Are You Depressed, Fatigued, Having Problems Focusing? Is Your Sex Drive Not What It Used To Be?
Undiagnosed and untreated LOW THYROID FUNCTION affects more than 30 million women and 15 million men in America, causing all of these symptoms and more. According to conventional medicine, muscle pain, constipation, brain fog and excessive hair loss are not serious diseases, but hypothyroid (low) can also lead to diabetes and heart attacks.
One of the major causes of thyroid imbalance is exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides. These additives in our food and air act as thyroid hormone disruptors. They also interfere with metabolism and the ability to lose extra pounds. One study found that as people lost weight, they released pesticides from their fat tissue.
If you see your doctor, he or she will probably shrug off your list of complaints. Physicians are experts at acute illness, but they often fail miserably when it comes to addressing subtle changes in your body that affect your quality of life. Frequently, doctors diagnose only depression even when other hypothyroid symptoms are present.
A patient came to me after taking her prescribed anti-depressant Prozac, and the anti-anxiety medicine Zanax for a period of roughly 6 months. I encouraged her to get the following complete thyroid profile: TSH, free T4, Free T3, and thyroid antibodies, instead of only TSH which is traditionally used alone. Her doctor found that she tested positive for a high level of hypothyroid and for thyroid antibodies. She began thyroid treatment and felt much better.
It is beyond the scope of this article to describe fully the above laboratory tests, however, you can research them yourself if you wish. I would like to briefly address three areas which impacted my own recovery from hypothyroidism.
1) While it is a relief to get a diagnosis of “normal” on TSH, if you’re still feeling sick, or still having problems, it is no help to you at all. Newer standards indicate that “normal” range is 0.3 to 3 (with over 3 considered underactive or low, and under 0.3 overactive or high.) Many labs and practitioners are still using outdated lab guidelines, which put normal range at 0.5 to 5.5. Also note: the idea that different people feel their best at different TSH levels has not gained widespread acceptance among many endocrinologists or conventional physicians.
2) I was prescribed Synthroid or Levothyroxine (both synthetic) as are most people with hypothyroid (low) problems; neither worked for me, although a total of eight doctors and endocrinologists insisted that I try them again and again. There are natural, desiccated thyroid medicines (made from pig thyroid glands and other active hormones) that do a better job of reproducing normal physiology. Save yourself distress and see a practitioner who is up-to-date and will consider Armour, compounded thyroid (customized), or other natural replacements.
3) Natural substances in certain foods interfere with the thyroid’s functioning. The following foods must be cooked or limited to reasonable quantities if you are hypothyroid: cuciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, brussel sprouts, processed meats, all polyunsaturated fats, peanuts, peaches, strawberries, radishes, all soy products including tofu, spinach, beans and peas.
I do not believe that thyroid hormone treatment alone is sufficient to enable you to regain your health. You will need a holistic regime focused on nutrition (like the above suggestions), lifestyle, and supplements as well. If you need help implementing these features of your plan, or continue to feel depressed and anxious, do not hesitate to contact me.
Lynn Vaughn, PhD
Lynn Vaughn, PhD is a licensed Psychologist with over 30 years experience in Spirit-centered counseling. She is a certified Play Therapist, a S.A.G.E. (Self-Actualization Growth Exploration) Presenter and Educator, public speaker, writer and creator of Couples Communication and Mood & Food classes. She has consulted over 90 graduate students who are completing doctoral dissertations.