Thyroid Hormone in Men
The Med-Health 360 Prescription
The thyroid gland and its many associated hormones can be thought of as the “traffic center” for your endocrine system. Thyroid hormones are important in their own right, especially for regulating metabolism. But healthy thyroid function is also critical to the balance of your other hormones. When something is out of whack elsewhere in your endocrine system, the thyroid gland will work hard to compensate.
Thyroid Hormone Is Important For
- Muscle mass
- Bone health and formation
- Sexual arousal and desire
- Hair growth
- Prostate health
- Cardiovascular vasodilation
- Cognitive memory and vocalization
Facts About Low Thyroid
- Being low thyroid frequently goes hand in hand with imbalances in other hormones.
- There is a symbiotic relationship between thyroid and other hormones. Treating other hormones without checking thyroid is not an effective way to balance hormones.
- Many symptoms of low thyroid overlap with symptoms of other hormone imbalances, including fatigue, weight gain, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and brain fog.
Common Symptoms of Low Thyroid
- Weight Gain
- Hair Loss
T3 and T4
T4 is the thyroid hormone that your thyroid gland produces directly. After T4 is secreted by the thyroid gland, it flows through the pituitary. When the pituitary senses that the body doesn’t have enough T4, it releases thyroid stimulating hormone (or TSH). TSH then stimulates the thyroid to produce more T4. Proper functioning of this feedback loop is the first piece of the thyroid puzzle.
But there’s more. T4 is not the thyroid hormone that your body actually uses—or at least not the primary one. T4 has to be broken down into another thyroid hormone called T3; and then T3 is broken down into yet another thyroid hormone called T3 free. T3 free is the thyroid hormone your body actually uses. You can have all the T4 in the world; but if it isn’t converted to T3 free, you may as well have none at all.
One of the reasons thyroid levels decline with age is because the thyroid and pituitary start to slow down. However, as the body ages, it also becomes less efficient at converting T4 to T3 free.
Why Low Thyroid Falls Through the Cracks
Low thyroid is frequently undiagnosed or treated incorrectly in adults because most healthcare practitioners follow outdated protocols. Here’s what they’re missing:
- T4 only accounts for about 20% of thyroid function in the body.
- T4’s primary function is to be broken down into T3, and then T3 free.
- T3 free accounts for 80% of thyroid function in the body.
- As the thyroid ages, it produces less T4. However, there are also chemical changes taking place in the body that inhibit T4’s breakdown into T3 free.
- Most healthcare practitioners only measure T4 levels and the feedback loop between TSH and T4. They miss 80% of thyroid function by not testing for T3, and its functional form, T3 free.
- When the same healthcare practitioners do treat for low thyroid, they prescribe synthetic T4. They may achieve adequate levels of T4 with this approach; but if the body isn’t breaking the T4 down into T3 free, the end result will be suboptimal.
- What most healthcare practitioners consider a normal level for thyroid isn’t usually high enough. For thyroid, the upper end of lab-tested ranges is usually healthiest.
Unfortunately, all of the above results in many people being inadequately tested and treated for low thyroid, if they’re being tested and treated at all.
Treatment for Low Thyroid
Has your primary care physician checked your thyroid and said it’s fine? It may not be. This is why we always check T3 free. If T3 free is low, our doctors will provide the treatment that was needed all along, using bioidentical thyroid that contains both T4 and T3, in a dose that will get levels to the upper end of lab- tested ranges. There are many facets to better aging. Thyroid is one of them.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) has actually been used in the United States since 1938. Bio-identical Hormones are all natural plant based products made from yams and a small amount of soy. These hormones have the same molecular structure as the hormones produced within our own bodies. There are numerous studies worldwide that document the benefits and safety of BHRT. These studies also report a lower incidence of side effects when compared with prescription drugs. BHRT should not be confused with “synthetic hormones which are typically found in many creams, gels and injectables used for hormone replacement.
BHRT is a short, simple in-office procedure using local anesthesia. Your doctor will insert the pellets into the fatty layer just beneath your skin. In men and women, a small incision is made in the buttocks or in the lower abdomen. The process is painless and takes just a few minutes.
One of greatest advantages of pellet therapy is the low incidence of side effects. Although extremely rare, side effects may include: slight bruising, minor bleeding, infection or extrusion of the pellets.
Your doctor will interpret your blood tests and determine an appropriate dosage specifically designed for your body. Women who receive estrogen can feel significantly better in 24-36 hours. Men and women who receive testosterone will start to feel relief of symptoms in 10-14 days. After your pellet insertion, you should avoid vigorous exercise for a few days as directed by your physician. Your doctor will evaluate your hormone levels on an ongoing basis and monitor any future changes needed.
You can obtain BHRT Pellets by scheduling an appointment with a trained, certified physician who specializes in hormonal therapy. In order to obtain the correct dosage and proper placement of the pellets, the doctor should be knowledgeable and specifically trained in pellet therapy!
To find out if BHRT is the right solution for you, speak with an HTCA physician today!
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