What is Hypothyroidism? Why is it important?
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is a silent epidemic and many people can suffer for years with symptoms and vague complaints, never knowing its relation to thyroid health. Thyroid disorders can have a very troubling effect on an individual’s life, as it is the master gland tied to physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism, its regulation in hormones that carry out vital functions such as digestion, body temperature, brain development, and reproduction. This is important because how well your thyroid is functioning, is interconnected to every system in the body! Let’s take a look at the symptoms, healing modalities, lab testing, supplements and foods that can greater assist this hormone and the balance of your overall health!
What are the common signs and symptoms that I am looking for?
Fatigue + Brain Fog
Depression + anxiety
Digestive issues- like leaky gut and constipation!
Circulation problems- like cold hands and feet!
Body temp below 98.5 - upon waking (You can test this at home!)
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) is the most common form of hypothyroid and the organ/tissue is attacked as the body believes it is a foreign invader.
How will I know for sure? Is there testing for Thyroid Health?
Yes! If the above symptoms have any light switches going off, then you already have some awareness of a potential underactive thyroid. There is also no harm in checking thyroid function with a health care practitioner even with 1-2 symptoms above!
A Medical Physician can test for abnormal enlargements, order ultrasound/ x-ray, and a blood panel of specific hormones. This is important because most Thyroid issues go unseen due to conventional laboratory testing. They will often come back “normal”.
The specific test you will need to ask for is free T3, free T4, Antibodies TPOab and, TgAb.
Why are T3 and T4 important?
The thyroid hormone is regulated between the hypothalamus, pituitary and thyroid gland. TSH (Pituitary Thyrotropin) stimulates and releases T4 and T3 from the Thyroid gland. When there is enough T4, there is a balance. T4 is the inactive form. When there is enough T4, T3 can be converted (which is the ACTIVE form of thyroid hormone). There is a last and essential step. T3 must be converted into Free T3 (FT3) or Reverse T3 (RT3). This is essential for metabolism to take place.
What can I do to assist in healing the thyroid?
Less-No Sugar/Gluten/Dairy: Eliminating wheat, rye, barley, spelt can assist because these lower the immune system. Dairy is mucous forming and can create excess inflammation, bloating, and limits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It also promotes the growth of bacteria, yeast and, fungi. Slowing down the thyroid.
Tip: For sugar substitutes, you can use Stevia, Yacon syrup, and maple syrup in moderation!
Less caffeine: For a period of time, it may be necessary to limit caffeine consumption. The adrenal system and the thyroid are connected and a prolonged period of “flight or flight” of the nervous system can add extra stress to both of these systems.
Dandelion Herbal Coffee: Dandelion is a stimulant, a diuretic and helps the production of bile. This is supportive for the digestive system and liver. TRY: Adding dandelion, chicory root and, maca together, will give you a closest flavour to that of coffee!
Include Fats: Cholesterol is the precursor to thyroid hormone pathway. It also aids in blood sugar balance, helping anxiety/depression that can sometimes accompany underactive thyroid. Tip: Include healthy fats like olive oil, ghee, avocados, flax seeds, and nut butter.
Selenium Foods: Adding brazil nuts, spinach, sardines, beef liver, turkey to your eating regime.
Protein: Transports thyroid hormone to the tissues. Tip: Including nuts/butter, grass fed meats, eggs and, fish are great protein sources!
Iodine Link: Getting enough iodine is important for healing the thyroid. Seaweed, Dulse, kelp, wild-caught fish can be beneficial to add! If you have Hashimoto’s, its best to talk to your nutritionist about specific iodine foods and to stay away from supplementation iodine. This can intensify thyroid symptoms **
Relaxation is one of the most important for the balance!
For balanced Thyroid and Nervous System, it is important to develop okayness and presence. When we are in prolonged periods of emotional distress, anxious, overworked, there are hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol that become elevated. When this happens, it can suppress the immune system and damage adrenal and thyroid glands.
TRY: Getting adequate sleep and aim between 9- 10 PM. This is best for circadian rhythm and our body’s natural cycle.
TRY: Integrating healing modalities like Osteopathy, Massage, Breathing Techniques, Yoga and Acupuncture! This can help with stress, energy movement and, tension in the body system.
Adaptogens: Can help maintain energy levels throughout the day and help with stress and depression. TRY: Ashwagahnda, Tulsi (Holy Basil) or Rhodiola! These are examples that can be added in supplement form/ or tincture!
B complex: Helps support the Adrenals and Metabolism for an overall decrease in fatigue and increased energy!
Probiotics: Assist with Digestion, Detoxification and supporting Brain Fog.