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Optimal Thyroid Function- Supporting an Underactive Thyroid

Optimal Thyroid Function – Supporting an Underactive Thyroid

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group

An under active thyroid (or Hypothyroid) refers to an impairment in the conversion of T4 (the inactive thyroid hormone) into the active T3 hormone. The thyroid responds to a feedback mechanism that keeps the thyroid levels within a certain range and is dependent upon the pituitary gland secretion of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to regulate the amount of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) produced by the thyroid. When circulating levels of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) are low, the pituitary secretes TSH triggering the release of more thyroid hormones.

The majority of thyroid conditions are due to Primary Hypothyroidism, occurring when the thyroid hormones are low and TSH is elevated, indicating a local problem of thyroid hormone synthesis due to the thyroid gland itself. Secondary hypothyroid occurs when TSH is low and the thyroid hormone levels are also low.

The thyroid gland concentrates iodine and uses it to produce the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Through a process known as deiodination, T4 is converted to T3. These hormones are of similar importance to the body as the engine is to a car, both hormones are involved in the breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, thereby regulating metabolism and moderating bodies internal thermostat. They are involved in nervous system and digestive function, respiratory and cardiovascular function, calcium mobilization, muscle tone and the production of red blood cells. In short, the thyroid hormones are essential for life.

Systemic Effects of an Underactive Thyroid Include:

  • Morning fatigue Headaches and migraines
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • PMS, mood swings
  • Brittle thin nails
  • Anemia
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased appetite
  • Heavy or irregular menstruation
  • Nerve problems
  • Constipation
  • Recurrent infections
  • Weight gain
  • Hypertension
  • Loss of libido
  • Hoarseness
  • Impaired concentration, memory loss and impaired problem solving abilities
  • Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increased risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries
  • Dry puffy skin, eczema, hives, orange discoloration of the skin, swollen eyes Increased need for sleep Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Yeast infections
  • Brittle dry hair and hair loss (including hair loss on the eyebrows)

Nutritional Supplements to Support Healthy Thyroid Function:

  • Thyro 100: Contains botanical medicine, trace minerals and key essential nutrients for optimal thyroid function.
  • Tyrosine: both iodine and tyrosine are required for the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Zinc: Is involved in the synthesis of the hypothalamic thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH), a zinc deficiency may slow down the conversion of T4 to T3.
  • Vitamin E: supports the conversion of T4 to T3 by influencing the hepatic 5-deiodinase activity.
  • Selenium: essential for thyroid synthesis, hormone production and the conversion of T4 to T3.
  • For additional holistic supplementation for thyroid health

Some Nutritional and Lifestyle Recommendations:

  • Avoid fluoridated and chlorinated water; instead switch to reverse osmosis water for cooking and drinking. Both fluoride and chlorine are structurally similar to iodine and block the iodine receptors in the thyroid gland, resulting in a lowered iodine containing hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism.
  • Avoid toothpaste and mouthwash containing fluoride.
  • Avoid unrefined table salt (sodium chloride).
  • Avoid eating RAW curciferous vegetables, (also known as RAW goitregens). These foods consist of cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes.
  • Avoid Soy products
  • Hydrotherapy (water therapy) can be used daily in the shower by letting cold water fall onto the throat and neck area where the thyroid gland is situated or apply a cold compress to the throat.
  • Frequent infrared saunas, steaming and dry skin brushing are useful to support thyroid activity

For additional guidance on a holistic treatment protocol for an Underactive Thyroid and for custom blended herbal medicine to address symptoms and assist optimal function of the whole body,consider booking a consultation in our clinic with Katolen Yardley, MNIMH. for more information.

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