How to investigate a thyroid problem

You’ve probably heard of the many symptoms associated with poor thyroid function and wonder if you do actually have a thyroid problem.  

However, you’ve been to the GP to discuss this, and they send you for a thyroid test.  

Your results come back ‘normal’ and ‘in-range’, so you get told your thyroid is fine.

But you still don’t feel right, you do some Googling and the thyroid still keeps popping up.

So, how do you actually know if you have a thyroid problem?

 

Your Thyroid is Essential for your Health 

What’s so important about the thyroid anyway?

 Well, your thyroid is the master gland for controlling your metabolism, which is pretty important.   

 Metabolism is the process that converts the food you eat into energy.  

 So you need your thyroid to turn on every cell of the body, to get you moving each day.

 It’s essential for life.  

thyroid_problem

 You can think of your thyroid being like your thermostat.

 If you turn your thermostat down too much, you’ll have less energy.

 That means you’ll feel sluggish, put on weight and feel the cold more.

 The technical term for this is underactive thyroid, or hypothyroid

 Other possible hypothyroid symptoms are;

  • constipation

  • poor recovery from exercise

  • dry skin

  • low moods

  • prone to infections

  • thinning hair

Similarly, if you turn the thermostat up too much, you’ll be overactive, or have hyperthyroidism.

 These symptoms can be;

  • heart palpitations

  • anxiety/nervousness

  • heat intolerance

  • fatigue

  • trouble sleeping

Thyroid Testing is Rarely Done Properly

thyroid_testing

 GP’s will almost always just test TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) to check your thyroid health.  

 But this isn’t the best indicator of how well it’s working.

 There’s a few reasons for this, but the main one is that TSH is made by a different organ, not your actual thyroid!

 Also, the lab range on your test result is too large.

 It’s only useful for spotting thyroid disease, but not for checking how your thyroid is performing. 

 Ideally, you want to test the following markers to understand the whole picture with your thyroid health;

  • Free T4  

  • Free T3

  • TSH

  • Reverse T3

  • Thyroid antibodies (TG)

  • Thyroperoxidase (TPO)

  • Thyroid Receptor Antibodies

 Only a functional medicine practitioner will test all of these vital markers for you.

What can I do to help solve my thyroid problem?

 To get your thyroid working properly you want to do the following things;

· Always get to the root cause of your thyroid issue

· Check your iodine, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin D levels

· Have your Coeliac Genes tested

· Follow an anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense diet

· Optimise gut health

· Eliminate any infections

· Properly manage stress

· Address adrenal function

· Eliminate gluten and dairy

· Reduce and eliminate toxins to de-stress liver and detoxification systems.

And remember, if you’re still experiencing thyroid symptoms even though your test results came back ‘normal’, you’ll need to do further investigation.  

By Melisaa Aytan, Functional Nutritionist at Living Holistic Health

Mel Aytan is a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Nutritional Medicine. Mel joins Nutritionist Adrian Stone and Naturopath Morgan Helming at Living Holistic Health, a Geelong based alternative and holistic health clinic.