Last week Tracie did an awesome guest post on the warning signs of low thyroid. Many of you had an “ah ha” moment realizing you might suffer from this. Today Tracie gets more in depth into ways you can heal the thyroid naturally and what some of the causes are. Her tips she gives not only are great for the thyroid, but are also the same recommendations I give people looking to lose weight.
As I mentioned in the last post, thyroid conditions are becoming a serious issue in America today…the next question is why?
Why do so many people have hypothyroid and what can be done?
There are many things that can contribute to the inability for the thyroid to properly function. Listed below are some reasons along with helpful tips:
- It runs in the family. According to Dr. Mark Starr in his book called Hypothyroidism Type 2, poor immune function and premature deaths are signs of hypothyroidism. As modern medicine has advanced significantly over the last 100 years, fewer immune compromised individuals are dying from infectious diseases at an early age. This is allowing individuals to pass on their weak genes to their offspring. Survival of the fittest for many years has kept the hypothyroid gene pool under control but in today’s society, this is just not the case. Does it run in your family?
- PUFA intake has increased. Along with the increase of thyroid problems, there also has been an increase in the consumption of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) in the diet. The intake of vegetable oils, such as soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, sunflower and safflower has skyrocketed 400% over the last 30 years. This huge jump has created a lot of health issues for our nation. PUFAS affect the thyroid by interfering with the uptake of the thyroid hormone in cells. PUFAS can also interfere with the conversion of T4 in the liver to T3. Tip – Minimize or eliminate PUFA oils from your diet!
- Low blood sugar. Your body needs glucose to convert T4 to T3, your active thyroid hormone. If you are chronically low in blood sugar, is very stressful on the body and makes it more challenging for the conversion to take place. Tip – Eat a small snack or meal every 2-3 hours. Make sure that you include a protein and/or fat with a carbohydrate. Example – 2 oz of cheese (contains fat and protein) and a piece of fruit (carb).
- Not enough protein in the diet. Your thyroid hormone is made from the combination of iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. If your diet is deficient in protein, an adequate amount of tyrosine will not be available for synthesis of your thyroid hormone. Tip – Focus on consuming enough (this number is different for everyone) high quality protein and adding gelatin to your diet. Click here to find out more about gelatin.
- Consumption of certain foods. Goitrogenic foods reduce the body’s ability to use iodine sufficiently to convert T4 to T3. (Langer and Scheer 31) Following is a list of foods that contain goitrogens: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnips, soybeans, peanuts, pine nuts, walnuts and millet. Cooking or fermenting these foods usually will deactivate goitrogens. (Murray 126) Tip – Limit and/or cook these foods when hypothyroidism is an issue.
- High stress hormones. The adrenal and thyroid glands work hand-in-hand. Chronic stress can increase cortisol levels and inflammation in the body while decreasing testosterone and TSH, which consequently lowers active T3. (Hyman 181) Tip – Use stress reduction techniques and keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Too much fluoride and other toxins. Fluoride has been added to toothpaste and drinking water in order to prevent cavities. Unfortunately, many studies have shown a correlation between increased levels of fluoride and hypothyroidism. Fluoride negatively impacts the conversion of T4 to T3. (Shomon 32) Other heavy metals, such as mercury, lead and arsenic can also lead to problems. Tips – 1) Avoid fluorinated toothpaste and water. 2) Do not get amalgam (silver) fillings put in your mouth.
There you have it. As you can see, there are many contributing factors to this epidemic. I hope that the tips I provided will help you to implement some diet and life style habits that will support your thyroid. In the final post on thyroid, I will discuss what blood tests to request and treatment options.
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Tracie Hittman Nutrition, LLC
- Barnes, Broda and Lawrence Galton. Hypo-thyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness. NY: Harpers & Row Publishers, 1976.
- Blanchard, Ken and Marietta Brill. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism. NY: Warner Wellness, 2004.
- Hyman, Mark. Ultra-Metabolism. NY: Scribner, 2006.
- Langer, Stephen and James Scheer. Solved: The Riddle of Illness. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
- Murray, Michael. Total Body Tune-Up. New York: Bantam Books, 2000.
- Peat, Ray. “TSH, Temperature, Pulse Rate, and Other Indicators in Hypothyroidism.” Ray Peat.com 2007. 9 Sept. 2009. <http://raypeat.com/articles/articles /hypothyroidism.shtm>.
Shomon, Mary. Living Well with Hypothyroidism. NY: HarperCollins, 2000.
Starr, Mark. Hypothyroidism Type 2. Columbia, MO: Mark Starr Trust, 2009.