Thyroid Q & A with Jill Ashley Hoffman, Thyroid Health Coach

How would you define hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition that develops when not enough thyroid hormone is getting into the cells, causing metabolism and bodily processes to slow down.

How common is hypothyroidism?

Hashimoto’s affects up to 10% of the US population, predominantly women, and is responsible for 90% of Hypothyroidism cases.  Up to 27 million Americans, and about 200 million people worldwide, have some form of thyroid disease. However, close to 60% of these people are unaware of their condition.

What causes Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

The most common cause is immune dysfunction triggered by your digestive tract (leaky gut), hormonal fluctuations often related to pregnancy (Postpartum Thyroiditis), and exposure to toxic substances such as environmental pollutants, household chemicals and pesticides, all of which can disrupt the endocrine system.

How do I know if I have hypothyroidism?

  1. Check your temperature. Below 98 during the day may signify a problem.
  2. If you have several of the symptoms mentioned in Dr. Lenherr’s article on Thyroiditis (click here) you’ll want to get your thyroid checked.  People with Hashimoto’s can display symptoms of both overactive and underactive thyroid in the early stages, from jittery to exhausted and everything in between. 
  3. Ask a trained doctor for tests recommended in Dr. Lenherr’s article (click here) thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies, free and total T4 (thyroxine), free and total T3 (triiodothyronine), reverse T3 (rT3) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH.) 
  4. An ultrasound of the thyroid can show texture changes that can occur from destruction of the thyroid gland.

How does Hypothyroidism affect the brain?

Lack of adequate thyroid hormone over a period of time causes symptoms such as depression, fatigue and brain fog and will ultimately lead to brain degeneration.  The brain has its own immune system, made up of microglial cells. When these cells are activated, due to a foreign invader, it becomes non-stop warfare in the brain causing inflammation and degeneration of the brain tissue.

I’m taking Synthroid, so my thyroid problem is under control, right?

Synthroid is a synthetic form of T4, which is the storage form of thyroid.  When the body needs thyroid hormone, T4 is converted to T3, the active form.  Many people have trouble converting T4 to T3 due to issues in the gut and liver, which often increase as we age. Raising your Synthroid dosage usually does not work. The best approach would be to work on improving your gut and liver health along with speaking with your doctor about natural, desiccated thyroid, which provides a full spectrum of thyroid hormones.


Don’t forget that thyroid medication DOES NOT heal the thyroid. It just replaces the hormone that the thyroid is not making for whatever reason. Taking a holistic approach to health (addressing diet, lifestyle, stress, etc.) will help you heal from the inside out so you can be on the lowest dose of medication possible for the shortest duration.


Jill Ashley Hoffman specializes in working with clients with thyroid issues.  Find her at





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