What is The Thyroid?
What are Thyroid Hormones?
The process begins in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which releases a hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (THR). This hormone then stimulates the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which finally tells the thyroid how much hormone to produce.
The thyroid produces three main thyroid hormones.
- Triiodothyronine also known as T3.
- Tetraiodothyronine also called thyroxine or T4.
- Calcitonin. (a hormone that regulates calcium and phosphate in the blood).
The most abundant hormone produced by the thyroid is T4 (more than 90%). T4 is called a ‘prohormone’ because it is metabolically inactive, meaning it doesn’t have many benefits on your body. T3 is the active form but accounts for only around 7% of the total produced. T4 lasts ‘longer’ in the body, so it is only usually converted into T3 (short-lived) when needed.
Once produced, most thyroid hormones become bound to a protein called thyroid-binding globulin, which transports them around the body, primarily to the kidneys, liver, and gut where it converts into the metabolically more active T3. Finally, T3 can reach all the cells in your body so it can perform around 200 beneficial effects.
Take the free hormone assessment to see if you could benefit from thyroid treatment.
How is Thyroid Tested?
The best way to determine your optimal thyroid levels is via signs and symptoms, Male Excel’s primary method. However, other doctors tend to test the thyroid using a TSH test, often shown to be unreliable. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is an inert molecule produced in the pituitary gland that tells the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones T3 and T4. The problem is that the thyroid works at a cellular level, so you can not completely tell from a standard TSH blood test how thyroid hormones work within the body.
The TSH tests only measure the glycoprotein that stimulates thyroid hormone production, not the active effect these hormones have.
The most effective diagnostic tool is to test free T3, which shows an accurate reading of bioavailable thyroid hormone.
Diagnosing an underactive thyroid can become complicated without access to the proper health care. Often due to misdiagnosis, many men suffer the long-term effects of low thyroid. Symptoms can be life-altering and can affect work, relationships, general health, and mental wellness.
You can only accurately diagnose thyroid problems using the correct tests and by having the right knowledge of the symptoms.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism are extensive. You may experience some of the symptoms below if you have reduced thyroid hormone levels
- Fatigue and General tiredness
- Sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain
- Muscle loss, weakness, and muscle cramps
- Low sex drive (libido)
- Poor memory and difficulty concentrating
- Raised cholesterol
- Moodiness and depression
- Hair loss
- Decreased testosterone
- Dry, rough skin
- Dry, brittle thinning hair.
- Carpal Tunnel syndrome
- Fertility problems
- Face swelling around the eyes and face
- Slow heart rate
- Slightly raised blood pressure
We see patients in our clinics take thyroid medication such as Levothyroxine (Synthroid) without relief from their symptoms. Levothyroxine is T4, and for many, it will not work for two main reasons:
- You have non-conversion issues: your body cannot convert T4 into the useable T3, so there will be no relief of symptoms.
- You have thyroid resistance: your thyroid hormone receptors are not working correctly, and this type of medication will have no effect.
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Normal Is Not Optimal
Many doctors look at thyroid function in terms of normal. Male Excel looks at thyroid in terms of optimal.
Normal hormone levels are based on research carried out by companies that collect blood samples from doctors all around the USA for analysis. The main reason people go to the doctor, they are sick and quite often older. As a result of this research, ‘normal’ levels are based on age groups between 20 and 80 years old who have visited the doctor because they are sick.
Nobody wants to be ‘normal’ based on what is ‘normal’ for an 80-year-old.
Numbers are Only Part of the Story
The key to understanding hormones is not found by looking at the numbers. No blood test will give any doctor an insight into what hormones are doing at a cellular level. The biggest problem with many medical practice is an emphasis with these numbers and what’s ‘normal.’ If you are overweight, tired with no energy, poor memory, and a lack of libido doctors will often dismiss these symptoms.
These symptoms are not normal and Male Excel can treat them. By optimizing thyroid, testosterone, DHT, and estradiol levels, we can help support you and eliminate the most significant cause of hormone imbalance in men; visceral fat, the most common cause of hormone imbalance in men.
Low Thyroid and Low Free Testosterone
Low testosterone and thyroid symptoms are often very similar, and because of the close relationship these two hormones have, many doctors find it difficult to tell them apart.
Low thyroid hormone and low testosterone are interconnected (1); this often reflects in low SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) levels. An underactive thyroid can lower free testosterone in the blood and reduces SHBG, a protein that attaches to testosterone and carries it around the body. Low-free testosterone levels are correctable if we low thyroid is also addressed.
Because testosterone and thyroid are linked, any disruption to this system can cause testosterone levels to fall. By correcting thyroid hormone levels, we can reverse this. Increasing thyroid function can help increase free and total testosterone levels.
What Thyroid Medications are Available?
The most widely prescribed medication in the United States, with 123 million prescriptions written in 2016, is the thyroid medication Levothyroxine. This medication is a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone T4 and is used to treat an underactive thyroid. However, T4 is not the best treatment for many people because around 30% of people with hypothyroidism have a condition where the body cannot convert non-active T4 into T3, the biologically active thyroid hormone. Another 50% of people with low thyroid activity have thyroid resistance, which means that receptors that bind with T3 are reduced or are structurally inadequate. So, their T3 hormones either connect to receptors incorrectly or not at all.
Desiccated Thyroid extract (DTE), also sometimes called natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) or porcine thyroid, comes from dried and powdered thyroid glands of animals; usually pigs and cows. It has been a treatment for underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) for decades. DTE became available in the 1890s, proving to improve symptoms of those suffering from hypothyroidism.
We Prescribe Desiccated Porcine Thyroid which is a natural product that contains hormones T4, T3, minimal levels of T1, T2, and iodine and calcitonin. Because of its natural origin, desiccated thyroid mimics real thyroid hormone production far more closely than synthetic versions, which don’t contain such a broad spectrum.
Ready to get started with your thyroid treatment? Start today with our free hormone assessment!
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Studies and References:
Donnelly P, White C. Testicular dysfunction in men with primary hypothyroidism; reversal of hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism with replacement thyroxine. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2000 Feb;52(2):197-201. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2265.2000.00918.x. PMID: 10671947.