Begin Within: Nutrients for Thyroid Health
Low thyroid hormone or hypothyroidism when chronic is very common and very treatable with natural medicine. Having a "sluggish thyroid" or low thyroid hormone can lead to many symptoms, some of the most common are weight gain, thinning hair, chronic fatigue, depression, and constipation.
Women are most likely to have hypothyroidism compared to men, and most cases are due to autoimmune causes (there are other causes of low thyroid hormone though). Many people have come to me for natural support and naturopathic treatment for low thyroid function. So, I've outlined some of the nutritional essentials that I've seen being effective at supporting thyroid health and to help guide a conversation with your doctor.
Basic & Essential Nutrients for Thyroid Health
This mineral, which is bioavailable in seaweed, is an integral part of the thyroid hormone molecule. It takes 4 iodine molecules to make the inactive thyroxine (T4) molecule and takes 3 iodine molecules to make the bioactive tri-iodothyroxine (T3) molecule. The body naturally makes T4 as a reservoir for active hormone conversion.
Warning: Taking too much iodine (more than 500 mcg) can have a negative effect. Some people have reported feeling worse when taking higher doses of iodine in efforts to increase thyroid hormone production.
Selenium is the important element in converting inactive T4 into bioactive T3. An enzyme called a deiodinase uses this mineral as a cofactor to knock off the extra iodine molecule in T4 so that cells can actively respond to the active T3 molecule. One more great thing about this mineral is that it has been shown to help reduce antibodies in anti-TPO positive autoimmune hypothyroidism.
Zinc plays a co-star role with selenium to help convert T4 into T3 and also helps improve cell recognition of active thyroid hormone. Simple and easy.
L-tyrosine provides the backbone for all types of thyroid hormone - active and inactive. It also produces the backbone for many dopamine and many other neurotransmitters to help with fatigue and attention. Gotta love it when a nutrient multitasks, right?
Naturopathic Diet Tips to Improve Thyroid Health: Goitrogens
Goitrogens are foods that interrupt iodine absorption, which therefore can impact your body's potential to form thyroid hormones. It may be beneficial to reduce goitrogens to help support your thyroid. Some foods that are goitrogens are:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Food Sensitivites
If your condition is autoimmune in nature, then an anti-inflammatory diet and/or addressing food sensitivities may benefit you. It is widely known that many foods can cause inflammatory reactions at the cellular level in the gut. With continuous inflammatory reactions and changes to gut bacteria, it may lead to an increased susceptibility to autoimmune conditions. Chronic inflammatory processes in the gut can lead to tissue injury, which may generate "auto-antigens."
What are auto-antigens? They're basically molecules found in your cells that activate the immune system and causes the immune system to actively seek out those same molecules in other cells and destroy them. Now, what's an anti-inflammatory diet? The name says it all. It is a whole-foods diet that uses and eliminates specific foods to reduce bodily inflammation. I've seen many patients benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet, which autoimmune cases, chronic fatigue cases, and metabolic disease cases benefiting the most.
Any Other Things?
There are many other things that a naturopath may use. I also like to support low thyroid with herbs to invigorate the thyroid and support conversion of thyroid hormone into its bioactive form. Beyond herbs, there are some naturopathic lifestyle prescriptionsthat are effective at supporting thyroid hormone conversion and there are natural, bio-identical thyroid hormone medications to replace any lost thyroid hormone. But remember, naturopathic doctors personalize treatment plans since every person is different and every root cause is individual. So, come by Jupiter Naturopathic Wellness and see me for a naturopathic consultation if you are looking for natural methods to support your low thyroid.
About the Author
Dr. Bryant Esquejo is a California-licensed naturopathic doctor practicing in the Silver Lake neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. You can book an appointment with him here and follow him on social media here.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from San Diego State University in 2012 and his naturopathic medical degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2016. In his practice, he aims to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness by focusing on hormonal and thyroid health; adrenal dysfunction and stress-related chronic fatigue; gastrointestinal health; anxiety and depression; and nutrigenomics. He uses a variety of integrative modalities to assess and treat patients, such as bioenergetic muscle testing; advanced and basic functional laboratory assessment; therapeutic nutrition; lifestyle medicine; nutraceutical, vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplementation; intravenous micronutrient therapy; and energetic medicines, such as constitutional homeopathy and flower essences.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.
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