I get requests on a regular basis to help people get their thyroid hormones balanced. Most of them are women as they are generally more susceptible to hypothyroid. By far the most common complaint I hear is, “My doctor said my thyroid test came back normal but I don’t feel normal.” When they go back to their doctor to insist they are not “normal,” they are sometimes written a prescription for an antidepressant as the doctor quickly scurries out of the exam room.
So, you get your thyroid test back and the “doctor” says you are fine. You know you are not “fine” so what are you to do? Here are five reasons that you have hypothyroid even though the standard test says you are “fine.”
1. You could be producing enough hormone but your body cannot convert it into the active form. Your thyroid produces mainly T4. It is inactive and must be converted in the cell membranes into the active form, T3. This issue is usually caused by high cortisol and inflammation.
2. You could be producing enough hormone, your body is converting it to the active form, but too much is being bound to proteins making it inactive. The thyroid hormones are transported by a protein called thyroid binding globulin (TBG). When TBG levels are too high, the thyroid hormones cannot enter the cells. This is usually caused to too much estrogen. Clear out excess estrogen with cruciferous vegetables and DIM.
3. You could be producing enough hormone, your body is converting it to the active form, but you don’t have enough TBG. It sounds counterintuitive but too little TBG, meaning too much thyroid hormone, will actually cause your cells to become resistant to the hormones. Think about the heel of your foot building up a callous. The cells build up a callous to the thyroid hormones. This is usually caused by too much testosterone.
4. You thyroid works just fine, but the signaling gland, the pituitary, isn’t functioning properly. The pituitary “tells” the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones. If the pituitary is not functioning properly because of stress, high blood sugar, infection, or another reason, it will not send out enough signal for the thyroid. Therefore, the thyroid will not produce enough hormone.
5. The thyroid works fine, the pituitary works fine, but your cells are not taking in the hormones. All your lab test will come back normal in this case and there is no way to test whether or not your cells are resistant to your thyroid hormones. This issue is usually caused by chronic stress and high cortisol levels.
Maybe your doctor has listened to you and does write you a prescription. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, you will get Synthroid, which is 100% T4. When you return to say you still do not feel right, you will get an increase in dose. This pattern will continue until you begin to have side effects from the increasingly high dose of synthetic drug.
Unfortunately, most traditional doctors will not look deeper into the issue. They continue to increase the dose. If they would simply pick up a book, stop learning “medicine” from the cute little pharmaceutical sales rep pushing a drug, and actually learn something new that wasn’t standard practice in the 1970s that has been handed down from teacher to student for forty years maybe people can get some relief.