Low thyroid function & other problems
Low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, affects around 20 million Americans, and 1 in 8 women will experience a thyroid issue in her lifetime. This master gland that is located in your neck controls many, far-reaching facets of your health.
Abnormal thyroid function can decrease bone mineral density. Serum calcium will typically be in the “normal” reference range with hypothyroidism, but outside of the functional, optimal range.
Low thyroid function can reduce the movement of your intestines, which is essential for healthy digestion. The ability of your body to absorb nutrients is also altered when your thyroid isn’t working well. Healthy thyroid function dampens gut inflammation, and low thyroid function is linked with gastric ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.
Low Sex Drive
You may think your low sex drive is due to aging, when in fact it may be a symptom of a bigger hormonal problem that’s anything but normal. Thyroid function affects the metabolism of estrogen and testosterone in the body. Hypothyroidism in men is linked with erectile dysfunction and low libido in both men and women.
When your thyroid hormones are low, your body will be less able to break down fat, making you resistant to weight loss. Weight gain isn’t the cause of your problems, but a symptom of something not being addressed. When you deal with the underlying hormonal problem and heal, weight loss is the natural byproduct.
In addition to slowing your ability to burn fat, hypothyroidism will also decrease your energy, causing debilitating fatigue.
Estrogen comes in the form of three metabolites: Estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estrogen balance is essential for your health. When your thyroid isn’t working well it can unbalance your estrogen metabolite ratio.
Blood sugar problems
When your body is in a low thyroid state, it decreases your body’s ability to absorb glucose or blood sugar. You need glucose to get properly in the cell to create ATP, your cellular energy source. Despite sluggish glucose metabolism, many people struggling with low thyroid hormones can feel hypoglycemic, like they have low blood sugar. Because the cells are not getting the glucose they need, you can feel like you are hypoglycemic even with normal looking blood sugar labs. This vicious cycle of hormonal dysfunction can lead to metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance.
High cholesterol and triglycerides
A sluggish thyroid hormone level decreases the breakdown of cholesterol, leading to elevated total cholesterol and triglycerides. While high cholesterol alone is a poor predictor for heart attack and stroke risk, elevated triglycerides is an accurate marker for increased risk factor.
When you have hypothyroidism, it puts stress on your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Because of the lack of glucose and energy getting to the cells, the brain-adrenal axis pumps more cortisol in attempts to get more energy to the cells. This further complicates your hormonal health, leading to HPA axis dysfunction or adrenal fatigue.
Poor thyroid health will lead to your liver and gallbladder not working very well. This can significantly decrease your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins, and may also cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. I commonly see impaired detoxification pathways in patients dealing with thyroid problems.
Hypothyroidism is linked with poor neurotransmitter expression and an increased risk of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. This is due to the fact that a predominance of thyroid receptor sites are found in the brain. One 2014 study found that people with depression had higher rates of thyroid conversion impairments, or low T3 syndrome.
Hot flashes or being cold
When your thyroid hormone levels are low, it affects your body’s temperature control. This can cause you to feel cold all the time, or have night sweats and hot flashes.
Since the thyroid determines your metabolism and absorption of nutrients, when your thyroid hormones aren’t functioning optimally this can lead to hair loss. Making sure your levels are optimal is essential to regaining hair health.