Eat natural iodine from seaweeds, seafoods and selenium to fire-up your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormones regulate every function of the body. Your thyroid controls how you use energy. It also makes proteins. And it monitors sensitivity to other hormones. You can see how thyroid cancer could shut the body down.
Hypothyroidism or Thyroid Disease occurs when you produce insufficient amounts of critical thyroid hormones T3 and T4. In other words, Hypothyroidism is an under-active thyroid. The gland doesn't make enough thyroid hormone.
As a result, your body cannot maintain normal metabolism, and your ability to convert tyrosine to dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine is impaired. This can cause a ripple effect of symptoms, including cognitive dysfunction.
A common give-away that you may be hypothyroid is feeling cold most of the time, fatigue, depression, and/or constipation. This is because your body cannot generate enough ATP molecules to keep the core temperature of your body high enough.
And did you know that depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, irritable bowel syndrome, or autoimmune disease could actually indicate a problem with your thyroid?
The classic signs of a sluggish thyroid gland include weight gain, lethargy, poor quality hair and nails, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and constipation -- and these symptoms are relatively well known.
- If you don’t have enough dopamine or have too few dopamine receptors due to inadequate thyroid hormone regulation, you end up with extreme fatigue and lack of energy.
2) Hair loss.
3) Weight gain:
- Thyroid hormone controls gene transcription for lipolytic enzymes, which lower cholesterol and break down triglycerides and fatty tissues. If you have enough of these enzymes, they will reduce fat tissues in your body even if you do not diet and exercise
4) Dry skin, hair, bulging eyes and other mucous membranes.
5) Excess muscle tension and trigger points:
- For muscles to completely relax, filaments must lengthen and separate, which requires energy (ATP molecules). Low thyroid hormone reduces ATP
6) Irregular heart beat, hands shaking.
7) Delayed deep tendon reflexes (slow relaxation phase of the Achilles reflex):
- Thyroid hormone controls gene transcription for calcium ATPase. When you hit the Achilles tendon and your foot goes down rapidly and then raises back slowly, it’s a sign of hypothyroidism or thyroid hormone resistance. This is due to lack of ATP molecules to provide the energy for the contractual filaments to separate and relax, hence you get a visibly slow relaxation phase of the Achilles reflex.
Understanding How Your Thyroid Works
The thyroid gland is in the front of your neck and is part of your endocrine, or hormonal, system. It produces the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. Thyroid hormones interact with all your other hormones including insulin, cortisol, and sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
The fact that these hormones are all tied together and in constant communication explains why an unhappy thyroid is associated with so many widespread symptoms and diseases.
This small gland produces two major thyroid hormones: T4 and T3. About 90 percent of the hormone produced by the gland is in the form of T4, the inactive form. Your liver converts this T4 into T3, the active form, with the help of an enzyme.
Your thyroid also produces T2, yet another hormone, which currently is the least understood component of thyroid function and the subject of much ongoing study.
Thyroid hormones work in a feedback loop with your brain -- particularly your pituitary and hypothalamus -- in regulating the release of thyroid hormone. Your pituitary makes TRH (thyroid releasing hormone), and your hypothalamus makes TSH. If everything is working properly, you will make what you need and you’ll have the proper amounts of T3 and T4.
Those two hormones -- T3 and T4 -- are what control the metabolism of every cell in your body. But their delicate balance can be disrupted by nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, infections and stress.
If your T3 is inadequate, either by insufficient production or not converting properly from T4, your whole system suffers.
You see, T3 is critically important because it tells the nucleus of your cells to send messages to your DNA to crank up your metabolism by burning fat. That is why T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair, and helps keep you lean.
How to Know if You are Hypothyroid?
Sometimes people with hypothyroidism have significant fatigue or sluggishness, especially in the morning. You may have hoarseness for no apparent reason. Often hypothyroid people are slow to warm up, even in a sauna, and don’t sweat with mild exercise. Low mood and depression are common.
Sluggish bowels and constipation are major clues, especially if you already get adequate water and fiber.
Sometimes an indication of low thyroid is the upper outer third of your eyebrows thin or missing. Chronic recurrent infections are also seen because thyroid function is important for your immune system.
Another telltale sign of hypothyroidism is a low basal body temperature (BBT), less than 97.6 degrees F averaged over a minimum of 3 days. It is best to obtain a BBT thermometer to assess this.
Higher risk for hypothyroidism
• High or low thyroid function
• Prematurely gray hair
• Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sarcoidosis, Sjogren’s, etc.)
• Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
• Elevated cholesterol levels
How to Check Your Thyroid
The following panel of laboratory tests if you want to get the best picture of what your thyroid is doing:
• TSH -- the high-sensitivity version. This is the BEST test. But beware most all of the “normal” ranges are simply dead wrong. The ideal level for TSH is between 1 and 1.5 mIU/L (milli-international units per liter)
• Free T4 and Free T3. The normal level of free T4 is between 0.9 and 1.8 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter). T3 should be between 240 and 450 pg/dl (picograms per deciliter).
• Thyroid antibodies, including thyroid peroxidase antibodies and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. This measure helps determine if your body is attacking your thyroid, overreacting to its own tissues (ie, autoimmune reactions). Physicians nearly always leave this test out.
• For more difficult cases TRH can be measured (thyroid releasing hormone) using the TRH stimulation test. TRH helps identify hypothyroidism that’s caused by inadequacy of the pituitary gland.
How to Make Sure Your Thyroid is Working
Your lifestyle choices dictate, to a great degree, how well your thyroid will function.
Eliminate junk food, processed food, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and anything with chemical ingredients. Eat whole, unprocessed foods, and choose as many organics as possible.
• Gluten and Other Food Sensitivities:
Gluten and food sensitivities are among the most common causes of thyroid dysfunction because they cause inflammation.
Gluten causes autoimmune responses in many people and can be responsible for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a common autoimmune thyroid condition. Approximately 30 percent of the people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have an autoimmune reaction to gluten, and it usually goes unrecognized.
How this works is, gluten can cause your gastrointestinal system to malfunction, so foods you eat aren’t completely digested (aka Leaky Gut Syndrome). These food particles can then be absorbed into your bloodstream where your body misidentifies them as antigens -- substances that shouldn’t be there -- our body then produces antibodies against them.
These antigens are similar to molecules in your thyroid gland. So your body accidentally attacks your thyroid. This is known as an autoimmune reaction or one in which your body actually attacks itself.
Testing can be done for gluten and other food sensitivities, which involves measuring your IgG and IgA antibodies.
Another food that is bad for your thyroid is soy. Soy is NOT the health food the agricultural and food companies would have you believe.
Soy is high in isoflavones (or goitrogens), which are damaging to your thyroid gland. Thousands of studies now link soy foods to malnutrition, digestive stress, immune system weakness, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility and a host of other problems -- in addition to damaging your thyroid.
Properly fermented organic soy products such as natto, miso, and tempeh are fine -- it’s the unfermented soy products that you should stay away from.
• Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is one of the best foods you can eat for your thyroid. Coconut oil is a saturated fat comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are known to increase metabolism and promote weight loss.
Coconut oil is very stable (shelf life of 3 to 5 years at room temperature), so your body is much less burdened with oxidative stress than it is from many other vegetable oils. And coconut oil does not interfere with T4 to T3 conversion the way other oils can.
Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormone. In fact, the names of the different forms of thyroid hormone reflect the number of iodine molecules attached -- T4 has four attached iodine molecules, and T3 has three -- showing what an important part iodine plays in thyroid biochemistry.
If you aren’t getting enough iodine in your diet, no matter how healthy your thyroid gland is, it won’t have the raw materials to make enough thyroid hormone.
Chlorine, fluorine and bromine are also culprits in thyroid function, and since they are halides like iodine, they compete for your iodine receptors.
If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, you will not hold on to the iodine you need. Bromine is present in many places in your everyday world -- plastics, pesticides, hot tub treatments, fire retardants, some flours and bakery goods, and even some soft drinks.
Also make sure the water you drink is filtered. Fluoride is particularly damaging to your thyroid gland. Not all water filters remove fluoride, so make sure the one you have does.
• Stress and Adrenal Function:
Stress is one of the worst thyroid offenders. Your thyroid function is intimately tied to your adrenal function, which is intimately affected by how you handle stress.
Many of us are under chronic stress, which results in increased adrenalin and cortisol levels, and elevated cortisol has a negative impact on thyroid function. Thyroid hormone levels drop during stress, while you actually need more thyroid hormones during stressful times.
When stress becomes chronic, the flood of stress chemicals (adrenalin and cortisol) produced by your adrenal glands interferes with thyroid hormones and can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unstable blood sugar, and more.
A prolonged stress response can lead to adrenal exhaustion (also known as adrenal fatigue), which is often found alongside thyroid disease.
Environmental toxins place additional stress on your body. Pollutants such as petrochemicals, organochlorines, pesticides and chemical food additives negatively affect thyroid function.
One of the best destressors is exercise, which is why it is so beneficial for your thyroid.
Exercise directly stimulates your thyroid gland to secrete more thyroid hormone. Exercise also increases the sensitivity of all your tissues to thyroid hormone. It is even thought that many of the health benefits of exercise stem directly from improved thyroid function.
Even something as simple as a 30-minute walk is a great form of exercise, and all you need is a good pair of walking shoes. Don’t forget to add strength training to your exercise routine, because increasing your muscle mass helps raise your metabolic rate.
• Also make sure you are getting enough sleep:
Inadequate sleep contributes to stress and prevents your body from regenerating fully.
Treatment Options for a Sluggish Thyroid
Here are some suggestions that can be used for general support of your thyroid, as well as treating an underperforming one:
• Eat plenty of sea vegetables such as seaweed , which are rich in minerals and iodine (hijiki, wakame, arame, dulse, nori, and kombu). This is probably the most ideal form of iodine supplementation as it is also loaded with many other beneficial nutrients.
• Eat Brazil nuts, which are rich in selenium.
• Get plenty of sunlight to optimize your vitamin D levels; if you live where sunlight is limited, use vitamin D3 supplementation.
• Eat foods rich in vitamin A, such as dandelion greens, carrots, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and sweet potatoes.
• Make sure you are eating enough omega-3 fatty acids.
• Use pure, organic coconut oil in your cooking -- it’s great for stir fries and sautéing many different meats and vegetables.
• Filter your drinking water and your bathing water.
• Filter your air, since it is one of the ways you take in environmental pollutants.
• Use an infrared sauna to help your body combat infections and detoxify from petrochemicals, metals, PCBs, pesticides and mercury.
• Taking chlorella is another excellent detoxification aid. Many women suffering with hormonal imbalances report significant benefits from the South American herb maca.
• Take active steps to minimize your stress ... relaxation, meditation, hot soaks, whatever works for you.
• Exercise, exercise, exercise!
Thyroid Hormone Replacement
If you know your thyroid function is poor, despite making the supportive lifestyle changes already discussed, then it might be time to look at thyroid supplementation.
Taking thyroid hormone should be done only after you have ruled out other conditions that could be causing the thyroid dysfunction such as adrenal fatigue, gluten or other food allergies, hormonal imbalance, etc. It is always best to get your thyroid working again by treating the underlying cause, as opposed to taking an external source of thyroid hormone.
But sometimes supplementation is necessary.
Conventional pharmaceutical treatment usually consists of replacing only T4 in the form of Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothyroid, Unithroid, and levothyroxine, leaving your body to convert this to T3.
However, research has shown that a combination of T4 and T3 is often more effective than T4 alone. The conversion to T3 can be hampered by nutritional deficiencies such as low selenium, inadequate omega-3 fatty acids, low zinc, chemicals from the environment, or by stress.
Oftentimes, taking T4 alone will result in only partial improvement.
Taking T3 alone is usually too stimulating. The drug Cytomel is a very short-acting form of T3 that can cause palpitations, anxiety, irritability and insomnia. You are not recommended to use this drug.
By far, the better approach is combined T4 and T3 therapy.
Natural thyroid products, like Armour Thyroid are a combination of T4, T3 and T2 made from desiccated, or dried, porcine thyroid. Armour Thyroid has gotten a bad rap over the years, perceived by physicians to be unstable and unreliable in terms of dosage. However, many improvements have been made in the product, making it a safe and effective option for treating hypothyroidism today.
In fact, a study done ten years ago clearly demonstrated that patients with hypothyroidsim showed greater improvements in mood and brain function if they received treatment with Armour Thyroid than if they received Synthroid.
The optimal dose for Armour Thyroid ranges from 15 to 180 milligrams, depending on the individual. You will need a prescription.
Once on thyroid replacement, you will not necessarily need to take it for the rest of your life, which is a common misconception. Once all the factors that have led to your thyroid dysfunction have been corrected, you may be able to reduce or discontinue the thyroid hormone replacement.
Once on thyroid hormone replacement, it is recommended you monitor your progress by paying attention to how you feel, in addition to regular lab studies.
You can also routinely check your basal body temperature. If you are on the correct dose, your BBT should be about 98.6 degrees F.
If you begin to feel symptoms such as anxiety, palpitations, diarrhea, high blood pressure, or a resting pulse of more than 80 beats per minute, your dose is likely too high as these are symptoms of hyperthyroidism, and you should let your physician know immediately.
Natural Iodine from Seafood is the Answer
The best solution is to add foods that is rich in natural iodine to your diet because iodine is an essential mineral. It’s responsible for the production of every hormone in your body, not just the thyroid.
Iodine has anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. Without it, you are at risk for cancer of not just thyroid, but the breast, prostate, ovaries, and uterus.
The richest natural source of iodine is kelp. It's a form of seaweed. Kelp can help your thyroid gland to produce more thyrotropin (TSH) and free thyroxine.
• TSH is a thyroid-stimulating hormone.
• Thyroxine is the main hormone produced by the thyroid.
Your best natural sources of iodine are:
• Seaweed- Kelp
• Dairy Products
The All-Natural Way to Protect the Thyroid
But there's been some concern that kelp can actually cause thyroid disease.
So should you be supplementing with kelp?
Listen to what these medical practitioners have to say:
• Dr. Burge's objective was "To study the effects of ingestion of two different doses of supplemental kelp on the thyroid function of healthy euthyroid subjects."
Participants were divided into three groups. The high-dose group took four capsules of kelp daily for four weeks. The low-dose group took two. The control group took a placebo.
During and after, thyrotropin (TSH) and free thyroxine were measured.
The results: TSH increased in both kelp groups but not in the placebo group. "Short-term dietary supplementation with kelp significantly increases both basal and post-stimulation TSH," reported the study.
So kelp can help produce more thyroid hormones. That means more protection against harmful radiation. And less chance you'll get thyroid cancer.
• Dr. Hildegarde Staninger recommends kelp to protect the thyroid. She's a world renowned toxicologist. Her specialty is radiation poisoning. She's received two Presidential Awards. And she was awarded the 7th US Army and Greater Stuttgart Community Award for her work during Operation Desert Storm. Currently, she runs a detoxification and integrative medicine clinic in Los Angeles.
• Dr. Ray Sahelian is a popular medical writer. He's appeared on NBC, CBS, and CNN. He agrees that "kelp is a healthy sea vegetable to include in one's diet." But he cautions, "as with any other food, moderation is suggested."
Kelp Supplementation Can Be Complicated
Although iodine is a cure for thyroid disease, but too much can cause it. So you need to be careful to get the right amount. And everyone is different.
Kelp supplements are available in liquid, capsule, and powder form. You can get the capsules at any health food store. Dr. Sahelian says: "If you do plan to take a kelp supplement, take only one or two tablets a day, and take two days off a week and a week off each month."
If you prefer supplement, make sure it is food-based, not synthetic because synthetic is artificial, not genuine and it has been devoided of it's natural ingredients.
You can click here
and look for Thyroid Support formula by Dr.Sears himself at the left navigation panel. It has all the important nutrient to support your thyroid gland and it's certainly better than the conventional iodine.
What do I eat to treat my thyroid?
For me, I add foods rich in selenium and magnesium because it can also cure thyroid effectively. In my case, I was having a hypothyroid disorder, means under-active thyroid gland.
The best way you can get selenium are:
• Fish is loaded with selenium. You can get all the selenium you need from a can of tuna or a serving of swordfish. If you are concerned about mercury in big fish like tuna or swordfish, you can go with cod. Three ounces of cod has 32 mcg of selenium.
• Organ meats like chicken livers or turkey and chicken giblets have a lot of selenium, too. For instance, one chicken liver will give you 140 micrograms of selenium. Muscle meat has less selenium. Three ounces of cooked beef have 35 mcg.
• One medium egg has 14 mcg of selenium.
• If liver and eggs aren’t your speed, you can eat some nuts. An ounce of walnuts has 5 micrograms. Almonds have a little less. A cup of almonds gives you 2.5 mcg.
• My favorite choice is Brazil Nuts. It offers a full day’s worth of selenium in just one bite. Brazil nuts grow in the Brazilian jungle where the soil is rich in the anti-cancer mineral. Just one single Brazil nut eaten right out of the shell will provide you with 100 mcg of selenium. That’s more than what you’ll find in most selenium supplements!
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