I have had a few requests for some information in regard to thyroid function and how it relates to the skin.
First, what role does the Thyroid play? Your thyroid gland is your body regulator – it controls your metabolism. If there is an imbalance of your thyroid hormones, it will affect every metabolic function in your body.
Your Thyroid gland and the hormones it produces play a role in the following:
- Tissue repair and development
- Aids in the function of mitochondria (cell energy)
- Assists with digestion
- Controls hormone secretion
- Modulates blood flow
- Modulates protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism
- Regulates energy and heat production
- Stimulates protein synthesis
- Regulates growth
- Modulates muscle and nerve action
The different types of hormones your thyroid produces are:
- Diiodothyronine (T2)
- TSH – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
- Thyroxine (T4)
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
T4 is 80% of your thyroid glands production and is converted to T3 in your liver or kidneys. T3 is 5 times more active than T4.
T4 can be converted into reverse T3 which is stored and inactive. If you take too much synthetic T4 this will be more common. T2 will increase your metabolic rate of muscles and fat.
Reverse T3 is a measurement of inactive thyroid functions and has only 1% of the activity of T3 and is considered an antagonist of T3. The most common reason that reverse T3 levels increase, is stress. Cortisol levels rise and in situations where stress is constant, these levels remain high and the production of reverse T3 is possible. A common symptom in people with high reverse T3 is weight gain. You may also experience a drop in body temperature which slows the action of many enzymes in your body and leads to a syndrome known as, ‘multiple enzyme dysfunction’.
Many pathology tests ordered by your physician may only indicate levels of TSH, however, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may be requiring an entire pathology panel to indicate levels of free T4, free T3 and reverse T3.
We can take supplements to aid in the conversion of T4 to T3 (please seek dosage advice from Naturopath) :
Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin B6, B12, Iron (if low-blood test required), Vitamin D and Iodine have all been found to be helpful.
So how is your skin affected with low levels of Thyroid hormones?
- Brittle nails
- Coarse, dry hair
- Drooping eyelids
- Dry, itchy skin
- Elbow Keratosis
- Loss or thinning of eyelashes
- Loss of lateral one-third of eyebrows
- Puffy face
- Swollen eyelids
- Yellowish colouring of the skin
I advise you speak to an Integrative Physician or Naturopath to see if you may be a candidate for having low thyroid function (Hypothyroidism). Your skin is a great indicator of your internal health and if it is feeling rough, dry, and itchy, and you are losing large amounts of hair on a daily basis, then I suggest you may need to check on your Thyroid levels. This condition is so common today and we have to look at our diet to consider if this plays a role in suppressing this important gland along with a natural Thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
Please note this is not a medical diagnosis, if you feel you suffer with any of the symptoms listed, please seek Medical advice for correct diagnosis.