Skip to content
Photo by National Cancer Institute

Hypothyroidism is a state in which the body is not producing enough thyroid hormones or is not able to respond to and/or utilise existing thyroid hormones properly.

Key signs and symptoms include fatigue, poor concentration, depression, moderate weight gain, menstrual irregularities, cool extremities, dry skin and hair loss.

The main categories of hypothyroidism are primary hypothyroidism, secondary hypothyroidism, subclinical hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The distinction between these diagnoses involves investigating hormones secreted by the anterior pituitary and the thyroid gland; specifically thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration, free thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations as well as thyroid antibodies.

Two fundamental categories that may be underpinning reduced thyroid function include a nutritional deficiency and/or environmental/heavy metal toxicity.

Nutrient required for thyroid health include tyrosine, iodine, iron, vitamin E, vitamin C, copper, selenium, zinc and vitamin A. Specifically these nutrients play a role in thyroid hormone production, antioxidant support, T4 to T3 conversation and cellular utilisation. Yet it is not uncommon for a person to have suboptimal levels or be deficient in one or more of these nutrients.

Additionally, regular exposure to a range of toxic chemicals and elements is common. Specifically persistent organic pollutants (a broad title given to chemicals known to be toxic, persist in the environment and animals – bioaccumulating through the food chain), as well as heavy metals are both observed to bind to thyroid transport proteins, displace thyroxine and disrupt thyroid function.

This is not an exhausted list, yet it is easy to see how even a single nutrient deficiency or environmental toxicity could impact any number of foundational elements associated with optimal thyroid function. For this reason, addressing thyroid dysfunction requires a holistic approach of nutrient repletion, lifestyle modification and supporting the channels of elimination; ultimately this approach will benefit not only your thyroid gland but each and every other body system alike.