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The thyroid gland and your skin

Did you know the health of your thyroid has an influence over the appearance of your skin?

Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolism, helping you to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy body temperature.  Thyroid hormones enable the cells of your body to produce energy and they also help to influence your mood and cognitive function.

If your thyroid gland is under active, this usually causes your skin to become dry.  Fine lines and wrinkles appear earlier and are more noticeable.  It is well known that an under active thyroid gland will age you more rapidly.  Another common symptom is brittle nails that break easily, and dry, brittle hair that is prone to splitting.  Some women also experience dry eyes. Most women with an under active thyroid gland also notice excessive loss of hair from their scalp.  Sometimes the eyebrows become thinner or you may lose the outer third of your eyebrows.

An under active thyroid gland often causes fluid retention and puffy skin.  Therefore you may find that you have bags under your eyes, and you may experience bloating in other areas, such as your abdomen, fingers, legs and ankles.

If you experience these symptoms, I strongly recommend you visit your doctor and ask for a thyroid blood test.  Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) is extremely common and often remains undiagnosed for many years.  It causes fatigue, but many people attribute that to a busy lifestyle or poor sleep.  Therefore a thyroid problem can go undetected for a long time.

Luckily there are many natural solutions for thyroid conditions.  One explanation for the escalating incidence of thyroid problems is vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Your thyroid gland needs high amounts of iodine because thyroid hormones are actually built from iodine (as well as the amino acid tyrosine).  Iodine deficiency is extremely common because most people do not eat enough seafood or seaweed, which are the richest sources of iodine.  Your thyroid gland also needs zinc, as it helps the binding of thyroid hormone to receptor sites, thus allowing thyroid hormones to function in your body.

Selenium deficiency is extremely common because there is very little selenium in the soil of many parts of the world.  You need selenium in order to convert thyroid hormone into its active form (called T3).  Selenium is very beneficial for people who are taking thyroid hormone medication because it allows the body to utilize the medication more effectively.  Lastly, vitamin D deficiency is widespread because most people do not receive adequate exposure to sunlight, either because of their occupation or because they live in a part of the world that does not receive much sunshine for much of the year.

Thyroid Health capsules contain iodine, selenium, zinc and vitamin D.

Additional tips for healthy skin

  • Try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night.  How much and how well you sleep has an enormous effect on your complexion and how young you look. If you find it difficult to unwind and relax, taking a teaspoon of magnesium powder an hour before bed may help.
  • Drink lots of water every day; aim for 8 to 10 glasses.  Keeping well hydrated will help your skin to look plump and moist.
  • Find healthy ways to unwind.  Stress really does cause wrinkles.  Exercise, meditation, yoga, journal writing, speaking to a friend or counselor can all help.
  • Don’t smoke.  Smokers get a lot more lines around their mouth and eyes than non-smokers.
  • Eat an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit and drink raw vegetable juices.  The antioxidants in fresh produce will minimize free radical damage to your skin.  Free radicals speed up aging. The carotenoid antioxidants in astaxanthin can help to protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun.
  • Sugar and alcohol are very aging.  They are dehydrating, deplete your body of antioxidants and promote free radical damage in your body.
  • Make sure you eat plenty of good fats. A low fat diet can leave you with wrinkly, dry skin. Healthy fats are found in olive, avocado and macadamia nut oil, as well as avocados, oily fish, coconut oil, pastured butter and pastured red meat. If you find it hard to include oily fish in your diet, a fish oil supplement may help.

For more information about keeping your thyroid gland healthy, see our book Your Thyroid Problems Solved.

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