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Hypothyroid Challenges – A New Understanding
The thyroid gland is the master gland of metabolism. The thyroid makes hormones that help the body turn food and stored fat into energy. Research indicates that as many as 98 million of us will develop thyroid issues at some point in our lives. Stress, genetics, aging, poor diet, smoking, certain medications and poor sleep interfere with the thyroid. Many times after a woman gives birth, her thyroid becomes underactive (hypothyroid), which is what happened to me after giving birth to my second daughter. As you know from my prior posts, there is always an emotional connection to physical illness. The emotional connection to hypothyroidism is doing too much for everyone else and not enough for ourselves and not speaking our truth.
Hypothyroidism is one of the most undiagnosed conditions that exist today. Doctors have a large normal range so more times than not, they will tell us that our thyroid is normal when it is not. This is why nutritionists go by symptoms. How do we know if our thyroid is low? We experience the following symptoms:
- Weight gain (usually all over but noticeably in the back, arms and face)
- Fatigue – waking up tired each day after an 8 hour sleep
- Feeling low, depressed, anxious or irritable with no apparent cause
- Loss of hair, including eyebrows and dry hair
- Dry skin, particularly on feet and hands
- Low sex drive
- Low body temperature, always feeling cold in normal temperature rooms (usually hands and feet)
- Constipation despite adequate water and fibre
- Menstrual difficulties or infertility
- Neck swelling – the neck will enlarge itself to try to make more thyroid hormone, which can cause hoarseness or pain
- Joint pain or chronic tendonitis
- Muscle cramps and pains
- High cholesterol
- Poor circulation
There are various treatment methods for hypothyroidism depending on blood levels of various thyroid measures. The main food that contributes to thyroid challenges is gluten – another reason to watch gluten content! Sugar and caffeine are other culprits. Here is a list of the vitamins and minerals that assist the thyroid, according to Dr. Zoltan Rona and other naturopaths:
- L-tyrosine – The body uses this amino acid to manufacture more thyroid hormone. It assists with fatigue and mild depression.
- Zinc or copper – Both of these are needed to control thyroid hormone production.
- Selenium – Helps convert T4 (inactive) to T3 (active) thyroid hormone and helps prevent the formation of abnormal antibodies that can attack the thyroid and lead to disease.
- Vitamin D – A deficiency has been linked to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
- Iodine – It is part of the active thyroid hormone. Iodine drops and seaweed can be used.
Many doctors prescribe synthetic thyroid but they can prescribe desiccated thyroid, which is natural and obtained at the pharmacy as well. There is a great debate between endocrinologists and natural health practitioners as to which is more effective. My medical doctor, who is naturally minded, prescribed natural thyroid and I have been in good shape ever since.
When our thyroid is healthy, our whole lives improve. Please look into the health of your thyroid!
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