I’ve got some great information on Thyroid today, but first I want to let you know that I’ve got 2 workshops/talks planned on Blood Sugar, and it’s relationship and effect on Weight, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Thyroid, and Mood. The dates are Friday, August 23, 12-2, and Wednesday, August 28, 6-8pm, the charge is $30/person, and the venue is the Marshall Community Center, 4133A Rectortown Rd, Marshall, Va. This is literally right off Rt 66 exit, and very easy to find. There’s plenty of parking and the room is big, so bring a friend or a family member if you’d like.
Why this topic? Because Carbs/Glucose, blood sugar highs and lows, effect weight, hormones, inflammation, mood/neurotransmitters, and literally every disease out there. It really, really, really matters that you understand what blood sugar is, what your body does with it, and it’s very profound effects. The more you know, the better you can take care of yourself and your family.
Email me thru the contact page if you can attend.
On to Thyroid!
I’m going to bullet point some facts here:
Thyroid issues, hypo and hyper, affect millions of Americans; more people have thyroid issues than Diabetes. The thyroid gland is in charge of your heart rate, body temp, blood pressure, growth, and the metabolism( rate of activity) for every single cell in your body.
Fixing issues involves MORE than just supplementing with thyroid hormone or suppressing the gland. The Endocrine/Hormonal system is COMPLEX, and treating it as a “stand alone” issue isn’t smart.
The standard test for Thyroid Function is determining levels of TSH/thyroid stimulating hormone. The thyroid doesn’t make this hormone, the Pituitary does. It’s affected by the hypothalamus, BLOOD SUGAR, estrogen, iodine, gut function, and more. So just supplying a little more thyroid hormone in the form of Synthroid or Armor often doesn’t address the Real Issue behind thyroid dysfunction. Know anyone who has to constantly UP their meds because it doesn’t seem to be working? The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have been trying to get guidelines (think: Insurance paid for tests) changed since 2003 to make the acceptable range of TSH smaller, 3 -5, and T3 and T4, active and inactive forms, tested. So far, in Main Stream Medical, it hasn’t happened. However, there are SEVERAL doctors out there now, regular MDs who practice Functional and Alternative medicine, NDs, ODs, Chiropractors, and more, who WILL order the right tests for you. Do a search of your area to find them. There’s probably more than you think. Anyway..
The Thyroid makes the hormones T4 and T3, the “recipe” is Tyrosine and Iodine (T4 is tyrosine and 4 molecules of iodine, T3 has had one iodine knocked off). T3 is called the “Active Form” of thyroid hormone, or what our cells actually use. TSH levels DO NOT necessarily reflect T3 and T4 levels!!!
The body has to convert T4 to T3, but many things can interfere with this: proper gut bacteria are CRUCIAL to and directly involved with this conversion (gas/bloat/indigestion – you probably have too much bad bacteria and not enough good), and an imbalance of good and bad bacteria can lower thyroid function.
Cortisol (from physical or mental stress) disrupts the T4 to T3 conversion, by blocking the enzyme that knocks off that extra iodine, and it also blocks the T3 receptor sites.
Estrogen dominance – a HUGE issue not just for women, but men, (soy, plastics, etc = estrogenic compounds) blocks receptor sites, making T3 unusable.
Don’t eat enough protein (tyrosine is an animo acid) or iodine containing foods? What if you have poor digestion and eat foods containing tyrosine and iodine, but you have insufficient stomach acid and enzymes that allow you to breakdown and assimilate those nutrients? Your body won’t have the components to make good T4 and T3.
T4 becomes T3 in the LIVER (primarily, it also converts in the Kidney and Lungs – NOT in the Thyroid gland – weird huh). If you have a “congested/slow/fatty” liver, from chemicals, sugar, alcohol, bad fats, toxins, etc, your liver function is compromised.
Leaky gut – from incomplete digestion of proteins – allows undigested protein into the blood stream. The immune system sees these “foreign invaders” and mounts an attack. Unfortunately, the attack often is directed to OTHER areas of the body (joints, pancreas..) like the Thyroid (Hashimotos). ( here we are back to digestion and the gut)
Poor diet? Too much sugar/flour, not enough fat and protein? Welcome to zigzagging Blood Sugar, which increases Cortisol, which blocks T4 to T3 conversion.
On a diet? Low calorie diets INSTANTLY slow down Thyroid function – after all, the thyroid is supposed to monitor incoming calories and determine if a starvation situation is at hand, or everything’s normal. If the thyroid suspects starvation, it slows down Metabolism to save your life. This will come in handy if you get stranded on a boat or in a snowstorm. (you never know.)
I could go on and on and on, but do you get the point that your Thyroid isn’t an Island? That dysfunction can be from so many other areas of the body, and that very very very possibly, you can fix and improve Thyroid Function thru Nutrition and Stress Control?
One more thing I want to talk about: Iodine.
There’s some differing opinions on Iodine in Hashimotos, some say yes, some say no. You’ll have to read and determine that for yourself (Chris Kressler and Dr. Brownstein are great places to start). But as for Thyroid Health overall, Iodine is vitally important. Supplement form is good, but food is always best. Eat your seafoods, and add seaweed, which is easy to get in any store now in dried forms. It’s salty, cheap, delicious, and easy to throw in your salads or casseroles. It has protective effects against cancer, and its vitally important to breast, prostate, eyes, and ovaries. It’s also CRUCIAL to fetal, infant, and children’s developing brains.
Wow. That’s enough for today. More on thyroid health when I give my talks. Eat Real Whole Food!