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Hypothyroidism, The Silent Disease of Toxicity

The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and is responsible for maintaining our metabolism, energy and body temperature. The thyroid gland is located at the lower end of the front of the neck.

Stress has a direct effect on the function of the thyroid gland. During stress, the hypothalamus in the brain increases the production of corticotropin-releasing hormone, which indirectly inhibits the secretion of TSH from the Pituitary. TSH is responsible for stimulating the thyroid to function. [i] The thyroid gland one of the first targets for toxins in the body.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism or a low thyroid are:

  • Cold body temperature
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Inability to lose weight easily
  • Hair falling out
  • Dry skin
  • Swelling in neck

Note: Your medical doctor may check your blood for thyroid function and everything appears normal when in fact you may still have a low functioning thyroid gland. The body is very good at maintaining homeostasis and can keep the blood levels in the normal range when the thyroid is not functioning optimally. A naturopathic doctor will check your basal body temperature and do other tests to determine if you have an under-active thyroid. The following is a check-list for hypothyroidism. If you check off three or more symptoms, you may have low thyroid function that should be evaluated by a naturopathic doctor.

Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism Check True
Wake un-rested
Unexplained hair loss
Slow metabolism
Difficulty losing weight
Dry skin
Family history of hypothyroidism, especially your mother
Night sweats or waking up and throwing off the covers due to heat
Swelling at front of neck
Low basal body temperature*
Cold body temperature
Cold hands and feet
Frequent need to clear the throat
Difficulty expressing self verbally
Lack of willpower
Abnormal thyroid hormones in blood-test indicating deficient function

* Basal Body Temperature or BBT is taken first thing in the morning, before rising from bed. The temperature should be at or above 36.4 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is consistently low, there may be a problem with the thyroid gland.

Janine Bowring, ND Copyright © 2005 [Janine Bowring.com]. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 31, 2005.

[i] Richard L. Shames, M.D., Nutritional Management of Stress-Induced Dysfunction, Advanced Nutrition Publications, Inc., 2002, p2