My Thyroid is “Normal” – so Why Do I Feel So Bad?

I can’t begin to tell you how many times a week I hear this exact thing.  Women come to my office practically in tears because they found out their thyroid was low, or out of balance and started the hormones thinking that it would solve the problem, but months go by and they start losing hope. According to lab tests their thyroid is normal, but they still feel down and out. By the time they get into my office they’re usually so frustrated they’re teary eyed and feel helpless about their health.

Here’s the thing – there’s hope for you.  Let me say that again – THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU! Conventional medicine looks at the hormones and only the hormones.  They are great at finding the right balance of hormones to put you back in a normal range, but sometimes that doesn’t fix the problem.  When the problem doesn’t go away is when I start to look at nutritional deficiencies.  Your thyroid needs lots of things to function and lots of nutrients to make those hormones do what they’re supposed to.  If those nutrients aren’t there then the hormones just aren’t enough to make a difference.

Here are the biggest nutritional deficiencies in the thyroid game:

  • Iodine – your thyroid hormones need iodine to be created, and also the receptors for those thyroid hormones need iodine to work.  Basically this means if you don’t have enough iodine thyroid things just don’t happen.
  • Zinc – zinc is necessary for your pituitary to signal your thyroid to start releasing hormones so if you don’t have enough zinc then your thyroid doesn’t respond well.
  • Selenium – is necessary to help your body convert the forms of thyroid hormone from T3 to T4.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – helps your body secrete thyroid hormones.
  • Tyrosine – one of the building blocks of thyroid hormones

These things can block thyroid function:

  • Food Sensitivities – especially wheat and gluten.  There is a strong association between having a food sensitivity and having low thyroid function. More about food sensitivities…
  • Heavy Metals – toxicity hurts your thyroid function and has a lot of the same symptoms so if simple steps aren’t working then it might be a good idea to look into your heavy metals.
  • Goitrogenic Foods – these foods actually slow down your thyroid. A little bit isn’t enough to make a difference, but a lot sure can.  Especially Soy, but also brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, millet, kale, flax seeds and broccoli. These are all healthy foods and normal amounts are great, but if the only protein you get is soy protein you might want to reconsider.
  • Fluoride Toxicity – it might be good for your teeth in small amounts, but it’s bad for your thyroid.  Fluoride is toxic to your thyroid gland so try to moderate your intake.  Filtered water (check your filters, some add fluoride back in), and fluoride free toothpaste can help. If you can’t find a fluoride free toothpaste then look for a low fluoride content – all toothpaste gives the percentage of fluoride on the label.
  • Other Hormone Imbalance – if the rest of your hormones are out of balance it changes the way your thyroid works.  In general hormones all work as a team and so if some of that team doesn’t do it’s job the rest of the team tries to compensate.  It’s not pretty!

The bottom line is that there is hope for you – always.  There are so many ways to help your thyroid that the hormone is just a small part of it so if you feel like you’ve tried everything then come see me or visit another naturopathic doctor.  There isn’t any reason to feel bad.

If, by chance, you haven’t seen it – Dear Thyroid is one of my favorite thyroid resources and a great support system for anyone who’s struggling, who has a story to share or who wants to helps others with thyroid disease.

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