Are you overweight and have tried everything to lose weight but nothing seems to work? Do you feel sluggish most of the time especially in the morning? Are your hands and feet always cold even in summer? Do you have dry skin and hair? Are you constipated? Are you depressed most of the time?
If some or most of the above description sounds familiar to you, there is a high possibility you might be suffering from an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism (underactive or low thyroid function) is the most common thyroid disorder, affecting 25% of North American women and 10% of men. It is shocking to know that 1 in 3 Canadians have a thyroid disorder, of those 50% are undiagnosed. The problem is that early symptoms of hypothyroidism can be very mild and vague and usually develop slowly over years-making them easily mistaken for other issues or overlooked.
Most women who are approaching menopause will experience symptoms of low thyroid. Because many symptoms are similar to menopausal symptoms, it will often go unnoticed. Doctors also recommend that pregnant women or women thinking of becoming pregnant to be tested for low thyroid due to infertility and miscarriage issues.
What’s the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is the butterfly gland located in the front of your neck. The hormones produced by your thyroid gland regulate the metabolic activity in every cell of the body from heart beat to body temperature to how fast you burn calories.
What are the symptoms of an underactive thyroid?
When you have an underactive thyroid or hypothyroid, all your bodily functions slow down and you feel tired sluggish and gain weight. When your temperature is low, many of the body’s energy producing enzymes can’t do their job and all your body organs from brain to bowels don’t work very well.
Borderline hypothyroidism, also called compensated hypothyroidism is a very common undiagnosed condition that I see every day. It is important to note that conventional blood tests to screen for underactive thyroid are not reliable for ruling out the problem. If you have symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism or have a family history of thyroid disease, you should consider checking with a natural health care practitioner or nutritionist for discussing support of your thyroid gland naturally and preventing progress to clinical disease.
A home test for underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism
Here is a simple test I use in my nutrition practice that you can try. This is called The Basal Body Temperature test. The thyroid regulates metabolism and low body temperature can indicate hypothyroidism. Here is what you do:
- Place a digital thermometer, paper and pen beside your bed
- When you wake up in the morning (before doing anything), put the thermometer under your armpit and hold your elbow close to your side.
- Record the temperature and date
- Repeat this for 7 mornings
- Take the average reading. Readings below 97.6 F or 36.4 may indicate an unde ractive thyroid gland.
What is the relation between hypothyroidism and nutrition?
Hypothyroidism can be caused by poor nutrition and lack of essential nutrients required for thyroid function especially iodine. Low iodine can be contributing to hypothyroidism.
High stress levels, toxins and an overloaded liver are also factors that compromise your thyroid gland health. Autoimmune antibodies against the thyroid are also a cause of hypothyroidism in Hashimoto’s disease.
You might be surprised to know that autoimmune diseases have their root cause in the digestive tract. A poor digestion, constipation and decades of processed and junk food can leave you with an inflamed gut which allows undigested food particles and toxins to leak into the blood stream initiating an immune response. This is referred to as Leaky gut syndrome.
What is worth mentioning is that in my nutrition practice, I always find that symptoms of under active thyroid improve a lot after they’ve implemented a personalized detox/cleanse protocol which cleanses the colon, supports the liver and reduces toxin load in the body.
It’s amazing how a detox/cleanse helps your thyroid gland and how people start losing weight effortlessly once their hormones are normalized.
As a holistic nutritionist in Oakville, here are my top 5 tips for you to prevent an under active thyroid
- Eat iodine rich foods such as wild salt water fish, shellfish and sea vegetables as kelp, nori and dulse.
- Drink pure filtered or spring water-Most tap water contains fluorine and chlorine which interfere with iodine absorption
- Avoid Soy-Soy isoflavones have been shown in animal studies to suppress thyroid function
- Avoid smoking or exposure to second hand smoke as smoking can worsen hypothyroidis
- Get out and have some sunlight-Sunlight stimulates the pineal gland which in turn positively affects the thyroid gland and all other endocrine glands.
If you need help with your health and nutrition, CALL Healthy U Turn at 416 876 4634 to book an appointment OR Sign up for a Clarity Session with holistic nutritionist, Dr Maha Nasr to discuss your health concerns and learn more about how we can help.
- Alternative Cures, Bill Gottleb
- The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Sherry Torkos