How Important is Your Thyroid?

It is 3:30ish am and I have been jolted awake in my dreams by a shot of adrenaline. I wake up and think to myself it must be 6 o’clock, time to get up. I look at the clock, nope. It is 3:23 in the morning and I am wide awake. Thank you body. Thank you Hashimoto’s. Thank you cortisol or adrenaline. Thank you. 

Insomnia. It comes and goes. It is Wednesday and so far since the beginning of the week I have had one good nights sleep. I am not a spring chicken and not getting good sleep deeply affects me. Foggy thinking. Heavy head. Poor decision making. I have three kids that I take care of largely by myself. My other have travels often for work. 

We have food on the table, we have shelter. We have clothes on our back. We are doing well. Except I don’t sleep. It really could be worse. Thank you thyroid. 

Your thyroid is so very important to your well being. To your ability to sleep. If you have thyroid problems you have body problems. You have lots of problems. 

It is the master metabolic regulator. Your metabolism depends on how well your thyroid functions and how well the cells in your body receive the thyroid hormone. Every cell in your body has a receptor for thyroid hormone. Your cells do so much work to keep you alive. It is just crazy to me. 

Your thyroid does so much more than just manage the part of your metabolism that is responsible for weight gain or weight loss. It affects bone density, your risk of cardiovascular disease, how high or low your cholesterol is, hormonal functioning, depression, anxiety, SLEEP, and on and on. 

Your hypothalamus (part of your brain) is responsible for putting out Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone aka Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH. Your pituitary gland (also in your brain) puts out some TSH too. 

Your thyroid is responsible for putting out T4 or Thyroxine and T3, Triiodothyroxine. 

T4 gets its name because it has one molecule of tyrosine and 4 molecules of iodine. Tyrosine is an amino acid that is part of most proteins and needed for the synthesis of some hormones- to synthesize means that 2 or more things need to come together to create something else. 

T3 has 3 molecules of iodine for the one molecule of tyrosine. 

T4 gets converted to T3 in the liver. T4 also gets bound up by a protein called thyroid binding globulin. When it gets bound up by TBG, so does T3. It remains bound up until it gets transported to where it needs to be. 

If your liver is not working well or if it is busy doing other things it may not do a great job at binding T4 & T3. This would mean that you would have too much free T3 or Free T4 floating around your blood stream. When T4 and T3 are free it means they are not bound and can get in to the cells which can lead toa sort of burn out at the cellular level. 

If your liver makes too much Thyroid Binding Globulin, you will bind too much hormone and you would not have enough thyroid hormone getting to the cells. This is where you may see hypothyroid symptoms occurring. 

Common hypothyroid symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • low stamina
  • poor concentration
  • tired upon waking
  • weight gain
  • poor or large appetite
  • cold hands and feet
  • intolerance to cold or hot
  • poor immune function
  • slow speech
  • yeast overgrowth
  • swelling
  • throat issues

A healthy functioning liver is critical to healthy thyroid hormone functioning. 

Your liver is also responsible for converting T3 in to reverse T3 (RT3) which is a form of T3 that is useable by the body. There is an enzyme called tetraidothyronine 5’ deiodinase that removes a molecule of iodine making T3 in to reverse T3. This often happens in higher stress situations when the body feels it is time for you to slow down. This enzyme is dependent upon the mineral selenium to make this happen. 

There are components of T3 called T3 sulfate and T3 Acetic acid that are turned in to useable T3 in the gut by your beneficial gut bacteria. In fact, around 20% of yoru T3 is produced by your gut bacteria. 

Healing your gut and maintaining a good balance of beneficial bacteria can help tremendously if you are suffering from thyroid problems. 

Your digestive symptoms could be affecting yoru thyroid!

  • Gut Problems
  • Inflammation
  • A Backed Up Liver
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Stress
  • Heavy Metal Burden
  • Fungus
  • Parasites
  • Viruses

Any of these can end up affecting thyroid function. 

If the balance of gut bacteria is off or out of balance that is called dysbiosis. When you have dysbiosis it affects the conversion of T4 to T3 in the gut. 

Neurotoxins like lipopolysaccharides affect the cell receptors and their ability to accept T3 in to the cells. Lipopolysaccharides are molecules found in bacteria that stimulate the immune system and affect intestinal permeability or leaky gut. It is common in someone with gut dysbiosis to have more Lipopolysaccharides in their system.  It is also thought that these neurotoxins can affect your brains ability to converse with your body which can decrease the amount of TSH secreted from they Hypothalamus. 

Dysbiosis in the gut means your neurotransmitter production is affected. Neurotransmitters affect how your hypothalamus produces TSH. 

Approximately 70%-80% of your immune system is in your gut or GI Tract. If there is dysbiosis in the gut there is inflammation. Inflammation also can affect how well the Hypothalamus releases TSH. 

What can you do to help your body?

You can support your liver with foods that love the liver. The list is long of foods that love the liver but some of my favorites are: 

  • Lettuce
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Avocados
  • Chicken
  • Broccoli 
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Coconut
  • Oranges
  • Acerola Cherries
  • Kale
  • Parsley

You can also supplement with a good liver support. You need to clean up your environment of body, face, and hair care products as well as cleaning supplies, and laundry detergent. 

You need to make sure you are digesting your food well. You may need digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid. 

You may need probiotics. Eating fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut is one of the best ways to get probiotics. 

When you work with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner like myself, we can help you figure out what systems in the body need to be addressed first and foremost so that ALL your body systems can be addressed. 

In Health, 

Stephanie