Shallow Breathing Common in Thyroid/Adrenal Dysfunction

by Sarah Dr. Mark B. FrankComments: 83

By Holistic Health Editor Dr. Mark Frank

shallow breathingEvery single tissue in the entire body has thyroid receptors. This means that the thyroid, if not functioning properly, can cause a wide variety of symptoms beyond what we would normally consider.

It is most common to question the health of the thyroid in cases of fatigue, constipation, weight gain, chilliness, and dryness. However it is also very common in cases of depression, fibromyalgia like muscle aches, gastrointestinal dysfunction and even foggy brain.

The thyroid is one endocrine organ in a delicately and intricately related chain of hormone producing glands. Although it may be one of the easier glands to measure, others in the chain, i.e. the hypothalamus, the adrenal glands and the gastrointestinal system have a major effect on the thyroid’s function.

In the last two weeks alone, I have treated three unusual cases of thyroid dysfunction. One an 8 year old girl with Hashimoto’s an auto-immune disease, another a 22 year old male who looks like a body builder and the third a 14 year old very slender female.

None of them fit the picture…but if you don’t test you never know!

Just Because Your Doctor Says Your Thyroid is Fine Doesn’t Make it So

When testing the thyroid you must test several markers to understand if the thyroid is working properly; TSH, T4 total, free T3, Free T4, T3 uptake, free thyroxine index, and thyroid antibodies.

Laboratory ranges are very wide on thyroid and do not reflect optimal functioning. It is very common for conventional doctors to just order a TSH and say your thyroid is fine when it really isn’t.  The reason is most doctors treat all thyroid conditions the same – give enough levo-thyroxin until the tsh blood level is within normal limits. This works for one kind of thyroid dysfunction. There are six different types of low thyroid functions with at least 22 other bodily dysfunctions resulting in low functioning thyroid .

How Other Organs Affect the Thyroid

I will give you a few examples of how other organ systems affect the thyroid. If you have positive antibodies TPO or TGB you really have an auto-immune disease where your thyroid tissue is being destroyed by your immune system. It is estimated that at least 75% of hypothyroid cases are auto-immune. This problem can really be helped by clinicians who understand the relationship between thyroid, gut, immune system and brain. Attention should be directed to these areas.

Food allergies must be eliminated. Vitamin D should be measured and optimized for that patient. Leaky gut must be corrected. Balancing the two arms of the immune system Th1 and Th2 is very important.

Common health food store “immune tonics” such as echinacea and maitake are Th1 stimulators while caffeine  is a TH 2 stimulator. If one is Th1 dominant they will frequently complain that echinacea or other Th1 stimulants makes them feel bad.  It is important to realize that your individual body may not fit the common marketing scheme that is currently being advocated in medicine or natural health care.

Iodine Can Sometimes Make Thyroid Function Worse

There are other tests such as cytokine testing or TH1 and 2 challenges to get this system balanced.It is paramount to understand that those diagnosed with Hashimoto’s or showing positive antibodies will be made WORSE with iodine supplementation.

Free T3 is the real work horse of thyroid hormones. It is what your cells use, yet only 6% of T3 is made in the thyroid. The vast majority is converted from T4 in the liver and from the bacteria in the GI tract. Can you start to see how important the GI tract is and the importance of fermented foods, pre and probiotics?

Thyroid Problems and Adrenal Dysfunction Usually Go Hand in Hand

It is rare to see thyroid dysfunction without seeing adrenal dysfunction. The adrenals are the glands that deal with stress and in our culture most peoples are just worn out.This leads to under-conversion of T4-to T3. It frequently leads to blood sugar issues which dampen communication between the hypothalamus, pituitary and thyroid glands.

Shallow Breathing Common in Thyroid/Adrenal Dysfunction

Again, these problems are made worse by people skipping meals, eating low protein diets or vegetarian diets, using stimulants such as caffeine to increase adrenal output of hormones.  I always use nutrients and whole food diets emphasizing higher protein and healthy fats for this condition.  One of the most important treatments is breathing exercises.

It is common to find people that suffer from shallow breathing when endocrine conditions presents.  Shallow breathing is characterized by breathing from the chest up without using the diaphragm.

Put another way, shallow breathing involves breathe without expanding out to allow the diaphragm to create a vacuum in the lungs.

It is impossible in  a short article to completely explain the thyroid gland. My goal is rather to show you the many facets of thyroid dysfunction and testing . As in all my writings my goal it is to help you connect the dots between one particular system and its relationship to the whole body. I hope to convey the message that if you are chronically ill and your doctor has only tested your TSH please ask for more. Do not take over the counter formulas for your thyroid unless someone is specifically monitoring your case as what makes one type of thyroid condition better can aggravate another type. Again Iodine is a very individual nutrient for certain thyroid types and not for others!

More Information

Thyroid Disease as a Psychiatric Pretender

6 Little Known Signs of Adrenal Fatigue

This is Your Body (and Brain) on Gluten

About the Author

Dr. Mark Frank has been in private practice in Zephyrhills, Florida since 1981. He has traveled the world studying acupuncture, homeopathy, functional medicine, chiropractic and functional neurology in an effort to understand how the human body heals.

He is currently practicing with his daughter Celeste Holstein D.C. Their practice, The Frank Clinic of Chiropractic, is located at 38040 Daughtery Rd, Zephyrhills, FL 33450. (813) 788-0496.

Comments (83)

  • sally

    Hi Dr. Frank,

    I recently had a thyroid panel done and everything was normal except for my Thyroglobulin which was 60 when normal is 50. I did some research and several studies have shown that high thyroglobulin (this is not being used as a marker for recurring thyroid cancer) means your iodine is deficient?

    April 29th, 2015 4:55 pm Reply
  • annie

    Dr I have thyroid problem since 2010 but it is still not in normal range. I have been visiting the doctor and taking medicine regularly. Now I have problem in breathing what should I do?

    April 15th, 2015 4:50 pm Reply
  • Bernardette

    Hi I ve been to several drs and lost hope. I started having fluid retention coming and going after I stopped being anorexic, in a yr instead of d retention my thighs are swelling an inch, brain fog, fatigue and frequent period. If I exercise my legs swell up they become puffy and I gain weight. Estrogen levels and thyroid seem fine although I have low body temperature probably due to stress. I always used to lose weight when I exercise not gain and i cannot afford to gain more as i m 2 kgs overweight. Could it b mitochondrial disease or a deficiency in some vitamin? I was checked for celiac which I m not and my iron is low

    January 25th, 2015 11:01 am Reply
  • Charlotte Hukvari

    Hello Dr. Frank.

    I sincerely wish I could come and see you. I live in Australia so that might be difficult.

    I’ve been having sever breathing problems for the past 3-4 years and was first diagnosed (by a GP) with hay fever and allergies to dust mites. I had immunotherapy for 3 years until my body suddenly told me to stop. I still have the allergies.

    I was diagnosed by a naturopath specialising in thyroid issues with a low functioning thyroid about 3 months ago and had low iodine and low vitamin D. I’ve also gone gluten free, soy free, dairy free and mostly sugar free. I have no onion/garlic. I have been on 60mg iodine per day ever since, and even though I feel better with all the nutrients I actually feel worse again this summer; it’s gotten worse every summer so far.

    My breathing is ‘stuck’ as I can’t expand my chest – I literally have to go to an osteopath to get bones put back into place, the tension is so bad. On the other hand I seem to need a lot more air. I’ve got all the normal signs of hypothyroidism (sleep issues, digestive issues, foggy brain, feeling strangled) but it seems I’m going nowhere otherwise.

    However the iodine may have kickstarted my long term memory because I suddenly realised I’ve had breathing issues in humid and dirty air since I was very young. All we have where I live now a days is humid and grotty air.

    I’m looking for any indication that I’m on the right track as so many practitioners have either glossed over og just not really been very dynamic. Anyone who has any indications as to what I should do please let me know as I’m starting to panic on bad breathing days. At the moment I’m planning to move back to Norway as in winter the air seems fresh and clean. I seemed to still react somehow in summer though.

    Thank you in advance.

    January 14th, 2015 7:06 pm Reply
    • Dr Frank

      HI Charlotte
      Your dose of 60 mg iodine is very controversial. I would have my thyroid antibodies measured to make sure they are not getting worse. Some will do better on iodine some will get much worse.All else sounds good.

      January 16th, 2015 7:27 am Reply
  • Evelyn D.

    Dear Dr. Frank, I was just wondering if you are hearing a lot more about thyroid and heart issues. Why are not Dr.’s putting together the fact that it may be from the constant bombardment from Fukushima we are all under with no end in sight. Our “so called” background levels of atmospheric radiation have all at least tripled and we all know that has an affect with thyroid. The children in CA for the first 9 months following the explosion saw an increase of 29% of thyroid disorders and now they are saying that 58% of ALL children in Japan are all showing thyroid cancers. We need a lot more Dr.’s watching for these symptoms.

    September 8th, 2014 12:35 pm Reply
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  • Dr Frank

    Hi Marissa
    See if you can get tested for thyroid antibodies and Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth. A very common symptom with gluten sensitivity and dysbiosis.

    February 2nd, 2014 3:53 pm Reply
  • marissa

    Hi Dr. Frank,

    I was diagnosed with gastroduedenitis with acid reflux. I never felt any other symptom except the breathing difficulty. It is always there and will not go away. I am taking Pariet and Gasmotin since Jan 22 (after my endoscopy) for 2 weeks and additional 1 week for Pariet. I follow strict diet that would not trigger the acid and have lost 14 lbs. since Dec. 25 (when I was admitted to the hospital). I weigh 140 lbs. now. Could this breathing problem I am having have anything to do with thyroid disorder? My T3 and T4 tests are normal. My neck ultrasound indicated a small nodule in the thyroid less than 1 cm diameter. My endo prescribed Eltroxin but I haven’t taken it since I’m afraid it might have an effect on the meds I am currently taking for acid reflux. I never had stomach pain. Please help.

    January 30th, 2014 3:27 am Reply
  • Dr Frank

    Unfortunately your fiance sounds quite ill and no one would make a medical decision on that
    type of patient online. You need to reread the article and make sure he is willing to start on
    the lifestyle changes wholeheartedly, once this acute episode is handled. Find a local wholistic
    doctor who can can evaluate him as a whole person!

    January 29th, 2014 12:39 pm Reply
  • lemlem

    We just got the results, he has a multinodular thyroid.
    The doctor said that they don’t do anything about, they don’t even operate on his neck and just leave it. Should he accept the ablation?

    January 28th, 2014 8:06 am Reply
  • lemlem

    Interesting article Dr Franck,
    My fiance is at emergency right now dealing with thyroid + arythmia + enlarged liver. He carries a defibrillator and a pacemaker. Doctors made a thyroid biopsy and we are waiting for the answers. They proposed him to get the ablation of the heart part which is responsible of the arrhythmia thinking that there is no relation between thyroid and difficulty to breath. He just saw heart specialists.
    I want to refuse their proposition because I think that they have first to find what is the origine of the problem to propose the most adapted solution but my fiance is frustrated and tired to be sick and mad from 2 months. He is 48 years old and he have all symptoms of thyroid disfunction.
    Could you please give us advice?

    January 28th, 2014 4:36 am Reply
  • Dr Frank

    This does not sound like a simple thyroid case. Not sure what specialty your doctor has but if no endocrinologist is available see an internist or ent just to rule out thyroid cancer and other life threatening illnesses. You can balance your hormones later

    November 19th, 2013 4:23 pm Reply
  • Hailey

    I went to my dr for a thyroid nodule (which turned into 3 thyroid masses) only to be told, they would find me an endocrinologist. Its been 5 months and I lost my insurance now all my lymph nodes are swollen, the ones in my throat so large its causing breathing issues, I have fatigue, bone pain, muscle pain, weight gain, trouble focusing, stomach pain, chest pain, thinning hair, brittle nails, on and on. And yet my dr insists hes trying to find me a specilist. He knows cancer runs in my family. I dont know what to do at this point.

    November 18th, 2013 9:40 pm Reply
  • Dr Frank

    The reason to see a wholistic doctor is to individualize treatment for you. A healthy lifestyle is critical but when its not enough,its because of your individual needs for nutrients may be 10 times higher than others. Also foods that are well tolerated by others can be poisenous to you.Feeling good is all about knowing your individual problems and needs.

    September 23rd, 2013 11:30 am Reply
  • Jessie-James

    I was just diagnosed with thyroid problems. My thyroid raised up for 3 years then within 5 months it dropped to almost nothing. I has shallow breathing , fatigue and exhaustion but otherwise I’m extremely healthy. I feel as though I stress myself out with anxiety. I do organic food & probiotic drinks, raw apple cider vinegar but I don’t feel good. Is there healthy natural ways to feel better?

    September 23rd, 2013 1:08 am Reply
    • Jessica

      Hi Jessie-James,

      Not to oversimplify your problem, but could it be that your shallow breathing is a major component of your fatigue and exhaustion because your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs? Have you tried yoga (either at home or in a class)? I have a feeling that if you do yoga on a regular basis, which teaches deep breathing and focus while moving, and will also help alleviate your stress, then you might notice a difference in your breathing and energy levels. This was the case for me. It may not be the case for everyone, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to make the suggestion.

      September 23rd, 2013 11:42 am Reply
  • Jessica

    Is it possible that those who are shallow breathers are “stressing their bodies out” and not supplying enough oxygen to various organs, which in turn, could cause adrenal issues including fatigue and mental fogginess and perhaps even affect the thyroid?
    Just wondering if that could be true instead of shallow breathing being a symptom of thyroid issues, maybe thyroid issues are an outcome of shallow breathing?

    September 20th, 2013 9:43 pm Reply
  • Mike

    I am wondering if this may be my problem. I feel like I run out of air constantly. I am always gasping for air and often can’t get a satisfying breath. It is like my lungs stop sucking in the air. I have seen a lung specialist and all the tests show that my lungs are great. I have been to a heart doctor and the stress test showed that my heart was fine but that I have a benign condition of (PAC’s) Premature Atrial Contarctions and (PVC’s) Premature ventrical Contractions. Because I have Acid Reflux it was determined that might be the cause. My Gastroentologist did an Endoscopy and saw a slight Hiautus Hernia but he does not think that causes the breathing issues. I am at wits end and cannot find out why I run out of air while talking or just sitting. Does or did anybody else have this problem? What did you do?

    January 22nd, 2013 12:06 pm Reply
    • Angela

      Did you ever figure out what was causing your breathing issues?

      September 27th, 2014 10:37 pm Reply
    • Linda

      I have had breathing problems for years with many trips to the ER , tests show nothing wrong . I finally figured it out myself, I have been hyperventilating , after I realized what was going on I have been able to control it .

      April 5th, 2016 11:40 pm Reply
  • anonymous

    Can you please help me…

    I take desiccated thyroid. Recently I have been on 7-9 grains. I feel fine … except I get “air-hunger”. I also have adrenal fatigue, but the symptoms of that are not severe at this point due to all of the supplements, sleep, etc. I have been nurturing my adrenals (and thyroid) for about a year now. Anyway, I can’t imagine I need more desiccated thyroid … so is this really a symptom of Low Thyroid at this point, or am I getting air hunger because I take too much desiccated thyroid. This morning I had forgotten my medicine until later in the day – and I didn’t have the air hunger in the morning. I also get acne when I take 8 grains a day. I seem to do better on 6. acne clears. not so much air hunger. But it seems i am more tired on 6 grains. & my feet get a bit cold again … Thoughts?

    December 7th, 2012 11:00 pm Reply
    • Dr. Frank

      I would need a lot more info to help, labs,etc. It may just be a case of more time. Have you been tested for Hashimoto’s,gluten free?, blood sugars? stress? Iodine?Tough to individualize through e mails

      December 8th, 2012 3:55 pm Reply
  • Amanda @Natural Living Mamma

    Thanks so much for this. I have several readers and family members who need to read this so I am going to share share share!

    We just started a weekly wellness journey over on my blog. This weeks focus is tyo BREATHE . This fits perfectly.

    September 25th, 2012 8:15 pm Reply
  • Donna

    Thanks for this info! I have Graves Disease and would love to see more articles on thyroid disease. Thanks Sarah.

    September 25th, 2012 3:42 pm Reply
  • Edwina Dupree

    I was very interested in this article. I have so many of the symptoms that were described. I have the shallow breathing, severe fatigue, coldness, constant aches and pains all over (have not been diagnosed, but really feel like it is Fibromyalgia) I was tested by Dr for several years and he just kept saying there is nothing wrong with you! I recently changed my family Dr and she is a young NP and is testing and monitoring my entire situation. She has put me on Thyroid medication and High does of vitamin D. She asked if anyone had checked my D levels and no they have not. Every visit I am diagnosed as anemic. I have to stay on low dosage of Iron. I just wish someone could help me with all the pain and suffering that has gone on for years.

    September 25th, 2012 12:31 pm Reply
  • wendell

    I have been taking steroids for adrenal gland fatigue for two years and have put on about 30 lbs and now I found out that my testosterone has been low for about 2 years but my part D won’t pay for the medicine I need and it’s about $200 a month. My only visit with an endo doctor she mentioned some test from January-2011 that my rheumatologist did that showed low testosterone and she did another test and it’s still low. Fatigue is my major complaint and I went thru 3 years of anemia and am taking B12 shots every month.
    I went to an endocrinologist and she did a tsh and t4, but not all the other tests mentioned.
    I meant to ask her about a natural adrenal cortex medicine like Dr. Cowan mentioned in his book, The Fourfold Path to Healing, but had brain fog that day. I stay confused all the time.
    I haven’t found a doctor in our area yet that is open to prescribing holistic meds and run into a lot of hostility when I bring it up. My mother has thyroid problems and they only tested her tsh also. I would just like to feel better and see my mom feel better, also. It’s hard in south Georgia to find an open minded doctor that listens to their patients.

    September 25th, 2012 9:52 am Reply
    • Sheril C

      Hi. I can very well relate to much of what you are saying. I have been on a long (and sometimes slow seeming) road to better health and the brain fog and ADD issues which I want to clear up are a constant source of trouble in sabotaging my efforts to find out what I need to be doing or in sabotaging my efforts to do the right things regularly in my daily life. I actually came onto the blog today to search the archives to see if Sarah had ever written about any pros or cons to taking B12 shots or any alternatives to taking them.

      I am making progress! I must manage to continue and make more! My latest ventures include going off of my meds that I took for my thyroid and for my legs twitching and kicking all night long which kept me from ever getting any quality sleep. These two meds did a lot of good for me and it remains to be seen if I can do without them and do natural things that will correct those issues. My latest ventures also include convincing my family to do GAPS with me and beginning the GAPS introduction diet. I am not sure that the GAPS thing could ever happen completely for me if I had not gotten everyone else on board. I have had some serious issues with brain fog in preparing for it and again in the first 3 days that I was doing it. But since it has the strong possiblity of helping to clear my brain fog and improve or eliminate other ADD symptoms and the like, and since it has the strong possibility of getting my adrenals and thyroid to function properly on their own as well as getting the minerals in my body to get into a proper balance…. Well I am going to do my best! I may be on this thing for 2 years or even more!

      October 25th, 2012 10:17 am Reply
  • Ashley

    I skipped the dr after they told me via blood test that my thyroid was fine. I have started seeing a nutritionist who does muscle testing. The nutritionist told me i have a hyper thyroid, adrenal fatigue, gut dysbiosis, which i went to get help healing my gut because my mom has chrone’s and cholitis, which i do not want that!! She put me on some homeopathics to detox and drain my adrenals and “autonomic nervous system” and probiotics. Am i ever grateful tho. (I also am weaning of grains and sugar to). I have only been on these meds for about 6 weeks and i feel so much more energy, not like i can run a marathon yet, but my house is cleaner :). I sleep better at night so i am not exhausted during the day anymore and i do great on 8 hours of sleep, which i used to get about 11 hours and still felt sleepy during the day. My swelling has gone down and i am fitting much better in my clothes.

    September 25th, 2012 8:36 am Reply
  • Frank Clinic of Chiropractic via Facebook

    Thanks for the kind words and i have just added an addendum at thehealthyhomeeconomist site.

    September 24th, 2012 9:05 pm Reply
    • Joy

      I can’t seem to locate your addendum…

      September 25th, 2012 8:28 pm Reply
      • mark Frank D.C.

        3 posts above yours

        September 26th, 2012 8:34 am Reply
  • Mark Frank D.C.

    Greetings all and thanks for the kind words
    A few points.When treating Hashimotos disease be sure to look at all other systems.Since the immune system is attacking the thyroid replacing low hormones does not address the causitive system and over years the does just keeps being raised. Almost all Hashi pts will be gluten sensitive and should completely avoid. Focus strongly on the GI system particularly leaky gut. Optimize Vit d levels.One of the barrier systems of the body has been compromised to start this immune process and imbalance TH1/Th2. For those taking iodine please read the Sri lankan experience of increased auto-immunity during iodine prophylaxis,The eastern black sea region of turkey experience using iodine and creation of auto-immunity and the effect of iodine intake on thyroid diseases in China. Each will detail over years of small corrections of iodine deficiency how auto-immunity was increased.
    When I first heard Bronstein I treated all people with high iodine and got great results except the Hashi patients. Most important we are all individuals and have very unique needs.My best results with Hashi patients have been to almost ignore the thyroid and just focus on the healing the rest of the body, immune system , gi sytem and th regulators.
    AS a general rule the thyroid responds very well to natural treatments that look at the whole body and much better than just replacing low hormones

    September 24th, 2012 8:55 pm Reply
    • Judith

      I’d like to know if it is ever possible to reverse Hashimoto’s, either partially or completely. I know this is a theoretical question and it is hard to generalize; every case is different. But in theory, can it be reversed, when the gut is healed and the whole body is addressed sufficiently? That would give me more hope and motivation. I am moving toward a Paleo/GAPS diet which I will tweak for my own case. I am sure I have leaky gut and intestinal candida overgrowth. Unfortunately, I don’t have a cooperative doctor.

      September 25th, 2012 1:26 pm Reply
      • mark Frank D.C.

        Yes. I have many patients that are doing well. They know what they must avoid. Gluten is an absolute avoidance regardless of whether its sprouted, fermented or whatever. The rest is individual. Leaky gut and the immune system is key. The goal is to minimize auto-immunity so the immune system does not attack the thyroid. It takes 6 months to a year. Paleo gaps will really help. Look at for more info

        September 26th, 2012 8:47 am Reply
        • Judith

          Thank you so much for the information, Dr. Frank. I’ll check out Cyrexlabs. Any additional links that you feel are helpful would be appreciated. Do you feel that a Paleo/GAPS type diet would be optimum for everyone with Hashimoto’s, or should diet be adjusted for each individual? Is a Paleo/GAPS diet restrictive enough that it eliminates all the likely sensitivities, so that I don’t have to discover my individual triggers? My problem is that I don’t have a health professional to work with at this point.

          Although I recommend as a good source of information on most thyroid issues, they don’t discuss how to reverse autoimmune thyroid conditions much, if at all. That site fills in the gaps that exist when dealing with most doctors.

          But it doesn’t go to the next step, which is to heal the underlying conditions that cause the autoimmune reaction. I’m grateful that you have shared that idea with us.

          September 26th, 2012 1:08 pm Reply
          • Mark Frank D.C.

            Gaps/paleo is wonderful as the focus should be to heal the gut lining where most of the immune dysfunction occurs. Thyroid is just the victim. Everyone i have tested gluten is positive. Casein 50/50. I have people stop it for 4-8 weeks then eat it for several days and notice what they feel, if reactions avoid for 6 months. Never used commercial dairy, only pastured raw. Test or supplement vit d to get levels to 50 in blood. Don’t worry about antibodies once positive they will change like the wind no matter what you do and have zero significance. best book is “Why do I have thyroid symptoms even though my lab work is normal” Datis Kharrizian.

            September 26th, 2012 2:29 pm
          • Laurie

            Ok, this has given me the encouragement to continue to pursue the paleo/gaps. I am more or less doing full gaps right now. I am ordering the gut and psychology book today, so I am only going off of ideas and blogs I am finding on the Internet. Can’t seem to find the book up here. I have not been eating gluten grains for a few weeks and I have gone off pastured dairy. Good days and bad. I am going to work towards doing the intro after our Canadian thanksgiving. Too much going on in the next two weeks.
            I am very thankful that I have access to the pastured foods. I have actually been getting them for the last 20 years. The thing is my source seems to be running low lately. I am wondering if more and more people are getting drawn to the paleo.
            But I got sidetracked with all raw. And I did not really know about bone broths. I have just started the raw liver with tomato juice 2 days ago. So very, very thankful for this article and finding blogs like this.

            September 26th, 2012 3:10 pm
          • Judith

            Dr. Frank, this additional information is great! Thank you so much. I’m inspired now to keep making changes towards GAPS. I’m lucky to have several small farms nearby with pastured animals, no pesticides, etc. The eggs I buy are from chickens on rotated pasture and are fed a locally-milled, all-organic feed with a minimum of soy.

            But I wonder: I know of someone who was very sick and discovered she reacted to meat or eggs from animals who ate grain or soy. I think that was true even if the feed was organic, but i will check with her on that. She can’t eat chicken at all, since virtually all farms feed some grain or soy to chickens. She would have to raise her own and feed them a more species-appropriate diet. She eats a lot of pastured beef instead. I think some people can only eat meat or eggs if the animals ate no grain or soy at all.

            September 26th, 2012 5:32 pm
  • Stephanie (@wbhomesteader)

    I am currently recovering from adrenal fatigue and I have issues with breathing. I find myself NOT breathing all the time! I am constantly catching myself breathing very shallow or not breathing at all. It’s the weirdest thing. I have to be very intentional about breathing. Great article.

    September 24th, 2012 6:29 pm Reply
  • Laura Anderson via Facebook

    I was diagnosed with Adrenal insufficiency 2 yrs ago by symptoms and the blood pressure test both my blood sugar and pressure drops when I sit and stood up, you can only do so much with out insurance. I have completely changed the way and what I eat, got off ADR and many other supplements my NMD gave me, yet I am still taking progestrone and thyroid natural supplements to scared to stop…I wish I could actually speak to Sarah

    September 24th, 2012 5:53 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth Jaconelli

    Iodine supplementation does not always make Hashi’s worse! Many people are fixing Hashi’s with iodine and co factors supplementation. Just go see the discussions on the iodine4health yahoo group. Better yet, read Dr. Brownstein’s book, “Iodine, why you need and and why you can’t live without it.”

    September 24th, 2012 5:02 pm Reply
    • Judith

      One thing I’ve noticed from reading a few books on thyroid, reading the site and joining a few Yahoo groups on natural thyroid meds, is that one treatment does not fit all. Some people have had Hashi’s made worse with iodine, and others have benefitted. I think it’s important to research the subject, especially paying attention to patient groups, so you know that you may have to experiment a little to find the right approach for yourself. It helps to have a doctor who knows the subject and is cooperative. I have not had one so I’m trying to find my way.

      September 24th, 2012 5:31 pm Reply
  • Yissell

    Sarah – Sometimes I feel that you read my mind before write/post on your blog! Thank you so much for keeping this blog healthy and vibrant. It has changed my life in so many good ways! :)

    September 24th, 2012 4:43 pm Reply
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  • Jaye Procure via Facebook

    Sheri Hennings, it really helps to know what to ask for and this article makes some good suggestions. Many would disagree about his iodine comment with regards to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

    September 24th, 2012 2:39 pm Reply
  • uxordepp

    When I was finally diagnosed as being hypoT, it was not news to me. I think I’d been hypo for years. I also tested as having high cortisol (diurnal saliva test)

    The breathing issue is interesting. I have been a singer for years, so I know how to breath. but sometimes, particularly if I was under stress, my body simply wouldn’t work the way it was supposed to. I could try all I wanted to breath as I knew I should, but it was like there was steel bands around my ribcage, and it wouldn’t move.

    Now that my thyroid is being treated with iodine, T3 and Eltroxin, the breathing has improved a great deal. That I still have issues from time to time tells me I’m not all better yet!

    September 24th, 2012 2:28 pm Reply
    • Laurie

      I have not been diagnosed with anything but that is how I feel. Like an invisible band around my rib cage not allowing me to breathe deeply.

      September 24th, 2012 4:26 pm Reply
      • uxordepp

        I had a pulmonary function test done, and when the results were being read to me (lung capacity is good and exhalation is strong) I exclaimed that it wasn’t breathing OUT I had the problem with, it was breathing IN.

        I now know that this is pretty common among the hypoT set, but it is not what they test for when the lung test is done.

        I am fortunate that I have a doctor willing to allow me to take a fair bit of control of my diagnosis and treatment. He has been a lot of help, because he listens and is willing to admit that he doesn’t know everything.

        September 24th, 2012 4:49 pm Reply
      • Judith

        I’ve been on Nature-throid for a few years now, but my adrenals have been fried, so I’m still not back to “normal.” Just in the last 6 months or so, I’ve been having the same sort of trouble breathing. My inhale is very weak and fairly slow, and I don’t inhale deeply, but my exhale is forceful. It feels as if the exhale is trying to compensate for the weak inhale. It’s strange, because I’ve had a lot of training in Yoga breathing and other forms of conscious breathing. I know how I want to breathe, but it’s nearly impossible to do it for any length of time. This may mean I need more adrenal support, or certain nutrients, or more thyroid. Or I may need to see if I have the reverse T3 problem now.

        It’s really interesting to read this article. Thank you.

        September 24th, 2012 5:35 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    Dr. Frank, is it possible to heal/reverse hypothyroidism naturally?

    September 24th, 2012 2:08 pm Reply
  • Amber Piekarski via Facebook

    How do I properly test for thyroid?!

    September 24th, 2012 1:59 pm Reply
  • Heather Valtee via Facebook

    Thank you!

    September 24th, 2012 1:48 pm Reply
  • Dara Jones via Facebook

    Excellent article. Thank you!

    September 24th, 2012 1:23 pm Reply
  • Bev

    I have thyroid antibiodies and my LPN diagnosed me with Hashimotos. She prescribed Iodoral (Iodine pills) and my thyroid antibiodies went waaaaay down! Took about 3 months. Could it be that perhaps some peope with hashimotos do respond well to iodine, while others dont?

    Would love to hear your opinion on this!

    September 24th, 2012 1:22 pm Reply
    • uxordepp


      You are not the only person with Hashimoto’s to benefit from iodine. There is a yahoo group for iodine users. There are many there like you!

      September 24th, 2012 2:24 pm Reply
      • Joy

        My doctor and I were just discussing iodine. (I have Hashimoto’s) She is pro-iodine, but I was really questioning it based on what I have read. I would appreciate any direction you can offer in regards to iodine, so that I can make a more informed choice. I am head-shy, as I have cooperated to easily in the past and had regrets later (not with current doc). Now I question EVERYTHING. I’m lucky to have a doctor who lets me have input!! Thank you in advance for your time and knowledge!

        September 24th, 2012 7:52 pm Reply
        • uxordepp

          HI Joy
          It is important to remember that your whole body uses iodine or iodide…it goes way beyond your thyroid.

          If you want to do more research or get a second opinion of sorts, check out the yahoo group for iodine. The owner is an ND who has done a lot of work with iodine and who has conquered thyroid cancer. She has worked with Dr. Brownstein, author of several health books including one on iodine and one on thyroid health. Dr brownstein has found with testing that the vast majority of his patients are iodine deficient and likewise very few cannot tolerate Lugol’s Iodine (a mix of iodine and iodide).

          Good for you to question. Like you I’ve decided that my health is too precious to leave lolely in the hands of professionals! You know your body better than anyone.

          September 24th, 2012 8:28 pm Reply
          • Joy

            Thank you! I will definitely study the site you recommended. I appreciate people like you immensely, who take the time to share their knowledge! I am determined to get a handle on this condition, hopefully obliterate it!

            September 24th, 2012 9:03 pm
    • Bev

      I forgot to tell you that I was first treated for Hashimotos with Lugol’s Iodine, and felt terrible on it, therefore I could not continure using it and got no restuls. When prescribed Iodoral, which are iodine tablets … I worked my way up to 12.5 mg per day and that is when my thryoid antibiodies went waaay down! I am getting better!

      Go figure! All iodine is not created equally!

      September 24th, 2012 10:16 pm Reply
  • Denise

    Hi, my baby was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism following her newborn screening, her TSH was 247 and the other numbers were off as well. Since her numbers were so far afield I never questioned her endocrinologist, who has had her on Levothyroxine this past year. We retest every month, and every month it seems we’ve pulled back on her medication until now her dose is just 25mcg/day. I asked about a more natural approach but was shut down immediately, the doctor stating that since her brain is still developing we don’t want to do any experimenting with her meds. I just want to explore some things I can do via nutrition to keep up this momentum of reducing her medication. She was EBF until about 7 months, and at 11.5 months is now about 50/50 food/breast milk. She is also grain free, though I do eat grains and I suppose she gets them through my breast milk. Should I keep up this diet? Are there any resources that I should be looking into specifically for congenital hypothyroidism?

    September 24th, 2012 1:19 pm Reply
  • Sheri Hennings via Facebook

    Great article! I have been fighting to have a proper thyroid eval for over a year without success.

    September 24th, 2012 11:42 am Reply
  • Kim

    Thank you for this! My question is if there is any way to deal with the physical issues associated with poor thyroid function (adrenal fatigue, constipation, mood problems etc.) if your thyroid has been irradiated? I’m on Armour but still struggle with these issues.

    September 24th, 2012 11:40 am Reply
  • Brian

    I have shallow breathing, iodine seems to help a little with fatigue so probably not autoimmune, stimulants barely help and resistance builds quickly so I quit trying them, trial of 1 grain Armour had no effect, basal temp on waking is low (I forget what), adrenals were “adapted to stress” on my last saliva adrenal test (running high, not burned out yet), I think that ammonia was/is stimulating my adrenals. Ammonia had tested high, years ago, didn’t know the significance at the time. Treating now with AKG, Betaine HCL with pepsin (poorly digested protein feeds gut pathogens that make ammonia). When I’m sick I really fall apart, which I assume is adrenal related. I suspect that underpowered adrenals run in my family (1 out of 60-ish people?) and that combined with ammonia is the problem. I had high-functioning Asperger’s, I’ve mostly healed my gut and chelated mercury and arsenic using Andrew Cutler’s protocol to the point that I don’t think I qualify as an Aspie anymore. I’m in decent shape, mostly Paleo plus some fermented dairy diet. Any suggestions?

    September 24th, 2012 11:39 am Reply
    • Judith

      Brian, have you had a full thyroid panel run? I would start with that if you haven’t done it. Many people need more than one grain of natural thyroid, so I don’t think a trial of just one would clarify that issue.

      If you have been hypothyroid for a while, your adrenals have probably been trying to compensate, producing excess cortisol. That apparently happened to me for years, and now my adrenals are exhausted. Trying to build them up as well as supplementing with Naturthroid. It is a slow process for me because I didn’t discover the situation till very late.

      I like this site: It will probably answer your questions. I have no affiliation with them, except that I have learned everything I know about this issue from them.

      September 24th, 2012 12:04 pm Reply
  • Geneviève Homza via Facebook

    shallow breathing can be caused because of poor posture, sleeping positions, and vertebral misalignments. Chiropractors help with all of this! I love my chiropractor!

    September 24th, 2012 11:38 am Reply
  • Bianca

    Wonderful and timely article. What a special doctor to even understand
    the complexities of thyroid dysfunction.

    Bravo !

    September 24th, 2012 11:29 am Reply
  • Sonya

    Thank you for this article. I am hypothyroid and my doctor refuses any testing beyond the TSH. I am looking for a new doctor…

    September 24th, 2012 11:27 am Reply
  • Margo Hutton via Facebook


    September 24th, 2012 10:58 am Reply
  • Suzanne

    If I didn’t take my thyroid issue into my own hands by taking over-the-counter natural supplements for thyroid and eating thyroid-stimulating foods in my regular diet, my only other option would be something that requires a prescription….and that is NOT an option.

    September 24th, 2012 10:57 am Reply
    • Beth

      I think thyroid-supportive whole foods are an excellent idea and can nourish anyone, such as fish stock using whole fish heads that include the thyroid gland, dried whole fish like you see in Asian stores, and Red Boat fish sauce which is traditionally fermented using the whole fish. Plus other foods like eggs, fish eggs, seaweed, etc.

      There are many factors the contribute to thyroid dysfunction, but it does make one think that the absence of these types of foods in our standard diet may have a large impact.

      September 24th, 2012 9:12 pm Reply
  • Daisy

    Maybe you can ask your doctor to prescribe a T3 only medication until you get your iron issue worked out.

    I am just starting on Armour this week. It has been 25 years in trying to get a doctor to agree that there are issues with my thyroid. My temp on rising in the am is around 96.4 and then it increases to about 97.2 during the day. Clearly this is a problem. But most doctors are so tied to the blood tests that they may refuse to treat thyroid if you are in the ‘normal’ range.

    The title of this article was what caught my attention. I most definitely am a shallow breather.

    September 24th, 2012 10:47 am Reply
    • Anna

      Yes, I am taking T3 only right now. However, if you have extremely low iron like me or adrenal problems another cause of high RT3, you can’t tolerate the amount of T3 dose that you actually need and the T3 mostly just pools in your blood. I wish I could figure out why i have a problem absorbing iron and why my iron is so low so that I could fix the root cause.

      September 24th, 2012 11:28 am Reply
  • Laurie

    This really caught my eye. I am a shallow breather. My husband is always commenting about it. And I also have had adrenal fatigue and continue to work on minimizing stress. Of course, my ‘TSH is normal’ according to my doctor. I would like to have those other things checked but I am afraid he will be annoyed with me. When I asked to have my Vit D checked he said it really wasn’t necessary. Of course I didn’t agree. Now I have been back to see him again because I am having blood sugar issues, so it feels like. Also I have always had gut issues. I have started adding in fermented foods. They are very easy to prepare.
    Could I just send or give him a copy of this article? Because I am not sure if I could explain it well enough to make him understand what I want.

    It is very hard to switch doctors up here.
    Thank you for this article. It makes me feel like there are answers.

    September 24th, 2012 10:37 am Reply
    • Judith

      Laurie, go to You will find answers to your questions there, and much more. There is a page that lists good labs for blood tests and adrenal tests. You may be able to have blood drawn and send the sample out to the lab yourself, if need be. And you can order the 24 hour adrenal test and do it yourself at home (it uses saliva, not blood). There are discounts listed there and the labs are rated. It’s a good site for info on thyroid health and everything else involved–nutrition, other endocrine issues, etc. It is written by patients and for patients, but advised by expert doctors.

      If my doctor was not willing to run the tests I feel I need, I’d find another doctor. I had to try several doctors before I found one who would run a full thyroid panel and give me an accurate diagnosis. Too bad that it’s hard for you to do this, but there are Yahoo groups associated with the stopthethyroidmadness site, and you may be able to ask there if anyone has a good doctor in your area. But if you give your doctor this article, it may help.

      September 24th, 2012 11:37 am Reply
      • Laurie

        Thank you Judith! Goin’ there right now.

        September 24th, 2012 4:25 pm Reply
    • Lynn

      If you haven’t cut out dairy/gluten and any other food allergens, now would be ideal. Dairy caused my shallow breathing.

      October 24th, 2013 12:10 pm Reply
  • Sue T.

    I have thyroid issues and knew that I had several symptoms that fit the profile. My regular doctor was monitoring my levels, she left the practice I was visiting to open her own practice. While I was waiting I had to get my thyroid checked again, by a different doctor from the same practice. I explained to him that something wasn’t right and why I needed the test (based on why my doctor had seen a trend of). He tested my thyroid but only tested one marker and told me that everything was okay. Of course I knew that something was wrong. As soon as my regular doctor got her practice open I took her those results and she looked at the test and his comments, said you are not fine and immediately started me on a natural thyroid pill. We are getting it under control and where it needs to be. As soon as I got on the meds I noticed a difference in several areas right away. The doctor I see practices in Integrative/Regenerative Medicine.

    One thing I learned from this was that if something is wrong don’t always take your doctors word for it, keep pushing for answers and ASK questions.

    September 24th, 2012 10:33 am Reply
  • Anna

    What about testing for Reverse T3 (RT3)? I have a a RT3 problem and for me this is most likely do to my iron levels being extremely low. Armour made me verse because instead of converting T4 to T3 my body was converting it to RT3 instead. I would love for an article about how to correct iron deficiency so that I can correct my RT3 issue. I’ve been working on my iron levels for about 6 months now but nothing is happening despite eating raw liver every day and other iron rich food, taking 200mg of iron along with Amla-C plus and Betaine HCL with pepsin. I am not absorbing any iron, my labs have not improved at all. I am considering getting IRON IV.

    September 24th, 2012 10:21 am Reply
    • Bianca

      Anemia is red flag for Celiac. Have you been tested?

      September 24th, 2012 11:27 am Reply
      • Anna

        I am testing today for celiac! thanks!

        September 24th, 2012 11:29 am Reply

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