Conventional medicine's solution for hypothyroidism is always a prescription for Synthroid (levothyroxine), a synthetic hormone-like substance, identical to thyroxine (T4), the hormone that the thyroid gland naturally makes.
If you have Hashimoto's / hypothyroidism or have had your thyroid gland removed, you have been prescribed Synthroid, and you are still symptomatic ie: you're still exhausted, your joints ache, your are gaining weight, you are depressed, you have high BP, low BP, heart problems, high cholesterol and on and on... the reason may be a poor conversion from T4 to T3, the biologically active form of the hormone.
Although it can be challenging to determine what is causing this problem. Here are some of the more common factors which can inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3:
- Poor diet and mineral deficiencies - nutritional deficiencies such as low selenium, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and B12 deficiencies can lead to poor conversion.
- Gastrointestinal Problems - gluten sensitivity, leaky gut syndrome and candida infections can cause or contribute to this problem. Soy products have been shown to inhibit the conversion of thyroid hormone as well.
- Excess estrogen from birth control pills and hormone replacement
- Environmental Chemicals - Environmental exposures, ranging from perchlorate in rocket fuel to polychlorinated biphenols, are associated with reduced thyroid hormone levels or impaired thyroid hormone action.
- Diabetes - When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance can potentially affect the conversion of T4 to T3 in the liver.
- Liver Issues - About 20% of the conversion of T4 to T3 takes place in the liver. Liver detoxification program may be beneficial for an optimal t4 to t3 conversion. Eliminating junk food, processed food, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and anything with chemical ingredients is also important.
- Cortisol levels - Chronic stress can increase cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol has a negative impact on thyroid function. Too little cortisol can also inhibit the activation of thyroid hormone; Exhausted adrenals will cause low thyroid symptoms as well.
- Medications - Some medications can interfere with the conversion of T4 to T3. For example, Propranolol and cortisosteroids can inhibit the conversion.