By Elisha McFarland N.D.
Guest writer for Wake Up World
The most common complaint I hear from people is “I’m just so tired all of time.” Whether it’s their hectic schedule, poor diet, or a health issue, exhaustion and a slow metabolism is a complaint that affects men and women across the western world. And the most common root cause of the issue is related to the thyroid.
Hypothyroidism, sometimes referred to as an under-active thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. An estimated 27 million Americans have thyroid disease, and sadly about 13 million of them are undiagnosed. The risk of thyroid disease increases as we age, in addition women are seven times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems.
In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the thyroid’s function, symptoms of imbalance or disease, and steps you can take to improve the condition of your thyroid naturally.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland, normally weighing less than one ounce, located at the front base of the neck. This gland may be small, but it produces hormones that influences every cell, tissue and organ in the body, including metabolism, growth and development and body temperature; noteworthy are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
An essential part of the body’s endocrine system, proper thyroid function is dependent on the presence of two trace minerals: iodine and manganese. Of the two, iodine is the most critical to proper thyroid function and health. The thyroid gland takes iodine, found in many foods, and converts it into thyroid hormones, such as thyroxine (T4). Eighty percent of the body’s iodine supply is stored in the thyroid.
Thyroid hormone production:
There are three hormones critical to thyroid hormone production:
- Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH): This thyroid hormone is produced in the hypothalamus, and monitors and regulates thyrotropin levels.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH): Also called thyrotropin, this hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland. It directly influences the process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production.
- Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3): Thyroxine (T4) is the key hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Low levels of T4 result in hypothyroidism, and high levels produce hyperthyroidism (an over-active thyroid.)
Common causes of Thyroid imbalance:
While there can be numerous (and in some cases, multiple) causes of thyroid problems, here are some of the most common.
- Deficiency: Mineral deficiency, especially iodine and selenium, can contribute to thyroid problems.
- Toxicity: Radiation or heavy metal exposure. Amalgam fillings can also contribute.
- Hormone imbalance: This can be caused by diets too little in fat or too high in carbs, and by high cortisol levels.
- Food allergies: Specifically casein and gluten.
- Medications: Some medications can reduce hormone production in the thyroid.
- Hashimoto’s disease: An autoimmune disease, which causes inflammation in the thyroid.
Common symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
- Dry skin
- Lower body temperature
- Always tired
- Feeling cold
- Bad memory
- Low sex drive
- Tingling in hands
- High cholesterol levels
- Puffy face and/or eyes
- Poor flexibility
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
Natural help for Hypothyroidism:
- Remove amalgam fillings: Find a biological dentist to help with safe removal of these fillings, which contain mercury and release toxic mercury vapor into your body. (You can find resources to help you find a biological dentist here.)
- Adaptogens: Add adaptogens like Tulsi or Ashwaganda to help your body “adapt” to stress inducing factors of everyday life.
- Supplements: Not having enough micronutrients and minerals can aggravate symptoms. Check your vitamin and mineral levels for deficiency: vitamin D, omega 3, iron, essential fatty acids, vitamin A and B vitamins, as well as iodine, zinc, copper and selenium.
- Greens: Add dark leafy mineral rich greens to your diet.
- Healthy Fats: Include healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, pumpkinseed oil, raw butter, cod liver oil, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia, grass feed beef and egg yolks to your meals.
- Gut Health: Keep your digestive health and immune system strong with probiotics, coconut kefir and fermented foods such as beet kvass.
- Carbs: Lower your intake of grains and sugars and instead replace them with healthy fats.
- BPA: Eliminate any products that use or contain BPA. Plastic bottles and some food cans are lined with BPA, an endocrine disruptor that negatively affects your thyroid. (Also check out my article, Toxic Products to Ban From Your Home – Plus Healthier Alternatives to Help You Do It for more ways to eliminate common toxic exposures.)
- Selenium: Add selenium rich foods to your diet, such as salmon, grass feed beef, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts and mushrooms.
- Avoid allergens: Avoid common food allergens such as wheat and dairy which can contribute to leaky gut, which can cause inflammation of the thyroid and negatively impact healthy thyroid function.
- Heavy Metal Detox: Consider adding foods to your diet that naturally help your body to detoxify such as cilantro, turmeric, chlorella, milk thistle and wheatgrass.
- Glutathione: This powerful antioxidant helps to regulate the immune system, minimize auto immune flare ups and strengthen the immune system.
- Inflammation: Address any inflammation issues and avoid foods that trigger an inflammatory response.
- Coconut Oil & Zeolite: the Radiation Detox for Optimum Thyroid Health
- Can Turmeric Support Thyroid Health?
- Why Thyroid Health Is Completely Dependent on Selenium
- What You Need to Know About Naturally Treating Your Thyroid Condition
- 4 Things You Can Do To Support Thyroid Health
- The 5 Most Common Thyroid Disorders and What You Need To Know
- Hypothyroidism, The Quiet Plague
About the author:
Elisha McFarland N.D., D. A. Hom., CWR., M.H. is the founder of My Health Maven. Elisha turned her debilitating illness from mercury poisoning into a dedicated passion to helping others. The My Health Maven website covers a wide range of topics including non-toxic living, health tests at home, the healing power of foods, home remedies, food ingredients, dental health and environmental illness. Her goal is to share her experience and knowledge, to help others live life more abundantly.
Elisha’s articles are widely published throughout alternative media such as The Organic Consumer’s Association and Food Matters TV. She is also a contributor to GreenMedInfo, Natural Health 365, The Hearty Soul and Eat Local Grown.
Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Recommended articles by Elisha McFarland:
- The Link Between Nightshades, Chronic Pain and Inflammation
- Type 2 Diabetes Risk Increases 25% from Drinking One Soda a Day….and Other Surprising Soda Facts
- The Health Benefits of Hemp Seed … and 6 Delicious Hemp Milk Recipes!
- The Amazing Health Benefits of Elderberry
- Are You Washing Your Hands With This Toxic Pesticide?
- Amalgam Fillings Release Mercury Vapor Into Your Body 24/7
- Understanding Food Labels
- How to Create A Healthy Non-Toxic Bedroom
- Toxic Products to Ban From Your Home – Plus Healthier Alternatives to Help You Do It
- Tasty Recipe: Grain Free, Nut Free, Gluten Free Seed Crackers