Hypothyroidism – is the problem really your thyroid?
January is a busy month for me. Not only is it a great month to abstain from alcohol after the holiday party season and shed those pounds on my 4-week program, it is also Thyroid Awareness Month.
Many of my clients have a thyroid condition - some undiagnosed that we discover with blood tests and some diagnosed by their doctors - and they want to lose stubborn weight, control symptoms naturally and reduce reliance on medications.
As we know, hormones affect nearly every process in your body - metabolism (they way you break down food and get energy from nutrients), growth and development, emotions and mood, fertility and sexual function, sleep and blood pressure. For our bodies to function at an optimal level, our hormones need to be balanced.
The endocrine system continuously monitors the amount of hormones in the blood and self-regulates through the process of homeostasis. However, many things can disrupt this finely tuned system causing hormonal imbalance, such as illness, stress, medications, pesticides and even our food and water.
Thyroid conditions are 8 times more prevalent in women
One of the most common disorders that affects the endocrine system is a thyroid condition. Up to 12% of the population in the US and the UK are expected to suffer from this - many undiagnosed - and most significantly, it is 8 times more prevalent in middle aged women.
The most common type is Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), where the thyroid gland, responsible for metabolism, does not produce enough thyroid hormone. 90% of all Hypothyroid conditions are Hashimoto’s. This is an autoimmune disease, whereby the body’s natural defense system (the immune system) mistakenly ‘attacks’ healthy tissue…in this case the thyroid gland. It is imperative to identify what is triggering the immune response in order to treat the thyroid accordingly.
The remaining 10% of issues causing low thyroid hormone are mostly as a result of a fatty liver, gallbladder problem, a virus or pathogen, high estrogen or an iodine deficiency (although iodine is added to salt in developed countries, so it is rare to be deficient).
Approximately 7% of the US and UK population have an autoimmune disease…. and 80% of those are women! There is no conclusive reason for this, but theories suggest a strong link with estrogen.
This is why it is absolutely critical to investigate your thyroid condition thoroughly by examining your bloodwork, as your thyroid may be affected by an underlying cause that is leading to decreased levels of hormone being produced and released.
The right way to test for a thyroid problem
The most accurate tests for thyroid function are Free T4 and Free T3 - these are not standard NHS tests in the UK, so you may have to request them privately and in the US you would likely have to specify these.
The standard test measures TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) but this is not sufficient for an accurate diagnosis as this is a pituitary gland hormone, and why so many cases go undiagnosed and symptoms gradually get worse.
Causes of thyroid issues
A comprehensive blood work analysis will include these and a huge range of other key markers to help diagnose causes and treatments. The most common causes that weaken the thyroid are:
- High level of estrogen
- High level of cortisol
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor diet
- Gluten and GMO foods
- Radiation (from X rays)
How to manage thyroid symptoms through nutrition and lifestyle
As we know, 80% of your immune system is located in the gut and the state of your gut determines how you feel physically and mentally. Symptoms can be effectively managed by adapting your nutrition and lifestyle habits and implementing the following:
- Reduce inflammation by eliminating gluten, refined sugars and other key triggers
- Reduce stress on your digestive system so that nutrients can be absorbed effectively
- Follow a diet rich in nutrients, Omega 3 fats, vitamins and minerals, tailored to your specific needs
- Choose foods that are organic and pesticide free
- Drink filtered water to combat thyroid disrupting fluoride and chlorine
- Reduce stress by improving sleep, spending quality time with friends and family, meditating
- Exercise regularly
This program is for you if...
You are struggling with midsection weight, bloating, menopause symptoms, thyroid conditions, heart palpitations, anxiety, high blood pressure/cholesterol, or pre-diabetes
So...is the problem actually just your thyroid?
Autoimmune disease symptoms
- Gut problems - constipation
- Skin problems - dry skin
- Feeling cold
- Poor memory
- Weight gain
- Aching muscles and joints
- Swollen thyroid gland
- Thinning hair
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Puffy face and eyes
- Gut problems - bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea
- Skin problems - rashes, itching
- Feeling hot or cold
- Poor concentration
- Weight gain or loss
- Aching muscles and joints
- Swollen glands
If these symptoms or conditions resonate with you and you would like to find out more information about blood work analysis and recommendations for a nutrition plan tailored to your specific requirements, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free intro session. I will be delighted to help you feel and look better naturally.