Your thyroid and how it impacts your health.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland which sits at the front of your neck just in front on your windpipe. It is gently palpable and it is responsible for producing the hormones T3 and T4 which determine the overall amount and quality of energy that you have.
An high or overactive thyroid will deliver excessive energy, leaving you wired, even when you’re exhausted.
A slow or under-active thyroid will give you low energy, leaving you lethargic and lacking in enthusiasm for life.
These can be a hugely debilitating issues for many people. In Laurens’ experience females between 25 – 50 are the demographic most often affected by thyroid issues. Fortunately, through Functional and Integrative Medicine it is eminently possible to help people back to health and to find a happy balance once more.
Below we will take a closer look at the thyroid gland, how it impacts your health, and how we at The Maas Clinic, can help you to heal your thyroid gland if you are suffering with a thyroid issue.
Symptoms that mean you may be suffering from a thyroid issue:
- Weight gain
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of libido
- Lacking energy and a joy for life
Your thyroid and adrenals.
Your thyroid gland, adrenal glands and pituitary gland are all interlinked. In most people, thyroid function is regulated by the pituitary gland. This tiny gland is responsible for secreting TSH, which signals the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones T3 and T4 which help regulate our metabolic activity and help our brain, heart, liver, muscles, and other organs function properly.
It is rare to come across a client with a thyroid problem who does not first have an adrenal issue. As such, it is Laurens’ preference to first investigate a client’s adrenal function, and to secondly address the thyroid, since the former impacts the latter to such an extent.
Thyroid problems are diagnosed relatively easily by medical doctors, but due to traditional training they tend not to look at the root cause of the problem, namely the adrenals. Since medical doctors don’t look for adrenal malfunction, they don’t treat it; meaning that unfortunately a patient may end up on thyroid medication for the rest of their life. This can sometimes be helpful, but often it is not necessary. Here at The Maas Clinic we try to avoid that step if at all possible.
The difference between an overactive and an under-active thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism – a high, overactive thyroid will deliver excessive energy.
If you have an overactive thyroid you may experience…
- Tachycardia (a very fast heartbeat)
- A high body temperature
- Weight loss
Hypothyroidism – a slow, under-active thyroid will give you low energy.
If you have an under-active or slow thyroid you may experience…
- Bradycardia (a slow heartbeat)
- A low body temperature
- Weight gain
- Coarse dry hair
- Loss of the lateral third of your eyebrows, known as Hertoghe sign
Both over and under-active thyroid issues are linked to autoimmune diseases.
The two most common of which, in relation to thyroid health, are Graves’ and Hashimoto’s.
Graves’ is the most common autoimmune disease Laurens treats in relation to hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. When your thyroid hormones are too high, your metabolism speeds up and your body excessively burns nutrients which can result in malnutrition and chronic illness.
In Graves’ disease, an antibody known as thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb) can mimic pituitary hormones and completely override the system, inducing an overactive thyroid.
Hashimoto’s, like Graves’, is an autoimmune disease and the latter stages of Hashimoto’s can lead to an under-active thyroid – hypothyroidism.
In the initial stages of Hashimoto’s a person may notice that they rapidly lose weight. However once the thyroid gland has burnt itself out, it will slow down and a person will go into a hypothyroid state, gaining weight, experiencing slow thinking and brain fog.
It is not always the case that a person will have Hashimoto’s prior to hypothyroidism. Some people lack iodine and tyrosine in their diet which can lead to the same issue of thyroid malfunction.
How your thyroid can effect on your mood.
Your thyroid has a big impact on your emotional wellbeing.
An overactive thyroid can make a person prone to anxiety. If you have too much energy, it reverberates around your body with nowhere to go. This can lead to anxiety.
An under-active thyroid can make a person prone to depression. If you have too little energy, it can make you lethargic and prone to depression since you have no get-up-and-go.
Like all things in the body, the thyroid has a very narrow range of where it likes to act normally. It’s Laurens’ mission to help his client’s to live within that happy, healthy realm.
How your thyroid impacts your digestion.
- Your thyroid determines the rate of bowel transit, so it has a big impact on your digestion.
- If somebody has an overactive thyroid, they will usually be prone to loose stools and diarrhoea.
- If somebody had an under-active thyroid, they are usually prone to constipation.
What is the most common demographic for thyroid problems?
In Laurens’ experience a particular demographic is most often affected by thyroid issues.
The profile of a typical client with a thyroid problem is as follows:
- 25 – 50
- experiencing weight gain
- experiencing constipation
- has a lack of motivation
- has a loss of libido
- lacks of joy for life
This can be a hugely debilitating issue for many people. Fortunately, through functional and integrative medicine it is eminently possible to help clients reclaim their joie de vivre and find a happy balance once more.
Though many clients try to tackle the symptoms above with a heavy exercise schedule and extreme dieting, it is paramount to first address a client’s hormonal balance. Get the hormones right, and the lifestyle shifts can follow.
How we test for a thyroid problem.
Here at The Maas Clinic we use blood tests to determine if a client has a thyroid issue. We will test for the hormones T3, T4 and TSH, the hormones regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. We will also look at autoimmune markers, since autoimmune diseases are so prevalent.
How we treat a thyroid problem using functional and integrative medicine.
In Laurens’ experience, it is paramount to address any underlying adrenal issues before looking at the thyroid. As we’ve shared above, often the adrenal glands are responsible for many of the problems clients experience with their thyroid gland.
Nutrition plays a huge part in your health, and indeed it is one of the key pillars we use to treat clients at The Maas Clinic. As an Integrated Doctor Laurens uses natural hormones via food and supplements to help his clients.
Goitrogenic foods may be best avoided by some people as they can hinder the thyroid’s function by blocking iodine. These include:
- Soya beans
Stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and allergic foods should be totally avoided as they can cause further disruption to an already overtaxed gland.
It is also best to avoid spraying perfumes onto the neck area as some contain mercury and aluminium, which can disrupt the thyroid gland’s natural function.
There are certain foods and supplements which can benefit your thyroid, including:
- Bugle weed and motherwort are highly effective herbs.
- Kelp which contains iodine and also trace minerals.
- Amino acids like L-tyrosine. Tyrosine is the backbone of all thyroid hormones. Again Laurens can advise clients on the appropriate dosage for a client’s specific needs.
- Selenium which is responsible within the liver for converting T4 into the more potent T3.
- Iodine, Laurens’ pick as a great all-round supplement for improving thyroid health. Why? Because…
- Iodine is essential to your thyroid health
- It can boost your metabolism
- It supports your immune system
- A great option is Lugol’s iodine 2%, 7% or 12% which can be purchased online.
- Note the percentage required will depend on each person’s individual needs and should be clarified before use.