Hypothyroidism is the most common of thyroid diseases. It is also described as low or sluggish thyroid. Symptoms include fatigue, easy weight gain, depression, cold extremities, muscle and joint pain, dry and thinning hair, irregular or heavy menstruation, high cholesterol, fibrocystic breasts, infertility, poor memory, recurrent infections, constipation, headaches, and more. What are the underlying causes of hypothyroidism?
1) Nutritional deficiencies or excesses. Deficiencies of iodine, selenium, iron, and magnesium can reduce thyroid expression. On the other hand, excesses of calcium can inhibit the thyroid. This can cause your metabolism to slow down, leaving you tired with an easy ability to put on weight.
How many women take calcium supplements for their bones? How many of them really need it?
2) Food sensitivities can profoundly effect how well the thyroid functions. In some people gluten (a protein found in wheat, kamut, barley, rye, spelt and possibly oats) can be a real disrupter. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, ice cream, and butter cause issues for others. Sometimes there can be several foods that are causing problems. A condition called leaky gut which happens when the intestines are damaged can let undigested foods pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. The body then recognizes these compounds as invaders and mounts an immune response. The immune response initiates a lot of inflammation that negatively effects the thyroid and other organs and tissues in the body. A good natural thyroid support program will address gut issues.
3) Heavy metals including mercury and lead are associated with low thyroid function. These metals block the action of minerals that are needed for healthy bodily function. Mercury is also toxic for the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and kidneys. Mercure exposure can come from dental amalgum fillings containing mercury that break down over time. Certain fish including tuna, mackerel, marin, orange roughy, shark, and swordfish contain dangerous amounts of mercury. See the website for the "Natural Resources Defense Council" for more detailed information. Flu vaccines also carry toxic amounts of mercury. Lead can come from lead paint in older houses, contaminated well water, and other environmental sources.
4) Environmental toxins can also interfere with thyroid health. These include flouride found in public drinking water, toothpaste, and dental treatments. Another thyroid disrupter is bromine which is sometimes found in bread (as bromated flour). It's also in some soft drinks. Perchlorate is a chemical that interferes with the uptake of iodine. It is found in rocket fuel, fireworks, defense industries, bleach, and fertilizers. It is now causing water and land damage in several areas of the world including Texas. PFOA is a chemical compound found in non-stick cookware, carpeting, and stain resistant clothing.
5) Certain prescribed medications can negatively effect thyroid health. These include central nervous system-acting drugs like adderall, calcium channel blockers like amlodipine, steroids like prednisone, and retinoids like retinol. Long term use would cause the most problems.
6) Chronic stress can contribute to adrenal fatigue and thyroid exhaustion. It's very important to use stress busting techniques as part of a healthy
lifestyle program. Any type of regular exercise is a great idea. Yoga can be very helpfull with its' emphasis on breathing and mindfullness. Laughter and time with friends can buffer stress. Spiritual practices including prayer and meditation can work toward a healthier state of mind and body
7) Poor diet can contribue to thyroid dysfunction. Eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, organic beans and peas, and whole grains will help you get the nutrients you need. If you choose to eat animal foods choose the highest quality like wild caught fish, organic chicken and eggs. Highly processed foods with all their additives, coloring agents, preservatives and other chemicals will not be doing your body any favors. Recent research indicates that food colorings contribute to thyroid disease.
How do you know if you are suffering from Hypothyroidism? Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, conventional testing is very inadequate and inaccurate. Conventional practitioners are well meaning, good hearted people but they lack an understanding of the nutritional and environmental causes of thyroid problems. The DNA testing that I offer through my office will look at all these possible disrupters: nutritional deficiencies or excesses, food sensitivities, heavy metals, environmental toxins, hormone imbalances, and more. Maybe you are already taking a synthetic thyroid hormone and are wondering if you can do something naturally to strengthen your thyroid. Every case is different, but please do not hesitate to call my office and I will give you my honest opinion. It's always better to find the imbalances underlying thyroid problems and address them rather then taking a synthetic drug. Naturally, I cannot and would not suggest that you stop taking any medication. Did you know that a person can be hypothyroid and have adequate production of the thyroid hormones? Something in the body is blocking the thyroid hormones from getting to the cells. Once again, I want to point out that their are many factors involved in thyroid disease. If you are interested in learning more about the testing that covers all these factors please call my office. I also am available for phone appointments.