Sunshine and Women
Let’s start with a little quiz. Do you have two or more of the following symptoms?
- Persistent fatigue
- Body aches
- Brain fog or memory lapses
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain
- Hair loss, especially on the legs
- Feeling cold frequently
- Menstrual irregularities
- Loss of libido
How many did you check off?
I can tell you I suffered from five of the nine symptoms.
After a battery of tests, I learned I suffered from a sluggish thyroid (hypothyroidism).
The standard protocol for diagnosis of a slow thyroid is to test only T4, the inactive form of the thyroid hormone.
The body is supposed to convert T4 to T3 – the active form.
Some women have trouble with this conversion. While common thyroid meds are effective at increasing T4 levels, they may not create enough T3 and both hormones are vital to thyroid health.
I happen to be one of those lucky devils that have trouble with the conversion. What does this mean?
It means we suffer from a vitamin D deficiency (the sunshine vitamin) on top of the hypothyroid.
So, what do we do now?
It is suggested women with an additional conversion issue, start taking 4,000 IU daily for six weeks before scaling back to 2,000 IU – far more than the standard 600 IU in most multivitamins.
The good news – once you make the necessary changes most women notice increased energy, mood improvements, and pounds beginning to melt away… slowly, but you do begin to see some weight loss within a few weeks.
Why Do Vitamin D and Hypothyroidism Go Hand in Hand?
Without enough D, the gland makes less thyroid hormone, and what D is produced doesn’t properly bind to cells in the body.
Weight gain adds to the D deficiency causing us to get deeper into a thyroid-slowing cycle since excess body fat keeps D from reaching the bloodstream.
Many doctors don’t check vitamin D levels and, even when they do, only severe deficiencies show up on standard blood tests.
Unfortunately, almost one-half of women with a vitamin D deficiency go untreated.
Two tests women need to learn to ask for; a 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 test and a TSH test.
If your TSH results are normal but you have symptoms, ask your doctor to run the FREE T3 and FREE T4 blood tests.
How to Optimize the Sunshine Vitamin:
- Boost the absorption of B6 by eating foods high in magnesium and other B complex vitamins – Sunflower seeds and avocados.
- Spend 20 minutes a day, three times a week, in the midday sun with arms and legs exposed to optimize D levels.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine. Both deplete vitamin B6.
Whatever you do, don’t give up!