January is Thyroid Awareness month so it’s only befitting that we shine a light on this often overlooked disease.
Most thyroid disease is autoimmune based (90%). It can either be hyperthyroidism (Graves Disease), which is an overactive thyroid or hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s), an underactive thyroid.
Right now, we will focus on hypothyroidism as it tends to be more prevalent than its counterpart. There are a host of symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, including:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Muscle cramps and weakness
- Hair and skin issues (course, brittle, dry, hair loss)
- Weight gain
- Mood: Depression, anxiety, memory
- Cold hand and feet
- sex hormones & infertility
- increased LDL cholesterol
Based on these symptoms, it’s easy to see why this disease is often overlooked or dismissed due to its broad symptomatology.
In addition to taking prescribed medications for hypothyroidism such as Desiccated Thyroid extract (Armour Thyroid) or Thyroxine there are other ways to support thyroid function.
What I would like to highlight is that there are many factors that contribute to thyroid health in those with thyroid disease including diet, lifestyle, medication and supplements.
Here’s what you can do to support your thyroid if you have thyroid disease.
- Iodine and Iron are two important nutrients that when in balance can greatly improve the course of your thyroid health. Too much is not good and inversely neither is too little. Have your levels checked by your doctor to ensure you are in the normal range. You can always up your levels with food or supplements accordingly.
- Vitamin C – improves thyroid hormone serum concentration and absorption of thyroid hormone.
- B Vitamins – low B12 increases your homocysteine levels which increases your risk for cardiovascular issues.
- Selenium – make sure you are getting enough selenium. Brazil Nuts are a great source of selenium. Supplementation is also an option.
- Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, Fish Oil, Selenium, Tyrosine, Vit A, Vit E. Vit D. There is a great product by CytoMatrix called Active ACES+Zinc.
- There is also combination formula such as Pure Encapsulations Thyroid Support Complex.
- Herbs such as guggul, ashwagandha, siberian ginseng. Ashwagandha is incredible because it’s an adaptogenic herb and doesn’t interfere with other medications like siberian ginseng which might interact with blood pressure medication.
- Overall alkaline diet is best (reduce/avoid: gluten, animal products, raw goitrogenic fruits and vegetables, millet, soy).
- Good things to include in your diet are lightly cooked vegetables, sunflower seeds, adzuki beans, sea vegetables, brazil nuts, ginger and turmeric (latter 2 also good for gut health)
- Assess dietary intake of iodine. Chlorella, Kelp, Seafood, Seaweed, Egg Yolks and Dairy all contains varying levels of iodine.
- Stomach acid – many with Hashimoto’s have low stomach acid, which is needed for B12 absorption. Genestra’s Digest Plus can help boost stomach acid.
- SIBO – approx half of those with Hashimotos has small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. SIBO is treatable by a qualified practitioner.
- Avoid: Smoking, alcohol, caffeine
- Reduce stress! Find things in your life that take you to your happy place.
- Exercise moderately, 30 minutes a day with low impact.
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