What Is Thyroid Dysfunction?
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Brain fog, low energy and an inability to lose weight (even when you are doing the “right things”) are all symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.
Some other terms, that you might have heard are hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto's Disease. These are terms that describe how the thyroid is misbehaving.
But what the heck is a thyroid? How does it work? Why does the doctor seem to have so much trouble fixing it? And is there any hope for a normal life again?
First. . . What the heck is a thyroid?
Your thyroid is an endocrine gland that sits at the base of the front side of your neck. Compared to the affect it has on your entire body it is incredibly small. The little sucker is only about 2 inches tall, a half inch thick and a half inch wide. It weighs in at a whopping Ounce.
In other words it takes 16 thyroid glands to make a pound. But just as my wife is tiny but mighty. So is the thyroid gland.
The primary function of the thyroid gland is that it produces a hormone called thyroid hormone. Actually, it produces two hormones. One is called T3 and the other T4. But mostly, it produces T4 which by the way, is the inactive form of Thyroid hormone. I am going to talk about that more in just minute. It’s important to our discussion.
So very simply. The cells of your body send a message to your brain that says, “I need more T3 . . . Please.” The brain sends a message to a very small gland that sits behind your nose, called the pituitary gland. When the pituitary gland gets the message it releases a hormone called TSH which stands for Thyroid Stimulating hormone.
TSH makes it way down to the Thyroid gland and stimulates it to secrete Thyroid hormone (which is mostly T4). The thyroid hormone gets into the blood and makes its way around the body to all of the cells.
But there is a catch. About 90% of the thyroid hormone that is made by the Thyroid gland is T4. Which can’t be used by the body. Think of it like this. My kids like those little yogurt cups but they aren’t very good at getting the lid off of them. So of course, they can’t really eat the yogurt unless they get mom or dad to take the lid off first. T3 is T4 without the lid.
Your cells can’t get to the yogurt with the lid on. In my house, mom and dad pretty much live in the kitchen. In your body, mom and dad live in the liver and in the gut. So T4 has to go to the liver or the gut to have the lid removed and thus become a tasty cup of T3 yogurt. When your cells get their fill of yogurt . . . I mean T3, they send a message to the brain that says, I’m full . . . thank you and the pituitary gland slows down its production of TSH.
That’s the way it is supposed to work. If you have bothered to listen to this much of my ranting, I assume that it is not working that way for you.
So how does it go wrong and why can’t your doctor figure it out?
Let’s start with the cells. If they don’t get enough yogurt, they get cranky. Then they get louder and crankier so your brain starts to yell at your pituitary gland to secrete more TSH. Which it dutifully does . . . until it can’t but that’s a subject for another video.
So the pituitary gland starts to make more TSH, which of course makes the amount of TSH floating around in your blood higher. Perhaps your TSH levels have been tested as being high.
The extra TSH in the blood makes its way to the Thyroid and stimulates more and more T4 to be made. Here’s the problem. Your cells are needy children and they can’t take the lid off the yogurt by themselves.
So if your gut and your liver are overworked doing other things they may not get around to taking the lid off the T4 so that your cells can be happy.
Most doctors only measure TSH. Some measure T4 also but many times T4 is normal or maybe even high.
So what do they do? About the only thing a medical doctor will do is prescribe synthetic T4 but you probably already have enough T4. What you need is a mom and dad that aren’t so stressed out paying bills and putting out fires to be able to take the lid of the T4 so the children can be happy.
First off, this is only one thing that can go wrong with your Thyroid. I will make another video and we will dive into the exciting and kind of terrifying subject of Hashimoto’s disease.
But what I want you to understand is this:
1. Your thyroid is small but mighty.
2. Your thyroid gland is only a part of the puzzle in the grand scheme of you feeling badly and
3. Just dumping thyroid hormone (which still has the lid on it by the way) is not likely to fix your problem.
That is why we don’t test 1 or 2 thyroid markers but 8 and we test many other of the systems in your body through lab testing, with a particular interest in your liver and gut function so that we can get to the root cause of your problem and apply a solution that actually might help you.
So, yes there is hope and that hope is NOT a pharmaceutical.
Thank you for sticking with me this long. If you would like to reach out and have a free discussion on how we might be able to help you, I would like that. Just Click the blue link below and choose a day and time that is convenient for you.
God Bless and have a great day.