Overwhelmed with thyroid information? Trust me, I get it. There is SO much to know about the thyroid that you may find yourself getting a serious case of paralysis by analysis– especially if you’re taking your meds like you’re supposed to and STILL feeling crummy.
Here are some of the most important basics you need to know about your thyroid health:
1. The thyroid produces two main thyroid hormones:
T4: ~80% of production, but relatively inactive. It must be converted to T3
T3: ~20% of production. MUCH more bio-active. Produced predominantly from T4 converting into T3.
Note: there are other thyroid hormones, but these are two are the most dominant and abundant!
2. The T4 to T3 conversion doesn’t always happen as expected.
The T4 to T3 conversion (AKA inactive to active) is a critical step in mastering your hypothyroidism and all the symptoms that come along with it. The conversion is highly impacted by:
- Not eating enough– especially carbohydrates as carbs are needed for T4 to T3 conversion
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Poor gut and liver health (as much of this conversion takes place there!)
3. The most common prescription for hypothyroid is Synthroid (or Levothyroxine) which is T4 only.
This is often sufficient enough thyroid replacement for many, but if you’re having issues converting your T4 medication to T3, you could still be experiencing all the symptoms of hypothyroidism despite taking your meds regularly. If this is you, consider getting a FULL thyroid panel that includes both Free T4 and Free T3.
4. TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) has an inverse relationship with your thyroid status.
This means the higher you TSH, the more hypothyroid you are. TSH is a brain derived hormone that increases when it identifies that circulating thyroid hormone levels are too low in the body. TSH is a marker of thyroid status, but just ONE marker… and not always the MOST helpful marker. Here is what a full thyroid panel looks like!
5. The best way to determine if your root cause of hypothyroidism is to test antibodies.
If you’ve never had it done, it’s worth checking “Anti-TPO” and “anti-TG” to see if autoimmune disease is the reason you have hypothyroidism. While it may not necessarily change the course of action with your medication, this is empowering information to see how you can best manage your disease progression.
Want to have more in depth conversations about thyroid health? Join my private Thyroid School group. I host monthly FREE community classes and answer questions specific to thyroid health. Don’t worry, I’ll still post on social media, but this is a way that I can consistently deliver you information without getting lost in the algorithm!
Products I’m loving right now: Ancestral Supplements
Did you know that organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods you can consumer? If you’re like me though, I cannot stomach liver– and, trust me, I’ve tried. I started taking daily liver supplements (which are essentially just dehydrated grass-fed liver put into capsule form) and I have to tell you my energy is SO much better. Liver and other organ meats contain important nutrients like copper and Vitamin A that are commonly lacking in a standard diet. Copper and Vitamin A not only help to protect the immune system, but are essential for thyroid hormone production!!
Catch up on past Thyroid School emails:
Issue 1// Meet the Thyroid
Issue 2// Thyroid Hormone Production
Issue 3// Root Causes of Hypothyroidism, Part 1
Issue 6// Root Causes, Stress
Issue 7// Discussing Autoimmunity
Disclaimer: Please note that “Thyroid School” emails from Chews Food Wisely, LLC (and Nicole Fennell, RD) are not intended to create any physician-patient relationship or supplant any in-person medical consultation or examination. Always seek the advice of a trained health professional about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Proper medical attention should always be sought for specific ailments. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained in “Thyroid School” emails. Any information received from these emails is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. These emails, websites, and social media accounts are for information purposes only. The information in these emails, websites, and social media accounts is not intended to replace proper medical care.