Why Consider Having Your Thyroid Function Reviewed from a Functional Perspective?
The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands. It is a butterfly shaped gland that is wrapped around the windpipe. The ancient Greeks named the thyroid gland 'thyreos' which means shield. It is composed of two parts and produces many hormones that are frequently grouped together. Thyroid metabolism is a multi step process, which begins in the hypothalamus, which sends Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) to the pituitary gland. Next, the pituitary gland produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), which stimulates the production of Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormone is required for metabolism in every cell, for every organ in the body.
Estimates show that approximately Thirteen million Americans have a thyroid imbalance known as hypothyroidism, which is characterized by the thyroid gland producing too little of the various thyroid hormones. The thyroid (Latin for “Shield) is one of the largest endocrine glands, is a small butterfly shaped mass wrapped around your windpipe. Composed of two parts, it produces an assortment of hormones that people commonly group together as “thyroid hormone.” These hormones carry out a number of crucial functions in order to sustain overall health and wellness. Thyroid hormones control the growth and development of the body, the brain and regulates metabolism of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. If your thyroid were simply removed without supportive measures, all metabolic processes would come to a screaming halt. Another way to think about metabolism is to think of it in terms of ‘life force’.
Every cell on our body requires thyroid hormone. This means thyroid function directly impacts gastrointestinal function, liver detoxification, our adrenal hormones, brain function and bone health to name a few. If thyroid function is compromised or running at 40%, so are you! Reviewing thyroid health from a functional medicine perspective can help you identify thyroid hormone imbalances as well as factors that may directly or indirectly impact thyroid function in a negative way.
Many factors may disrupt the balance of thyroid hormones production, such as, medications, allergies (wheat & gluten), anemia, gastrointestinal function, insulin resistance, bone metabolism, hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies such as selenium and Vitamins A & D and metabolic disruptors such as PCB’s to name a few.
Symptoms Frequently Associated (and overlooked) with Thyroid Imbalance:
- Sudden unexplained weight gain or great difficulty losing fat
- Severe fatigue and frequent exhaustion
- Depression and gloominess
- Frequent constipation
- Menstrual irregularities — especially heavy bleeding with periods
- P.M.S. & Infertility
- Dry, coarse skin that is pale and itchy
- Puffiness of the face, especially in post-menopausal women
- Dry, coarse, thinning hair (thinning of the outer third of both eyebrows)
- Intolerance to heat & or cold
- Decreased sex drive
- Candida (yeast infections)
- Premature aging
- Repeated infections
- Brittle nails
- Heart palpitations
- High cholesterol
- Muscle weakness
- Low blood pressure
As you can see, thyroid health is critical to your health because it is required by every cell in your body and therefore impacts everything you do. Dette will help you understand how your thyroid is functioning with a thorough assessment of all the thyroid markers she determines to be relevant to your situation. This is essential in order to ascertain what is really going on and how best to optimize the performance of your thyroid and ultimately, your health. Avalon Health and Wellness will help you identify the root cause of your thyroid health concerns and develop appropriate strategies to help you optimize thyroid function.