Your thyroid plays an important part in your body’s function. It produces hormones which play a vital role in your metabolism which in simple terms is the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy. Two common thyroid problems are when it produces too little (hypothyroid) or too much (hyperthyroid) of these hormones.
Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
Thyroid hormones govern the whole range of biochemical processes that occur in your body every minute that help to keep you alive. Hypothyroid is a common, yet often overlooked, cause of chronic health problems.
Symptoms of hypothyroid can include:
- feeling tired all the time
- dry skin,
- dry brittle hair
- difficulty losing weight
- intolerance to the cold
- poor memory
- abnormal menstrual cycle.
Sluggish thyroid hormone function is also common and a different issue than medical thyroid problem. such as hypothyroidism. Symptoms will be similar. This too can be helped by thyroid detox, a change of lifestyle and eating habits.
Symptoms of hyperthyroid include:
- weight loss
- hair loss
- heat intolerance
- increased bowel movements
- feeling nervous
- trembling hands
The low thyroid epidemic
60 years ago thyroid problems were rare but today it has almost become and epidemic. One in four people have their thyroid function checked and 25% of people show signs of low thyroid on blood tests.
The environment & your thyroid
The thyroid gland is very sensitive to environmental toxins. Chlorine and flouride in your water, flouride in your toothpaste, bromide in your bread, environmental pollutants, heavy metals, pesticides, fire retardants in your home, preservatives in food, air fresheners, toxins in cleaning products and prescriptions drugs, especially lithium, can all have an effect on how your thyroid functions. In fact they can upset all your hormones. So you can see how important it is to detox your thyroid.
Researchers from the University of Exeter in England looked at the blood of over 4000 people. They found that the people with the highest amounts of the toxic chemicals perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroocatnoic sulfonate (PFOS) were twice as likely to have thyroid problems than those with the lowest amounts. These chemicals are found in Teflon, the non stick coating used for many cooking pans which wear off with use and get into your body.
A study in 2008 of 69,000 people in Ohio and West Virginia found that elevated levels of these same chemicals in the bloodstream harmed the immune system and liver as well as the thyroid.
Chemicals such as PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), a class of organobromine compounds, used as fire retardants have been found to lower thyroid function. PBDEs are found in a many common household items, including:
- Fire retardant textiles
- Polyurethane foam furnishings
- Plastic products
- Motor vehicles
Studies suggest that PBDEs may be found in the blood of up to 97 percent of U.S. residents, and at levels 20 times higher than that of people in Europe. PentaBDE and octaBDE have both been banned for use in the European Union and eight U.S. states, including California, but they are still present in products made before 2004.
New science is showing that free radical problems stress thyroid hormone function, especially when there are deficiencies of selenium and manganese containing antioxidant enzymes. If these nutritional deficiencies are not corrected a person is much more likely to struggle with body weight, insulin function, and poor metabolism.
Candida and low thyroid function
People with food allergies are more likely to have thyroid problems. And toxins produced by a Candida overgrowth can interfere with thyroid function. It seems that Candida receptor sites can bind thyroxine, one of the thyroid hormones, making it unavailable. This may help to explain the common finding of a normal blood level of thyroxine in a person who has all the clinical symptoms and signs of hypothyroid.
Get T3 checked
In many cases low thyroid may not be diagnosed because doctors often only check the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and not the levels of the hormones T4 and T3 themselves. T4 is the hormone produced by the thyroid gland but most of it is converted in the body to T3 which is more active and has more of an effect on the cells that T4.
If the thyroid is not producing enough hormones then TSH production usually increases to stimulate the thyroid to produce more T4. If the TSH is found to be high on a blood test it means that your thyroid is struggling to produce thyroid hormone but if your TSH is normal it is assumed that your thyroid is working normally. However, some doctors have found that this is not always the case.
There are cases where the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that produces TSH, does not function properly either. Its quite common for people with Candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue, ME and fibromyalgia, environmental illness and other conditions to have normal TSH but low T3.
Another often unrecognized problem with thyroid hormone is that you may have normal levels of T4 and T3 in your blood but it may not be having any effect on the calls for a variety of reasons. This hormone resistance can be caused by heavy metal or other chemical toxicity.
If you suspect that you have low thyroid function and your TSH is normal you might want to find a doctor who is willing to check your free T4 and free T3 levels.
In the UK some doctors have been struck off the Medical Register or threated with it after treating people with T3. Although their levels were low they were not outside the very wide reference range. There is a lot ofcontroversy over the laboratory reference ranges that are deemed to be “normal”.
It has been shown that many people with symptoms of hypothyroid feel better when their T4 & T3 levels lie at the upper end of the reference range instead of the lower end.
Nourish your thyroid
Certain nutrients are needed by the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone. Iodine, zinc, selenium,
copper, manganese and the amino acid tyrosine are all needed for the production of T4 and its conversion to T3. Too much iodine can cause hyperthyroid.
Low thyroid function is known to be a contributor to impaired liver detoxification so it is important to be treated for low thyroid while you detox your thyroid. Some functional medicine doctors prefer to give a special combination of T3 and T4.
How to detox your thyroid
- Remove all chemicals from your home and diet.
- Drink plenty of filtered or good bottle water
- Consider avoiding gluten – There is a very strong link between autoimmune hypothyroid and gluten intolerance.
- Do a bowel cleanse
- Follow a liver detox plan regularly.
- Do a heavy metal detox.
- Include sea vegetables daily- most popular are kelp, nori, hijiki, wakame and kombu. They contain a wide variety of minerals and vitamins that support thyroid function.
- Get your mineral levels checked with a hair mineral analysis from a reliable lab and take the appropriate minerals.
- Eat more radish, watercress, other leafy greens, squash, carrots, broccoli.
- Avoid eating excessive amounts of cruciferous vegetables including raw cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower if you have an enlarged thyroid as they contain substances that may interfere with iodine metabolism in the thyroid. There is some debate over this.
- Improve circulation with exercise
It is a common belief of doctors that once you have to have thyroid medication you must take it forever but that is not always the case. If you can discover the underlying cause then your thyroid function can be improved. It is under your control. Detox your thyroid and feel the difference.