Hypothyroidism Treatments and How to Get Your Energy Levels Back

Adopt A Holistic Approach To Tackle Hypothyroid-related Energy Problems

The butterfly-shaped gland located just below the Adam’s apple at the base of the neck is the thyroid gland. The hormones produced by the gland impacts the body’s metabolism and hence the energy levels. There are three common thyroid problems; hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroid nodules.

Iodine deficiency that leads to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. This is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The common symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include lack of energy, dry skin and hair, weight gain, slowed thinking, heavy menstrual periods and constipation.

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by testing the level of serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Patients with hypothyroidism because of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis will have an elevated level of serum TSH, indicating that the thyroid gland is not producing enough Thyroxine. However, patients may have normal or low serum TSH if they have developed hypothyroidism due to a pituitary or hypothalamic condition.

Typically, hypothyroidism treatment involves taking thyroid hormones in the pill form on a daily basis. The symptoms of hypothyroidism may clear up within a few months after starting the treatment and the dosage of the hormone pill is adjusted by regularly monitoring the level of serum TSH. Most patients are required to take thyroid hormone for life.

Hypothyroidism is generally associated with weight gain caused by a reduction in the metabolic rate. A reduction in the metabolic rate leads to fatigue or lack of energy. This is because metabolic energy is essential for every process that happens inside the body. If there is a lack of energy, each component of the body will malfunction in its own unique way.

The thyroid gland produces the hormone Thyroxine (T4). It gets converted to triiodothyronine (T3) and reverse T3 (RT3). While the T3 acts to turn on the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the energy making machinery inside each cell of the body, RT3 slows it down. Moreover, the production of these hormones is controlled by TSH released by the pituitary gland on receiving signals from the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. The adrenal glands located above each kidney helps the body to deal with stress. These glands perceive excessive metabolic activity as stress and send signals to hypothalamus which in turn directs pituitary gland to produce less TSH. This leads to lowering of T4 production by the thyroid gland.

Based on this understanding of the functioning of the various glands in managing the metabolic rate, the factors that can contribute to low metabolic energy in patients with hypothyroidism are as follows:

  • The inability of the thyroid gland to produce sufficient quantity of T4
  • The weakness of the adrenal gland in handling even stress caused by the body’s normal metabolic activity.
  • ATP may not be activated due to insufficient production of T4. The enzymes which make ATP may be held back due to many reasons such as deficiency of vitamin and minerals, breakdown due to autoimmune disease, etc.
  • Hormonal imbalance.
  • Severe caloric restriction.

Levorotatory form of T4 (Levothyroxine) and T3 (liothyronine) are used to treat hypothyroidism by mainstream medicine practitioners. Synthroid that contains synthetic thyroid hormone in it is the most common pill prescribed by doctors. Animal derived thyroid pills are also available. The different protocols of treatment include:

  • Only T4: Treatment involves supplementation with leveothyroxine in synthetic form. Currently, this is the standard treatment adopted by doctors.
  • Combination of T4 and T3: In this treatment method, both synthetic levothyroxine and liothyronine are administered in combination.
  • Desiccated thyroid extract: This is an animal-based thyroid extract. It is most commonly produced from a porcine source. This is also a combination therapy, but contains natural forms of levothyroxine and liothyronine.

Synthetic medication and other hormone therapies may alleviate the symptoms temporarily, but can lead to long-term side effects. A holistic approach that focuses on cellular nutrition and a lifestyle change can provide a long-lasting solution to hypothyroidism-related energy problems. The cells cannot convert food into energy if there is a deficiency of basic nutrients that help the normal functioning of the thyroid.

People who consume inadequate amounts of iodine are more likely to contract hypothyroidism. The incidence of such disorders due to lack of iodine is addressed by the well-accepted public health strategy of using iodized salt. Likewise, a daily intake of natural macro and micro nutrients in the form of supplementation is essential for normal functioning of the body systems, especially to ward off the effect of free radicals that can affect the immune system.

In conclusion, here are some suggestions to overcome the sluggishness in metabolism that can leave you fatigued or make you feel less energetic:

  • Have breakfast every day. The body goes into starvation mode if people do not have breakfast and the metabolism is slowed down.
  • Avoid having food after 8 p.m. and dinner should be the lightest meal.
  • Never starve. Ensure that your calorie intake does not fall below 1,000 calories a day so that the body does not go into starvation mode.
  • Smaller and frequent meals keep the blood glucose and hence energy levels stable.
  • Exercise regularly to increase your metabolic rate.
  • Weight training, at least twice or thrice a week, helps increase muscle mass and improves basal metabolic rate of the body.
  • Have sufficient quantity of water to aid the process of metabolism.
  • Have supplements with B vitamins, especially B12.
  • Have supplements such as Co-enzyme Q10, L-Carnitine, Nicotinamide Adenine Finucleotide (NADH) or green tea extract that boost energy production.
  • Find out which foods contain thyroid-suppressing compounds known as goitrogens and avoid them as far as possible. Steaming or cooking these foods help reduce or eliminate the goitrogens.
  • Generally choose whole foods as they have more nutritional value.

Boosting the metabolic rate not only increases the energy level, but also provides other benefits such as protection from illnesses and speedy healing, efficient functioning of the body systems at the cellular level, faster healing of injuries and faster replacement of old and diseased cells. New cells are generated at a faster rate and even the immune system functions better.

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