Why Your Thyroid Medication is Not Working
There are millions of people on thyroid medication as we speak...especially women.
Did you know that women tend to have more thyroid issues than men with the most common condition being hypothyroidism? And most of those with hypothyroidism actually have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is a disease in which the body is attacking the thyroid gland, reducing its ability to produce hormones essential for the numerous functions in the body.
Let’s begin by discussing medication…
Many newly diagnosed women will be put on levothyroxine as first, which is a T4-only medication (this means it only contains one of the two hormones that your body uses) in an effort to supplement the lack of hormone.
Unfortunately, T4 is NOT the only hormone your body needs. You see, T4 must be converted to T3, which is the hormone responsible for muscle control, brain, heart, and digestive functions, to name a few.
Therefore, if your body is unable to convert T4 to T3 and you are not getting enough T3 through medication, be assured that you will not feel your best.
And what impacts T4 to T3 conversion??? Your gut and liver health!
Eating the Standard American Diet will eventually affect gut and liver health as your body is not getting enough nutrients (not to mention all the “extras” that go into processed foods) causing stress on your body. However, diet tends to be one of the most under looked issues when related to thyroid, as is running the right tests.
It’s standard that conventional doctors only monitor TSH and T4, so if the levels look “good,” or are within the lab ranges, then they keep you there...
However, when your doctor sees that this isn’t working, he or she will simply continue to increase the medication dosage little by little assuming that your body will eventually find that sweet spot. Yet, that doesn’t always happen.
So what can you do to take charge of your thyroid health?
The first thing you need to do is to talk to your doctor about ordering the right labs. This includes requesting TSH, Free T3 and T4, and including markers such as Reverse T3 and antibodies (this will help rule out an autoimmune condition). For a full breakdown of tests, make sure to check this blog out.
Next, talk to your doctor about prescribing a T3/T4 combination medication. As mentioned before, if your liver and gut health are not up to par, your body will not be able to convert T4 to T3, bringing on a worsening of symptoms, and...your body needs that extra help.
Also, note what supplements you are taking alongside your medication. Some supplements can interfere with absorption if taken too close in range with your medication.
Finally, find a professional who can help you with uncovering the root cause of your thyroid problem and can help you create a customized treatment plan that not only focuses on medication, but prioritizes lifestyle changes that can help improve your thyroid health.
I invite you to check out this video for more information.