Today, I will talk about one of the most important organs related to Thyroid function- Your Liver. The Liver is overlooked but absolutely critical to thyroid function. For many of you who struggle with thyroid disease, thyroid replacement with Armour, Synthroid, Levothryoxine, cytomel, etc will not address the root cause of your problem. Taking Thyroid replacement is just toping off your thyroid levels, while the root cause of why those Thyroid levels are low in the first, place go undetected.
So in this video series I will be covering,
- The Role of the Liver and Why the liver is so important to thyroid function and those with Hashimoto’s disease.
- The 7 Signs that your Liver is toxic and or overworked
- How to best support your liver especially if you are one of those people who have an MTHFR mutation
- 5 Thyroid disruptors or Toxins to start eliminating from your house today, where you find them
Lets start unpacking these 5 main topics
The Role of the Liver as it Relates To Thyroid Function
First off it would be silly of me to not first explain the role of the liver.
So, for those of you who are not physicians, The liver has about 500 different tasks and while there will be a few that I miss but the key ones are related to metabolic function.
- Every time you put something in your mouth- whether its food, alcohol, hormones, vitamins, medications- it all goes to the liver- So its main role here is in filtering the blood that comes from the digestive tract. (can you say toxic)
- It makes Bile and bile is needed to get rid of toxins and waste products in our body. Bile is also necessary for breaking down fat and absorbing those fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins ADEK, (can you say vitamin deficiencies, stomach bloating, constipation)
- If you have too much carbohydrates or sugar in your diet, your liver will convert that sugar or those carbohydrates into fat. We call this glycogen- which is stored energy. (can you say overweight/ weight gain
- The liver also helps keep our blood sugar regulated and constant. When your blood sugar gets low or in times of stress, it will convert our stored fat called glycogen into glucose to be used for energy or that fight or flight response you may have heard of. (can you say blood sugar dysregulation)
- It stores Iron and other vitamins and releases them when reserves get low. (can you say low ferritin and low vitamin levels)
- Helps convert T4 thyroid hormone into T3 thyroid hormone.
Let’s talk a little bit about this because if you are one of those people out there who has Low thyroid levels- I wouldn’t be surprised if the cause is Low T3.
The Liver-Thyroid Connection- Why The liver is so important for Thyroid health
I’ll bet if you are watching this video, then you are probably taking Thyroid hormones.
If you are taking thyroid hormones like Synthroid you are taking synthetic T4 Thyroid Hormones. Now.. Here is why this is important, and I want you to listen very carefully.
If you have had blood testing and your T4 or free T4 levels were low- your doctor prescribed you Synthroid to help raise your T4 levels.
What your doctor is hoping, is that your liver is working optimally, and it will covert inactive T4 into the active T3 thyroid hormone.
The key word here is hoping. Many people taking Synthroid (T4 thyroid hormone) don’t feel much better and some feel even worse and one of the reasons for this has to do with a sluggish, toxic and tired liver.
These are the people who continue having hypothyroid symptoms- fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, feeling cold, depressed, brain fog-
So, they go back to the doctor and the doctor tinkers around with the dose, giving your even more thyroid hormone- or instructs you- to continue taking your thyroid hormones, meanwhile, every day that goes by you feel worse and worse- again the problem is with a toxic, tired and sluggish liver- dumping more and more T4 (Synthroid) thyroid hormones into the body is not addressing the root cause of why your hormones are low.
So if this is happening to you I want you to remember that One of the potential reasons of feeling worse on Thyroid Hormones, comes down to a tired, toxic and overworked liver.
Your liver may not be converting that T4 thyroid hormone into T3 and this will cause Low T3 levels.
We call this Thyroid Under conversion and it is one of the Thyroid patterns that don’t show up on normal lab tests unless your doctor orders both a T3 and Free T3 (which most doctor don’t do.)
Hopefully, what you can take away from this is that rather than treating the symptoms by taking thyroid hormones- perhaps it’s better to investigate the Root causes of why you have low thyroid hormones in the first place- perhaps it’s the liver fault it simply won’t convert T4 into T3.
Now another mistake I see being made all the time, comes from the doctors who push T3 thyroid replacement as the cure all for thyroid problems.
Taking T3 such as Cytomel or a combination of T4 and T3 like that which you will find in Armour Thyroid- is not the answer either.
Taking Thyroid hormones when levels are low without investigating why the levels are low in the first place only hurts patients. It’s a crutch! its like topping off your oil, when the case of your low oil is a leak!
It does you NO good If your doctor prescribes Synthroid Levothyroxin, Armour, Naturethroid, Cytomel or any combination of them while they ignore the root cause of why you can’t make T3.
This is why it is important to start with a Complete Thyroid panel.
The next topic we need to talk about when it comes to the importance of Liver function as it relates to Thyroid function is recognizing some of the signs that your liver is tired, toxic and overworked.
The 7 signs that your Liver is Tired, Toxic and or Overworked
#1- Excess Fatigue –
We just talked about this, When the liver is Tired, Toxic and overworked the liver won’t be able to convert inactive T4 into active T3 leading to Low T3 and normal or near normal T4 levels
That’s important because 60% of this conversion takes place in the liver. So, if you have excessive fatigue and you have low T3 levels or low Free T3 levels- many times you will experience crippling fatigue.
I like to see total T3 levels in the range of 100-180.
For more information on Thyroid lab ranges you can visit this link.
You will also remember we talked about the livers role in converting glucose into glycogen which is stored sugar.
By storing glycogen, in times of stress or during times of low blood sugar, the body can break down glycogen and convert it to sugar to provide fuel and energy where the body needs it.
#2- Hormone imbalances-
Do you suffer with the symptoms of Estrogen dominance? Hot flashes, heavy menstrual cycles, breast tenderness, depression, irritability, loss of mental stamina?
Do you have fibroids or endometriosis, Do you have or do you know someone with poly cystic ovaries? And cystic acne and black hairs on the chin? These are all caused by hormonal imbalances in either estrogen, testosterone or progesterone.
Remember, we said that the liver is a filter. Not only are toxins from medications, alcohol and the environment filtered by liver, our hormones, are also filtered or more specifically metabolized by the liver.
When liver function is compromised, again because it is tired, toxic, and overworked, excess estrogen or Testosterone may not be adequately bound and excreted from the body in the bile, urine and feces.
If you have had hormone testing done in the past, and your levels were not balanced, your liver is a culprit and should be further examined.
#3- Excessive gas, bloating, constipation and what I call rabbit or pellet poop.
Instead of having a nice banana shaped bowel movement that is dark brown in color, your poop is light colored and sometimes even gray in color.
While we often think about gas, bloating and constipation being due to gut problems- things like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), yeast overgrowth, food sensitivities, or changes to the gut microbiome- a poor liver should definitely be on your radar when considering the “Big Picture.”
When the liver fails to produce sufficient amounts of bile, you are not going to break down fats the way you should, and this can lead to gas, constipation and bloating but more importantly it can lead to poor absorption of nutrients- especially those fat soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K) and essential fatty acids like omega 3’s and omega 6’s.
If you have ever had your vitamin D levels tested and they came back low, did you stop to think “Why” are those Vitamin D levels low? or perhaps you are taking omega 3 essential fatty acids and on testing your levels were also low?
It could come down to your liver, not producing or releasing enough bile into the gallbladder and then into small intestines to help with digestion and absoprtion-
You can see this evident by this test result from a patient
#4 Brain fog-
Have you been having a hard time staying focused on a task? Are you finding yourself more forgetful than in the past? Have you noticed changes in your mood or personality?
when the blood is overloaded with toxins because of poor liver detoxification, your brain will suffer.
Many of the toxins we come in contact with are what we call lipophilic- translated it literally means fat loving. Toxins have an affinity for being stored in our fat-
60% of your brain is fat- A toxic liver is a toxic brain. Toxins also get stored in your organs and in our adipose tissue- that’s the fat in our hips, thighs, but and belly-
#5- Chemical sensitivities, Food Intolerances, Food Allergies and Hives.
Again, the livers role in detoxification shows up in a number of ways. We live in a toxic world- our liver is being exposed to more toxins that ever before. It is estimated that the average person consumes 3-7 tons of food in a lifetime- that’s a lot of potential toxins being ingested.
Not only toxins from the outside world (foods and environment), but also from the toxins being produced within our own body, we call these endotoxins and they often come from leaky gut, gut bacteria, food poisoning and gut dysbiosis.
So, at first, you may struggle with simple seasonal allergies, but after a few years you now find yourself struggling with food sensitivities and Even further down the road, you begin to react to everything from the chemicals found in makeup and perfumes to cleaning agents and new carpet
Your body has lost its ability to keep up and adapt to the environmental and food chemicals and this is a combination of liver, gut barrier and immune dysfunction.
#6- Chronic inflammation–
Do you suffer with fibromyalgia? rheumatoid arthritis? migraines? headaches? have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease? Chronic inflammation is a major problem and a main culprit behind autoimmune diseases like Hashimotos Thyroid disease, Graves disease, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, MS, IBD, Leaky Gut, Crohn’s disease and poor Thyroid function.
So, What’s The Connection Between Inflammation, The Liver and Thyroid Disease?
The liver is responsible for making inflammatory cytokines, these are chemical messengers made by immune system cells such as helper T cells and macrophages.
These are chemicals such as IL-6, TNF-alfa and C-reactive protein. These are all important when it comes to autoimmune diseases. When I work with a patient who has an autoimmune disease, one of the things I am intent on understanding is what is driving the inflammatory process.
#7 Elevated levels of heavy metals such as Mercury, Cadmium, Lead and Arsenic.
Vaccines, Coal burning power plants, agricultural run-off, paper processing plants, working in textile industry, dental procedures and sometimes every day foods like white Rice, red wine and even our drinking water.
When the liver’s detoxification pathways are all tied up, heavy metals will accumulate in the body. We can see this on testing, and I will tell you that it is not as rare as you think.
In particular, the liver’s stores of glutathione, which safely and effectively binds to toxins and metals, can be depleted.
Here is an example of some of the testing I like to look at If I suspect a Tired, Toxic and Overworked liver –
This is not a standard blood test, so it’s not going to show up on routine testing- most testing done to evaluate liver function is geared towards detecting advanced disease states like Hepatitis, those tests are not sensitive enough to pick up the more subtle signs of liver congestion and the body’s response to Toxicants.
So that’s going to wrap up this first video, I hope you enjoyed the first part of this video series on the connection between thyroid disease and liver function.
If you are not a subscriber yet, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and don’t forget to tune into the next video where I will talk about
- How to best support your liver detoxification pathways when you have Thyroid Disease,
- Some of my favorite herbs that help support the liver
- Why if you are thinking of doing a 7 day or 21 day detox why you should reconsider and finally
- 5 Thyroid disruptors and Toxins to start eliminating from your house today, where you find them and how they affect your Thyroid function
I will see you again in part II of this video!