ONCE UPON A TIME, A SALT SHAKER FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL
Late at night it would sneak into her bedroom along with popcorn, only to be discovered by the family later. Sometimes it would jump off the bedside table and roll under the bed to avoid detection, but they always found it.
Wait, that’s not right. I’m pretty sure it was the other way around, and it was the girl who was in love with salt . . . they used to call her The Salt Bandit or something. Yeah, that’s definitely it. I should know, because that person is me.
My salt cravings are no mystery – they nourish the adrenals, which tend to be weak in my family. As part of the endocrine system, they’re inextricably linked to another organ we all need to be talking about – the thyroid.
Seriously, we do. According to The American Thyroid Association, one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime, but about 60% of those affected will never know.
If you’re struggling with low energy levels, difficulty focusing, moodiness or an inability to maintain a healthy weight, you might be one of those women. The numbers for men are better, but not by much. In this post, I’ll share a simple at-home test that many practitioners recommend to determine whether there might be a problem. (Note: This post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. I am simply sharing an at-home observation technique that many practitioners recommend to their patients as part of an overal diagnostic process.)
HOW BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE INDICATES THYROID FUNCTION
The thyroid is often called the “thermostat” of the body, because it produces the hormone we need to keep warm. It does this by converting a hormone made by the pituitary gland, TSH, into T4 and T3. Unfortunately, when the thyroid is struggling it is unable to keep the body at the right temperature setting. Certain enzymes don’t function as well under colder/hotter conditions, which can set a number of disease processes in motion.
According to the Mayo Clinic, low thyroid can lead to heart disease, depression, infertility, birth defects, myxedema, peripheral neuropathy, and goiter.
Why your thyroid might be off even if you your tests come back normal:
Do you have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and yet your tests come back normal? According to some experts, the TSH test used to determine thyroid function is not always reliable. Here’s why: The hormone T4 is inactive in the body, so the body converts it to active T3.
“Usually, medicine will diagnose thyroid disease by testing for TSH levels, or the amount of T3 and T4 hormone in the blood. Bring back to mind, however, that T3 is the primary hormone which helps regulate body temperature – not T4!
Hence, if – despite adequate secretion of T4 by the thyroid gland – we’re not getting sufficient conversion of T4 to T3, or T3 is unable to activate cellular receptor sites, then the basal body temperature, or BBT will be found to be low – as will thyroid function.
In other words, using your body basal temperature provides us with a more realistic understanding of how efficiently your thyroid gland is actually functioning – compared to thyroid testing, done on a blood sample, which only measures how much hormone is present in that specific amount of blood – not how active it is.
Consequently, measuring your basal body temperature makes it possible to achieve a far more authentic way of testing for true thyroid function. It’s based on the simple, yet scientific premise that in a sense, your thyroid is much like the thermostat in your air-conditioned home.”
EASY AT-HOME TEST FOR EVALUATING THYROID FUNCTION
This test should not be used as a sole diagnostic tool. Rather, it is something you can do at home to identify a possible problem to talk over with your trusted healthcare provider.
What you’ll need to check your thyroid at home:
A good (not a regular digital one) or an old-fashioned glass thermometer with mercury. These two types of thermometers are calibrated differently and can report slightly different temperatures. The test was developed with a glass thermometer and is therefore the preferred tool for accuracy, but I choose not to keep one in the house. Instead, I use a high-quality digital thermometer that is very sensitive, and I compare my results with overall symptoms. (See thyroid function quiz below)
1. Place thermometer by your bed before you go to sleep. You’ll need to be able to reach it without getting out of bed or exerting much energy. If you’re using a glass thermometer, shake it thoroughly to reset it. The mercury will need to fall beneath 95F.
2. Over a period of three days, take your temperature immediately after waking up. It should be done around the same time each day before getting out of bed. To do this, place your thermometer under your armpit for 10 minutes while you lie down and rest your eyes without moving around a lot. If you’re using a digital thermometer, press the button at the end of 10 minutes to check your temperature.
3. Write down your temperature, the time, and date on a piece of paper.
4. Repeat this process for 3 consecutive days total. Continue Reading >> Page 2