The 7 Most Common Causes of Low
Thyroid (Hypothyroid)

Hypothyroidism is a common cause of weight loss resistance that is increasing as of
late.  In this article we will explain some of the causes of hypothyroid including
  • Autoimmunity
  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Stress
  • Toxicity
  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Conversion (low thyroid function)

Remember, before you can correct a thyroid problem it is important that you identify the
underlying cause of the problem. Unfortunately this rarely happens in medicine today.

One of the main causes of hypothyroidism is autoimmunity.  Autoimmunity simply means
that your body’s immune system is attacking and destroying its own tissue. So as you
can see, it is a serious issue when your body is attacking your thyroid gland.  There are
two common forms of autoimmune disorder that affect the thyroid. One is Grave’s
disease, which is causes hyperthyroid (high thyroid), and the other is called Hashimoto’s
Thyroiditis, which is the hypothyroid (low thyroid) condition. This discussion will focus
primarily on Hashimoto’s since it is a common cause of low thyroid.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common and the most UNDIAGNOSED condition
affecting your thyroid, yet is very serious. Thorough testing is required for a complete
understanding of the health of the thyroid yet patients are diagnosed everyday with just
two simple lab tests; thyroid stimulating hormone (
TSH) and T4. While these two
markers can tell us if a person has low thyroid, they do not tell us anything specific
about the cause of the hypothyroid. Sadly, most people diagnosed with hypothyroidism
get a prescription for synthetic thyroid hormone (synthroid) or natural thyroid hormone
(armor thyroid) regardless of the cause of the hypothyroid.  If the issue is autoimmune
thyroid (Hashimoto’s), dumping thyroid hormone into your system is going to do nothing
to correct the cause of the hypothyroid. Further, you will continue to have an
autoimmune disorder that will escalate in to more serious issues if left untreated.
Patients with autoimmune thyroid often continue to have low thyroid symptoms even
though they are being treated with medication.

Stress causes hypothyroid
Cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, is a common cause of hypothyroidism. Cortisol
works in a synergistic fashion with thyroid hormone at the cellular level, making thyroid
hormone work more efficiently. A proper amount of cortisol is very important for normal
thyroid function. The thyroid can become dysfunctional when cortisol levels are too high
or too low.  When cortisol levels are high, the brain will reduce the body’s ability to make
more cortisol. This is called feedback. It works great at maintaining normal cortisol levels
but it can backfire when more than one hormone is affected by the feedback. Such is
the case with thyroid hormone and cortisol. If cortisol gets too high, feedback will not
only reduce cortisol production but also thyroid production. So excess stress and high
cortisol can cause hypothyroid. Balancing your cortisol levels can be very effective in
treating hypothyroidism.

Another unfortunate cause of hypothyroid is
cancer. Cancer of the thyroid gland will
create variations in your thyroid hormone levels, and wil exhibit the same signs and
symptoms as benign hypothyroid. A thorough thyroid blood chemistry panel will aid in
the diagnosis of thyroid carcinoma.

Toxins can disrupt the production of thyroid hormone. Mercur, for example, will disrupt
thyroid production directly by altering the function of an enzyme called thyroid
peroxidase. Mercury can also be a contributing factor in another cause discussed
earlier, autoimmunity. Excess soy is toxic to the thyroid as well. Soy has been shown to
slow thyroid production and contribute to an increased risk of thyroid cancers.

Trauma to the thyroid gland (located between the throat and the cartilage in the front
of the neck) is a very real cause that might be contributing to hypothyroidism. An injury
to the neck could damage the thyroid gland and prohibit it from functioning effectively.
Make sure to include any potential injury you may have had in your history with your
health care practitioner.

Nutritional deficiencies play a huge role in hypothyroidism. There are many
nutrients necessary for a healthy thyroid including iron, iodine, tyrosine and magnesium.
If you are deficient in any of these nutrients your thyroid will not work properly. Read
more information on
nutrient deficiencies and hypothyroid.  

Thyroid Conversion Problems
Another cause of functional hypothyroid to discuss is conversion of the thyroid
hormone. When our thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone, it is produced in the form
of T4 which is not a very strong form of thyroid hormone. In order for the thyroid
hormone to properly do its job, we have to convert the T4 into a more active form called
T3. Much of the conversion occurs in the liver. If the liver is not working well due to
insulin resistance or some other liver disorder, then the conversion will not
occur correctly. Much of the conversion is also carried out in the digestive tract.
Dysbiosis and other issues causing
poor digestion can lead to poor thyroid conversion.  
Low cortisol (
adrenal fatigue) from chronic stress is another possible culprit when it
comes to conversion because cortisol is crucial for the conversion of T4 into the active
T3.  Conversion issues also include the conversion of T4 into an inactive hormone
called reverse T3. Although inactive, reverse T3 will bind to your cell and block active
T3 from doing its job. Factors that affect the conversion of T4 to T3 which must be
addressed include:

  • Selenium deficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Chronic illness
  • Decreased antioxidant levels
  • Increased levels of adrenaline

If we suspect you of having low thyroid we will test at least nine blood chemistries related
to the thyroid as well as several other chemistries that work with the thyroid to ensure
we accurately uncover the cause of your hypothyroid.  Only then will we be able to
recommend a proper course of action.


If you would like to discuss natural option for the thyroid but you don't live in the
Dallas Fort Worth area, we can still help you through
phone consultations.

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