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Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

You may already know the most common symptoms of a thyroid condition; weight gain, fatigue, slow metabolism, hair loss, thinning eye brows, constipation, dry hair and skin and muscle aches and pain.

Perhaps you are feeling these yourself right now.

While individuals can be either hypo or hyper thyroid, I am going to focus on the hypo thyroid conditions, which is much more common.

Here are some stats from the American Thyroid Association.

Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease

More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.

  • An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
  • Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
  • Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
  • One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
  • Most thyroid cancers respond to treatment, although a small percentage can be very aggressive.
  • The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.
  • Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility.
  • Pregnant women with undiagnosed or inadequately treated hypothyroidism have an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and severe developmental problems in their children.
  • Most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions that can be managed with medical attention.

The one statistic that I definitely disagree with here is that “the causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown”
and that “most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions.”

To me the biggest reason for this is that conventional thoughts on a hypothyroid condition are looking at the thyroid as the problem. From what I have seen through the years of working with thousands of clients in our wellness center is the the challenge is almost never with the thyroid itself.

The underlying causes of a hypothyroid condition are tied into the areas below, either specifically or any combination of these challenges.

  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Pituitary dysfunction
  • Liver congestion
  • Gut issues
  • Autoimmunity

Typically when these areas are addressed properly and back in balance, the thyroid can find its balance once again.

Why these areas above impact the thyroid.

Adrenal Glands/Pituitary Gland

Your adrenal glands will have a direct affect on both thyroid and pituitary function. You adrenal glands communicate via hormones with your pituitary which is where you produce a hormone referred to as TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone. This is the hormone that basically tells your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone.

So if your adrenal glands are not working correctly, this communication can be skewed.

Also, when you produce more stress hormones (cortisol) in your adrenal glands, this can and will trigger the production of something called reverse T3. While this one can be a bit confusing to explain, I’ll make it simple here

Too much reverse T3 will leave you feeling tired, fatigued and depleted.

You’re wondering if your adrenal function is impacting your adrenals.

Visit this link for your complimentary adrenal stress profile assessment now.

Liver Congestion

What most people don’t know is that the hormones produced by your thyroid are protein bound hormones, therefor that can only be used in conjunction with the thyroid tissue itself. But the simple fact is that we have to release this protein bound hormone via a conversion to a free or active form of thyroid hormone.

This free thyroid hormone can then be used by the cells of your body to assist with your energy, metabolism, etc..

Do where does the conversion happen?

Well, most of this occurs in your liver, and actually about 66% of your bound thyroid hormone is converted in this way.

So if you are dealing with and type of liver condition or simply liver congestion, this will negatively impact your ability to convert thyroid hormone to free and active forms, leaving you dealing with symptoms daily.

Not fun…

Gut Issues

Just as the liver is responsible for approximately 66% of thyroid hormone conversion, your gut is responsible for approximately 25% of this conversion to free and active forms.

When I mention the gut I am specifically talking about your beneficial bacteria. When you have the correct ratios of good bacteria in your gut, this will play an important role in converting your bound thyroid hormones to free and active forms.

Interestingly enough also, is that when you are dealing with constipation (defined as one bowel movement per day or less) this will be affecting both the gut and the liver.

And when you add up the 66% conversion in your liver and 25% in your gut, if you have gut and liver issue, which often go hand in hand, this will impact approximately 91% of your thyroid hormone conversion.

No wonder so many people have thyroid issues!


Sad to say, but this is the one that is often missed.

Most doctors do not test for an autoimmune hypothyroid response, which is know as Hashimoto’s Disease. This would be tested by adding a TPO or thyroid peroxidase to your blood testing panel.

If your TPO is elevated there is a strong likelihood you are dealing with an autoimmune condition.

Unfortunately this is often missed as I had mentioned and you may be using thyroid hormone prescriptions when the problem is really not your thyroid.

It may actually be an autoimmune condition where your immune system is attacking your thyroid tissue.

And while taking thyroid meds may initially help with your symptoms, the immune system can still be attacking your thyroid tissue 24/7, thus leaving you suffering with symptoms again and again.

Thankfully when and if you find out you have autoimmunity creating your hypothyroid condition you can calm the triggers of autoimmunity by putting out the fire of inflammatory conditions in your body.

I have seen many clients in the past that had autoimmune hypothyroid conditions in the past that now enjoy normalized TPO’s and are no longer suffering with thyroid symptoms.

What, No Iodine?

I specifically do not talk about iodine in this article because I find that an iodine deficiency is rarely an issue and would only recommend this if there is a recognized low level here.

If you have an autoimmune condition that is driving your hypothyroid condition, which is more common than you may think, taking iodine can actually worsen your situation.

Wrapping It Up

If you have a hypothyroid condition you can now see that there are factors that cause this and by addressing these underlying issues, this does not have to be a life long condition.

If you would like more information on proper thyroid testing visit this article here.

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article please post this on our Facebook page or on our Twitter page for us to address personally.

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