Optimizing the Aging Thyroid – Flagstaff Business News

Studies have shown that when the hormones are optimized, the risk of age-related illness also declines.

More than 20 million Americans have thyroid issues. Sixty percent are unaware that they have an issue, because some practitioners don’t run the right tests or are not trained in hormone optimization. The thyroid starts to decline as we age, especially with the hormonal shifts of perimenopause, menopause and andropause. Optimizing thyroid hormones improves metabolism, energy levels and mood.

Thyroid hormones are released by the thyroid gland and are responsible for temperature regulation, metabolism, cerebral function and energy. The thyroid works optimally in conjunction with other endocrine organs, like the adrenals, pituitary, pancreas, liver and reproductive organs. The thyroid is required to work harder if the other organs have been overworked or overstimulated by stress, food allergies, poor diet and lack of sleep. Thyroid function is evaluated by obtaining blood levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), Free T4 or T3, and thyroid antibodies. Some practitioners only look at TSH and will often miss a low thyroid by not ordering the other lab tests.

There are three categories of thyroid imbalance:

  1. Hypothyroidism/thyroid deficiency.
  2. Hyperthyroidism/overactive thyroid.
  3. Suboptimal thyroid/low thyroid symptoms with normal values. NORMAL is not OPTIMAL.

Optimal ranges of blood levels are based on the patient’s symptoms, how the patient feels and shooting for the optimal thyroid range where people feel the best. When optimizing the thyroid hormones, it can protect against age-related diseases like cardiovascular disease, fatigue, obesity and cognitive decline.

Common Symptoms: Low Thyroid

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Irregular cycles
  • Hair loss on overall head or temples, and outer eyebrows
  • Poor memory or reflexes
  • Depression or low motivation
  • Low body temperature

Common Symptoms: High Thyroid

(Excess hormone due to overmedication, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or hyperthyroidism)

  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Loose stools
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Bone loss (not the case if you are on thyroid hormones)
  • Fingernails lifting in the center of the tip
  • Heat intolerance or sweating

Since many thyroid imbalances are often missed, know that natural medicine offers an array of treatments for thyroid issues that is more restorative and preventative by utilizing diet/lifestyle changes, supplementation, herbal treatments and acupuncture. As we age, the metabolism slows down and the female/ male hormones decline along with the thyroid. Studies have shown that when the hormones are optimized, the risk of age-related illness also declines. FBN

By Christina Kovalik NMD, LAc

Dr. Christina Kovalik NMD, LAc, The Vitality Doctor, is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist specializing in hormone optimization, optimal health and vitality. She is a new Flagstaff resident, practicing since 2004, and opened her second location in Doney Park in 2020.

For more information, visit thevitalitydoctor.com or call 928-863-6086.

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