6 Important Things To Know If You Have A Thyroid Problem
Every week we see a large number of patients with a thyroid problem at our clinics. An under active thyroid, an over active thyroid and thyroid nodules are the conditions we see most frequently, although thyroid cancer is definitely on the rise. The vast majority of the patients we see have already been diagnosed with a thyroid problem by their own doctor and they are already taking medication for it. So why have they come to our clinic?
Because they still feel dreadful. They are still suffering with the symptoms of their thyroid condition. Their doctor has typically ordered several blood tests which all turned out normal. Yet why do they still feel so unwell?
My vital tips for those with a thyroid problem
- It is important to realise that you probably have an immune system problem. In the vast majority of cases, an under active or over active thyroid is caused by an autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of an under active thyroid and Graves’ disease is the most common cause of an over active thyroid. The immune system produces antibodies that can either slow down or speed up the thyroid gland. Having these antibodies in your bloodstream can make you feel quite unwell and cause symptoms like fatigue, inability to lose weight, fluid retention and depression. In order to overcome these symptoms you need to address your immune system problem. I have described our treatment plan for autoimmune disease in our book Your thyroid Problems Solved. Certainly it is necessary for most patients to eliminate gluten and dairy products from their diet, and heal their leaky gut. Glutamine is extremely beneficial for repairing a leaky gut and improving the integrity of the gut lining.
- You probably have nutrient deficiencies. Iodine, selenium, vitamin D and zinc are all critical for optimal thyroid gland health. A deficiency of any of these nutrients can increase the risk of any thyroid condition, including goiter (enlarged thyroid) and thyroid cancer. The majority of the patients we see at our clinics are actually deficient in all of these nutrients. For convenience, I have combined all of them together in Thyroid Health capsules. Most of our thyroid patients notice a dramatic improvement in how they feel when they take these capsules. If you have an over active thyroid gland or you are uncertain about whether iodine is appropriate for you, you can ask your doctor for a urinary iodine test. Many of our patients have suffered with long term iodine deficiency and this can increase the risk of thyroid nodules or goiter.
- Some foods should be avoided or minimized by people with a thyroid problem. Goitrogens in foods can inhibit your thyroid gland from being able to absorb iodine. This is a problem because most people are already iodine deficient. Therefore a high goitrogen diet will worsen this. Problematic foods include raw cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and broccoli. Cooking inactivates most goitrogens. Soy can also inhibit iodine absorption and potentially worsen a thyroid problem.
- Protect your thyroid gland from toxins. The thyroid gland is exquisitely sensitive to environmental chemicals, pollutants and radiation. Pesticides and heavy metals including mercury and cadmium can disrupt the function of the thyroid gland. Ensuring you have adequate iodine and selenium in your diet will help to protect your thyroid to some degree, but it is also important to try and minimise your exposure to toxins.
- The health of your liver has a huge bearing on your thyroid hormone levels. The thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone known as T4, but this hormone must be converted into its active form called T3. Much of this conversion occurs in the liver. People with a sluggish liver or a diagnosed liver condition such as fatty liver or hepatitis often do not make this conversion adequately. Therefore it is important to have a blood test for free T3 and look after your liver with a healthy diet and a good liver tonic.
- Your thyroid can affect your menstrual cycle and fertility. Having an over active thyroid or an under active thyroid can cause irregular menstruation or problematic, heavy bleeding. Thyroid problems can inhibit ovulation, and in that way impair a woman's fertility. The lack of ovulation can also create a progesterone deficiency. Low progesterone can cause a range of symptoms, including anxiety or depression in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Sometimes addressing the thyroid problem isn't enough to fix the menstrual problems. Using a natural progesterone cream can help to re-establish a healthy menstrual cycle in most women.
I have met many patients who have suffered years of poor health and frustration due to an inadequately managed thyroid problem. I have found the above strategies to be very effective.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.