The Truth About Thyroid Health
One of the most interesting and telling signs of whole-body wellness is the health of the thyroid. The thyroid may be a tiny little gland, but it’s effects on the body control ever tissue and cell we have…big job! This is definitely an area of our health that’s worth spending a little time on, so let’s dig in and get to know our thyroids a little better.
Why is Thyroid Health Important?
Thyroid Health Facts & Figures
If you suspect (or know already) that you have an issue with your thyroid, don’t fret. For one, you are not alone! There is a widespread epidemic of thyroid imbalance in our country and abroad. The most important thing is to find out just what the issue is and work to fix it. Let’s take a look at just how common thyroid issues are:
- Over 12% of the US population will develop a thyroid issue during their lifetime!
- About 20 million Americans are currently struggling with a thyroid condition.
- Up to 60% of people are unaware that their health conditions are caused by thyroid imbalance.
- Women are 5-8 times more likely to develop thyroid issues than men.
- Thyroid imbalance can lead to more serious health concerns like cancers, cardiovascular disorders, osteoporosis, infertility, and pregnancy complications.
- Hypothyroid conditions are more common over the age of 60.
- A family history of thyroid disease or a personal history of autoimmune diseases will increase the likelihood of developing a thyroid issue.
- You’ve been gaining weight despite dieting or exercise efforts.
- Your metabolism is poor, especially for carbs and sugars.
- You are low in energy and often feel fatigued, even with little activity.
- You’ve been feeling depressed or having difficulty with anxiety or panic attacks.
- You may be suffering from memory loss, vision changes, dry skin, hair loss, throat tightness, or cold sensitivity.
- You have had trouble conceiving or struggle with menstrual disorders.
Gut and Thyroid: The Missing Link
So how does the gut connect with thyroid issues like Hashimoto’s? It usually comes down to our immune systems and a case of “Leaky Gut.”
Another interesting aspect of the thyroid-gut relationship is that of “intestinal sulfates.” T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone, T3. This hormone is needed to keep our metabolism regulated, temperature normalized, and body functioning. T4 requires these intestinal sulfates to transform into the active T3 version of the hormone. The trick? Intestinal sulfates are made by healthy gut bacteria! Therefore, if we don’t have an excellent microbiome, we will be hard-pressed to maintain normal thyroid levels! The lesson: pay attention to your gut bacteria!
Gut Health Fixes to Support the Thyroid
- Boost the gut flora. I am a huge fan of probiotics! There are so many good reasons to add a quality probiotic to your diet (check out this article to get the whole scoop).
- Get friendly with fiber. Fiber is great for maintaining digestive health in general, but good quality sources of dietary fiber will also help to improve the gut bacteria and maintain natural hormone levels. Load up on fresh fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains.
- Add in fermented foods. While you are adding loads of lovely vegetables into your diet, why not sneak in some fermented foods too? They are an excellent dietary source of probiotics. Think sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, raw-milk cheese, natural yogurts, and tempeh.
- Improve your elimination. Our intestines play an important part in helping our bodies clear out excess hormones and estrogen. This can cause a decrease in the amount of free thyroid hormone available. What’s more, hypothyroidism can slow down metabolism and elimination, creating a problematic cycle.
- Reboot. Sometimes the easiest way to improve our gut health is to take on a total reboot. Diet, health, and lifestyle changes can move mountains when it comes to resetting the microbiome (and hormonal system). If you are ready to take on a fully-supported and integrative program to heal your gut, learn more here.
3 Extra Tips to Improve Your Thyroid Health
- Get Informed
The first step to taking control of your thyroid health is getting clear on your unique situation. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get holistic testing done. Many doctor’s offices test only for TSH but this is only one small peek at the bigger picture. You want to get a comprehensive look at what’s going on so you can get a real handle on your health. Look for testing services that check not only TSH, but also Free T3, Free T4, Reverse T3, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody, and Thryoglobulin Antibody. With all of these numbers considered together, we can get a much clearer picture of why the imbalance has occurred and the best way to go about fixing the situation.
- Time to Detox
Thyroid health can be greatly improved a little clean out of your home, environment, kitchen, and body itself. Toxins build up easily with our modern lives and can be big troublemakers when it comes to our hormones. To give your thyroid a little break, and to help reset some potential chemical and hormonal imbalances, it’s time for clean out.
- Start with your food and water.
If you don’t have a water purifying system, it might be a good time to invest. Water is essential to our health and without healthy, clean water, we will never reach optimum health. While you’re at it, consider how clean your diet is. Where can you make improvements? Are you able to buy some produce organic or leave the processed treats on the shelf? Fill your diet with fresh fruit and vegetables and opt for hormone-free meats.
- Your home is next.
Chemical cleaners and soaps often disrupt our health in sneaky ways. Little by little, these products build up in our systems and throw a wrench into the normal processes of the body. Ditch any harmful chemical cleaners and stock up on more natural alternatives. I love using simple lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda mixtures or Dr. Bronner’s. I know they’re safer for my family too! Your personal care products might be triggering thyroid imbalances as well. Look for natural makeup, deodorants, and lotions.
- Go Gluten-Free
There is a huge link between gut health and thyroid health, as we touched on before. This tip is very closely related to our gut-health fixes, as eliminating gluten can help repair the gut. Gluten tends to be a sticky, gluey substance that easily seeps through those broken barriers in the gut. These protein molecules end up causing that inflammation that wreaks havoc on our immune system, and therefore the body’s hormone balance. Studies have found that the immune response to gluten can last up to six months after eliminating gluten! This is why a total elimination approach works best for most people.
Getting the Hang of Thyroid Health
Thyroid health is a big topic among integrative practitioners. It is a complex problem that often requires a little extra attention. I have found that the real key to getting on top of these issues is being very clear on the whole picture (ignorance is not bliss!) and taking a holistic, gut-health-based strategy. It can seem daunting, but I am here to lead you along the way! Ready to take back charge of your hormones? Get in touch with me today to find out how we can transform your thyroid health!
Hi! I'm Angela
Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Integrative Wellness Consultant and Mood-Gut expert.
I want to hear from you:
Have you suffered from Thyroid issues? Did you try any of the tips above? Please let us know! Leave a comment below.