There’s a silent epidemic going on today, lurking in the background of health issues. Actually, to many, it’s not so silent. The most common symptoms are exhaustion, depression, stress, weight gain, hair loss, heart irregularities, infertility, and even panic attacks. I don’t see how we call that silent. It sounds more like blaring and raucous to me.
What could cause all these irritating complaints? What if I told you they all come from a tiny 1–2 ounce gland located right below your Adam’s apple? If you know your anatomy, you know this is where the Thyroid Gland can be found. It’s part of the endocrine system and influences everything from energy production and protein synthesis to interactions with the 30 other hormones produced by the body.
The thyroid is the master regulator of the body’s metabolism and is often called the body’s thermostat. When the mighty thyroid is underperforming, life is definitely not good. I’ve seen an increasing number of people who share their frustration on their T-shirts with statements like: “My thyroid hates me,” “I’m not crazy, my thyroid is,” “Ask my thyroid how I feel,” and “Thyroids—they really are a pain in the neck.”
Historically, most hypothyroidism was caused by an iodine deficiency which is now extremely rare due to multivitamins and iodized table salt. In some regions the incidence reaches almost 10% of the population, affecting women four times more often than men. Diagnosis by blood test demonstrates an elevated TSH level while both T3 and T4 levels are depressed. But a working diagnosis is often based on a collection of the symptoms we have cited already.
There are several different causes for hypothyroidism, including autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s disease and fibromyalgia, some cancers, post pregnancy—especially when there have been multiple births, inherited predisposition, certain medications, chronic stress, and adrenal insufficiency.
In severe cases hormone substitution medication may be prescribed by a physician and I am not going to cover that necessity. That being said, there are dietary considerations that are helpful and support positive thyroid function.
1 – Minimize gluten, sugars, caffeine, alcohol, processed carbohydrates, and other inflammatory foods like pasteurized dairy, red meat, processed meats, trans fats, and artificial food additives like MSG and Aspartame.
2 – Consume a complete and balanced, nutrient-dense diet with a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements with supplementation as needed.
3 – Include quality protein at every meal to assist with normalizing and transporting hormones.
4 – Good fats provide the precursors to hormones. Think olive, avocado, coconut oils, nuts, and seeds.
5 – Increase probiotics that supply the good bacteria that are important for thyroid function and health.
6 – Manage stress through exercise, meditation, reading, relaxing music, massage, taking a nap, or going fishing.
I forgot to also tell you that hypothyroidism can cause memory problems. This memory fog is best demonstrated by the following conversation. “What do you want? I want a better memory. When do you want it? Want what?”
Be good to your thyroid and you have a much better chance of it being good to you.
Learn more about Dr. Steve Weston
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