Low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, is a major problem and is becoming all too common, often with little relief from the synthetic drugs usually prescribed. The long term effects of thyroid malfunction are numerous and difficult to correct if proper nutrient supplementation is not addressed.
There are four major areas to consider when dealing with a sluggish thyroid, but first, what are the symptoms of a thyroid in need of nourishment? You may feel unusually fatigued. You may notice cold hands and feet, and fogging thinking, as well as stubborn weight gain in some cases. There may be issues with constipation, brittle hair and depression. In advanced or prolonged cases, the eyebrows may thin and even disappear! Typically the person with a sluggish thyroid will maintain a body temperature about one degree lower than the normal 98.6 range. To determine this crucial factor, when first awakening, and before arising, take your temperature underneath your arm for a few minutes; do this for a week. If it is running at 97.7 or less consistently, and you are manifesting any of the above symptoms, consult with qualified health care professional immediately. Ideally, you want to look for an alternative physician, or an M.D. familiar with a condition known as “Wilson’s Syndrome”–NOT Wilson’s Disease, a totally different condition. Many traditional M.D.’s are not aware of Wilson”s Syndrome, and may treat you with the synthetic T4, to no avail, as this Syndrome responds best to the natural form, T3. Therefore, those with Wilson’s Syndrome don’t as much lack T4, but have trouble converting the T4 to T3. To determine your true condition, you will want to have not only your TSH and T4 tested, but T3 as well.
You will want to begin a thyroid nourishing program immediately. The four major areas to consider when seeking to strengthen thyroid function are 1.) nutrients that increase the T4 levels, 2.) nutrients that encourage the conversion of T4 to the natural, bioactive T3, 3.) nutrients that 飄霧眉 potentiate the major thyroid strengthening minerals, and finally, 4.) nutrients that facilitate the cell permeability to receive the active T3 into the cell. Also, it’s important to be aware of what nutrients, hormones and toxic chemicals (and their sources) are destructive to normal thyroid function, and are unfortunately found everywhere in our environment. Knowledge is power, so don’t let that fact hinder you.
To support your T4 supply naturally, Iodine is essential, and is lacking in many diets, and indeed, in the very soil of certain areas. Also, excessive estrogen in the body, from the food we eat, hormone replacement treatments and estrogen-like compounds called “xenoestrogens” in the environment, compound the problem. Some foods that are known to slow the thyroid are the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, and cooked spinach. These are good foods, but avoid excess, especially if you already have symptoms. Both bioidentical and synthetic estrogen can decrease thyroid function, while natural progesterone will have a strengthening effect, so make sure you have a balance, and always opt for the natural estrogen when supplementing. Finally, examples of the estrogen-like compounds called xenoestrogens would be all plastics, especially dangerous when put over heated foods to cook in microwaves or to cover while food is still hot—the xenoestrogens leach into your food. Also, “crinkly” water bottles bought at stores are full of an estrogen-like chemical that affects the thyroid adversely. Bleached white paper products such as paper plates and even tampons are yet another source.
Once you have addressed your T4 inhibitors, and provided a good Iodine source, such as natural kelp or other sea vegetables, it’s important to realize this T4 needs to be converted to the natural T3 form. Minerals are important in this function, and once again, our soils are often lacking, and/or we don’t eat the proper foods to supply them. Selenium is a potent cancer preventing mineral that is also required in the T4 to T3 conversion process, and Zinc is an essential mineral that potentiates the action of Selenium. Make sure you get plenty mineral rich foods such as greens and nuts in your diet, and consider supplementing these minerals. Finally, Potassium is essential to get the rich supplies of T3 into the cells where it can nourish and strengthen the thyroid to optimal function. In addition, the herb Ashwaganda acts like Iodine, and increases T4 supplies, and Myrrh, along with Selenium, encourages the conversion of T4 to T3. The amino acid Tyrosine, known as the “happy pill”, improves thyroid function, and improves mood as well, when depression is present.
Seeing that hypothyroid problems are common, but often overlooked or poorly treated by conventional medicine, it is imperative to be aware of the symptoms and the need for specific, targeted nutritional supplementation, under the direction of a qualified and knowledgeable Health Care Provider as early as possible. To delay or receive inadequate treatment could lead to other serious conditions that could actually mask the underlying thyroid condition, leading to a greatly suppressed quality of life.