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Help for a Troubled Thyroid

To verify a possible thyroid condition, consult a doctor, endocrinologist, functional medicine doctor or naturopathic doctor. Ask for a range of tests, not only the standard thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, but also free T4, free T3, thyroid antibodies for autoimmune reactions, and thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH) tests for a full picture.

The standard pharmaceutical approach for hypothyroidism, the most common condition, is the synthetic hormone levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid) that boosts T4 production; but it can cause depression and weight gain, researchers at Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center report in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Ask also about Armour Thyroid, derived from animal thyroids, that contains both T3 and T4, and is often preferred by functional medicine doctors.

Other testing can uncover a reaction to gluten, which is often linked to thyroid dysfunction. “For many with thyroid issues, gluten can provoke an autoimmune response via celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and health coach Amanda Wikan, of Petaluma, California. If a celiac test is negative, she suggests trying a six-week, gluten-free diet and watching afterward for any signs of non-celiac sensitivity such as headaches, bloating, gas or brain fog.

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