My doctor looked at my lab results and said, “Your Thyroid is functioning slowly.”
So, naturally, I yelled at my Thyroid to pick up the pace!
After picking up my prescription for L-Thyroxine, I shared my slow-ass Thyroid story with my Facebook friends. Most of the responses were kinda worthless (at least initially):
- “Check out some dietary fixes before you start with the Levothyroxine. That stuff will mess with you.”
- “There are natural ways to stimulate the [thyroid] gland.”
- “See if you can treat this holistically before putting chemicals in your body.”
Great, as soon as I get my meds my friends tell me to “turn around, you don’t wanna go down that dark alley!” All well-intentioned comments, but not a single actionable recommendation of what to actually do instead of taking meds! I need specifics.
I had to ask for specific recommendations based on their personal experience. And suddenly I heard from people that I know personally about what their experience is, what worked and didn’t work, and what they’re doing now (medications, diet, combination). It’s important to talk to peeps that have had Hypothyroidism for a couple of years. They know what’s up!
Jump on Google and research it
Looking up “slow Thyroid” I discovered the Thyroid affects a whole slew of bodily functions. A slow Thyroid is technically called “Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)” and leads to low energy, poor digestion, bad mood, depression, weight gain, among many other effects.
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. But in general, any problems you have tend to develop slowly, often over a number of years. (source: Mayo Clinic)
Yep, that describes me. My problems definitely developed slowly, over many years.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as the more obvious signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
- Fatigue (yep, I have this)
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Constipation (yep, I definitely have this)
- Dry skin
- Unexplained weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair (Hmm, I have been bolding for the past couple of years)
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
Iodine deficiency* is one of many causes of Hypothyroidism
I will be including food-based solutions, and the Facebook commenters with the best advice/experience were the ones who have slow Thyroid issues themselves. I had no idea that I knew so many people, personally, who have Hypothyroidism.
Here’s what I found out about Iodine deficiency:
- Iodine Deficiency (source: Thyroid.org) – Basically, saltwater fish, diary and/or Iodized Table Salt is what I’m looking for.
- 22 Foods Highest in Iodine (source: Bebmu.com) – This is a great resource. Who knew that Seaweed was so over-the-top rich in Iodine.
- Iodine And The Thyroid — Worth A Second Glance (source: Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP).
- Food Sources of Iodine (source: Dietitians of Canada) – Daily Iodine intake goals and food sources.
All research concludes that the best natural occurring source of iodine is saltwater seafood. Now I have some idea of what foods to buy. And I’ll be purchasing mostly from Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op.
Resources from friends who have managed Hypothyroidism for many years
- Stop The Thyroid Madness – Janie A. Bowthorpe, M.Ed.
- The Plan: Lose Weight by Eliminating Reactive Foods – Includes a cool Thyroid dysfunction chart and a list of Reactive Foods.
What side effects can I expect from taking Levothyroxine (L-Thyroxine)?
Let the guinea pig-ing begin
After 6 weeks on Levothyroxine I’ll get another set of blood tests. Then my doctor and I will determine the next course of action.
Two of my friends had Thyroid surgery and that’s the first thing that popped into my head when the doctor said my Thyroid was functioning slowly – surgery. Then I quickly changed my state-of-mind toward research and the enjoyment of the experiment.
The correct state-of-mind is hugely important, in everything! As my friend, Zoe, stated: “Think positive. Your body can hear you.”
“So, maybe self-talk is more than a confidence booster. From a neuroscience perspective, it might be more like internal remodeling. But to get the benefit, the specific words you use seem to matter, too, it turns out.”
–Why Saying Is Believing — The Science Of Self-Talk
Who will I listen to on this journey?
I’ll be following both my doctor’s advice and the advice of the peeps who I know personally who have Hypothyroidism. To me, a holistic approach means gathering information from many sources. And then, as Tim Ferriss (author of 4-Hour Workweek and 4-Hour Body) likes to promote, approach life as an experiment.
*Iodine deficiency may or may not be my body’s reason for a Thyroid that’s functioning slowly. We’ll see.
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I don’t even own a white lab coat. Get your own doctor and figure out your Hypothyroidism with a qualified professional. I am not recommending that you follow any of the information that I share here.