You really want to work out, but you just don’t seem to have the energy. You’ve put on a few extra pounds, but even when you do exercise and follow a strict diet, the scale just does not budge. You feel very well, depressed in fact you really can’t remember the last time you felt great. While you may try to shake it off and blame life, work, stress and aging for your health changes, you might not be aware that your body isn’t working the way it should.
In the United States alone, around 20 million people suffer from hypothyroidism with an estimated 60% of these 20 million unaware that they have any thyroid problems at all. The thyroid is a small gland that rests on the trachea in the front of the neck. This little gland has the huge job of producing hormones that regulate the metabolic rate, heart and digestive function as well as brain development and bone maintenance. When the thyroid overproduces these controlling hormones, it’s known as hyperthyroidism and in many cases, is easy to diagnose and treat. If there is an underproduction of hormones it is called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is often overlooked due to unreliable blood tests and the fact that many of the symptoms can be excused or confused for other conditions such as depression, fibromyalgia, and extreme fatigue. Many times, hypothyroidism goes undiagnosed for years, causing serious problems for the sufferer.
Hypothyroidism symptoms include:
- Fatigue, often severe, even after sleeping a full 8 hours
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Mood issues, especially with anxiety and/or depression
- Hormone imbalances, low sex drive and/or irregular periods
- Joint and muscle pain
- Dry skin, hair loss, brittle nails
- Low body temperature, chronically cold hands and feet
- Brain fog
If you have several of the above issues it’s time dig a little deeper to find the cause. Hypothyroidism should be diagnosed through both blood tests and by symptoms. Ask your doctor to run a full thyroid panel (total and free T4 and T3, TSH, and thyroid antibodies) additionally ask them to run a full hormone panel to get an in-depth look at you body as a whole. Remember that your thyroid gland governs all other hormones. So if the thyroid is not functioning properly, there is a good chance that your sex hormones, such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, are also out of range. It is also important to consider your adrenal glands, which produce the stress hormone, cortisol. The adrenal glands are required to overwork when the thyroid function is lacking.
If you are diagnosed, or if even you suspect that you suffer from hypothyroidism, you have options when it comes to treatment. Most traditional doctors will prescribe levothyroxine, or Synthroid, which is only T4. T4 is the inactive form of the thyroid hormone, while T3 is the active form. The majority of sufferers do not get much relief from Synthroid alone. Educated functional medical doctors will likely recommend Armour or desiccated thyroid. This is a bioidentical hormone that is derived from the pig thyroid, which is identical to the human thyroid and yields better results.
Dietary changes along with high-quality vitamin and mineral supplementation is highly recommended, regardless of whether or not you chose to treat your condition with prescription medication.
I am a certified nutritionist, with extensive training in vitamin and mineral supplementation, who specializes in hormone function and deals with hypothyroidism. So, of course, I have some tips to help improve this condition naturally!
Eat Clean! Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is highly recommended. Avoiding sugar, simple carbohydrates, processed foods, gluten and most dairy, this will lessen inflammation within your body. By eliminating inflammation, it will most likely improve gut health and strengthen the immune system, it may eliminate aches and pains, and may even knock out brain fog and fatigue.
Drink Water! Eliminate sodas and sugary drinks entirely, yes, diet sodas included. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake and drink 2-3 cups of green tea in place of coffee. Most importantly, drink plenty of pure, filtered non-chlorinated water daily. Try to get in at least 64 oz daily.
Supplement with high-quality vitamins and minerals! Some of my top recommendations are as follows.
Iodine is necessary for normal thyroid function and supplementation is shown to improve the thyroids natural ability to function as well as assisting in improving the absorption of thyroid medication.
Selenium aids in the transfer of the inactive T4 hormone to the active T3 hormone as well as aiding in proper detoxification of free radicals and mercury that harm the thyroid gland.
L-Tyrosine works as a precursor to the thyroid hormone, while also promoting stable moods and preventing an excessive rises in cortisol levels.
Coleus Forskohlii extract is a unique herb that promotes the proper function of TSH, which stimulates the synthesis and secretion of T3 and T4 hormones.
Each of these supplements may be taken separately, but I recommend combining them all it the perfect dose, that is why I love Thyroid Synergy from Designs For Health. It has a synergistic balance of each of these thyroid supporting supplements combined with other wonderful nutrients such as chromium, zinc, B5, american ginseng and more to not only support the thyroid but the adrenal glands and blood sugar levels as well.
Take charge of your health! If you feel that you are one of the 20 million of us that suffer from thyroid issues, take the right steps to improve your health, naturally! To manage hypothyroidism, consume an anti-inflammatory diet, drink plenty of pure water and supplement with the appropriate nutrients. Consider working with a nutritionist, such as myself, and if you do seek a doctor, find a functional medicine doctor who is experienced in hormone function and willing to prescribe natural vs. synthetic thyroid hormone.
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