Thyroid Health: April Newsletter

Thyroid Health: April Newsletter

Now that winter is officially over and the weather has started to warm up a bit, it's as good a time as any to ensure your health is a top priority. This should include focusing on getting outside for some exercise and fresh air, eating high quality and nutrient-dense food, and surrounding yourself with love and laughter. For those that may feel less than optimal though, it can be difficult to move the body or have the energy to get together with loved ones. Fortunately for us, our bodies are incredibly intelligent and may be trying to tell us something is wrong with our diet or lifestyle through a variety of symptoms and issues. Blood work is one of the many avenues available to determine potential concerns or to rule out diagnosis, and this month's newsletter is all about blood work to check thyroid health, since disfunction of this sneaky little gland can really wreak havoc on the body. Read below to learn more about how the thyroid functions, what you can do naturally to help optimize thyroid function, and what tests Health Today offers to get it checked.

Thyroid Facts and Information:

  • The thyroid is a very small and sensitive gland located in the front of the neck. It is primarily responsible for producing hormones necessary for metabolism, which in turn helps control muscle function, the heart, digestion, cognition, and bone health.
  • Hyperthyroidism occurs when the body uses energy too quickly due to excessive production of thyroid hormone. Approximately 1% of the Canadian adult population is affected.
  • Hypothyroidism, which is much more common and is a result of an underactive thyroid wherein it does not produce enough thyroid hormone, affects one in five women and one in ten men.
  • Just one week of artificial sweetener intake can increase the risk of Hashimoto's, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid.
  • One of the most common results of radiation treatment for cancer is thyroid disfunction.
  • A problematic thyroid can negatively impact fertility.
  • The thyroid increases hormone production by up to 50% during pregnancy. Screening for thyroid issues during gestation is one aspect of ensuring both a healthy mom and baby.
  • Thyroid health can be drastically impacted during pregnancy, and disfunction can occur in many women post-partum. It is highly recommended to get a full thyroid panel around 2-3 months after baby is born. 

Potential ways to naturally improve thyroid health:

  • Take desiccated glandular thyroid supplements which contain many of the active components crucial to thyroid function.
  • Support and improve liver function, as it metabolizes T4 into the active form of thyroid hormone, T3.
  • Detox heavy metals from the body as they can inhibit conversion of T4 to T3 in the body.
  • Monitor caffeine intake as it has the potential to decrease thyroid medication effectiveness by 30%.
  • Increase iodine intake for hypothyroidism, since iodine is necessary for the thyroid to make the necessary hormones. Ensure sufficient selenium levels if increasing iodine since it can otherwise potentially lead to Hashimoto's.
  • Ensure adequate daily calories as low-calorie diets and prolonged fasting may interfere with thyroid health.
  • Ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D and Vitamin A as deficiencies can prevent T3 from activating at a cellular level, which may inhibit metabolic rate and energy.
  • Reduce and mitigate stress as much as possible as it is a primary factor in development and persistence of hypothyroidism.
  • Have fasting insulin levels checked periodically to ensure no blood sugar imbalances are occurring in the body.
  • Assess gluten intake as sensitivities or celiac disease is frequently associated with thyroid disorders.
  • Filter your water to remove fluoride and chlorine as both chemicals inhibit the function of the pituitary gland, which in turn aids in thyroid function.
  • Reduce exposure to toxins, which can interfere with hormone production in the thyroid. Limit use of toxic cleaners, BPA, phthalates, flame retardants, etc., and try to implement organic and natural food and products as much as possible.

Please note the above material is for information purposes only and is not meant to be taken as medical advice or to replace data or recommendations provided by a medical provider. If you are concerned about thyroid health, it is recommended you get tested and review the results with your doctor.

Thyroid Tests Offered by Health Today

  • TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is responsible for proper thyroid function regulation as it releases T4 and T3 as required. Low TSH levels can be associated with fatigue, weight gain, and depression, and high TSH levels can be associated with unintended weight loss, irregular heart beat, anxiety, or irregular menstrual patterns in women. Cost of individual test: $95 plus tax
  • T4: T4 (Thyroxine) is the hormone that aids in control of growth, metabolism, mood, and body temperature. Tests for T4 levels are normally completed in conjunction with TSH to determine any potential function disorders. Cost of individual test: $139 plus tax
  • T3: T3 (Triiodothyronine) is the other primary hormone that the thyroid produces, and it works with T4 to balance energy in the body and aid in digestion, among other things. This test should be completed alongside both T4 and TSH to provide further confirmation of hyperthyroidism, or on it's own to monitor thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Cost of individual test: $89 plus tax
  • Reverse T3: RT3 (Reverse Triiodothyronine) is the inactive form of T3, and can be elevated when the body is under significant stress. This test is usually only ever completed in tandem with TSH, T4 and T3. Cost of individual test: $107 plus tax
  • Thyroperoxidase (TPO) Antibodies: The presence of these antibodies may indicate an autoimmune disorder, such as Graves' disease or Hashimoto's, cases where there is too little or an excess of thyroid hormones being produced. Cost of individual test: $92 plus tax
  • Thyroglobulin (TG) Antibodies: Elevated levels of these antibodies may also be used to diagnose Hashimoto's disease, or to check if the thyroid may be inflamed Cost of individual testt: $92 plus tax

FULL THYROID PANEL COST (all tests listed above): $495 plus tax.

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