Thyroid Health

 

To understand things better, we need to start from the basics. The thyroid is one of the most important glands in the human body. It is in a butterfly-like shape and is found in the mid anterior part of the throat. The thyroid is one of the largest hormone-producing glands in the entire body. Thus, its importance cannot be overemphasized. This gland is responsible for a lot of functions. From metabolism to energy and temperature regulation, the thyroid does a lot. Therefore, it is vital and is considered rather crucial that one must take care of the thyroid and provide it with the right foods to function properly and that doesn’t cause any malfunctioning.

Surprisingly, the number of people who are having thyroid disorders these days is enormous. The majority of people have under-active thyroids, which means that the hormone production is prolonged, causing a massive lack of energy all the time. Some people have high thyroid production, but this is less common. Mood swings, never-ending fatigue and huge fluctuation in energy levels show that the thyroid is under-active and is unable to produce all the hormones correctly. But the question is how do we know if the thyroid is not healthy? Let’s dig into the details.

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The best way to know if the thyroid is healthy or not is to do a self-check; a doctor should be seen, but before that, an individual with symptoms can identify signs of thyroid dysfunction on their own. Most times, people don’t understand the issue and don't know to ask their doctor if there might be a problem. There are basically two types of situations (under-active and overactive thyroid), which determines if there is a thyroid issue or not. We will now be discussing both the conditions so that you can gain clarity.

1.    Under-active Thyroid

There are some prevalent symptoms of an underactive thyroid situation. If you sleep on time, and you get up after an 8 or 10-hour sleep and still feel tired, there's probably a dysfunction in metabolism. You might feel like you are dragging through the day and topping it all off, your muscles might ache too. And even though you are in no mood to hustle, you decide to go out, run a few miles and work. However, your weight loss efforts are also going to the bin, and the weight machine scale is not moving even half an inch down, but you are trying hard! You are unable to fit in your clothes, and your body temperature is usually weird. You might feel cold when it really isn’t and even when you are trying hard, your days seem to be getting worse, instead of gearing up. Sadness may seem to surround you, and your mind is pretty fogged. You are losing your concentration, and your productivity is going down the aisle with every passing day. The bathroom is your enemy because constipation seems to be making its way into your life; what else can be worse? And when you think the hectic and fatigue filled day is over, your neck starts to cause trouble, and you have a husky voice, and snoring has also made its way into your life.

Is it too relatable?

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If yes, then an under-active thyroid must be ruled out, which is medically termed as hypothyroidism. A doctor must be seen as an under-active thyroid is unable to produce the hormones in the required amount and manner. Metabolism, energy, and productivity can be profoundly affected due to this.

The prevalent symptoms of an under-active thyroid include the following: 

  • Fatigue

  • Cold sensitivity

  • Constipation

  • Dry skin

  • Unexplained weight gain.

  • Delayed puberty or slow growth

  • Irregular uterine bleeding

  • Brittle nails,

  • Enlarged thyroid

  • High cholesterol

  • Irritability

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Slow heart rate

  • Sluggishness

2.    Over-active Thyroid

Sleeping may be the real issue here, as sleep just doesn’t happen. Even if it does, it never seems enough, and the feeling of being tired persists almost all the time. You are not only tired; you are super annoyed or anxious. Anxiety gets the better of you throughout the day. You have super fantastic mood swings. It is like you feel happy one minute and the other minute you are going crazily angry on apparently nothing and the very next moment, you are crying your eyes out. Your clothes start to get loose, and as you step up on the scale, you have lost a considerable amount of weight yet again, and you don't have an idea about why that is happening. Even your hair loss is on the radar, and it seems to get thinner with every passing day.

 

As the day passes by, you feel that your heartbeat is going up and down and it is either in an irregular beating pattern or will be too fast for you to breathe correctly. Likewise, your fingers or maybe hands shake without any good reason, and you wonder what is up with them. Your sensitivity towards heat is getting out of your hands, and you find your skin reacting to heat or your body is not just accepting it.

 

Do you feel all of these symptoms during the day or too often? If yes, then you would feel super annoyed, as these feelings are tough to fight through. This means that you have an overactive thyroid, which is medically termed as hyperthyroidism

Here are the common signs of hyper-active thyroid:

  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability.

  • Mood swings.

  • Difficulty concentrating.

  • Persistent tiredness and weakness.

  • Sensitivity to heat.

  • Swelling in the neck from an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

  • Irregular and/or unusually fast heart rate (palpitations)

  • Twitching or trembling.

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Testing

A full thyroid panel is necessary to identify the type of dysfunction and the specific markers that are out of balance. Comprehensive thyroid testing should include the following:

  • Free T3

  • Free T4

  • Free T3

  • TSH

  • TPO antibodies

  • TG antibodies

Normal levels by conventional laboratory standards have been found to be inefficient in identifying dysfunction among individuals who are determined euthyroid- meaning thyroid hormone levels are normal even with persistent symptoms.

A functional medicine practitioner is trained to identify sub-optimal lab test results using the latest in research and practice. Blood test biomarkers are interpreted using ground-breaking analysis and logical methods. By combining a collection of rule and inference, a Functional Health Report will help uncover root causes of thyroid disease beyond TSH and other markers.

How to get the thyroid back in shape

One of the best ways to keep the thyroid in shape is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits and eating right. It is not about eating the foods that are good for the thyroid only but specific foods in the diet which boost thyroid function and make it run healthy and adequately. However, before that, it is important to know which type of thyroid situation an individual is experiencing. Self-check is going to help to a large extent, but a proper confirmation from the doctor is important too.

 

There are different diseases which can start from under or overactive thyroid and grow large. Thus, it is considered essential that a proper test is held to determine hormonal behavior and the thyroid is functioning.

Thyroid Boosting Foods

Since the thyroid is such a key player in the role of our hormonal balance, we’ve got to show it some love by taking in the nutrients that support it. By eliminating gluten and soy, adding in bone broth, good-quality fat, and animal protein, the thyroid will begin to recover quickly and symptoms improve.

Below are five key nutrients and foods that support the thyroid:

  1. Iodine: Foods rich in iodine (not including iodized salt) help the thyroid make the hormones that regulate metabolism and therefore help with energy and weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. Iodine-rich foods include:

    • Artichokes

    • Kelp

    • Seaweed

    • Onions

    • Pineapples

  2. Selenium: a deficiency in selenium is a major underlying factor in thyroid disorders because selenium maintains the production of various thyroid hormones. So, we have nutrients such as iodine that help us make thyroid hormones, and then nutrients that help us sustain and maintain what we are producing. Selenium-rich foods include:

    • Eggs (pasture-raised only)

    • Shellfish (wild only – quality wild fish of all kinds can be found at cleanfishchoices.com

    • Mushrooms (maitake, shitake, cremini)

    • Garlic

    • Sunflower seeds

    • Brazil nuts (soaked to improve digestibility)

  3. Essential Fatty Acids: these life changing nutrients play a key role in maintaining good cardiovascular health, brain function, and are essential for healthy implantation and fetal development and the prevention of miscarriage. Get EFAs from:

    • Fish oil

    • Leafy greens

    • Flaxseeds

    • Chia seeds

  4. Coconut Butter and Coconut Oil: coconut oil and coconut butter (made from the meat of coconut once the oil is removed) are raw, saturated fats that contain essential fatty acids that promote thyroid health. The fat in these foods is quickly converted into energy, which helps regulate thyroid function.

  5. Copper and Iron: having enough iron will help the body manufacture thyroid hormones. 15.7 percent of women with low thyroid function are iron deficient. Copper is another important mineral for the thyroid because it helps the hypothalamus (a master glad in the brain) regulate the thyroid more effectively. Foods rich in copper and iron include:

    • Beans (except kidney beans because they can be difficult to digest)

    • Clams

    • Leafy greens

    • Organ meats (liver)

    • Oysters (cooked)

    • Raw cashews

    • Red meat

 

When you add vitamin C from foods like citrus, tomatoes, bell peppers, or berries to these foods, you increase iron absorption.

The Bottom Line

 

 Two factors play a huge role in defining this:

•    Great nutritional factor and proper healthy eating habits

•    A good functional or holistic care to help

 

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism both are crucial issues and need to be addressed on time. It is better to look deeper into them rather than avoiding it. If the body is showing the symptoms that have been stated above, it is best to work with an experienced practitioner who will take all aspects of health into consideration in relation to the thyroid. The key element that can help recover the thyroid is a healthy diet, restoring gut health, and getting the key tests needed to check on the health of the thyroid.

Working with the right doctor or functional medicine practitioner will make recovery much easier and quicker. However, remember that this is a time taking process. Hormonal balance is not attained overnight, even through medication. It will take time to come back into equilibrium, and there is need to make sure that the proper medical guidelines are followed.

Finally, continuous monitoring and evaluation of thyroid antibodies will help streamline care and inform how the body is responding to care.

Contact us to learn how we can help alleviate most symptoms and assist with thyroid health and recovery.

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