Chronic overwhelm, fatigue, brain fog, hormone imbalances, stubborn weight, depression, anxiety, poor sleep, thinning hair, aching joints … sound familiar?
As a naturopathic doctor practicing in SE Saskatchewan I have had the opportunity to work with some truly amazing patients.
And something I am seeing a lot of is low thyroid function aka hypothyroidism.
The thyroid, a small butterfly shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck, is probably one of the most important glands in our bodies. It regulates our weight, energy, digestion, mood, memory, body temperature, and cholesterol levels among other things.
However, it is often overlooked and misunderstood and people are often told their thyroid function is ‘fine’ when in fact it is not. Blood work is often misleading and can lead to years of suffering, which can impact all areas of your life.
Causes of hypothyroidism: Chronic stress, genetics, poor digestion, low nutrient intake, exposure to chemicals in our body care products, food and our environment etc. There is also an auto-immune condition called Hashimoto’s disease that leads to low thyroid function.
Low thyroid function is poorly diagnosed by conventional medicine as the standard blood test does not capture the entire thyroid and it’s hormonal function, testing only one on of 6 thyroid markers. Naturopathic Doctors are able to requisition additional tests in order to make an effective diagnosis.
There are other signs and symptoms that help make an accurate diagnosis; chronically low body temperature, loss of hair and eyebrows, extremely dry skin, cracking heels and random hives to name a few.
Synthroid/L-thyroxine, synthetic thyroid hormones, are the most common form of conventional treatment. However, if there are underlying nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances or immune dysfunctions it does not effectively treat the problem.
Naturopathic Doctors use various different forms of treatment for hypothyroidism.
Ensuring adequate nutrient intake and absorption is essential since the thyroid needs iodine, selenium and adequate zinc to function properly.
Supporting the diet, digestive system and the often-overlooked adrenal glands is crucial to a healthy thyroid
And finally specific teas and various forms of supplementation can improve both ones thyroid function and quality of life.