Every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormones.
These hormones are responsible for the most basic aspects of body function, impacting all major systems of the body including the brain, the gut, the cardiovascular system, bone metabolism, red blood cell metabolism, gall bladder and liver function, steroid hormone production, glucose metabolism, lipid and cholesterol metabolism, protein metabolism and body temperature regulation. That’s why people with hypothyroidism experience everything from weight gain and depression to infertility, bone fractures and hair loss.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone is the hormone that’s secreted by the pituitary gland, and its job is to tell the thyroid gland how much thyroid hormone to produce. The pituitary is kind of like the control tower that monitors thyroid hormone levels in the blood, and if they’re low, what it will do is produce higher amounts of TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone. It’s kind of like shouting at the thyroid gland to tell it to make more thyroid hormone. On the other hand, if thyroid hormone levels are high in the bloodstream due to hyperthyroidism or maybe doses of thyroid medication that are too high, you’ll see TSH drop because the pituitary is naturally trying to limit the amount of thyroid hormone that’s produced by the thyroid gland.
Top signs and symptoms of an undetactive thyroid are – fatigue, cold intolerance, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, dry hair, dry mucous membranes, hair loss,, elevated cholesterol, easy bruising, melancholic depression, muscle aches, edema (note that low body temperature is very non-specific)
If you have gut issues then you are also more likely to be hypothyroid and often thyroid issues can resolve if the gut is working well alongside a nourishing diet.
If you know that you have an underactive thyroid then I would consider working on the following areas: -
- Nutrition -ensuring your body has adequate vitamin and minerals in order to make & convert thyroid hormones
- Investigate and improve any other issues– celiac, food sensitivities, inflammation, gut infections (auto-immunity)
- Toxins – there are many thyroid disruptors in our environment
- Lifestyle - sleep, exercise, relationships, stress etc