10 Ways to Beat Thyroid Fatigue
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Thyroid Fatigue would have to be the symptom I get the most questions about, or I guess you could say the most "cries for help" about. Let's look at what is involved and how we can help.
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Here are some other fatigue related posts you may want to check out
Below is my guide to Thyroid Fatigue and contains as much as I know at this time on the different contributors to fatigue in this autoimmune disease. I hope it helps answer some questions for you and improves your energy levels, because quite frankly that is what we all want isn't it??
how we eliminate Thyroid Fatigue
Now I am not saying that following all of these steps is going to eliminate fatigue for all of us. Sometimes though, there is an elusive element we are not seeing. Since thyroid fatigue can be caused by so many different factors, it is important to go through each one carefully and implement where necessary to track the results.
So let's get started.
1. Check your Thyroid Levels
This may seem obvious to some, but around holiday season or other important times when fatigue and stress takes over and the To Do list gets longer than hours in the day we tend to overlook the obvious. Using Christmas as an example many people put this time of year down to just stress (which is true) and don’t realise that if cortisol rises then thyroid hormones lower, often causing fatigue. So maybe around the beginning of November each year it is wise to have your labs run and then again in mid December to see if there is much difference.
Ways to reduce stress and keep our thyroid balanced during these times
We may need to increase our medication slightly during these times (with support from practitioner)
Make an effort to meditate daily.
Swap out coffee and sugary drinks for thyroid supporting herb teas.
Look into taking a liquid herbal or good supplement for stress during these times.
Learn a few yoga moves for balancing the thyroid, and be committed to doing them just for that period of stress.
Tyrosine is a major component in Thyroid health and in particular the brain. So brain fog, fatigue, mental exhaustion, stress, depression and anxiety can all be supported and improved with this non essential amino acid. Being non essential does not mean we don’t really need it, it means that we can make it in our bodies as long as we have the right raw ingredients.
Those ingredients include Vitamins B3, B6, B9, C, Chromium, Copper, iodine, selenium and zinc. So the question is are you getting enough of all these nutrients to make the Tyrosine. In most cases it is a no.
This is a tricky nutrient to work with and interacts with some medications, particularly anti-depressants, so if you feel this is one you want to look at, then you MUST work with a practitioner for your own safety.
Selenium is vital for Thyroid health as it shows up many times in the thyroid pathway. If your Thyroid is running at its best then the fatigue caused by the Thyroid will not be an issue.
Apart from helping the pathway function correctly, Selenium also lowers our Reverse T3 levels which blocks T3 (active thyroid hormone) getting into our cells. We want the T3 getting into our cells as that is what gives us the energy.
Brazil nuts are nature’s selenium pill, however the amount of selenium in each one differs greatly. So only have 2-3 per day at the most so that you don’t end up with selenium toxicity – that won’t make anyone feel good!
In a lot of Thyroid people it is not actually the thyroid making them tired, but the low iron that tends to go with it. First have your levels checked when you have your Thyroid checked so you know where you are at. Then if necessary start supplementing. Iron or red blood cells are our oxygen transporters, and if we don’t have enough then we will not be getting enough oxygen around our body which causes the fatigue.
People tend to struggle with iron supplements due to its constipating effects however there are a lot of liquid options out now that tend not to do that. So talk to your health care professional about which ones may suit you.
One of Magnesium‘s 300+ jobs in your body is to activate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which creates energy in your body. So with low supply you get low energy and fatigue. Alcohol, coffee, stress, some medications, gut issues, menopause and sugar are just a small list of the things that drain our body of what little magnesium we may already have. It is the one mineral that you can pretty much assume you have a deficiency in unless you are already taking care of it.
There are many ways to increase your magnesium levels including eating magnesium rich foods, taking Epsom Salt baths or foot baths and magnesium oil for topical use. There are several different types of Magnesium some of which may cause you to run to the loo more often, so talk to your health care professional about which one may suit you or to help you with magnesium loading which is a way to determine how much you need personally. The only one to avoid is Magnesium Stearate which can have some nasty additives.
Low potassium levels are usually a major contributor to Thyroid Disease and is a major cause of fatigue. It is recommended we consume 5 x more potassium than sodium, but with all the processed foods we eat, that is unlikely in most cases. Excretion of potassium is also caused by salicylates and corticosteroids. Loop diuretics and Calcium Channel blockers also decrease potassium levels in the body.
Potassium can be improved by eating lots of vegetables, particularly a green juice everyday and if really low also adding a supplement for a short time to give a boost. The best way to test your stores is through a Hair Mineral Analysis.
7. Vitamin B12
This is another one that can be mistaken for thyroid fatigue as it is commonly lacking in thyroid people. We need B12 to make red blood cells, which if we look back to iron, is what transports oxygen around our bodies. So without it, no energy.
Some people don’t get enough, and others just can’t absorb it, so if you are fatigued, get numbness or tingling in your extremities, have a swollen inflamed tongue, your skin is on the yellow side, you feel weak in general and are experiencing hallucinations, memory loss and paranoia, then you need to get yourself off to the doctor and have this checked out.
We make our own B12 in the gut as to other animals, which is why we can only get it from animal foods such as egg yolks, fish, organ meats, meat and dairy (not that any thyroid people reading this are eating dairy on a regular basis, are you?) So if you are vegetarian or vegan then supplementation may be needed, but get it checked first as that is not always the case.
8. CoEnzyme Q10
Our mitochondrial energy pathway NEEDS CoQ10 to work. We produce it ourselves from good quality protein, and good intestinal flora. We also need Magnesium, Vitamin B’s, Vitamin C Methionine and Selenium to make it. So essentially we only make CoQ10 if our digestion is good and we are eating good quality, nutritious food.
Cholesterol lowering drugs, Betablockers, Tricyclic Antidepressants and Phenothiazines all lower the production of CoQ10. So for some people this will have to be a supplement while you work on the nutrition and gut health.
This is an essential amino acid that cannot be produced in our bodies, so we need to ingest it from other sources. Methionine is required to turn protein into CoQ10 but is also a sulphur group needed in our Methylation Pathway which many Thyroid people also seem to have issues with. Poor methylation will contribute to cancer, CVD, diabetes, mood disorders, allergies and chronic ongoing fatigue. Methylation directly influences out ATP (our energy production).
To check your Methylation Pathway, you can have a DNA or snp test which will check to see if you have the MTHFR mutation. Another option is a homocysteine blood test. If you are not methylating correctly then your homocysteine level will be high.
10. Folic Acid
Also known as folate and Vitamin B9, this vitamin is also involved with the methylation pathway and in the production of red blood cells. Again if you have the MTHFR mutation you may not be able to use the folate in its dietary or supplemental form, so in this case supplementing with already methylated folate is helpful. A blood test can check your folic acid levels.
When it comes to fatigue, at the end of the day….
It comes down to good nutrition, great gut health and knowing your own body. Get the tests done, know what your weaknesses are and what causes fatigue and stress for you and put a plan in place for holiday or stressful times to mitigate the effects.