Underactivity of the thyroid gland i.e. hypothyrodism, is an extremely common condition and responsible for an enormous amount of ill health. Apart from causing obvious symptoms like fatigue, over weight and sensitivity to the cold, it ensures that almost every system in the body is at a low ebb. I find at least 90% of people coming in for help in clinic for a wide variety of issues have this as their base problem. Attending to the reasons behind the low thyroid function (often just with diet and exercise) undoes most of what is happening.

The low thyroid function is to be expected when any parents have the condition, if you have (past – as it lodges in your body forever and is highly toxic) exposure to mercury – found in amalgam (silver) filling and in most vaccines, if you use chlorinated or fluoridated water, if you are low in Vit B, C, Magnesium and or Zinc (this is most everyone) and if there is little Selenium and Iron in your diet to help you convert one thyroid hormone to another.

If you have been dieting, avoiding fat (which is what you make hormones with – look to depression – maybe helping yourself is as easy as eating ZERO sweet anything and start eating lots of fat – (LINK to Helping yourself book)

People with low thyroid function (called sub clinical as it is showing up BELOW the markers of ‘real’ thyroid problems have typically many of the problems listed below. They may even be medicated for depression, inability to lose weight, any number of slow digestion and immune systems malfunctions, including Candida and parasites and increased mucus production, aches and pains of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, slow and dull thinking and memory loss, very painful and /or flooding periods, poor sperm quality and quantity, constant low grade headaches especially in the mornings, fluid retention, mental fog and all the below symptoms may also be on board.

You don’t need any of these, and may not have all of them – but if it sounds like you – take action.

Signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism


  • Slow pulse (less than 65 beats/min),
  • palpitations,
  • enlarged heart,
  • diminished heart sounds,
  • ECG changes,
  • decreased cardiac output,
  • low blood pressure,
  • high blood pressure (diastolic),
  • poor circulation (especially in hands and feet),
  • increased rate of heart disease (enhanced atherosclerosis)


  • Poor appetite,
  • dysphagia,
  • poor digestion (low acid and pancreatic enzymes, decreased gall-bladder motility),
  • nutrient malabsorption,
  • gas,
  • colic,
  • decreased peristalsis,
  • constipation,
  • pancreatitis (from hypothermia).


  • Muscle cramps (especially at night),
  • myalgia,
  • muscle stiffness,
  • firm muscles,
  • slow movement (delayed muscle contraction and relaxation),
  • miscellaneous body pains,
  • persistent low back pain,
  • arthritis,
  • joint stiffness (especially after immobility),
  • painful or sensitive rib (costal) cartilage,
  • carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve compression by mucinous deposits),
  • slow tendon jerks,
  • ligament and tendon laxity,
  • osteoporosis.


  • Dyspnoea (laboured, difficult breathing),
  • inability to breathe deeply,
  • obstructive sleep apnoea,
  • pleural effusion.


  • Diabetes,
  • hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar resulting in mood swings and energy crashes without food every three hours),
  • liver sluggishness,
  • hypoadrenia,
  • hypercholesterolaemia,
  • hypertriglyceridaemia,
  • reduced HDL-cholesterol,
  • enhanced atherosclerosis,
  • reduced platelet adhesiveness,
  • hyperuricaemia,
  • vitamin A deficiency (poor conversion from carotene),
  • night blindness,
  • mineral deficiency eg. calcium, iron, copper (resulting from hypo-/achlorhydria),
  • anaemia (low bone marrow temperature, iron deficiency, menorrhagia),
  • vitamin B12 malabsorption (may result in pernicious anaemia).

Sex and Reproduction

  • Progesterone deficiency
    (leading to luteal phase deficiency/PCOS, increased likelihood of miscarriages if getting pregnant at all for women),
  • menorrhagia,
  • polymenorrhoea,
  • irregular menstruation,
  • dysmenorrhoea,
  • oligomenorrhoea/amenorrhoea (late hypothyroidism),
  • endometriosis,
  • repeated miscarriage,
  • stillbirths,
  • prematurity,
  • reduced libido (both sexes),
  • infertility (females-anovulation,
  • males- oligospermia),
  • reduced androgen secretion,
  • reduced sperm quality and quantity,
  • impotence.

Mind and Emotions

  • Nervousness,
  • listlessness,
  • mental sluggish,
  • apathy,
  • slow wittedness,
  • loss of initiative,
  • fuzzy/foogy thinking,
  • poor memory,
  • poor concentration,
  • lack of sparkle,
  • easily distracted,
  • emotional instability,
  • irritability,
  • bad temper,
  • abnormal responsiveness to petty annoyances,
  • hostility,
  • chip on the shoulder attitude,
  • introversion,
  • dislike of confrontations,
  • lying,
  • suspiciousness,
  • paranoia,
  • dislike of being watched,
  • dislike of crowds,
  • sudden changes in personality,
  • psychosis,
  • depression,
  • agitation,
  • dementia.

Temperature Control

  • Low basal temperature,
  • feels the cold too much,
  • feels better in Summer,
  • feels better in hot climates,
  • feels better as day progresses,
  • feels better after exercise,
  • symptoms worsen in Autumn & Spring when thyroid is re-regulating,
  • symptoms far worse in humidity and instantly better (reduction in humidity no the cold) in air conditioning.


  • Cold skin,
  • pale skin (poor circulation),
  • pale lips,
  • dry skin (reduced sweat and sebaceous gland secretion),
  • thickened skin,
  • puffy skin (especially of face and extremities),
  • waxy skin,
  • scaly skin,
  • coarse skin,
  • chapped skin,
  • cracked skin (hands, feet),
  • yellow skin (hypercarotenaemia),
  • easy bruising (increased capillary fragility),
  • diminished sweating,
  • wounds slow to heal,
  • infections and imperfections, eg. blackhead, whiteheads, acne, boils,
  • herpes (poor circulation results in nutrient lack and waste accumulation),
  • eczema,
  • psoriasis,
  • icthyosis.
  • rash like often sharp raised small pimple-like skin on back of arms and often also on upper lateral thighs.


  • Dry hair,
  • brittle hair,
  • lifeless hair,
  • lacklustre hair,
  • coarse hair,
  • slow growing hair,
  • loss of curl,
  • premature greyness,
  • excessive hair fall (especially in Autumn),
  • sparse eyebrows (especially outer third).


  • Weak nails, brittle nails,
  • soft nails,
  • thin nails,
  • thickened nails,
  • lifeless nails,
  • ridged nails,
  • slow growing nails.


  • Fatigue,
  • lethargy,
  • weakness,
  • sluggishness,
  • slow speech,
  • sleepiness,
  • high sleep requirement (up to 16 hours daily),
  • hyperactivity (children),
  • growth failure/short stature,
  • overweight though 40% of hypothyroid subjects are underweight (reduced metabolic rate, excess absorption from gut due to decreased motility, fluid retention),
  • puts on weight easily,
  • goitre,
  • headaches (tend to wear off as day progresses),
  • sluggish lymphatic drainage,
  • fluid retention (impaired renal excretion, hydrophilic mucopolysaccharide deposits in tissues),
  • reduced daytime urination,
  • night time urination (delayed water excretion),
  • proteinuria,
  • puffy upper eyelids,
  • thick, swollen tongue,
  • swollen feet,
  • nasal congestion,
  • eyelids frequently stuck together with mucus on awakening,
  • husky voice (mucinous deposits accumulate in larynx),
  • frequent infections such as colds, flu,
  • sore throats (leucocyte deficiency from low bone marrow temperature),
  • dizziness, vertigo,
  • Mennieres disease,
  • hearing loss,
  • tinnitus,
  • food allergies,
  • numbness and tingling of extremities (anaemia, carpal tunnel syndrome),
  • clumsiness,
  • ataxia (cerebllar),
  • bleeding tendency (increased capillary fragility, reduced platelet adhesiveness,
  • syncope (diminished cerebral blood flow), leading possibly onto epilepsy.

None of these are life threatening, but they do mess with the quality of your life.

Unfortunately even if you or your doctor suspected this, the ‘normal’ levels expected are so wide  that you have to be in dire straits before much is done. In the meantime there are a raft of un-wellness symptoms that you may be already medicated for, which are all the side effects of the one problem – your thyroid needs some attention. You will be medicated with the current best practice drug – and the CAUSE of your distress will continue.

Getting tested for low thyroid function may not help as the medical markers set for normal are not those for set for vibrant good health and vitality. So start with what you can do to dig yourself out of that hole.

See also Sluggish Thyroid article