Effects of an Underactive Thyroid
1. Bone Metabolism – Deficiency of thyroid hormones lead to a decrease in bone development and an abnormal architecture of the bone that is created.
2. GI Function – Constipation and decreased nutrient absorption. Low thyroid reduces the release of Gastrin, which determines the output of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, leading to poor protein digestion, nutrient absorption, and GERD. Decreased stomach acid production leads to decreased vitamin B12, decreased protein and calcium absorption, and invites infection.
3. Male Reproduction – lowered libido and lowered sperm count.
4. Gallbladder and Liver – Detoxification pathways and bile thickening. Low thyroid slows an enzyme critical for metabolic biotransformation, or detoxification, the process by which the body binds and removes all environmental chemicals, and normal byproducts of metabolism, including hormones. “Toxicity” further slows your metabolism, and leads to headaches and other toxic symptoms.
5. Growth Hormone – anti-aging and metabolic
6. Fat Burning – slow metabolism, interferes with Lipase (an enzyme that metabolizes fat), and slowed conversion of glucose and fat into energy.
7. Insulin and Glucose Metabolism – Low thyroid slows the insulin response to glucose following eating carbohydrates or sugar and slows glucose uptake into cells and tissues for energy, creating high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
8. Cholesterol (elevated)
9. Brain Chemistry – Low thyroid impairs the production of stimulating neurotransmitters, leading to depression.
10. Estrogen – can lead to proliferative associated breast cancer, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Low thyroid changes the way estrogen is metabolized in the body, shifting toward an estrogen metabolite that has been proven to increase the risk of breast cancer.
11. Body Heat and Hot Flashes – can be confused with perimenopause. Regulation of body temperature is affected by low thyroid, resulting in hot flashes and night sweats, which is especially prominent in perimenopausal women. This is often blamed on estrogen dropping, but may be directly caused by low thyroid.
12. Thyroid-Progesterone connection – Low thyroid affects the progesterone receptors, making them less sensitive to progesterone, which feels like low progesterone, although the progesterone levels may be normal. Since the activity of progesterone is diminished, the health of the uterus is insufficient for implantation in the second half of the female cycle, leading to difficulties getting pregnant and PMS. Low thyroid also reduces sex hormone binding proteins, leading to an increase in estrogen activity.
13. Heart and Homocysteine – Low thyroid slows a process called methylation, often evidenced by elevated serum levels of homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine in the blood has been proven as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, alzheimers and other neurodegenerative disorders, and cervical dysplasia.
14. Stress and adrenal fatigue – Low thyroid slows the elimination of the stress hormone cortisol, which leaves you feeling stressed out, not because of “stress,” but because the stress hormone can’t be removed efficiently.