Let’s start with a quiz:
How many Trues did you get? Most people get 5 Trues.
You will be surprised by the answers. All statements are false.
Read this entire article to find the details.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain crucial hormones.
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland — Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4) — have an enormous impact on your health, affecting all aspects of your metabolism. These hormones also influence the control of vital functions, such as body temperature and heart rate.
Hypothyroidism signs and symptoms may include:
This is the most pertinent question we should ask, “Why did I get thyroid?” For most diseases, doctors have some explanation e.g. due to high sugar/carb consumption, you got diabetes; you smoked, hence cancer. But there is hardly any explanation given for thyroid apart from genetics reason. But if thyroid was hardly existent a few decades ago, then how can genetics be the main reason?
The no.1 cause of Hypothyroidism is a condition called Hashimoto’s disease. It’s an autoimmune condition in which your body’s immune system starts attacking the thyroid gland. Apparently, 80% of hypothyroid cases belong to this category. And there is a simple antibody test to figure out whether you have an autoimmune problem or not. But in most cases, these simple inexpensive tests are not done to figure out the root cause of the disease.
It happens because of:
Yes, genetics play a role. But it’s only one of the factors among so many factors. Also, if it was only genetic then how come the disease has exploded in the last few decades? So, genetics play a relatively smaller role and all other causes are under your control. So, instead of blaming genetics, it’s important to focus on what we can control. Many people find comfort in blaming genetics and accepting it as their fate, as they don’t have to take action to eradicate the root cause. I hope you don’t belong to that category.
“Our meta-analysis showed that obesity was significantly associated with increased risks of hypothyroidism, including overt hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism, and could be accompanied by at least 1.86-fold increase of developing hypothyroidism.” Song, Wang, Yao, Li, Jia and Zhang. The Impact of Obesity on Thyroid Autoimmunity and Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis(1)
86% increase in risk factors for hypothyroidism because of obesity!! That’s one more big reason to lose weight.
Why excess weight leads to hypothyroidism can become very technical, hence, I am not covering it here. But in case you are interested, you can read the above paper for a detailed description.
Your thyroid gland regulates your metabolism and appetite. While your thyroid levels are low, your metabolism slows and you burn less energy even when you are sleeping. Additionally, you are less likely to burn fat for energy, which can lead to weight gain.
However, around 40% of persons with an underactive thyroid feel more exhausted than usual. This may result in decreased physical activity, which might lead to weight gain. (2)
You should not just undertake the TSH test, which is the usual protocol. You need the following tests:
4. AMA (antibody test)
5. ATG (antibody test)
Also, apart from these, it’s good to check for your cortisol levels (a measure of stress), CBC test to check for any infections, toxicity tests and a complete vitamin and mineral profile to know if there is any deficiency in the body.
These tests are not expensive. Under Rs 4k, you can get all these parameters and a lot more to know your complete health profile. It’s a small investment which may save you a lot more on medicines. You can book these tests in the Possible App.
The most popular medicine for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine. It’s basically a thyroid hormone as the body is producing less of it. But does the medicine solve the root cause of the problem: autoimmunity in most cases? Not at all. So, the problem continues in the body and because we have got an additional dosage of thyroid hormones, we feel the problem is solved, but it’s not. And because the root cause is not solved, it eventually leads to other autoimmune problems like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc.
Let’s take an analogy to understand it. Let’s assume that there is a leakage in your car’s fuel pipe and half the fuel gets leaked. One solution could be to fix the pipe to stop the leakage. And the other solution could be to just keep on filling more and more fuel. Which is a solution you would choose? I hope it is to fix the leakage problem as that’s the root cause.
Unfortunately, in thyroid treatment, medicine is not fixing the root cause (leakage i.e. autoimmune problem) but only managing the problem (by filling more fuel i.e. thyroid hormone).
The long-term solution to Hashimoto’s disease is to bring down thyroid antibodies. If that happens, then the disease will get reversed and the need for levothyroxine will diminish.
Why does thyroid disorder lead to fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain? One reason is that thyroid hormones control the metabolism of the body, so with lower thyroid hormones, the body’s metabolism goes down.
And the second reason is mitochondria dysfunction. Mitochondria is the “powerhouse of the cell” and is responsible for generating energy. In the case of Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system does not just attack the thyroid gland, it also attacks the mitochondria. And if mitochondria are dysfunctional, then it leads to low energy, fatigue, brain fog, etc.
“Imagine your body is a car. Your thyroid gland is the gas pedal and your mitochondria are the engine. Under normal circumstances, when you press the gas pedal it sends a signal to the engine to work more and put out more power. Now imagine there is something damaging the engine and not letting it work properly. Then it doesn’t matter how much you press the gas pedal; in fact, pressing it harder will only reduce the efficiency of the car. To get the car working again, we need to fix the engine. To get the car working again, we need to fix the engine. This is what is happening with Hashimoto’s disease. The Mito-thyroid connection is broken, which leads to all the symptoms associated with it. And instead of working on restoring this connection, we keep pumping patients full of thyroid hormones. In the meantime, the patient continues to experience fatigue, weight problems, brain fog, and hair loss – all of which are manifestations of unhealthy mitochondria.” Dr Anshul Gupta, the author of the book “Reversing Hashimoto’s”
As explained so well by Dr Anshul Gupta, the solution is not just increasing TSH levels but improving the performance of mitochondria. And levothyroxine is not doing much to help that cause.
Though in conventional medicine, it is believed that thyroid is a chronic disease. But alternative medicine, especially functional medicine believes that hypothyroidism, especially Hashimotos, can be reversed. We have seen hundreds and thousands of thyroid patients reversing their thyroid and gaining health back.
Why does conventional medicine believe that hypothyroidism cannot be reversed? Because it does not try to ask why did it happen in the first place? It does not try to find out the root cause of the problem and never attacks it. It finds an easy path of prescribing levothyroxine to you which brings down your TSH levels but does not do anything to solve the problem i.e. autoimmune disorders, nutritional deficiencies, toxicity, or internal inflammation. Hence, you are always dependent on medicines and the disease is called chronic.
We have seen that it’s possible to solve the root cause of the disease and by doing so, hypothyroidism can be reversed, if not cured fully.
The top diet principles of the thyroid diet are
Apart from these, you should follow the 10 Commandments of Possible for your health and your family’s health.
Diet is the most important thing when it comes to thyroid management, but it needs additional help from supplements and herbs. The top supplements or herbs recommended for the thyroid are:
1. A multivitamin designed for the thyroid: Many minerals and vitamins are required for the proper functioning of your thyroid. You may take a good multivitamin which is designed for thyroid patients and has all these minerals and vitamins. We have developed a product called Thyroboost which takes care of the most important minerals, and vitamins which can go in a multivitamin.
2. L-carnitine: Made in the human brain, liver and kidneys, it helps the body turn fat into energy. It helps in boosting metabolism and that’s one of the big problems in the thyroid. Dr. Anshul Gupta says, “There was a 2016 study in which patients with hypothyroidism were supplemented with carnitine and had significant improvement in their fatigue. I have seen significant improvement in Hashimoto’s symptoms, especially brain fog,”
Dr. Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP writes “Research has found that carnitine supplementation supports a reduction in fatigue in hypothyroid patients, as well as improves muscle weakness for both hypo- and hyperthyroid patients. (10-13). Carnitine provides these health benefits by supporting the health of our mitochondria (powerful energy factories contained within most of our cells), in a number of ways.”
Though there is some research which says that L Carnitine interferes with the thyroid gland and is not recommended for hypothyroidism.
3. Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayurveda. It is known for multiple health benefits anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, sleep-inducing and anti-anxiety.
An article in Medical News reports, “Research from 2019 shows that using a methanolic extract, such as ashwagandha, supports thyroid function by reducing oxidative stress and improving thyroid hormones.”
4. Guggulu: A popular herb in Ayurveda, it has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Dr. Westin Childs writes, “Guggul has been proven to provide powerful effects through clinical studies to promote weight loss, balance thyroid function, and much more.”
Apart from these, you need to identify the root causes of your thyroid disorders and take herbs/supplements for the same. E.g. if you are low in zinc, you may need a higher dose of zinc. Or if you have internal inflammation or cholesterol issues, you may need Omega 3. If you have liver issues, then you may need milk thistle. Consult your dietician for the same.
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