As a Natural healthcare professional I get asked lots of questions on how individuals can improve their health with natural solutions. Anything from high cholesterol to diabetes are common subjects, but the one I get asked the most about is the Thyroid.
Thyroid health has been linked to so many of the symptoms plaguing men and women that almost everyone I run across currently suffers or at least knows someone that suffers from an improperly working thyroid.
According to the United States National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, an estimated 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease. Not only that but 13 million of these sufferers are currently undiagnosed. Additionally, the risk of being diagnosed with thyroid disease is seven times higher in women than men.
Common Thyroid Symptoms Include:
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Pale, Dry Skin
- A Puffy Face
- Hoarse Voice
- Increased Cholesterol
- Unexplained Weight Gain
- Muscle Aches, Stiffness
- Painful Stiff Joints
- Muscle Weakness
- Heavier Menstrual Flows
- Brittle Fingernails & Hair
- Slow wound healing
If you currently suffer from any of the above symptoms then it would be in your best interest to get your Thyroid gland properly checked.
The thyroid is a small gland which can be found in the middle of the lower neck that produces a hormone that impacts each and every cell, organ and tissue in the human body. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating body temperature and the heart rate, as well as, the production of protein and controlling the rate of your metabolism.
Your thyroid is very sensitive to small changes in your body and works like a thermostat. In order for your thyroid to produce hormones (T4 & T3), it must receive a signal from your pituitary gland which is located in the brain. The pituitary receives its signals from the hypothalamus which is also in the brain. Together the hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid make up the HPT axis.
When your body demands that more thyroid hormone be made, the Hypothalamus must release a hormone called Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) and send it to the pituitary gland. The Pituitary gland then releases Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and sends it to the thyroid gland. Once the Thyroid is stimulated it will use Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) and iodine to create your T4 & T3 hormones.
As your cells utilize the new thyroid hormones and your body is no longer in need of any more, it will trigger the hypothalamus and pituitary to stop releasing TRH and TSH and therefore stop the production of thyroid hormone.
As you can see this is very similar to the thermostat you have in your home. When the temperature in your home increases past the desired temperature setting your thermostat will turn on your air conditioning unit to produce cool air. Once the desired temperature level is reached your thermostat will turn off the air conditioner.
All day and all night the thermostat in your home regulates the temperature and keeps it at the perfect temperature that you desire– that is as long as all the parts are working.
Most common causes for Thyroid Dysfunction:
- Autoimmunity: According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian , author of “Why do I still have thyroid symptoms”, approximately 90% of Hypothyroidism in the United states is due to Hashimoto’s disease. This is a condition that the immune system improperly targets your thyroid tissue as foreign invaders and actively attacks it. Common causes of this is Gluten and A1 Casein intolerance.
- Toxins: Heavy metal and radiation exposure. Toxins disrupt the pituitary and hypothalamus which result in faulty signaling for the thyroid gland. In addition, Toxins create inflammation which can result in receptor site disruption preventing thyroid hormones from being utilized correctly.
- Under Conversion: Selenium or Iodine deficiency. In order to create thyroid hormone Iodine must be utilized. Selenium is utilized in the conversion from T4 (inactive form) to T3 (active form), deficiencies can lead to lack of active thyroid hormone.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Due to high levels of stress, Cortisol released by the adrenal glands disrupt the hypothalamus/pituitary centers, disrupt proper gut flora, and inflame receptors sites preventing proper thyroid hormone production, conversion, and utilization.
Fixing your Thyroid
Before you actively work on your Thyroid health- you should properly Test Thyroid Function. Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals are confused about how to test the thyroid in a comprehensive manner. Simply testing your TSH or T4 levels give you very little insight on how your thyroid is functioning.
Complete Thyroid panel should include:
- T4 Total
- T3 Total
- Reverse T3
- Free T4 (fT4)
- Free T3 (fT3)
- T3 Uptake
- Thyroglobulin Ab (tG) IgG
- Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) IgG
- TSH Ab (if Grave’s suspected)
8 Natural Steps To Better Thyroid Health:
- Eliminate Gluten and A1 Casein - As I mentioned earlier, so many thyroid issues are autoimmune related and nothing seems to be more disruptive to thyroid health than Gluten (wheat) and A1 Casein (found is most cow’s milk). This is often the most important step my patients take in regaining their thyroid health.
- NO BPA – Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastic bottles and can disrupt your endocrine system and effect your thyroid. I recommend only drinking out of glass, stainless steel, or BPA free plastic bottles.
- Check Your Iodine Levels – If they are low use a kelp or organic liquid iodine supplement.
- Detox Your Liver - I recommend using a combination of Milk Thistle, Turmeric, Chlorella, and Cilantro to detox these harmful metals from your cells and organs.
- More Selenium – Make sure you’re getting enough selenium in your diet. Some of the best selenium containing foods are Brazil nuts, salmon, sunflower seeds, beef, mushrooms and onions.
- Silver Fillings Removal – if you have amalgam fillings talk with a DAMS mercury safe dentist about proper removal.
- Lower Carbohydrate Intake - Lower your intake of sugars and grains and replace them with healthy fats. Most women especially consume far too many carbs which increase estrogen and negatively effect the thyroid. Instead consume healthy fats that will balance hormones, like: coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, chia, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds.
- Address Adrenal health- Because cortisol imbalances are so disruptive to thyroid health, you must work on your adrenal health if you desire lasting thyroid improvement. Reducing stress and using Adaptogen supplements like Ashwagandha is a great strategy. For more information on how your Adrenal glands play a huge role in your thyroid and overall health check out my FREE eBook The Adrenal Code HERE.
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