Benefits of Thyroid Supplementation:
- Regulates temperature, metabolism, and cerebral function
- Increases energy, body temperature, and warmth
- Increases fat breakdown resulting in decreased weight and lower cholesterol
- Protects against cardiovascular disease
- Improves cerebral metabolism
- Prevents cognitive impairment
- Relieves symptoms of thin sparse hair, dry skin, and thin nails
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Hormones – Thyroid
Thyroid hormone is a metabolic hormone secreted by the thyroid gland. It regulates temperature, metabolism and cerebral function that result in increased energy, temperature and warmth. It increases fat breakdown resulting in weight loss and lowers cholesterol. Thyroid hormones control the growth differentiation and metabolism of each cell in the body. They also control how fast our body uses the fuel that we consume particularly carbohydrates and fat. This in turn helps to regulate our temperature and body fat percentage.
The thyroid hormone protects against cardiovascular disease by its cholesterol lowering properties. It improves cerebral metabolism, prevents cognitive impairment and relieves symptoms of thin, sparse hair, dry skin and thin nails.
Persons who suffer from low thyroid function tend to experience fatigue and low energy, slowness in their speech and actions, forgetfulness, mental confusion, depression, arthritis-like pain and susceptibility to colds and infections. Many of these aspects are considered normal aging. However, we now know that it is secondary to thyroid insufficiency. The thyroid hormone is an indispensable ingredient in the total hormone package.
Possible Side Effects:
Most common side effects from too high a dose include chest pain, increased pulse rate, palpitations, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, or nervousness.
Most physicians continue to prescribe the synthetic thyroid hormone T4 or Synthroid. Synthroid is only T4 and may not be converted to the T3 the body needs. The recommended form of thyroid replacement is with Armour Thyroid or compounded thyroid which is a combination of T3 and T4. The combination allows the body to receive the active form as well as the inactive to treat those patients who are not able to properly convert. The standard dose is 1-2 grains taken once daily in the a.m.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What do I do if I forget to take my thyroid?
If you forget to take your thyroid in the morning you may take it later in the day and resume your schedule the following morning. Do not take two the following day to make up your dose.
What will happen if I forget to take my thyroid for a few days?
You will generally start to feel more fatigued, decreased energy and possibly feel more cold than usual.
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Thyroid production declines as we age, similar to other hormones. This is not considered to be true hypothyroidism but rather a thyroid insufficiency that has in the past been thought to not need hormone replacement. Research suggests that improving thyroid levels will alleviate the symptoms of thyroid insufficiency and allow our system to function more effectively and efficiently.
Mitochondria need thyroid hormone to burn oxygen and produce ATP, the fuel that runs the body. If the mitochondria are weakened due to an inadequate supply of thyroid hormone, then we will not be able to burn up proper amounts of oxygen thereby giving us less energy and symptoms of thyroid insufficiency. In addition, we will be unable to keep up mentally and physically as we once did. In addition, our immune system slows down becoming weaker and less effective. Physicians have been hesitant to supplement thyroid hormones largely due to a lack of understanding of the importance of optimal thyroid levels and the relationship to the quality of daily life.
There are two types of thyroid hormones, Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). T4 is inactive and kept in reserve, T3 is the active hormone. Thyroid hormone initially is produced in the thyroid gland as a storage form of the thyroid called T-4. Once in the body, this circulating T-4 is converted to the active form of T-3 by an enzyme. As we age, the production of T-4 diminishes. In addition, the conversion of T-4 to the active form of T-3 also diminishes, resulting in less stimulation of the cells.
Low thyroid levels results in complaints of fatigue, lack of energy, weight gain and all the other symptoms typical of low thyroid. Tests often show a “normal” thyroid. Patients are treated with synthetic T-4 products and still experience hypothyroid symptoms even though the laboratory test values appear normal. The reason for this is that the treating doctor may rely on one thyroid test, TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone. This is an indirect measurement of thyroid function. The new paradigm is to measure the free hormones in our body, which is the Free T-3 in thyroid. The free hormones are the active hormones and are a more accurate indication of the body’s metabolism of the hormone.
About 80% of the thyroid hormones we produce is T4, the inactive thyroid hormone that is typically held in reserve by the body. T3 makes up only 20% of the thyroid hormone, but is about four times more potent than T4 and is the active hormone that the body uses to function. T4 is converted into T3 when thyroid hormone is needed.
The release of the thyroid hormones is controlled by the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced in the pituitary gland. Low circulating levels of thyroid hormone are detected by the hypothalamus which then instructs the pituitary to release TSH. When sufficient amounts are released the hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary to stop or slow down.
Because of this complicated feedback loop, high levels of TSH in the blood often means the pituitary is trying to stimulate production of the thyroid hormone but the thyroid gland is not responding. This condition, known as hypothyroidism, is more common in women and the elderly.
“Fibromyalgia is frequently seen in hypothyroidism. There is now evidence to support that fibromyalgia may be due to thyroid hormone resistance (cellular hypo-function).” Medical Hypotheses 2003 Aug;21(2):182-89.
“Combined T4 and T3 therapy resulted in improved symptoms, well-being and weight loss in comparison with straight T4 therapy. A decrease in weight resulted from using higher T3 levels.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005 May;90(5):2666-74.
“Long term high doses of thyroid had no adverse effect in causing osteoporosis or fractures” Cortland Forum July 2001:85-90
“TSH is a good test to diagnose hypothyroidism. However TSH is a poor measure of symptoms of metabolic severity. It is, therefore, the biological effects of thyroid hormone on the peripheral tissue and not the TSH concentration, that reflects the clinical and metabolic effects.” British Medical Journal Feb 2003;Vol. 326:325-326.
“Even exceptionally high doses of thyroid do not cause osteoporosis or fractures.” Normal Metabolic. Research 1995 Nov; 27(11):503-7.
“Even though the TSH is in the normal range, patients continue to have persistent symptoms despite adequate replacement doses. These patients are still symptomatic due to low T3 levels.” BMJ Feb. 2003; Vol 326:295-296.
“Patients that took a combination of T4 and T3 experienced better mood, energy, concentration and memory and improved well-being. Patients on just T4 experienced no change.” New England Journal of Medicine Feb. 1999;340:424-9
“Women with low normal thyroid levels had a 4-fold increase risk of heart disease. This increased risk was equal to the risk of smoking and high cholesterol. Low normal thyroid levels are a strong predictor for heart attacks.” Annals of Internal Medicine 2000; 132: 270-278.
“Low T3 levels are associated with increased heart disease and decreased cardiac function. Replacing T3 increases clinical performance and cardiac output. Adding T3 increases exercise tolerance and quality of life.” CVR & R 2002;23:20-26
“Low levels of free T3 in patients resulted in increased disability, depression, decreased cognition, and energy and increased mortality.” JAMA Dec. 2004; Vol. 292(2c): 500-504.
“Low normal thyroid levels result in increased cholesterol, increased heart disease, fatigue, low energy, depression, and memory loss. Thyroid replacement eliminates thee risks. No study has shown any harm or adverse effect of treatment.” Consultant 2000 Dec: 2397-2399.
“Long term thyroid replacement with high doses has no significant effect in bone density or fractures.” Lancet 1992 Jul 4; 340(8810):9-13.
“Thyroid levels should be raised to the upper normal range for a young person. This results in optimal cognition, memory, cerebral function.” Journal of Gerontology; 1999 Vol. 54:109-115
“Combined thyroid therapy with T4 and high dose T3 resulted in improvement of symptoms and well being, whereas straight T4 did not. Not only did they feel better, but the patients taking both T4 and T3 also lost weight. The straight T4 did not.” Journal of Clinical Endocrine Metabolism 2005 May; 90(5):2666-74
“Over 40 studies prove that thyroid replacement does not lower bone density or cause increase risk of fracture.” Cortland Forum; 2001 July:85-89.
“Decreased T3 levels result in increased cholesterol and heart disease. Treating with T3 improves the lipid profile.” Preventive Cardiol 2001;4:179-182