“Every cell in the body has receptor sites for thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are responsible for the most basic and fundamental aspect of physiology, the basal metabolic rate. Lack of ideal thyroid hormone leads to global decline in cellular function of all bodily systems. The thyroid is the central gear in the complex web of metabolism and extremely sensitive to minor imbalances in other areas of physiology. An astute clinician should always ask what else is going wrong, as a result and cause, when they identify a thyroid imbalance.”
-Datis Kharrazian, DC, MS, M.Neurocience
Mastering your Thyroid
I went to the most amazing seminar called “Mastering the Thyroid.” This seminar was taught by one of the most dynamic practitioners in the world, especially in Thyroid Dysfunction, Dr. Datis Kharrazian. Dr Datis is the leading expert in thyroid dysfunction and practices in California strictly with patients suffering from chronic and challenging immune, endocrine, and neurological disorders. He is the author of “Why Do I still have Thyroid Symptoms when My Lab Tests are Normal.” I learned more about thyroid function in a 25 hour weekend seminar with him than I did in 3.5 years in chiropractic school. What he taught us changed my life and the lives of my future patients forever!
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The Thyroid Gland sometimes referred to as “The Shield” because of its protective mechanisms for your body. It sets the body’s “speed limit” or metabolism. When you are cold it tells the body to create more heat, when you get sick, it revs up the engine of your immune system, and if you are very stressed out from a long day it hits the brakes so you don’t blow a gasket in the fast lane. It controls the metabolism of nearly EVERY cell of the body. If this gland malfunctions or something causes it to have altered function you could experience many different symptoms.
How is Thyroid Hormone Made?
Believe it or not, Thyroid Hormone production begins in your Brain. Dopamine and Serotonin are important Neurotransmitters in the Brain that begin this complex process. These neurotransmitters signal the Hypothalamus to release what is called Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH). TRH then tells the Pituitary Gland to start to release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which tells the Thyroid Gland to start producing Thyroid Hormone using Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO). During this process the thyroid produces 93% Thyrosine (T4) and 7% Triiodothyronine (T3). T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone and T3 is the active form. With that being said, T4 and T3 jump on a “taxi” called Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). TBG transports the hormones to the liver where T4 gets converted to T3 using ‘5 Deiodinase. Once the hormone has been converted to T3 (the active form) it is able to bind to the nuclear receptor of the desired tissue.
What a complex process to make a sufficient amount of thyroid hormone for our tissues right? Why is this important? Well, when most doctors order a Thyroid panel, they only order TSH, T4, and/or T3. This is NOT enough information to understand true thyroid function. In order to get a better understanding of Thyroid Function, we must order a panel which includes, TSH, T4, T3 Uptake (representing TBG), and TPO and TAA Antibodies (tests Autoimmunity). That will give a bigger picture of the thyroid and will allow us to take the appropriate steps to solve the problem at hand.
What are the Symptoms?
The Thyroid Gland can malfunction in 3 different ways:
- Hypothyroidism (Low Thyroid Function)
- Hyperthyroidism (High Thyroid Function)
- Fluctuations between Hypo and Hyperthyroidism (Hoshimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid)
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Hands and Feet are always cold
- Unexplained Weight Gain (with the inability to lose that weight)
- Itchy, Dry Skin
- Hair Loss
- Morning Headaches
- Slow Wound Healing
- Heart Palpitations
- Sweaty Palms
- Increased Heart Rate
- Inward Trembling
- Night Sweats
- Difficulty Gaining Weight