Drinking from plastic water bottles, or taking “The Pill” can cause hypothyroidism by raising levels of estrogen hormone in your body. The same can be said about menopause drugs which contain the same synthetic estrogen ingredients or commercial cattle injected with estrogen hormones to make animals heavier at the point of sale. In humans, these hormones raise estrogen, and estrogen holds fat. This sounds counterintuitive, but men frequently have high levels of estrogen, especially if they have prostate problems but that’s another article. My point is excess estrogen causes too many transporters, or taxis which bind up your active thyroid hormone. When bound like that, thyroid hormone is completely unavailable to your cells which is where you need it.
Scientifically termed “thyroid binding globulin” or TBG, these transporters drive your thyroid hormone around your blood and drop it off at your cells to wake you up and burn off that foot-long sub you had last night.
When TBG is high, free thyroid hormone (Free T3) is low and you will have symptoms of hypothyroidism, more specifically you are what I call “thyroid sick.” I talked about this in my Thyroid Healthy book. Ladies, please note that hypothyroidism is a risk factor for premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage and poor fetal neurological development. Since the popular (relatively useless) TSH blood test doesn’t mirror how you really feel, and fails to reflect intracellular thyroid levels, I suggest two special blood tests which paint a better picture:
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin or SHBG
Suggested Level: Women < 70 and Men < 30
What does “sex hormone” have to do with thyroid hormone? A lot, at least in women. It doesn’t correlate well in men though so I wouldn’t track SHBG in men. This biomarker goes up in response to 3 things, estrogen, insulin or thyroid hormone. They correlate directly. If SHBG is low, it means you have either low estrogen, high insulin (diabetes to follow) or low thyroid hormone.
Thyroid Binding Globulin or TBG
Suggested Level: 13 – 39 mcg/ml
This is a blood test to evaluate how many “taxis” or transporters you have in your blood stream. The Pill increases your TBG that’s why you feel more tired on those drugs. They latch onto your thyroid hormone and that makes you tired. Progesterone medication or creams may help, ask your doctor.
There are a few simple things that help. For one, you can switch out your plastic water bottles for glass bottles. You can buy grass-fed, organic free-range meats more frequently. You can find an alternate form of hormone replacement or contraception. You can ask doc about natural over-the-counter aromatase inhibitors like chrysin or DIM. You should try different thyroid medicine or higher levels of T3. Most of all, don’t resign yourself to “this is just my life” or “my doctor is really nice so I can’t speak up for myself.” I believe you can get well. Never resign yourself to symptoms that leave you feeling less than healthy, sexy and energetic!
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.