Hypothyroid is a common medical condition in our western culture and is basically an underactive thyroid. I would argue that many people don’t even know they have it and if they do they may not be doing anything about it. It is not a condition that will stop you from doing what you need to do in daily life so therefore most people will ignore it for years. Eventually, it will take its toll on your body if you let it continue to get worse and do not take steps to correct it.
So, if you are hypothyroid what do you do besides take medication? That is what I am going to talk about in this post. I am not an expert on hypothyroid, but as a nurse, self-care enthusiast, and with the advice of our practitioner I think we have a decent foundation and enough time to help my wife with her thyroid autoimmune issue.
Finding out Bethany has a hypothyroid was somewhat of a blessing since it explained a lot of the symptoms she was having but was not sure they were normal or abnormal. For example, struggling to lose weight, difficulty sleeping and feeling cold at times. We knew something was not right, but we were not quite sure what it was.
To come to this conclusion, our practitioner noticed on our lab panel from a couple of years ago before my son’s birth that her TSH was 5.9. They informed us that we should get another TSH level drawn as soon as we can. The new results showed she was now at 6.5. We followed up with our practitioner to see how we can lower the TSH naturally without jumping on medication. I am going to discuss with you what we are doing to take steps to lower my wife’s TSH naturally.
Supplement with Selenium and Iodine - these are both great for the thyroid. Most Americans are deficient in these two essential nutrients, but be sure you are getting the right doses and using a quality product. She is taking NOW brand selenium and liquid kelp for iodine. Follow the recommended doses on the bottle.
Eliminate gluten out of the diet – gluten can be a trigger in many people and can trigger an autoimmune response. Whether this is a trigger in my wife’s situation remains to be seen. Honestly, for most foods that contain gluten it is hard to make a case for them being healthy. I did want to mention that I am not a proponent of buying a bunch of gluten-free foods. Some of them may have the gluten out of them, but they will have a lot of other junk thrown in. Also, they are expensive and often have way too much sugar to be considered a health food. I just wanted to clear that up. Just because a package says a food is gluten-free or natural does not make it healthy for you.
Thyroid Supplementation - Our practitioner put my wife on Thyroid Plus and Thyroid 65mg by Priority One. The thyroid plus provides the support for a healthy thyroid and thyroid 65 offloads your thyroid since a high TSH is an indication your thyroid is working overtime.
Prioritize Your Sleep – this is a big issue for my wife not because she is unable to sleep but because we have a sixteen-month-old who was recently struggling to get over a cough that would wake him up in the middle of the night. Bethany would get up to console him because I usually would have to get up to go to work at five in the morning. Having a child has been tough on my wife’s sleep schedule. We have had to be intentional about going to bed shortly after he goes to sleep.
We recently had to say no to some free hockey tickets because we knew this would take away from our sleep and it would keep my son up way past his bedtime. Making sure you optimize your sleep is one of the greatest ways to reduce the stress on the body. I have written specific articles on optimizing sleep. You can find them here.
Minimize stress – this is similar to rest and sleep but different. Stress is a silent killer in our fast-paced world. Acute stress is fine and even healthy, but chronic anxiety and stress can wear your body down over time and create health problems. The thyroid is greatly affected by the stress in your life and how healthy your adrenals are. You may have heard of adrenal fatigue. Your body is interlinked; one thing affects another. In conventional medicine, we like to look at the body in parts and do our interventions this way as well. As nurses, we take a holistic approach to the body and know we should look at the whole person not just the thyroid for example.
Ways to minimize stress would include putting margin in your life by choosing not to work that overtime shift next week or taking five minutes in your morning routine to stop and be present in the moment. Stop and think about all that you are grateful for. I know it is not that easy but just try it. Five minutes is all it takes to help you to have a stress-free foundation in which to start your hectic day. I will probably write a whole post on how to minimize stress. Look for it soon.
When our health savings account refreshes January first, 2019, we are going to do the DUTCH Complete test which the most advanced hormone test, offering an extensive profile of sex and adrenal hormones, and melatonin, along with their metabolites, to identify symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Use code MERCOLA for fifty dollars off the test.
The DUTCH Complete does not include thyroid. We did a blood draw for this through Walk-in-Lab. Bethany did an extreme serum thyroid panel which shows all the other markers associated with the thyroid as well. We wanted a good baseline, and then we will order the cheaper and more basic thyroid test as we are following up on progress.
To evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions my wife is doing our practitioner has recommended that we get a TSH drawn in three months from now. That will be on February first of 2019 since we are official dropping all gluten from our diet starting November first of 2018. It is going to be a rough holiday season with being gluten-free. We will be fine and healthier for it.
One of the reasons thyroid health is so important for my wife is so we can correct this before it gets worse and to increase her chances of getting pregnant. We have been attempting to get pregnant for almost nine months now. Our practitioner says that normally to optimize your chances of pregnancy from a thyroid perspective, you will want your TSH levels near two. So, we have a long way to go, but we will keep trying and doing all we can to correct this without prescription medication. We will keep you up to date on the outcomes of our interventions. If we do not get the outcomes we were expecting, then we will go from there.
There are so many tools in the toolbox when it comes to natural medicine, and I think they should be utilized before jumping to conclusions and doing interventions that are more expensive, risky, more toxic, and that you frankly hand over control of your health to your practitioner. When it comes to natural interventions, many people don’t know what they don’t know because they were never given the option. Often this is because a conventional practitioner is not educated on the options outside of prescription medications and surgery. Don’t let these be the only options you consider when it comes to your health.
Stay tuned and keep reading the blog. I have lots of great content coming out over the holidays to help you optimize your health. I will write another article in February to update you on the results of my wife’s TSH levels. If you have or have had a thyroid condition what did you do to intervene from a natural standpoint? What results and outcomes have you been able to achieve? Please share so I can learn and others can learn natural ways to optimize their thyroid health.
Until next time, stay healthy.