Thyroid Health: Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s (part 3)
Poor gut health, dysbiosis, viral infections and other 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.
4. Stress comes in many forms (physical, emotional, mental, environmental, thermal, electromagnetic), all of which impair 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 your reaction to stressful incidents. Consistently practice a form a relaxation you enjoy to activate 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 and healing soul wounds.
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 protects the breast, uterus, ovaries, thyroid gland and prostate from cancer. It is also a fantastic anti-parasitic! As halogens (chlorine, bromide, fluoride) and heavy metals run rampant in our environment, risk of iodine deficiency increases significantly.
Dietary sources of iodine include wild fish (cod contains the highest amount of iodine, wild shrimp, seafood, spirulina, SeaSnax, sea vegetables such as kelp, arame, kombu, dulse, wakame, nori (sushi wrap), garlic, Swiss chard, spinach, sea vegetable seasonings, Bragg’s Organic Sea Kelp Delight Seasoning.
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 and orange vegetables, carrots, dark green vegetables, plants and leafy greens
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. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that is nourishing for the thyroid.
13. Include a sufficient amount of 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 raw 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. Be informed of the impact that certain drugs have on thyroid function such as anti-histamines, NSAIDs, aspirin, stain drugs, oral contraceptives, estrogen hormone replacement therapy, antacids, and antibiotics.
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 taken on an empty stomach.
30. Correct nutrient deficiencies and support the individual with targeted nutrients. Nutritional support for hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s is always bio-individualized and unique to each person’s biochemistry.
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.