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Thyroid: You Might Have a Problem and Not Know It

Robyn Openshaw - Jul 08, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

All estimates I’ve read are that 25 to 50 percent or more of American women have significant thyroid issues. Possibly over half of women over 40. Most of these women are undiagnosed. If you have low thyroid, which is the most common thyroid problem, symptoms may be low energy, slow metabolism / weight gain, dry skin, bags under your eyes, fatigue, hair loss, depression, poor circulation, low immune function, and insomnia.

My best friend since childhood, on the other hand, has the “auto-immune” condition of hyperthyroidism, which is just as miserable. Her thyroid is always revved and overproducing. She goes the drug route. The symptoms are a racing heartbeat, weight loss, increase or decrease in appetite, insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, mental disturbance, infertility, thinning hair, itching and hives, heat intolerance, and tremors / shakiness.

All the endocrine disruptors in the environment and food supply affect thyroid function. Don’t eat soy! Don’t expose yourself to pesticides, or plastics, or heavy metals. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and unchecked stress.

Doctors will likely put you on synthetic hormone. Remember that the drug thyroid is not bioidentical to the thyroid produced in your body. It’s been molecularly altered, each drug different from each other, to earn a patent.

If you find a clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone, the cost is far less, and your body can assimilate and utilize the hormone effectively, like the hormone your own thyroid produces.

I spent four years on a synthetic thyroid drug, many years ago, before I knew any better. It helped me drop the 40 lbs. I’d gained in a year since I became hypothyroid. But it increased my risk for cancer. I happily transitioned to bioidentical and have been on it ever since. Recently I went completely off thyroid to test whether perhaps my good diet compensated, and maybe I could produce hormone effectively by myself.

The good news is, my baseline was much better than it was 10 years ago when I first was tested. The bad news is, I got ugly bags under my eyes. I made some videos last summer in Denver when I was completely off thyroid, and I can’t even look at them. Ugly. My body makes about 60% of the thyroid I need. I take a few drops of nascent iodine each day, now, and my bioidentical thyroid keeps me happy and balanced.

You can read whole books on the thyroid phenomenon by Mary Shomon, a bestselling author. Too many women are hypothyroid and going without treatment. Remember to google “bioidentical hormone” rather than starting with the standard M.D.’s practice of automatic drug-oriented HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

And remember, having an M.D. check you for T3 will not give you the whole answer. When I gained 40 lbs. because I was very hypothyroid in my mid-30’s, I was tested for that and the doc told me it was “normal.” I knew I was NOT feeling normal, but what was I to do?

You must get the full blood panel and have a highly specialized bioidentical practitioner look at the interplay of T3, T4, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and a variety of co-factors. When I did that, my life changed dramatically because they could treat my whole body, rather than just drug one element, throwing other critical elements into imbalance.

If you’re feeling healthy but want to make sure you’re getting enough iodine, using refined salt with chemical, synthetic iodine enrichment, is harmful. If you want ways to get more natural, bioavailable iodine in your diet, to enhance your body’s ability to make and utilize thyroid hormone?

Talk to your holistic practitioner about whether you should take nascent iodine (available online, google it) or Lugol’s solution (prescription). My practitioner had me paint a 1”x1” patch of my inner forearm with drugstore iodine, and if it disappeared in an hour, she said that was a sign my body needs iodine. (However, I believe others dispute this test as valid.)

Food-based sources are kelp (which you can take in tablets, or it’s a wonderful salt replacement seasoning), or dulse, or nori sheets (seaweed). Those are high-iodine sea vegetables. If you take too much, you would notice being jittery, anxious, shaky, so if so, you could back off those foods. But generally, you’d have to eat an awful lot of sea vegetables to create an imbalance.

Posted in: Health Concerns, Healthy Weight

18 thoughts on “Thyroid: You Might Have a Problem and Not Know It”

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  1. This is all so interesting to me! I’m still tired and getting stomach attacks even though my diet is near perfect. (big 12 step and GSG advocate here in Canada!) So I’m about to do a candida detox but I’m thinking hormones plays a huge part too! I wish there was a check list you could take in with you so you can say here….this is what I want to find out about my hormones and fix and this is how I want to do it! I need to arrive on this long journey I’ve been on to find good health. I want to live life a bit more!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you have a bioidentical practitioner you recommend in Salt Lake or Utah counties? I found a few online but have no idea which one to choose and I would be interested in your opinion. Thanks!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m also hypothyroid according to the TSH tests (I haven’t had T3 tested yet). I was diagnosed at the age of 17. My only symptoms were significantly infrequent menstrual cycles and very dry skin and hair. I am not overweight, nor do I feel fatigued often. I was told to take levoxyl, but once I got fed up with my old endocrinologist simply prescribing medication and telling me not to believe lifestyle changes would have any effect, I switched to another doctor who prescribed levothyroxine. After realizing he was EXACTLY the same, I gave up on the drugs and western doctors all together a year and a half ago. The only thing the drugs ever did for me was lower a number on a blood test. I still haven’t ever had menstrual cycles two months in a row, with or without medication.

    I am desperate to find someone who can actually answer my questions about where this medication comes from and how taking synthetic hormones will affect my body over the rest of my life. I have never come across someone who can tell me how Hashimoto’s disease will affect a young person over their lifetime. I am currently on a waiting list for an appointment to see a doctor of oriental medicine in January (what am I supposed to do until then?!), but as a young college grad, I have very little money to spend outside of insurance to get the care I need. I will look into bioidentical hormone and holistic practicioners.

    Robyn, thank you for bringing hormonal and thyroid issues to light; please keep the discussion going! Do you have any advice for me about things to start right away (besides green smoothies of course :)?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      KLC, i can’t give “medical” advice. Do get a blood panel from a bioidentical specialist, okay? Be sure to stay away from endocrine disruptors like soy products. Hang in there, let us know if you find something that works for you.

  4. Anonymous says:


    Thank you for discussing this topic! I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune hypothyroiditis) a year ago. I tried the synthetic thyroid medication route, and that did nothing for my fatigue. Now I’m on Armour thyroid, which is supposedly natural. I’m wondering if this is considered a bioidentical? If not, what’s the difference? It only seems a little better in helping my symptoms, and my menstrual cycle is totally off now.

    Can you please recommend a bioidentical practitioner locally here in Utah County that could help me with this?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone recommend a bioidentical hormone practioner in Davis county?

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about edamame? Is it a ‘safe’ food?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Edamame is good. The problem is how MUCH soy you’re getting. If you’re avoiding processed foods (boxed, canned, etc.), a little edamame is just fine, if it’s organic. Remember that most soy and corn is GMO, so look for organic labels for those foods, exclusively!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much Robyn! I am 36, been trying to get pregnant the last 3 years. Been without a period for all my life and I have been crying out to God, Thanking Him for my healing. I know Jesus is my Healer. My husband is a Dr. of Holistic Nutrition. I have been on glandulars that have helped some. I have been thinking about seeing a Bio-Identical Hormone Specialist. Appreciate the info, God Bless you.

  8. Hi Robyn,

    Great article. If anyone is wondering if they may have thyroid disease, they can also take the quiz at You get personalized answers and free videos. There are not products sold, this is just to help thyroid patients.


    Dr. C

  9. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I thought you might get a good laugh. My 11 yr. daughter was out weeding in the backyard and asked me to check her progress. She was doing fantastic, except I realized she pulled out a bunch of Purslane, the edible weed. I taught her and her younger bro that these are good for you weeds. so we sat outside harvesting and nibbling, while I replanted a few weeds for the future 🙂 Now I need to educate my husband, I hope he receives it as well as my youngest did!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      LOL, awesome! Purslane is so great! Go Camille!

  10. Anonymous says:

    hey robyn! I have a question… my roommate was just diagnosed with Hashimotos thyroid disease (she’s 22). I have a pretty wide knowledge of nutritional stuff in general but… do you think that going to plant based diet could reverse someting like that? he doctor has her on a heavy dosage of thyroid replacement hormones and warned her that she can never go off the meds. What can I tell her? (I’ve already told her to stuff drinking diet dr. pepper…)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn. I am one of those people who cannot afford to see a holistic practitioner. However my regular obgyn said she felt a small thyroid and it’s simply something to keep an eye on as far as size. What do you suggest for people like me and are their foods or bioidentical hormones or anything that can help me. I read articles online that say you can shrink them. I have not been diagnosed with anything as of yet but I’m interested in preventative maintenance.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Lea, I just wanted to say that I have had hypothyroid (Hashimoto’s) for twelve years. I always considered myself a healthy person, and felt devastated that I have an autoimmune disease. I never did drugs, smoke, or drank alcohol, not even soda. I ran cross country and track throughout high school, and maintained a healthy exercise program in college, and when pregnant too. I am not a huge meat eater either. My first pregnancy was totally normal, except an emergency c-section, because the baby was breech. When I didn’t lose one pound after I had my baby, I started to wonder what was going on? I had walked 5-6 miles everyday when I was pregnant, and still continuing excercise after. I was 24, and started asking around if what I was going through was normal. Most people just thought it was postpartum depression, because I felt really tired. Anyways, I ran across a study that showed a group of Jewish people who lived to ne 120 or more, and the entire group had thyroid disease. They compared their health to an elephant, because their metabolism and heart rate were super slow, which actually made them live longer from the hypothyroid. The study showed that mice have much quicker heart rates and metabolisms, and they live short lives.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Jess & Colette,

    My mom and sister go to a place in Utah County. Here is their website: If I cannot find anybody up here in Davis county then I will make a trip down to Utah county…they thought they were very thorough and did a great job! Hope that helps.

  14. Virginia says:

    I am also hypothryroid. I noticed recently that we are not supposed to eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables such as kale, spinach, brocoli and cauliflower. I was loading my blender up with the leafy kinds everyday and they are considered hormone blockers. I was wondering if you could produce a list of substitutes that would be good for us. I have used a whole zucchini before, but I would like to find other leafy greens that are NOT cruciferous.

  15. Hi, Robin! I take nascent iodine, too, due to some thyroid test results.

    If people decide to try that, it’s a good idea to make SURE they don’t take more than the recommended amount of “drops” per day since too MUCH iodine isn’t good for one, either (1,100 mcg-per-day, total, is the recommended upper tolerable limit). Important to watch the “total” number as iodine is well-represented if you’re already taking supplements such as spirulina or Concentrace’s Trace Mineral Drops, a daily quality multi-vitamin or the like, as too much iodine can actually CAUSE hypothyroidism.

    I also found out that IF you’re going to take supplemental iodine, you should also consider taking L-Tyrosine to make sure it gets utilized properly. (If you are taking prescription thyroid hormone medication, you should never take L-tyrosine without direction from your doctor. Do not take L-tyrosine if you have high blood pressure or have symptoms of mania).

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