Coffee addiction?
Or an underactive thyroid?

by Rissa C. Gimenez
I used to wake up to the warmth of my favorite brew—coffee! I’d linger over a cup at 5 A.M. before the sunrise. Then sip a second one at breakfast. Down a third maybe after lunch. Swig a fourth over an afternoon brainstorming session. Then maybe a java nightcap after dinner. It seemed like coffee carried me through each day—as I pushed myself beyond one comfort zone to another.

Unfortunately, caffeine is a super “ager”. So I had to give it the boot.

Without my usual cup, I was sluggish, listless and oh so constipated. These were said to be symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. But these were also symptoms of an underactive thyroid.

So what’s the big deal if one’s thyroid is lethargic?

As Dr. George Mouton, a leading thyroid specialist, puts it, having an underactive thyroid is like running on 200 when you should be running on 220v! Under powered. And just like a car engine, the correct setting of the ignition and carburetor allows the engine to tick over nicely. Slow it down and the engine stalls. Step on the accelerator and the engine races, wasting energy and gasoline.

It made me wonder about my own engine. I was running on high octane café creme.

I also realized that I had difficulty trimming down my waist despite endless efforts of crunches, weight training and a consistent slow carb diet. Because our thyroid takes charge of our cell growth, waste disposal and weight control, a slow progress in weight loss is another symptom of an underactive thyroid.

After being checked via Electro Acupuncture by Voll (EAV), the readings revealed that my thyroid energy levels were indeed low. Wary, I asked my doctor to further check me through a blood test perhaps. However, she advised that a simple home test that measured my body’s basal temperature would accurately tell me about my thyroid function.

I took the Barnes Axial Temperature Test. I recorded my body temp for 5 days straight upon waking. My temperature read between 35.3 to 35.5 which signaled very low thyroid activity. Yikes. Time to work on my thyroid health by eating iodine-rich foods.

Ocean vegetables contain high concentrations of iodine. Occasionally, I’d eat mine raw in a salad, or dried and toasted in sushi or rice balls. But because preparing seaweed each day can be taxing, I now simply pop in my daily dose of seaweed.

After 2 months, I repeated the Barnes Axial Temperature Test and to my sheer delight, my resting temperatures have risen to a consistent 36.5—Normal!

Today, I move regularly, have so much energy and can seize the day with just a cuppa at breakfast. And as a bonus, my waistline whittled down from 28” to 25 1/2”. Bye bye underactive thyroid :-)


The Barnes Axial Temperature Test

The most accurate measurement of thyroid activity is the body’s basal or resting temperature. This was developed by Dr. Broda Barnes, M.D. to determine hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroid function.

Your body’s resting temperature reflects your metabolic rate, so if your metabolic rate is low, voila - you've got an underactive thyroid.

How to do the test
Prepare a mercury thermometer and shake it down the night before. Leave it by your bedside. When you wake up the following morning, before you do anything else, take the thermometer and place it under your armpit for 10 minutes. Record your temperature. Do this for 5 consecutive days.

When to do it
For men — anytime.
For pre-menses and menopausal women — anytime.
For menstruating women — start taking your temperature on the second day of your period. Menstruating women have fluctuating temperatures due to hormonal cycles.

Check your results
36.8 – 36.3 Normal
36.3 – 36.0 Slightly Low
36.0 – 35.5 Low
35.5 and below Very Low


Proceed from underactive thyroid page to our seaweed recipes page.