Updated: Jan 17
Did you know that 20% of women and 10% of men have a poor functioning thyroid? And at least half of these people are never diagnosed due to vague symptoms and non-comprehensive lab work?
A low functioning thyroid can have very vague symptoms from fatigue, poor nail skin and hair health, joint pain, slowed metabolism, constipation. Do any of these ring a bell for you? 🤔
Your thyroid is responsible for controlling every function in your body. You can imagine why even a slight dip in your thyroid function can have a major impact, right? 😨
Traditional practitioners usually test your thyroid using the following markers: TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 (thyroxine)…and as long as they fall within normal range, off you go. No further lab testing is usually done and then BAM.. your subclinical hypothyroidism goes undiagnosed. 😡
But did you know that there is so much more to that picture? What if you are producing enough thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) but your antibodies (TPOab and TGab) are elevated, suggesting autoimmune thyroid? 😭
This means your immune system is starting to go wild and attack its own tissue, in this case your thyroid. But your TSH and T4 were "within normal limits" so you now have no idea you have the start of an autoimmune condition. WELCOME TO THE THYROID MADNESS! 🥺
And what about the rest of the picture? I like to use a car analogy.🚘
T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) = School buses🚌
T3 (active thyroid hormone) = Convertibles🏎
RT3 (slows down thyroid) = Stepping on the car brake
School buses go from a to b, they get the job done but it’s slow and inefficient. ❌
Convertibles go from a to b, real fast, very efficiently. You want more convertibles‼️ So if you are producing relatively enough school buses (T4) but they’re not being turned into convertibles (T3), you could develop signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. But how would you know you're not producing enough convertibles (T3) if it was not checked? You wouldn't. Or that the T3 isn’t getting converted into RT3 (aka slamming on the brake). 🆘
I encourage you to all be your own advocate when it comes to your health. Fit the description of low thyroid function? Seek out a functional medicine practitioner that can help diagnose and treat you. You have more power than you think!💪🏼
Katie Morra MS, RD, LDN, IFMCP is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner and Registered Dietitian specializing in gut health, the microbiome, and nutrition. Her functional medicine nutrition practice is based in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.
Katie focuses on the root causes of inflammation, autoimmune disease, irritable bowel syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, candida overgrowth, food sensitivities and leaky gut, amongst other chronic disease states.