The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating your body’s metabolism, body temperature, breathing, heart rate, body weight, menstrual cycles, and much more. It’s located at the base of your neck, right below your Adam’s apple, and works with the pituitary gland in the brain.
When the pituitary gland releases a thyroid-stimulating hormone, it encourages the production and release of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, also known as T4. With the help of enzymes produced by the body, T4 is then converted into the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine, also known as T3.
Together, these thyroid hormones are essential to optimal thyroid function and play a major role in the overall health of the human body. Ensuring your body has the right levels of T4 and T3 is extremely important. Anything too high or too low could lead to unwanted health concerns.
So, what is free T3?
T3 is known as the active thyroid hormone, meaning it’s the hormone the body utilizes the most. While the thyroid gland produces and releases more T4 than T3, the T4 is eventually converted into T3. There are three main forms of triiodothyronine (T3) — free T3, bound T3, and reverse T3.
Free T3 is triiodothyronine that isn’t bound to a protein, while bound T3 is triiodothyronine that is bound to a protein. A blood test can either show the levels of free T3 in the blood or the levels of both free and bound T3 — total T3. Both tests are essential to understanding your symptoms.
On the other hand, reverse T3 is a little different. It’s known as the metabolically inactive form. While it can bind to T3 receptors, it won’t result in a response — unlike bound T3. It’s mainly responsible for protecting against an overactive thyroid by competing with free T3 in the cell.
What Factors Impact Thyroid Hormone Production?
There are a variety of factors that impact thyroid hormone production positively, but also some that impact it negatively. For example, consuming the right nutrients can help increase production — including antioxidants, iodine, tyrosine, zinc, and Vitamins C, E, B2, B3, and B6.
On the other hand, things like stress, infection, radiation, trauma, certain medication, fluoride, exposure to toxins (such as mercury, cadmium, pesticides, and lead), and autoimmune diseases can have a negative impact on the production of thyroid hormones — both T3 and T4.
What Factors Impact T4 to T3 Conversion?
In addition to the production of thyroid hormones, there are a variety of factors that impact the conversion of T4 into free T3 — as well as the conversion of T4 into reverse T3. For example, selenium and zinc are two minerals that can increase the conversion of T4 into free T3.
On the other hand, things like stress, trauma, a low-calorie diet, inflammation, the presence of cytokines, exposure to toxins, infections, liver or kidney dysfunction, and certain medications can increase the production of T4 into reverse T3.
How Can I Increase My T3 Levels Naturally?
There are a variety of things you can do to increase your T3 levels, but there are no one-size fits all solutions to this issue, especially since everyone’s body is unique. It’s going to take a personalized approach to detect the root cause of the issue and determine a proper solution.
While there’s an easy way to increase T3 levels — by taking thyroid medication, specifically T3-only medication — it doesn’t fix the root cause of the issue. With that said, many people need to focus on the not-so-easy way of increasing T3 levels — by doing so naturally.
The good news is there are a ton of lifestyle choices you can make today to put your body in a better position to succeed. By focusing on your diet, exercise, nutrient deficiencies, gut health, liver function, addressing toxicity, decreasing reverse T3, and managing stress daily, you can increase T3 levels. You can learn more about this here.
Vitamin Deficiencies are a big problem for people with thyroid disease for Three main reasons
Much like all the other organs in the body, your thyroid gland needs the right nutrients to function properly.
- Diet lacks green vegetables
- Most diets are filled with grains which block the uptake of many of these nutrients and finally
- Most people with thyroid problems have compromised digestive function so even if you are eating these healthy foods you’re not absorbing many of that fat soluble vitamins and minerals that are needed for optimal thyroid health.
For the thyroid gland, you should make sure you’re getting enough zinc, selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamins A, D, C, and E, iron, and iodine (unless you have Hashimotos.)
Enhance Gut Health & Gut Imbalances
Thyroid hormone is crucial to the production of stomach acid and ensures your intestines move at the correct pace. In fact, thyroid problems are heavily linked to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and leaky gut. Keeping your gut healthy can help optimize thyroid function.
Decrease Levels of Reverse T3
Since reverse T3 can block the actions of free T3, you want to make sure your reverse T3 levels are as low as possible. A blood test can measure your reverse T3 levels. If they’re too high, there are many things you can do to restore your thyroid function.
Improve Liver Function With Liver Function Tests
While about 20% of thyroid hormones are converted in the gut, some research shows that nearly 60% of thyroid hormones are converted in the liver. If you’re experiencing any issues with your liver, it could prevent T4 from converting into T3 properly — which needs to be treated. If you are having low T3 or low Free T3, It might be a good idea to check out this article.
Does stress cause thyroid disease?
Chronic stress is known to play a role in the development of many diseases, including autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, are by far the most common type of thyroid disease.
If you have Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you may be wondering what triggered your illness. Could it have been a stressful time in your life?
A 2005 article published in the journal Thyroid argues that stress may precede the onset of Graves’ and Hashimoto’s diseases. The authors argue that stress may modulate the immune system, which could cause autoimmune disease in those who are genetically predisposed.
A 2013 article also argued that stress plays a role in the pathophysiology of Graves’ disease. The authors suggest that stress management should be part of a patient’s treatment plan.
Manage Stress & Adrenal Function
Studies show that an increase in cortisol often correlates with an increase in thyroid-stimulating hormone, which can lead to thyroid dysfunction. By managing your stress levels, cutting out caffeine, practicing mindfulness, and taking supplements to help support your adrenals, is a step in the right direction.
Develop Healthy Habits
Everything from eating a healthier diet, developing a regular exercise routine, reducing the amount of stress you encounter, and ensuring you get enough quality sleep each night can help you increase T3 levels naturally. These lifestyle changes will also help in other areas of your life.
Contact Dr. Hagmeyer Today!
Tired of Struggling? Need Answers? Schedule A Free Phone Consultation with Dr. Hagmeyer. If you’re experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, or believe your thyroid gland isn’t functioning properly, contact me today. I’ve helped a wide range of patients find the root cause of their symptoms and can help you find a solution that works for you. To Schedule a Free 15 minute Phone Consult to see if this program is right for you;
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