Category Archives: Hypothyroidism

Hops for good health

Hops for good health

Hops is dried female flowers or seed cones of the hop vine (Humulus lupulus). It may help with hypothyroidism and many other health conditions.

Hops is traditionally used in beer making process and gives beer its unique aroma and slightly bitter flavor. It is used as flavoring component in some soft drinks.

It has been approved by the German Commission E for anxiety/mood disorders and restlessness.

Some scientific research (1) has shown that it helps thyroid hormones work better in the body. Xanthohumol, a flavonoid molecule in Hops, was found to modulate expression of genes involved in thyroid hormone distribution and metabolism in the liver. Xanthohumol affects expression of molecules which carry thyroid hormone in the body and regulates enzymes metabolizing hormones. It helps with the activity of iodothyronine deiodinase which converts thyroid T4 hormone into the active T3 hormone and it does so by decreasing inflammation, specifically NF-kappaB activation which is a key molecule to starting inflammation in the body (5, 12, 13). It  lowers pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha and IL-6; less inflammation = better thyroid hormone action.

There are no studies as such on thyroid autoimmune disease and Hops but it might be very helpful for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as it helps iodine to be up-taken by thyroid cells (2). It lowers inflammation as mentioned above, helps with sleep, anxiety, fibromyalgia and processing of hormones.

Hops has been used to help with rheumatic diseases and is present in some thyroid supporting supplements. It has anti-oxidant and anti-microbial activities. Preliminary studies (8) indicate that it may also improve cholesterol profile and lower markers of inflammation (such as C-reactive protein and complement C3 fraction) which is great news for the cardiovascular system and autoimmunity.

Hops helps to balance female hormones. It contains phytoestrogenic compounds (such as 8-prenylnaringenin, one of the most potent herbal phytoestrogens) which are similar to the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogens produced in the female body need to be balanced with another hormone called progesterone. However the production of progesterone is the first to go rapidly down during perimenopause and premenopause, often creating a state of ‘oestrogen dominance’. I refer you to a book by Dr John R. Lee “What your doctor may not tell you about premenopause.”

This oestrogen-progesterone imbalance can mimic hypothyroidism as strong oestrogens block thyroid hormone receptors so thyroid hormones cannot exert their actions properly.  

This is how Hops can possibly help. I have my own theory and interpretation on how Hops may balance oestrogens in the body. The phytoestrogenic compounds in Hops can mildly replace excessive and strong oestrogens in binding sites of tissues and because phytoestrogenic compounds only have a mild oestrogenic activity, the oestrogen –progesterone imbalance is not felt as severely during the premenopausal transition. Also Hops helps to metabolize oestrogens in the liver. A study (15) has shown that Hops (Humulus lupulus) inhibits oxidative estrogen metabolism and estrogen-Induced malignant transformation in human mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A), which means it may be protective against breast cancer.

Also, during menopause oestrogen production eventually goes down, Hops can provide some estrogenic activity, it may help with hot flushes and sweating. Hops may help to prevent osteoporosis. It is believed to have anti-cancer activity. However women who have hormone sensitive cancer or conditions should speak to their doctor regarding Hops as it is not known how Hops can impact these conditions.

My friend’s mum got advice from her doctor to have some Hops beer when she was going through a difficult menopause which had helped her. It makes me smile as I have a picture in my mind of menopausal women turning to beer for help during this bumpy time in their lives as everything else fails to help them feel better but I personally would recommend Hops tea or non-alcoholic Hops beer…

Hops is relaxing to the central nervous system. This effect has been documented in human studies. I have seen this first hand. I started to drink Hop’s tea few hours before sleep in recent weeks and I am surprised on how effectively it improved my sleep and my general well being. It is very relaxing for me. It is not surprising as Hops was shown to raise GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter acting in the central nervous system (CNS).

Hops is considered very safe to use but please as always consult your doctor before using hops, care needs to be taken in some medical conditions. This blog is for educational purposes only.


  1. Radović B, Hussong R, Gerhäuser C, Meinl W, Frank N, Becker H, Köhrle. Xanthohumol, a prenylated chalcone from hops, modulates hepatic expression of genes involved in thyroid hormone distribution and metabolism. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Jul;54 Suppl 2:S225-35.
  2. Radovic B, Schmutzler C, Kohrle J. Xanthohumol stimulates iodine uptake in rat thyroid-derived FRTL-5 cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Sep;49(9):832-6.
  3. Vonderheid-Guth B, Todorova A, Brattström A, Dimpfel W. Pharmacodynamic effects of valerian and hops extract combination (Ze 91019) on the quantitative-topographical EEG in healthy volunteers. Eur J Med Res. 2000 Apr 19; 5(4):139-44.
  4. Franco L, Sánchez C, Bravo R, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C, Romero E, Cubero J. The sedative effect of non-alcoholic beer in healthy female nurses. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e37290
  5. Colgate EC, Miranda CL, Stevens JF, Bray TM, Ho E. Xanthohumol, a prenylflavonoid derived from hops induces apoptosis and inhibits NF-kappaB activation in prostate epithelial cells. Cancer Lett. 2007 Feb 8; 246(1-2):201-9.
  6. Salter, S. and Brownie, S. Treating primary insomnia – the efficacy of valerian and hops. Aust. Fam. Physician 2010;39(6):433-437)
  7. Ross, S. M. Sleep disorders: a single dose administration of valerian/hops fluid extract (dormeasan) is found to be effective in improving sleep. Holist.Nurs Pract 2009;23(4):253-256)
  8. Lopez-Jaen, A. B., Codoñer-Franch, P, Martínez-Álvarez, J. R., Villarino-Marín, A, and Valls-Bellés, V. Effect on health of non-alcohol beer and hop supplementation in a group of nuns in a closed order. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2010;69(OCE3).
  9. Lukaczer D, Darland G, Tripp M, et al. A pilot trial evaluating Meta050, a proprietary combination of reduced iso-alpha acids, rosemary extract and oleanolic acid in patients with arthritis and fibromyalgia. Phytother Res 2005;19(10):864-9.
  10. Erkkola, R., Vervarcke, S., Vansteelandt, S., Rompotti, P., De, Keukeleire D., Heyerick, A. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over pilot study on the use of a standardized hop extract to alleviate menopausal discomforts. Maturitas. 2006 May 20:54(2):164-75.
  11. Heyerick, A., Vervarcke, S., Depypere, H., Bracke, M., and De Keukeleire, D. A first prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of a standardized hop extract to alleviate menopausal discomforts. Maturitas 5-20-2006;54(2):164-175.
  12. Xiaohua Gao, Dorrah Deeb, Yongbo Liu, Scott A. Dulchavsky, and Subhash C. Gautam. Imunomodulatory activity of xanthohumol: inhibition of T cell proliferation, cell-mediated cytotoxicity and Th1 cytokine production through suppression of NF-κB. Immnunopharmacol.Immunotoxicol. 2009; 31(3):477-484.
  1. Albini A, Dell’Eva R, Vene R, Ferrari N, Buhler DR, Noonan DM, Fassina G. Mechanisms of the antiangiogenic activity by the hop flavonoid xanthohumol: NF-kappaB and Akt as targets. FASEB J. 2006 Mar;20 (3):527-9.
  2. Kyrou I, Christou A, Panagiotakos D, Stefanaki C, Skenderi K, Katsana K, Tsigos C. Effects of a hops (Humulus lupulus L.) dry extract supplement on self-reported depression, anxiety and stress levels in apparently healthy young adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot study. Hormones (Athens). 2017 Apr; 16(2):171-180.
  3. Hemachandra LP, Madhubhani P, Chandrasena R, Esala P, Chen SN, Main M, Lankin DC, Scism RA, Dietz BM, Pauli GF, Thatcher GR, Bolton JL Hops (Humulus lupulus) inhibits Oxidative Estrogen Metabolism and Estrogen-Induced Malignant Transformation in Human Mammary Epithelial cells (MCF-10A). Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Jan;5(1):73-81




Supplements I take to feel better

Supplements I take to feel better

I had a subtotal thyroidectomy due to Grave’s disease. The supplements in the picture above help me feel better while on optimal thyroid hormonal replacement. They are suggestions you might consider. However as we are all individuals, speak to your own health care practitioner before taking them, as always. There are many helpful supplements for hypothyroidism.

Brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast

I find it a very calming remedy. I feel better when I take it, usually a teaspoon per day in the morning. I use it as my source of vitamins B as I do not tolerate synthetic vitamins well. I prefer Brewer’s yeast over nutritional yeast (they are grown and processed slightly differently). I put Brewer’s yeast directly into your food, I like it on scrambled eggs but I also put it into sauces or soups before serving. It is slightly bitter in tasting so I like to mask the taste a little.

Brewer’s and nutritional yeast is are made from yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae (used in baking, beer making process) which is grown and then deactivated (it is no longer alive) for nutritional supplement. It is a very rich source of natural vitamins B, chromium, potassium and selenium. It can help to improve insulin sensitivity (as it contains B1 and chromium), it helps the immune system function properly (rich in selenium) and also supports the adrenal glands (so important for thyroid patients) with vitamins B. Brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast generally to not contain vitamin B12 unless it is fortified with it so if you are deficient in B12 you need to supplement with it separately. Also some products are not gluten free is you are sensitive to gluten.

Aussie favorite Vegemite is also a yeast spread (not gluten free), rich in vitamins B.

Brewer’s yeast can interact with some medications such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (for treatment of depression), meperidine (pain medication) and diabetic medication. It is also on advisable in certain conditions. Some people may be allergic or sensitive to Brewer’s /nutritional yeast.

Vitamin C

My favorite supplement is natural Vitamin C powder from organic acerola cherries. Firstly because it is a complete vitamin C not just ascorbic acid. It is a powerful antioxidant, detoxifying vitamin and support for adrenal glands. I dissolve a teaspoon in some water and drink it few times a week. I had noticed it gave me an energy boost so I take it before midday. I see benefits of vitamin C powder for my general well being but as with any supplements, it is advisable to ask your doctor before taking it.

Rhodiola rosea (Arctic root, golden root)

It is a great herb to take for adrenal support. It is helpful for the first stage of adrenal exhaustions but not for later stages when cortisol is low. Basically, it is useful during stressful times. It is an adaptogen, a buffer for all endocrine organs involved in stress reactions. However, when a person feels chronically stressed for a long time, exhausted most of the time and has difficulties getting out of bed, it usually indicates later stages of adrenal exhaustion and low cortisol. Rhodiola may not be as effective as it reduces the secretion of cortisol in stressful situations thus balancing the output of adrenals.

Rhiodiola can be useful in Grave’s disease sometimes cases but it is specifically used and recommended in hypothyroidism. Rhodiola influences beta-endorphin and can lift mood. It can also enhance thyroid function, thymus gland function and improve adrenal gland reserves.

I take it for few weeks when I feel stressed but not exhausted. It is considered safe in recommended doses and is wildly used in Russia and Scandinavian countries. It is not recommended in people with bipolar disorder and for pregnant/breastfeeding women.

Licorice root

Licorice has been approved by The German Commission E for ulcer treatments. It also has other important effects. Licorice is useful for exhausted adrenal glands, which is very common with hypothyroidism. Licorice root contains plant components mimicking the effects of cortisol. Therefore it might be useful when you feel ran down, tired and stressed and when cortisol is low (in the later stages of adrenal exhaustion).

I take licorice supplement when I feel ran down, stressed and tired. I usually take it for about 3 weeks at a recommended dose and then take a break.

Licorice is considered safe in low doses. People with cardiovascular, renal and liver problems should take caution. Licorice may interact with warfarin, corticosteroids and oestrogen therapies. Not to be taken with bipolar disorders, in those taking hypertensive and hypoglycemic medications. It can raise blood pressure after prolonged use. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are not advised to use it as the safety in pregnancy has not been established. Apart from these cases, it is recommended in literature to take it sporadically at recommended doses and to have a break after 4-6 weeks of use.




Olive leaf may help with symptoms of hypothyroidism

Olive leaf extract may help with symptoms of hypothyroidism

Olive leaf extract was found to enhance thyroid function as it helps with the conversion of T4 into its active form T3. Therefore, it boosts the levels of T3. It was found to stimulate the thyroid gland in animal study (1) in a dose depended manner.

Olive leaf extract contains many health beneficial molecules including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol and flavonoids (rutin), polyphenols (apigenin, luteolin) among others.

The molecule hydroxytyrosol in olive leaf was shown to inhibit pro-inflammatory molecules such as IL6 and TNF- alpha in mice studies (8) and in human studies (9, 10). It also reduces many other inflammatory molecules.

IL6 levels were found to be high in post- menopausal women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (5). Also, a study in animals (6) showed that autoimmune thyroiditis could be prevented by blockade of IL6.  One of the problems in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the high level of inflammation which interferes with the conversion and action of thyroid hormones. Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are often on high doses of thyroid hormonal replacement. One of the reasons for that is to counteract the effects of inflammation in their bodies. Olive leaf extract may help to reduce these thyroid blocking molecules.

A study of Hashimoto’s patients (4) stated that: “These results are possibly attributable to the inhibitory effect of IL6 on deiodination of T3 and imply a role for IL6 in determining thyroxine replacement dose among these patients.”

Hydroxytyrosol in olive leaf is a powerful free radical scavenger, protecting the energy houses in cells called mitochondria. It is believed to be protective for the central nervous system. Other positive effects of olive leaf extract (among many others) are reported to be: reduction of blood pressure, anti-microbial and anti- bacterial, anti-fungal activities, anti-parasitic activities, anti-carcinogenic effects, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, powerful anti-oxidant activities (believed to be more powerful than vitamin E), beneficial for cardiovascular system, eye health, helping with allergies, asthma, colds, protecting against UVB radiation, benefits for people with osteoporosis, benefits for some autoimmune disorders, anti-aging, helps to remove heavy metals such as lead from the body and energy increasing properties.

Olive leaf extracts are regarded to be quite safe. Effective dose of powdered leaf extract is likely to be 500-2,000 mg daily. It is available in capsules.

This post is for educational purposes only.


  1. Al-Qarawi AA, Al-Damegh MA, ElMougy SA. Effect of freeze dried extract of Olea europaea on the pituitary-thyroid axis in rats. Phytother Res. 2002 May; 16(3):286-7.
  2. Olive leaf. Alternative Medicine Review. 2009. Vol 14 (1):62-66. Monograph. URL:
  3. Hao J, et al. Hydroxytyrosol promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial function in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Jul; 21(7):634-44.
  4. Papanas N., Papazoglou D., Papatheodorou K., Antonoglou C., Kotsiou S., Maltezos E. Thyroxine replacement dose in patients with Hashimoto disease: A potential role for interleukin-6: Cytokine. 2006:35(3-4): 166-170.
  5. Lucyna Siemińska, Celina Wojciechowska,, Beata Kos-Kudła,, Bogdan Marek, Dariusz Kajdaniuk, Mariusz Nowak, Joanna Głogowska-Szeląg, Wanda Foltyn, Janusz Strzelczyk. Serum concentrations of leptin, adiponectin, and interleukin-6 in postmenopausal women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Endokrynologia Polska/Polish Journal of Endocrinology; Jan-Feb 2010:61(1):112-116.
  6. Kouki Mori, Katsumi Yoshida, Masahiko Mihara, Yoshiyuki Ohsugi, Yoshinori Nakagawa, Saeko Hoshikawa. Effects of interleukin-6 blockade on the development of autoimmune thyroiditis in nonobese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity Volume 42, 2009 – Issue 3: 228-234. |
  7. Julien Peyrol, Catherine Riva and Marie Josèphe Amiot. Hydroxytyrosol in the Prevention of the Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders. Nutrients. URL: file:///C:/Users/jkrywult/Downloads/nutrients-09-00306%20(3).pdf
  8. Cao, K.; Xu, J.; Zou ,X. ;Li, Y. ;Chen, C.; Zheng, A.; Li, H.; Szeto, I. M. -Y. Hydroxytyrosol prevents diet-induced metabolic syndrome and attenuates mitochondrial abnormalities in obese mice. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2014, 67, 396-407.
  9. Tzoulaki I, Murray GD, Lee AJ, Rumley A, Lowe GDO, Fowkes FGR. C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and soluble adhesion molecules as predictors of progressive peripheral atherosclerosis in the general population. Circulation (2005) 112:976–83.
  10. Richard N, Arnold S, Hoeller U, Kilpert C, Wertz K, Schwager J. Hydroxytyrosol is the major anti-inflammatory compound in aqueous olive extracts and impairs cytokine and chemokine production in macrophages. Planta Med (2011) 77(17):1890–7.
  11. ProHealth. The Most Powerful Natural Antioxidant Discovered to Date – Hydroxytyrosol. URL:





Taurine and hypothyroidism

Taurine and hypothyroidism

Taurine is a compound (a type of amino acid) occurring in a human body (brain, heart, eye, muscles, bile and small intestine) which may be beneficial in hypothyroidism. Low taurine levels have been seen in hypothyroidism, anxiety and depression. Taurine levels have been linked with thyroid function. Vegetarians are also at a higher risk of taurine deficiency.

Taurine has many roles in the body. It is important for thyroid hormonal function. It is not exactly clear how it does that. My understanding is that potassium mineral is needed for activating energy production by thyroid hormones in energy houses of cells and taurine keeps potassium inside of cells and therefore helps the thyroid hormones start that energy production. Also taurine is important for glutathione production and is a powerful antioxidant which controls free radial damage inside the cells. It is also involved in liver detoxification processes and helps to remove toxic metals such as mercury and cadmium which interfere with thyroid function. It may also help to displace toxic halogens in the body and replace them with iodine and that way improve the thyroid function. Taurine is also important for gallbladder function, stabilizing cell membranes and heart health. It helps with obesity and the function of the immune system. Taurine may help to utilize copper. It increases insulin sensitivity. It also may reduce anxiety. Taurine acts like mild diuretic, removing excessive fluid from the body as it balances potassium, magnesium and sodium. Taurine may therefore be useful for women suffering from oestrogen dominance and fluid retention. It may also reduce blood pressure. A common problem seen in people with thyroid autoimmunity and hypothyroidism is low iron storage level and helps to improve absorption of iron.

Our bodies can produce some taurine or obtain it from food. Taurine is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, cottage cheese, cheese, brewer’s yeast, colostrum and some energy drinks but not in vegetables. Taurine is made from cysteine amino acid in the body. Turkey meat, eggs and cottage cheese are high in cysteine. Sunflowers seeds and oats also contain cysteine. A combination product, such as magnesium taurate may help with common deficiencies of taurine and magnesium, both commonly found in hypothyroidism.

Most of us with autoimmunity and hypothyroidism needed to take iron supplements at some point and it takes a long time to obtain optimal levels. A study (1) of 52 women with iron deficiency anaemia has shown that women who took taurine 1g/day, 6-8 hr after iron sulphate supplements, had significantly better serum ferritin levels and mean serum haemoglobin concentrations compare to controls who did not take taurine with their iron supplements. The mechanisms of actions of taurine to enhance iron levels are not clearly understood. Iron deficient women were shown to have lower levels of taurine before the study when compared to normal subjects.

Taurine is an antioxidant and stabilizes cell membranes and therefore might help iron absorption into the cells that way. It might also increase survival of red blood cells. Women supplementing with taurine showed no side effects of supplementation. My personal theory is that iron competes with copper for absorption in the small intestine. As taurine may help to utilize copper, the need for copper absorption is decreased and iron absorption increases. Both iron and copper are vital for thyroid hormones to work properly.

Another study (2) has found that vitamin B12 levels were lowered with iron deficiency anemia in females. Therefore it is important to have normal iron levels.

Taurine may play a protective role against the increased oxidative stress resulting from hypothyroidism as shown in study in rats (3). Taurine also increases platelet glutathione levels (6). The levels of taurine in platelets are lower in hypothyroidism which seems to be connected to increased aggregation of platelets, higher viscosity of blood and inflammation which may possibly increase the risk of thromboembolism (obstruction of a blood vessel by a blood clot) (9).

Please consult your doctor before taking taurine as supplement. Taurine supplements may have negative effects in people with blood clotting or bleeding disorders as it thins the blood. You can get your levels tested and whole blood taurine is regarded as most accurate test (8). Taurine deficiency may be associated with vitamin B6 deficiency (7).

Doses of 1g/day of taurine generally are not a problem. After all, that is the average dose of taurine in an energy drink can. However, like with everything else, the taurine effects depend on what else is going in the body and may be individual. Taurine was mentioned in some forums as having negative effects on symptoms of Graves’ disease in some individuals as it increases energy. It is recommended in the literature to have natural sources of taurine, not supplements in case of Graves’ disease.

This blog is for educational purposes only.


  1. Sirdah MM, El-Agouza IM, Abu Shahla AN. Possible ameliorative effect of taurine in the treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia in female university students of Gaza, Palestine. Eur J Haematol. 2002 Oct; 69(4):236-42.
  2. Mahmoud Mohammed Sirdah, Maged M. Yassin,b Sabreen El Shekhi,b and Abdel Monem Lubbadb. Homocysteine and vitamin B12 status and iron deficiency anemia in female university students from Gaza Strip, Palestine. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2014 May-Jun; 36(3): 208–212.
  3. Tas S, Dirican M, Sarandöl E, Serdar ZThe effect of taurine supplementation on oxidative stress in experimental hypothyroidism Cell Biochem Funct. 2006 Mar-Apr; 24(2):153-8.
  4. Hiroshi Ogawa, Tomoyo Nishikawa and Sukenari Sasagawa. Effects of Taurine on Lipoprotein Metabolism in Hypercholesterolemic SHRSP Associated with Hypothyroidism. Japanese Heart Journal. 1987; 28(4): p 643.
  5. Baskin S, Klekotka SJ, Kendrick ZV, Bartuska DG. Correlation of platelet taurine levels with thyroid function. J Endocrinol Invest. 1979 Jul-Sep;2(3):245-9.
  6. Hayes KC, Pronczuk A, Addesa AE, Stephan ZF. Taurine modulates platelet aggregation in cats and humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jun; 49(6):1211-6.
  7.  Lombardini JB. Taurine levels in blood and urine of vitamin B6-deficient and estrogen-treated rats. Biochem Med Metab Biol. 1986 Apr; 35(2):125-31.
  8. Trautwein EA, Hayes KC.  Taurine concentrations in plasma and whole blood in humans: estimation of error from intra- and interindividual variation and sampling technique. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Oct; 52(4):758-64.
  9. McCarty MF. Sub-optimal taurine status may promote platelet hyperaggregability in vegetarians. Med Hypotheses. 2004; 63(3):426-33.
  10. How This Particular Supplement Can Improve Your Adrenals
  11. Life Extension Magazine. The Forgotten Longevity Benefits of Taurine. URL: <
  12. Are You Dangerously Deficient in Taurine? Part 2: Testing & Supplementation

How to recognize outward body signs of hypothyroidism


How to recognize outward body signs of hypothyroidism

Outward body signs are not used for a definite diagnosis of a health condition but they can tell us a lot about the state of our body. A sign of an illness is always there somewhere on the outside.

Hypothyroid people experience many negative health issues such as tiredness, overall weight gain, muscle and joint pain, headaches and varied levels of depression. However the outward appearance is also a good indication of a low thyroid hormonal state or problems with the functioning of thyroid hormones.

Changes or abnormalities in eyes, skin, hair and nails and general appearance of a person can be signs of hypothyroidism and the degree of changes also relates to the severity of the illness.

The outward signs of hypothyroidism are connected to a changed functioning of many organs and nutritional deficiencies as thyroid hormones deficits affect every cell in the body. Thyroid hormone directs metabolism and production of proteins (such as keratin in your skin, nails and hair).

I will therefore also explain the outward changes in relation to nutritional deficiencies, stress and other organ functions which can be affected by a low thyroid function.

Some health practitioners  read eyes, their iris and white area. I will not go into eye diagnosis as iridology and sclerology knowledge is a complex science of its own. A health practitioner had once read my irises and at the time, diagnosed me with severe magnesium deficiency and tight muscles. Her reading was accurate.

Let’s start on what you can see with hypothyroidism. Of course, the outward signs may be individual and not all are experienced by everybody. The appearance changes can be very mild or more dramatic.

Hair– losing about a small ball of hair every day, hair is thinned out especially in the front. It appears lifeless, without a shine, can be normal or coarse and brittle.


Loss- Low thyroid, other hormonal deficits, possible deficiencies of vitamin B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12, inositol, D, A, C, sulphur, biotin, zinc, iodine, selenium, calcium, magnesium, low iron stores, taurine, essential fatty acids, bile insufficiency, adrenal insufficiency, autoimmunity problems (Alopecia- more patchy and severe hair loss when compared with hypothyroidism)

Thin, lifeless- low thyroid, iron and biotin (B7) deficiency

Brittle- sulphur deficiency

Face– puffy looking (varying degrees), pale, lifeless, swelling under eyes especially in the morning, ‘bags under eyes’, double chin, swelling in the upper cheeks, looking older and more tired.


Low thyroid, lowered kidney glomerular filtration rates, accumulation of toxins, deficiencies in nutrients

Eyes– look tired, kind of lifeless without a spark, may be dry, rarely may have an uneven appearance, some people may have some puffiness on the eyelids, dark circles under eyes, redness around the eyes, poor night vision and pale inner lower eye lids skin


Apart from hypothyroidism contributing factors are:

Dark circles under eyes- food intolerance, allergies, adrenal weakness, iron deficiency, lack of sleep, stress. Some of the causes of iron deficiency can be copper deficiency (makes iron unavailable), stress, autoimmunity and heavy menstrual bleeding.

Bags under eyes- allergies, food intolerance, toxin accumulation in the body, low iodine.

Dry – Vitamin A and/or vitamin D deficiency

Redness or cracking at the outer angle of the eyes- Vitamins B2 or B6 deficiencies

Pale inner lower eye lids skin- anemia (iron deficiency)

Poor night vision –vitamin A deficiency

Eyebrows- may be thinning with 1/3 of outer eyebrows lost

Beard- thinning


As for hair

Lips– may crack, peel, feel dry and look pale


Apart from a low thyroid, low iron and B12 vitamin (common with hypothyroidism), vitamin B2 deficiency, thrush, sugar balance problems (also connected to hypothyroidism)

Bleeding gums


Low thyroid, vitamin C deficiency

Mouth– may feel dry


Low thyroid, possible iron deficiency, vitamin B2 deficiency, sugar balance problems and dehydration.

Tongue– swollen with lateral teeth indentations (scalloped tongue), may have some white coating on it.


Hypothyroidism, inflammation, poor fluid flow and stagnation, vitamin B2 deficiency, allergies, not enough nutrients in the body, low protein, poor stomach acid, unhealthy gut, stress, anxiety, some other diseases or conditions and dehydration.

Light white coating – poor circulation in extremities, poor stomach acid and indigestion.

Neck– goitre possible


Iodine deficiency, selenium deficiency, autoimmunity

Hands– may be swollen (it is hard to take a ring off), cold and dry, swelling of fingers is related to low vitamin B6 and swelling generally related to a reduced kidney filtration rates and accumulation of toxins. Carpal tunnel syndrome may be a problem with hypothyroidism (also connected to vitamin b6 deficiency).


Cracked and rough


Low thyroid

Nails– thin, brittle, have pits and grooves, splitting, grow more slowly and may have some deformities, they usually have longitudinal (vertical) ridges, cuticles can be jagged with rough edges, lack of lunula (the white half-moons) on most fingers (connected to slow metabolism, also connected with low iodine and anemia- iron or vitamin B12 deficiency). Healthy people should have white, good lunulas.

It is traditionally believed that pronounced vertical ridge formation on the nails relates to a low thyroid, a possible weakness in the digestive tract that results in compromised assimilation of nutrients (leaky gut, food sensitivities, poor digestion), common with increasing age (most likely due to a poorer digestion), may also relate to selenium deficiency, often a zinc and vitamin B deficiencies.

Apart from hypothyroidism, other related deficiencies may be present that change the appearance of the nails.

Rough cuticles – biotin, zinc deficiency

Brittle nails that split easily may also indicate a fatty acid, protein, vitamin A deficiency, iron or calcium deficiency and a low stomach acid.

Soft/brittle nails: may be a magnesium deficiency or iron deficiency

Brittle nails generally- apart from hypothyroidism, fatty acid deficiency, biotin, vitamin A, iron, sulphur, magnesium or calcium deficiencies

Nails with white flecks or lines may result due to a zinc or vitamin B6 deficiency.

Excessively dry nails may be due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency

Slow growing, dry nails- may be indicative of a vitamin A or iron deficiency

Beads that appear to drip down the nail like wax -vitamin B deficiencies

Brown-grey fingernail and toenail discoloration- possible vitamin B12 deficiency

Small depressions (grooves) in a nail- iron deficiency

Curved upwards- severe iron deficiency

Skin– dry, pale, thick, cold, puffy face, can have rough scales and yellowish appearance (especially on the palms and soles), swelling may be present in extremities (hand, fingers, swollen ankles, feet and face), skin may bruise easily, be itchy, sweat less and wrinkle. Some people notice an increase in acne or dry lichen like patches on their skin.


Hypothyroidism causes dryness by decreasing the function of sebaceous and sweat glands. Pallor is related to a decreased skin blood flow and anemia (iron and vitamin B12 deficiency are common). Pink urine after eating beetroots may be an indication of low iron. Yellow skin tint is connected to the deposition of carotene as the conversion of carotene to vitamin A is slow with hypothyroidism. Dry, scaly and flaking skin – apart from low thyroid, contributing factors are low vitamin A, D, fatty acids, zinc, potassium and dehydration. Swollen ankles may also relate to a low vitamin B1 caused by malabsorption due to hypothyroidism. Tingling, Prickling, and Numbness in in hands and feet can also relate to B-vitamin deficiency (particularly folate, B6, B5 and B12) and minerals such as calcium and phosphorous. Bruising- low thyroid, low vitamin C and other problems.


Tender calf muscles – magnesium deficiency

General appearance: tired and bloated


Low thyroid causes fluid retention and poor sleeping.


General recommendations to consider with hypothyroidism:

Make sure your thyroid function and thyroid hormonal replacement are optimal.

Consider adding Natural Desiccated Thyroid to levothyroxine hormonal replacement

Check your nutritional profile (vitamin B12, iodine, zinc selenium, magnesium, calcium and iron)

Improve stomach acid with apple cider vinegar (in some water before the main meal) and Betaine –HCl (only for those diagnosed with a low stomach acid)

Consider adding vitamins B to your diet (I personally use Brewer’s yeast)

Consider adding plenty of natural vitamin C (I personally use Acerola cherry powder)

Good adrenal support herbs (such as those containing Rhodiola rosea)

Reduce stress

Rest adequately

Optimize your nutrition (lots of green leafy greens, healthy varied diet with essential fatty acids)

Please note this blog is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor if you are worried about any outward changes in your appearance. Changes in skin, hair, nails and eyes may be connected to other illnesses apart from hypothyroidism.

I welcome any comments and personal stories you might want to share to help others.









Hypothyroidism and its consequences

Hypothyroidism and its consequences

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body cells are not receiving sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. It is a common problem these days and is a reflection on stress, some illnesses (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), environmental oestrogens, environmental toxins, obesity, poor diet and deficiencies of trace minerals and vitamins.

People, who have had a radical treatment for Graves’ disease, such as thyroid removal or radioactive iodine treatment may also suffer from hypothyroidism. This occurs when the thyroid hormonal therapy is suboptimal. The common hormonal replacement given to people with hypothyroidism is levothyroxine (T4 hormone). However, this therapy is not sufficient in many cases.

The thyroid gland produces T4, T3, T2, T1, T0 and calcitonin hormones. T3 hormone is the main bioactive hormone responsible for energy and protein production in the body. Thyroid gland supplies a small amount of this hormone but the majority is obtained through the conversion of T4 hormone into T3 in peripheral tissues other than the thyroid gland. Some people have problems with T4 into T3 conversion due to many different issues. Therefore, people who have problems with hormonal conversion (common with thyroid autoimmunity) and do not have a functioning thyroid are very vulnerable to hypothyroidism.

The consequences of suboptimal thyroid hormonal replacement and hypothyroidism are powerful and can create many health problems. They lead to a health disaster as every cell in the body would be affected in a negative way.  After all, we would not be alive without the energy produced in our mitochondria (cell energy factories) and T3 is an integral molecule in the process of energy production.

Suboptimal supplementation with thyroid hormones after thyroid surgery or radioactive iodine treatment may lead to prolonged or severe hypothyroidism becoming worse over time. This may be due to a partial failure of the 5’deiodinase enzyme, impairing the conversion of T4 to T3 as hypothyroidism affects the levels of nutrients required for its function. Thyroid hormone receptors may also become desensitised (if you don’t use it, you lose it) and have problems receiving hormones (due to effects of hypothyroidism, such as adrenal exhaustion, low progesterone and poor sugar control).  An oxidative cell stress can be seen in both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism as the optimal thyroid hormone levels are required to prevent generation of excessive free radicals in mitochondria, which damage cells. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been connected to fibromyalgia (sore, weak muscles) and other health problems. It relates to an increase in the acidity of body cells and imbalances of specific nutrients and hormones.  A mitochondrial dysfunction has also been connected to the development of cancer.

Nutritional deficiencies are consequences of hypothyroidism due to a lower production of hydrochloric acid in stomach, bacterial flora imbalance in the gut and an impaired liver function. In the state of hypothyroidism, gastrin levels are usually reduced, which causes low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and a poor digestion. Even mild hypothyroidism leads to a magnification of problems over time as the thyroid hormones are not able to access the cells due to nutritional deficiencies (mainly vitamin B12, vitamin A, zinc, selenium, iron and essential fatty acids). Hypothyroidism reduces not only the absorption of nutrients but also the methylation status of molecules (such as B vitamins). Vitamin B12 needs to be methylated to be used by the body and it is extremely important molecule for a proper body functioning and healthy red blood cells.  Deficiencies of methylating nutrients,  manganese, iron, selenium, chromium, natural vitamin C and other minerals can contribute to a copper accumulation, which is then connected to many health problems. Night blindness may also be a result of hypothyroidism due to low levels of vitamin A. When T3 is not sufficient, the metabolism of cholesterol into bile acids is lowered. Fat is not properly digested. Fat soluble vitamins (A, K, D and E) and the essential fatty acids are not properly absorbed. Poor liver function tests and ‘fatty liver’ (not necessary in an overweight person) are often seen. Higher cholesterol levels may be seen as the liver and gallbladder do not work effectively.  Gallbladder function may also be impaired in hypothyroidism.

Iron deficiency is a common problem in hypothyroidism. Low iron absorption may cause iron deficiency anemia. In people with low thyroid, copper is preferably absorbed to iron in the gut. Vitamin B and C deficiencies and low stomach acid, often seen in hypothyroidism, affect the absorption of iron negatively. The liver plays a part in maintaining normal iron levels and when it is sluggish due to hypothyroidism, levels of iron become low. Dark circles under the eyes and tiredness may indicate low iron levels in the body and adrenal exhaustion.

Hypothyroidism effects oestrogen metabolism, lipid metabolism and the sugar balance as the liver is negatively affected and it is a major player in these functions.  Oestrogen is an important hormone, present in higher amounts in women as it is involved in reproduction and immune system functions.

A poor functioning liver cannot detoxify excessive oestrogen or other toxic molecules properly. The amino acid conjugation system in the liver, necessary for a proper detoxification is commonly found to function poorly in hypothyroidism. Glycine and the other amino acids used for conjugation can often become deficient. This then leads to a toxic overload and accumulation of fat soluble toxins in body fat cells. Toxins raise inflammation. Toxic molecules can cause cancer and heart disease. A sluggish liver is not able to produce enough binding proteins for copper, leading to copper accumulation in tissues. Copper toxicity creates problems with the way insulin works in the body. Hypothyroidism can create a state of oestrogen dominance. The increasing oestrogen metabolite can possibly increase the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Hypothyroid people tend to put on weight due to a slow metabolism and fat cells can produce more oestrogens in the body.

There is a connection between under-active thyroid and gut health. Patients with hypothyroidism have a sluggishness of the gastrointestinal tract and often suffer from constipation, gas, bloating, re-absorption of intestinal toxins and increased intestinal permeability. The abdomen may feel distended with hypothyroidism. They might also have an imbalance of gut flora. The beneficial bacteria in the gut help to convert the inactive T3 into active form for recycling into the body. Some people with hypothyroidism may suffer from chronic gastro- oesophageal reflux.

Low thyroid hormonal levels cause lowered levels of cortisol hormone due to adrenal exhaustion,  leading to body aches and pains, nervousness, irritability, raised testosterone, increased number of allergies, raised inflammation levels in the body, unstable body temperature and frequent upper respiratory tract infections. Hypothyroid people are more predisposed to viruses, colds, influenza and chronic infections because hypothyroidism may cause a reduction in circulating lymphocytes, which fight infections. Infections further deplete adrenal glands. Subsequently, frequent antibiotics and medications disrupt gut health and stress the liver.

People with low T3 levels and autoimmunity problems may have chronic inflammation (due to lowered cortisol levels)and the possibility of other autoimmune disorders. The individual with low T3 may also have low pregnenolone levels, which influence the balance of the immune system and other hormones.

One of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism is depression (brain demands for T3 are not met affecting serotonin levels). Depression may have serious consequences as it threatens the life of sufferer and affects the lives of family and friends. Hypothyroidism significantly lowers the quality of life. Happiness is what we strive for and there is little happiness with insufficient T3. Feeling of being ‘stressed’ is common with low T3. Brain fog, common in hypothyroidism, is most likely due to slowed blood flow to the brain.

Low thyroid hormone levels are associated with a heavy menstrual flow, which leads to anemia and low iron. Hypothyroidism is often associated with low progesterone production. Low progesterone further lowers the absorption of zinc, which is necessary to allow thyroid hormones entry into the cells. Both, T4 into T3 conversion and entry of thyroid hormones into the cells become compromised. Difficulties in achieving and sustaining pregnancy can be connected to hypothyroidism. Lack of T3 hormone in early pregnancy may lead to miscarriage and pre-eclampsia as T3 hormone mediates embryonic and placenta growth. It may also lead to an increased chance of birth defects.

Adrenal aldosterone hormone imbalance is connected to hypothyroidism and may result in a constriction of blood vessels and elevated diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart problems, inflammation and blockage of blood vessels. Low thyroid hormonal levels result in the inflammation and plasticity loss of blood vessels. This is because thyroid hormones promote the synthesis and action of vasodilators and acts directly on muscles in our arteries. The synthesis of nitric oxide (a powerful chemical, which dilates blood vessels) from L-arginine is stimulated by T3. Imagine your heart trying to pump blood through blood vessels in the body, which cannot effectively dilate and a resulting stress and damage to the cardiovascular system. As adrenal production of aldosterone increases, the production of anti-inflammatory cortisol decreases. Sodium is retained by the body. The person experiences anxiety and body aches. Other symptoms may include water retention and fluctuating blood pressure due to constricted blood vessels and kidney stress. Thyroid hormonal imbalances lead to alterations in the kidney function and structure. Hypothyroidism may lead to kidneys becoming smaller in size. In hypothyroidism, kidneys glomerular filtrations rates fall and elevated serum creatinine is often seen. The consequences of elevated creatinine levels in severe hypothyroidism include dry skin, feeling dehydrated, swelling, nausea, fatigue and shortness of breath. In fact, estimation of creatinine levels may be used to determine thyroid function/adequacy of thyroid hormonal replacement in the future. Kidney stones can occur due to the decreases in renal plasma flow. There are problems in excreting excessive water from the body.

Low thyroid hormone levels are connected to higher homocysteine levels and higher cholesterol, which are then related to an increased risk of heart problems. Hypothyroidism increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Generally there are many changes to the way heart works in hypothyroidism and these include: decreased cardiac output, stroke volume, heart rate and pulse pressure. People with hypothyroidism may experience heart palpitations and arrhythmias (free T3 hormone protects the heart from arrhythmias). The worst result of a prolonged hypothyroidism may be congestive heart failure. Changes in low voltage ECG can show prolonged PR interval and flat T wave. There are many studies indicating that sufficiency of thyroid hormones lowers the risk of heart attack. Thyroid hormone are important for the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins. Vitamin K activates these proteins, which keep the blood vessels healthy. Vitamin K does not work well with insufficient amount of thyroid hormone.

Symptoms of low T3 may include lethargy, severe muscle spasms,  muscle and joint pain. Muscles become depleted of glucose and energy with low T3 hormone levels. Fibromyalgia (muscle stiffness) also relates to under methylation of body, which may be a problem in some people with hypothyroidism. When thyroid hormone levels are low, so are methylation processes. In hypothyroidism, the function of MTHFR enzyme is reduced and it is not producing enough FAD or active riboflavin B2, involved in a proper methylation, also raising homocysteine levels. Low levels of vitamin B2 are connected to migraines. Homocysteine elevations have been shown to be an associated risk factor for cardiovascular disease, dementia, neurodegenerative diseases and cervical dysplasia. Methylation processes are extremely important as they are required for the liver detoxification and neurotransmitter production. The production of SAMe (the main methyl group donor) is reduced and its low levels have been linked to depression. High histamine levels are connected to hypomethylation as it is removed by the body by a methylation process. High histamine levels are connected to allergies.

Poor sugar control is a resulting consequence of hypothyroidism. When T3 is not sufficient, it does not activate thyroid hormone receptors properly in the liver, which can lead to a fatty liver and insulin resistance. Low T3 causes poor liver function and impaired glucose metabolism in peripheral tissues, which may lead to diabetes. Under methylation issues has been postulated as a possible mechanisms, which increase insulin resistance. Hypothyroid people store less glucose in the liver as glycogen and are more prone to a low blood sugar. As a consequence, both adrenaline and cortisol start rising at night.  Adrenaline can peak around 2am and a person can wake up with heart palpitations.

In my research, I had come across a saying that “just a few grains of thyroid hormone can make the difference between an idiot and Einstein”.  The slowing of a brain process, clumsiness,  irritability, loss of short term memory, disorientation, depression and melancholia may occur with low levels of T3.  A part of the brain known as the hippocampus, which is responsible for short term memory and special navigation, is strongly affected by not only stress but also hypothyroidism, which slows nerve generation and function in this area of the brain. Thyroid is a major player in this part of brain (hippocampus is very vulnerable region) and brain in general as it modulates glucose metabolism and insulin signalling. Damage to hippocampus has been connected to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It may also be connected to the development of type 2 diabetes.

The levels of neurotransmitters are altered in hypothyroidism. T3 hormone is a neurotransmitter. Low thyroid hormone levels cause low dopamine, a neurotransmitter important for motivation and willpower. As methylation process is impaired, the production of SAMe, the main methyl donor is impaired, which affects the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. When T3 is low, the brain does not work properly and the levels of serotonin go down. Depression is a common symptom of hypothyroidism.

It is easier to put the weight on when metabolism is slow due to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroid people tend to put weight on all over the body. They tend to crave carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, rice, sweets and starchy food) due to the adrenal exhaustion and altered sugar metabolism. When you do not have a proper detoxification in your body, toxins accumulate in the fat cells and make weight loss difficult to achieve. An inflamed body stores excessive water. The levels of glutathione, the main toxin remover, go down. Hypothyroidism is also connected to spikes of cortisol, oestrogen dominance and insulin resistance and thus poor sugar control. All this leads to weight gain.

Hypothyroidism affects many aspects of body functioning and creates multiple health issues. These issues are often looked at separately but are due to one main problem of hypothyroidism. The thyroid hormones are powerful body chemicals and their effects should never be underestimated.