A large percentage of my Hypothyroid patients tell me they are so frustrated that they can’t loss weight, even when they drop to low calories and spend hours excercising. Hypothyroid simply slows down the body’s overall metabolism and fat burning. For instance, the adrenal hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine that enhance fat burning lose power when the thyroid is under active. Low thyroid function makes it harder for the body to burn fat by shutting down the sites on the cells that respond to lipase, an enzyme that metabolizes fat. So not only does stored fat refuse to budge, but the inability to burn fat for energy also contributes to fatigue and chronic cravings for sweet and starchy foods. And lastly, since hypothyroidism hinders growth hormone, building muscle through exercise is difficult if not impossible and muscle loss can occur.
It has been estimated that 85-90% of all Hypothyroid patients in the USA have Hashimoto’s, with is an Autoimmune condition in which the body attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. The majority of MD’s don’t order test to diagnosis Hashimoto’s, because the diagnosis doesn’t change the standard treatment they use, which is to monitor TSH, and treat symptoms. The current conventional health care has no model to successfully manage Hashimoto’s. Alternative doctors that are practicing “functional medicine”, are usually trained to treat Hashimoto’s disease. So, if you are a patient with the “hypothyroid” diagnosis, and are still having hypothyroid symptoms, such as inability to lose weight, hair loss, fatigue, morning headaches, and any of the other Hypothyroid symptoms, call for an appointment and bring any lab work you may have done over the past couple years with you .
Hypothyroid Symptoms: Fatigue, Weight gain, Morning headaches, Depression, Constipation, Hypersensitivity to cold weather, Poor circulation and numbness in hands and feet.,Muscle cramps while at rest., Increased susceptibility to colds and other viral or bacterial infections and difficultry recovering from them., Slow wound healing., Excessive amount of sleep required to function properly., Chronic digestive problems, including lack of stomach acid (hypochlorhydria)., Itchy, dry skin., Dry or brittle hair., Hair falls out easily., Dry skin., Low auxiliary (body heat) temperature., Edema, especially facial swelling., Lossof outer portion of eyebrows.
Neurotransmitters and Thyroid Function
Neurotransmitters are chemicals made and stored in the intestinal region for use by the brain to help us deal with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, memory loss, etc. Neurotransmitters play a role in shaping who we are and how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. They influence our moods, memory and learning, self-esteem, anxiety levels, motivation, and more. I think this explains why some people who have been suffering for years with unresolved thyroid symptoms can become grouchy, angry, and pessimistic. That may reflect not who they really are, but instead their worsening brain health due to thyroid hormone deficiency.
There is no scientifically validated way to test neurotransmitter levels through lab testing. The best way is to assess your symptoms. Also, if you see symptoms in one area this does not necessarily mean your levels are low. It could be other areas of the neurotransmitter pathway are affected, such as neurotransmitter release, binding, or clearance. Also, various factors can affect neurotransmitter levels, including blood sugar imbalances or hormonal imbalances. Rarely, if ever, does poor neurotransmitter activity indicate an antidepressant deficiency.
The master neurotransmitters are Serotonin and Dopamine. Research shows that deficiencies or breakdowns in the pathways of either one impact thyroid health in specific ways, such as hampering conversion of T4 to T3 and slowing down the brain’s communication with the thyroid. People with a deficiency will often have symptoms of depressed thyroid function with TSH below 1.8 and T4 below 6. In addition to classic thyroid symptoms, these patients suffer from symptoms of either a serotonin or dopamine deficiency or both. I talk more extensively about neurotransmitters in my new book Why Isn’t My Brain Working? However, for quick reference you can review the symptoms below.
Acetylcholine is the learning and memory neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor acetylcholine activity include:
· Loss of visual and photographic memory
· Loss of verbal memory
· Memory lapses
· Impaired creativity
· Diminished comprehension
· Difficulty calculating numbers
· Difficulty recognizing objects and faces
· Slowness of mental responsiveness
· Difficulty with directions and spatial orientation
Serotonin is the joy and well-being neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor serotonin activity include:
· Loss of pleasure in hobbies and interests
· Feelings of inner rage and anger
· Feelings of depression
· Difficulty finding joy from life pleasures
· Depression when it is cloudy or when there is lack of sunlight
· Loss of enthusiasm for favorite activities
· Not enjoying favorite foods
· Not enjoying friendships and relationships
· Unable to fall into deep restful sleep
GABA is the “calm and relaxed” neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor GABA activity include:
· Feelings of anxiousness or panic for no reason
· Feelings of dread
· Feelings of inner tension and inner excitability
· Feelings of being overwhelmed for no reason
· Restless mind
· Hard to turn your mind off when you want to relax
· Disorganized attention
· Worry about things you never had thought of before
Dopamine is the “pleasure and reward” neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor dopamine activity include:
· Inability to self-motivate
· Inability to start or finish tasks
· Feelings of worthlessness
· Feelings of hopelessness
· Lose temper for minor reasons
· Inability to handle stress
· Anger and aggression while under stress
· Desire to isolate oneself from others
· Unexplained lack of concern for family and friends
This information comes from: Datis Kharrazian, DHSc,DC,MS.