The Thyroid Gland
My recent Nova News articles have covered some of the many reasons why you could be experiencing low levels of energy. As a follow on, this edition will discuss the role of the thyroid gland in the production of energy including its importance in the function of your whole body. In clinical practice, problems with the function of the thyroid gland are common and yet often, clients have been suffering symptoms for many years before finally learning of the cause of their problems. For the purposes of this article, the under functioning of the thyroid gland (hypo-thyroid) will be covered, as this is the most common thyroid condition.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland which sits on the neck, either side of the Adam’s apple and is responsible for running the whole body’s metabolism, (the rate at which you produce energy). The thyroid weighs less than one ounce, but plays such an important role, that when it under functions, all metabolic processes slow down, causing debilitating symptoms.
The thyroid produces the hormone thyroxine, which increases the energy in the cells. If thyroxine production is reduced, it causes every chemical reaction in the body to slow down. So the health of the thyroid affects virtually every bodily function, having a huge influence on our wellness.
Symptoms most commonly associated with an underactive thyroid are, chronic fatigue, excess hair loss, chronic constipation, easy weight gain, dry skin, recurrent infections, cold hands and feet, PMS, depression, cry easily, sensitive to cold, cracking and peeling of skin on hands and heels of feet.
Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men and as there are different degrees of under function, it is important to differentiate between the low levels.
Clinical – low levels of thyroid hormones of T3 and T4 show on standard diagnostic tests.
Sub-clinical – blood hormone levels are in the normal range but other tests and symptoms indicate a mild deficiency state which can equally cause dramatic, devastating symptoms.
GP’s usually measure thyroid function by means of a blood test, which work on a ‘normal’ range. However, what is normal for an average person may not be normal for another. The fluctuation in the health of your thyroid may be so slight that it may fall within this average range, but may be too low for you. This means that hypothyroidism is often missed, since it is frequently undetected by conventional blood tests.
When a person’s thyroid is not producing enough thyroxine, conventional treatment is to give it in the form of a tablet. There are several reasons why the body could see this synthetic form of the hormone as a potential difficulty, which is why a person’s dose needs to be increased over time and why they will usually, need to take it for life.
At Newport Complementary Health Clinic, we have tests to assess thyroid function, including functional testing from private laboratories and recommend an individual programme to support the thyroid’s return to healthy function. Attention is given to the use of nutritional supplements and herbs, along with glandular extracts that contain amino acids essential to the healthy functioning of the thyroid. As we address the ‘whole’ person, we recommend specific dietary protocols and the importance of regular relaxation and exercise programmes, in the return to good health.
Other factors that affect thyroid health include low levels of the mineral iodine, found in sea vegetables and iodised salt. Toxic metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium have all been connected with thyroid problems as has fluoride, found in toothpaste and some water supplies. Stress, emotional and/or physical affects the production of adrenal hormones which in turn affect the function of the thyroid hormones. The health of the liver, female hormones, infections, medications, surgery and pregnancy all need to be considered, if you are to get well again.
At the clinic, we have helped many clients to address the health of their thyroid, whether at the time of presenting to us, sub function had been detected or not. We treat everyone as an individual, ensuring that the best programme is recommended for each client’s needs. We can help you to have a healthier future.
If you require any further information, please contact me at the clinic.