This is a question that I hear a lot, and due to what I consider faulty teaching through medical facilities as well as insurance company anemic reimbursement policies, many people are walking around with undiagnosed hypo-thyroidism.

Do you have lack of energy, maybe you are depressed, have trouble losing weight, difficulty sleeping, maybe your hair and nails are brittle and your skin is dry?

These are all very common symptoms of hypo-thryoidism, which millions of people, mostly women, complain of although never find resolution.

Before I delve into thyroid I want to get across that hormones balance together in a symphony of sorts. Just balancing one hormone, might not totally fix the problem if other hormones and glandular systems are out of whack.

Case in point. The body will respond to adaptogenic needs in relation to stress first and foremost to keep you alive. This has been originally known as the fight or flight response, we have adaptogenic tendencies to either flee a situation of ‘danger’ or stay and fight – all for needs of self preservation.

We have been engineered for renewal time between episodes of fight or flight, to allow our bodies to rest and repair. All to often in our over committed society, stress is always upon us and we do not provide ourselves with renewal.

This can lead to over stressed adrenal glands that produce cortisol to give us the get up and go. As our adrenal glands become week, then they cannot make as much cortisol and will steal from other hormones, which have similar material, like progesterone. So, if someone is low on progesterone, and we keep giving them progesterone without addressing the adrenal glands, well we are only chasing our tail.

In a similar fashion, mis-managed stress can decrease the conversion of T4 to T3 (the more active thyroid hormone), leading to the symptoms of hypo-thyroidism which I mentioned above; lack of energy, depression, difficulty losing weight, trouble sleeping, brittle hair and nails, and dry skin?

One of the best things we can do in assessing the health of the thyroid is to perform a Full Thyroid Panel, and not just the common testing which is on just T4 and TSH.

For whatever reason, the common assessment on a doctors’ visit is only checking peoples’ levels of T4 and TSH, which leaves a lot to be missed.

A Complete Thyroid Panel consists of:

1. TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)- Is made in you pituitary gland located in your brain. Your body releases this when it feels more thyroid hormone is needed by the body.

2. T4 (thyroxine) - Is made in your thyroid gland and accounts for more than 80% of the thyroid glands production. T4 is then changed into the more active T3 in the liver or kidneys.

3. T3 (triiodothyronine)-Is 5 times more active than T4, although can be low due to a decreased conversion ability from T4.

4. Reverse T3- Can be converted from T4, when in excessive amounts often due to prolonged stress. This is a biologically inactive form of T3 and has no effect on metabolism.

5. Thyroid Anti-bodies- If your antibodies are too high it can prevent the thyroid hormone from attaching to the thyroid receptors…no matter how high the levels. These levels can be elevated due to infection, inflammation or trauma to ones system.

Aside from this, monitoring ones basal body temperature can be of help as well as assessing nutrient and micronutrient deficiencies. It has been estimated that over 75% of North Americans are deficient in minerals like magnesium, and taking into account the fact that minerals and micronutrients such as selenium, chromium and zinc are needed for the proper conversion of T4 to T3, our dietary sources can play a big part in our thyroid state.

Author's Bio: 

Robert B Kress RPh CCN, also known as the Renegade Pharmacist has been bucking the Big Pharma trend since graduating pharmacy school in 1994 to provide people a balanced, integrative focus on health.
Robert and his wife Amy have owned their own Longevity Pharmacy and now spend their time educating wellness clients as well as other practitioner’s in the ways of integrative health.
Robert and Amy can be found on their website, and offer an new ‘all health’ iphone and ipod application in the Apple App Store – iHormones which provides you what you need to know about natural hormones, nutrients, recent news, tips, food charts and more. Remember…iHormones in the Apple App Store.