Warning: Low Battery Mode
The thyroid is our body’s master control switch. It keeps us right around 98 degrees all the time. It controls our metabolism, and how fast & strong our heart beats. When the body is under stress of any kind, your thyroid adapts. Your thyroid can’t tell if the stress you’re experiencing is short-term, like a big presentation coming up at work… or long-term, like the famines our ancestors experienced during a bad harvest year. When stress happens, your thyroid lowers its own function in order to slow down your metabolism to be on the safe side, to ensure that you don’t use up all your resources and have nothing left for the long winter.
It’s just like your phone battery… it goes into low battery mode when resources are low to make sure that you have enough juice left until you find a power source again. During this time, everything still works, but the lighting is dimmer and the operating system is a little slower. That’s your thyroid constantly adapting to protect you.
But the side effects of a body in low-battery mode are no fun: you’re fatigued, irritable, too hot or too cold, you have unexplained weight gain or weight loss, high cholesterol, hormone imbalance, and possibly infertility. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and other thyroid problems all have different symptoms, but they have one thing in common: You don’t feel right and no one seems to be able to fix it.
Understanding the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, located in front of the trachea. It is responsible for storing and releasing the hormones that control the speed of your metabolism. If the thyroid’s production of the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) is disrupted, a thyroid disorder can develop.
The thyroid gland predominantly produces T4 which is then converted to T3, the hormone responsible for doing the major work of the thyroid. The pituitary gland plays a role too, making thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) that are responsible for telling the thyroid gland how much T3 and T4 to produce.
The thyroid plays a critical role in your overall health, which is why you can feel full-body symptoms when your thyroid isn’t working properly, from gastrointestinal function to cholesterol levels.
"My doctor checked my thyroid,
but she said it looks fine."
We hear this a lot. Sadly, there is a failure of standard blood tests for thyroid problems.
If you see your general practitioner and are given a blood test to check for thyroid imbalances, the results may come back normal – but that doesn’t mean they’re accurate. Thyroid-related illnesses affect millions of Americans, and many of these cases go undiagnosed. Testing must be thorough, specific, and carefully contained – traditional medicine can’t always deliver on those variables. Ann Arbor Holistic Health can.
Traditional blood tests scan for TSH levels, confirming whether you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). If your blood test results don’t show either result, you’re back to square one.
Negative results for thyroid problems can make you begin to feel a little crazy or think that your symptoms are psychological rather than physical. Don’t judge yourself – if you don’t feel right, you need help to figure out exactly what’s going on.
More in-depth blood tests look for reverse T3, selenium, thyroid antibodies, or heavy metal, all of which could confirm or deny thyroid problems. These blood tests are not routine, which is why standard blood tests don’t always inform an accurate diagnosis.
Even amid all this discussion about blood tests for thyroid problems, there are other factors that are influential in determining thyroid health. Testing is important, of course, but your health history, lifestyle, nutrition, genetics, and environment have roles to play too – and they also help determine what can be done to improve your overall health so you set yourself up for your entire system to work properly. If you’re feeling unmotivated about pursuing further help for your suspicions about a thyroid problem, don’t despair that you’ll always just feel this way. Keep listening to your body – it will tell you when something is wrong.
Potential signs of a thyroid imbalance include:
- Too much energy
- Extreme fatigue
- Anxious and restless
- Depressed and sluggish
- Sleeping problems
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Irregular heartbeat
- Feeling cold
- Dry skin
- Brittle hair & nails
Kathryn was so tired that she had to drop out of school
Kathryn had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, a thyroid disease, 5 years before she came to see us. She had already tried medications, but her symptoms just got worse. Not only did she have to drop out of school due to extreme fatigue, she couldn’t lose weight, she was losing her hair, her eczema was out of control, and numerous other symptoms continued to pop up.
She had hit rock bottom and was ready to get to the bottom of it. Right away, we discovered a lot of inflammation, nutrient weaknesses from poor diet & digestion, unfriendly gut microbes, a reaction to gluten, and blood sugar imbalance. This knowledge was powerful! Her test results revealed the root causes of her thyroid imbalance so we could strategically remove the biochemical stress & nourish her body. Within 6 weeks, Kathryn’s energy was better, her bloating was almost gone, she was exercising (and loving it), and her mood had improved dramatically.
Fast-forward to a few months later… Kathryn was losing weight, feeling energetic, her skin had cleared up, and her belly was 100% calm!
Stories like this are happening every day at Ann Arbor Holistic Health and we couldn’t be more delighted than we are guiding our clients on their wellness journey. We want this kind of transformation for you too!
Do you think there’s something wrong with your thyroid?
Even if your doctor has told you that your thyroid is fine but you believe otherwise, don’t just accept a potential misdiagnosis. At Ann Arbor Holistic Health in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we acknowledge your symptoms, complaints, and intuition about your health and wellness. Your body speaks loudly. If you’re listening to it, you’re already on the right path to better health. If you allow our team to support you in your wellness goals, feeling good about yourself – mentally, physically, and emotionally – will follow.