Nicola Parker of Health and Herbs in Morecambe writes about the impact of a slow thyroid.
Constant low energy with no obvious cause can sometimes be attributed to a slow thyroid.
Your thyroid is a gland in your neck, the one that goes up and down as you swallow.
It has a huge range of functions because the hormones it produces regulate the metabolism of your cells.
If your thyroid is slow, your energy levels and motivation will be low no matter how much you rest.
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) can be diagnosed with a blood test by your doctor. It is most common in women and usually occurs around middle age, so it is easily confused with menopause.
I always get bored when the symptoms are reduced to things like age or hormones, because I feel that this is contemptuous.
With low thyroid function, symptoms can range from low energy, weight gain, thick hair, memory loss, low mood, dry skin, low libido and constipation.
These symptoms do not appear to be related, and since none of them appear to be particularly serious, it is very easy to ignore them and discard them. For this reason, many people struggle for years without knowing that they have a problem.
Unfortunately, a blood test from your doctor does not always provide answers.
Many people have what is called subclinical hypothyroidism, which means that their thyroid levels are within the normal range but are still low enough to cause symptoms.
If this is the case, you can be told that everything is normal and put all those problems back down for age and / or hormones. If you are doing this, do not.
Get a copy of the results of your blood tests and discuss them with your GP or phytotherapist, who can help you understand how your results are "normal".
If you find that you are at the lower end of the normal, there are things you can do to help yourself.
Medication is only offered to people outside the normal range, but herbal and nutritional support is available.
Visiting a herbalist is certainly an option as there are herbs that can help stimulate thyroid function.
Before intervening with herbs, I generally recommend the nutritional formula made by Higher Nature called Thyroid Support, since it is easy to buy at the counter.
It does exactly what it says on the tin.
Recently, a lady came to us looking for a "get me".
She had been low on energy for more than a year, attributing it to stress and the recent onset of menopause.
Her hair and skin were in worse condition than they used to be and she did not have the energy to do all the things she used to do during the day.
With more questions, I discovered that she had become particularly sensitive to the cold and was having trouble concentrating on complex tasks. She described it as having a brain that was going through the mud.
She came to seek help from herbs because she just wanted to feel normal again.
When I asked her if she would consider taking any nutritional support for her thyroid, she agreed to try it for four weeks.
After this period, she returned to report that her life began to improve gradually and subtly.
She was not rushing like she was on a spur but she had the energy to clean the house, feel smarter at work, and now she really wants to talk to her husband and play with the kids at night instead of just falling on the couch.
She had recovered her normal back.
If you are already on low thyroid medication, but find that you have not yet returned your normal nutritional support, you can still help.
Selenium is a mineral that helps the body convert thyroxine medication into the active thyroid hormone.
It is worth considering if you had to increase your thyroid medication but still not see any difference.
Selenium levels in foods are low due to modern farming methods, so it is very common to have below-normal levels.
Feeling vaguely tired, overweight and hazy should not be ignored or discarded as being age and menopause related.
You deserve to feel good, so explore the possible causes of these symptoms by talking to your doctor or visiting your herbalist.
Help is available, so you do not have to let the grease, cloudiness, and fatigue become your new normal.