There’s a whole lot of talk about the thyroid and we know it can be complicated to understand. We’re here to break it down & help you answer any questions you may have!
We work with many clients with thyroid issues (or at least suspect that they have one). From clients with and without thyroid issues, most people have no idea what it is or what it does… so let’s dive in.
Where is it?
- The thyroid gland is a little butterfly shaped organ located at the base of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple. You can’t feel it like you can with the Adam’s apple, but it’s there and I promise you it’s essential!
What is the thyroid?
- The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system that secrets hormones which governs SO many different functions within our bodies. Things like body temperature, brain development, nervous system, menstrual cycle, and energy levels. The thyroid has a HUGE impact on our metabolism and if someone is experiencing over-active or under-active thyroid, it can lead to a wide range of symptoms.
Possible symptoms of thyroid issues:
- Thyroid complications can show up in MANY different ways, and examining them closely can give us a better idea if someone might be experiencing an over-active (hyperthyroidism) or under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism). Here are a handful of symptoms to be aware of:
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Hair loss/thinning
- Irregular heartbeat
- Weak bones
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Low energy
- Dry skin
- Increased sensitivity to cold
We’ll always have patients get their thyroid tested if we suspect something isn’t working properly!
What is Hashimoto’s?
- Hashimoto’s (hashimoto’s thyroiditis) is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US and is an actual autoimmune disorder involving chronic inflammation of the thyroid. Over an extended period of time, the ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones often becomes impaired and leads to a gradual decline in function and eventually an under-active thyroid. As any autoimmune disease, Hashimotos’s created auto antibodies (meant to attack the condition, but ends up attacking our bodies), which become detrimental to our immune system and metabolism. This disease typically affects middle aged women, but can be seen at any age, and can also affect men and children.
Frequent causes of thyroid issues
- There’s a ton! Some of the most common causes include genetics, viral infections, chronic inflammation. Inflammation plays a huge role as it contributes to oxidative stress within the body, which can then affect our metabolism. Another noteworthy cause is long term use of antibiotics, narcotics, beta-blockers and steroid medications. Not only do these suppress our thyroid function but they damage our gut lining, which can then result in a leaky gut. There’s typically a lot of damage that’s been done before those thyroid symptoms begin to show up. We love to treat the root causes of these issues in our patients and often see results once the puzzle pieces start to come together!
- What you eat certainly has an impact on your thyroid function and an anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to be very beneficial. Here some of my favorite foods for thyroid health:
- Fatty Fish such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, and herring have been shown to reduce inflammation because they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. In addition, the selenium, calcium, and phosphorus they provide reduce inflammation.
- Turmeric is no stranger to the anti-inflammatory diet and it’s due to its curcumin component. Curcumin has been shown to fight against the oxidative stress causing inflammation while improving our immune system.
- Red Grapes are not only a tasty treat to have but they also reduce inflammation in the body due to their chemical compound known as resveratrol.
- Olives are one of the most nutritious foods you can incorporate into an anti-inflammatory diet as many studies show that its monounsaturated fat content and antioxidant properties have been shown to reduce chronic inflammation.
- Green tea or Matcha has many health benefits and one of them is it can reduce inflammation for autoimmune diseases based on their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
- Broccoli Sprouts are one of the richest sources of sulforaphane which is a chemical compound that greatly reduces chronic inflammation in the body.