Hypothyroidism
words by Helaina Lungu

about

Hypothyroidism is a common hormonal disorder classified by under activity of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones that maintain a healthy metabolism. This can occur as a result of insufficient thyroid hormone production, decreased conversion of thyroid hormones from T4 to T3, an overproduction of reverse T3, or when the body is not efficiently using thyroid hormones.

The three primary hormones that play a role in maintaining healthy thyroid function include thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3). Any abnormalities in these hormones in blood tests are generally classified as hypothyroidism. 

However, your naturopath or nutritionist may suggest investigating further to test for subclinical or functional hypothyroidism. This involves comprehensive testing of thyroid function, including thyroid antibodies. Subclinical or functional hypothyroidism presents with some or all of the typical signs & symptoms, however returns a normal standard thyroid function blood test from your doctor.

 

signs & symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry hair & skin
  • Hair loss
  • Sensitivity to cold or cold intolerance
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • High blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Muscle cramps and weakness
  • Puffy eyes
  • Elevated LDL cholesterol

 

causes

There are a number of reasons hypothyroidism may develop from a naturopathic perspective, including:

  • Nutritional deficiencies e.g. iodine, selenium, vitamins A, D, and E, omega-3 fatty acids
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Stress (high cortisol)
  • Poor gut health
  • Coeliac disease
  • Estrogen excess
  • Toxicity
  • Calorie restriction
  • Chronic infection
  • Treatment for hyperthyroidism
  • Genetics – inherited enzymatic defects
  • For women, reaching middle age and post menopause

 

prevention

  • Avoid restrictive or yo-yo dieting
  • Prioritize stress management
  • Protect your gut health
  • Exercise regularly
  • Detoxification every 6-12 months
  • Choose natural, toxin-free, clean, or organic products wherever possible
  • Seek support for treating chronic inflammation, infections, allergies, intolerances, or autoimmunity
  • Eat a varied diet of plant whole foods including nuts & seeds, fresh fruit & vegetables
  • Maintain healthy omega-3 levels by choosing a high-quality fish oil supplement
  • Treat hormonal imbalances by speaking to your naturopath or nutritionist

 

testing

As mentioned before the standard thyroid function test requested by your doctor will investigate TSH, T4, and T3 levels. However, in order to identify possible subclinical hypothyroidism, we recommend also testing free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and inflammatory markers like thyroid antibodies, ESR, and C-reactive protein. You may request these tests through your doctor, however, we find it best if you speak to your naturopath or nutritionist for a referral first.

In addition to functional thyroid function testing your natural health professional may also recommend omega-3 index, cholesterol, blood glucose, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, and/or gut health testing depending on your unique presentation.

 

treatment

If diagnosed with hypothyroidism your doctor may prescribe pharmaceutical interventions like hormonal replacement therapy i.e. thyroxine/levothyroxine (T4) or triiodothyronine/liothyronine (T3/T4) medications.

Your natural health professional uses natural medicines, like nutritional and herbal supplements plus lifestyle education, to address the underlying causes of your hormonal imbalance in addition to managing other health concerns.

Examples of natural treatment used for thyroid imbalances:

  • Nutrition – essential fatty acids, tyrosine, calcium, selenium, zinc, iodine, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamins A, C, E & D, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), carnitine, coenzyme Q10, n-acetylcysteine (NAC)
  • Herbal medicine – Withania, Kelp, Coleus, Curcumin, Boswellia, Liquorice, Rehmannia, Gymnema, Rhodiola
  • Probiotics – Lactobacillus paracasei & rhamnosus (LGG)
  • Regular exercise
  • Stress management
  • Detoxification & gut repair
  • Avoid goitrogenic foods like turnips, cabbage, broccoli, swedes, mustard greens, radishes, horseradishes
  • Choose organic wherever possible
  • Avoid sugar, caffeine, refined foods, preservatives, colourings & additives

 

If you are ready to get your health under control and need some personalized professional guidance make sure you Book Your Complimentary Consult in our online clinic today. Our wide selection of high-quality professional products are available as part of your FREE consultation and we express post products Australia-wide.

 

Click here for research sources

IM Gateway, Hypothyroidism, viewed 18th September 2021, https://www.imgateway.net/page.jsp?profRef=ProfConditions_Hypothyroidismpc

Metagenics Institute ANZ, Hypothyroidism, viewed 18th September 2021, https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com.au/protocols/hypothyroidism

L Hechtman, Hypothyroidism, Clinical Naturopathic Medicine, 2nd ed. 2019, pages 1150-1167

Words by Helaina Lungu

Words by Helaina Lungu

Helaina is a passionate and experienced practitioner who has qualifications in naturopathy, weight loss consulting, and personal training. Her experience includes educating the community and practitioners alike about the benefits of and the latest trends in the natural medicine industry. In the past Helaina has represented some of the biggest natural health brands in Australia, like Bioceuticals and Metagenics, before founding The Botaniq in 2020. Her particular fields of interest include weight management, digestive, and mental health. In her spare time, she loves to listen to music, go for long drives, head to the beach, and go for a walk with her beautiful pug.
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