4 Reasons why Taking a Thyroid Hormone May Not be a Good Idea

Thyroid hormones can necessary to take, but sometimes they do more harm than good.  Read on to understand the potential drawbacks of  thyroid hormones.

Main Thyroid Hormone Functions

  • Breathing
  • Metabolism (creating energy from calories)
  • Heart rate
  • Cognitive function
  • Mood
  • Body weight
  • Muscle strength
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Growth and development
  • Intestinal flow
  • Digestion

Hyperthyroid Symptoms

Hyperthyroid (too much T3 or T4) symptoms include:

  • Sweating or sensitivity to high temperatures
  • Hair loss
  • Faster heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss.
  • Missed or light menstrual periods

Hypothyroid Symptoms

Low levels of T3 will cause slower heart rate, constipation and potentially weight gain.

Hypothyroidism (too little T3 or T4) symptoms include:

  • Trouble sleeping and waking uo earlier than you want
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired memroy
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sensitivity to cold temperature
  • Frequent, heavy periods
  • Constipation
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Weight gain
  • Joint and muscle pain,
  • Dry skin and hair

4 Reasons why Taking a Thyroid Hormone May Not be a Good Idea

1) Low Thyroid Hormones May Lower Inflammation

Joe’s experience: I’ve noticed that whenever I’m in a hyperthyroid state, I’m more sensitive to an autoimmune attack. When I induce hypothyroidism, I’m immune to such an attack, so there might be an advantage to being hypothyroid.

The immune system regulates thyroid hormone levels through the pituitary-thyroid axis and protein kinase C signaling (R, R2).

Conversely, thyroid hormones control immune function (R, R2).

Hypothyroidism is linked to immune deficiency (R).

2) Thyroid Hormone Increases Inflammation

Thyroid hormones can also elevate cytokines like IL-6. The more thyroid hormone there is, the higher IL-6 gets (R).

Inflammatory cytokines like macrophage inflammatory protein 1alpha and IL-1beta contribute to hypothyroidism. However, an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha and nitric oxide synthase may be caused by increased T3 (R).

Thyroid hormones are potent activators of metabolism.  We feel a boost of energy, but our chronic inflammation also goes up.

When we have chronic inflammation, the body is smart to lower our thyroid hormones a bit so that the inflammation is reduced.  It’s called homeostasis.

3) Thyroid Hormones Activates mTOR and Worsen Th17 Dominance

mTOR, which increases metabolism, also stimulates the immune system and increase inflammation. To learn more about diseases caused by mTOR activation, read this post.

If you’re fighting a pathogen then revving up your immune system is probably a good idea (if you also use other means to kill it), but if your inflammation is from lectins or some other inflammatory agent, then it’s not a good idea to stimulate your immune system even more.

Indeed, one of the best ways to inhibit chronic inflammation is by inhibiting mTOR.

This pathway is particularly important to people with Hashimoto’s and Grave’s, because both of these diseases originate from elevated Th17 inflammation, which is caused by mTOR activation.

Thyroid hormones are activators of mTOR (RR2).

4) Thyroid Hormones Increase Oxidative Stress

Perhaps the worst effect of thyroid hormones is that they increase the worst kind of free radical: superoxide. It does this by increasing the energy production of immune cells (and others) (R).

Not only does it increase superoxide, but it also decreases the enzyme to break down superoxide (SOD) (R).

Increased oxidative stress may accelerate aging, so it makes sense that lower thyroid hormone levels are associated with longevity (R). In a cross-sectional study, longevity correlates with higher TSH levels, and lower T3 and T4 levels among people who live exceptionally long (beyond 89 years for males and 91 years for female) (R).

When Taking Thyroid Hormone is Necessary

Not that I’d never suggest experimenting with thyroid hormones, but it should be done after you’ve taken all of the tests to measure inflammation, oxidative stress, and adiponectin (for lectin sensitivity). Perhaps, try the lectin avoidance diet first, if possible.

It would be wise to experiment with many other things first before turning to thyroid hormones.

If you’ve tried everything and you still have low thyroid hormones, then you can experiment taking it and continue with it only if you see a significant benefit (in the long run as well).

I would much rather people take TRH for a sluggish thyroid, although it is quite expensive

Thyroid hormones can indeed be a godsend for people with advanced Hashimoto’s, head traumas or other.

However, before taking thyroid hormones you want to make sure that either your thyroid antibodies are high or else that your thyroid hormones are significantly below the standard (not borderline).

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