Thyroid Health

Are you having difficulty losing weight?  Feeling tired all the time?  Then you may need to take a look at the health of your thyroid and ways in which you can help it function at its best.

Thyroid dysfunction, and particularly underactive thyroids which will be the focus here, is a common and often overlooked health complaint.

Situated at the base of the neck underneath the voice box, the thyroid produces hormones which can be thought of as the spark plugs of the body.  Thyroid hormones stimulate the mitochondria which are present in every cell to produce energy for the body to use.  The thyroid is required for so many body processes such as a healthy metabolic rate, temperature regulation, fat metabolism, energy production, efficient digestion, and cardiovascular health.

 Signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include:  A goiter – swelling of the thyroid gland in the base of the neck; loss of the outer ¾ of the eyebrows; persistent tiredness and lethargy; weight gain; constipation; skin which is cool to touch; sensitivity to the cold; dry skin and hair; hair loss; depression.

 Nutrients required for a healthy thyroid:

Iodine, Selenium and Zinc are minerals which are essential for the production of thyroid hormones and the conversion of the thryroid hormone T4 to its useable form which is known as T3.

Tyrosine increases the production of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and dopamine which help to increase feelings of drive and motivation.  Tyrosine also increases the conversion of T4 to T3.

Stress support is vital for treating an underactive thyroid, as excessive stress can weaken the thyroid gland.  B Vitamins offer stress support, enabling the body to cope more easily with stress, and support energy levels.  Ashwaganda is a herb which acts as an adaptogen.  Adaptogenic herbs increase our ability to cope with stress.

Dietary and lifestyle tips for a healthy thyroid:

Avoid the brassica family – these include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. 

Avoid soy products such as tofu and soy milk as they block thyroid function. 

Eat plenty of shellfish for their iodine, selenium and zinc content.  

Coconut oil is great for the health of the thyroid, and assists the conversion of T4 to T3

Avoid tap water as it is treated with chlorine and flouride which can suppress thyroid function.

Make time for relaxation, and minimise stress levels as much as possible. 

The thyroid is a symbol of expression and creativity.  Underactive thyroids can manifest in those who have difficulty in expressing themselves

Test for heavy metal toxicity.

If you suspect that you may be suffering from an underactive thyroid, please see your doctor.  The advice here is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.

Visit our Nutritionist at the Health Zone Clinic for an in-depth consultation and personalised advice on looking after your thyroid.