Underactive (Hypo) Thyroid
By Micki Rose
Thyroid problems are so common I reckon if I could have a pound for every one I had identified, I would be a rich woman!
(And before you shout at me, I know there are many people who are hyperactive rather than hypo; I have had much more experience with underactive thyroid disorders – especially hidden types – so that’s what I am focusing on here for you – the resources etc given below will help on hyper for you too, promise.)
There are a ton of resources for you to read up on this. You can search for blog posts I’ve written over the years here, or just use the search on this site anyway, which will find them all for you. Here’s one to start you off:
Hidden Thyroid Problems
There is a good article here explaining the vagaries of thyroid testing:
My Top Tips & Approach
In short, what you need to know is that it is very unlikely that a normal TSH/T4 test in mainstream medicine will diagnose a more hidden thyroid disorder. Sad, but so very true. I have lost count of the number of people who have been left with ‘no problem found’ and still feel completely on thier knees because of a thyroid disorder.
My own approach has been specifically to look for conversion problems – where someone shows enough TSH or T4 but it isn’t converting into the active hormone – T3 – enough. Very common. See the iodine and selenium issues below – once you’ve identified this, it is relatively simple to solve and can save a lot of suffering!
Secondly, someone could be producing enough T3 but too much of it is being converted into Reverse T3, which is the inactive form of it. So, again, someone would look Ok but really hasn’t got enough active hormone even though the surface situation on tests looks OK.
The third angle to look at is the autoimmune antibodies. If someone’s thyroid has been identified with a problem, one of the major causes of that is autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland. Have your levels of peroxidase AND thyroglobulin been checked; often only one of them is and I have often found the other one high when I double-checked? Some docs do, some don’t. I always check as sometimes it can be the only indicator of a developing problem – early identification means early heading it off! And you can. I regularly see antibodies reducing – just this morning, in fact. Always so nice to see.
The most common cause of autoimmune attack on the glands – adrenal or thyroid – in my clinical experience is a form of gluten related disorder – not necessarily coeliac disease. And PLEASE don’t tell me you’ve had a coeliac test done and you were fine – this is another test that you simply cannot rely upon. See my Gluten Illness page for more on this and Gluten Tests here. In short, I have seen loads of people have seemingly intractable adrenal and thyroid issues helped by treating the gluten disorder. Don’t shoot the messenger ;).
I have written quite a bit about the Thyroid-Gluten link on my specialist blog at TrulyGlutenFree so do search on there. Here’s one post to start you off:
Thyroid or Adrenal Problems? Check Gluten!
Finally, you need to consider what your adrenals are up to. I’ve touched on this more below for you, but so often a ‘resistant’ thyroid issue is hiding an underlying adrenal problem that has to be fixed first. I come across this quite a lot. Here is a blog post, for example, I wrote a while ago now but has some good tips for you on this: