I hear the same stories over and over again. This doesn’t make it any less saddening (for me) or any less frustrating (for you) but you should know that you aren’t alone.

That tiny little thyroid gland can cause oh so much trouble. You’re tired all the time. Constipated. Maybe you can’t ever remember feeling so blue. Your periods all over the place. It’s so darn cold all the time and what’s with my hair coming out in clumps? Meanwhile, the weight just keeps creeping on… and on… and on…. Not quickly, but still… no matter what you do, which gym you join, what diet you try…. next season, those jeans just don’t fit anymore.

So, this is a worst case scenario and one would hope you’d have found some help before all of these symptoms presented at once. But chances are,  if you’ve been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland you will relate to one or all of these presentations.

Like so many conditions, the important role of nutrition in both prevention and treatment, is overlooked. That’s ironic, considering some of the following key points:

  • The building blocks for your thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are iodine and tyrosine. Iodine is a mineral we get from some foods (via the soil and food fortification) and tyrosine is an amino acid found in proteins, mainly animal proteins. And when I say these are the building blocks, I mean that quite literally. T3 has 3 iodine molecules and T4 has 4 iodine molecules. So what you eat…. Directly impacts your thyroid hormones. Actually what you eat MAKES your thyroid hormones (again, ironic that we ignore the role of nutrition here….?)
  • Adequate zinc (also found in many protein rich foods) is needed because the enzyme converting T4 to T3 is a zinc dependent enzyme. Note that this HAS to happen. T4 on its own doesn’t do a whole lot in the body…. T3 is the ‘active’ thyroid hormone responsible for action. So if the conversion can’t happen… well the party aren’t starting!
  • Likewise selenium (also a mineral, found in nuts and seeds especially) is required for the conversion of T4 to T3 and finally
  • Other ‘co-factors’ like vitamin C and magnesium are necessary for the whole party to happen. And yes, we get these nutrients from food. Simple, whole foods.

I hope that this basic biochemistry lesson demonstrates how important it is to think about your nutrition in any hypothyroid journey. Even on medication, ensuring you have the right nutrients is important, especially if you still have some of the above symptoms. Having optimal levels of key nutrients may help the medication work much more effectively. Finally, if detected early enough, getting the raw ingredients right for the thyroid may mean avoiding a full blown hypothyroid diagnosis if left to struggle unsupported. And that’s definitely a win!

Think about your thyroid like a little engine. The right vitamins, minerals and amino acids are the premium engine oil. What would you throw in a BMW? Only the best so do the same for your own engine!

(Disclaimer: please do not self-prescribe supplements for thyroid health, in particular iodine. Always speak to your GP and consult a qualified Nutritionist for advice before supplementing).

When we throw in the whole ‘antibody’ angle, food becomes even more important. Some people with hypothyroidism will have antibodies i.e. autoimmune hypothyroidism like Hashimoto’s. Other’s won’t. In the case of autoimmune hypothyroidism the thyroid isn’t working properly because the immune system is going a little bit crazy and turning on its own self, in this case, its own thyroid gland. Research around food and antibody production in autoimmune conditions is extensive. Misinformation is even more extensive! If you believed everything you read about what ‘not’ to eat with autoimmune hypothyroidism… you’d be eating nothing! In allll seriousness!

The truth is, everyone’s going to be slightly different as far as what’s causing inflammation and what foods may be contributing to confusing the immune system. And food will only be a part of it, but definitely getting the diet right will make a significant difference. It can significantly reduce antibodies and make any autoimmune condition, particularly a thyroid autoimmune condition all that more manageable. It can definitely mean the difference between consistent weight gain and consistent weight loss. The beauty of Metabolic Balance® shines here, drilling down to the level of an individual to determine their perfect diet. This is where that story ‘I’ve tried everything and nothing works’ ends with relief.

“Metabolic Balance was by far the best thing I ever did for myself and my body. I had struggled for a year to try and drop weight and nothing worked, I also had a thyroid condition which left me feeling constantly run-down and sick. There was nothing more disheartening than doing everything ‘right’ and seeing no results and feeling like my body was working against me.

Within the first month of MB I noticed changes, I had started to lose weight, but more importantly I began to feel good about myself again. Doing the MB program has taught me so much, I no longer deprive my body of food to lose weight, or view exercise as something I ‘have’ to do. I now have a healthy relationship with food where I view it as something that fuels and nourishes my body. And I have learnt to appreciate exercise and working out, I am so lucky that I am able to work out! My only regret is that I didn’t contact Katie sooner and start my Metabolic Balance journey earlier!”

Katherine (thanks for sharing your story)

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