Thyroid dysfunction is becoming more and more talked about. But what is it and why is it so important we look after it? Well let me help try and dismantle the confusion...
SO...WHAT DOES THE THYROID DO?
The Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that sits in the base of your neck. Its main function is to produce the two hormones; Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). Which are responsible for the healthy
production of every cell in our body including:
Nervous system function
Maintain body temperature
Heart and respiratory health
So very important you might say!
If our thyroid doesn't work properly, it could lead to a potential thyroid disorder. The two most common types are Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism.
Is where someone's iodine levels are too low to produce sufficient T4 for the Thyroid to function properly. Causing potential heart failure depression or weight gain.
Is less common. It's where someone's iodine levels are high causing too much production of T4, which can lead to increased heart rate, anxiety or weight loss.
WHAT CAN CAUSE THYROID DISFUNCTION?
Three main types are:
When we're stressed it raises cortisol and adrenaline levels causing reduced thyroid hormone production
Where our body is attacking its own natural defense system (wound healing, viruses, bacterial infection etc.)
Such as plastics, pathogens found in beauty products, medications, processed food and drink
HOW CAN OUR LIFESTYLE HELP?
Admittedly managing our daily stress is a lot easier said than done. Especially because we sometimes don’t know we're stressed at all. We might not experience a feeling of stress externally but our bodies feel its pressure internally.
So take a moment for you... the best thing you can do is look after yourself and then everything else will get easier.
1. Reduce Stress
Take at least 10 mins a day for yourself and quiet your mind. Try yoga, tai chi, spending time in nature, meditation, journaling or prayer.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) also known as 'Tapping' EFT has had some huge health benefits. In a nutshell it helps relieve pain, emotional disorders and of course stress!
Sleep: Inadequate sleep contributes to stress and prevents your body from regenerating fully. Try to sleep for 7-8hours a night, ideally at regular times between 10pm – 6am. Relax before bed – Take an epsom salt bath 3 times a week
Pineapple – contains bromelain which is anti-inflammatory
Turmeric – reduces oxidative stress and helps gut inflammation which effects the Thyroid Omega 3 - another high anti-inflammatory source found in good sources of fish (mackerel and salmon have the highest), flaxseeds, sea vegetables.
Toxins can put extra stress on your body and affect thyroid function:
Plastics, processed foods, tap water, antibiotics in foods, pesticides, and medications (to name a few to get you going).
NUTRITIONAL THERAPY SUPPORT
Iodine is only absorbed by the Thyroid and is needed more for people who suffer from Hypothyroidism but not Hyperthyroidism (in which case the person already has too much iodine).
The average adult needs approx. 140 mcg/d per day. (nutrition.org.uk)
Foods high in Iodine: Asparagus cod, raw dairy products and yoghurt, mushrooms oysters seaweed and eggs (eggs have good bioavailability).
An Amino Acid to help make neurotransmitters in the brain. Our body can't make this protein so we need to get it form food.
The average adult needs 2-20mg/day (www.livestrong.com)
Foods high in Tyrosine: Almonds, avocado, banana, beans, beef, chicken, eggs, fish, pumpkin seeds, dairy products and whey protein.
Needed to convert the T4 to T3 to become activated and function properly. It protects the thyroid from free-radical damage and from excess iodine exposure
Foods high in selenium: brazil nuts, broccoli, beansprouts, butter, eggs, fish, seafood, yeast, organ meats, turnips and onions
The average adult needs 55mcg/day (webmd.com)
Selenium needs to be restored before iodine.
Unfermented Soy products if you are taking thyroid medication.
They can disrupt the absorption of levo-thyroxine. Fermented soy, such as miso or tempeh does not present the same problem.
Avoid Soy Milk Tofu Soya based protein powders
Important note on Thyroid Medication
If you're taking levothyroxine medication, some foods such as fiber and soy can affect the absorption.
Avoid goitrogens containing foods such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, walnuts, almonds and soy which induce iodine deficiency.
Cooking usually neutralizes the goitrogens in these foods and eating nuts and soy in limited amounts while ensuring adequate intake of iodine and selenium also helps eliminate the problem.
Harvey Simon, M. (2012, May 31). Hypothyroidism. from www.umm.edu: http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2016, from www.thyroid.org: http://www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism
Mayo Clinic. (2015, Nov 10). Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from www.mayoclinic.org: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/home/ovc-20155291
MD, E. B. (2015, January 29). Risk Factors of Hypothyroidism. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from www.endocrineweb.com: http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/risk-factors-hypothyroidism
R Newman Turner BAC, N. D. (n.d.). Naturopathy and your thyroid. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from www.naturomed.co.uk: http://www.naturomed.co.uk/healthTopics/naturopathyThyroid.php
Skugor, M. (2014, August). Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from www.clevelandclinicmeded.com: http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/hypothyroidism-and-hyperthyroidism
Sue Dieffenbach, M. C. (n.d.). Hypothyroidism. Retrieved March 6, 2016, from www.americannutritionassociation.org: http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/hypothyroidism
Thyroid Gland. (2015, January 14). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from www.yourhormones.info: http://www.yourhormones.info/glands/thyroid_gland.aspx
This is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for individual advice. We cannot advise treat, claim or diagnose any illness or disorders. Nutritional Therapy and Wellbeing Coaching is not a substitute for professional medical advice and/or the treatment to which the client is being currently prescribed by any health professional.
If you suspect you may have any illness or disorder and may need medical attention, you are advised to seek professional medical assistance from your General Practitioner with immediate effect. Check for nutrition and drug interactions before changing your diet www.drugs.com
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