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  • Writer's picturekrisztatiwari

Let's talk about Thyroid!🤓




Thyroid is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland located low in the front of the neck, right below the Adam’s apple. It releases a steady stream of thyroid hormones T4 (inactive form), which gets converted into T3 (active form). These hormones have a critical role in the functions of metabolism regulation, endocrine, nervous, reproductive, immune and cardiovascular systems in both children and adults. Thyroid determines how much energy you have, what your mood is, how effectively you are able to burn calories or how easily you lose weight. It dictates regular bowel movements, periods, if you have PMS or PMS breast tenderness & lumps. It directs whether you can have and maintain a healthy pregnancy and produce adequate amounts of milk. It even regulates your brain function, focus and quality of memory.


Despite the powerful role thyroid plays in the body, it is quite susceptible to damage. Malfunction of hypothalamus, autoimmunity, infectious diseases (parasitic, viral, bacterial or fungal), nutritional deficiency (Selenium is essential for T4 to T3 conversion), hereditary factors, prolonged stress (optimal cortisol levels are needed for conversion of T4 to T3), environmental toxins (blocks iodine absorption), gastrointestinal issues, etc can all cause thyroid problems.

The most common thyroid dysfunction conditions are hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, goiter, thyroiditis, thyroid cancer. 

 

Today, I wanted to talk about Hypothyroidism, which is inadequate production of thyroid hormone, leading to  decreased metabolic activity. Hypothyroidism is by far the most common thyroid disease in America, affecting at least one in ten women. This number might be even higher considering that 60% of people with hypothyroidism are unaware of their condition or their symptoms relation to this disease.

There are two types of hypothyroidism: 

  • Autoimmune, aka Hashimotos’s. Most common form of all thyroid diseases in the US. 

  • Non-autoimmune, aka hypothyroidism. Most common in other countries due to iodine deficiency.

Hashimoto’s is also more prevalent among women, accounting for 75 % of the cases. ...pfff I know right! so unfair :(

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include: weight gain, slow metabolism, excess hair loss, loss of outer 1/3 of eyebrow, yellow bumps on eyelid, chronic constipation, depression, sensitivity to cold weather, cold hands and feet, PMS, crying easily, dry, flaky skin, nervousness, chronic fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, diaphragm tightness (hard to breathe deeply enough), poor memory, short term memory loss, slow heart rate, feeling better post-exercise, insomnia, neck discomfort or enlargement, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, increased allergic reactions, lowered sex drive, longer heavier menstrual periods, decreased fertility.


Normal thyroid function is necessary for fertility, pregnancy, and to sustain a healthy pregnancy - even in the earliest days after conception. Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid disease has been found to be a cause for infertility as well as sub-fertility. Thyroid dysfunction can affect fertility in multiple ways leading to an-ovulatory cycles, luteal phase defects, high prolactin levels, sex hormone imbalances, miscarriages, and birth defects. (1)

New studies show that even slightly under-active thyroid may interfere with fertility.


Diet plays a critical role in thyroid problems, infertility as well as in many other health conditions. For example, studies show a relation between celiac disease, hypothyroidism and infertility. In one of the Hashimoto studies, patient's thyroid function normalized by switching to a gluten free diet for a year. 


Following a high quality nutrient-dense diet, and supplementing as needed is essential for a healthy mind and body. These nutrients will support both the thyroid and reproductive system. Organic foods help the body to better eliminate xenoestrogens and other toxins. A balanced diet corrects nutrient deficiencies.

 

THYROID SUPPORTING NUTRIENTS



EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids):

These are fatty acids that can not be made by our body and must be obtained through diet. The two very important essential fats are linoleic acid such as Omega-6 (peanuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, corn, sunflower oil) and alpha- linoleic acid such as Omega-3 (flax, hemp, chia seeds, walnuts). Ideally the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids should be 3:1.

Additionally, it is recommended to take cod liver oil, krill liver oil or good quality EPA/DHA supplements.

B12: (together with B6 and Folate) is involved in the methylation process, which is important in the action of removing estrogens from the body. Deficiency can cause

an-ovulation, changes to the ovum, as well as to the uterine lining that prevent implantation and elevated homocysteine levels that can lead to miscarriage. About 40% prevalence of hypothyroidism associated with this deficiency. (2)

Food sources: animal protein, including fish and shellfish, organ meats, dairy and eggs, seaweed (nori, chlorella)

B6: regulates blood sugar and female hormone balance. It has shown to be a great help with morning sickness, PMS and avoiding luteal phase defects as well as keeping prolactin levels low for those who are not lactating.

Food sources: animal proteins, organ meats, nutritional yeast, beans, starchy vegetables and fruits such as potatoes and bananas.

Folate: critical for cellular division, therefore it’s indispensable for healthy conception. Deficiency can lead to methylation defects, elevated homocysteine, spina bifida, Down’s syndrome, miscarriages and elevated levels of homocysteine that is related to hypothyroidism. (3

Food sources: liver of sustainably raised animals, spinach and other dark leafy greens, nutritional yeast, legumes, whole grains and cruciferous vegetables.

Zinc: along with other trace elements such as selenium, required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, and deficiencies in these can lead to hypothyroidism. Interestingly, thyroid hormones are essential for the absorption of zinc, and for this reason hypothyroidism can lead to zinc deficiency. In women, deficiency can cause abnormal ovarian development, menstrual cycle disruptions, frequent abortions, prolonged gestation, fetal abnormalities, stillbirths, pre-eclampsia and low birth- weight infants. 

Food sources: oysters, red meats, pumpkin seeds, split peas, sesame butter, pecans, Brazil nuts, rye, oats and lima beans. Zinc must be balanced with copper. The healthy ratio is 15:1. Foods high in copper are calf’s liver, oysters, crab meat, sunflower seeds. 

Selenium: is the anti- cancer mineral! It is an essential trace mineral and acts as a strong antioxidant. It plays an important role in the conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 to biologically active T3. Low levels of selenium causes hypothyroidism, infertility and inflammation.

Food sources: Brazil nuts (6 nuts- 544 mcg), cooked chicken liver, canned tuna, fish/seafood, pork chop, eggs, beef, mushrooms and nutritional yeast. 

Vitamin D: the sunshine vitamin! Vitamin D can be produced in our body by the action of sunlight on the skin. Among the many benefits of vitamin D are miscarriage  prevention, endometrial development and placenta health. Vitamin D is required for thyroid hormone production and for optimal immune function. It can be often low in those with autoimmune conditions.

Food sources: Salmon, herring, sardines, mushrooms, egg yolks, cod liver oil, milk products.


Whew, this was a long one, I hope you'll find it helpful! For an infographic of these foods head to my instagram an hit save or share it with your friends. (4)

Please leave your comments below.


Love & melons,

❤️🍉


Kriszta











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