Running on Empty: Is Your Thyroid Slowing You Down

August 26, 2023

Running on Empty: Is Your Thyroid Slowing You Down

Have you recently felt drained, found it hard to focus, or noticed changes in your hair or weight? Maybe you've brushed these things off, thinking oh it's just part of aging. However, these could be subtle signs your thyroid isn't performing at its best.

Shaped like a butterfly and nestled at the front of your neck, your thyroid gland is a maestro of metabolism, as this little gland is responsible for producing hormones, mainly T4 and T3, that keep your body's functions running smoothly. When the thyroid's harmony is disrupted, leading to fewer hormones being produced, various symptoms can emerge, including feeling constantly tired, having dry skin, experiencing brittle nails, and changes in your hair quality. Over time, an underactive thyroid (known as hypothyroidism) could even put you at risk for other more serious health concerns like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart ailments.

Interestingly, women, especially as they age, are more susceptible to thyroid disorders than men. For some people the changes are so subtle that you hardly realize they're happening, while for others, symptoms can appear suddenly over weeks or months. Here's what to watch out for:

Noticing a pattern? If any of these resonate with you, it's time for a chat with your doctor. A simple examination and a few blood tests can usually easily pinpoint if your thyroid is the cause. The good news? Hypothyroidism is fairly easily treated with a replacement thyroid hormone pill that acts just like the body's natural version.

Thyroid replacement therapies actually come in two primary forms: synthetic (man-made) and 'natural'. Levothyroxine, often prescribed as Synthroid, Levoxyl, or Tirosint, is a synthetic version of the T4 thyroid hormone. The body converts this T4 into the active T3 form.

Before synthetic medicines, desiccated thyroid extracts like Armour Thyroid were common. Derived from pig thyroid glands, they offer a combination of T4 and T3 hormones. While levothyroxine provides synthetic T4, Armour Thyroid delivers both T4 and T3. Dosages also differ: Armour uses “grains” while levothyroxine uses micrograms. Approximately 1 grain of Armour equates to 88 mcg of levothyroxine.

Levothyroxine ensures a consistent T4 dose, while Armour Thyroid can vary in content and sometimes varies between batches in their T4 and T3 content, leading to recalls due to inconsistencies. Some patients report feeling better on Armour, though it isn't FDA-approved. Both therapies have their merits so you will need to consult with your healthcare provider to find the best fit for your needs.

Finding the perfect dose might take a bit of time, but once you've got it, the change can be transformative. Whether you opt for synthetic or natural thyroid medications, it's crucial to work closely with your healthcare provider. Monitoring, dose adjustments, and individual needs will play a pivotal role in ensuring optimal health and wellness. Remember, the best choice is the one that aligns with your body's unique requirements. Regular check-ins with your doctor will ensure you stay on track and feel your best.

Remember, listening to your body is the key to maintaining good health. So, tune in, take charge, and don’t ignore symptoms.



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