The thyroid plays an essential role in many organ systems, most noticeable of which are your metabolism and energy levels. Along with other hormones like insulin, leptin, and cortisol, it plays an integral role in maintaining your energy balance and healthy immune function.
A “sluggish thyroid” may manifest in a myriad of subclinical ways not detected on a standard thyroid hormone panel, including fatigue (often linked to your adrenal gland health and cortisol levels), depression or low mood, difficulty losing weight (despite dieting and exercise), or unexplained water retention, which may explain why your doctor has yet to detect your issue.
Moreover, many conventional doctors untrained in functional diagnostic lab testing rarely check thyroid auto-antibodies, which may be elevated when your body’s immune system begins to attack itself as is the case with autoimmune thyroiditis or with generalized signs of inflammation (e.g. increased water retention or bloating for example). Thyroid antibody levels may start to creep up gradually from a young age, so it is important to check them as they can be associated with the presence of food allergies and especially intolerance to wheat/gluten which, along with bromide-containing flour products, can be toxic to the thyroid.
If you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms, they might be a sign that you need to get your thyroid checked by a functional medicine doctor:
- Constant fatigue, especially in the morning even after getting a good night’s sleep
- Low mood or depression
- Unexplained water retention, especially in the hands, face, legs
- Difficulty losing weight even with dieting and exercise
- Difficulty to focus, or “brain fog”, and memory issues
- Sensitivity to cold, even during hotter seasons
- Unexplained hair loss and thinning of eyebrows (especially outer third)
- Unexplained heart palpitations or rapid heart beats