Suboptimal Thyroid Function | Life Extension

Last updated: 10-10-2018

Read original article here

Suboptimal Thyroid Function | Life Extension

There are three main underlying causes of suboptimal thyroid function:
Insufficient production of the thyroid hormone T4
Decreased conversion of T4 to T3 (T3 is the most active form)
Increased production of inhibitory rT3 (reverse T3) that blocks normal thyroid function
A multifaceted problem requires treatment or prevention with multitargeted therapies.
Scientists have found that a combination of nutrients can address the three main contributors to suboptimal thyroid function with a triple-action approach. Preclinical and clinical research indicates:
Ashwagandha increases levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4.23-26
Guggul, an extract of Commiphora mukul, enhances conversion of T4 to T3.27,28
An extract of Korean ginseng reduces concentrations of inactive, thyroid hormone-inhibiting rT3.29
Thyroid Hormone Blood Testing
Life Extension® offers a new Thyroid Panel that includes TSH, total T4, free T3, free T4, and reverse T3.
These tests can identify the most common reasons for thyroid insufficiency. There are other thyroid tests available, but for most people, the new Thyroid Panel with Reverse T3 will detect the underlying causes of thyroid deficiency.
The retail price of this new Thyroid Panel with Reverse T3 is $160. Until February 1, 2016, the price has been reduced to $94.
Those with outward symptoms of a thyroid deficiency might consider initiating a nutrient-based approach first, then having their blood drawn for this new thyroid panel within 45 days. This would enable the individual and their physician to ascertain if additional thyroid support measures are needed.
While you might wait until January 2016 to have your blood drawn for this Thyroid Panel with Reverse T3 panel, it is good to have the requisition and list of local blood draw stations on hand so you can have this test done at your convenience. To order this test today at more than 40% off normal pricing, call 1-800-208-3444.
Ashwagandha Boosts T3 and T4
 
Ashwagandha , a shrub grown in India, has a long medicinal history as an “adaptogenic” herb. Adaptogens have been utilized by traditional medicine to restore balance to the body.30
Modern scientific techniques are revealing some of ashwagandha’s benefits that specifically apply to improving thyroid function. Ashwagandha supports thyroid function, in part, because it contains glyco-withanolide bioactive compounds that reduce stress and cortisol levels. Along with reducing stress hormones, the root extract of ashwagandha has been shown in preclinical studies to increase serum concentrations of T3 and T4.25,26
In an early animal study, mice were given ashwagandha root extract orally and their thyroid hormone levels were monitored. This treatment increased T3 by 18% and T4 by 111%, after just 20 days.31
Human studies are supporting this finding. In one study, a subset of patients (10 of the 60 subjects) showed evidence of suboptimal thyroid function along with bipolar disorder at the baseline start of the study.32 The patients were treated with 500 mg daily of ashwagandha. At the end of the two-month treatment period, all of the patients receiving ashwagandha saw an improvement of TSH. Their T4 levels also increased from baseline by up to 24%.32
In the placebo subjects not supplemented with ashwagandha, T4 levels dropped from baseline by as much as 23%, showing a significant decline in thyroid function. One unsupplemented patient’s TSH rose into the abnormal range, suggesting a worsening of thyroid function.
This study indicated that ashwagandha therapy can be a factor in improving the thyroid hormone T4 along with adjusting TSH levels.32
Another mechanism by which ashwagandha supports and restores healthy thyroid function may be through its reduction of the stress hormone cortisol. People with thyroid diseases in general have elevated rates of depression and anxiety and other stress-related disorders. Elevations of cortisol and stress increase reverse T3 (rT3), which interferes with T3’s beneficial activities.33
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha is particularly effective at combatting stress because of its ability to restore balance in metabolism and body functions.34 A human study of people with known chronic stress demonstrated that daily supplementation with 300 mg of ashwagandha (high-concentration, full-spectrum root extract), significantly lowered both scores on a stress assessment scale and serum cortisol levels. As the study’s authors concluded, “ The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life .”34
Guggul Extract Increases T3 Hormone
 
Guggul (Commiphora mukul) is a natural extract of the sap from the Indian myrrh tree.
Scientists are discovering that guggul helps fight against suboptimal thyroid function by enhancing the conversion of T4 to T3, which is the more potent form of the thyroid hormone.27,28
Traditionally, guggul has been used for treating low metabolism, which is frequently seen in suboptimal thyroid function.35
Guggul contains ketosteroid molecules, which have shown strong thyroid-stimulating properties. One study found that when rats were administered guggul, it increased iodine uptake by the thyroid gland and increased activity of vital thyroid enzymes. This resulted in increased oxygen consumption, demonstrating a true thyroid-enhancing metabolic effect.36
A preclinical study helped explain how guggul enhances thyroid function. In the study published in Life Sciences, researchers found that guggul supplementation increased the blood concentration of the potent T3 thyroid hormone. This was accomplished by improving the conversion of lower-potency T4 to the more active T3 hormone.28
In yet a third study, guggul was found to increase the activity of the specific enzyme (5’-deiodinase) that converts T4 to T3.27,37
Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The normal thyroid gland produces about 80% T4 and about 20% T3. Most T3 is formed in the peripheral tissues by the conversion of T4 to T3 by the 5’-deiodinase enzyme. T3 possesses about four times the hormone “strength” as T4.38,39
Korean Ginseng Reduces rT3 Production
Korean ginseng , also an adaptogen like ashwagandha, contains properties known as ginsenosides that have been shown to support thyroid function through a unique pathway.
With age, we accumulate an unhealthy amount of a deleterious hormone known as reverse T3 (rT3).
Reverse T3 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone or the reverse of the healthy T3 hormone. The problem with excess reverse T3 is that it will bind to normally functioning T3 receptors and inhibit active T3, thereby reducing vital metabolic activity.40,41
Traditional Asian practitioners discovered that Korean ginseng is an effective way to stop this action of reverse T3 from destroying the body’s healthy T3 activity.
This finding led to the development of a novel fermented ginseng preparation that provides not only higher amounts of ginsenoside compounds but also enhanced absorption. Studies in humans reveal that, compared with standard ginseng extracts, a specialized form of fermented ginseng extract (called GS15-4) is absorbed 15.5 times as much in 24 hours, achieves a 27-fold higher peak concentration in blood, and reaches that peak in roughly a quarter of the time (3.29 hours versus 12.04 hours).42
A human study of 54 adults with congestive heart failure demonstrated just how much of an impact ginsenosides from ginseng had on thyroid hormone levels.29 At the outset of the study, all of the subjects with heart failure had reduced levels of T3 and T4 along with higher levels of inhibitory rT3. Treatment with the ginseng extract (by injection) resulted in improved clinical outcomes in all patients. What the researchers found was a healthy increase of T3 and T4 levels, and a significant reduction in the inhibitory rT3 levels.29
Another study looking at the application of Korean ginseng was evaluated to assess its effects on a classic symptom of suboptimal thyroid function, cold hands and feet. This symptom is more prevalent amongst women than men and is often a result of an imbalance of the thyroid hormones. Eighty female patients were given 500 mg of Korean ginseng powder in capsule form for eight weeks. Using various forms of measurement, the researchers noted that those women who ingested the Korean ginseng during the study all had “ significantly higher skin temperature of the hands and feet.”43
Korean ginseng has also been found in randomized controlled trials to improve a lack of sexual arousal in women and reduce fatigue—both of which are common symptoms of low thyroid function.44-46
Additional Thyroid Support
Along with the traditional herbs of ashwagandha, guggul, and Korean ginseng, four compounds have been found to further strengthen thyroid function, including the two building blocks of T4 and T3.
These four thyroid-supporting nutrients are:
Iodine , an absolute requirement for normal thyroid hormone function (each molecule of T3 has three iodine atoms attached, while each T4 has four)
Tyrosine , the amino acid from which T3 and T4 are derived by the enzymatic addition of iodine atoms47,48
Vitamin B12 , which is often deficient in patients with thyroid disease49,50
Vitamin A , which has been shown to improve serum TSH levels, in part by raising serum T3 levels, helping to reverse the state of suboptimal thyroid function.51 Low thyroid function can impair the conversion of beta carotene into vitamin A.52
Summary
Suboptimal thyroid function is a major hidden threat, particularly among women and older Americans. It may explain many of the vague and difficult-to-pin-down symptoms that plague us all as we grow older.
Ignoring or waving away symptoms of suboptimal thyroid function is a dangerous approach because the condition is strongly associated with many chronic disorders of aging, especially cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
It can be difficult to recognize suboptimal thyroid function, particularly when those who have the condition may have laboratory results that fall within the conventional “normal” range. It is not difficult, however, to take steps aimed at resolving it.
If you have symptoms that might be attributable to suboptimal thyroid function, such as fatigue, dry skin, feeling cold, unexplained weight gain, or depression, consider supplementing with fermented Korean ginseng extract, ashwagandha, and guggul, along with vitamins and nutrients that support thyroid function.
Korean ginseng extract , ashwagandha, and guggul target three important mechanisms that contribute to suboptimal thyroid function: They raise circulating levels of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3, boost activity of the enzyme responsible for converting T4 to active T3, and reduce thyroid-hormone-blocking reverse T3 (rT3).
If you suffer from any of the many complaints that can arise from suboptimal thyroid function, you may find surprising relief from using nutrients that boost thyroid function by directly reversing the three major processes that degrade thyroid function and leave you vulnerable.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
References
Adlin V. Subclinical hypothyroidism: deciding when to treat. Am Fam Physician. 1998 Feb 15;57(4):776-80.
Heinrich TW, Grahm G. Hypothyroidism presenting as psychosis: myxedema madness revisited. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2003 Dec;5(6):260-66.
Blackwell J. Evaluation and treatment of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2004 Oct;16(10):422-5.
Baumgartner C, Blum MR, Rodondi N. Subclinical hypothyroidism: summary of evidence in 2014. Swiss Med Wkly. 2014;144:w14058.
Mohandas R, Gupta KL. Managing thyroid dysfunction in the elderly. Answers to seven common questions. Postgrad Med. 2003 May;113(5):54-6, 65-8, 100.
Vanderpump MP, Tunbridge WM, French JM, et al. The incidence of thyroid disorders in the community: a twenty-year follow-up of the Whickham Survey. Clin Endocrinol. 1995 Jul;43(1):55-68.
Tieche M, Lupi GA, Gutzwiller F, Grob PJ, Studer H, Burgi H. Borderline low thyroid function and thyroid autoimmunity. Risk factors for coronary heart disease? Br Heart J. 1981 Aug;46(2):202-6.
Triolo M, de Boer JF, Annema W, Kwakernaak AJ, Tietge UJ, Dullaart RP. Low normal free T4 confers decreased high-density lipoprotein antioxidative functionality in the context of hyperglycaemia. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Sep;79(3):416-23.
Triolo M, Kwakernaak AJ, Perton FG, de Vries R, Dallinga-Thie GM, Dullaart RP. Low normal thyroid function enhances plasma cholesteryl ester transfer in Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Atherosclerosis. 2013 Jun;228(2):466-71.
Van Tienhoven-Wind L, Dullaart RP. Low normal thyroid function as a determinant of increased large very low density lipoprotein particles. Clin Biochem. 2015 May;48(7-8):489-94.
Van Tienhoven-Wind LJ, Dullaart RP. Low-normal thyroid function and the pathogenesis of common cardio-metabolic disorders. Eur J Clin Invest. 2015 May;45(5):494-503.
Kitahara CM, Platz EA, Ladenson PW, Mondul AM, Menke A, Berrington de Gonzalez A. Body fatness and markers of thyroid function among U.S. men and women. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34979.
Roos A, Bakker SJ, Links TP, Gans RO, Wolffenbuttel BH. Thyroid function is associated with components of the metabolic syndrome in euthyroid subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Feb;92(2):491-6.
Maratou E, Hadjidakis DJ, Kollias A, et al. Studies of insulin resistance in patients with clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism. Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 May;160(5):785-90.
Van Tienhoven-Wind LJ, Dullaart RP. Low-normal thyroid function and the pathogenesis of common cardio-metabolic disorders. Eur J Clin Invest. 2015 May;45(5):494-503.
Asvold BO, Bjoro T, Vatten LJ. Association of thyroid function with estimated glomerular filtration rate in a population-based study: the HUNT study. Eur J Endocrinol. 2011 Jan;164(1):101-5.
Joffe RT, Levitt AJ. Major depression and subclinical (grade 2) hypothyroidism. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1992 May-Jul;17(2-3):215-21.
Kim EY, Kim SH, Rhee SJ, et al. Relationship between thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and risk of depression among the general population with normal free T4 levels. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Aug;58:114-9.
Chakrabarti S. Thyroid functions and bipolar affective disorder. J Thyroid Res. 2011;2011:306367.
Morganti S, Ceda GP, Saccani M, Milli B, Ugolotti D, Prampolini R, Ceresini G. Thyroid disease in the elderly: sex-related differences in clinical expression. J Endocrinol Invest. 2005;28(11 Suppl Proceedings):101-4.
Ylostalo P, Kujala P, Kontula K. Amenorrhea with low normal thyroid function and thyroxine treatment. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1980;18(3):176-80.
Wirth CD, Blum MR, da Costa BR, et al. Subclinical thyroid dysfunction and the risk for fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2014 Aug 5;161(3):189-99.
Jatwa R, Kar A. Amelioration of metformin-induced hypothyroidism by Withania somnifera and Bauhinia purpurea extracts in Type 2 diabetic mice. Phytother Res. 2009 Aug;23(8):1140-5.
Mishra LC, Singh BB, Dagenais S. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review. Altern Med Rev. 2000 Aug;5(4):334-46.
Panda S, Kar A. Changes in thyroid hormone concentrations after administration of ashwagandha root extract to adult male mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1998 Sep;50(9):1065-8.
Panda S, Kar A. Withania somnifera and Bauhinia purpurea in the regulation of circulating thyroid hormone concentrations in female mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Nov 1;67(2):233-9.
Panda S, Kar A. Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) potentially ameliorates hypothyroidism in female mice. Phytother Res. 2005 Jan;19(1):78-80.
Panda S, Kar A. Guggul u (Commiphora mukul) induces triiodothyronine production: possible involvement of lipid peroxidation. Life Sci. 1999;65(12):PL137-41.
Dai X, Zhou Y, Yu X. Effect of ginseng injection in treating congestive heart failure and its influence on thyroid hormones. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1999 Apr;19(4):209-11.
Ven Murthy MR, Ranjekar PK, Ramassamy C, Deshpande M. Scientific basis for the use of Indian ayurvedic medicinal plants in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders: ashwagandha. Cent Nerv Syst Agents Med Chem. 2010 Sep 1;10(3):238-46.
Panda S, Kar A. Changes in thyroid hormone concentrations after administration of ashwagandha root extract to adult male mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1998 Sep;50(9):1065-8.
Gannon JM, Forrest PE, Roy Chengappa KN. Subtle changes in thyroid indices during a placebo-controlled study of an extract of Withania somnifera in persons with bipolar disorder. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec;5(4):241-5.
Musselman DL, Nemeroff CB. Depression and endocrine disorders: focus on the thyroid and adrenal system. Br J Psychiatry Suppl. 1996 Jun (30):123-8.
Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62.
Shen T, Li GH, Wang XN, Lou HX. The genus Commiphora: a review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jul 13;142(2):319-30.
Tripathi YB, Malhotra OP, Tripathi SN. Thyroid Stimulating Action of Z-Guggulsterone Obtained from Commiphora mukul. Planta Med. 1984 Feb;50(1):78-80.
Sugawara M, Lau R, Wasser HL, Nelson AM, Kuma K, Hershman JM. Thyroid T4 5’-deiodinase activity in normal and abnormal human thyroid glands. Metab Clin Exp. 1984 Apr;33(4):332-6.
Available at: http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works . Accessed September 1, 2015.
Available at: http://fitsweb.uchc.edu/student/selectives/Luzietti/Thyroid_hormones.htm . Accessed September 1, 2015.
Huang CJ, Geller HM, Green WL, Craelius W. Acute effects of thyroid hormone analogs on sodium currents in neonatal rat myocytes. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1999 Apr;31(4):881-893.
McCormack PD, Thomas J, Malik M, Staschen CM. Cold stress, reverse T3 and lymphocyte function. Alaska Med. 1998 Jul-Sep;40(3):55-62.
Jin H, Seo JH, Uhm YK, Jung CY, Lee SK, Yim SV. Pharmacokinetic comparison of ginsenoside metabolite IH-901 from fermented and non-fermented ginseng in healthy Korean volunteers. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jan 31;139(2):664-7.
Park KS, Park KI, Kim JW, et al. Efficacy and safety of Korean red ginseng for cold hypersensitivity in the hands and feet: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Dec 2;158 Pt A:25-32.
Oh KJ, Chae MJ, Lee HS, et al. Effects of Korean red ginseng on sexual arousal in menopausal women: placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover clinical study. J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1469-77.
Sait Gönen M, Kisakol G, Savas Cilli A, Dikbas O, Gungor K, Inal A, Kaya A.Assessment of anxiety in subclinical thyroid disorders. Endocr J. 2004 Jun;51(3):311-5.
Montgomery KA. Sexual desire disorders. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2008;5(6):50-5.
Available at: http://fitsweb.uchc.edu/student/selectives/Luzietti/Thyroid_hormones.htm . Accessed August 5, 2015.
Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20/ . Accessed August 5, 2015.
Ness-Abramof R, Nabriski DA, Braverman LE, et al. Prevalence and evaluation of B12 deficiency in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease. Am J Med Sci. 2006 Sep;332(3):119-22.
Wang YP, Lin HP, Chen HM, et al. Hemoglobin, iron, and vitamin B12 deficiencies and high blood homocysteine levels in patients with anti-thyroid autoantibodies. J Formos Med Assoc. 2014 Mar;113(3):155-60.
Farhangi MA, Keshavarz SA, Eshraghian M, Ostadrahimi A, Saboor-Yaraghi AA. The effect of vitamin A supplementation on thyroid function in premenopausal women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012 Aug;31(4):268-74.
Maharshak N, Shapiro J, Trau H. Carotenoderma--a review of the current literature. Int J Dermatol. 2003 Mar;42(3):178-81.
×
Success! Item(s) added to cart
UPGRADE TO PREMIER AT NO EXTRA COST
( Premier bonus applied at checkout)
You have added your selected item(s) to your cart. What do you want to do next?
×


Read the rest of this article here