June 12, 2021 – This week on A Different Perspective, Dr. Patrick Flynn continues his explanation of The Wellness Way’s approach to thyroid health.
If you missed Part 1 in this series, you can find that ADP Recap here.
The thyroid is a key organ and complicated organ because it has so many functions. Thyroid function impacts breathing, heart rate, heart health, cholesterol levels, the nervous system, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, body temperature, digestion, bone health, and the immune system.
Dr. Patrick Flynn recaps the four questions you must ask about your thyroid health, as discussed in Part 1 of this series.
- Production: do you make enough?
- Conversion: does your body convert T4 to T3?
- Destruction: is there an auto-immune issue?
- Interference: what’s triggering the problem?
Today’s focus is on Production.
Dr. Patrick Flynn walks through an anatomical diagram of the brain, highlighting the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and giving special focus to the latter.
The pituitary is a high producing hormonal gland. It produces hormone stimulants that tell organs to work. As the pituitary is in the brain, it is essential to recognize the strong neurological component to thyroid conditions. Any disruptions neurologically (traumas, etc.) can throw off hormones significantly.
TSH and the Brain/Thyroid Connection
TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland, not the thyroid. This is a very important distinction to make. TSH is a pituitary hormone, not a thyroid hormone. It is a brain hormone not created by the thyroid. The traditional medical approach to thyroid health is often based strictly on TSH numbers. While TSH is very important to measure, measuring this number is an incomplete approach as it does not measure the production of the hormones from the thyroid itself.
Once TSH is released, the thyroid is triggered to produce hormones (T4, T3, Reverse T3) that then talk back to the brain.
Dr. Patrick Flynn walks through two examples of lab work conducted on female patients in their thirties, illustrating how a production problem can be revealed through comprehensive bloodwork and how organs need raw materials from which to create hormones. He notes that it is very important for every person to be tested so that the approach to their care can be individualized.
What are T4, T3, and Reverse T3?
Dr. Patrick Flynn gives an overview of the molecular structure of these hormones, noting that the base of each is tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid. Iodine is also part of the molecular structure. With an iodine deficiency, the thyroid cannot make hormones. Consume whole food sources of iodine to support thyroid health, including cod, shrimp, scallops, sea salt, and especially kelp. In some cases an iodine supplement can be helpful as well.
Also needed for thyroid hormone construction are iron, copper, tyrosine, zinc, selenium, vitamins E, B, C, and D. These can be found plentifully in organ meats or glandular supplements.
Being guided properly through the process of restoring thyroid health begins with thorough testing. Testing is the key to having a Swiss watch view of thyroid health.