In the last three years, there has been a true pandemic in the exponential increase of hypothyroidism and people experiencing suboptimal metabolism. There isn’t just one cause for this trend, but many, creating a perfect storm.
Symptoms of Low Thyroid Function
- Fatigue: Persistent tiredness and a general lack of energy. The metabolic process slows down, affecting the efficiency of energy production. Moreover, the thyroid hormones play a role in oxygen utilization by the cells, and if this is compromised by hypothyroidism, fatigue will occur.
- Weight Gain: Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight, despite maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. Thyroid hormones influence the metabolic rate, and with hypothyroidism, that rate slows down, leading to a reduced ability to burn calories and convert food into energy. Furthermore, thyroid hormones are important in the process of breaking down fats, particularly in the subcutaneous tissue. On top of those issues, there may be an increase in appetite and a loss of muscle, which will deter someone from engaging in exercise, compounding the issue.
- Cold Sensitivity: Feeling unusually sensitive to cold temperatures. Hypothyroidism can lead to reduced blood flow, particularly in the hands and feet, resulting in a feeling of coldness. Thyroid hormones also regulate the body’s temperature and typically result in a lower basal temperature and metabolic rate. Additionally, thyroid hormones affect the thickness of the skin and the distribution of subcutaneous fat; there may be thinning of the skin and a decrease in this fat which contributes to a perception of coldness. Hypothyroidism can also lead to reduced heat production by the body’s cells.
- Dry Skin and Hair: Dry, rough, and pale skin, as well as brittle hair and nails. Thyroid hormones influence activity in the sweat glands and sebaceous glands that help moisturize the skin, and are essential for the regeneration of skin cells. With hypothyroidism, this is compromised, leading to dry and flaky skin.
- Constipation: Slower digestive processes can lead to constipation. Hypothyroidism can lead to decreased gastrointestinal motility, meaning the muscles in the digestive tract move at a slower rate, which can result in delayed transit of stool through the intestines. Thyroid hormones affect the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes, leading to insufficiency of these juices and affecting the softening of stool. The thyroid can also affect water absorption in the intestines, leading to hard and dry stools.
- Muscle Weakness and Joint Pain: Weakness in the muscles, particularly in the arms and legs, and joint pain. There may be a loss of muscle tone.
- Hoarseness: Changes in the voice, including hoarseness. The thyroid hormones, particularly T3, are imperative in the normal function of the larynx and vocal cords. When there is an underproduction of thyroid hormones, it can lead to hoarseness, voice fatigue, reduced pitch range, dry throat, and low voice projection.
- Depression: Feelings of sadness or depression. It is suspected that most people on antidepressants have undiagnosed hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency, and years of research has been conducted for connections between the two (1). Thyroid hormones play an important part in the regulation of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood. The reduced metabolic activity affects various physiological processes including energy production, fatigue, lethargy, and a lack of motivation..
- Memory and Cognitive Issues: Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and brain fog. Not only is the body lacking physical energy, but it is also lacking mental energy. Hypothyroidism has been linked to possible structural changes in the brain that could affect the mood and cognitive function.(2)
- Menstrual Irregularities: Irregular or heavy menstrual periods. The thyroid is the master endocrine gland and helps control the HPG (hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal) axis. It can cause changes including shorter or longer cycles, amenorrhea, heavier bleeding, worsened premenstrual symptoms, and fertility issues. Many times women experience improved menstrual cycles as their thyroid issues are addressed.
- Bradycardia: Slower heart rate. Thyroid hormones affect the function of the heart and blood vessels; when thyroid hormones are low, the heart may pump blood at a slower rate, in addition to it contracting less forcefully.
- Elevated Cholesterol Levels: Hypothyroidism can be associated with higher levels of cholesterol. Thyroid hormones are crucial in the regulation of lipid, or fat, metabolism. When they are insufficient, it can change the way the body processes and manages cholesterol.
- Muscle Cramps: Cramping in the muscles, particularly the legs. Hypothyroidism can affect the blood flow to the muscles in addition to electrolyte balance in the body, both of which can lead to muscle cramps. Furthermore, hypothyroidism can lead to nerve dysfunction which can contribute to muscle cramps.
- Swelling (Edema): Swelling and puffiness, especially in the face and around the eyes. This is due to overall lack of circulation and fluid retention in the body. Additionally, the skin may become thickened and swollen due to the accumulation of complex sugars (mucopolysaccharides) in the connective tissues, more noticeably in the face.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
There isn’t just one cause of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism); it is a firestorm of many factors coming together. They include:
- Iodine Deficiency: Iodine is a crucial element for the synthesis of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). A lack of iodine in the diet is the number one cause of hypothyroidism.
- Iodine Disruptors: Certain environmental toxins, known as iodine disruptors, can interfere with the uptake and utilization of iodine by the thyroid gland. The most obvious include fluoride, bromide, and chlorine. Another example, perchlorate, is a chemical found in some fertilizers and drinking water that can competitively inhibit iodine uptake by the thyroid. With a portion of the population deficient in iodine, the problem is amplified. When the cells are iodine deficient, the other halogens (fluoride, bromide, chlorine) that chemically have similar structure will fill those receptor sites throughout the body, including the thyroid. This not only disrupts thyroid function and slows the metabolism, but it disrupts all cellular function throughout the body and can lead to chronic disease.
- Endocrine Disruptors: Some toxins, known as endocrine disruptors, can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system, including the thyroid. Examples of endocrine disruptors include certain pesticides, plasticizers (such as bisphenol A or BPA), and industrial chemicals.
- Heavy Metals: Exposure to certain heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, has been associated with thyroid dysfunction (3). These metals can interfere with the synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormones.
- Perfluorinated Compounds: Chemicals like perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), found in some non-stick cookware and waterproofing agents, have been linked to thyroid disruption (4). These compounds may affect thyroid hormone levels.
- Radiation: Exposure to radiation, whether from medical treatments, environmental sources, or occupational exposure, can impact the thyroid. Radiation exposure can lead to thyroid dysfunction, including hypothyroidism or an increased risk of thyroid cancer(5).
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s Disease): This is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. In Hashimoto’s disease, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the thyroid gland, leading to a gradual decline in thyroid function.
- Certain Medications: Some medications can interfere with thyroid function. Lithium, used to treat bipolar disorder, and amiodarone, used for heart rhythm disorders, are examples of drugs that may contribute to hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid Surgery or Radiation Treatment: Surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy) or radiation treatment to the neck area can result in decreased thyroid function.
- Congenital Hypothyroidism: Some individuals are born with an underactive thyroid due to a congenital defect. Newborns are typically screened for this condition shortly after birth.
- Pituitary Gland Disorders: The pituitary gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which stimulates the thyroid to produce hormones. Disorders affecting the pituitary gland can lead to decreased TSH production, resulting in hypothyroidism.
- Inflammatory Disorders: Chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, unrelated to autoimmune causes, can impair thyroid function and contribute to hypothyroidism.
- Certain Infections: Infections affecting the thyroid, though rare, can lead to inflammation and dysfunction.
- Age and Gender: Hypothyroidism is more common in women and tends to occur more frequently with advancing age.
- Genetic Factors: There may be a genetic predisposition to thyroid disorders, and a family history of thyroid conditions may increase the risk.
Thyroid Hormones Explained
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain. TSH plays a crucial role in regulating the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck and is responsible for producing thyroid hormones.
The primary function of TSH is to stimulate the thyroid gland to release two main hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These thyroid hormones are essential for the regulation of metabolism and in various physiological processes, including energy production, growth, and temperature regulation.
The secretion of TSH is controlled by a feedback loop involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and thyroid gland, known as the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. When the levels of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) in the blood are low, the hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH signals the pituitary gland to release TSH, which then stimulates the thyroid gland to produce and release T3 and T4.
Elevated levels of T3 and T4 in the blood have a negative feedback effect on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, inhibiting the release of TRH and TSH. This feedback loop helps to maintain a balance in thyroid hormone levels in the body. Measuring TSH levels is a common diagnostic tool for assessing thyroid function. High TSH levels may indicate an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), while low TSH levels may suggest an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Regular monitoring of TSH levels, along with T3 and T4 levels, is fundamental for managing thyroid disorders and ensuring overall thyroid health.
The thyroid gland produces and releases several hormones that are vital in regulating various physiological functions in the body. The primary thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), both of which contain iodine atoms. Here’s a brief description of these hormones:
- Structure: T4 is composed of four iodine atoms and is the most abundant thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
- Production: The thyroid gland synthesizes T4 and releases it into the bloodstream. It serves as a precursor to T3.
- Conversion: T4 is converted into the more biologically active T3 in various tissues, such as the liver and kidneys.
- Function: While T4 is less potent than T3, it serves as a reservoir that can be converted to T3 as needed. T4 regulates metabolism, growth, and energy balance.
- Structure: T3 contains three iodine atoms and is the more potent and active form of thyroid hormone.
- Production: T3 is either directly secreted by the thyroid gland or produced through the conversion of T4 in peripheral tissues.
- Function: As primary thyroid hormone responsible for influencing cellular metabolism, T3 regulates energy production, heat generation, and the activity of various organs and tissues. T3 is vital for normal growth and development, particularly in the central nervous system.
The secretion of thyroid hormones is regulated by the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH then prompts the thyroid gland to release T4 and T3.
T2 is a metabolite of the thyroid hormone T3 and is needed to regulate metabolism and energy production. It has been shown to increase metabolic rate, leading to increased calorie burning and potential weight loss. T2 also helps increase energy and reduce fatigue. Unlike T3 and T4, T2 only affects the mitochondria of the cells, not the nucleus, making it effective as a second mechanism of action for weight loss.
Where Can It Go Wrong?
First, let’s look at how it works. Your thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that affect every function in the body. It produces three types of hormones: T2, T3, and T4. The number represents the number of molecules of Iodine.
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism and body weight by controlling the burning of the fat for energy and heat. These hormones are also required for growth and development in children. They signal the production of a significant number of growth factors in the body, including skeletal tissue growth, the development of red blood cells, nerve growth factor and epidermal growth factor.
Almost 90 percent of the hormone produced by your thyroid is in the form of T4, the inactive form. Your liver then converts the T4 into T3, the active form, affecting the metabolism. In other words, by taking a T4 thyroid medication, you are not necessarily helping the active thyroid hormone, or improving metabolism.
Furthermore, if your liver is backed up or clogged, it is unable to do its job of converting T4 into usable T3 and improving the metabolism.
Blood Tests Aren’t Telling the Whole Truth
Many physicians primarily assess your TSH, or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, which originates from the pituitary gland to signal the thyroid to release T4. If your TSH is elevated, it suggests the pituitary is urging the thyroid to release more T4, indicating hypothyroidism. Conversely, a low TSH implies the thyroid is potentially producing excessive T4, also suggesting hyperthyroidism. This approach, however, overlooks the critical aspect of how much T4 is effectively converted into the usable T3, the active thyroid hormone.
Moreover, it raises the question: Are doctors evaluating your iodine levels? It’s worth noting that iodine is a crucial element represented in both T4 and T3. Food for thought…
According to Dr. Kenneth Blanchard, “The key thing is… doctors are always told that TSH is the test that gives us a yes or no answer. And, in fact, I think that’s fundamentally wrong. The pituitary TSH is controlled not just by how much T4 and T3 is in circulation, but T4 is getting converted to T3 at the pituitary level. Excess T3 generated at the pituitary level can falsely suppress TSH”.
In other words, metabolism isn’t a simple equation of TSH and T4. Many people, whose test results are dismissed as normal, could be suffering.
The Top 3 Supplements to Naturally Restore Optimal Thyroid Function
With a number of the US population being iodine deficient; without proper iodine supplementation, the thyroid gland will fail to function optimally. Iodine is no longer sufficient in the diet, and iodized salt provides little iodine coupled with salt stripped of minerals and full of microplastics. Iodine represents the 2, 3 and 4 in T2,T3, and T4.
Acceleradine® Iodine is the one of the most effective iodine supplements for hypothyroidism due to many factors:
- It is the only single atom of iodine, easily absorbed by all of the cells in the body, to help provide sufficient iodine for proper metabolism and fat burning.
- It helps detox all cells of heavy metals, toxins, and radiation.
- It displaces fluoride, chlorine, and bromide from the cells that lead to hypothyroidism and other chronic disease.
- It helps alleviate the damage done by the mRNA and spike protein.
- By high dosing Acceleradine® Iodine, the iodine is “displacing” the toxins and preventing new toxins from attaching to cells’ receptor sites.
- It may help alleviate the damage done by the spike protein, which has been connected to causing worsened hypothyroid symptoms.
- It helps cleanse the blood so that the liver can do its job in further detoxing the body from toxins related to hypothyroidism.
Accelerated Thyroid® is composed of grass-fed thyroid glandular to provide the necessary peptides, amino acids, and needed nutrients for the thyroid, as well as an ancient herbal Ayurvedic formula, Kanchanara, known to detox and support thyroid, and additional amino acids needed for thyroid optimization. It is then enhanced with scalar frequencies to:
- Clear emotional and physical shock from the body
- Improve the overall health of the thyroid
- Detox halogens, heavy metals, and radiation
- Balance the thyroid and parathyroid
Accelerated Thyroid® helps:
- Prevent fatty liver
- Accelerate wound healing
- Strengthen connective tissue and bones
- Elevate mood
- Strengthen digestion
- Produce B12
Thyroid Fixxr™ combines T2 with complimentary fat burning ingredients that synergistically boost mitochondrial health. This supplement enhances the effects of Acceleradine® Iodine and Accelerated Thyroid®. Most people see an improvement in mood, skin, hair and fat loss.
Additional Supplements to Help Restore Optimal Thyroid Function
Not only does Accelerated Keto® increase metabolism and fat burning by helping ATP production in the mitochondria to increase, it also helps cleanse the liver gently on a daily basis. It is in the liver that T4 converts into the active T3; so as the liver is cleansed, the conversion of thyroid hormones is optimized. Accelerated Keto® can help suppress the cravings for sugar and processed foods which lower ATP, energy and metabolism. As the body kicks into ketosis, burning its own fat stores for fuel, the body sees an “endless” supply of energy and will actually speed up the metabolism by optimizing the conversion from T4 into T3. On the contrary, when the body is fueled by glucose and calories are restricted, the body flips into survival mode, converting T4 into Reverse T3. Reverse T3 slows down metabolism, increases fat storage, and tells the body it is under threat.
Accelerated Scalar Copper®
Copper is an essential trace mineral that is involved in the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones. Here are some of the aspects of the relationship between copper and hypothyroidism:
- Enzymatic Reactions: Copper serves as a cofactor for several enzymes involved in the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones. These enzymes play a role in the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3), the active form of thyroid hormone.
- Thyroid Hormone Binding: Copper can bind to thyroid hormones, particularly thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG), a protein that transports thyroid hormones in the blood. Changes in copper levels may affect the binding and transport of thyroid hormones.
- Oxidative Stress: Copper is involved in antioxidant defense mechanisms, helping to neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage. Oxidative stress has been implicated in thyroid dysfunction, and copper’s role in antioxidant processes may indirectly influence thyroid health.
Sara Banta’s Accelerated Liver Flush Cleanse
The liver is where T4 converts into the active T3; if it isn’t functioning properly, hypothyroid and slow metabolism symptoms may be present. The Accelerated Liver Flush Cleanse may help:
- Improve insulin resistance and uric acid levels
- Improved protein and fat metabolism
- Improve inflammation
- Improve thyroid hormones
- Detox the body of radiation and toxins that inhibit thyroid function
- Alleviate fatty liver
- Improve the ACE2 receptor function damaged by the spike protein
Lifestyle Changes to Optimize Thyroid Function
Adhering to a low-carb diet promotes lower insulin and glucose levels, fostering fat burning and increased ATP production within cells. As discussed in my article Counting Calories for Weight Loss, research indicates that individuals on a low-carb diet burn an additional 300 calories per day compared to those on a high-carb diet, even when their caloric intake remains the same.
Eat Wild Animal Protein
Incorporating wild animal protein into your diet not only elevates the “Thermic Effect,” utilizing 25% of protein calories for digestion and heat production, but it also triggers the release of glucagon, the fat-burning hormone. Additionally, the amino acids in protein stimulate the CCK hormone in the gut, signaling to the brain that appetite is satisfied. CCK is activated solely by amino acids and Omega-3 fatty acids. With that the body tends to not crave the sugar and processed foods that lower ATP, back up the liver, and slow the thyroid function.
Embrace Intermittent Fasting
Engaging in intermittent fasting, where eating is restricted to a 2-8 hour window, can reset insulin sensitivity—a critical factor for fat loss and an increased metabolism. Constant eating throughout the day leads to continuous insulin release, promoting fat storage. By compressing your caloric intake into a shorter time frame, you burn more fat and enhance your metabolism and thyroid function.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods and excessive fructose can disrupt your thyroid metabolism in various ways:
- High uric acid levels lead to increased insulin resistance, fat storage, and reduced metabolism.
- Cellular energy is compromised, decreasing ATP levels and heightening fructose-induced appetite.
- Elevated uric acid triggers a “survival switch,” slowing metabolism, increasing Reverse T3, encouraging fat storage, and increasing caloric consumption.
- Oxidative stress rises, impairing energy production, hindering fat burning, and stimulating fat production.
- Blocked release of fatty acids from stored fat further reduces ATP production while promoting fat production.
- Falling ATP levels signal an emergency response, lowering metabolism, increasing Reverse T3 further, and increasing hunger for processed foods.
- Leptin resistance occurs, disrupting the brain’s signaling to stop eating and leading to an increased craving for processed foods.
Eliminating processed foods is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism and overall well-being.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.