Supporting Your Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands to support in the quest for achieving optimal health. It brings vitality and energy to your life and runs every metabolic process in your body. Symptoms of sub-optimal thyroid health include a huge laundry list of symptoms ranging from constipation, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, and depression to odd complaints like random tendon pain, poor recovery from work-outs, frequent urination at night and a hoarse voice. And, while hypothyroidism is becoming an epidemic in this country, there are many things you can do to help improve your thyroid health whether you take thyroid meds or not!
- Keep your Adrenals Healthy: Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are your bodies control center for responding to stress. The adrenals control your “fight or flight response” and the output of adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones in response to a stressful event. Long term stress whether from work, toxins, relationships issues, and financial difficulties all have the same negative impact your adrenal health. Because the two systems are intertwined and produce the majority of your sex hormones, your thyroid gland will not work effectively if your adrenal system is functioning poorly.
We offer many different plans and strategies to help you heal your adrenals if you feel chronically fatigued and stressed out. In the meantime, don’t forget the importance of rest and relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, having fun, and taking time for yourself. Reducing stress should be on the top of your list for optimizing your health.
- Improve your Digestive Health: Your thyroid needs strong nutritional support. If your gut is frequently inflamed and aching, if you have trouble with gas and bloating, diarrhea or constipation or any chronic signs and symptoms that your gut is not functioning properly, you may not be absorbing the nutrients essential for your thyroid gland to thrive. Functional medicine and digestive health is one of our specialties. Please don’t wait for your thyroid and other hormonal and structural systems to crash because you are not absorbing food correctly.
We offer comprehensive GI and food allergy testing. Come in and see Dr. Camp or Marya Grosse, FNP if you need a work up for digestive complaints.
- Avoid fluorine, chlorine and bromine but add iodine!: Your thyroid hormones are heavily laden with the element iodine. In fact, it is well documented that the correct form of Iodine is critical to your thyroid production. (Unfortunately, iodized table salt is NOT the bio-available iodine needed). Iodine, as well as fluorine, chlorine and bromine are all a particular type of chemical called a halogen. Halogens are highly reactive and weighted similarly. Therefore, they compete with each other for cell receptor sites. What this means is that if a particular cell or enzyme needs iodine (which the thyroid does), chlorine or fluorine may bind to these cells instead. Therefore, if you drink water with chlorine or fluorine in it, for example, your thyroid hormones may have these rogue halogens attached to them instead of iodine, rendering your thyroid hormone useless for cellular use! Your active thyroid hormone needs an exact number of iodine to activate your cellular sites. Bromine is commonly found in processed foods with white flour. If you didn’t have another reason to avoid processed wheat products, you have one now!
Quick fix: get yourself a quality carbon water filter system that removes both chlorine and fluorine from your home drinking water and avoid processed baked goods that may have bromine in it! Talk to us about the dosage of iodine in the correct form necessary to support your thyroid and increase your usable, thyroid friendly iodine halogen!
- Selenium and Zinc: These are two of the most important nutrients for supporting your thyroid. The thyroid glands needs large amount of both of these to function correctly. Selenium is crucial for the conversion of T4 to it’s active T3 form! Without enough selenium, you may not convert effectively. Zinc is necessary both in supporting the pituitary in sending signals to the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone, and for proper binding of your thyroid hormone to your cell receptors.
-We recommend a daily minimum of 200 mcg of selenium and 30-50 mg of zinc.
- Avoid long term, low calorie dieting: Our bodies evolved to be very efficient. Your active thyroid hormone largely increases your metabolic rate, increasing the need for food and calories. What happens when you reduce calories for a long period of time? Your body gets very creative, and produces something called reverse T3 which reduces your metabolic rate. High levels of reverse T3 is not something most of want to avoid. It is configured with a slightly different number of iodine molecules than your actual active thyroid hormone. However, it is so similar to your actual thyroid hormone that it will compete for the cell receptors for your T3 hormone and fill those receptors blocking your active hormone from filling the receptors. This of course leads a reduced metabolic rate, a decrease in energy and vitality, an inability to lose weight, and exhaustion.
Thyroid health is key to feeling energetic and having quality vital energy. You CAN improve your thyroid status. Employ all of these strategies to improve your thyroid gland’s health! If you have further questions and need an appointment, please call our office at (415) 383-9903.
Written by Marya Grosse FNP
Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates