The thyroid connection to chronic fatigue
There’s tired… and then there’s the kind of fatigue that makes you feel like just getting up from your bed is an impossible task.
Imagine feeling like that every day.
One of my closest friends suffers from the debilitating exhaustion brought on by chronic fatigue syndrome. And there have been multiple times over the years that she has been forced to spend a week at a time in bed.
“I’m so tired of it” she’s said. “It’s completely taken over my life.”
Luckily, there is hope — for my friend and for you if chronic fatigue is taking over your life as well — stealing your time with your friends and family and leaving you exhausted, frustrated and depressed.
Researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands have discovered a connection between low levels of thyroid hormones and chronic fatigue syndrome that could make all the difference.
Like hypothyroidism but not
What got the scientist thinking was the fact that so many of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome resemble those of hypothyroidism (a condition where your thyroid gland can’t produce enough thyroid hormone so you’re tired, depressed and achy).
What’s different between the two diseases is this…
When you have a low thyroid, your body tries to encourage thyroid hormone activity by releasing more thyroid-stimulating hormone — something that doesn’t happen when you’re living with chronic fatigue syndrome.
That gave those researchers the idea that chronic fatigue syndrome is basically caused by a low activity of your thyroid hormones without thyroid disease.
So, they decided to test their theory…
And, guess what?
They were right!
Not only did 100 percent of the patients with chronic fatigue tested have low thyroid hormones, but they also had an extremely difficult time converting inactive thyroid hormones to active thyroid hormones.
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And, to top it off they had a high level of inflammation in their bodies. So you can guess where all your achy joints are coming from, right?
Now, here’s where it gets tricky…
Although all of the patients did have low levels of the active thyroid hormones, most showed normal levels of thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH. And, since this is the only one most doctors even bother to test for, most chronic fatigue patients never know that their thyroid is a problem.
Optimizing your thyroid
And, that is exactly what makes optimizing your thyroid so important when it comes to beating chronic fatigue.
Here are some nutrients that benefit thyroid activity…
#1 – Iodine – Your thyroid needs iodine in order to create critical T3 and T4 hormones.
#2 – L-Tyrosine – This powerful amino acid partners with iodine to create T3 and T4 hormones needed to help efficiently metabolize calories for weight maintenance.
#3 – Selenium – This naturally-occurring trace mineral is what your body needs to convert the relatively inactive T4s to the active thyroid hormone T3.
#4 – Zinc – This essential mineral helps convert the T4 hormone to the more active T3, which helps support a healthy metabolism. It also releases the vitamin A stored in the liver to help support a healthy thyroid.
#5 – Copper – This trace mineral is important for healthy thyroid function. It helps stimulate the thyroid and protect the body from too much thyroxine building up in the blood.
#6 – Ashwagandha Root – A strong antioxidant, ashwagandha helps protect the thyroid, allowing it to function better and produce more T4.
Remember when supplementing follow manufacturer’s suggestion for dosage, and if you take medication, check for possible interactions. It’s also helpful to have these nutrient levels checked before and during a supplement regimen.
Click here for article sources +
- Chronic fatigue syndrome possibly explained by lower levels of key thyroid hormones — Frontiers
- Effect of zinc supplementation on thyroid hormone function. A case study of two college females — Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism