How to Have Normal Thyroid Levels and End the Frustration
If you are feeling frustrated with using medication to achieve normal thyroid levels, just know that you are not by yourself. There are others out there just like you that feel this same level of aggravation. Trying to find the right dose of medication for your thyroid can feel like being on a merry-go-round. You spin and spin in frustration as your next dose of thyroid hormone is based on information that you question is even telling the doctor how you feel. We have all heard the saying, “Listen to Your Gut.” And that is exactly what you should be doing as you take back control of your own health.
There is a better approach, and one that does not rely on old methods that rarely produce significant results. Medications, while needed for some, are not the best answer for most. There are more reliable ways to achieve normal thyroid levels, so let’s explore them.
Stop Looking at TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
You have likely become highly interested in what your TSH level is to manage your dose of medication. After all it is what your doctor is focusing on. Have you ever asked why? Have you ever checked your gas gauge to see how fast your car is running? Of course not. They are not directly related. Instead you look at the speedometer to know how fast you are going. The fuel level does not directly affect speed, but if you want to know the speed of your vehicle, the speedometer should have your attention. So then if you are interested in the amount of thyroid hormone that your producing, it makes more sense to look directly at thyroid hormone markers (T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3) rather than TSH. According to Dana Tretini, The Hypothyroid Mom, reliance on TSH is one of the main reasons that the thyroid gland is misdiagnosed.
TSH is not even a thyroid hormone. It is a hormone produced in the brain from the pituitary gland. It does not show the whole thyroid picture. Even more noteworthy is that the range recommended by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (0.3-3.0) does not match the range recommended by most labs (0.5-5.0). So even within professional circles there remains much debate. I can also add from my own observation that those that often feel good when using thyroid hormone have low TSH. TSH is not ideal for people using thyroid hormone, but rather for an initial diagnosis. Bottomline, stop worrying with TSH to determine if you have normal thyroid levels. It will only add to your frustration.
Non-Thyroid Hormones that Prevent Normal Thyroid Levels
How competitive is a baseball team with only one player on the field? They are not. One player cannot perform up to the level of 9 players. This is the way our hormones function. They do not act alone, but rather in concert. The response of one hormone has direct impact on others. In the case of the thyroid, three hormones well known to interfere include cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. The more changes in these hormones, the more change in thyroid. Even when you achieve normal thyroid levels on a lab test, you may still feel tired and different than you used to because of the affect of other hormones. End your frustration and look at the whole hormone picture.
You’ve Been Overlooking the Most Common Cause of Hypothyroidism
If all of this has not raised your level of frustration enough, this one is really going to send you over the edge. But don’t worry, I have a solution to help bring you back. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune condition that decreases the production of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. In other words, your immune system is attacking your thyroid just like it attacks a virus. Until this attack stops, the hypothyroidism continues. The traditional approach is to give medications like Synthroid. This misses the mark. First, it does not address the core problem. Second, it is hard to find the right level of hormone because of the effects of the immune system that are not accounted for. So unless you want to stay frustrated with you current approach and trying to find just the right dose that will again change in the near future, you need another plan.
Autoimmune conditions are common nowadays. One thing I have learned from working with patients with autoimmune conditions is that food matters. Since one of the greatest challenges to achieving normal thyroid levels and function is your immune system attacking your thyroid, you have to eliminate the food triggers. There are 3 key groups of food you want to avoid. These are grains, soy, and sugar (refined foods). It is amazing that you can have normal thyroid levels by continually trying to tweak your dose of thyroid hormone, but by changing the foods that you are eating. This pattern of eating can be simply summed up as the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet is a proven strategy to help eliminate the problems with modern food that are preventing normal thyroid levels. The Paleo Diet Food List is a great place to help you get started with making the right choices to begin balancing the interaction between your thyroid and immune system.
I sympathize with your frustration. I hear it in the voices of my patients that have been through the medical cycle, still don’t have normal thyroid levels and are simply looking for some needed help. Leave your frustration at the door of the next doctor that tries to base your thyroid function on TSH. With all of the other more relevant thyroid hormones and over 300 other physical indications that can be associated with hypothyroidism, stop worrying about your TSH. Once you leap this hurdle, consider the actions of a few other hormones and make a few simple diet changes with the direction of your free Paleo Diet Food List, you will on track towards normal thyroid levels without the frustration and reliance on a medication.