In 2016, the #1 prescribed drug in the US was Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone with 123 million people on the drug. The worst part is, thousands of people are going misdiagnosed and are being prescribed lifelong medications, a blanket approach that fails to uncover the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms. A standard thyroid panel is not enough to diagnose a thyroid disorder.
The most common reasons for an underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism) thyroid that I see in my practice are directly related to dietary and lifestyle factors. These reasons include:
- High stress levels resulting in chronically high or low levels of cortisol
- Macro or micronutrient deficiencies
- Elevated estrogen levels commonly from use of birth control pills
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Selenium or iron deficiency
- Inflammation in the gut
Once you know the cause, you can treat it properly rather than relying on a medication that is merely fixing a symptom.
What about genetics?
There is no denying that a family history of thyroid conditions increases your risk of developing a thyroid problem, but research shows that dietary and lifestyle factors have an even greater role.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Hypersensitivity to cold
- Weight gain
- Changes in menstrual cycle
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- Feeling hot, sweaty and flushed
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
It is important to remember that the food we put in our mouth, the products we use on our body, the thoughts in our head, and our everyday stressors, are all connected to our overall health. A diagnosis should only encourage you to dig deeper.