THYROID HEALTH – HOW DOES IT GO WRONG?

Last week we talked about optimal levels of the various thyroid hormones; but how does it go wrong, and what are the consequences?


The Thyroid – who, what, where?

  • A small gland at the front of the neck
  • Produces and releases Thyroid hormones including T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine)
  • Responsible for metabolism and energy production

Hypothyroidism – low hormone levels

  • Signs/symptoms of a “slow metabolism”
    • Constantly feeling tired
    • Forgetfulness, ‘brain fog’
    • Easy to gain weight, trouble losing it
    • Frequent, heavy periods
    • Hair becomes dry, coarse, potential hair thinning
    • Doesn’t tolerate cold weather

Hyperthyroidism – high hormone levels

  • Signs/symptoms of a “fast metabolism”
    • Fast heart beat
    • Irritability, nervousness, anxiety
    • Muscle weakness, tremors
    • Irregular periods
    • Struggle to gain/maintain weight
    • Doesn’t tolerate hot weather

How do these conditions occur?

There is a strong correlation between thyroid conditions and pre-existing conditions, particularly those of an autoimmune nature1  (including Diabetes, Lupus (SLE), Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, primary adrenal insufficiency).


Causes of Hypothyroidism

  • Thyroid inflammation (Thyroiditis)+
  • Iodine deficiency*
  • Hashimoto’s disease; an autoimmune condition which attacks the thyroid
  • Birth defects affecting the thyroid growth/development

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

  • Grave’s disease (a generally overactive thyroid gland)
  • Thyroid nodules (small areas of over active thyroid cells)
  • Thyroid inflammation (Thyroiditis)+
  • Too much Iodine*

+ special note on Thyroiditis +

Thyroiditis can cause both high and low thyroid hormone levels. Acute inflammation initially causes a ‘leak’ of hormones into the body’s circulation, causing symptoms of Hyperthyroidism. Over time the body attempts to compensate and decrease the levels of thyroid hormones in circulation, and the body downregulates thyroid hormone production/release. If the thyroiditis/inflammation persists this downregulation can progress to a chronically underactive thyroid and symptoms of Hypothyroidism.


How can I help myself?

Ensure you have a good balance of the essential nutrients required for thyroid function

  • Iodine –  iodised table salt, Seaweed, Cod, yoghurt, cottage cheese
    • * The WHO recommends2,3:
      • <7 yo = 90 micrograms/day
      • 7-12 yo = 120 micrograms/day
      • 12+ yo (inc adults) = 150micrograms/day
      • Pregnant/lactating women = 250 micrograms/day
  • Selenium – Brazil nuts, tuna, oysters, salmon, ham, fortified whole grain foods
  • Vitamin A – cod liver oil, eggs, fortified foods, orange/yellow veggies, dark green leafy veggies
  • Vitamin E – vegetable oils, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, green leafy veggies
  • Vitamin D – sunlight, salmon, sardines, mackerel, liver, egg yolks, fortified foods
  • Omega-3 – fish oil, cod liver oil, salmon, sea weed, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts

Research also suggests that increased levels of inflammation and oxidative stress are also intimately involved in thyroid dysfunction5,6. Addressing drivers of inflammation processes (including gut dysbiosis, psychological stress, or environmental toxin exposure) may help to limit the risks of developing a thyroid condition.


Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “But My Bloods Are Normal.”
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Detox Your Home”
You may also like our July Healthy Living Blog posts featuring the topic “Gut Health”


Not feeling your optimal self? Please raise your health concerns with your health practitioner at your next appointment.

References:

[1] Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Thyroid Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Testing & Treatment. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8541-thyroid-disease
[2] Thyroidfoundation.org.au. 2021. The Australian Thyroid Foundation – Iodine Deficiency. [online] Available at: https://thyroidfoundation.org.au/Iodine-Deficiency
[3] Lee, S., Ananthakrishnan, S, and Pearce, E., 2021. Iodine Deficiency Guidelines: Guidelines Summary, Iodine Deficiency Prevention During Pregnancy. [online] Emedicine.medscape.com. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/122714-guidelines
[4] Brady, B., 2021. Thyroid Gland: Overview. [online] EndocrineWeb. Available at: https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid-nodules/thyroid-gland-controls-bodys-metabolism-how-it-works-symptoms-hyperthyroid
[5] Metagenicsinstitute.com.au. 2021. Your Learning Hub | Metagenics Institute. [online] Available at: https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com.au/protocols/hypothyroidism
[6] Metagenicsinstitute.com.au. 2021. Your Learning Hub | Metagenics Institute. [online] Available at: https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com.au/protocols/hyperthyroidism

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