Your thyroid gland regulates all the other hormones in the body. If the thyroid is not working right, none of the other hormones will be in balance. Here’s how.
What Affects the Thyroid Conversion of T4 to T3?
One of the most common causes of low thyroid in young women is the use of birth control pills. Birth control pills cause vitamin deficiencies that in turn cause a decrease in the ability of the deiodinase enzymes (specifically 5’iodinase) to convert T4 to T3. This is common and mainly overlooked.
Other causes include deficiencies of Vitamins, A, C, E, B2, B3, B6, zinc, copper, iodine and selenium. There could also be deficiencies of the amino acid tyrosine and B12, which support conversion as well.
Toxic metals have an extremely negative effect on conversion, as these metals also interrupt the enzymes that are necessary. Some of these metals include calcium, mercury, lead and cadmium.
Simply having a chronic illness can affect conversion, because with any chronic illness comes stress. People who already have one autoimmune illness are at risk for others. It has been determined that 90% of people with low thyroid actually have autoimmune Hashimoto’s. Many go undiagnosed because their doctors simply do not test for the antibodies.
Pesticides are called endocrine disruptors because they interrupt the enzymes that convert many hormones to the active forms, as they do with the conversion of T4 to T3.
Certain medications also interrupt the conversion of T4 to T3. For example Propranolol, which is a beta blocker, can inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3. Corticosteroids can also block this conversion.
Diet has a huge affect on thyroid. For example a diet high in soy products (not traditional fermented soy in small amounts) will negatively affect thyroid hormone conversion.
There is an interaction between thyroid and cortisol. If cortisol is low, it is called Addison’s disease, if too high it is called Cushing’s disease. These are frank diagnoses, however you could have malfunctions in cortisol levels that greatly affect your other hormones without having a frank, medical diagnosis. Here, we are talking about optimal levels for optimal health in balance with the other hormones and with thyroid as the conductor.
Cortisol comes from the adrenal glands and will fluctuate during the day and night, but if it falls and does not recover well, there can be problems. Symptoms from thyroid and adrenal problems can be similar, which makes it difficult to differentiate. Adrenal function can be measured with a saliva test at four points during the day — usually 8am, 12pm, 5pm and 11pm.
In most people, cortisol levels are out of balance. These are the stress hormones. When we are first stressed cortisol goes up. Then it is supposed to go down – but because of pressured lifestyles, cortisol will stay low. People need to learn how to manage time and say NO. Life should not be a busy contest.
DHEA: Another Important Hormone from Adrenal Glands
DHEA has a lot of functions:
- Regulates cholesterol
- Controls weight loss
- Supports immune system
- Lowers triglycerides
- Makes estrogen and testosterone
- It also elevates growth hormone and when healthy gives better sleep
If there is too much DHEA, a person can experience “road rage” and feel angry and upset. Both men and woman make DHEA, as both men and woman make estrogen and testosterone. If estrogen is too high in men they are at increased risk for prostate cancer. If there is too much testosterone in women it increases risk of high blood sugar, heart disease and weight gain.
Women need a lot less DHEA than men. Average doses of DHEA are:
- women – 2.5, 5 or 10mg
- Men – 25, 50 or 75mg DHEA
Sometimes it is indicated to supplement with DHEA but ONLY under the direction of a knowledgeable doctor based on a saliva test.
Pregnenolone is the master hormone of all the other hormones. Cholesterol is the most basic building block of pregnenolone and consequently all the other hormones. If cholesterol is too low there will be problems in making all these other hormones. If cholesterol is lower than 140 the body will have a very hard time making pregnenolone and that will cause all kinds of hormone problems.
Diet can greatly affect hormones and health. Eat:
- Balanced proteins from pasture raised animals, including lamb which has a lot of omega 3 fats
- Good carb from vegetables and fruits
- Balance carbs with proteins — never eat starches alone
- Manage blood sugar
Keep insulin levels low by never eating sweet foods alone and limiting sweet foods.
Women have estrogen receptors all over the body – even in the eyes – having enough estrogen can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
Estrogen has over 400 functions in the body – it has to do with taste, touch, smell, hearing, skin tone, estrogen lowers blood sugar and blood pressure. Estrogen has a lot to do with memory and for women it literally equals memory.
In the correct balance, estrogens help to prevent many disorders. Estrogen must be in balance with progesterone. Symptoms of low progesterone can be anxiety, irritability, insomnia, mood swings, depression, heart racing, gut problems and bladder disturbances. This can happen at any age and be expressed as PMS, post partum depression, and menopause.
Testosterone gives women confidence, a sense of well being and bone strength. Women need just a little bit of testosterone. If testosterone is too high PCOS can occur.
A natural hormone means that it has the same chemical structure as the body. A natural hormone many not necessarily come from a plant — in fact most come from a laboratory, although some do come from yams. The real meaning is not so much that it is from a plant derivative, but that it has the same chemical structure of your hormones since birth.
Synthetic hormones that are not the same chemical structure do not balance the other hormones. These stay on the receptor sites longer and they do not leave the body as quickly, so they actually block the real hormones from the active sites.
Synthetic estrogens don’t balance with progesterone and these can increase risk of breast cancer because they are not the same chemical structure. It is the same with synthetic progesterone called progestins – there is no balance. With synthetic hormones there can be an increase in appetite, weight gain, fluid retention, bloating, acne, insomnia, breast tenderness and even spasm of the coronary arteries of the heart.
Natural, bio-identical progesterone balances estrogen, has a calming affect, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
The same is true for men with testosterone. It should be bio-identical.
Necessary Blood Tests
Conventional Medicine does not look at all the blood tests that are necessary to determine if there is a thyroid problem.
The most important tests are TSH as well as free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and, importantly, thyroid antibodies. If the patient is not perfectly healthy, they will not make the conversion of T4 to active T3.
This was a very interesting topic, filled with a lot of complicated information. I learned a lot today at the Thyroid Summit! This is an amazing of group of over 30 experts – an excellent learning opportunity!
If you have missed some and want to buy the entire package of 32 speakers at the discount click here.
All the references for this information are is this book by Dr. Patricia Smith
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