6 Reasons You Don't Feel Better on Thyroid Medication

hashimotos hypothyroid thyroid thyroid health thyroidhealth

A standard thyroid test only tests for TSH. It is imperative to monitor your thyroid levels when on medication, but so often I see clients only have their TSH tested.

The most commonly prescribed medications are T4 medications. Many people cannot adequately convert T4 to T3 for many reasons I wasn’t able to fit on this post. If you are on thyroid medication and aren’t feeling better, consider asking WHY.

What’s causing your medication not to be working? Are you a poor converter? Are you nutrient deficient? Are you eating enough? Are you stressed? Do you eat soy often? Let's dig into possible reasons that you may not feel better on your thyroid medication....


#1: You Are a Poor Converter of T4 to T3

The thyroid gland primary secretes T4 (thyroxine), which is relatively inactive. T4 is converted to the active thyroid hormone T3 by the enzyme thyroxine 5-deiodinase. The most commonly prescribed thyroid medications are Levothyroxine and Synthroid. These are T4 medications. If you are only on a T4 medication and your body has a decreased ability to convert T4 to T3, it could be a reason you don't feel better on your thyroid medication. Other reasons that you may have a decreased ability to convert T4 to T3 include genetics, other health conditions, and certain medications. Consider talking to your doctor about a more active thyroid medication or talk to a compounding pharmacist. 


#2: You have Nutrient Deficiencies

Thyroid hormone needs a number of different nutrients in order to function properly. These nutrients include iodine, iron, zinc and selsnium. 5-deiodinase is an enzyme that converts T4 to T3 in the liver and kidneys. 5-deiodinase is dependent on selenium and iodine. A deficiency in either of these minerals can decrease the conversion of T4 to T3. This can result in Hypothyroid symptoms even if your TSH is normal. Before supplementing with iodine and selenium, I suggest testing your levels. My favorite functional tests for testing iodine and selenium are the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and the 24 Hour Iodine Loading Test. For now, focus on food sources of these minerals: seaweed, kelp, dulse, seafood, organ meats, potassium broth and brazil nuts. 



#3: You Aren't Eating Enough

When the body doesn't get enough calories, metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy. One of the ways the body does this is by suppressing T3 levels.


#4: Your Hypothyroid is Caused by Hashimoto's

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack your thyroid gland. Hashimoto's is the MOST common cause of Hypothyroidism in the US. Thyroid medication can help hypothyroidism, but if your Hypothyroid is CAUSED by Hashimoto's, your medication won't be much help. To test for Hashimoto's, you must test thyroid antibodies. Ask your doctor or functional practitioner to order TPO and TGB antibody testing. 


#5: You Have Mold Illness

Exposure to indoor mold has been shown to trigger thyroiditis and Hashimoto's. Isabella Wenz, a thyroid expert, states that sinus infections (sinusitis), which are often triggered by mold, can be a root cause of Hashimoto's. Remember that Hashimoto's can lead to Hypothyroid, so addressing mold can help you address and even reverse both Hashimoto's AND Hypothyroidism


#6: Your Body Can't Properly Absorb the Medication

Levothyroxine absorption mainly occurs in the small intestine. In some cases, thyroid medication may not be absorbed properly from the gut. This can be due to a number of factors, such as celiac disease, gastritis, H. Pylori, leaky gut, or taking other medications that interfere with absorption.


If you are ready to find the ROOT causes of your Hypothyroid or Hashimoto's, click here to find more about working together! Wishing you the absolute best on your healing journey. 





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