As you probably already know, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease several years ago.
But it wasn’t an easy or quick diagnosis… let’s rewind a few years.
I was in my mid-forties and feeling lousy. Energy drain… weight gain… ice-cold hands and feet… and sleepless nights. My hair was falling out in clumps. I struggled to stay mentally focused. And my interest in sex took a nosedive — and drowned!
I felt decades older than I was. I was fed up. I had to get to the bottom of my problem — to save my sanity… my marriage… and my life.
I struggled for years until I found a functional medicine doctor that helped me get the correct diagnosis. Doctor after doctor somehow just never ran a full thyroid panel — instead only checking my TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) numbers and never all of the other factors that go into a healthy thyroid balance.
And, while I try to share my story as often as possible so that others in my situation can find help for their thyroid problems, I was recently reminded that even when you find a doctor that listens to you and runs the right tests, your problems still might not end. Here’s why…
Weight gain, fatigue, brain fog and more
I was talking with a friend of mine this weekend when we began to discuss our health. I told her how much better I was feeling since I had found ways to improve my thyroid function.
She just sighed loudly and said, “I wish I could do that. Nothing works.”
It turns out that although she’d been on thyroid medication for years, nothing had stopped the fatigue and brain fog she lived with on a daily basis. Nothing even put a dent in the weight gain she was experiencing.
In fact, once or twice every year, like clockwork, her doctor would increase her dosage of medicine… but nothing else would change.
Needless to say, she was beyond frustrated. And, as it turns out, she’s not alone.
Common thyroid prescription failure
According to a new study by Rush University Medical Center, about 15 percent of patients with hypothyroidism continue to feel sick despite following the standard of care recommended by the American Thyroid Association.
You see, doctors routinely prescribe levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, adjusting the dose until blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) stabilize.
Yet, despite normal TSH tests, these patients still have many nagging symptoms of hypothyroidism — symptoms like depression, a slow foggy mind and, of course, that dreaded weight gain.
While their doctors tell them that they’re getting the right amount of medication, that their TSH is normal and that they should feel fine, the study is demonstrating that their persistent symptoms are not just in their heads.
In fact, the research team found that individuals on levothyroxine who had normal TSH levels were:
• Significantly more likely to be taking antidepressants than people with normal thyroid function
• Less physically active, suggesting lower energy levels
• Overweight compared to their peers by approximately 10 pounds even though they consumed fewer calories, after adjustments for body weight
• More likely to be using beta blockers, a drug frequently prescribed to lower blood pressure and statins that reduce cholesterol levels
In other words, despite the fact that they were taking thyroid medication that supposedly fixed the problem, they were more tired, depressed, overweight and unhealthy than a person with normal thyroid function.
Better thyroid health, better thyroid function
So, if even taking prescription thyroid medication may not solve the problem, what can you do?
The answer lies in boosting your thyroid health naturally. Here’s how…
#1 Repair your gut — Poor gut health has been linked to autoimmune issues, including thyroid problems, so start repairing your gut today by taking a good quality probiotic.
#2 Reduce inflammation — As with many disease processes, your thyroid health is affected by the inflammation levels in your body. To reduce inflammation, avoid processed foods and sugar, take a high-quality omega-3 supplement and eat a diet high in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.
#3 Supplement — Boost your thyroid health by supplementing for any hidden deficiencies. Ones to include are iodine, selenium, zinc, copper and L-Tyrosine. The one I take that offers all five is Peak Thyroid Support™.
Your thyroid symptoms are not just in your head. Even if you’re currently taking thyroid medication, it may not be enough to provide relief. Use the tips above to optimize your thyroid health, boost its function and live a healthier life.