By: Sapna Fliedner MSN, HHC
As you may have noticed, even though this is a pediatric practice, I post a lot of adult as well as child topics. I consult with a lot of parents as well as children on health issues and I find that many of our clients suffer from thyroid disease. I see this happen after many moms give birth. In fact, many mother’s have infertility problems due to unchecked hypothyroid issues.
A small but mighty endocrine gland located in your neck, the thyroid is responsible for regulating your metabolism and thyroid hormone synthesis in the body. When it’s revving too high, you experience hyperthyroidism; too low, the result is hypothyroidism, which we will focus on in this article.
Studies show close to 15 million Americans suffer from an unrecognized thyroid problem, with the vast majority of those suffering from hypothyroid issues. In fact, the latest data suggest that as many as 20 million Americans have hypothyroid.
Hypothyroidism is classified into either overt or subclinical disease; the latter meaning that the thyroid is mildly underactive. That diagnosis is determined on the basis of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) blood tests. The “normal” range of TSH falls between 0.5 – 5.0; however, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) recognize a much narrower range of .03 – 3.0. Therefore, if your test results are higher than 3.0 and you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may want to speak with an endocrinologist to help you better understand how to keep your thyroid working at optimal levels.
The list of hypothyroid symptoms are long and include:
|Fatigue||Weakness||Sensitivity to cold|
|Cold hands and feet||Thinning hair||Coarse and dry hair|
|Numbness in fingers||Dizziness||Brain fog|
|Brittle nails||Poor memory||Muscle cramps|
|Heavy periods||Decreased libido||Constipation|
Support Your Thyroid Naturally
To best support your thyroid, stick to the following guidelines for diet and exercise:
- Eat sea vegetables. These provide a great source of iodine, a needed element for the production of thyroid hormones.
- Eat Brazil nuts. These are rich in selenium, another important nutrient for thyroid function.
- Supplement with L-tyrosene.
- Eat foods high in essential fats, B vitamins, zinc, vitamin C, and magnesium. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fish.
- Drink lots of water. Drink lots to keep your endocrine system working well.
- Try to get regular exercise.
- Consider getting acupuncture, which is effective in treating hormonal imbalances.
- Avoid eating too many raw cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts). Cooked is OK.
- Avoid soy and millet.
- Avoid fluoride and chlorine. These are chemically similar to iodine and can displace iodine in the thyroid. Filter your water and use fluoride-free toothpaste.
Note that if your tests show that you have overt hypothyroid as opposed to mild hypothyroid you will want to work closely with your doctor who will recommend treatment. But if you have mild hypothyroid, careful monitoring and adopting these healthy lifestyle suggestions may help you improve thyroid function, and increase your energy.