Feeling fuzzy, fat, and frazzled?
This month’s health tip is all about thyroid function. The thyroid gland is part of our endocrine system. The thyroid is responsible for controlling our metabolism, meaning it helps to break down our food and convert it into energy. It also maintains our body temperature and controls hormones.
Every cell of the body, including the brain is dependent on the thyroid hormones for metabolism regulation.This butterfly-shaped gland is located at the base of the neck. It lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two lobes that are connected by a bridge (isthmus) in the middle. The thyroid secretes several hormones, called thyroid hormones.
The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4.Here’s a very brief explanation of how this complex process works: The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in our foods, and converts it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Production of these thyroid hormones is controlled by the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which is released by the pituitary gland (located in the brain).
The adrenals also work very closely with the thyroid. In fact, if both the thyroid and adrenals are weak, adrenal repair must precede thyroid repair. Remember our adrenals are our stress glands. In response to stress the hypothalamus (also in the brain) will signal the pituitary to produce less TSH, which in turn decreases T4 and therefore thyroid activity.Think of it this way; our thyroid generates the energy, while the adrenals need to be able to handle the energy generated. If the thyroid generates more energy than the adrenals can handle, the body will slow down the thyroid energy as much as possible to accommodate what the adrenals can safely handle.
Here is a list of symptoms of hyperthyroidism (abnormally high thyroid secretions): increased sweating, fine, limp hair texture, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, tremors, impaired concentration, nervousness and anxiety, insomnia, too frequent bowel movements, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, bulging eyes.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism (abnormally low thyroid secretions): dry skin, puffiness of the face and eyes, slow pulse (less than 60 bpm), depression, sluggishness, dementia, constipation, menstrual irregularity, decreased libido, weight gain, cold intolerance, elevated cholesterol, brittle nails that peel, eye brow hair loss, thick tongue, craving for salt.Goiter is the thyroid expanding to capture as much iodine as possible.
Graves disease and Hashimotos Thyroiditis are autoimmune disorders.Synthroid and Levoxly are in the top 10 most prescribed medications in the US. These drugs do synthetically for the thyroid what it’s supposed to do naturally on its own.So, what is a person with a thyroid disorder supposed to do?
What to avoid: pesticides and other toxic substances in commercial foods. Heavy metals like mercury in silver amalgam fillings and as in environmental toxins, fish and even high fructose corn syrup.
There is a family of chemicals called halogens. These include chlorine, fluoride, and bromine. They directly bind to your thyroid gland and reduce iodine uptake and displace it. Bromine is found in Gatorade, Mountain Dew and other citrus flavored sodas. Bromine tablets are also used in spas. Fluoride is found in toothpaste, drinking water and commercial foods.
Avoid Bisphenol A’s, which are found in plastic bottles and lines canned foods. Avoid the use of plastic, including plastic wrap. Especially avoid using plastic in microwaves. In fact, just pitch your microwave altogether! Reasons why will be in a future health-tip.Flame retardant chemicals can also inhibit the thyroid’s function. This chemical is put on all children’s clothing.
Electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) may be damaging our glandular system. Cell phones, cordless phones, Wi FI, fluorescent lights, antennae, electrical appliances. We are being bombarded with these EMF’s!
Even antihistamines can keep the body from absorbing iodine.Avoid stimulants, like caffeine, avoid artificial sweeteners, sugar (I bet you heard that somewhere before, eh?) and trans fats.Soy products are major thyroid inhibitors. However, fermented soy such as tempeh and miso seem to be safe to consume with those who have thyroid issues.
Eliminating parasites is necessary when dealing with Graves and Hashimotos Thyroiditis, as these could be the underlying cause of this condition. For those with Hashimotos’, gluten must be completely avoided. The gliadin portion of the gluten causes the immune system to flare up and attack not only the gluten in the blood stream but also the thyroid gland. Amazingly, the immune response to gluten can last up to six months each time it is ingested.
We want to nourish the thyroid so it will begin to respond by making all the hormones it’s supposed to make, in the right amount, and at the right time. Suggestions to nourish the thyroid are:exercise.
Exercise such as stretching, walking, bouncing on a mini trampoline are very beneficial. Prayer and meditation, deep breathing, stress management, anything that is working towards the goal of you feeling calmer and more in control of your life will have a profound effect on your entire glandular system.
Pro-thyroid foods: anything foods rich in iodine, like kelp, dulse, black walnuts. Eating protein regularly especially for breakfast, consuming healthy fats such as coconut oil, butter, extra virgin olive oil. Have protein snacks; nuts, seeds, hard boiled eggs.Our thyroid as well as our kidneys can benefit from eating more black foods like the sea veggies mentioned above along with wild rice, black beans, black sesame seeds, and sun-cure black olives.Tyrosine is an amino acid that is the precursor for important neurotransmitters like dopamine. Tyrosine has been found to raise the production of thyroid hormones in the body. Tyrosine is found in beef, chicken and fish.
The liver is where most of our T4 is converted into T3. It’s therefore critical to keep the liver functioning optimally. Drinking freshly squeezed lemon water in the morning, gives the liver a nice gentle cleanse. Herbs like dandelion, milk thistle and Oregon grape root are all helpful for the liver.
Other supplements that aid thyroid health include vitamin D3, iodine, zinc (found in beef, oatmeal, chicken, seafood, dried beans, tuna, spinach, seed and nuts), copper (organ meats, eggs, legumes, nuts and raisins), eating more fiber as it sucks up fat soluable toxins, B vitamins, Vitamin A and C, essential fatty acids like flax seed, black currant seed oil, evening primrose oil, and borage oil. Sometimes thyroid glandulars are necessary; these are freeze dried tissues of cows and pigs which help to generate the energy for the thyroid that is in a much weakened state.
Our emotions play a profound role in thyroid health. Is there a fear of expressing yourself; are the words getting stuck in your throat? Are you being heard? Is there a lack of love for yourself? Bach Flowers can be very helpful along with other emotional work.
Color Therapy: The color blue relates to self expression, speech, and communication. Just by wearing a blue scarf around the neck or blue gemstones can have a positive impact on the thyroid.
Essential oils like geranium, spearmint, and myrtle mixed in a carrier oil (sweet almond, coconut, olive, jojoba oils) or just sniff them from the bottle can bring healthful benefits to the thyroid. Lavender, fennel, sandalwood and German Chamomile are other essential oils that may be beneficial as well.
If you feel you have a thyroid issue, I encourage you to try some of these tips to get you from feeling “fuzzy, fat and frazzled” to fabulous!
This information is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is meant as information only. For any health concerns you have, please consult with the trained health practitioner of your choice.