15—Thyroxine (the Thyroid hormone)

(part 3)

In this three-part blog post, I’ll be taking you through five hormonal imbalances that could be contributing to your weight loss hell. In part one I discussed the effects of having high oestrogen and low progesterone. In part two I discussed the effects of having high cortisol (the stress hormone) and low DHEA (the youth hormone).  In this final part, I’ll be discussing the effects of having low Thyroxine (the Thyroid hormone).

Note: Generally the first symptoms of an underactive thyroid are: depression, weakness, and fatigue.

What is the Thyroid
responsible for?

Thyroxine is the hormone that the Thyroid gland produces. Its effects are far reaching in our body as it regulates the metabolic rate. Not only is this hormone responsible for managing our weight, it also controls our temperature, gastrointestinal tract, cardiorespiratory rate, mental behaviour and reproductive system.

Check out a more recent blog-post of mine: The Thyroflex
It’s an exciting new service that I’m offering at my practice – OOMPH. This device accurately determines your thyroid function!

One effect of constant dieting is a decrease in the metabolic rate, as the body strives to conserve fuel. Exercise has been shown to prevent this decline in metabolic rate.

How Thyroxine can get out of balance:

  1. a lack of certain nutrients

    iodine, tyrosine, selenium, & zinc

  2. foods that block iodine use


  3. excessive iodine intake

    iodine preparations, and kelp

  4. Cortisol

    long-term stress
    click here for more details

  5. Hyperinsulinaemia

  6. Environmental hazards

    PCBs, xenoestrogens, oestrogen (endogenous and exogenous), chlorine/fluoride/lithium/bromide in treated water

Never take supplemental iodine in high doses unless you have had a test for this! Too much iodine can actually impair the functioning of the Thyroid gland (and can actually cause your system to ‘shut down’!) Unfortunately urinary & salivary iodine testing is relatively expensive (approx. $119). A cheaper (but cruder) way of assessing your general iodine levels is to apply Lugol’s (aqueous) solution. Using a cotton bud, paint a 5cm by 5cm square on your inner arm or thigh, or abdomen. It should stain your skin for approx. 5 days. If it disappears before this time, you are deficient. Provide your Naturopath with this information so they may assess your requirements from here.

What happens when Thyroxine is out of balance?

Potential manifestations are:

  1. Weight gain

  2. Lethargy

  3. Mental sluggishness

  4. Intolerance to cold, and cold extremities (hands and feet)

  5. Hair loss

  6. Dry skin, hair and nails

  7. Constipation

  8. Decreased appetite

15% of menstrual cycle disorders have been associated with thyroid dysfunction.

Lisa says:

You don’t need hormone medication or diet pills

You need a Naturopath!2 Naturopaths prescribe natural health measures to correct low Thyroid function (which promotes weight loss). We can use blood work, and in some cases reflex testing, to establish what your hormones are ‘up to’. We also take a case history, and may ask you to establish your basal metabolic rate (BMR) — via temperature taking — to provide us with more information about your particular hormonal imbalance.

Note: Blood tests are not sensitive enough to diagnose milder forms of Hypothyroidism in all cases. As mild Hypothyroidism is the most common form of Hypothyroidism, many people with this issue go undiagnosed (testing your BMR is arguably more sensitive).

From here, it may be necessary to work on a number of different areas, using a small selection of specifically targeted supplements and/or herbs to help you achieve your health objectives.

The following list provides an overview of the areas we may need to address, depending upon  your individual requirements. See your Natural Health Professional so they can recommend the most effective course of treatment for you:

  1. Diet

  2. Lifestyle

  3. Stress support

  4. Thyroid support/hormone conversion

In NZ approximately 10% of people (primarily in their 50s) have sub-clinical Hypothyroidism. This basically means that it’s not acknowledged by the medical establishment, as it doesn’t warrant the use of medication.

Three-part blog post sum-up

While the balancing of hormones to achieve weight loss may seem complicated – in most cases it’s actually relatively simple. Because the body is synergistic, if you work on any one hormone in the body, you can have far reaching (knock-on) effects on the whole hormonal system. For instance, by directly working to lower oestrogen (as per part one of this blog post), you can indirectly3.

  1. Increase progesterone

  2. Decrease cortisol

  3. Increase DHEA

  4. Increase Thyroxine

The balancing of these hormones also improves the functioning of the liver (your chief fat burner!)

By directly working to lower cortisol (as per part two of this blog post), you can indirectly3.

  1. Increase DHEA

  2. Increase progesterone

  3. Decrease oestrogen

  4. Increase thyroxine

Again, the balancing of these hormones improves the functioning of the liver (your chief fat burner!)

Note: By directly working with the liver you can indirectly balance the hormonal system. And by improving your hormonal system, not only will you lose weight but your associated symptoms will also improve.

Make an appointment with Lisa

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.

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