What is Hypothyroid?


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HYPOTHYROID IS AN UNDERACTIVE THYROID                                     


An underactive thyroid or under-functioning thyroid is known as hypothyroid.  Essentially it means that the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones. Most people know about hypothyroidism because of it’s involvement in weight gain or inability to loose weight.  But the action of the thyroid goes much deeper than simple weight management.  Every cell in the body has receptor sites for thyroid hormones and it is the proper functioning of this gland and its hormones that keeps the machine of the body operating.  All cell functioning, cell metabolism comes from healthy thyroid activity which not only gives us energy but keeps our body temperature warm, our minds sharp and happy.  Without thyroid, everything runs at a slower pace; digestion, bowels, appetite, gallbladder, brain function, body temperature, mood.  This can happen at greater or lesser degrees but when it’s bad, basically life sucks.  And if that’s what life feels like to you, running an in-depth thyroid blood panel is a good place to start.



  • Fatigue 
  • Dry skin and hair 
  • Hair thinning/hair loss 
  • Depression 
  • Morning headaches that get better throughout the day 
  • Foggy brain 
  • Loss of memory 
  • Hoarse voice 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Intolerance to cold 
  • Low body temperature 
  • Poor circulation/numbness in hands and feet 
  • Muscle cramps with no exertion 
  • Poor muscle endurance 
  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Constipation 
  • Gallbladder diseases such as gallstones 
  • Chronic digestive problems such as low stomach acid 
  • Slower heart rate 
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods  
  • Impaired fertility  



Thyroid hormones are involved in every cell, regulating the energy or ATP of each cell via breakdown and proper use of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  All cells have receptor sites to thyroid hormones which translates into problems in any area when these hormones are either excess (hyperthyroid) or deficient (hypothyroid).  When the thyroid is deficient, metabolic rate slows down, the whole body slows down including the brain.





If you have a hypothyroid, getting on some thyroid hormone replacement can make the world of difference to your life. Although many people these days are trying to do things more “naturally” and prefer not to take drugs whenever possible, there are just too many consequences of insufficient thyroid hormones to not consider replacement seriously.


If your tests do not show low thyroid and you have many of the symptoms listed above, know that there are many places where proper function can break down and these are not always seen on blood tests.  In fact only one or two of several possibilities are viewed from the usual routinely-run TSH thyroid marker. A good resource for someone like you is the thyroid book by Datis Kharrizian called, “Why Do I Still have Thyroid Symptoms When My Blood Tests are Normal?”









Most hypothyroid (90%) is actually an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own thyroid, destroying thyroid cells. This is called Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease. Antibodies tend to wax and wane depending on many factors including the immune system’s ability to make antibodies. Antibodies are not always present upon testing. Therefore, testing 2 or 3 times if results are negative is still warranted. Also, high or low readings do not necessarily reflect the state of the disorder for the same reasons.






Daily thyroid hormone replacement therapy is generally recommended for hypothyroidism.  The most common is a synthetic form, levothyroxine, which comes under the brand names of Levoxyl, Synthroid, Levothroid, Unithroid and more.  Generally, someone with hypothyroid will begin to feel better after 2 or 3 weeks with replacement.


However, some will be disappointed and not get the results they were hoping for.  In these cases, it may be that your body is not able to adequately convert the T4 to its active form of T3.  You could ask your doctor to let you try a replacement of synthetic triiodothyronine or T3.  The generic is known as Liothyronine and the brand name is Cytomel.




Armour Thyroid is a well-known natural form made from either a bovine or porcine source. The advantage of this is that it contains both T4 and T3 and many people do well with it.  And, contrary to out-of-date medical information, Armour Thyroid is completely standardized so there is no problem with monitoring dosage.  Other brands of natural T4, T3 combinations are Naturethroid and Westroid.  


If one or another of these do not seem to be helping, ask to try a different one.  Sometimes the additives cause problems like gluten or cornstarch, for example.  Trying another brand with different binders can make all the difference.




Overwhelming research shows that supplemental iodine can cause the expression of a latent Hashimoto’s Disease and can exacerbate a Hashimoto’s condition causing thyroiditis.  Avoiding iodine unless you have been tested and know that you do not have Hashimoto’s is recommended.


Since 90% of hypothyroid conditions are caused by Hashimoto’s Disease it is highly recommended that anyone with hypothyroidism read up on and understand what Hashimotos is and what it means.  For example, research shows that eating gluten can exacerbate an attack on the thyroid, causing its eventual destruction.  Therefore, it is highly recommended that anyone with a thyroid condition of any kind, stop eating gluten completely.