Poor gut health, dysbiosis and underlying infections will suppress thyroid function and can actually be the trigger for Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. Reduced gut immunity is a very common problem in those with any thyroid imbalance. Low or high thyroid function can trigger leaky gut and inflammation in the gut and vice versa.
All disease starts in the gut! A healthy microbiome and a healthy functioning gut is imperative for optimal thyroid function, those diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease, and should be of utmost importance not only for thyroid function, but also depression, mood disorders, brain disorders, healthy aging, and overall health.
3. Adrenal function must ALWAYS be factored in with any thyroid disorder. A sluggish thyroid often begins with imbalanced stress hormones and ‘tapped and zapped’ adrenals, which happens when we’re chronically stressed, eat too much sugar and a diet high in processed carbs, exposed to heavy metals, cell phone addiction, EMFs and toxic chemicals, eat factory-farmed meats and dairy, drink too much alcohol, exercise excessively, don’t get enough sleep, skimp on rest, recovery and relaxation, stay in unhealthy, unhappy, dysfunctional relationships, and when we’re congested and overloaded with toxins from the environment, the food we eat and the water we drink.
4. Stress comes in many forms (physical, emotional, mental, environmental, electromagnetic), all of which impact thyroid function causing the thyroid to either make too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroid, Grave’s disease) or too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s). Identify underlying stressors, your perception and how you react to stressful incidents. Consistently practice a form a relaxation you enjoy to trigger the relaxation response and parasympathetic (calming) branch of the nervous system. Remember, hormones don’t act independently. An out of control stress response causes an increase in cortisol and a decrease in the conversion of T4 to T3.
5. The hormone system responds to emotions. In mind/body medicine, the thyroid is often associated with personal will, self-expression, communication and speaking your truth. Practice communicating clearly, expressing yourself, voicing your emotions, journaling, biofeedback, and dealing with deeper, underlying emotions.
6. Those with thyroid disorders tend to have multiple hidden food sensitivities. Common offending, inflammatory culprits include dairy, soy, wheat, grains, artificial sweeteners, corn, gluten, and eggs. It’s important to note that each person is different and even so-called healthy foods can be problematic for some.
7. Test for and rule out heavy metal toxicity, which tends to be very common with thyroid dysfunction. Also, it’s important to consider your work and home environment. Are you living or working in a water damaged building? Mold exposure and mycotoxicity are extremely common, and should be ruled out.
8. Iodine plays a crucial roles in the production and maintenance of thyroid hormones. Iodine-rich foods, seaweed and sea vegetables (kelp, dulse, hijiki, nori, arame, wakame and kombu) are nourishing for those with primary hypothyroidism, and also beneficial for naturally chelating toxic heavy metals from the body. Consume clean fish and seafood, SeaSnax, one of my favorite iodine-rich snacks, kelp and sea vegetables. Note: Most practitioners suggest avoiding iodine for those with Hashimoto’s.
9. Consume selenium-rich foods: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, organ meats, mushrooms, halibut, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef
10. Include more vitamin A-rich foods: free-range, pastured egg yolks, yellow vegetables, carrots, dark green vegetables and leafy greens and raw dairy.
11. Zinc is a very common mineral deficiency with thyroid dysfunction. Include more zinc-rich foods: nuts, seeds, beef, turkey, lamb, fresh oysters, sardines, ginger root
12. Use coconut oil, which is very nourishing for the thyroid plus oodles of other amazing health benefits.
13. Eat ample protein at each meal. Protein transports thyroid hormone to the tissues and can help normalize thyroid function.
14. Use food your medicine and opt for organic and non-GMO foods as much as possible. Pesticides, xenoestrogens and glyphosate interfere with thyroid function.
15. Be cognizant of hidden thyroid disruptors, which include:
16. Minimize intake of goitrogenic foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale, which can interfere with thyroid function. You can still enjoy these foods, just be sure to steam or cook them, which will inactivate the goitrogenic compounds.
17. It’s important to stabilize blood sugar and optimize insulin levels. A carb-heavy, processed food diet increases estrogen, toxic chemical load, and negatively impacts the thyroid. Poor blood sugar control wreaks havoc on the adrenals, increases inflammation, causes leaky gut, weakens the immune system and stresses the thyroid. Avoid low calorie diets, fat-free and low-fat diets, extreme fasting and skipping breakfast.
18. Excess halogen exposure from chlorine, bromide and fluoride block iodine uptake and inhibit thyroid function. Chlorine and fluoride (water, hot tubs, swimming pools, toothpaste) and excess bromine/bromide (breads, Mountain Dew, processed and packaged foods, hot tubs, products with flame retardants) disrupt thyroid function.
19. Reduce exposure to metabolic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, obesogens and chemical toxins (insecticides, artificial fragrances and lotions, BPA, PCBs, pesticides, phthalates, GMOs, glyphosate, flame retardants, and harsh chemical cleaners and personal products).
20. Optimize liver and gallbladder function. Thyroid imbalances can lead to problems with detoxification, especially phase II detoxification that can trigger a congested liver, sticky bile, and problems converting T4 to T3. Liver and gallbladder congestion.
A study conducted at Tampere University Hospital in Finland found that hypothyroidism is 7x more likely in those with congested, sticky bile.
21. Address hidden sources of inflammation (what you eat, breathe, drink, infections, your environment and lifestyle habits). Always rule out Candida overgrowth, viral infections, yeast overgrowth, parasites, H.pylori, mold toxicity, heavy metal toxicity, dysbiosis and bacterial infections, which are extremely common and often go undetected in those with hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s disease and Grave’s disease.
22. Consider color therapy: wear orange tinted glasses for 30 minutes, then switch to blue tinted glasses for 5 minutes.
23. Acupressure. Press the hollow at the base of the throat 3 times for 10 seconds to stimulate the thyroid.
24. Practice yoga. Certain yoga poses (plow, bridge, shoulder stand, fish) are beneficial for the 5th chakra and stimulating for the thyroid.
25. Daily exercise is important for thyroid health. Strength training turns on genes that metabolize fat and increase metabolism. On the other hand, when done to extremes excessive amounts of exercise especially aerobic and cardio-style exercise increase cortisol, lower testosterone and deplete the adrenals, which in turn affect thyroid function.
26. Avoid synthetic HRT drugs, anti-histamines, NSAIDs, aspirin, antacids and overuse of antibiotics. Even bio-identical hormone therapy and oral contraceptives can trigger thyroid dysfunction.
27. Consider alternative healing therapies for hypothyroid such as acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy and biofeedback.
28. If you take thyroid medication, avoid taking carbonate supplements, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D or iron with your thyroid medication as these block the absorption of T4, thyroxine.
29. If you take thyroid medication, it is best absorbed when chewed and taken on an empty stomach.
30. Nutritional support for hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s is always bio-individualized and unique to each person’s biochemistry. It is never a “one supplement fits all” approach. Be smart and Test to assess, don’t guess!
The hormone system is a complex system. There is no ‘one-plan-fits-all’ solution for all thyroid sufferers. Balancing hormones, healing thyroid function, and reversing hypothyroid and autoimmune symptoms is specific to each individual and their unique biochemistry, which starts by identifying the root cause through functional and clinical lab testing, a blood chemistry analysis, a thorough lifestyle assessment, detailed health history, comprehensive mind-body-soul timeline, and a diagnostic nutritional assessment.