How to Improve Your Thyroid Function Naturally
What does your thyroid gland do for you?
The simple answer: basically everything
Your thyroid gland secretes hormones that regulate pretty much all bodily processes including:
• Heart function
• Bone density
• Menstrual cycles
• Brain function
And the list goes on…
This is why it is so crucial that your thyroid gland is working properly! Too little thyroid hormone and it feels like your tank of gas is empty and you are carrying a pile of bricks on your head. Too much, and you feel unpleasantly anxious and turbocharged.
Hypothyroidism (having an underactive thyroid gland) is one of the most widespread conditions in North America and thyroid medication is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs nowadays.
Hypothyroidism leads to a variety of symptoms, including:
• Weight gain
• Brain fog
• Puffy skin
• Poor circulation
• Cold extremities
• Muscle aches
The good news is that you can support optimal thyroid function by making a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.
1. Decrease your systemic inflammation by avoiding inflammatory foods and food allergies. Inflammation and oxidative stress are two major drivers of hypothyroidism. Eating a diet high in sugar, refined carbs and oxidized oilscan cause widespread inflammation and contribute to hypothyroidism. Instead eat a nutrient rich diet with plenty of antioxidants and good quality fats to support your hormone production.
2. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep.
Low quality sleep or not getting enough sleep can markedly alter thyroid axis function. It has been shown that shift workers and chronically sleep deprived people underproduce Thyroid Stimulating Hormone which in turn causes less thyroid hormone production. Aim to get at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep by establishing a bedtime routine, unplugging from electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and by sleeping in a dark room.
3. Learn to manage your stress.
There is an intimate interaction between stress hormones and thyroid function. If you are under prolonged periods of stress, the worse your thyroid will function.
Stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and regular self care are helpful tools to keep that cortisol secretion in check. Providing support to your adrenal glands with adaptogenic herbs and supplements such as B5 and Magnesium can also be extremely useful.
4. Correct hidden nutritional deficiencies, as they can play a big role in thyroid disfunction.
Nutrients involved in thyroid hormone production include iodine, vitamin D, omega-3 fats, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, and the B vitamins. Regular IV vitamin therapy can be a great way to correct nutritional deficiencies as well as, of course, eating a healthy, balanced diet.
5. Lastly, limit your exposure to environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors. Environmental pollution is increasing worldwide and three of the most common industrial pollutants are perchlorate, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxin.
Because of the powerful role the thyroid plays in the body, it is quite susceptible to damage from exogenous influences such as environmental toxins, particularly the ones stated above. Ways to limit your exposure to toxins are as follows:
1) drinking high quality filtered water
2) eat local and organic whenever possible
3) limit use of synthetic antibacterials and plastics
4) stop using using non-stick cookware
5) use clean cosmetic products and cleaning products when possible.
If you suspect that your thyroid health is less than optimal, don’t fret! Taking a proactive approach by using the steps mentioned above will have you on your way to better thyroid function naturally. Don’t forget to work with a trained practitioner to get appropriate testing done and a comprehensive treatment plan!