking iodine can correct a thyroid imbalance – but you can take too much iodine and you need to be careful with taking it. I suggest to always see your healthcare practitioner before taking an iodine supplement (including kelp).
Reverse T3: If T3 is like the accelerator of your metabolism, then reverse T3 is the brake. You can have a normal T3, but high reverse T3, thus your body still isn’t working at it’s optimal. Stress and long term high cortisol can, in some cases cause a high reverse T3.
Thyroid antibodies: Thyroid antibodies start to attack your thyroid, thus it doesn’t work as well as it could. It also increases inflammation.
Can my hormones be playing a role in upsetting my thyroid?
Estrogen and progesterone can also play a role in a thyroid that is not working as well as it could. Estrogen can have a “blocking effect”, slowing down the conversion of T4 to T3, whereas progesterone can increase it’s function.
If you are experiencing PMS symptoms or think that you may have a hormonal imbalance, then it may be worth getting these checked as well.
Working with your doctor and naturopath
Your thyroid is small but complex organ. If it is too slow or too fast it can be extremely serious so it’s always important to work with your GP. Your naturopath may potentially be able to help restore function by looking at what part of your thyroid isn’t working well and, along with lifestyle and dietary changes, use herbal and nutritional medicine to help improve it’s function.
Public Speaker and Naturopath, Andrea Strand has been successfully helping people to get well over the last 14 years. Andrea’s approach is to blend science and traditional medicine to achieve optimum results for her patients. She has a special interest in helping women rebalance their hormones so that they don’t have to suffer each month. For more information or to book a free 10 min phone chat, call 1300 21 44 25.