Are you concerned about your thyroid health? Do you have weight problems (either too much weight or too little)? Do you have temperature abnormalities? Do you have constipation or diarrhea? Is your skin dry or your hair falling out? These are all the most common symptoms of thyroid disease.
Thyroid disease is really prevalent. It is estimated that 12% of people will develop thyroid disease in their lifetime. About 60% of these people are not even aware that they have a thyroid condition according to the national thyroid association.
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Underlying Root Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction
The ideal way of working with the thyroid is to get to the underlying root causes. By addressing the underlying root causes we can often help people avoid medication or no longer need any medication that they are currently on. Notice we said root "causes" here, not just "cause". This is an important distinction because very rarely do we find that there is only one root cause to thyroid dysfunction. Examples of underlying root causes include:
*HPA Axis Dysfunction (commonly known as adrenal fatigue)
*Improper usage of Iodine
*Mercury and other toxic Metals
Lab Testing For Thyroid Disease
Do you think you have thyroid disease, yet your lab tests are normal? This is a very common finding in those with true thyroid problems. Let's look at why this is!
In order to properly work with the thyroid, we need to really understand what is going on with the unique thyroid expression of any individual. Most commonly in conventional medicine, the only test that is run is TSH. TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. It is the hormone released by the pituitary gland in the brain. This hormone communicates with the thyroid and will help to either stimulate or decrease actual thyroid hormone production. TSH is certainly an important hormone to run, but it is only one portion of understanding the whole thyroid picture.
In addition to the lab marker, TSH, not being a thorough way of identifying thyroid problems, the lab value reference ranges that are for the thyroid are a bit skewed. You see the reference ranges that are used in lab tests are very wide. They are able to predict thyroid DISEASE. However, there can be major thyroid problems where the thyroid is not working optimally, but it is not bad enough to be truly classified as DISEASE. This is known medically as subclinical hypothyroidism. It basically means the labs say that the thyroid is not bad enough to diagnosis someone with disease. However, this does not guarantee that the thyroid is functioning optimally. The reference ranges that are used by lab companies are therefore only identifying DISEASE, are not the reference ranges that are identifying OPTIMAL thyroid functioning. Therefore, we can have a thyroid problem that is causing us thyroid symptoms because of less than optimal functioning. We are therefore told that the lab is normal and we do not have a thyroid problem, when in fact we might! Functional medicine practitioners analyze results differently. We are looking at the lab results through a lens of optimal functioning. Therefore, when we look at lab results, we often identify a problem in those that were previously told there was not one!
Important Labs for Thyroid:
* Labs to get to the root cause of thyroid dysfunction
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AutoImmune Disease of the Thyroid: Hashimoto's and Graves Disease
According to research autoimmune disease is always a result of a triad of causes. First, we have to have the genetic condition that will cause the thyroid disease to occur in the first place. But, just because we have the gene, does not mean we will manifest the disease process. There has to be a trigger (known as an epigenetic factor), which turns on the gene and sets us up for having the disease. Common epigenetic factors include viruses and environmental toxins. Once the gene is activated, we are now more likely to develop the disease, but there still needs to be a third factor in order for autoimmune disease to occur. This third factor is intestinal permeability, otherwise known as leaky gut. Intestinal permeability must be present in order for the autoimmune process to occur. In fact, research has shown that with autoimmune conditions, when intestinal permeability is healed, the disease process reverses DESPITE the environmental trigger still being present. How exciting is this!
Therefore in working with autoimmune disease of the thyroid, we must work also on the underlying cause of intestinal permeability. Causes of intestinal permeability (leaky gut) could include gluten, toxic metals, other environmental toxins such as pesticides, parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungus as well as other causes. We need to treat the underlying cause of the leaky gut before we try to heal the leaky gut. If we try to heal the gut without identifying and healing the cause, we will not get anywhere. To find out the cause of leaky gut, we can work with a functional medicine practitioner who can run advanced tests which will help to identify what are the unique underlying causes of our individual disease process. Leaky gut is also connected to irritable bowel syndrome. To learn more about irritable bowel syndrome, you can visit our irritable bowel syndrome webpage.
Do you think you might have thyroid disease? Or do you have thyroid disease and want to get to the root cause? Book a free discovery call today to see if our practice is right for you!
If you do not see a time slot that works for you - please call us at the office 720-722-1143 or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fasano, Alissio. “Mechanisms of Disease: the Role of Intestinal Barrier Function in the Pathogenesis of Gastrointestinal Autoimmune Diseases.” Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Apr. 2005
Santin, Ana Paula, and Tania Weber Furlanetto. "Role of Estrogen in Thyroid Function and Growth Regulation." Journal of Thyroid Research 2011 (2011): 1-7. Web.