Defining Thyroid Dysfunction
Hormone dysregulation is one of the Hallmarks of Aging. It is commonly known that the sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, decline as we age. However, there are many other hormones that also become less functional, such as insulin, leptin, and thyroid-related hormones.
Thyroid dysfunction is a very common problem thought to affect at least 12% of the U.S. population. This a general term used to describe conditions that prevent your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones.
LDN & Thyroid Dysfunction
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has become a popular accompaniment in helping to treat the symptoms of thyroid issues. While taking LDN is not a substitute for taking thyroid hormone medication, there have been many instances in which it has been shown to alleviate some or all symptoms of hypo and hyper-thyroidism, as well as helping to regulate the way the thyroid works—sometimes decreasing the amount of thyroid medication an individual has to take.
Before looking at LDN thyroid treatments, let’s first cover the types of thyroid issues most commonly seen. Patients have either an under-active thyroid or an over-active thyroid.
Hypothyroidism: The most common type of thyroid problem is hypothyroidism, which translates to a low functioning thyroid. Often seen symptoms of hypothyroidism are weight gain, fatigue, intolerance to cold, dry and brittle hair, dry skin, peeling cuticles, constipation, joint pain, and insomnia. A variety of issues can lead to hypothyroidism, the most common being Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the tissue of the thyroid gland and leads to decreased production of thyroid hormone such as thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). T4 typically gets converted into T3, which is the hormone your body’s cells use to function in almost every capacity, from regulating metabolism to regulating body temperature.
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is considered as the thyroid being in overdrive. This is when the thyroid produces too much T4 and/or T3, and physiological processes move faster than they should. This can result in symptoms of heart palpitations, oily skin and hair, bulging eyes, weight loss, muscle weakness, diarrhea, sensitivity to heat, insomnia, and hyperactivity or mood swings. Graves’ Disease is the autoimmune condition that can cause hyperthyroidism. Some individuals with Graves also experience an itching or burning sensation of the skin.
Autoimmunity in general can typically be aligned with too much inflammation in the body. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has the potential to help lower the inflammatory response in the body. By decreasing the amount of inflammation an individual is experiencing on a chronic basis, this can then lead to a decrease in the way the autoimmune condition is impacting the thyroid function, in turn helping to decrease or alleviate the symptoms being experienced.
When monitored, LDN can be an effective secondary treatment option for those suffering with thyroid dysfunction.