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How to Improve Your Thyroid Health

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

If the way your thyroid impacts your health is a mystery to you, hopefully this post will make it clear. I will explain the role the thyroid has in your overall wellness and how to best support it.



Why is the thyroid gland so important?

The thyroid gland controls the metabolism of every cell in the body by releasing hormones. This means that thyroid controls breathing, heart rate, the nervous system, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, body temperature and cholesterol levels. The thyroid requires iodine which it uses in combination with tyrosine to make thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. An imbalance in the quantities of these two forms of the thyroid hormone is the primary underlying cause of the different symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction. Release of thyroid hormones is controlled by two parts of the brain, the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.


Common types of thyroid dysfunction


Hyperthyroidism results when too much thyroid hormone is released. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are heat intolerance, hyperactivity, overeating, neck swelling (goiters), diarrhea, dry skin and hair loss.

Hypothyroidism is the exact opposite of hyperthyroidism. This can have harsh effects on infants, such as abnormal bone formation and delayed mental development. Symptoms seen in adults are sensitivity to cold, decrease in appetite and lethargy.

Thyroiditis is inflammation of the thyroid. It is fatally harmful to thyroid cells which ceases its ability to produce enough thyroid hormones necessary for regulating metabolism.

Thyroid cancer can cause symptoms such as hoarseness, neck pain and enlarged lymph nodes. It mostly affects women and people thirty and over.


Common factors that inhibit thyroid hormone production include:

  • Stress

  • Infection

  • Trauma

  • Radiation

  • Medications

  • Fluoride (antagonist to iodine)

  • Toxins: pesticides, mercury, cadmium, lead

  • Autoimmune disease: Celiac disease


Dietary considerations for healthy thyroid hormone balance


  • Consider an elimination diet to identify inflammatory food triggers in your body. Download our 7-day food diary here to help you log specific reactions to food.

  • Incorporate foods high in nutrients contributing to proper production of thyroid hormones. Include vitamins E, B2, B3, B6, C, D.

  • It is important to get enough copper, iron, iodine, zinc and selenium from your diet. When these minerals are too low, not enough thyroid hormones will be made.

  • Antioxidants in the liver are needed to convert T4 to T3. They also prevent free radicals, harmful atoms released as by products from chemical reactions in the body, from degrading thyroid hormones. Glutathione is a molecule that recycles antioxidants in the body and is found in enzymes that are necessary for thyroid hormone production. Glutathione is present in N-Acetyl-cysteine and Resveratrol.

  • We recommend a fiber-rich, organic, whole-foods diet to reduce inflammation and encourage a healthy elimination of toxic burden.


Implement the following steps to eliminate potential food reactions, improve gut health, and lower inflammation.


Decrease intake of:

  1. Potential trigger foods that could cause reactions.

  2. Saturated and trans-fatty acids: desserts and baked goods, many cheeses and foods containing cheese, processed meat products, and fried foods.

  3. Foods with a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio.

Increase intake of:

  1. Pre- and probiotic foods.

  2. Phytonutrients.

  3. Foods high in : Brazil nuts, pork, lamb, tuna, oysters, clams.


Natural herbs you may include to augment your diet for thyroid recovery:


  • Nigella sativa (Black cumin) may be helpful for Hashimoto's disease.

  • Ashwagandha: 600 mg QD; improves TSH, T3, T4 levels.



References

1) Littlefield, S. (2015, December 19). A holistic support for thyroid health. Retrieved from https://reddremedies.com/a-holistic-support-for-thyroid-health/

2) Sargis, R. M. (2019, October 21). How your thyroid works. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works

3) Sargis, R. M. (2019, March 26). Thyroid gland function. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid-nodules/thyroid-gland-controls-bodys-metabolism-how-it-works-symptoms-hyperthyroi

4) Sargis, R. M. (2019, January 22). Throid gland overview. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/endocrinology/overview-thyroid


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