About 1 in 8 women will be affected by a thyroid condition at some point. Why are thyroid issues so common? There are a few reasons that may be causing the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction. For one, we live in stressful times! The more stress an organism is under, the more thyroid dysfunction. As we age, we encounter more stressors. Thyroid production may go down because the metabolism needs to reserve energy. This is an adaptation! At some point, this interferes with the body’s healing processes. Another potential reason for thyroid decline may be the standard American Diet, creating problems for our thyroid and cholesterol. For example, in areas where soybean consumption is typical, it corresponds with higher levels of hypothyroidism. Another cause of thyroid dysfunction may be elevated production of estrogen, which may inhibit thyroid function.
According to Dr. Hagmeyer, high levels of estrogen signal the liver to increase the production of thyroid-binding globulin (TBG). TBG can bind to the thyroid hormone, lowering the amount of T3 and T4 available for use by cells.
Thyroid dysfunction can manifest itself in the body in a multitude of ways, and below are five common symptoms to look out for.
- Low stomach acid and poor small intestine health.
Research suggests that hypothyroidism can lead to low stomach acid and poor small intestine health. More specifically, studies show that hypothyroidism may cause bile to supersaturate in cholesterol causing impaired gallbladder function. Removing hard-to-digest food, using thyroid supplementation, adding glycine-rich foods to help heal the gut, digestive enzymes, using saturated fats over unsaturated, and reducing stress may all help with gut healing.
2. Thiamine deficiency.
Thiamine deficiency tends to go hand in hand with individuals with thyroid problems. Thiamine is a B vitamin, known as B1. Thiamine plays a role in digestion, bile, and metabolism by helping to release hydrochloric acids in the stomach. Unsurprisingly, many people with Hashimoto’s have low stomach acid or do not release any stomach acid at all.
3. Cold hands and cold feet.
If your body temperature is consistently significantly below 98.6°F, you might have a problem with your thyroid function. Hypothyroidism often slows down the body’s metabolism, which helps to regulate heartbeat and temperature, leading to reduced circulation that causes cold hands and cold feet. Interestingly enough, many doctors use increasing body temperature to understand if a patient’s thyroid dosage is accurate.
4. Magnesium deficiency.
A recent study revealed severely low serum magnesium is associated with increased risks of positive anti-thyroglobulin antibody and hypothyroidism. More specifically, the study showed serum magnesium levels ≤0.55 mmol/L were associated with a prevalence of hypothyroidism. Magnesium supplementation for those with thyroid decline may be crucial to solving serious thyroid dysfunction symptoms.
5. High cholesterol.
Thyroid hormones help maintain the basal serum levels of cholesterol and studies show when an animal has their thyroid removed, their cholesterol often increases. Unsurprisingly, in one study, feeding mice T3 and T2 caused a marked reduction in total cholesterol and is being investigated as a potential alternative to statins.
About the author
Alannah Slingsby is the CEO and founder of Moment, a health femtech startup focused on testing and treating hormone imbalances with a whole-person approach — from the comfort of your own home.