Author Topic: Thyroid Problems  (Read 11302 times)

Offline herbdoc

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Thyroid Problems
« on: February 15, 2010, 06:33:05 PM »
A common problem many people have (particularly women) is hypothyroidism.  As with all chronic (long-term) diseases, the best solution is to correct the underlying causes so that it is no longer an issue for you.  I've pasted below some of my thoughts.

Sluggish Thyroid?
A Hidden Epidemic

One of the primary functions of the thyroid gland is for controlling our metabolism (how fast we burn calories) and thus our body weight. But the thyroid also has a strong influence on conditions such as depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, irritable bowel syndrome, or autoimmune diseases. Any of these conditions could indicate a problem with your thyroid.
The classic signs of a sluggish thyroid gland include weight gain, lethargy, poor quality hair and nails, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and constipation. However, some of the conditions that are not often associated with your thyroid include: High cholesterol, Irregular menstruation, Low sex drive, Infertility, Gum disease, Swelling and Fluid retention, and Skin conditions such as Acne and Eczema. Many people with low thyroid function, called hypothyroidism, are never diagnosed. And many of those who are diagnosed, are inadequately treated, resulting in partial recovery at best.

Hypothyroidism: The Hidden Epidemic
Hypothyroidism simply means you have a sluggish or underactive thyroid, which is producing less than adequate amounts of thyroid hormone. “Sub-clinical” hypothyroidism means you have none of the obvious symptoms and only slightly abnormal lab tests. Thyroid problems have become quite common because it is caused by the same lifestyle factors that also contribute to conditions such as obesity, cancer and diabetes.  These factors include poor dietary choice (primarily the overconsumption of sugar), eating processed chemical laden foods, stress, lack of sleep, environmental toxins, and lack of exercise.
It is estimated that perhaps 10 percent of the general population in the United States, and 20 percent of women over the age of 60, have sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Becoming aware of symptoms and home checks can give you a good indication of how your thyroid may be function. Identifying hypothyroidism and its cause is tricky business. Many of the symptoms overlap with other disorders, and many are vague.  A simple home check can be done by taking your temperature each morning for 3 days before you get out of bed and moving around.  If it is less than 97.6 degrees F, hypothyroidism may be an issue for you.
Sometimes people with hypothyroidism have significant fatigue or sluggishness, especially in the morning. You may have hoarseness for no apparent reason. Often hypothyroid people are slow to warm up, even in a sauna, and don’t sweat with mild exercise. Low mood and depression are common. Sluggish bowels and constipation are often a major issue, especially if you already get adequate water and fiber. Another interesting sign is thinning of the upper outer third of your eyebrows. Chronic recurrent infections are also seen because thyroid function is important for your immune system. Family history is another important factor to look in to. Do you have close relatives with thyroid issues?

Building a Healthier Thyroid
Your lifestyle choices dictate, to a great degree, how well your thyroid will function and heal.  Building a healthy thyroid gland requires little more than building a healthy life.  By making some fundamental changes improvements can be noticed quickly and can be lasting
Garbage In, Garbage Out is the old saying of reaping what you sow.  If you expect to have a smooth running engine, you must provide it with quality fuel.  It is important that you eliminate junk food, processed food, artificial sweeteners, trans and hydrogenated fats and oils, and anything with chemical ingredients. Eat whole, unprocessed foods, and choose as many organics as possible.  In addition, foods and supplements can provide good balanced sources of iodine and other nutrients are important for your health and recovery.
• Eat plenty of sea vegetables such as seaweed, which are rich in minerals and iodine (hijiki, wakame, arame, dulse, nori, and kombu). This is probably the most ideal form of iodine supplementation as it is also loaded with many other beneficial nutrients.
• Thyroid Formula from Western Botanicals is a great source the iodine-rich seaweeds. Truth be told not many of us will be eating seaweed on a daily or significant basis, so take the supplement.
• Eat Brazil nuts, which are rich in selenium and will help the thyroid gland.
• Get plenty of sunlight to optimize your vitamin D levels; if you live where sunlight is limited, use vitamin D3 supplementation.
• Eat foods rich in vitamin A, such as dandelion greens, carrots, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and sweet potatoes.
• Make sure you are eating enough omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Very good sources include scallops, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves and mustard seeds, halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.
• Coconut oil is one of the best foods you can eat for your thyroid. Coconut oil is a saturated fat comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are known to increase metabolism and promote weight loss. Coconut oil is very stable (shelf life of 3 to 5 years at room temperature), so your body is much less burdened with oxidative stress than it is from many other vegetable oils. And coconut oil does not interfere with T4 to T3 conversion the way other oils can.  Avoid processed oils, such as canola, corn, safflower, etc.
• Use pure, organic coconut oil in your cooking – it’s great for stir-frying and sautéing many different meats and vegetables.  Use oil olive for salad dressings and coconut oil for cooking and baking.
A good diet allows us to put the good nutrients into our bodies and allows us to expel the wastes and toxins that we need to get out of our body.
• Taking a greens supplement such as Western Botanicals’ Earth’s Nutrition or Bountiful Blend will nourish the whole body and quickly and noticeably strengthen hair and nails, which are often a problem with low thyroid function.
• Liver Detox Tea and Liver Gallbladder Formula from Western Botanicals will cleanse toxicity from within the cells of your body speeding the healing and increasing your energy.

Leaky Gut Syndrome
Prolonged digestive distress can lead to what is called a leaky gut syndrome.  This can results in food sensitivities because food particles are absorbed into the bloodstream before they can be adequately digested and broken down.  Chronic inflammation throughout the body caused by gluten and food sensitivities can contribute to thyroid dysfunction.  A regimen of probiotics (the good bacteria) can help to heal a leaky gut.  Take probiotics in capsules, sauerkraut (homemade or from the refrigerated section of the health food store – not processed or pasteurized), yogurt, kefir, and sourdough bread if you tolerate wheat/gluten.
Another food that is bad for your thyroid are most products made with soy.  Soy is NOT the health food the agricultural and food companies would have you believe.  Soy is high in isoflavones (or goitrogens), which are damaging to your thyroid gland. Thousands of studies now link soy foods to malnutrition, digestive stress, immune system weakness, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility and a host of other problems – in addition to damaging your thyroid. The exception in the soy family would be properly fermented organic soy products such as soy sauce, natto, miso, and tempeh are fine – it’s the unfermented soy products that you should stay away from.
The biggest offender to our health and the thyroid gland is SUGAR – namely corn syrup, which is in most processed foods.  Sugar is a stimulant that puts stress on the thyroid gland.  High-Fructose Corn Syrup wrecks havoc on your metabolism and must be avoided.  Avoid all other artificial sweeteners as well as any other chemical additives to foods.  You must be eating whole natural foods!

Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormone. In fact, the names of the different forms of thyroid hormone reflect the number of iodine molecules attached – T4 has four attached iodine molecules, and T3 has three – showing what an important part iodine plays in thyroid biochemistry. Most Americans don’t get enough iodine in their diets (which is why iodine is sometimes added to table salt – however I recommend using sea salt, which also contains iodine as well as the other minerals).  Consider taking a good herbal supplement high in iodine rich seaweeds such a Western Botanicals Thyroid Formula.
Chlorine, fluorine and bromine are also culprits in thyroid function, and since they are halides like iodine, they compete for your iodine receptors. Be wary of plastics, pesticides, hot tub treatments, fire retardants, some flours and bakery goods, and even some soft drinks. Drink and bathe with filtered water if at all possible.

Stress and Adrenal Function
Stress is one of the worst thyroid offenders. Your thyroid function is intimately tied to your adrenal function, which is intimately affected by how you handle stress. Many of us are under chronic stress, which results in increased adrenalin and cortisol levels, and elevated cortisol has a negative impact on thyroid function. When stress becomes chronic, the flood of stress chemicals (adrenalin and cortisol) produced by your adrenal glands interferes with thyroid hormones and can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unstable blood sugar, and more.
A prolonged stress response can lead to adrenal exhaustion (also known as adrenal fatigue), which is often found alongside thyroid disease.  See Dr. Christensen’s previous article on Adrenal Fatigue entitled; Tired of Being Tired.
Environmental toxins also place additional stress on your body. Pollutants such as petrochemicals, organochlorines, pesticides and chemical food additives negatively affect thyroid function.
One of the best de-stressors is exercise, which is why it is so beneficial for your thyroid. Exercise directly stimulates your thyroid gland to secrete more thyroid hormone. Exercise also increases the sensitivity of all your tissues to thyroid hormone. It is even thought that many of the health benefits of exercise stem directly from improved thyroid function.  Even something as simple as a 30-minute walk is a great form of exercise. Don’t forget to add strength training to your exercise routine, because increasing your muscle mass helps raise your metabolic rate.
Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Getting enough sleep is vital.  Make getting enough sleep a priority. Inadequate sleep contributes to stress and prevents your body from regenerating fully.  Read up on better sleeping strategies.

Thyroid Hormone Replacement
Most people who need or have been taking thyroid medication have been told that they will need to be on this thyroid hormone replacement for the rest of their lives.  This is only true if your thyroid gland has been irradiated and effectively killed so that it will not be able to be healed.  It is always best to get your thyroid working again by treating the underlying causes, as opposed to taking an external source of thyroid hormone.
If it is necessary for you to take thyroid medication, you may want to talk to your doctor about using a natural thyroid product, like Armour Thyroid.  The medication Armour is a combination of T4, T3 and T2 made from desiccated, or dried, porcine(pig) thyroid. Many improvements have been made in the product, making it a safe and effective option for treating hypothyroidism today. In fact, a study done ten years ago clearly demonstrated that patients with hypothyroidism showed greater improvements in mood and brain function if they received treatment with Armour Thyroid than if they received the common thyroid replacement hormone drug Synthroid (synthetic thyroid).

Final Thoughts
A thyroid problem is not unlike any other chronic illness – you must address the underlying issues if you hope to correct the problem. If you approach it from a comprehensive, holistic perspective, you will find in time that all of the little steps you take will ultimately result in your feeling much better than you could have ever imagined.  As you follow these recommendations, not only will your energy and stamina improve but so will your health.  By following these recommendations you will also build health and vitality whether you have a thyroid issue or not. But give it time, we are all in this for the long haul and you should expect a couple of years to fully turn this situation around. 


Dr. Kyle Christensen
Western Botanicals, Inc.

Offline jlsellers

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Re: Thyroid Problems
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2010, 11:41:51 AM »
Wow, that was a GREAT article! Thank you!  ;D I had issues with low thyroid in college but I stopped taking the medicine after I ran out and never went back. Now that I am pregnant I am feeling a lot of the symptoms you mentioned and found kelp tablets to be extremely beneficial, along with a little bit of real licorice candy every day, to help with the adrenal exhaustion you mentioned. It's amazing what a difference a little iodine can make. I will be coming back to this article from time to time to try more of your suggestions. I seriously wonder how many people suffer from these kinds of things unknowingly.