So many people, both men and women (and sometimes even children!), never feel their best, always feeling tired lethargic which could very well be down to having a poor performing thyroid gland. 
Why is the Thyroid Gland important? 
 
The thyroid gland has a very important job and is located in your neck. Its job is of setting the speed of your metabolism and your bodies temperature, so no small task! If your temperature is low and your metabolism runs slowly, then your thyroid may be under-functioning. The thyroid also affects many other areas in the body, including other hormones, the digestion, and the nervous system. 
There are a number of reasons why your thyroid may be not working its best: 
 
Stress in any form 
 
Number one and one that affects most people in this day and age, with highly stressful jobs or just the amount of things that we have to juggle with now a days. Stress, in any form, can decrease thyroid function due to an increase in the levels of our main stress hormone, cortisol. Normally, once the stress is over, cortisol levels return to a healthy amount; but when stress continues, the stress response becomes out of balance, affecting thyroid function as well as other hormones, digestion, immune function and the nervous system. 
 
Deficiences in Nutrition 
 
My next main culprit is deficiencies in nutrition. The thyroid uses nutrients to make the thyroid hormone T4 and then further nutrients are then required to convert this into the active thyroid hormone, T3. If you are deficient in any, or all, of these nutrients, your thyroid may not be able to create enough active hormone (T3). 
The main nutrients that are required for this process are: iron,selenium, zinc, tyrosine and iodine. Yet the over consumption of iodinecan also slow the thyroid gland, so it’s important to have help from a practitioner to determine the best dose for you. 
 
Methylfolate is also important for the production of active thyroid hormone, as are probiotics
 
Immune System 
 
Thirdly, Autoimmunity is important. If your immune system starts making antibodies that act against your thyroid gland diseases such as – Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition can occur that is triggered by gluten and leaky gut which in itself can slow down your thyroid function. 
 
Other causes can be due to medications, genetic diseases, surgery and issues with the pituitary gland (in the brain). 
So what are the signs to look out for you feel this could be you? 
 
Consider whether you experience any of the following: 
 
Low energy at any point during the day 
Difficulty losing weight (even with exercise) 
Feeling cold (even at normal room temperature) 
Hair loss (head and eyebrows) and/or coarse hair 
Nail changes (ridges, weakness) 
Dry skin 
Low mood 
Poor memory 
Headaches 
Fluid retention 
Joint pain 
Menstrual issues 
Constipation 
A practitioner can also tell you if you have decreased reflexes, in particular at the Achilles tendon, and/or other signs that may indicate low thyroid function, such as an enlarged thyroid gland which my feel like a large lump in the back of your throat. 
 
So what can I do to look after my Thyroid Gland? 
 
A simple blood test by your local GP to check your TSH (thyroid stimulation hormone) can detect hypothyroidism. 
 
According to endocrinology journals, the optimum range for TSH should be between 0.5 and 2.5. TSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the thyroid gland. When the number is higher (above 2.5), it means it is taking more TSH to stimulate a low functioning thyroid. It is important to know that the TSH is not the only way to identify low thyroid function, however – sometimes TSH can be in the “normal” range, and still thyroid function is suboptimal. 
A further simple blood test by your local GP to check your, T4 and T3 availability can also be tested in the blood, which will give you a sense of the available thyroid hormone in your body. 
 
There are other tests that can also be ordered if you find you need to know more about your thyroid, such as reverse T3 (inactive thyroid hormone) and thyroid antibodies (to determine whether autoimmunity exists). The important nutrients – iron (measured as Ferritin), selenium, zinc, iodine, and tyrosine – should be checked as well. 
 
You can also check you body temperature as a normal body temperature is 98.6oF. If your temperature is consistently lower than this, then you may have low thyroid function. 
So to sum up the above, there can be several possible causes of low thyroid function, so it is important to work with a practitioner who can help you figure out what is happening in your body. 
 
Ask you local GP for the blood tests and then based on the results work with your local Nutritional Therapist in supporting your thyroid. 
There is not one answer for everyone, as with the nutritional therapy there is no one nutritional programme that fits all, but with nutritional support we can all really love and look after our thyroids. 
 
Contact me if you think I can help 
Tagged as: Hypothyroidism, Thyroid
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