You Don't Need Your Doctor to Improve Your Thyroid
Ok, here's the deal thyroid patients:
I know that many of you are frustrated and feel that you are at the mercy of your doctor for how you feel day to day.
But the truth is, you aren't.
This may come as a shock to some of you while other patients may know exactly what I am talking about.
Here's what I mean:
While it is true that you are at the mercy of your doctor when it comes to your thyroid medication including things like what type of thyroid medication you take and what dose you are taking, you still have complete control over other aspects of your life which help regulate and control your thyroid.
There are still many things within YOUR power that you can change or adjust or take that can make your thyroid medication even more effective.
It doesn't matter if your doctor is underdosing you on levothyroxine.
And it doesn't matter if your doctor is unwilling to order tests beyond the TSH.
There are still things that you can do to impact your thyroid medication.
And we are going to talk about just that.
Today you will learn:
- What to do when your doctor isn't willing to budge on adjustments to your thyroid medication
- How supplements can naturally how well your thyroid medication is working and converting
- How making simple changes to when you take your thyroid medication can impact how well your thyroid medication works
- How to ensure that you are getting as much thyroid medication into your body as possible through your gut
- And more...
Some of these you may be aware of, and others may be completely new to you so make sure you read ALL of them.
Let's jump in...
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Foods to Avoid if you have Thyroid Problems:
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The Complete List of Thyroid Lab Tests:
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6 Things You Can do Right Away to Make your Thyroid Medication More Effective
#1. Increase How Well Your Body is Converting T4 to T3 with Supplements
The first thing you should focus on is something called T4 to T3 conversion.
T4 to T3 conversion is the process where your body takes the inactive thyroid hormone T4 and turns it into the active thyroid hormone T3.
This process is often neglected by both doctors and patients even though it's probably the single most important aspect of thyroid function.
If you are taking a thyroid medication such as levothyroxine then this process is even more important.
This means that these medications are NOT active when you take them by mouth.
And in order for your body to use them, they must first be activated.
This is one of the primary reasons that thyroid patients who use these medications do not feel well.
How can a medication do its job if your body can't use it?
It's something that should be obvious but, as I mentioned, is often overlooked by doctors.
The good news is that there are things that you can do to enhance how well this process is working.
There are several supplements, nutrients, and ingredients that you can take by mouth and in supplement form which help this process.
In other words, taking certain and specific supplements can improve how well your body uses and metabolizes your thyroid medication.
If you can brute force your body into activating the T4 thyroid hormone found in your levothyroxine and turn it into T3 then your thyroid medication will be more effective.
So how can you do this?
There are many nutrients involved in this conversion process but some shine more brightly than others.
You can take each of these supplements individually and put them together or you can use a supplement such as this one which has all of the ingredients you need to enhance T4 to T3 conversion.
This is a powerful way to enhance your thyroid medication because supplements are available over the counter which means you do NOT need a prescription to get them!
#2. Change WHEN you Take your Thyroid Medication
What many thyroid patients don't realize is that the time of day that they take their thyroid medication can impact how well their medication works.
You have probably been told to take your thyroid medication first thing in the morning away from food, right?
This is antiquated advice.
The reason doctors and pharmacists recommend taking your thyroid medication first thing in the morning is because they want you to take it on an empty stomach.
While it is true that these things may interfere with your thyroid medication absorption there is nothing magical about taking it first thing in the morning nor is it required.
It's not as if taking your thyroid medication at another time of day will suddenly render it inactive or make you turn into a pillar of salt.
In fact, it's the opposite.
It's fine to take your thyroid medication at any time of the day so long as you take it appropriately (more on this to come).
It turns out that there are other times that may be more beneficial than taking your thyroid medication first thing in the morning.
One of those is taking it RIGHT before you go to bed at night (1).
Taking your thyroid medication right before you go to bed usually allows you to take it on an empty stomach because most people don't eat right before bed.
In addition, your gut function is slower in the evening than it is in the morning.
For reference, there is a reason that most people have bowel movements first thing in the morning...
Because this is the time that your gut is most active.
Most people aren't in the habit of waking up in the middle of the night to have a bowel movement which is a big plus for those who take thyroid medication.
Taking your medication at night means that it stays in your gut longer which means you can extract as much as possible from your dose.
This means that your dose of thyroid medication is more effective even without adjusting the dose.
#3. Improve how well Thyroid Hormone Works at the Cellular Level
Another aspect of thyroid function that you need to be aware of is something referred to as thyroid hormone cellular sensitivity.
Like thyroid conversion, this is another often ignored aspect of thyroid function that is very important.
Thyroid cellular sensitivity refers to how sensitive your cells are to the thyroid hormone that they encounter.
If you've read any of my other blog posts then you probably know about hormone resistant syndromes.
These are syndromes in which your body (and cells) become resistant to the very hormones that they are supposed to interact with!
When this happens with insulin it's called insulin resistance and the result in high blood sugar.
When this happens with leptin it's called leptin resistance and the result is weight gain.
When this happens with progesterone it's called progesterone resistance and the result is estrogen dominance.
Well, the very same thing can happen with your thyroid and if it does, it's called thyroid resistance.
Obviously, if your body is resistant to thyroid hormone you are going to have a problem.
If thyroid hormone can't interact with your cells then it can't do its job and you will feel it.
This can occur even if you take all of the necessary steps to ensure that your thyroid medication is getting absorbed and converted!
So what are you supposed to do?
You can brute force cellular sensitivity by using certain over the counter supplements.
We care that they are fat soluble because that important detail means that many people are likely deficient in one or both of them.
Unlike water soluble vitamins, there is a small risk of toxicity when taking fat soluble vitamins so many manufacturers of these supplements intentionally underdose them.
It's a "cover your butt" move that happens to have a negative impact on thyroid patients.
You can easily take Vitamin A and Vitamin E, though, to replace your levels and improve this process.
I would recommend checking out a supplement such as this which combines Vitamin A and Vitamin E together along with other important thyroid nutrients all designed to help your thyroid function optimally.
Feel free to get a different supplement, though, but make sure you find one with comparable A and E levels.
#4. Focus on Gut Health to Increase Thyroid Medication Absorption
Ahh, gut health. It's just something that you can never really escape.
It's important for just about all health conditions including thyroid function.
For purposes of this article, we care a lot about gut health because it is the site of thyroid medication absorption.
Any sort of issue in your gut can act to severely limit how much thyroid medication you swallow by mouth actually gets absorbed in your gut.
This is important because you could be doing everything else right but it doesn't matter if that medication won't make it into your body.
Imagine, for a second, that you are taking 100mcg of levothyroxine.
If you have problems in your gut, you may be losing out on a huge portion of this medication because it can't get absorbed.
If that portion is a little as 20% then that means you are only getting 80mcg of your 100mcg dose into your body.
Treating your gut can help you extract more of your thyroid medication to ensure that it actually makes it into your body.
In this way, targeting your gut can indirectly make your thyroid medication more effective.
Not because it's doing anything special to the medication itself but because it is helping your gut absorb as close to 100% of whatever dose you are taking.
Gut health is particularly important to thyroid patients because they tend to have many gut related issues.
By virtue of how thyroid function impacts gut function, you are set up to develop inflammatory gut conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, fungal overgrowth, acid reflux, leaky gut, and intestinal dysbiosis.
The first step to treating your gut is to identify whatever conditions you may have and then treat those issues.
#5. Stop Taking Medications that Prevent Your Thyroid Medication From Working
We've been talking a lot about different ways that you can increase the effectiveness of your medication through direct means.
You can increase how effective your thyroid medication is by focusing on absorption, by focusing on thyroid conversion, by focusing on your gut health, and so on.
These are, in a way, like pressing down on the gas pedal.
Now let's talk about lifting up on the brake.
One way to do this is by taking a hard look at other prescription medications that you may be taking in addition to your thyroid medication.
It may surprise you to know that many prescription medications have a negative impact on thyroid function.
They can cause issues with your thyroid lab tests, they can directly inhibit thyroid function from the thyroid gland, and they can also limit thyroid medication absorption.
Unfortunately, many doctors aren't aware of the negative interactions that can occur with prescription medications.
There are a LOT of these medications that can cause problems so I won't list them in this article but I would highly recommend that you see the complete list here.
If you are taking any other prescription medications then please see that article.
It may sound like a complicated issue but it's actually quite easy to fix.
There are usually many different types of medications that can be used to treat any given condition.
So, for instance, if your blood pressure (4) medication is interfering with your thyroid function then simply switching to a different type of blood pressure medication should do the trick.
#6. Make Sure You Take Your Thyroid Medication Correctly
Lastly, you want to make sure that you are taking your thyroid medication correctly.
It may sound obvious and you probably think you are taking it correctly but many thyroid patients find that they aren't.
Just double check this list here to ensure that you are doing everything in your power to ensure maximum absorption of your thyroid medication:
- Take your thyroid medication either first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed
- Take your thyroid medication at least 30-60 minutes AWAY from food (either before or after)
- Do NOT take supplements at the same time as your thyroid medication, take them at least 30-60 minutes away from whenever you take your thyroid meds
- If you are taking a dedicated calcium (5) or iron (6) supplement then make sure to take your thyroid medication 4 hours away from whenever you take these supplements
- Do NOT take your thyroid medication with coffee (7) or caffeine
If you find that you are not following these rules then make some changes! It might surprise you how you feel afterward.
This list is designed to help YOU as a thyroid patient feel better and take control of your health.
Each of these things may help increase the effectiveness of your thyroid medication which may help you feel better.
These things do NOT require a prescription and they can be done alongside other therapies that you may already be doing.
It also helps put some of the responsibility of thyroid management in your hands which can be powerful.
No one cares more about your health than you do! If you put the responsibility of your health on your doctor then don't be surprised if you don't feel better.
Now I want to hear from you:
Did any of the things on this list surprise you?
Were you already aware of these things?
Did any catch your eye? Are you planning on implementing any of the strategies listed here?
Leave your questions or comments below!
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