Thyroid Dysregulation (Hypo/Hyper)

The thyroid, situated at the front of the neck below the voice box, is one of our most important glands. It secretes hormones which govern the rate of most vital functions of the body. Disturbances of the thyroid can have quite serious effects on your health so you should always seek advice from your doctor if you think you have a problem, but naturopathic nutrition can play an important supportive role in dealing with any imbalances in the function of the gland.

The thyroid gland can become underactive or overactive. There are also subcategories for both an under and overactive thyroid. This includes Hashimoto’s which is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid. The causes are complicated and not fully understood, but include: genetic, the environment (iodine deficiency, as seen in places like Derbyshire/ high levels of Fluoride in water), trauma to the thyroid directly, Glandular Fever (often a trigger for stimulating Hashitomos) and pregnancy. 

Underactive/ Hypothyroid

When the gland is under-active (hypothyroidism) it does not produce enough of the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which help sustain healthy body function. Here are some of the symptoms of inadequate thyroid function:

  • lethargy and poor concentration 

  • weight gain 

  • muscular aches and pains 

  • dry skin, brittle nails 

  • thinning of hair 

  • voice changes 

  • feelings of chilliness even in warm weather 

  • constipation (NHS, 2017)

Nutritional Support: Hypothyroid 

  • If your thyroid is hypo due to Hashimotos, then food allergens need to be eliminated (plus gluten and dairy). Liver detox ideally needs to take place and the gut needs to be supported (Pizzorno and Murray, 2008)

  • Avoid pesticides where possible and eat organic, as pesticides can inhibit iodine uptake and this is a vital mineral for a proper functioning thyroid

  • Important micronutrients include Iodine, selenium, tyrosine – eat foods high in these nutrients and potentially supplement where appropriate (Pizzorno and Murray, 2008). 

  • Avoid eating the Brassica family (raw) as these contain goitrogens and can have negative effects on the Thyroid (Durrant-Peatfield, 2006). 

  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other stimulants as these have a depressive effect on the thyroid 

  • Avoid excess black tea drinking (as tea contains high amount of Fluoride) and toothpaste with Fluoride in it. 

  • Ensure you have an optimum Potassium/ Sodium ratio of ideally 5 potassium to every 1 sodium (Durrant-Peatfield, 2006).

  • Ensure diet is high in antioxidants including vitamin C. 

  • Natural desiccated thyroid is something you may want to discuss with myself and consider (Durrant-Peatfield, 2006).

Aside from considering the above, other things that I would be looking at as a natural health practitioner would be any signs of candida, gut dysbiosis, malabsorption and sub-optimal liver function. 

Overactive/ Hyperthyroid

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) is less common. Excess thyroid hormone may cause symptoms such as:

  • palpitations

  • excessive sweating

  • anxiety attacks

  • and a staring appearance of the eyes. 

  • There may be swelling of the gland in the front of the throat (NHS, 2017)

The conventional approach to an overactive thyroid is to treat it one of two ways: 

 

1. By removing part of the thyroid.

2. With radioactive iodine.

There are various complications with both approaches. The most common issue is that often too much radioactive iodine is given and then the individual can be left with the opposite problem, hypothyroid (Durrant-Peatfield, 2006). Aside from this approach, there are natural options to explore too, remember complementary medicine (like nutrition) can be explored alongside conventional medicine, not necessarily in isolation. 

Nutritional Support: Hyperthyroid/ Graves Disease

  • Avoid Iodine rich foods, caffeine and other stimulants as they can further stimulate the thyroid and their hormones.

  • Incorporate dietary goitrogens into the diet (cabbage, pine nuts, turnips), preferably raw (Pizzorno and Murray, 2008). 

  • High antioxidant rich diet as excessive thyroid hormones are susceptible to free-radical damage. Antioxidants include vitamin A, C and E.

  • Other useful nutrients include CoQ10 (co-factor for making energy), Zinc (this is often depleted in individuals with hypothyroid), selenium and L-carnitine (Pizzorno and Murray, 2008). 

  • Ensure the diet has low amounts of refined carbohydrates and increase good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and optimum protein (1.5g per KG of body weight, daily)

The above tips only really scratch the surface of such a complex part of the body, one that is integral to everything we do. Although I have not mentioned it much above, when I work with thyroid clients it is also important that I support your adrenals as thyroid conditions are associated with increased cortisol over a long-period of time that can then impact on the adrenals. As always, I will support the individual in totality, not just with one organ or system within the body.

If you would like to discuss, how I could help you with optimum thyroid function – please contact me below. Everyone is welcome to a complimentary 20-minute call to discuss whether Nutritional Therapy would benefit them. 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Durrant-Peatfield, 2006 Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy

 

Pizzorno and Murray (2008) The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicines, Second Edition

© Rosie Life Established in 2016

The contents of this site are for information only and are intended to assist readers in identifying symptoms and conditions they may be experiencing. This site is not intended to be a substitute for taking proper medical advice and should not be relied upon in this way. Always consult a qualified doctor or health practitioner, especially if you are pregnant, taking the contraceptive pill or on any medication. Your situation will need to be looked at individually and you should not attempt to self treat. The author and publisher cannot accept responsibility for illness arising out of the failure to seek medical advice from a doctor.

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