This Week I'll Discuss Treatment Of The Thyroid.
A few weeks ago, I talked with you about your thyroid, and what some of the symptoms of a poorly functioning one are. Now, I want to talk about the different ways I would go about treating your thyroid. When starting thyroid treatment is it important to make sure that the cofactors the thyroid needs are considered. These cofactors include iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, and vitamin A. However, it is important to make sure whether or not the extra cofactors are needed. Often, if my patients have signs and symptoms of thyroid dysregulation then I’m going to start supporting and treating their thyroid at the same time.
Often times I will start with a tincture that contains herbs that will help to stimulate the thyroid to function since most often I am treating hypothyroid/subclinical hypothyroid. These herbs along with the cofactors can, and often do, help my patients to feel better. Six to eight weeks later, when we retest thyroid numbers, there are usually changes in their levels.
For some patients the above approach is not enough, and thyroid medication is needed. When it comes to thyroid medication there are many different options that can be used. I usually only want to work with a combination of T3/T4 rather than just the single T4. There are the synthetic T4 drugs such as - levoxyl, synthroid, or thyroxine. There is also one main T3 drug called cytomel. On the natural side there are thyroid medications that are derived from pigs. These natural thyroid medications are a combination of T4 and T3, and they go by the names Armour, Naturethroid, and Westhroid.
I often use the natural thyroid medication with my patients as I have found the nice mix of T4 and T3 to help them. These preparations are in the ratio of 4:1 - T4 and T3 respectively. This allows the body to still work at converting the T4 into T3, but also gives the body a bit of T3 for use. With all thyroid medication it is important to take it on an empty stomach 1 hour before eating, or 2 hours after eating. Calcium and Iron supplementation needs to be done four hours away from the thyroid medication. Again, testing should be done after thyroid medication has been started, but no sooner than 6-8 weeks as that is how long it takes for TSH levels to change.
If my patient has a hyperthyroid condition I will often start with herbs that will suppress the function of the thyroid. For some patients, this works well, but for others it does not. For the patients where it has not worked, I have supported their liver as they get put on medications that are out of my scope of practice in California. These out of scope medications can be toxic to the liver. For some patients with hyperthyroidism they choose to irradiate their thyroid which makes it inactive. These patients are now in the opposite hypothyroid state where they’ll have to be on medication for the rest of their lives.
I often have patients thinking their thyroid is ‘a little off’, and that is the reason why they cannot lose weight. They think going on thyroid medication will help them lose weight even if it means that they’ll be on it for the rest of their lives. They do not understand that often the thyroid is not the problem, and also that it is not something to play around with. So it is my duty to educate them about how the thyroid and thyroid hormones in the body have their fine balance that needs to be maintained.
Now if you have more questions about your thyroid, the mentioned states, or you feel as though you are exhibiting some of the symptoms from my previous blog then please contact me here, or call me at 1-415-912-9934.