Have you ever wondered why your thyroid may not be working? Is it simply bad genetics? Are you destined to live with a slow thyroid forever?  Is there anything you can do to get your thyroid functioning optimally again?

Millions of people suffer from thyroid conditions, but most have no clue what could be hindering their thyroid function.  If you are among those individuals who are still experiencing thyroid symptoms, despite being on medication, there could be a very good reason or reason(s) as to why.  

Here are four common reasons why your thyroid may not be working properly:

1. Digestive Dysfunction

Most thyroid medications come in tablets with several inactive ingredients and additional fillers. One that many individuals struggle with is cellulose, a fiber component used as the bulk material for the tablets themselves. This can pose a problem for individuals who have weak digestive systems. They are unable to completely break down the fibers, so the thyroid hormones contained in the tablets are not absorbed or released. When your digestive tract cannot break down the tablets, you cannot obtain the benefits of the medication. Unfortunately, it is common for individuals with hypothyroidism to also experience low stomach acid production, therefore perpetuating the decreased ability to breakdown and absorb their thyroid hormone medication. 

Solution: To improve overall digestion function and absorption, increase bitter foods in the diet (leafy greens, cranberry, eggplants, artichokes, citrus fruits, asparagus, etc.) to promote gastric juice secretion. You may also regularly supplement with HCl + pepsin or digestive enzymes.

2. Decreased Absorption

The hormones produced by the thyroid are sensitive to several medications that alter the absorption or activities of T4. These may include commonly prescribed drugs such as antibiotics, antifungals, antacids, diuretics, pain medications, cholesterol-lowering medication, antiarrhythmic medications, diabetic medications and hormone replacements. There are also some foods that may decrease the absorption of thyroid hormones, including the high-fiber and soy-based foods. Calcium and iron supplements may also inhibit the functions of thyroid hormones.

Solution: According to drug manufacturers, it is always best to take your medication 4 hours after or before you have ingested other drugs, food or supplements that can affect their effectiveness. It is also recommended to avoid drinking coffee within 1 hour of taking thyroid medication; stick with plain water or better yet, warm lemon water which can support absorption.

3. Inflammation

Inflammation significantly inhibits the functions of thyroid hormone. Addressing this means identifying the underlying causes of inflammation, like toxins, stress and poor diet (typically the Standard American Diet). Thyroid resistance is one reason why your thyroid is not working despite the medications that you are taking.

Solution: One of the best things that you can do is to work with a qualified functional health practitioner to address or uncover chronic inflammation. Every person is highly unique, and one approach does not work for everyone.  Strategies may include testing, elimination diet protocols, detoxing, taking anti-inflammatory supplements, or behavioral and lifestyle changes.

4. Elevated Reverse T3

This is extremely common for many individuals dealing with thyroid issues. Elevations in stress result in reverse T3 formation from the inactive T4, simultaneously decreasing the active T3 formation. So, while you’re taking your thyroid medication and thinking that your thyroid problem will be resolved, you may not convert T4 properly, which contains useable thyroid hormones. The full dosage of medication for your thyroid function increases the reverse T3 formation and may mean that you are only able to utilize of ¼ of it. Therefore, it will just have ¼ of its overall therapeutic effect. Unless you test for Reverse T3 and all other thyroid markers, the typical thyroid labs most physicians order (TSH, Free T4) may come back within “normal range.”

Solution: Many Physicians do not commonly test for Reverse T3, so the first step is to request this marker. If they will not order this lab (some labs will not even have the option to order Reverse T3) find a Functional Medicine Doctor or qualified practitioner who will place the order (you may also contact me if interested – as I can order all thyroid markers). If Reverse T3 is elevated, the goal is to determine what stressors are in that person’s life and have a goal to reduce it. Stress can come in many forms such as an unhealthy diet, a poor sleep schedule, hormonal imbalances, exposure to toxins or molds, and emotional or mental distress.

Frustrated as to why your thyroid does not seem to be improving?  Have you tried everything possible but have experienced zero improvements? Contact me today! Let’s get to the root cause of your symptoms and begin healing and reversing your thyroid condition. It is possible!