Dr. David Clark, DC director of the Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham,NC provides a shocking answer to the question no one seems to ask a woman suffering with low thyroid symptoms…Why Did Your Thyroid Gland Stop Working?
Are you suffering with low thyroid symptoms? Has your doctor ever explained WHY your thyroid gland stop working?
A common MIS-conception about thyroid disorders is that at some point….for some mysterious reason….your thyroid gland just quit working. So now you need thyroid medication.
That’s not a good answer, is it?
I mean, are we programmed so that –at some time in our life–our thyroid glands wear out, give up or shut off? Should you just accept that kind of thinking?
You should not accept it…especially if you’re taking thyroid hormones and your labs are “normal”, but you still have low thyroid symptoms.
If this is you, then your doctor has not determined why your thyroid gland stopped working in the first place. And that’s why the “treatment” isn’t working.
When I train other doctors, my mantra is….
Always Ask “Why?”
I teach my patients the same thought process. Ask yourself “why?”
If you have low thyroid….why did it happen?
The number one cause of low thyroid in America is Hashimoto’s.
That’s an autoimmune problem–your immune system attacks and destroys your thyroid gland. The loss of gland tissue causes low thyroid symptoms.
Even though it is the most common cause of low thyroid, few doctors test for Hashimoto’s (because they have nothing to offer beside thyroid hormones).
there are 22 other reasons why your thyroid hormones could malfunction.
(see my other posts on this topic).
That makes me pause for a second…
We’re all blaming the gland. But the thyroid gland is not the problem in many cases.
Is it the gland’s fault that your immune system is trying to kill it? No.
The thyroid gland does what the pituitary tells it to do— make the T4 and the T3, and then it’s up to other parts of the body to do their job.
There are different players in this low thyroid story, not just the thyroid gland by itself…
The liver must convert T4 to T3.
Your GI bacteria, the good guys that live in there, they’ve got to convert T3 sulfate into active T3.
…There’s a lot of things we could talk about. You can look at my other posts.
So, it’s not just the thyroid gland to blame. I would say 90 percent of the endocrinologists you’ll ever see or family practitioners would say , “Your thyroid gland quit working. Take these hormones.”
If you felt great after taking the medication, you probably would never give it a second thought. But if you’re reading this right now, you probably don’t feel good.
You probably still have some of the low thyroid symptoms you had before taking the medication….
If you’re still suffering these symptoms, then–to me—no one has asked or answered the question, “Why did your thyroid gland stop working?”
Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune condition, is by far the most common here in America, but you can also have problems with binding proteins, conversion, under-conversion….
The point is you need to find someone that understands the entire thyroid story are and knows how to track down the possible suspects.
If your doctor’s only checking TSH and T4, he’s never going to find those other possibilities I just talked about–never.
He’s never going to find
…a serotonin problem, a dopamine problem
…an under-conversion problem.
…a binding globulin problem.
He’ll miss them all.
And you suffer the consequences.
You are forced wander for years thinking there’s something mentally wrong with you…
This thyroid medication is supposed to work, but I still feel bad.
It’s not your fault.
If you are taking thyroid medication–or you have low thyroid symptoms–somebody needs to ask and answer that question…
What happened? Why did your thyroid stop working?
Only then, when that question is answered (or at least asked), are you going to be on the path to feeling good again.
Dr. David Clark, DC in Durham, NC answers the most important question you can ask if you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis and suffer low thyroid symptoms.
Here’s the most important question you can ask if you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid…
Can Hashimoto’s be reversed?
But…can the symptoms of Hashimoto’s be reversed? YES!
And here’s what I mean:
The fact that you can’t reverse Hashimoto’s the disease is not bad news, as you’ll see. Hashimoto’s really is a genetic condition. Genes get triggered. Once they’re “ON”, you can’t stop them. (hold on)
The 3 P’s of Hashimoto’s
Now, Hashimoto’s usually occurs in women at about three different times of their life–
During those particular times there are certain factor…triggers…I don’t want to go over all of them today…
…but these triggers turns genes on (that you were already carrying) that make your immune system target your thyroid gland and destroy it.
Important point: You can’t turn off those genes no matter what anybody tells you.
You can’t cure Hashimoto’s.
I don’t care what you look at–antibodies, TSH…whatever.
There’s a lot of doctors– some not so alternative doctors, I might add – that are practicing folklore. They look at TSH as some barometer for success.
“Hey, look, this person’s TSH level is normal. We’ve cured their Hashimoto’s! We’ve reversed the disease!.”
No you haven’t.
If you monitored the TSH levels of a Hashimoto’s patient over the course of six months– with no intervention at all—the TSH level will go up and down like the wind…
Month 1 TSH: hypothyroid.
Month 2 TSH: normal.
Month 3 TSH: hyperthyroid
Month 4 TSH: normal
Month 5 TSH: hyperthyroid
Month 6 TSH: hypothyroid
And that’s with NO diet change, iodine, selenium, immune booster etc.
If your doctor checked your TSH in Months 2 and 4, he/she would think they’re a wizard. You’re cured!
But if the doctor checked in months 2, 3, 5 or 6 –not so much a wizard.
So, the people that are telling you that they can reverse Hashimoto’s and their proof is TSH levels—they’re full of it.
Another group of Hashimoto’s experts use antibodies to prove they’ve reversed Hashimoto’s…
“Mrs. Smith, your antibodies are decreasing. You’re almost cured.”
“Mrs. Smith, your antibodies are within normal range now. We’ve cured your Hashimoto’s.”
No, you haven’t.
Just like TSH, TPO Antibodies and TBG antibodies can fluctuate wildly and are not a reliable indicator of progress.
You’re lucky if you were tested and you actually showed elevated antibodies. Scientific research shows that about 15 percent of Hashimoto’s victims are seronegative—they don’t make enough antibodies to be detected. Even though they really do have Hashimoto’s and have got all the symptoms:
Using thyroid antibodies as proof of progress or cure is a waste of time.
What can you use to let you know you’re getting better? Two things:
Reversing the symptoms…the fatigue, the brittle hair, the hair falling out, constipation, and cognitive problem.
You can reverse Hashimoto’s symptoms– without question.
How do you do that?
The first thing that a doctor has to do is understand that Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition. You have to look at it from an immune system perspective.
That means you’ve got to look at T-cells and B-cells. You’ve got to look at regulatory T-cells. You have to understand how vitamin D and food sensitivities and how occult infections and how toxicity…
…How all of that matters when working with a person suffering with Hashimoto’s (or a person suffering with low thyroid symptoms but NOT diagnosed Hashimoto’s).
If your doctor isn’t schooled in these matters…..
If your doctor doesn’t understand how to analyze these factors/triggers…
Then your doctor isn’t able to offer you much help in reversing those low thyroid symptoms beyond the standard, run of the mill, inside the box thinking…replacement hormones and medication.
I’m trying to give you a message of hope.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, you can be better. You can feel better.
I don’t want you to get stuck on the idea that “I need to cure myself of the Hashimoto’s to feel better.” That’s not necessary..
What if you could feel 70 percent better or even 80 percent better..but your Hashimoto’s was not cured?…
Would you be ok with that? Of course you would.
You can’t reverse Hashimoto’s the disease, but you can absolutely reverse Hashimoto’s symptoms and feel really good again…If your doctor knows and does the right stuff.
© 2011 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. David Clark, DC Durham, NC explains why most women have not had the correct tests to get to the bottom of their low thyroid symptoms.
Thinking that you’ve had the correct tests to determine what’s causing your low thyroid is Mistake #4.
I guess I should back up for a second.
Many of you probably haven’t had any tests to determine the real cause of your low thyroid symptoms. What usually happens is you start suffering with low thyroid symptoms such as fatigue, depression or constipation or hair loss (or a combination of those things).
And you endure them for a few months thinking maybe they’ll just go away…
After some weeks pass, you go see a doctor who runs a bare bones blood chemistry panel and says,
“Hey, look at that. Your TSH is high. Your T4 is maybe a little low, might be normal….You’re “low thyroid.” You need to take thyroid hormones.”
This makes logical sense to you because you’re not a doctor–you’re not trained in thyroid hormones. So you take the replacement hormones as directed.
You feel better for a few days or weeks. You’re having a “Hormone Honeymoon.” That honeymoon might last a week or a couple months…but then the honeymoon is over and those low thyroid symptoms start to creep back.
The depression, feeling cold all over, fatigue that feels like a ton of bricks…these symptoms come back to haunt you again. You start to think “maybe there’s something wrong with me” mentally…
When you go back to the doctor to get help, he says,
“Well hey, your TSH is normal. I don’t know what could be causing this. Maybe you’re just depressed.”
The real problem is that you haven’t had the correct tests.
Remember, the number one cause of low thyroid in America is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s hypothyroid. I’ve found that most doctors, even if you have low thyroid symptoms, they never run the test to find out if you have that autoimmune condition.
This would mean that your immune system has mistakenly turned on you and is killing your thyroid gland and causing your low thyroid symptoms.
What I ‘ve found with the patients I’ve seen is most doctors aren’t even running the test for that condition.
What tests should they run for you? These two simple tests:
These are not exotic, weird or “alternative.”
If you have elevated antibodies it means that you’ve got Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease that MUST be dealt with if you’re ever going to feel normal.
Many doctors aren’t even running these tests. So please don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ve had the correct tests.
NOTE: About 20% of women who do get these antibodies tests done have false negative results. They’re what we call seronegative Hashimoto’s patients. It means that even though the blood test shows negative, your symptoms clearly indicate that you really do have Hashimoto’s.
But how did you get this way in the first place?
There are several tests that must be done to answer that question. These additonal tests provide the answers that will help the depression, the hair loss and help you take a trip back in time, feeling good like you used to years ago.
There are many triggers for Hashimoto’s (and I’ve got some posts on that that you can read):
These factors determine-in part- whether or not you turn on that gene that starts the attack on your thyroid.
But more than just starting Hashimoto’s, these same X factors PROMOTE the continued attack…like a spectator egging on a fight.
And it’s vitally importan– it’s crucial–it’s a matter of life and death to find out if those things going on in you right now. Because if you have a hidden GI infection…if you have a food sensitivity….if you have a viral infection,…f you have a vitamin D deficiency, then it’s promoting your autoimmune attack on your thyroid gland.
Remember— most doctors aren’t even testing to see if you have Hashimoto’s.
And if one does, you may be “seronegative”–you really do have Hashimoto’s even though the labs are negative.
It’s a mistake to assume you’ve had the necessary tests to get to the bottom of YOUR low thyroid symptoms.
Out of all the women that have come to me for help, not a single one has had all the correct tests.
But, they have had all the “medically necessary” tests—what a terrible joke.
© 2011 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. David Clark, DC Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham, NC reveals yet another reason why you are still suffering hypothyroid symptoms.
Hidden cause #6 why you still have low thyroid symptoms, even though your lab numbers are “normal”, and even though you’re taking thyroid medication, is
High Levels of Thyroxine Binding Globulin (TBG)
This taxi cab, you know the thyroid hormones, the T4 and the T3, they jump inside the cab and they get transported to the liver where they’re converted.
And then they jump back in the cab and they’re transported to the rest of the body. So they must have this little carrier to go anywhere.
An elevation in thyroxine binding globulin (TBG) means there’s a whole bunch of taxi cabs.
In fact, there’s so many cabs (carrier proteins called TBG) that the normal free amount of T4 and T3 that should be floating around isn’t. It’s as if they all get sucked up like a big sponge by all these thyroid binding globulins.
Here’s the crummy part about all this….
Your TSH will look normal. Your total T4 will look normal. Your total T3 will look normal.
If that’s all the markers your doctor is checking, then this problem is completely missed. You’ll be given thyroid hormones but you probably won’t get better.
Now you might have a little bit of a hormone honeymoon where you feel better for a couple of weeks, but eventually you’ll go right back to having depression, weight gain, hair loss, feeling cold, no motivation, brain fog. You’ll suffer those low thyroid symptoms again.
What causes elevated TBG? Estrogens are particulary good at elevating TBG. Now estrogens come in a lot of different forms, right? Estrogens can be hidden in face creams. Estrogens are in birth control pills. Estrogens can be elevated in a woman who’s not detoxifying her estrogens normally (liver issue).
So you see already we’ve kind of gone down the rabbit hole a little bit in tracking down the source of the elevated TBGs causing low thyroid symptoms.
If your doctor is not considering binding globulin as a possible problem, then he/she’s missing part of the reason why you could still be having thyroid symptoms.
If your TBGs are too high—Even though TSH is normal and T4 looks normal and total T3 looks normal—if your doctor will check your T3 uptake, or T3U, he/she will see tt that the T3U actually low.
(there is an inverse relationship between T3 uptake and binding globulins-one high and the other low).
Remember there’s also a lab reference range for T3U. The lab’s range is typically too forgiving. So, YOUR numbers might be within the lab’s range and look “normal”–but really your numbers are abnormal if you used a narrower range, a functional range.
Estrogens hanging out in the body elevate binding globulins, which suck up all the free T4 and T3.Therefore, not enough of the FREE T3 gets out of the taxi to attach to the T3 receptors….
…and you have low thyroid symptoms, but your labs look normal and you’re still taking medication.
Birth control pills contain estrogens. Some face creams and cosmetics contain undisclosed estrogens (not naming brands) . These estrogens can also elevate if you are not detoxifying estrogens normally. Let’s talk about that briefly…
Hormones are detoxified through the liver. So, if you have poor liver function, poor detoxification function, this is one of the reasons why you could still have a thyroid problem. It’s not a thyroid gland problem; it’s a liver problem really in this case.
Take this a step further…..what would cause someone to have poor detoxification in their liver? The biggest factor is blood sugar regulation. Glucuronidation is one of the liver processes you use to detoxify hormones. The “gluco” means glucose. If you don’t have normal, steady glucose to supply your liver, then you can’t detoxify appropriately.
And see what happens? You can’t just look at thyroid hormone symptoms things from the surface. You’ve got to dig down deep and understand the physiology in order to really help someone who hasn’t been helped yet.
So what types of blood sugar problems are we talking about? Low blood sugar and high blood sugar. High blood sugar means there’s nothing getting into the cells. Usually that’s from insulin resistance and that can be caused by cortisol. The other variety of a blood sugar problem is low blood sugar or reactive hypyglycemia. These are the people that get shaky and lightheaded and irritable between meals. Now these people don’t have any blood in their cells because they just don’t eat anything or something is shutting down their cortisol.
I don’t want to get too far off into that, but the point is…
A Thyroxine Binding Globulin problem is one reason that you could have low thyroid symptoms but have normal lab numbers, even though you’re taking medication.
I hope that you’re seeing a doctor that understands that TBGs have to be on the radar.
And if you find binding globulins that are elevated, why are they elevated?
So that’s where the detective work kicks in. You’ve got to put on your thinking cap and start doing the appropriate testing and finding out is it a liver problem, is it birth control pills?
What’s actually happening here? And it’s only when you start to turn over every one of these rocks, and do a comprehensive workup on someone from a functional perspective that you can help someone that’s been suffering forever with low thyroid symptoms because what they might actually have is Elevated Thyroxine Binding Globulin problem.
And taking replacment thyroid hormones aren’t going to help.
© 2011 Dr. David Clark, DC DACNB FACFN DCCN