The Thyroid Puzzle

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January 15, 2015

Thyroid dysfunction can manifest itself in many ways. Why so many differing symptoms? Because every cell in the human body has receptors for thyroid hormone in their DNA. What does this mean? This means that in order for any system in the body to function, we need the Thyroid gland working optimally.  

When we think of thyroid issue many of us tend to only recognize the thyroid gland as the only possible cause of dysfunction. However, this is grossly untrue and often the reason why so many thyroid conditions can go undiagnosed and untreated.

The thyroid system starts in the brain, at the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands, which then travel down a pathway to the thyroid gland (if the system is functioning properly). From here, signals are sent to the gut and liver for conversion of thyroid hormones. And finally, off to circulation to supply the entire body with the proper hormones for daily function.

The reason many thyroid conditions go undiagnosed is because we only use a portion of biomarkers that are necessary. In a standard lab tests your TSH levels, and possibly your T4 levels are the only aspects that are reviewed. These markers are great, but for those people who have an issue with their thyroid gland, the problem may be anywhere along the path between the brain, gut and liver. These markers will be missing the key components necessary to determine a proper diagnosis and treat the underlying issue.  There are approximately 27 pieces to the thyroid puzzle, it is unfair to only consider a few of them when checking for the root cause of many issues which can consist of but are not limited to:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Fatigue/ sleep disturbance
  3. High cholesterol
  4. Mental fatigue
  5. Heart palpitations
  6. Constipation
  7. Temperature regulation issues
  8. Headaches

In our office, right here in Portland Maine, we treat and co-manage many patients with thyroid dysfunction via Functional Medicine. We are able to determine what pieces to the puzzle are missing and make supplement/nutritional and lifestyle changes to address these issues that will change your life.