We all experience cycles of exertion and rest times when we seem to juggle a busy time at work and a hectic social schedule with no problem, followed by periods where we dont do much but fulfill our basic obligations and recuperate. But if you have noticed that you seem to be stuck on the low- or no-energy part of the cycle you feel tired and run down all the time, with seemingly no extra energy to pursue anything thats not absolutely mandatory it could be a signal from your body that your thyroid gland isnt producing enough thyroid hormones.
The thyroid is the master gland responsible for metabolism and energy, explains Mary Shomon, patient advocate, author of The Thyroid Diet, and founder of Thyroid-Info.com. When it isnt producing enough hormones, it feels as if someone has taken their foot off the gas pedal of your body. And thyroid issues are incredibly common: Harvard Medical School theorizes that more than 12 million people have full-blown thyroid disease, meaning millions more could have underperforming thyroid glands that dont qualify as diseased, yet still are causing symptoms that take a big toll on quality of life.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism (when the thyroid isnt manufacturing enough hormones) include:
- Constant fatigue
- Fuzzy thinking
- Feeling cold all the time
- Extra weight that refuses to come off
- Dramatic thinning of the outer edges of your eyebrows
- Erratic periods and infertility
The best way to find out if the thyroid might be at the root of your personal energy crisis is to find a doctor who will run a detailed test that checks the levels of all forms of thyroid hormones as well as antibodies to those hormones, advises Richard Shames, M.D., author of Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled? (feelingfff.com). If you do indeed have hypothyroidism, your doctor will likely prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone (known as Synthroid). There are also supplements you can take to help nudge your thyroid back into balance, Shames says, including selenium, a trace mineral that helps the body convert thyroid hormone into a usable form (200 - 400 mcg per day), and essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation, which can throw the thyroid out of whack (1000 mg of a blend of EPA and DHA per day; you can find a reputable manufacturer at consumerlab.com or ask your health-care provider for recommendations).