“The thyroid gland provides an unchanging basal level of thyroid hormone to keep the basic metabolic rate of all cells at a constant level, and provides the overall set point of this endocrine axis.” 1
By looking at my thyroid this way, I see it kind of like a thermostat. But messing with the thermostat most likely isn’t going to do much if the furnace is broken and making noises. We need to repair the furnace before it will function properly. In this example, our furnace is mainly our liver but also various other organs. Our body is trying to work together in unison.
What helped me finally start resolving my thyroid symptoms, was learning how to support my liver. I did this by learning how to eat real food and cut out chemicals etc that I figured out were not working well with my body. I cover the general idea of being toxic, how I started eating better food, and how I support my detox pathways in general here http://whyiodine.com/what-is-detox/ I expand on my liver support below.
Eventually I learned how important stomach acid and fat digestion are for general health and thyroid health specifically. I had dealt with minor stomach acid symptoms for a long time, and avoided certain types of meals due to their fat content without even realizing why.
Common symptoms of low stomach acid
- Acid Reflux
- Trouble eating meat
- Undigested food in stool
- Skin issues
- Food allergies/intolerance
Common symptoms of Poor Fat Digestion
- Diarrhea on a regular basis
- Smelly poop
- Light-colored poop
- Floating poop
- Sticky poop
- Skin rashes
- Weight loss
- Hair loss
- Burping and farting after meals
- Queasy feeling after meals
My stomach acid wasn’t too bad. I supported it with good food and some nutrients known to help rebuild acid over time, like Taurine and unrefined salt. By the time I tried The Stomach Acid Challenge test, I was able to feel “heat” with just one Betaine HCL & Pepsin pill, which indicated that my stomach acid was high enough, and I did not need to support it. If I continued to have stomach acid symptoms, I would have researched The Stomach Acid Challenge and look for details on different situations and how to understand them better. Wink wink.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I avoided certain meals due to their fat content, or anything that caused my body to have a hard time digesting the fat it contained. I worked on my fat digestion with coffee enemas, ox bile supplements and digestive enzymes.
Read more about stomach acid and fat digestion at http://sickoftired.com/stomach-acid
I also went through several rounds of kidney stones around the times I remember always avoiding fatty meals. This was most likely due to improper fat digestion causing more of the oxalates from my diet to end up in my blood stream. Usually, calcium binds with oxalates in the gut, so it can then be excreted. But when fat is not digested properly, the fat binds with calcium instead, and the oxalate is absorbed into the blood stream. 2
Oxalates can contribute to many health ailments as they build up in various tissue. Although we don’t have any science relating oxalate buildup to specific thyroid issues, we do know they are able to build up in our thyroid. 3
Digesting fat is important for many other reasons. I focused on fixing my fat digestion so I can absorb more nutrients, and hopefully allow the oxalates in my thyroid to be reduced. I also take histamine support probiotics, a quality non-methylated b-complex, and magnesium with a small amount of calcium to help support my body for this.
Then I learned about a process called methylation. This is the core of our nutrient engine, and allows our body to do so many important things. One of those things is converting up to 80% of our T4 -> T3. But the path our system uses to get to this T4 -> T3 conversion is usually inhibited by deficiencies and low cellular function. I start getting into the technical part of this in relation to our thyroid on my page about selenium http://whyiodine.com/selenium/
I thought this page was about the thyroid?
You may have noticed I haven’t really talked about the thyroid. That is because I personally do not think the thyroid has much to do with thyroid dysfunction. As long as we’re getting iodine, B2 and vitamin C, the thyroid should be able to create T4 and now it’s direct job is done. Although a lot of us might be low in these 3 nutrients, if this is all that was required, it would probably be well known by now.
But if we look at what the purpose of thyroid hormones are, we might start looking at this a little differently. Imagine if the engine in our vehicle was low on oil and was therefor limiting it’s maximum RPMs. And instead of fixing the low oil situation, we decided to focus on the fuel system that was purposely limiting fuel so the engine would not damage itself. If we override this fuel limit, we can get the engine to increase it’s RPMs, but is this the proper way to handle the low oil situation that is purposely limiting fuel? No.
This is exactly what we are doing with the thyroid. Our metabolism is purposely limiting itself due to lack of proper nutrients. One piece of our metabolism is our thyroid. Our metabolism sends a signal to the thyroid and the thyroid uses that signal as well as current air temperature and breathing rate to turn around and tell our metabolism how quickly it should run atm. If we bypass our thyroid with hormones, sure, we can increase our rate of metabolism. But at what cost?
And sometimes the thyroid hormone supplementation doesn’t work at all, or cause us discomfort. This is likely due to our cells being low on even more nutrients, to the point we can’t even speed up our metabolism by force. In the vehicle engine example, we may dozens of imbalance on top of the low oil situation which is limiting the engine’s physical ability to create more RPMs.
To attempt simplifying the situation: we have to do anything we can to reduce stress on our cells.
But unfortunately this is complex, because: our pants and other clothing that spends a lot of time against our skin might be negatively impacting our overall ability to metabolize.
- Front Neuroendocrinol. 2010 Apr; 31(2): 134–156. Published online 2010 Jan 13. - The thyroid gland provides an unchanging basal level of thyroid hormone to keep - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849853/#:~:text=The%20thyroid%20gland%20provides%20an,point%20of%20this%20endocrine%20axis
- ..fat binds with calcium instead, and the oxalate is absorbed into the blood stream. - https://badgut.org/information-centre/health-nutrition/oxalate-stones/
- Eur J Clin Chem Clin Biochem. 1993 Sep;31(9):559-65. - Oxalate in the human thyroid gland - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8260526/