Thyroid Problems

Preforming the Correct Tests Will Stop the Epidemic of Thyroid Madness

Most doctors only order a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test to evaluate the function and health of the thyroid gland. There is more to thyroid health and function than just TSH levels. It’s a starting point but doesn’t give the doctor the full picture of the thyroid’s health and function. Doctors rarely take into consideration a person’s iodine level, their cortisol level, their estrogen level, their specific nutrient levels, and their specific dietary food intake. All of these factors significantly influence the thyroid’s health and function. If you don’t take these factors into consideration, it doesn’t matter how much thyroid medication you’re prescribed you’ll still feel lousy and your health will continue to deteriorate. As a Functional Medicine Doctor I routinely assess these factors to assure that I’m just not treating the symptoms but actually finding/diagnosing the root causes of poor thyroid health and function and then treating the root causes with natural therapies which restore health, vitality, and optimal function.

At Restore to Health Wellness Center, Dr. Jenkins has his patients preform an iodine patch test which is inexpensive and easy to do in the convenience of your own home. Iodine is critical for the thyroid to be healthy and function optimally. This test gives us indications if your body is deficient in iodine. If it is deficient Dr. Jenkins prescribes an iodine supplement which contains all three forms of iodine that the body and thyroid needs for optimal health and functioning. Did you know that synthetic T4 actually depletes your body’s iodine levels?

Cortisol levels can affect thyroid function and health. Increased levels of cortisol can block the conversion of the thyroid hormones T4 to T3 which will cause the hypothyroidism.  Hypothyroidism also exists when there are decreased cortisol levels, which closes the door to cell reception of the thyroid hormones due to low levels of glucose known as hypoglycemia. As you can see both high and low levels of cortisol can cause hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism. Low cortisol level can cause an excessive conversion of T4 to T3 which results in an excess level of T3 which produces hyperthyroidism. How many thyroids have been removed surgically or destroyed by radiation treatments because the doctors failed to recognize the effect of cortisol on the thyroid? Low or high levels of cortisol can cause inflammatory cytokines, chemical messengers, to deactivate cell receptors for the thyroid hormones which then cause hypothyroidism. High levels of cortisol can damage the hypothalamus which produces thyrotropin, a thyroid hormone, and damages the pituitary which produces TSH. Both of these hormones are necessary for healthy thyroids. Synthetic T4 still leaves a person in a hypothyroid state and causes your adrenal glands to take up the slack and produce more cortisol which eventually decreases the health and functioning of the adrenal glands.  Dr. Jenkins recommends his patients to perform an Adrenal Stress Index Test in order to assess the adrenal glands heath, function, and production of cortisol as well as other hormones. This test is performed in the privacy of your own home by collecting saliva samples in 5 different vials at different times of the day. Saliva testing is much more accurate than blood draws. It gives a complete picture of your circadian rhythm cortisol levels and tells us what amount of cortisol is biologically available and active.  We don’t get this information from blood drawn lab tests.

Excess estrogens increases the levels of TBG (Thyroid Binding Globulin) which is where a protein binds to the thyroid hormones T4 and T3 in the liver and causes them to be inactive. In order for the T4 and T3 to become active the protein needs to be cleaved from them which produce Free T4 and Free T3. Dr. Jenkins routinely checks for  the Free T4 and Free T3 on the blood tests to see what is bioavailable and bioactive. The liver usually clears the body of excess estrogens from the blood.  When a person is estrogen dominant, an epidemic in modern society in both males and females, it causes the liver to produce high levels of TBG which decreases the percentages of Free T4 and Free T3 that ultimately leads to hypothyroidism. Dr. Jenkins recommends that his patients perform a Saliva Hormone Test which can be done in the privacy of your own home by collecting one vial of saliva. Once again we are checking on hormones which are bioactive and bioavailable and can’t be detected with blood drawn tests. Functional Medicine protocols show their superiority over traditional medicine.

Besides iodine the thyroid needs specific nutrients in order to be healthy and function optimally.  These nutrients include high quality protein, B12, magnesium, and zinc to produce TSH; iodine, B2, and vitamin C to produce T4; and vitamins A and D and selenium to activate cell receptors to receive T3. Commonly found in thyroid patients are low iron levels due to low stomach acid that causes a decline in red blood levels which results in an excess of T4 to pool in the blood. This excess T4 requires excess reverse T3 to rid the blood of excess T4. To evaluate your nutrient levels Dr. Jenkins recommends the SpectraCell lab test which analyses your blood for 35 nutritional components including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids.

Dr. Jenkins asks his patients to do a one week dietary survey to see the foods his patients are consuming. Certain foods and chemicals negatively affect the thyroid health and function such as soy, millet, fluoride, chloride, bromides, soda pop, and refined grains.

In order to correctly evaluate the thyroid function and health all these factors listed above have to be taken into consideration along with these lab tests: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, reverse T3, Thyroglobulin Ab, and TPO thyroid antibody test. If you have a positive TPO test you then should test for microbial infections which could be the root cause of the patient’s autoimmune thyroiditis/ Hashimoto’s disease, a common finding in Functional Medicine practice. Unfortunately most traditional doctors will not run these tests and their patient’s health and vitality declines. These factors are why Dr. Jenkins practices Functional Medicine which gets to the root causes of poor health, disease, and illness and just doesn’t treat the symptoms.


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