World Thyroid Day – May 25th
Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine and convert it into thyroid hormones which control various functions in your body.
These hormones include:
- Triiodothyronine (T3) – active form, critically important because it tells the nucleus of your cells to send messages to your DNA to increase your metabolism by burning fat
- Thyroxine (T4) – inactive form, converted in the liver to form T3
- Diiodothyronine(T2) – least understood, ongoing research
When the levels of T3 and T4 are low, the pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which stimulates thyroid gland to produce T4 and then T3. There are factors which can cause an imbalance in TSH, T4 and T4, such as nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, and even stress leading to thyroid cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism.
Hyper vs. Hypo
Hypothyroid (underactive) too little thyroid stimulating hormone
- unexplained weight gain
- dry skin and hair
- hair loss
- muscle aches
- heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- cold intolerance
Hyperthyroid (overactive) too much thyroid stimulating hormone
- heart palpitations (rapid heartbeat)
- weight loss
- heat intolerance
- muscle weakness
- trouble sleeping
- light or skipped periods
Things That Harm Your Thyroid
- Gluten – gluten causes autoimmune responses in many people and can be responsible for Hashimoto’s Thyroididtis. Gluten can damage the digestive tract by creating leaky gut (where the intestinal barrier is compromised , inflamed, and porous which allows food particles, toxins and microbes to “leak” through the intestine and into the bloodstream). This gut damage can contribute to poor digestion and absorption of critical thyroid nutrients.
- Bromines – are common endocrine disruptors as it competes for the same open slots that are meant for iodine. Bromine toxicity can manifest as skin rashes, severe acne, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fatigue, metallic taste in mouth, cardiac arrhythmias. Bromine can be found in pesticides, plastics, bakery goods and some flours, soft drinks (mountain dew, Gatorade, sun drop, squirt, fresca), some medication, and fire retardants like polybromo diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which is found in fabrics, carpets, and mattresses
- Stress and Adrenal function – thyroid is tied to your adrenal function which affects how you handle stress. The majority of us are in constant chronic stress which increases adrenaline and cortisol levels. The increase in cortisol has a negative impact on thyroid function and can result in drop of thyroid hormones
- Heavy metals – most significant impact on thyroid function are cadmium, lead, mercury, and aluminum.
- Cadmium – found to precipitate multinodular goiter, reduce secretion of thyroglobulin, and cause hyperplasia in thyroid leading to cancer. Cadmium can be found in environment through mining, smelting, in phosphate fertilizers, sewage sludge, cosmetics, batteries, pigments and plastics.
- Lead – associated with depressed thyroid function and elevated thyroid stimulating hormone. Found in paint in older homes, inexpensive metal jewelry, cosmetics, and children’s toys
- Mercury – accumulates in thyroid and reduces uptake of iodine thus inhibiting thyroid hormone production. Found in dental amalgams, seafood, cosmetics, vaccines, and pollution from coal-burning power
- Aluminum – oxidative damage to thyroid gland which affects iodide uptake and thyroid hormone production. Found in deodorant, food additives, vaccines, and aluminum-based cookware.
Things Needed for Production of Thyroid Hormone
- Protein – most Americans eat too many carbohydrates and not enough protein which is essential to form the backbone of not only your thyroid hormone but other hormones as well.
- Iron – required for synthesis of thyroid hormone. When iron levels are depleted, the activity of heme-dependent thyroid peroxidase is reduced. Low iron is associated with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and symptoms of fatigue, hair loss, and difficulty breathing
- Iodine – Required for T4 production. Low thyroid hormone production can be caused by iodine deficiency. Although iodine def in our country is rare due to table salt, it can still occur. A minimum of 150 micrograms per day is required in the diet. Be careful because too much iodine(over 600mircograms) can cause inhibition of thyroid gland synthesis and lead to hyperthyroid state.
- Vitamin B-12 – very important for thyroid production. Helps improve cellular response to thyroid hormone and boosts energy production in cells to help fatigue and other symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. B12 deficiency can mimic low thyroid.
- Selenium – Responsible for conversion of T4 to T3. Supports efficient thyroid synthesis and metabolism and has been found in studies to reduce thyroid antibody levels in patients with Hashimoto’s
- Zinc – required for body for thyroid hormone synthesis. It is beneficial in improving thyroid function and hormone levels
- Vitamin A – works in conjugation with Vitamin D to help T3 communicate with DNA to regulate metabolism
- Vitamin D – Required by T3 for to communicate with your DNA to regulate metabolism.
- Vit C, B2, and B3 – helping deliver iodine into T4
- Magnesium – helps your body make TSH
- Tyrosine – an amino acid, works in a joint effort with iodine to produce thyroid hormones T4 and T3.
- High quality water filter to remove toxins as much as possible
- Eat organic foods to help avoid excess pesticide and herbicide exposure
- To detox from bromines – increase vit C intake, opt for unrefined sea salt, take Epsom salt baths, use infrared-sauna, and detox supplements
- (make an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Specialist for treatment)
- Exercise – important to stimulate thyroid gland secretion and increase tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormone.
Screening for thyroid – ask your doctor to perform TSH, Free T4, Free T3, thyroid antibody testing, rt3, iodine loading test, Spectracell (vitamin and mineral deficiency test), genetic food testing for gluten sensitivity, food allergy testing