Thyroid and Thyroid Testing QUESTION 1: Do I Need To Supplement With Iodine?
The Thyroid and how to know if you are iodine sufficient or deficient
An in depth test to evaluate whole body sufficiency for Iodine. After ingesting a 50mg LugoTab tablet, urine is collected for 24 hours. With this test, Iodine sufficiency is determined by comparing the amount of Iodine taken to the amount excreted in the urine. Whole body Iodine sufficiency is reached when 90% or more of the ingested amount is excreted in the urine.
The thyroid and its role in stomach acid production
Your thyroid is a gland in the front of your neck which produces hormones which help to govern your metabolism. It is possible for your thyroid to under-produce or over-produce thyroid hormones, and both conditions can lead to debilitating symptoms. Typically an underactive thyroid leads to symptoms of lethargy, weight gain and dry skin and hair while an overactive thyroid leads to symptoms of feeling nervous and anxious, as well as weight loss. Once diagnosed, thyroid conditions can be treated but even then it is important to continue to monitor levels of thyroid hormones to ensure that your levels remain optimal
What the Thyroid Controls and how
Metabolism (digestion etc)
Thermostat (heat regulation)
The 30 to 40 trillion human cells in the body all have thyroid hormone receptors.
With hypothyroidism the main symptom is being sensitive to cold. Needing to wear jumpers etc.
Other symptoms are:
Weight gain despite less appetite.
Coarse hair and hair loss.
Constipation (remember the body is being slowed down)
Depression, poor focus and memory.
Goiter (not pathological)
Rough, coarse and dry skin
Swollen and puffy eyes
Chronic fatigue, not enough energy
Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
Antibodies to look for if doing a blood test
TPOAb and TgAb
Thyroid Treatment is normally either:
Iodine or synthetic hormones like synthroid or armour.
Problems with iodine supplementation: taking iodine is a good thing to try if there is deficiency. But if deficiency is not the cause of symptoms then supplementing can make matters worse.
If hypothyroidism is sensitivity to cold then it makes sense that hyperthyroidism is indicated by someone being sensitive to heat. Sweating a lot, being in T-shirts etc.
The person with hyperthyroidism is normally the one that always wants a fan blowing or the air conditioning on. Other symptoms are:
Weight loss even if your appetite is hard to satisfy.
Brittle hair and hair loss
Diarrhea, frequent bowel movements
Agitation and anxiety. Can also include poor focus.
Tumors and nodules.
Thin, paper like skin.
Fatigue, energy but being used up on the wrong things. Lack of sleep
Fast heart rate (tachycardia) 120 BPM for example.
Anti thyroid medication
Thyroidectomy (removal of thyroid)
Antibodies to look for
TRAb (thyroid receptor antibodies)
TSH range hyper...0.5 to 5.0 is normal...then 5.0 or over is hypo.
Have you noticed this is a very broad ‘normal’ range? Yes, it is too wide so it's probably better to be around 1.8 to 3.0
Hypothyroidism is common, maybe as many as 800 million people have and it could be simply iodine deficiency.
In the United States there are 13 million patients on thyroid medications or reporting thyroid related problems.
Basic problems are either:
These tend to be autoimmune issues.
7 to 8 times more common in women than men.
Thyroid issues are much more common within a year of given birth. Especially Grave's
Estrogen seems indicated and high levels block the conversion of T4 to T3
TSH is a pituitary hormone, not thyroid hormone.
TSH range is 0.4 to 2.5 but mainstream is happy up to 5.
T4 is the pre-hormone which converts T3 which is an 'active' form. This conversion happens in the liver. So liver issues may be a root cause for some people. The removal of the gall bladder may be a factor in this process.
Twenty percent of T3 is directly produced from the thyroid gland.
What some people have tried
Supplementing with selenium.
Some with zinc
Both help with T4 to T3 conversion and are antioxidants.
Vitamin D and sea kelp (possibly due to iodine but it has selenium and zinc)
Bile salts are another option.
Hyperthyroidism (like Grave's)
Vitamin D 15kIU
Vitamin B1, it can lower estrogen dominance. In a Hyperthyroidism condition your body uses up a lot of B1.
Do NOT use bile salts as this will increase thyroid hormones.
Signs and symptoms of thyroid issues.
Triiodothyronine (T3) is the more active of the two thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Most T3 is bound to protein in the blood. Free T3 measures the level of T3 that is free, or unbound to protein, and is available to regulate metabolism.
What might a low result mean?
Low levels of FT3 indicate that your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormones which means that you may have an underactive thyroid. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include gaining weight, feeling sensitive to cold, feeling tired, often to the point of exhaustion, and having dry skin and hair.
In some people, their T3 is low because their body has difficulty in converting T4 to T3.
What might a high result mean?
Raised levels of free T3 can indicate an overactive thyroid. This happens when your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include being sensitive to heat, losing weight, having a rapid heartbeat and feeling anxious and jittery.
Some people may have high levels of free T3 if they are taking too much thyroid replacement hormone, especially if they are taking T3 (liothyronine) or a combination of T4 and T3 (e.g NDT).
Thyroxine (T4) is one of two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. It works to speed up the rate of your metabolism. Most T4 is bound to carrier proteins in the blood - it is only the free, or unbound, T4 that is active in the body, which is measured in this test.
Free T4 is the less active of the two main thyroid hormones. To have an impact on your cells it needs to convert to the more active T3 when your body needs it.
What might a low result mean?
Low free T4 may indicate that the thyroid is underactive (hypothyroidism) and is struggling to produce enough thyroid hormones. A low FT4 result means that there is less thyroid hormone available to convert to the active T3, resulting in a slower metabolism. There are numerous symptoms of an underactive thyroid - including sensitivity to cold, gaining weight and low mood and depression.
Free T4 levels may also be slightly lower in pregnant women due to an increase in the amount of the carrier protein, thyroid binding globulin. This means that more T4 is bound, leaving less "free" to be biologically active in your cells.
What might a high result mean?
Raised free T4 can indicate an overactive thyroid. High levels of FT4 tend to lead to excess of the other thyroid hormone, T3, resulting in an overactive metabolism. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid can include sensitivity to heat, difficulty in gaining weight, a rapid heartbeat and feelings of nervous anxiety.
Sometimes raised FT4 can be seen if you have already been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and are taking too much thyroid hormone replacement (thyroxine).