Over 20 million people suffer with hypo-thyroid symptoms despite taking thyroid replacement hormones. The question is WHY?
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The answer is simple… thyroid replacement hormones (Synthroid, Armour, Levothyroxine) solve a production problem – your thyroid gland’s inability to produce enough to satisfy your body’s needs. But what if your problem is not with the production? What if your problem is with signaling, conversion or delivery of thyroid hormone?
The Thyroid Gland – a manufacturing plant
Your thyroid gland’s main purpose is to produce enough thyroid hormone. If it is incapable of producing enough then your doctor will prescribe thyroid replacement hormones in pill form. This is all that is needed for a person who has primary hypothyroidism (not being caused by an autoimmune dysfunction). Thus, if your ONLY problem was a ‘bad’ thyroid gland the thyroid replacement hormones (Synthroid, Armour, Levothyroxine) would rid you of your hypothyroid symptoms.
How Thyroid Hormones (T3) Gets Into Your Cells
As I’ve stated production is only one part of the process. So, if you are still having symptoms despite taking thyroid hormone it’s pretty safe to say you have more than just a production issue. So what else could be happening?
The Step-By-Step Process
Your thyroid gland has to be told what to do. Otherwise, it does nothing. Therefore, if there is a problem with the ordering process (hypothalamus and pituitary gland) a perfectly capable thyroid gland may appear to be ‘bad’ and you will have hypothyroid symptoms. One clue that this may be your problem is if you have a TSH level of 1.0 – 1.7. This could indicate a fatigued pituitary. Thyroid hormones will not correct this problem.
The Production – caused by an autoimmune problem
If the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough TH because your immune system is destroying thyroid tissue (the #1 cause of hypothyroidism in the United States) you will need thyroid replacment hormones (Synthroid, Armour, Levothyroxine) BUT you will still experience hypothyroid symptoms because your real problem is a dysfunction immune system and, until you address the immune dysfunction, you will continue to experience hypothyroid symptoms.
Once you have thyroid hormone available, either from your thyroid gland or in pill form, it has to be transported – it needs a ride. The (TH) catches a ride on proteins (TBG). If you have too many of these proteins the (TH) will be held captive. Imagine getting into a taxi cab where the driver will not allow you to exit the taxi until he picks up another fare. Having too few of these proteins is also a problem because the thing that causes too few binding proteins also causes an over-conversion of T4 into 3. With too few proteins and too much T3 the cells that do receive thyroid hormones are overwhelmed and reject the thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone needs to be converted from T4 into T3 to get the effect you’re looking for – no symptoms. The thyroid hormones produced by your thyroid gland is mostly T4 (over 90%). Synthroid is 100% T4. Armour is a mixture of T3 and T4. Cytomel is basically all T3 but comes with a black box warning. So, in most instances T4 must be converted into T3 before it can act on the nucleus of the cell to produce the effect you’re looking for – no symptoms.
This conversion takes places in many different places but the majority take place in the liver and gut (over 60%). Thus, liver dysfunction, poor gut health, inflammation and infections can prevent your body from converting T4 into T3. In other words, you can have adequate amounts of thyroid hormone in your body but if you aren’t able to convert T4 into T3 you will continue to have hypothyroid symptoms.
What The Standard Thyroid Screening Tests Doesn’t Tell Your Doctor
There are 6 major patterns of hypothyroidism. Standard thyroid screening test looks for only one. Thyroid hormone replacement addresses only one. In other words, standard thyroid testing is inadequate. Did you know that the #1 cause of hypothyroidism – an autoimmune thyroid – is being ignored? That doesn’t make sense but it does explain why over 20 million Americans, mostly women, continue to suffer with hypothyroid symptoms.