Part 1 discussed several symptoms and conditions related to hypothyroidism. Now we will discuss how low blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s like diseases, miscarriage, difficulty falling pregnant, pre-mature birth, and pregnancy complications can be caused by poor cellular response to thyroid hormone or lack of it. Let’s take some of these one by one and look at how the lack of thyroid hormone can cause them.
Low Blood Pressure
Because of the thyroid’s close relationship with our adrenal glands, thyroid dysfunction causes adrenal malfunction. The adrenal glands produce many different hormones vital for nervous system, vascular and heart, and kidney function, as well as fluid balance. You can think of the thyroid and Adrenals as accountability partners. When they are doing their jobs the other functions better. When thyroid dysfunction is present, this may make it difficult for the adrenal production of glucocorticoids which balance fluids, and adrenaline (epinephrine) production which stimulates your heart. If fluid balance is off and cardiac output is lower, then blood pressure will be lower. Of course, with lower blood pressure and even marginally decreased heart function, you may feel tired, lightheaded/dizzy, have foggy brain, decreased memoryand concentration, etc. These symptoms can affect day-to-day function.
Depression is certainly a sign of low thyroid function. When your brain cells (and even your intestinal cells) do not make enough serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, and several other vital chemicals needed for cellular function, motivation and interest, energy and endorphin production, or they don’t respond well to insulin and other neural growth factors, depression may be the result. Depression causing psychological symptoms can be devastating and very much misdiagnosed. What most people don’t know is there are many forms of depression. “Physical” depression occurs when the muscles just don’t have enough “energy” to work properly and this can be due to low thyroid input. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed due to the inability to get things done. This is just scratching the surface for depression, but it is a major red flag for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic conditions.
How does low thyroid cause Alzheimer’s disease? Brain cells form dendrites which reach out to neighboring cells to make neural connections. It is these connections that enable us to make memories, learn and access new information, recall and use old information, and function day to day. Thyroid stimulation is required for brain cells to function by producing enough ATP to power cellular machinery to make the needed proteins and membranes for dendrites to form. The lack of and retraction of these dendrites literally leads to tissue loss. Volume loss in certain areas of the brain is responsible for Alzheimer’s disease development.
Really, when any organ lacks the proper stimulation by T3, the active thyroid hormone, the organ does not function as it should. Reproduction problems including miscarriage, difficulty falling pregnant, pre-mature birth, and pregnancy complications can be due to female (and male!) organs not functioning just how they should in order for the cascade of events so important for conception to occur and a fetus to develop from conception. The high rate of miscarriage is evidence of how likely very prevalent thyroid dysfunction really is. Thyroid is the “key” hormone because every human cell needs it’s stimulation by binding in the nucleus. All other hormones cannot be properly regulated without optimal thyroid messaging.
Without enough thyroid we don’t develop properly. We do not thrive, and we senesce/degenerate much more quickly. So,in summary, and this is the tip of the thyroid iceberg, EVERY cell in our body needs thyroid. Low thyroid can be the result of poor thyroid gland stimulation, i.e. too little TSH from the pituitary. Low thyroid can also be from poor T4 conversion in the liver, from T3 pooling in the tissues due to hormone resistance, or from autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland or thyroglobulin transport proteins. More often than expected many need thyroid replacement with prescriptionsynthetic T4 (levothyroxine), T3 (liothyronine) or both. Hashimoto’s disease, or autoimmune hypothyroidism, may respond better to natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) such as porcine-based ArmourThyroid, Nature-Throid or bovine-sourced NDT. There are many ways we can have thyroid issues, but it is vital that we get the right tests and remove the barriers to proper thyroid function. Then we must have the right support with Rx or supplemental thyroid along with the essential elements for thyroid hormone conversion and function such as Iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron.Vitamin D, B12,and Folate also play a vital role in thyroid receptor binding. Once thyroid binding occurs, we are off and running.