The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that primarily regulates metabolism, though its health affects almost every function in the body. The most common complaint of people suffering from a sluggish thyroid is a lack of energy, regardless of how well they sleep.
Other symptoms include:
Chronic Infections, Cold Hands and Feet, Constipation, Depression, Diabetes Type 2, Dry Skin, Elevated Lipoprotein(a), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Colds / Flu, Brittle nails, Hair Loss, Headaches, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Hyperactivity, Hot Flash/Night Sweats in Menopause, Indigestion, Lack of Attention (Deficit), Learning Disabilities, Memory Loss, Metabolic Syndrome, PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome), Sinusitis and Weight Gain.
The first step toward rejuvenating or at least normalizing your thyroid is to pinpoint whether this is the real problem and then address potential causes, such as iodine deficiency, mercury contamination, or supplementing with tyrosine, dessicated thyroid, or even a nature-based thyroid hormone itself. Do note that synthetic preparations are flawed, more on this later.
1. Test Your Thyroid at Home
Check your resting body temperature when you first awaken in the morning, before getting out of bed. To do this, place a thermometer in your armpit and record the temperature for three days in a row. If it averages between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit you’re considered normal, anything less may suggest a sluggish thyroid.
2. Test Your Iodine Levels
If your basal temperature is low and you have other symptoms associated with a low thyroid, it’s a good idea to test your iodine levels. Note that 95% of people around the world are deficient in iodine. If you prefer not to test, we suggest you opt for the most well tolerated form of iodine available. (refer to step 3) Thyroid Boost
Information on the test: Take 50 milligrams (not micrograms) of iodine, usually in tablet form called Iodoral. Starting with your first visit to the bathroom the next morning, collect all urine for 24 hours and return it to the lab. If the laboratory results reveal an iodine excretion above 90%, then you are iodine sufficient. Information and sources for iodine loading tests here.
3. Supplement with Iodine and Co-Factors
If your loading test shows a deficiency, we suggest using one of two options: Thyroid Boost is a food-based form that already contains all the necessary co-factors. Or to go the other route, one could supplement with 1.8 mg of Iosol (one drop) per day for one week, the next week raise it to 2 to 3 drops, then 5 drops (9 milligrams). Some will need less some will need more. Perform another iodine loading test in a month to test for sufficiency. Note that with Iosol or other “non Thyroid Boost” options may cause anomalies, so we suggest to use caution and titrate the dose.
Note: Thyroid Boost contains these co-factors, however if you want to figure this out, know of these co-factors. Selenium promotes healthy thyroid function, helps guard against thyroid cancer, and allows the conversion from T4 (thyroxine) to the more active T3 (triiodothyronine). Take 50 to 200mcg per day.
Zinc helps convert T4 into T3, the more active thyroid hormone. Take at least 10mg per day.
Magnesium protects against under-active T4 (thyroxine) levels and helps prevent elevated intracellular calcium levels. Take 200 to 400mg per day. It’s never a bad idea to insure you are getting enough magnesium.
If you do not respond to iodine supplementation and the various co-factors, it’s possible that you might have an iodine organification defect. Supplementation with ATP Co-Factors may help. Note, this is not necessary with either Thyroid Boost or Iosol. However, it maybe necessary if using Lugol’s solution.
4. Remove Mercury & Other Heavy Metals
Due to individual complexity, it is best to work with a practitioner if you suspect a mercury issue. Seek out a practitioner who is up to date on safe, mercury removal protocols. However, if other heavy metals are involved, consider using a source of humifulvate, iodine, and vitamin C.
5. Produce more Thyroid Hormones
The amino acid tyrosine helps produce thyroid hormones and is often lacking in many people. Some signs that you may be low on tyrosine include depression, poor concentration, and low blood pressure. Take 1,000mg of L-Tyrosine once per day.
6. Feeling Stressed?
Chronic stress may cause the thyroid to become overworked and sluggish. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been shown improve the body’s resilience to constant stress. Note: do not use if you have confirmed Hashimoto’s Disease. Take Ashwagandha once or twice per day as needed.
7. Remove Wheat from your Diet
Some individuals may be wheat sensitive, which can have a major impact on thyroid health. Tests that evaluate wheat and/or gluten sensitivity often have false negatives. As a last attempt before seeing a physician, avoid all foods that contain wheat and/or gluten for one month.
8. Desiccated Thyroid Hormone
Those without autoimmune thyroid disease may benefit from an over-the-counter, non-prescription thyroid hormone. These are called glandular extracts and are dried extracts of animal gland tissue of the thyroid, thymus, adrenal, and pituitary. Results may be seen within days or weeks.
9. See an Integrative Physician
If the previous steps have not alleviated your issues, it may be in your best interests to see an integrative physician in order to evaluate complete thyroid function. Tests include Thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine (T3), Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG), Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPOAb), Thyroglobulin Antibody (TgAb), Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Receptor Antibody (TRAb), and a reverse T3. Consider finding a physician through acam.org or ICIM.
If all the previous steps have failed, then you may need more help. Opt for a natural thyroid such as Nature-throid or Westhroid (Armour Thyroid is not the same as it used to be) Note: THINK TWICE if your physician prescribes you a synthetic thyroid hormone.
Poor thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, is frequently not diagnosed because thyroid values in standard blood tests are often inaccurate. These tests are not sensitive enough to show a mild to moderate thyroid deficiency and usually only indicate when thyroid levels are extremely low.
This problem is typically hidden because, when checked, doctors report back that your levels are within the “normal range.” So why do your lab results read “normal” if your thyroid isn’t functioning properly?
The truth is that thyroid lab results are only accurate for about 60% of the population because standard thyroid testing is not sensitive to a mineral problem.
How to Assess the Health of Your Thyroid Gland
In the last century, a physician named Broda Barnes discovered a very simple method to test your thyroid and metabolism. It works by checking a person’s resting body temperature when they first wake up, before getting out of bed.
With this test, a person places a thermometer in their armpit for 10 minutes and records the temperature for three days in a row. If it averages between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit they’re considered normal, anything less may suggest a sluggish thyroid.
Some people can be healthy with a lower basal temperature, however, when accompanied by other symptoms of low thyroid function, such as dry skin, fatigue, or constipation, it suggests an abnormality
In order to repair an under performing thyroid, it is important to understand how it becomes dysfunctional in the first place.
The Reasons for Dysfunction
Modern civilization has produced a number of challenges to thyroid health that humans have never before encountered. One such problem is the consumption of, and exposure to, halogens such as fluoride, bromide, and chloride. These compete with iodine, which is a critical component of thyroid health.
We have also become exposed to mercury in never-before-seen levels, even going to far as to implant this toxic substance into our teeth.
Another reason that thyroid problems have reached epidemic levels over the past few decades is stress. It may be that society’s faster pace, along with technology, has created a seemingly endless supply of stimuli.
This over stimulation and stress causes the thyroid, along with the rest of the glandular systems, to become overworked, resulting in diminished performance.
You may be Lacking this Important Mineral
The thyroid gland, along with every cell in the human body, requires iodine. Without enough, the most active thyroid hormone, T3 (triiodothyronine), cannot be produced in optimal amounts.
Many people think they get enough iodine in salt but that simply isn’t the case, especially with so much of society thinking low-salt diets are good for blood pressure. Iodized salt may prevent cases of extreme deficiency, like goiter, but it is far from providing the amount needed for optimal health.
In addition, levels of iodine in foods have been reduced through policy changes and farming practices, the result being an iodine-deficient diet unless people regularly eat fish and seaweed.
One example of bad policies affecting public health is the removal of iodine from bread products. A loaf of bread used to contain one milligram of iodine, but this was replaced with a mineral called bromide. Why? Well, like iodine, bromide is an effective way to prevent the splitting of bread while baking. As for the reason, it was because nutritive iodine interfered with the uptake of radioactive iodine used in thyroid imaging tests. 
Of course it makes little sense to remove a mineral from the food supply that supports a healthy thyroid so that radioactive iodine can be used to diagnose the growing numbers of (now) unhealthy thyroids. But to be fair, the importance of iodine was not well-understood when these policies were created.
To make matters worse, bromide is actually toxic to the thyroid, and inhibits iodine uptake.
It wasn’t long until a test called the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test was introduced. Physicians began to use this test as their primary diagnosis, and it is unfortunate because acquiring a “positive” diagnosis for poor thyroid function became increasingly difficult. This would be a good thing if the test was accurate, but it’s not. Why? Because TSH test results cannot distinguish between a thyroid that’s loaded with iodine, or its competitors – bromide, fluoride, and chloride.
Many of us drink and bathe in chlorine and fluoride-fortified water every day, and consume baked goods containing bromide.
All of these elements are known as halogens and are in the same family on the Periodic Table of elements. They share similar chemical properties and thus have the same affinity for the receptors in cells, such as the thyroid.
This means that bromide, fluoride, or chloride might be attached to your thyroid gland in place of iodine. The difference of course is that while iodine activates thyroid hormone – the other elements only serve to block it.
Conventional blood tests are not sensitive to the difference, so hence, “normal” thyroid lab results for most of the population.
The best way to find out whether you’re low on iodine is to take an iodine loading test. Physicians who test for iodine deficiency report that on average 96% of their patients are iodine deficient.
Iodine Loading Test
This test is very simple. An individual will take 50 milligrams (not micrograms) of iodine, usually in tablet form, called Iodoral. Starting with the first visit to the bathroom the next morning, all urine is collected for twenty-four hours. If the laboratory results reveal an iodine excretion above 90%, that indicates sufficiency. In other words, if your body doesn’t need the iodine, it passes right through.
Dr. George Flechas reported that out of 4,065 tests, only 1 percent of patients excreted 90 percent or more of the load.
Assuming you are is deficient, typical therapeutic iodine dosages can range between 12.5 mg and 100 mg per day. For more information, read Iodine: Why You Need It Why You Can’t Live Without It by Dr. David Brownstein.
Selenium is necessary for healthy thyroid function, helps guard against thyroid cancer, and allows the conversion from T4 (thyroxine) to the more active T3 (triiodothyronine).
Zinc helps convert T4 into T3, the more active thyroid hormone.
The mineral magnesium is vital for for healthy thyroid function. It primarily protects against under-active T4 (thyroxine) levels and helps prevent elevated intracellular calcium levels.
If one has an autoimmune thyroid condition, they might have a defect in the organification of iodine. Organification simply means iodine being bound to a protein or a fat (lipid). Proper organification is needed in order for iodine to be active in the cell. Without this working properly, the benefits that arise from iodine therapy are impossible.
In order to overcome an organification defect, some individuals will benefit from taking certain co-factors, namely high-dose vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and high-dose B3, which is niacin in the form of inositol hexanicotinate.
Can Iodine cause Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases?
According to Dr. Guy Abraham, former professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and endocrinology at UCLA School of Medicine, the answer to this is “No.” An autoimmune thyroid condition cannot be caused by inorganic iodide unless first combined with toxic halides (i.e. fluoride, bromide, chloride), which are goitrogenic substances that can exacerbate an iodine deficiency. Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake.
The following is only a cursory explanation of how an autoimmune thyroid problem may manifest; a more thorough one can be found in Dr. David Brownstein’s book, Iodine, why you need it, why you cannot live without it.
In order to create autoimmune thyroiditis in laboratory animals, anti-thyroid drugs and/or goitrogens must be administered along with iodine. The main problem is that insufficient dietary iodine allows these goitrogens to block iodine activity, and subsequently thyroid hormone which cannot be made without sufficient iodine.
When there is sufficient iodine in the body, it can produce iodinated lipids, which help protect against an autoimmune thyroid disorder. The problem today is that iodine consumption is so low, combined with our exposure to numerous toxic halides, that iodine may not be in adequate supply to produce iodinated lipids. In fact, it can require up to 100 times the RDA of iodine to produce these lipids. Some individuals with fibromyalgia require dosages of up to 100mg per day for benefits.
When there is an inadequate supply of iodine (iodide) for the thyroid gland, at the same time iodine binding sites are blocked (by competitive inhibition of iodine) by toxic halides (goitrogens), this is believed to activate the thyroid peroxydase (TPO) system through elevated TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). In turn, insufficient levels of iodinated lipids, combined with insufficient levels of magnesium can result in excess production of hydrogen peroxide.
Essentially the level of hydrogen peroxide is well above normal due to lack of a feedback system. When working properly, this feedback system acts as a “brake” to shut off excess hydrogen peroxide and keep it from causing damage to thyroid peroxydase (TPO) and thyroglobulin.
The damage to TPO and thyroglobulin elicits an autoimmune reaction via the production of antibodies, creating damage to thyroid cells and resulting in potential Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease.
Mercury might be a Problem
Mercury, the third most toxic element on Earth, is also extremely common in a sluggish thyroid. As a matter of fact, mercury has a special affinity for the thyroid and autopsy studies have found that it concentrates heavily there.
When it is there, mercury deactivates enzymes in the thyroid gland that are responsible for the synthesis of thyroid hormone.
Where does all that Mercury come from?
Many assume our mercury problems come from fish, but the mercury found in fish is actually rendered less bio-available due to its reaction with selenium to form mercury selenide (HgSe). The major source of mercury exposure for most people is silver fillings used to patch up cavities. Each of those fillings contains mercury.
What if your Thyroid needs more Help?
If your thyroid needs more than a boost, chances are you may need a prescription for thyroid hormone; however choosing the right form can make a big difference.
The Natural Choice
Most physicians prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone, which functions as only one of the thyroid hormones – thyroxine (T4). Unfortunately, thyroxine is not enough for most people because the thyroid contains T1 through T12 hormones, not just T4.
Physicians are taught that T4 is converted to the more active hormone T3 (triiodothyronine), however this is not always the case. In fact, lab tests also fail to differentiate between a person’s ability to convert T4 into T3 hormone.
Poor T3 conversion is another reason why blood tests for thyroid are not accurate. Moreover, even if one can properly convert T4 into T3, this synthetic hormone is still missing T1, T2 and T5 through T12, which have various effects that are not completely understood. T2 (diiodothyronine) is of particular note because research has shown that in thyroid impaired animals, it can boost energy metabolism more directly than T3 or T4 . That being said, relying on the synthetic T4 alone can leave you out in the cold because it is estimated that 9 out of 10 patients respond poorly to unnatural thyroxine hormone.
Opt for a natural thyroid product, such as Nature-throid or Westhroid, the difference between the three only being fillers. There is no correct thyroid hormone for everyone, because everyone reacts to fillers differently. If the first does not work, move on to the next one.
To find a physician more likely to be familiar with natural thyroid hormones, consult acam.org.
Another Option, Desiccated Thyroid Hormone
Provided you do not have an autoimmune thyroid disease, an over the counter, non-prescription thyroid hormone is another option for those needing a boost. These are called glandular extracts, and are dried extracts of animal gland tissue of the thyroid, thymus, adrenal, and pituitary.
Make note that for those with impaired thyroid function, allow up to 6 to 9 months for results. Thyroid levels maybe adjusted over time as improvement follows.
Final note, if you find you are suffering from an autoimmune thyroid disease, be sure to consult a physician, preferably knowledgeable in natural thyroid hormones.
If you need a prescription of desiccated thyroid hormone, the following are recommended: ERFA, ACELLA’S, N.P. THYROID, NATURETHROID, Westthroid, WP THYROID.
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