Almost 25% OF North American women today are affected by low thyroid. The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in our overall health. If it is not operating at peak performance, you will not be able to lose weight or you may have drastic increases in your weight over a short period of time; your hair may thin including your eyebrows; your skin will wrinkle excessively and be dry; and you may experience menstrual problems, night sweats and/or severe menopausal symptoms.

Hypothyroid or low thyroid hormone is very common affecting about 20-25 % of the female population and about 10% of the male population. An additional 20% may also have subclinical or mild hypothyroidism whereby their TSH is within normal range. The thyroid secretes two hormones T3 and T4 that are crucial for controlling our metabolism. Because they affect every cell in the body, a deficiency will result in many symptoms including those mentioned above.

Severe hypothyroidism, confirmed by a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, requires the use of thyroid medication. But if you have mild or subclinical low thyroid, where your TSH is greater than 2.0 IU/ml but less than the 5.5 IU/ml level indicative of hypothyroidism, the nutrients found in some natural remedies may help. Or, if you have been on thyroid medication dose is continually increasing and/or you still have symptoms, you may not be converting T$ to the more active T# hormone and a natural remedy may help.

There are some nutrients that the thyroid needs to improve thyroid health. Tyrosine is found in protein, and used to make thyroid hormones. Start your day with an egg, chicken breast or protein shake. Iodine can also be required. Vitamin D is essential for the manufacture of thyroid hormone. In Canada we tend to see higher rates of low thyroid due to our low exposure to sunlight.

The current medical blood test for hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is excellent for severe imbalances with the thyroid. However, the mild to moderate problems go by undetected. To solve this problem, there is the Barnes Basal Temperature Test by Broda Barnes, MD, and Endocrinologist. In his book, Hypothyroidism, an Unsuspected Illness , he proposes that the most sensitive and accurate test commonly used is taking the basal body temperature daily ten times, first thing in the morning. The thyroid regulates the metabolic furnace of the body, i.e. creates heat or controls temperature. For accuracy, he insists that the patient be absolutely basal and totally relaxed. This means not to move around much. This would warm up the body.

Barnes estimates that approximately 40% of the adult population has this problem especially for those who live around the Great Lakes region as there is a deficiency of iodine in the soil. If there is a problem with the thyroid many other areas of the body will not function optimally. Hypothyroidism or low functioning thyroid can be associated with hypoglycemia, diabetes, allergies, psoriasis, acne, hypertension, obesity, overweight, depression, and many, many other ailments.

An old-fashioned mercury thermometer is best to use. Use an oral thermometer that has been shaken down the night before, and put on your bedside stand. A digital thermometer can sometimes be inaccurate.

The test can be done in three ways: Testing the armpit or testing your urine.

Upon waking in the morning, put the thermometer in your armpit (for ten minutes) and record the temperature. He suggests using the armpit temperature rather than the mouth, because so many people have low grade unsuspected sinus infections which generate heat only in that area, thereby falsely raising the oral temperature. 

Gently get up and go directly to bathroom. Urinate in a styrofoam cup. It is best if you release a little urine first and then fill up the cup. The styrofoam will keep the temperature warm enough for the test to be taken. Shake down the thermometer and place in cup. After 10 minutes, read temperature and record.

If you are really sure that you don't have any sinus stuffiness, you can do the mouth test. Many people have low grade unsuspected sinus infections which generate heat only in that area, thereby falsely raising the oral temperature. Put thermometer under the tongue and leave for 10 minutes, then read temperature and record.

Do this test for 10 days in a row if possible. This will be enough data to indicate a pattern of low thyroid function.

Menstruating women need to start this test on the second or third day of their cycle because during ovulation, temperature is somewhat elevated. For children or men, or for menopausal women, it makes no difference which day is picked.

When completed with test, give this record along with any comments to your Health Practitioner for evaluation.



A temperature of 97.8F or 36.5C or below is considered abnormal . If there is a pattern of low temperature data, it probably suggests low thyroid function.