Natural Help and Answers for a Low Thyroid (Hypothyroid)

“I can’t seem to get going in the morning.”
“I get cold easily.”
“Wow, my hair is getting thin!”
“Why am I gaining weight? I haven’t changed my diet.”
“I’m just not as happy as I used to be.”

Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be “hypothyroid”. “Hypo” means “under-function”, which means your thyroid is a little sluggish. And you wouldn’t be alone, either; 1 out of every 7 to 8 people in this country is in the exact same boat.

[Note: 90% of people with a low thyroid have another condition entirely, called Hashimoto’s Disease, whether their doctor picked up on it or not. Considering that fact, we strongly recommend you check out our page devoted ONLY to Hashimoto’s, if you haven’t done so already.]

First, let’s get acquainted with the thyroid gland:

It’s a soft, squishy gland that wraps around the front of your neck. Some say it looks like a butterfly, others say it resembles a shield. Either way, don’t let its small size fool you; it’s extremely important. It’s the body’s thermostat, and it sets the speed of function for every cell in your body, especially growth, repair, and metabolism. If your thyroid isn’t up to par, nothing else will be, either.

The chain reaction that keeps the body in balance is like a relay race, with each player in the game passing the baton to the next. First, the hypothalamus, a gland deep in the recesses of the brain, secretes a special hormone that tells the pituitary gland (another gland deep in the brain) to release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, or TSH. TSH tells the thyroid gland to produce your thyroid hormones, known as T3 and T4. This is done by using TPO, an enzyme that combines a special protein with either 3 or 4 molecules of Iodine (hence the names T3 and T4). T3 is the active form your body can use, but it produces mostly T4, the type your body can’t easily use – yet.

Never fear, however; T4 will BECOME T3 in various places throughout the body, but there’s a catch: this depends on the presence of a special enzyme, and also a well-functioning liver, digestive system, and other tissues. You need to know that hardly anyone has a well-functioning liver or digestive system; in most people, BOTH systems need help.

When thyroid hormones are made, a taxi cab called TBG can take them throughout the body in the blood. If TBG is the taxi, think of the blood vessels as city streets. During the thyroid hormone’s ride in the taxi, the body can’t use it. When the thyroid hormone wants to make a stop by a cell (any kind of cell – liver, skin, brain, you name it), it simply jumps out of the taxi and wanders off by itself. Only when the hormone gets out of the cab can that hormone be of any use.

Testing only TSH is a recipe for failure

You might have heard of TSH – when most doctors tell you your “thyroid tests” are normal, they’re referring to the fact that the pituitary gland is putting out enough TSH hormone to stay within the really wide range of output that is considered “normal”. So you see, the “thyroid tests” are just ONE test, and it’s not actually a test of the thyroid gland itself.

Most doctors stop there, with TSH only. They don’t care about anything else, because their playbook (the protocol by which they prescribe drugs) dictates that TSH is the sole criterion to use when evaluating a patient for possible thyroid hormone replacement.

Where most doctors go wrong is two-fold.

1) They don’t order the whole test panel. If they only test one item, they don’t get the whole picture. Their information is consistently incomplete.

2) They don’t ask the most important question: WHY? If your thyroid is sluggish, there has to be a reason.

Did you know there are 24–yes, 24 reasons why you may be feeling low thyroid symptoms?These 24 reasons give rise to seven different patterns.

7 Patterns of Hypothyroidism

Your endocrinologist may not be aware of all of these!

  1. Primary Non-Autoimmune Hypothyroidism – true dysfunction of the thyroid gland itself, and the only type of thyroid dysfunction that can be effectively managed with replacement hormones.
  2. Autoimmune Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) – also a primary dysfunction of the thyroid gland, but not because of a true thyroid problem; rather, because of an immune system attack launched against the thyroid gland tissue. Over time, this destroys the tissue and with it, its ability to make thyroid hormones.
  3. Hypothyroidism Secondary to a Low-Functioning Pituitary Gland – sluggish pituitary function leads to low levels of the hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland, leading to under-function of the thyroid because the thyroid isn’t receiving enough stimulus. The most common causes are 1) stress; 2) postpartum depression; 3) excessive/inappropriate use of thyroid meds.
  4. Thyroid Hormone Under-Conversion  when one of two things happens: 1) the adrenal glands put out too much cortisol, OR 2) cell membranes sustain too much damage from infection/inflammation. Either scenario interferes with the enzyme that converts T4 to T3.
  5. Thyroid Hormone OVER-Conversion & Decreased TBG – high testosterone leads to too much T4-to-T3 conversion and can also bind up the available taxi cabs. Too much T3 overwhelms cells so they become resistant. In fact, these people usually have a pre-diabetic condition known as Insulin Resistance, and many also have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome); these go hand-in-hand when there is too much testosterone.
  6. Too much TBG – the body makes too much TBG (too many taxi cabs) when estrogen levels are high. Taxi cabs scoop up all the available thyroid hormones, leaving a shortage of free thyroid hormone on the sidewalk.
  7. Thyroid Resistance – another stress-related scenario in which thyroid hormones can’t get into the cells. The resistance this time is caused by excessive cortisol, homocysteine, or maybe even a genetic predisposition to hypothyroidism. As well as excessive use of thyroid hormone

Why is a low thyroid a big deal? Why do we need thyroid hormones?

We’ve discussed how thyroid hormones are needed by every cell in the body. They’re crucial. But that can seem a little abstract; let’s get more specific.

  • Bone Health – the thyroid makes a hormone that regulates the amount of calcium in the blood, so can influence your body’s calcium levels. This can affect both the quality and thickness of your bones. Calcium levels abnormal enough to interfere with bone health usually will NOT show up on lab tests unless they’re being read by a Functional Medicine doctor who looks for testing in HEALTHY ranges. Nonetheless, it can lead to osteoporosis, a major cause of bone fractures as we age.
  • Digestive Health – many people with a sluggish thyroid suffer long-term constipation. This leads to acidity, toxicity, and various infections of opportunistic and disease-causing yeasts, fungi, and bacteria. This in turn causes inflammation, poor absorption of nutrients, and puts us at risk for developing reactions to certain foods.
  • Liver and Gallbladder Health – the liver and the thyroid gland are intimately connected; the thyroid sets the tone for liver cells to function, and the liver in turn converts thyroid hormones to their active form and clears out excess by-products to make room for fresh hormones and promote hormone balance. Without enough thyroid hormone, females become estrogen-dominant and males develop Andropause.
  • Good Growth Hormone Levels – Growth Hormone (known as Human Growth Hormone, or HGH) is a widely-recognized anti-aging fountain of youth. To make this hormone requires a lot of thyroid hormones; if they’re not there, you can’t make enough HGH. This leads to premature aging and all the fatigue, breakdown, and wear-and-tear that come with it.
  • Proper Glucose and Insulin Levels – the brain is a glucose (blood sugar) hog. It has a long list of big jobs to do, and it burns through a whole lot of energy doing them. People with low thyroid function absorb glucose into the cells (including brain cells) much more slowly. When this happens, the brain can’t function right and you get that foggy, fuzzy-headed feeling.
  • Cardiovascular and Brain Health – the real culprit in heart disease is actually homocysteine,not cholesterol, saturated fat, or triglycerides. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is fine in moderation. However, most of us have too much, because we lack the necessary tools (such as certain vitamins, minerals, and good liver function) to turn it back into other more beneficial compounds. Thus, it builds up, creating abnormal plaque in blood vessels throughout the body and especially the brain. When the thyroid isn’t working right, it the liver can’t clear Homocysteine properly. This sets us up for heart disease and cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

There – now you probably know more than your endocrinologist!

Our personalized programs are an excellent place to start.

Functional Medicine (specifically Functional Endocrinology) doctors with formal education in this subject are the only health practitioners that have mastered this deep an understanding of the physiology of the human body. They are also the only doctors actually ordering – and properly interpreting – a complete thyroid test panel. While most doctors look at TSH only, Functional Medicine looks at each of your thyroid hormones, both those riding in taxi cabs AND those out wandering the streets, as well as many other factors. Dr. Sweeney’s comprehensive thyroid testing includes antibodies that indicate autoimmune disease.

Dr Lara Sweeney, DC, one of San Antonio’s only Functional Endocrinologists that knows how to tackle thyroid problems from a functional and advanced nutritional approach.  She has been personally trained by one of the leading cutting-edge thyroid experts in the US, Dr. Datis Kharrazian. She uses his lab testing and nutritional support protocols as a backbone for a more individually-tailored approach to FINALLY get you the relief you’ve been searching for. Once and for all, we’ll figure out what’s REALLY going on.

Working with Dr. Sweeney, you’ll learn:
  • Which of the 7 patterns of hypothyroidism you have
  • Why common herbal formulas from health food stores rarely work
  • Whether or not you actually need those thyroid replacement hormones
  • What you can do NATURALLY to balance, correct, or manage your condition
Together, we can:
  • Figure out where the real breakdown is happening
  • Use potent, appropriate supplemental protocols designed for your specific underlying problem
  • Identify dysfunctional processes in other systems of the body that would otherwise sabotage your progress

Your whole LIFE depends on healthy thyroid function – your mood, your brain, your well-being, your nutrition, and even your appearance. Many of these patterns are too easily-corrected to just give up and let it go. Our comprehensive test panels and personal programs are an excellent place to start!

We Offer the Following Services

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Here is a brief overview of the array of specialized services offered by our clinic. Please take some time, and explore what we have to offer.

Chiropractic Manipulation San Antonio
Functional Integrative Medicine San Antonio
Acupuncture Services San Antonio
Massage Therapy San Antonio

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Meet Our Team
Dr. Lara Sweeney, DC
Dr. J. Lara Sweeney, DC IFMCP

Dr. Lara Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC
Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC DABCA

Dr. Jay Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Michelle Anderson
Michelle Anderson, LMT

Michelle has over 19 years massage & soft-tissue experience & is versed in a wide range of techniques More ...

Amanda Hughes
Amanda Hughes

Amanda is our "Go-to" person for all things "food"; whatever you might need from the world of diet and nutrition, she is eager to help.

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Our building “The Pavilions at Castle Hills”, is located at the corner of NW Military Hwy. and Sunflower in Castle Hills. It’s a two-story brown brick building; “First Serve Tennis”, “Bicycle Heaven”, and “Hearing Aid Labs” occupy the front. Our office is located on the second floor, on the back side of the building. Plenty of parking is available in both the front and rear lots. There are stairways located at either end of the building; and for your convenience, there is an elevator located on the back side of the building, at the end of the south tunnel.