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Sherry's Healthy Thyroid Topics

What is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is one of several glands in the endocrine system. It is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. The glands of the endocrine system control many of the body's functions through chemical substances called hormones. These hormones are released into the bloodstream where they circulate and regulate the function of specific organs and organ systems.

 

What Does the Thyroid Do?

The hormones produced by the thyroid gland regulate how the body's cells use energy and how "fast" the body's metabolism works. This gland also affects the rate of growth on the hair and bones; the body's weight, temperature and energy level; as well as the function of the heart and digestive system. Thyroid disease is a very common endocrine disorder, especially in women.

 

Types of Thyroid Disease

Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a disease in which the thyroid produces less hormones than needed for normal body function. Symptoms include thin, brittle nails and hair, weight gain, fatigue, decreased heart rate, constipation, and feeling cold.

Hyperthyroidism, or thyrotoxicosis, is a disease in which the thyroid produces too many hormones. Symptoms include hair loss, weight loss, increased heart rate, nervousness, frequent bowel movements, perspiration, and menstrual irregularities in women.

 

Diagnosing Thyroid Disease

A doctor may diagnose thyroid disease by assessing a patient's symptoms, palpating the neck to check for changes in the thyroid gland, and blood testing to determine the body's levels of circulating thyroid hormones.

 

What Can You Do for HYPOTHYROIDISM?

Hypothyroidism is caused by an underproduction of thyroid hormone.  The most common symptoms are fatigue and feeling cold alot while others around you are hot.  You may also experience a loss of appetite, weight gain, muscle weakness and cramps, fertility problems, a yellow/orange color in your skin, recurrent infections, slow speech and swollen eyes. 
The thyroid gland is best described as your body' internal thermostat that regulates temperature by secreting 2 hormones.  These hormones control how quickly your body burns calories and uses energy.  If the thyroid secretes too much hormone, the result is hypothyroidism. Too little hormone release can lead to Hyperthyroidism.  Hypothyroidism affects mostly women causing recurring illness, fatigue and frustrating weight gain. 
Your doctor may do a blood test to measure your levels of thyroid hormone or thyroid-stimulating hormone known as TSH.  This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and helps regulate thyroid hormone production.  Many doctors believe that even a minuscule drop in thyroid function is a sign of an elevated TSH level.  TSH levels rise when a person is in the early states of thyroid failure. 
You can test yourself for an underactive thyroid by keeping a thermometer by your bed.  When you wake up in the morning, place the thermometer under your arm and hold it there for 15 minutes.  Be still - do not move as any motion can upset your temperature reading.  A temperature of 97.6 or lower may indicate an underactive thyroid.  Measure your temperature for 5 days in a row and keep a log of your readings.

 
Here are some recommendations  to consider for HYPOTHYROIDISM:
- AVOID processed foods, especially white flour and sugar
- drink distilled water or invest in an Alkaline Water (Ionized Water) system
- stay away from antihistamines unless directed by your doctor
- include egg yolks with your egg white omelet, add  parsley to your salads, and eat apricots, dates and prunes
- eat fish and chicken


FOODS THAT SUPPRESS THYROID FUNCTION ARE:

broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cruciferous vegetables, kale, mustard greens, peaches, pears and spinach.  If you are having severe symptoms of hypothyroidism, eliminate these foods entirely. 
Avoid fluoride toothpaste and chlorine found in tap water which is why it is so important to drink clean, filtered water or distilled water.  Chlorine, fluoride and iodine are chemically related and block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland which can lead to hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, drugs used to treat hypothyroidism can cause a loss of bone mass which can lead to osteoporosis. 
There are many supplements to consider that are important when it comes to hypothyroidism:
1.  KELP - contains iodine which is the basic substance of thyroid hormone
2.  L-Tyrosine - is an amino acid that supports thyroid function
3.  Raw Thyroid Glandular - can be prescribed by your Natural Medicine Doctor only
4.  B-complex - improves oxygenation and energy in the body plus they are needed for good digestion, immune function, red blood cell formation and thyroid function
5.  Vitamin C and E - antioxidants that improve circulation and the immune system
6. Omega 3's - essential fatty acids which are necessary for proper thyroid function

Learning which foods damage the thyroid and what to avoid, taking supplements and learning eating plans that work for you are your first line of defense when it comes to hypothyroidism.

 

Getting to Know Your Thyroid

Your thyroid is one of the most powerful glands in your body and is part of the endocrine system.  It is butterfly in shape and located at the front of your neck.  The thyroid gland manufactures four different compounds, one of which is the active thyroid hormone.  This hormone is called T4 or thyroxin and it travels all over your body affecting every one of your trillion cells. 
Your thyroid cannot make any thyroid hormone unless you have sufficient amounts of iodine present in your body.  If your body is starved of iodine, it will be impossible for your thyroid gland to make the necessary thyroid hormones to function properly.  What can rob you of iodine?  Fluoride, chlorine and bromine.  Fluoride is in our water supply and toothpaste.  Chlorine is found in thousands of chemicals and swimming pools and bromine is found in wheat products including pasta. 
If you are continuously exposed to these chemicals, then it makes it impossible for your thyroid to work properly.  One of the primary functions of the thyroid is regulating your metabolism.  The more thyroid hormone that circulates throughout your body, the more your metabolism will increase.  Think of your body as an engine.  Your metabolism generates heat.  The higher your metabolic rate, the warmer your engine.  Too little activity leads to a cold engine. 
If you are having trouble losing weight or continuously gaining weight despite exercise and good eating habits, then the problem could lie in your thyroid.  If your thyroid cannot function properly because it does not have enough iodine (necessary fuel), then your metabolism will slow down, your body gets cooler, you feel "cold-natured", have cold hands and feet, require blankets to sleep - even during the summer and get muscle cramps at night, and easily gain weight. 
It is time to give your body what it wants and needs.  Iodine!  Many people are deficient in iodine and supplementation will work.  If your body has an overabundance of chlorine, fluoride and bromine, iodine will overcome these harsh chemicals.  It is a safe and effective way to get your thyroid back on track without any side effects. 


TYPES OF THYROID DISEASE:


Hypothyroidism - is an underactive thyroid producing less hormones than needed for normal body function.  Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, thin, brittle nails and hair, constipation and feeling cold.
Hyperthyroidism - is when the thyroid produces too many hormones.  Symptoms include weight loss, hair loss, nervous or anxious feeling, frequent bowel movements, perspiration and irregular menstrual cycles. 
If you are not sure if you have a problem with your thyroid, check with your doctor who will assess your symptoms, check for changes in the thyroid gland by palpating your neck and do a blood test to determine your body's level of circulating thyroid hormones. 
Foods that help you thyroid include coconut butter which is raw, saturated fat containing fatty acids which the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly.  It can help regulate thyroid function.  Also, KELP is a nutrient-dense sea vegetable that purifies the blood, supports the adrenal glands, pituitary and thyroid gland.  Kelp is a natural source of iodine that helps normalize the thyroid gland.

Copper and iron are important for thyroid function.  Good choices are oysters, clams, crabs, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, whole-grains, cocoa, leafy greens, beans, shellfish, chicken, and poultry.  For maximum absorption of iron, make sure you are getting enough Vitamin C found in citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers.

 

Eating for a Thyroid Friendly Life

Some doctors, may lead you to believe that regularly monitoring your thyroid hormone levels and making necessary adjustments in the drug dosages is all you need to be concerned about. However, a right combination of eating healthy foods, taking supplements, getting enough exercise and de-stressing your life are a must to achieve optimum health.

If you have an underactive or overactive thyroid, your tisk for having cardiovascular disease becomes much higher. Even though your imbalance may be corrected with treatment, you need to be aware of the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle, good nutrition and the importance of antioxidant foods on the health of your heart.

The best diet to follow for a thyroid friendly life is a low-glycemic, low-fat, high-protein diet. This will help prevent the occurrence of an autoimmune disease. Eating too much fat harms your immune system as well as all your other organs including your thyroid.

An eating plan that is high in good quality protein and complex carbohydrates, low in fat and simple sugars will help you control your cholesterol, blood pressure plus it will prevent damage to your brain from a poor blood supply and strokes.

The effect of food on your mood is truly being thyroid friendly because the functioning of your brain depends on what you eat. A low-glycemic diet that is rich in good quality proteins containing essential amino acids improves your intellect and your mood. If you feel tired or sluggish after a meal, have a rapid heart beat or start sweating, then you may be experiencing a rise and fall of blood sugar too rapidly.

What do you do?


1. Eat more foods that are low-glycemic.

2. Eat more complex carbohydrates, whole grains, vegetables as these will increase tryptophan and serotonin levels and help prevent depression.

3. There are some raw foods that contain goitrogens which are substances that can impair the manufacturing of thyroid hormone. They include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, radishes, peanuts, pine nuts, peaches, apricots, strawberries and millet. Of course, it is safe to eat these foods and cooking them will neutralize any goitrogens.

4. Eat good (essential) fats - your thyroid needs certain kinds of fats to work properly. The best are Omega 3's like alpha linolenic acid and Omega 6's which are linolenic acid. Olive oils, avocados and other vegetable oils will increase your intake of these good fats.

5. Eat deep sea fish like salmon, tuna, herring and sardines which can help prevent autoimmune attacks on the thyroid. Taking an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement is a must for anyone dealing with thyroid issues.

6. Get enough antioxidants because they will help your thyroid function properly as you age so you will not have a deficit in zinc and selenium which can produce lower thyroid hormone. Vitamin C and E are good choices too.

Thyroid imbalance itself can make you deficient in antioxidants and promote excessive production of free radicals in the body. This can lead to all sorts of degenerative diseases and when the thyroid is over-active, the consumption of oxygen is higher leading to an accumulation of free radicals that are toxic to your cells. Getting enough antioxidants from fruits and vegetables and supplementation will help prevent cellular damage in many parts of the body including the thyroid.

7. Take a B-complex to help prevent cardiovascular disease, support the adrenal glands, nerve endings, and help de-stress the body.

8. Pay attention to trace minerals. Some of them, such as copper and manganese, have antioxidant properties and will protect you from free radicals. You can easily become depleted of magnesium if you consume too much alcohol or sweat alot during exercise.

Healthy nutrition is so important for controlling weight, preventing degenerative diseases and maintaining a positive mood. It is even more crucial for people dealing with thyroid issues because the thyroid hormone is one of the major factors that allow the body to adjust its metabolism to the foods we eat, especially when it comes to weight loss. Here's to your thyroid-friendly diet!


Description

Some doctors may lead you to believe that regularly monitoring your thyroid hormone levels and making adjustments in the drug dosages is all you need to be concerned about. However, a combination of eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, getting enough exercise and de-stressing your life are a must.
 

About the Author

Sherry L. Granader, ACE, AFAA, NETA, ACSM, BBU

517-899-1451


Sherry Granader is a Nutrition Consultant, National Speaker and Spokesperson, , Author, Writer, Yoga, Pilates and Group Exercise Instructor, Personal Trainer, TV and Radio Host. Download Sherry's "Eat Right, Feel Good Lose Weight" cookbook at http://www.sgtotalhealth.com