Hypothyroidism is becoming increasingly more prevalent in our society and is one of the most common conditions I see in my naturopathic medicine practice in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.
Many of my patients report hypothyroid symptoms like chronic fatigue, difficulty losing weight, abnormal menstrual cycles, anxiety/depression, constipation, and brain fog. They often tell me their thyroid testing was normal, however, upon reviewing their past lab work, I find most often that the only thyroid marker that has been measured is TSH, which is not sufficient to assess thyroid health.
Another common trend I see are patients who are already taking thyroid hormone replacement, but still feel terrible and have hypothyroid symptoms! In these cases, testing a full thyroid panel will help to assess how their current treatment is being processed by their body. I recommend a panel of 10 thyroid markers that will show the full picture of thyroid function. Even in patients who have a normal TSH and T4 level, I frequently find when we test their full thyroid panel there is a dysfunction in optimal thyroid health.
When reviewing thyroid test results, it’s vital to assess the values from a functional medicine view. Standard lab reference values for thyroid health have a huge range! For example, the standard TSH reference range of 0.5-5.0 is considered normal. I find that people feel their best and their hypothyroid symptoms resolve when their TSH is between 1.0-2.0. Free T3 hormone is the only thing our cells can use. So even with a normal TSH and T4 level, if there isn’t sufficient T3 available for the cells, then hypothyroid symptoms will occur. A detailed thyroid panel will also help determine why you are experiencing hypothyroid symptoms- whether it be low active thyroid hormone available, antibodies present, or low uptake of thyroid hormone.
For more information about ideal thyroid tests, see my blog post titled Thyroid Labs Explained .
As a naturopathic doctor, my goal with patients is to find the underlying cause for their thyroid dysfunction, which can be multifactorial. Discovering the contributing factors for the thyroid imbalance is crucial. If these underlying causes are not addressed, then just taking supplements for thyroid health will not result in balance or resolution of symptoms. Also, if someone has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition of the thyroid, many common hypothyroid supplements can actually make the Hashimoto’s worse. Therefore, it’s vital to test the antibody levels prior to taking supplements. Additional immune balancing treatments must be employed with Hashimoto’s along with tailored thyroid support.
A naturopathic medicine approach for effectively treating hypothyroidism would investigate past medical history, toxin exposure and heavy metal burden, lifestyle patterns, food sensitivities, medications, hormone balance, infections, dental health, and stress levels. At Vibrant Natural Medicine, I also complete a heart rate variability test to assess the body’s level of adaptability, energy reserves, and balance of the nervous system and adrenal glands. If you are in a constant state of stress, you are not able to enter into a relaxed and healing state. It is vital to restore balance and energy to your thyroid and hormonal systems. If the body is lacking resources, it will prioritize which organ systems get the most support and the thyroid/hormonal system will generally be at the bottom of that list since fertility, libido, and high energy levels are not critical to the body’s survival.
After collecting this information, I can then discuss any additional testing that would be helpful and formulate an individualized natural medicine treatment plan to support thyroid health as well as overall health. In addition to the naturopathic medicine lifestyle, herbal, and supplement recommendations, I incorporate treatments such as acupuncture, infrared light and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy at my holistic health clinic to further support the body and restore thyroid health.
The thyroid is involved in numerous metabolic processes of the body and is often responsible for many common health complaints. Standard thyroid testing methods are not optimal and leave many people continuing to suffer with symptoms and no answers. If you have signs of a thyroid imbalance, let’s check a complete thyroid panel to see the full picture and start the right naturopathic medicine plan to get you back to feeling vibrant and balanced!
Call my office now at 918-236-6122 to schedule a consultation.
Vibrant Natural Medicine