5 Ways to Protect and Improve Your Thyroid Health
The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is located in your neck and is not only responsible for your metabolism but a host of other functions in your body. Nearly every physiological function in your body depends in some part on the hormones your thyroid provides. When your thyroid is running too high or too low it can cause issues in your overall health.
Symptoms of a Dysfunctional Thyroid
Studies show that approximately 10-40 percent of people experience less than optimal thyroid health and the symptoms that go along with it. Weight gain or loss, fluctuations in temperature, hair loss, skin issues and fatigue are just some of the symptoms of a dysfunctional thyroid. Studies are starting to show a correlation between suboptimal thyroid function and health concerns as far ranging as auto-immune disorders, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, gum disease and infertility.
There are 2 main categories to look at with thyroid dysfunction: Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough of the hormones needed for your body to function properly. The most common symptoms of this are fatigue, weight gain, rough or scaly skin, hair loss, sensitivity to cold and low basil temperature.
Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid produces more hormones than your body needs and is characterized by feeling restless or nervous, irritability, difficulty concentrating, frequent bowel movements, lack of menstrual cycle in women, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and protruding eyes.
Both of these conditions can be caused by poor diet, an overabundance of stress, toxicity or even an auto-immune thyroid condition or thyroid cancer. The symptoms of possible thyroid cancer are lumps in the neck and throat area, pain in the front of the neck or throat, hoarseness or a change in your voice that doesn’t go away or a constant cough that is not due to other illness. Unfortunately many symptoms of thyroid dysfunction are also common in other disorders so they are often diagnosed incorrectly or go undiagnosed.
There a many ways you can improve or protect your thyroid health
- Eat organic foods as often as possible. Pesticides and other toxins as well as GMO foods can negatively affect your thyroid. The thyroid and any part of your body that is responsible for hormone production can be very sensitive to toxins.
- Avoid drinking out of or eating foods cooked or stored in plastic containers. BPA’s from the plastic are toxic and can be hormone disruptors.
- Avoid drinking soda. Most soda contains bromides which are endocrine/hormone disrupters.
- Increase your iodine consumption. Iodine is the most important nutrient for your thyroid. It also plays a major role in the health of your thymus, pancreas, salivary glands, breast tissue, skin and cerebral spinal fluid. Iodine can be found in seafood and seaweed such as spirulina, wakame, dulse, nori, and kombu. Raw milk and eggs also contain iodine. There are nutritional supplements that contain iodine as well.
- Minimize stress levels and get plenty of rest.
It is also very important to make sure you know if you have a thyroid issue and exactly what kind you have before you begin any supplement programs for your thyroid. Doctors may only check one or two thyroid markers but that doesn’t give a complete picture. There are several different tests to run to get the information you need. TSH, T3 and T4 levels are the common tests doctors run but you also need to know what your Free T3, Free T4 and Thyroid Antibody levels are as well. Often the TSH, T3 and T4 levels can look normal but you still may be experiencing symptoms because the other thyroid levels are off. Ask your doctor to run a complete Thyroid panel if you suspect that might be the issue. There is also a test called the TRH Stimulation Test that can determine if your thyroid issues are caused by an inadequacy in your pituitary gland.