Daily thyroid hormone production is less than 0.001 of an ounce, yet it profoundly affects all of our bodily cells. Thyroxine (T4) is the primary hormone secreted by the thyroid gland. It regulates the rate of metabolism of most bodily cells and affects almost all tissues of the body. Thyroxine itself is physiologically inactive, however. It has to be converted to its active form, triidothyronine (T3) before it can exert its effects. Although some T3 is produce by the thyroid gland, most of it is converted from T4 by the action of deiodinase enzymes found in most bodily tissues. T3 helps to regulate growth, electrolyte balance, oxidative metabolism, differentiation during cell growth, carbohydrate metabolism, protein metabolism, oxygen consumption, the breakdown of fat, fertility and – most important of all – basal metabolic rate, the speed at which all biochemical reactions take place. [For further details consult Endocrine Harmony.]
Chronic low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) is rampant. It is the most medically underdiagnosed of all conditions, because blood tests for it are unreliable. Most people with hypothyroidism have normal levels of T4 circulating in their bloodstream; however, their bodies do not convert enough of this hormone to T3, the form in which their bodily cells require it.
The thyroid is a gatekeeper. If its hormones function at sub-optimal levels, then nothing else in the body tends to work well either. Hypothyroidism leaves the body vulnerable to acid indigestion, acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, breast disease (benign), cancer (of all kinds), canker sores, cellulitis, diabetes, eczema, emphysema, gallstones, gout, hives, hypoglycemia, impetigo, infertility, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus erythematosus, mental depression, menstrual irregularities, migraine headaches, miscarriages, obesity, panic attacks, premature aging, premenstrual syndrome, psoriasis, respiratory infections, rheumatism, sexual dysfunction, tinnitus, toxemia of pregnancy, and urinary tract infections.
Symptoms of low thyroid function include:
- · muscles stiff in morning, need to limber up.
- · fail to feel rested, even after sleeping long hours.
- · feel “creaky” after sitting still for some time.
- · heart seems to miss beats or “flip-flops”.
- · nauseated in morning.
- · start slow in morning, gain speed in afternoon.
- · motion sickness when travelling.
- · dizzy in morning or when moving up and down.
- · cold hands or feet.
- · sensitivity to cold, prefer warm climate.
- · hair scanty, dry, brittle, dull, lustreless, lifeless.
- · hair loss from outer third of eyebrow.
- · flaky, dry, rough skin.
- · sleeplessness, restlessness, sleep disturbances.
- · poor short term memory, forgetfulness.
- · poor response to exercising.
- · hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
- · high cholesterol, cholesterol deposits on eyelids.
- · constipation, less than one bowel movement daily.
- · “go to pieces” easily, cry easily.
- · dislike working under pressure, dislike being watched.
- · diminished sex drive, lack of sexual desire.
- · gain weight easily, fail to lose on diets.
- · difficulty concentrating, easily distracted.
- · yellowish tint to skin on hands or feet.
- · cracks in bottom of heels.
- · clogged sinuses.
- · low pulse rate.
- · low body temperature, especially at bed rest.
- · recurrent infections.
- · depression.
- · headaches.
- · puffiness of face or eyes.
- · swelling of hands or ankles.
- · irritability, mood swings.
- · multiple food allergies/sensitivities.
- · lumpy breasts, cystic breasts.
- · menstrual irregularity, excess flow, PMS.
- · these worse at night: coughing, hoarseness, muscle cramps.
There are two states of functioning that the thyroid gland seeks to maintain – and to switch between, as needed. One is the productivity mode that permits full metabolic functioning at optimal levels. The other is the conservation mode, used for healing and restoration. During acute illness or traumatic injury, the body switches from productivity to conservation, in order to devote its resources to the recovery process. In the conservation mode one craves rest and has no desire for strenuous activity. Body temperature drops, blood pressure may also, and all metabolic activities slow down. A soon as recovery is complete, the thyroid is supposed to switch back into productivity mode. Sometimes, however, it does not – turning what should have been only a temporary adjustment period into a chronic, lasting condition. Many cases of hypothyroidism are thus triggered by disease, injury or some traumatic event. Hypothyroidism is also linked to brain activity. If the brain does not get an adequate supply of glucose (as in hypoglycemia), the thyroid may shift into conservation mode to protect this important organ.
Low thyroid function is also linked to low adrenal function. The thyroid slows down in order not to overwork exhausted adrenals. Supporting the adrenals is sometimes all that is needed to restore thyroid function.
A simple home test (for basal temperature) is far more reliable than blood tests for detecting hypothyroidism. This is because it measures a direct effect of thyroid activity – body temperature. Blood tests take only an indirect measure – the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood, which may have little to do with the quantity of hormone that actually reaches the cells that need it.
Basal Temperature Test (BTT)
The basal temperature test (BTT) requires you to take your underarm (axillary) temperature first thing in the morning, before arising, when the body is at complete rest. Men, pre-pubescent and post-menopausal women can take this test at any time. Menstruating women need to do the BTT on the second and third mornings after their flow starts.
To do the BTT, place a mercury-type clinical thermometer, well-shaken down, by the bedside upon retiring. Immediately upon awakening and before stirring from bed, place the bulb of the thermometer under the armpit and hold it there for 10 minutes. Record the reading on two consecutive days. A range of from 36.6 to 36.8 0C (97.8 to 98.2 0F) suggests normal thyroid function. Temperatures below 36.6 0C (97.8 0F) indicate hypothyroidism. Those above 36.8 0C (98.2 0F) indicate an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
For small children who are unable to remain still for 10 minutes, the BTT can be done by taking the rectal temperature for two minutes. Normal rectal temperature is from 37.10C (98.80F) to 37.30C (99.20F).
In the absence of starving or fasting (which reduce body temperature) and acute fever (which raises it), the BTT is the most reliable means of finding thyroid dysfunction. By itself, it is probably 85% reliable. If combined with a Nutri-Body® analysis, reliability approaches 100%. In other words, if a person has both a low BTT reading and symptoms of low thyroid function, then hypothyroidism is almost certain, regardless of what any laboratory test may suggest.
Daily Temperature Readings
There is a second temperature test that is almost as reliable and can be performed any time of day. It simply involves taking one’s temperature by mouth four or more times during the day, recording the readings, and calculating a daily average. This average should be 370C (98.60F) – or slightly higher for women during times of ovulation.
Body temperature follows a natural daily cycle. It may drop slightly during the evening, a little more during sleep, and gradually increase after waking up and moving around. Ideally, body temperature should be 370C between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM. A daily average below 370C indicates low thyroid function. Taking multiple daily readings helps one both to discover patterns and to take corrective action more quickly. Example: suppose that every day at 4 PM – four hours after eating – you experience an energy “crash” and have to lie down. If every day at 4 PM your body temperature also dropped by, say, one third of a degree, this evidence suggests that thyroid activity slows down when blood sugar is low. Have a mid-afternoon snack to see if it restores both energy and temperature.
The body requires the following nutrients both to make T4 hormone and to convert T4 to T3: iodine, selenium, L-cysteine, L-tyrosine, plus vitamins B-2, B-6, B-12, C, E, niacin and biotin. Also of benefit to hypothyroidism is a homeopathic 30C formula that stimulates the body to overcome any allergies a person may have to their own thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and/or to their thyroid tissue. .
Nutritional support assists an otherwise healthy thyroid gland to shift from its conservation mode back into its full productivity mode. If the thyroid gland has been irradiated, then vital thyroid tissue will have been destroyed and the gland may never recover. A thyroid support formula that includes L-cysteine and selenium will still be of benefit, however, because of its ability to help the body convert external T4 hormone into T3, the form that cells can actually use. This conversion takes place outside the thyroid gland, in various other tissues.
Note 1: It is critical that body temperature consistently maintain a daytime normal of 370C (98.60F) between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM. Do whatever you have to do to maintain this temperature – including also taking prescription thyroid hormones for as long as necessary.
Hypothyroidism is so prevalent and its effects so far reaching that anyone with any chronic health problem would do well to take the BTT. If low thyroid function is a causative factor in any condition, then that condition will not improve significantly until the thyroid is able to resume its normal functioning.
Note 2: Thyroid function often cannot be restored if adrenal function is weak. This is nature’s way of protecting overworked adrenals – by trying to keep the body in conservation mode to give the adrenals some much needed healing time. Sometimes all that is necessary to restore thyroid function is to support the adrenals: in these cases, when the adrenals become rested and well nourished, the thyroid automatically restores itself.
See also the chapter, “The Underdiagnosed Condition”, in NUTRITIONAL SOLUTIONS FOR 88 CONDITIONS (available from Amazon.com)
Example of thyroid support formula: https://vitamost.club/products/tsf-glandular-nutrition