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A Thyroid Saga

Emma Tekstra > Solutions  > A Thyroid Saga

A Thyroid Saga

I had been struggling with an underperforming thyroid for years. At my annual physicals the standard blood tests showed my TSH levels steadily rising well outside “normal” ranges. I exhibited many of the typical symptoms (we’ll get into below) and finally in 2020 my well-meaning doctor prescribed “Nature-throid” to be taken daily reassuring me it was “natural” as he knew my avoidance of all medications. I trusted my doctor and was crazy busy at work and home (hence the thyroid and adrenal problems in the first place!) so didn’t take the time to do any research. I filled the prescription and started taking the little white pill daily.


My doctor had explained I wouldn’t feel anything right away so I didn’t give it much thought and went about my life. I’d been on it 60 days when I went to refill the prescription and the pharmacist told me it had been discontinued and they’d have to call my doctor for an alternative. Again, busy….distracted….leaving my health to others, I didn’t follow up. As the weeks went by I found myself “losing words” when on conference calls and short of breath, getting increasingly more tired. Until eventually I couldn’t get out of bed and couldn’t string a sentence together. I was really worried there was something wrong with my brain and had to admit to my boss we’d need to add someone to the team to help me keep the balls in the air as I was barely functioning. I finally started researching.


Turns out the innocent sounding “Nature-throid” actually contains thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) made from a pig (which has a genetic make-up close to humans). The “natural” reference is to contrast it with the majority of thyroid medications which are synthetic, made entirely in a lab.  The problem is when you give your body hormones it tells your thyroid it doesn’t need to make them anymore. (Remember the use-it-or-lose-it mantra?) I had stopped cold turkey and my thyroid wasn’t prepared to pick up the slack. There is no way I was going to allow myself to be that reliant on a little white pill that if I didn’t get it could render me incapacitated. (It’s my same reasoning for not drinking coffee by the way!) More to the point, I’d rather address the root cause of why my thyroid is underperforming in the first place to get my body back in balance rather than pop a pill that gets it further out of balance.

The problem is when you give your body hormones it tells your thyroid it doesn't need to make them anymore.

Thankfully I am now incorporating completely natural solutions that work in conjunction with my body rather than against it with great results and you can too.

Thyroid Basics

The thyroid is a small gland in your neck about the size of a walnut but yields incredible power in the body. It can be thought of as your overall metabolic regulator affecting every cell in the body through the production of various hormones. The health of your thyroid affects just about every system in the body which is why the symptoms of an unhealthy thyroid are wide ranging and may go unnoticed initially or chalked up to general aging.


Blood tests may look at your TSH levels first. This is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone produced by the pituitary gland in your brain which tells your thyroid to produce more T4 (Thyroxine). A portion of T4 is converted into T3 (Triiodothyronine) by enzymes and it is the T3 that is most active directly influencing metabolic function of individual cells. A conventional approach will measure your TSH and if it is high (above 4 or 5U/ml) it is assumed you have low T4 and you’ll be labelled with hypothyroidism. Your doctor will typically try and “supplement” T4 or a combination of T3 and T4 using various pharmaceuticals. If your TSH is low (below 0.5U/ml) the reverse is assumed and you’ll be labelled with hyperthyroidism with different treatment. Additional tests may indicate there is an autoimmune element in either case where your body is actually attacking your thyroid and you’ll be labelled with Hashimoto’s or Graves. There are other thyroid conditions such as nodules or goiter and additional hormones generally involved but the details serve mainly for labelling purposes and identifying the arsenal of pharmaceuticals a doctor may want to recommend. The more important question is what is causing the unhealthy thyroid or autoimmune condition and how can we fix it.

Symptoms and Causes

Thyroid problems can impact just about any system in the body so there are literally hundreds of symptoms that may manifest (and disappear once you improve your thyroid health). But here’s a few of the most common:


Weight gain



Difficulty Concentrating

Trouble breathing

Dry skin


High cholesterol

Irregular menstrual cycles


Low libido

Muscle and joint pain or weakness


Poor digestion

Sensitivity to cold


Anxiety and panic attacks

Blood sugar imblances

Changes in vision

Difficulty maintaining weight

Muscle fatigue

Hair loss

Fluctuations in appetite

Heart palpitations

High blood pressure




Increased perspiration

Your thyroid is particularly sensitive to toxins in your environment such as pesticides in your food, heavy metals, plastics and other chemicals. Stress is also a major culprit due to the connection of the thyroid with your adrenal system. A lack of solid restful sleep each night can also impact your thyroid. Nutrient deficiencies from an unhealthy diet and gluten sensitivities are major factors usually indicating a compromised gut with an imbalanced microbiome. Addressing each of these issues is a more robust strategy for improving your thyroid function rather than letting a doctor try and artificially manipulate the orchestra of hormones in your body likely sending it further out of balance.

12 Tips to Heal Your Thyroid Naturally


Eat plenty of wild caught fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. The Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for hormone balance and optimal thyroid function.


Eat seaweed as the best natural source of iodine. Snack packs of dried seaweed are an easy choice or add kombu or wakame to cooked dishes.


Eat 1-2 Brazil nuts daily as the best source of Selenium, critical to your thyroid.


Make sure you are eating enough fiber from a wide selection of fruits and vegetables daily to aid digestion and which will also provide much needed vitamins and polyphenols.


Eat probiotic foods to improve gut health such as kefir, kimchi, organic goat’s milk yogurt, natto sauerkraut, or other fermented veggies. A good quality probiotic supplement can also help.


Drink plenty of clean water for proper hydration. A good guide is to take your weight in pounds and drink at least half of it in ounces throughout the day, two-thirds may be even better but may take some building up to. Eg. If you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70-95oz a day. Avoid tap water which contains fluoride (an endocrine disruptor) and chlorine (inhibits iodine absorption).


Avoid caffeine and other stimulants which can wear out your adrenal glands and negatively affect your thyroid. Sugar is also disruptive to your hormones.


Avoid gluten even if you haven’t been formally diagnosed with a sensitivity. Wheat, rye and barley products are highly inflammatory and often contaminated with the pesticide glyphosate which is extremely disruptive in the body.


Avoid conventional dairy from regular cows which is also highly inflammatory and detrimental to your thyroid. Organic goat’s milk products are safer.


Reduce your toxic load. This will be different for everyone but includes toxins in your meals from packaged products and fast food, those in your environment such as mold in your house, cleaning or personal care products and heavy metals in dental fillings and medications. Any vices like smoking and excessive alcohol need to be eliminated.


Manage stress and optimize rest. Get 7-8 hours of solid sleep every night and employ multiple methods to manage stress such as exercise, meditation, joining a faith community and scheduling fun times with friends.


Good quality supplements can be helpful even if you have improved your diet. You may be able to get a Thyroid Support supplement that includes several of these elements. As always monitor how much you are supplementing as too much can be detrimental.

Just For Men

While it is more common for women to have thyroid problems don’t think this post isn’t for men too. One of those Big-Pharma-made-up-conditions is “Low T”. Testosterone is another major hormone and subject to similar imbalances if you are mis-treating your body. If you start supplementing with Testosterone your body is going to decide it doesn’t need to produce it anymore and basically your testicles (where Testosterone is produced) will atrophy. Remember the warnings to body builders taking steroids which are basically hormones?

The Bottom Line

Hormones are complicated. For optimum health the body keeps them in an intricate balance with an incredible natural mechanism. Man cannot improve on mother nature. So look for the root cause and address that first before resorting to pharmaceuticals. If you are already on a prescription medication do not just stop it. This can be very dangerous as discussed above. Make the lifestyle changes first and then work with your doctor to taper off it slowly.

Emma Tekstra
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