Nicola Parker, of Health and Herbs, in Morecambe, writes about the impact of a sluggish thyroid.
Constant low energy without obvious cause can sometimes be attributed to a sluggish thyroid.
Your thyroid is a gland in your neck, the one that bobs up and down as you swallow.
It has a huge range of duties because the hormones it produces regulate metabolism of your cells.
If your thyroid is sluggish, your energy levels and motivation will be low no matter how much rest you get.
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) can be diagnosed with blood test by your GP. It is more common in women and usually occurs around middle age, so it is easily confused with the menopause.
I’m always annoyed when symptoms get put down to things like age or hormones, as I feel that this is dismissive.
With low thyroid function, symptoms can range from low energy, to weight gain, coarse hair, memory loss, low mood, dry skin, low libido and constipation.
These symptoms seem unrelated and since none of them appear to be particularly serious, it’s very easy to ignore and dismiss them. For this reason, many people struggle on for years without knowing that they have a problem.
Unfortunately, a blood test from your GP doesn’t always provide answers.
Many people have what is called subclinical hypothyroidism, meaning their thyroid levels are within the normal range but still low enough to cause symptoms.
If this is the case, you may be told that everything is normal and go back to putting all these problems down to age and/or hormones. If you find yourself doing this, don’t.
Get a copy of your blood test results and discuss them with your GP or herbalist who can help you understand how ‘normal’ your results are.
If you discover that you are on the lower end of normal, there are things you can do to help yourself.
Medication is only offered to people outside of the normal range but there is herbal and nutritional support available.
Visiting a herbalist is certainly an option as there are herbs that can help to stimulate thyroid function.
Before intervening with herbs though, I usually recommend nutritional formula made by Higher Nature called Thyroid Support, as it’s easy to buy over the counter.
It does exactly what it says on the tin.
We recently had a lady come to us looking for a ‘pick me up’.
She had been low on energy for over a year, putting it down to stress and recent onset of menopause.
Her hair and skin were in poorer condition that they used to be and she no longer had the energy to do all the things she used to during the day.
With further questioning, I found that she’d become particularly sensitive to cold and was having trouble focusing on complex tasks. She described it as having a brain that was wading through mud.
She came to seek herbal help because she just wanted to feel normal again.
When I asked if she’d consider taking some nutritional support for her thyroid, she agreed to try it for four weeks.
After this period, she came back to report that her life had started to gradually and subtly get better.
She wasn’t running around as though on a stimulant but she had energy to clean the house, feel chirpier at work and now actually wants to chat with her husband and play with the kids in the evenings, rather than just flop down on the sofa.
She had got her normal back.
If you are already medicated for low thyroid but find that it still hasn’t given you back your normal, nutritional support may still help.
Selenium is a mineral that helps your body convert the thyroxine medication into the active thyroid hormone.
This is especially worth considering if you’ve had to up your thyroid medication but still aren’t seeing any difference.
Levels of selenium in foods is low due to modern farming methods, so it’s very common to have sub par levels.
Feeling vaguely tired, overweight and foggy headed shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed as being age and menopause related.
You deserve to feel well so explore the potential causes of these symptoms by talking to your doctor or visiting your herbalist.
Help is available, so don’t need to let fat, fogginess and fatigue become your new normal.