How familiar are you with your thyroid gland? If you are not and you are a woman, I want to tell you that you should start to at least be aware of this gland because it is basically our powerhouse.
For those of us who don’t spend all our time studying anatomy, the Thyroid is a little butterfly shape gland located in the front of our necks. This gland is responsible for secreting hormones that are responsible for everything from weight management, metabolism, how we use and save energy, to our quality of sleep.
When the ratio of hormones secreted from this gland becomes unbalanced, we start to notice some pretty major symptoms.
Here are a few common symptoms associated with a rouge Thyroid:
- Fatigue- especially if it comes in intense waves at certain times of day
- Weight management- both difficulty losing or gaining
- Sensitivity to cold
- Lack of energy, especially when it comes to exercise or staying motivated
- Dry rough skin
- Difficulty with sleep
If you experience chronic fatigue and incredible difficulty managing your weight, you may want to have your thyroid tested. However, I have to tell you that the quality of testing is only as good as the person interpreting the results. Standard medical doctors are often not trained extensively enough to read in between the lines of your blood panel. They are simply looking to see if your levels are within a ‘standard range.’ If they are not within the range, the only solution they have is to prescribe synthetic hormones and medication with no further nutritional or medical advice. Now, I am not a hater on medication, believe me. But, I am a firm believer in getting to the bottom of issues so that there is a real solution vs a bandaid. Often times these hormone medications only work for so long before your body assimilates to the drug and recognizes it is not the real thing.
I also want to say if you have had a blood panel drawn and were given the ‘all clear’ but you still feel awful, don’t give up. This happened to me and when I went to see an integrative doctor they were stunned at the advice I was given by traditional medical doctors. Although my hormones were still in the ‘range’ they were on the very tail end of the low range and rapidly approaching hypothyroid levels. By getting to it before I reached ‘crisis’ level, we were able to treat it with a natural protocol.
So what are some things you can do to bring back balance to your Thyroid gland, without upping your medication?
1) It is important to recognize some key nutrients that are responsible for Thyroid function. There are many, but I am going to cover the most important one here.
Iodine is a vital nutrient for your thyroid as well as your metabolism, without ample amounts of iodine your metabolism, mood, energy, and even immunity can go haywire.
Ways to increase iodine in your diet-
Seafood and Sea vegetables like:
Kelp or Seaweed
Salmon, Shrimp, Oysters
You can also find it in:
Mushrooms, summer squash, and sesame seeds
2) Vitamin D levels can play an important role in your overall health and functioning. Most of us are pretty deficient in this vitamin and do not get enough of it from the sun (esp if you live in a cold climate)
Make sure you are taking a good vitamin D supplement. I recommend between 2,000-5,000 I/Us if you suspect your deficient.
3) All women, in my opinion need to be taking an Omega 3 fatty acid and Multi-Vitamin supplement. Although we can get some of our fatty acids from food, there are some that you can not derive from food. So the supplement helps to ensure you are getting optimal levels of fatty acids and enzymes. This is even more true for women who want to get pregnant or are pregnant (DHEA comes from Omega 3 which is vital for brain development and neural tube growth)
4) Stress Management & Lifestyle
If you describe yourself as a person who battles with high stress levels, this is wrecking havoc on your hormonal system. The high levels of cortisol (stress) pulsating through your body causes your thyroid to work overtime. This high level of vigilance from your thyroid can lead to hypothyroidism. It is important to build in restorative activities and down time regularly. Additionally, letting yourself get too hungry or having unstable blood sugar is a stress to the body. So try to eat small meals more often to keep your body from feeling the stress or panic of starving. When you do eat, focus on veggies, healthy fats, and good protein. Too much processed food is hard for your body to digest and doesn’t provide vital nutrients to bring back your thyroid.
If you suspect you may have Thyroid issues, this may be a sign that it is time for a lifestyle change. However, I know that can feel VERY overwhelming to embark on, especially when it has felt like nothing is working or going to work. But I have to tell you, you can change your hormonal environment. It is very possible.
After seeing these changes first hand, I now work 1:1 with women through a 5 step protocol to begin to restore hormonal functioning again. However, I also encourage you to work with your medical team to find a course of treatment you are most comfortable with. I believe a comprehensive approach to treatment allows for the most effective levels of healing.
I would love to talk through your concerns, if you would like. Email me and we can set up a free 20 minute chat to help bring some answers into light