The thyroid continues to be a regular conversation online and in women’s circles. This is getting more attention because an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, one woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder and we are more educated on the symptoms of the thyroid, even when it’s undiagnosed.
Another reason the thyroid remains on the forefront is that the common symptoms are difficult to ignore. For example, most notice some weight gain or weight loss resistance, or other noticeable symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, hair loss or thinning hair, sleep changes, loss of interest and initiative, cold hands and feet, hoarseness, constipation, brain fog and anxiety. Any change to the thyroid is impactful, because almost all cells have thyroid hormone receptors. The thyroid is responsible for stimulating the metabolism and taking the nutrients from the food we eat and turning them into energy.
Checking for thyroid health through routine lab work is becoming common; what’s not common and different per healthcare provider is the indicators tested, the ranges of each indicator from the bloodwork and the approach to healing the thyroid. It’s especially important to check thyroid antibodies for autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s is the most common form of thyroid imbalance, and it’s estimated that over 90% of people with low thyroid function have this autoimmune.
The thyroid does not only have a huge impact on our physical body, but also on our emotional and spiritual bodies, so choosing an approach to heal your thyroid should include all three components.
5 things to consider:
- Nutrient Health: Your thyroid needs a full range of minerals through trace minerals or even pink Himalayan salt. Specifically, selenium, zinc and the B vitamins and vitamin D. Foods with selenium include Brazil nuts, spinach, yellowfin tuna or halibut, canned sardines, grassfed beef, turkey, and beef liver. Foods with zinc and the B vitamins include beef, turkey, chicken, eggs, asparagus, chickpeas, brussels sprouts, nuts, seeds and mushrooms. Vitamin D is not only needed for proper thyroid function, it also controls cravings because it supports balancing blood sugar.
- Digestive & Liver Health: Inflammation, food intolerances and leaky gut interfere with the ability to absorb the important nutrients needed for healing. Also, if the microbiome is imbalanced, it can change the absorption of food from energy into fat, which adds to weight loss resistance. If you have a low functioning liver from toxic load or a virus, it impacts the T4 to T3 conversion, the key thyroid hormones.
- Emotional and Stress-Related Health: Ongoing stress can lead to emotional depletion and causes symptoms such as: low interest in the things you used to enjoy, anxiety, depression, frustration, etc. You can get stress relief through yoga, walking the dog, laughing and having a cup of coffee and chat with a friend. To dig deeper into the emotional aspects of our thyroid, we want to consider a different perspective, such as the presence of our thyroid near our throat and voice. A good question to ask yourself is: where in your life are you holding back from saying what you really want or going for something that you really want to do? When these expressions or emotions are suppressed, they can turn into frustration, guilt and sadness and impact the thyroid.
- Environmental Health: Several toxins have a similar makeup to the thyroid hormones, which means they mimic thyroid hormones in the body. This leads to the accumulation of harmful toxins in the thyroid and a low-functioning thyroid. Toxins include food toxins, as in non-organics and processed foods ~ meats, synthetics and fillers in medications, beauty and cleaning products, unfiltered water and particularly fluoride (toothpaste) and chlorine (pools/hot tubs).
- Spirituality and Purpose: Chakras are energy centers along the spine of our bodies, and are becoming more known as they are discussed in yoga classes and in many holistic health modalities. The thyroid is in the 5th chakra, known as the throat chakra, and represents our choices and achieving of meaningful lives. We make 100s of choices each day; for choices to come to fruition, there needs to be a commitment from ourselves. Carolyn Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, explains that it’s in the commitments (to ourselves) to make choices that support who we are and what we want from our lives, so we can have the energy and health of our 5th chakra. Taking actions that support our purpose aids in the healing process of the thyroid.
When healing includes a body, mind and soul approach, not only does health improve, we learn to understand ourselves and transformation occurs.