Thyroid Basics

Polly: Although a few people with dysbiosis have too much thyroid hormone, usually the opposite is true. People with dysbiosis often need more thyroid hormone. In the latter case, taking a supplement of thyroid hormone can help them heal. The change is sometimes dramatic, but most of the time it is a very gradual change.

Unfortunately, there is a huge difference of opinion on what constitutes enough thyroid hormone and what doesn’t. Conventional doctors will test your blood, and will often find that the hormone levels are within “normal” range. Yet an alternative doctor will look at the same blood test and decide that it is too far from optimum, and will try a thyroid supplement. An alternative doctor will also weigh your symptoms more heavily than a conventional doctor will. He is more likely to give you a trial of thyroid to see how it makes you feel. Since there is such a huge difference of opinion, you will have to decide what to do yourself. I suggest you see an alternative doctor and possibly get a trial of a natural thyroid supplement, or at least a mixture of T4 and T3 thyroid. See how it makes you feel. If it doesn’t help after a few months, then at least you didn’t let the opportunity pass you by. What is at stake is well worth the effort.

Let’s Start With The Basics

Mr. Generic: What do you mean by “taking thyroid?” What is there to take?

Polly: The nomenclature is confusing. The gland at the base of your neck is called a thyroid, the hormones it produces are called thyroid, and the medication that is prescribed is also called thyroid. To add further confusion, there are several different types of thyroid hormone medications. Some contain only one special type of thyroid hormone, and others contain all the different types of thyroid hormone.

Mr. Generic: You used the term “low thyroid.” Can you explain what that means?

Polly: When you do not have enough thyroid hormone, you are said to be hypothyroid, which I sometimes refer to as being “low thyroid.” Back when my brain was very foggy, I was always getting confused with the prefixes hypo and hyper. Hypo means not enough or low, and hyper means too much or high. It was easier for me to remember low thyroid than hypothyroid. Often, I still refer to hypothyroidism as a low thyroid condition.

Thyroid 13 Various Thyroid Medications

Mrs. Generic: You claim that people usually feel better using a natural thyroid supplement instead of a T4 thyroid supplement. What do you mean by a natural thyroid supplement?

Polly: If you cut out the thyroid gland in a pig, process it, freeze dry it, and make it into pills, then you have what is called natural (desiccated) thyroid pills. Thyroid from a cow is also available, but Broda Barnes, MD, felt the pig thyroid was superior. Others have come to similar conclusions as Dr. Barnes. However, once in a while, a patient will do much better on bovine instead of porcine thyroid. These natural thyroid pills contain all the different types of thyroid hormones that your body makes. These supplements contain T5, T4, T3, T2, and T1 thyroid as well as calcitonin. T5 thyroid has 5 iodine atoms attached, T4 has three iodine atoms attached, etc.

T4 and T3 are the most important of these forms of thyroid. T4 is sort of a storage form of the hormone. The cells of the body convert T4 into T3 as needed. T3 is the active hormone that your body needs to function properly. Not much is attributed to T2, except it is thought that T2 many stimulate the enzyme needed to convert T4 into T3. Doctors don’t know the purpose of T5 and T1, although it is likely that all forms of the hormone have some function. The other component of natural thyroid, calcitonin, helps regulate calcium.

The most well known brand of natural thyroid is called Armour. However, there are other brands called Bio-throid, Westhroid, and Naturethroid. The Bio-throid and Naturethroid are hypoallergenic.

However, most doctors use thyroid supplements that only have T4 or T3 in them. The best-known of these thyroid supplements are the brands Synthroid and Cytomel. Synthroid only contains the T4 thyroid hormone. Cytomel only contains the T3 thyroid hormone. Of these, conventional doctors usually prescribe the T4 and ignore the fact that your body usually needs some T3 too. The T4 stays in the body for a relatively long time. Therefore you only have to take one pill per day of T4, and if you skip a day, it usually isn’t a problem. T3 should normally be taken several times per day, and therefore it is not as popular with doctors.

Usually it is best to take a natural thyroid or at least a mixture of T4 and T3. It is usually not a good idea to take only T4 thyroid. Taking only T4 can actually make some symptoms of hypothyroidism worse. In tissue that is not converting T4 into T3 rapidly, excess T4 can actually have an anti-thyroid action. [1] Nature didn’t intend for the body to just get one of these hormones from the thyroid gland. Many people feel much better if they are given a combination of T4 and T3, and women seem to need a higher proportion of T3 than men. The need for T3 as well as T4 is finally being presented in some of the prestigious medical journals, but unfortunately it is still common practice for many conventional doctors to place their patients on just T4.

Hypothyroidism And Dysbiosis

Roxanne: I am new to this board and just found it. I have been researching about hypothyroid lately, because I am to begin treatment for a very mild case of it. But this morning I started thinking about my past medical history and thought about the production of yeast in the body. I have had 2 breast abscesses, both with the main content yeast, and I have been diagnosed with histoplasmosis, a fungal infection of the lungs. The symptoms I have been experiencing lately and the symptoms of candida mimic Hormones, Dysbiosis and Candidiasis The Health Forum—Book 4 14 hypothyroidism. Should I tell my doctor what I have learned about this? Is there a test I should ask for to rule out candida before starting the thyroid medication? Any advice would be appreciated. Also, I would like to know of other people’s experiences, similar or not with candida. Thanks. Sorry this was so long!

Polly: Unless your doctor is an alternative doctor, he will likely not want to hear about yeast. I suggest that you try to explain, but do not insist. Not only does hypothyroidism mimic many of the symptoms of yeast overgrowth, it can also contribute to yeast overgrowth. Correcting your hypothyroidism will improve your immune response and will help you get rid of the fungus and yeast. Conversely, the yeast or fungus problem might be the cause of your hypothyroidism.

Be glad your doctor is going to treat you for the hypothyroidism. If he is a conventional doctor, he will likely give you a brand of thyroid hormone called Synthroid, or perhaps the newly FDA approved Unithroid or Levo-T. These products only contain one form of thyroid called T4. Usually, but not always, you will be better off with a different kind of thyroid supplement called desiccated or natural thyroid. Take a look at what the patients are saying on the Internet about the product differences. For instance, take a look at this conversation thread.

//forums.about.com/abthyroid/ messages?lgnF=y&msg=21387.3

Roxanne, if you have had 2 breast abscesses, both with the main content yeast, and have been diagnosed with a fungal infection of the lungs, that is plenty of reason to stay a while at this forum and learn more. Welcome to our group.

Roxanne: Thanks, this seems to make a lot more sense than a lot of the other ways that I have been led. After feeling crappy for so long, and kind-of taking matters into my own hands, something just sort of clicked yesterday and I said there might be a connection with the yeast and my symptoms. I have already been to the library and got some books. I can kind of guess what my doctor’s reaction is going to be because I have already asked him if there might be a connection and he just kind of laughed it off. Thanks very much for the help. It really means a lot knowing that you’re not the only one and that you are possibly not going nuts!

Polly: You are more than welcome, Roxanne. If we are loony-tunes, then there are sure a lot of us watching the same cartoon.

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