There are an increasing number of Australians affected by under or overactive thyroids and nutrition plays a big part here. Thyroid health conditions are hugely varied, but regardless of the diagnosis, its important to consider nutrition as part of the puzzle. Here are some facts to convince you why nutrition plays such an important role in thyroid health:
- Thyroid hormones such as T4 and T3 are made by the body from the amino acid tyrosine and attached to a backbone of iodine. These are both nutrients that we get from the diet or supplements. Note that tyrosine may be deficient in a vegetarian or vegan diet and iodine is generally considered to be lacking in Australian soil. If we don’t have the raw materials, how can we have normal, functioning levels?
- The presence of thyroid antibodies indicates inflammation and an over stimulated immune system – the presence of elevated antibodies suggests the issue is autoimmune in nature. From a nutritional medicine perspective, this means considering the cause of the inflammation which may be related to food intolerances / an unhappy gut / a poor functioning immune system or high stress. Again, diet and nutritional medicine can assist with this and strategies I employ are backed by research studies
- Other co-factors for a healthy thyroid include nutrients like selenium, zinc, iron and B6. Without enough of these nutrients, again the chemical reactions needed for thyroid hormone production can not take place efficiently.
Symptoms of poor thyroid health are vast due to the thyroid’s wide ranging effects. Common ones include – stubborn weight (difficult to lose), hair loss, depression, exhaustion, intolerance to cold, cellular edema (fluid retention), iron deficiency, puffy eyes, puffy tongue, recurrent illness, low libido and infertility (the thyroid affects the release of prolactin), dry skin, enlarged pituitary gland (due to the pituitary releasing extra TSH to stimulate the thyroid gland), fibrocystic breasts (definitive indicator of iodine deficiency), sluggish bowels. A goiter on the thyroid (enlarged thyroid) indicates the need for iodine. Any lumps on the thyroid can progress to goiter stage. Raised cholesterol levels including LDL are common with sub optimal thyroid health.
If you are wanting to book in with me for assistance with a thyroid condition, then please bring your latest pathology results.
If you suspect you have a thyroid condition then we can organize blood tests when you come in, but let’s have a chat first :).