Causes of an underactive thyroid

I was never told that there were things that I was actually doing or things happening to my body that were actually slowing my thyroid down. Instead I was just thrown on medication. Unfortunately, the medication was just pretty much a band-aid. 

I was never told about all the things that could actually be slowing my thyroid down. Something else to also consider, you don't need to have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism to actually have a slow thyroid. And this is what I started realizing when I got certified in functional medicine. I noticed that there are actually a lot of things that can slow your thyroid down, that you're not being told.

It's not being talked about, and it does not have to show up on a blood panel. So typically you get diagnosed with hypothyroidism when your TSH is really elevated. TSH is your thyroid stimulating hormone. And unfortunately if that is the only thing they're checking and it looks totally normal, you're told your thyroid is normal. For so many women, the reality is that it is NOT normal. especially if you're having slow thyroid symptoms.

When I started working with clients one-on-one, I would run other labs besides a blood test and they showed a completely different picture than what the doctor was telling them.

So let's talk about some things that could be slowing your thyroid down. So first and foremost, stress is a huge one. I talk about this incessantly with my clients. Stress has to be managed!  Remember, your adrenal glands and your thyroid and your sex hormones all interplay with each other. They're like a triangle and all interacting with each other. So if one is off, the other one's going to be off more than likely.

The thyroid usually is one that always ends up paying the price especially when you have chronic stress. Stress releases cortisol. That's your natural way that your body tries to attack stress. Unfortunately, when cortisol keeps getting released like that, it will eventually affect the thyroid. And the way that it does this, is it will affect the conversion of your inactive thyroid hormone, which is T4, to your active thyroid hormone, which is T3.

And a lot of times, not only does that happen, but it actually sends it backwards. It reverts the T3, your active thyroid hormone back to something called reverse T3. That's not active.... it's inactive. So people feel really crappy. And that's why when people get really stressed out all of a sudden, they're like, "I'm gaining weight." or "My fatigue is through the roof." or "My hair's falling out."  It is because your thyroid is actually being slowed down because of this chronic stress. 

Also think about foods that you're eating. If you're eating really, really poor quality food, this is a stressor on the body, it can also create gut inflammation. If you're eating things like gluten, soy, dairy, and sugar....these can sometimes really affect people with a slow thyroid because those things are all inflammatory for your body.  It will tell the thyroid to slow down, because your body doesn't like it.

Also let's talk about your sleep. If you're not getting enough sleep, that is your rest and repair time.  This is when the adrenals are supposed to kind of chill out, so they can start to replenish.  If you're only getting a couple of hours of sleep, it's not going to help your thyroid. So, you definitely have to figure out what's causing the sleep issues, and make adjustments.  

What's your liver health like?  Remember, this is where most of the thyroid hormone conversion happens If you have a really sluggish liver, it will be pretty hard to help with thyroid hormone conversion. The liver can get bogged down if you have too many toxins coming in and if you're not nourishing it with good foods.  The thyroid hormones will definitely be affected.

And lastly, what about your gut health?  This is an area where more thyroid hormone conversion actually happens.  Around 20 percent happens in the gut. So if the gut is inflamed and not being nourished, this can affect thyroid hormones as well.   Also, if your gut flora is off, that's going to affect it. If you have something like a parasite, bacteria, or even candida, that is going to inhibit thyroid hormone conversion.

Also, it's common with hypothyroidism to have something called leaky gut.  And if you have something like Hashimoto's which is the autoimmune side of hypothyroidism, it's really common to have something like leaky gut because there's this autoimmune response and inflammatory response, and it just feeds off of it. So, the hypothyroidism could be causing some of the gut issues and the gut issues could be causing some of the issues, creating hypothyroidism. It works both ways.

So those are just a few of the things that could be slowing down your thyroid.  These are the things that I feel like you can start working on it, and change to boost your thyroid health. 

 If you need help with that, then please reach out to me.  

You can also grab my FREE guide on The Secret to Reading Your Thyroid Blood Test right here.

Angela Brown

Angela Brown is a thyroid expert helping women who suffer from hypothyroidism and can't lose weight. She is the creator of The Sexy Thyroid Solution focusing on nutrition, hormones, sleep and stress reduction to help women lose a few pounds and get their sexy back.