Fatigue is a common symptom for those that struggle with thyroid disease. When people think of fatigue, they think of feeling a little tired and out of energy. For those with thyroid disease, it’s not that simple and a little more extreme. The fatigue can become so debilitating that it interferes with their daily routines.
Struggling With Fatigue
If you struggle from this symptom, you may find yourself taking multiple naps a day or going to bed early and waking up still tired. There are many ways to help reduce this symptom. Ensuring your medication is the correct dose, finding and eliminating food sensitivities, balancing blood sugar, and detoxing your body are all good places you can start.
Before discussing the tips that will help you on this journey, I must be clear that these symptoms stem from a root cause. Finding and treating the root cause will aid your healing. Adjusting your medication, getting more sleep, increasing your vitamins are all good tips. But treating the cause of the disease is a must.
Fatigue And All Thyroid Conditions?
Whether you are hypothyroid or hyperthyroid, fatigue can be part of your long list of symptoms. Extreme fatigue can be a sign that you have an undiagnosed thyroid condition or you are not being properly treated.
Hypothyroid/Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease
Fatigue is the most popular symptom for those that have hypothyroidism. When you have hypothyroidism you will have an under-active thyroid. Meaning your body will not produce enough thyroid hormone. When thyroid hormone is lacking in the body your adrenal glands will step up to help your body with this process.
If your body is constantly needing help, your adrenals start to be overworked causing extreme fatigue in the body. However, this can develop slowly or come on suddenly. When this happens you will be left fully exhausted.
If you are experiencing this symptom and have hypothyroidism it is important to make sure you are being treated properly.
Hyperthyroidism/Graves Autoimmune Disease
Fatigue is also a symptom of hyperthyroidism but it isn’t from sleeping too much, it’s from lack of sleep. Insomnia can be due to the symptoms caused by hyperthyroidism such as, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, tremors, anxiety, and many others.
1. Are You In Optimal Range?
It is so important to optimize your thyroid medication. You do not want to be taking too much or too little. When you are taking the correct dose, your thyroid lab results will be in the optimal reference range and fatigue can improve. If you are not in range, talk to your doctor about adjusting your thyroid medication.
- TSH: Optimal range: 0.5-2.5 mlU/mL
- Free T4: Optimal range: 1.0-1.5 ng/DL
- Free T3: Optimal range: 3.0-4.0 pg/mL
- Reverse T3: Optimal range: 11-18 ng/DL
- TPO: Optimal range: <2 IU/mL
- TG: Optimal range: <2 IU/mL
2. Finding Your Food Sensitivities
Many people find major relief from eliminating triggering foods. As everyone’s body is different, we all have a variety of foods we are sensitive to. Finding those foods and eliminating them for a couple of months or for good, can help with thyroid symptoms.
Gluten, soy, processed dairy, sugar, and caffeine have been reported to do the most damage for thyroid patients.
Gluten: wrecks havoc on the gut lining causing openings for toxins to leak into the bloodstream. This causes autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s and Graves to appear.
Soy: Soy has been proven to be an endocrine disruptor causing your hormones to be imbalanced. As little as 3 to 4 tablespoons of soy can suppress the thyroid function and lower metabolic rate.
Dairy: Dairy is a food that doesn’t always have to be taken out for good but for some time. Most people are consuming processed dairy causing inflammation to the body. This can contribute to more fatigue and thyroid symptoms. If you choose to add dairy back into your diet, be sure it is raw organic dairy or organic grass-fed, pasteurized dairy.
Sugar & Caffeine: I know for so many people processed sugar is the hardest to give up. Sugar and caffeine cause the body to go into a flight or fight mode even when your body is not under stress. This “flight or fight” mode is used when your body is under a real threat or stressful situation.
Heavy amounts of sugar and caffeine can cause the adrenal glands to weaken leading to extreme fatigue. As your adrenals help your thyroid, causing trouble for it is the last thing you want to do. Some people that have severely damaged their adrenal glands can feel extreme fatigue from even small amounts of caffeine and sugar. We all need sugar to live but not processed sugar. Switching to things like fruit and honey can be a good start.
3. Balancing Blood Sugar
Maintaining a healthy blood sugar can help balance your thyroid hormones and relieve symptoms of fatigue. A constant skyrocketing and dropping of your blood sugar can cause your body to be under significant stress. Always eating a protein with any carbohydrate will keep your blood sugar balanced.
A healthy snack that will not cause blood sugar fluctuations is an apple and peanut butter. The protein from the peanut butter would balance the sugar from the apple. Or you can have a apple with cottage cheese (if you are handling dairy well and it is not processed).
4. Check Your Vitamin D
Those with thyroid disease are naturally much lower in their vitamins and minerals. This is from the body not being capable to absorb nutrition properly. If your vitamin D is very low you can experience extreme tiredness. Asking your doctor to check your Vitamin D with your next appointment is important.
If it is low try to:
- Get in the sun more
- Eat more salmon and mushrooms
- Take a Vitamin D supplement
5. Detox Your Body
A yearly detox is a must even for healthy individuals. Our bodies undergo exposure to toxic chemicals every day, with the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. These toxins build in our body cause disease. Just as we clean our house so dust will not accumulate, we need to clean out the body, so toxins don’t accumulate. In the Thyroid Healing Community, I teach you step by step how to gently and properly detox.
It is important to get to the root cause of your thyroid condition for proper healing. In the meantime talk to your doctor and make the lifestyle changes to improve your feelings of fatigue.