When Good Thyroids Go Bad
By Dr. Sacha Elliott • April 12th, 2012 • 7004 Views
When Good Thyroids Go Bad…
- Constantly chilly?
- Tend towards constipation?
- Feel lethargic often?
- Tire easily?
- Difficulty losing weight?
If those descriptors hit a cord, consider your thyroid function may be suboptimal. The thyroid gland is the “master control gland” that is located at the base of your throat. It has its hand in all functions of the body as it controls metabolism of every single one of our cells.
When the thyroid is overactive, it’s termed hyperthyroidism and the resulting symptoms are that of rapid metabolism: hot body temperature, high blood pressure, fast pulse, racing thoughts, nervousness, insomnia, diarrhea or loose stool, and difficulty putting on weight (wouldn’t that be nice!).
More commonly though, hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is the typical presentation when the thyroid has malfunctioned. Some common hypothyroid symptoms are:
- Low body temperature
- Slow pulse
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Frequent headaches
- Dry, thinning hair
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Memory loss
- High cholesterol
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in North America is an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, termed Hashimoto’s disease. We can see this on lab tests as an increase in antibodies that are attacking our vital metabolic regulator. When autoimmunity is to blame, it is important to not only support the thyroid gland itself, but also to use focused nutrition and supplements to modulate the hyper-reactivity of the immune system. Vitamin D, fish oils (EPA, DHA) and sterols and sterolins (plant compounds) all have a regulatory effect on the immune system and “quench the fire” of an autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s. In many cases hypothyroidism can be well controlled with diet, lifestyle and supplements.
Physicians use a blood marker called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to screen for thyroid imbalance. However, this test can be inaccurate, not accounting for subtle shifts in thyroid health. Patients may be experiencing all the hypothyroid symptoms but their blood tests are still normal. The thyroid can then easily be overlooked, but it’s important to realize that often this scenario requires further investigation.
Simple steps you can do now to keep your thyroid functioning optimally:
- Detox regularly. The liver plays a major role in the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3) and also metabolizes other hormones such as estrogen and cortisol. High estrogen and cortisol can both impede thyroid function.
- Eat seaweed. Dried, seasoned seaweed can be added to soups and salads and ensures the body gets its daily dose of iodine, a nutrient required in thyroid hormone production.
- Remove food sensitivities. Foods such as dairy and wheat...
Wellness, energy, health, weight loss, thyroid, fatigue, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, weight gain