30 Healing Solutions for a Sluggish Thyroid
1. Start by obtaining thorough lab testing and a complete thyroid panel.
2. Many individuals with thyroid disorders tend to also have digestive problems or gut dysfunction and are completely unaware of it. Poor gut health can suppress thyroid function and trigger Hashimoto’s disease. Low thyroid function can lead to leaky gut and inflammation in the gut. A healthy functioning gut is a definite factor for optimal thyroid function and should be of utmost importance not only for thyroid function, but overall health.
3. Look at the adrenals. Adrenal function must always be factored in with thyroid disorders. A sluggish thyroid often begins with high stress hormones and tapped out adrenals, which happens when we’re under chronic stress, eat too much sugar and a diet high in processed carbs, drink too alcohol, exercise too much, don’t get enough sleep and skimp on rest, recovery and relaxation.
4. Identify your stressors, your perception and how you react to stressful incidents. Consistently practice a form a relaxation you enjoy to trigger the relaxation response. Hormones don’t act independently. An out of control stress response causes an increase in cortisol and a decrease in the conversion of T4 to T3.
5. The hormone system responds to emotions. In mind/body medicine, the thyroid is often associated with personal will, self-expression, resentment and internalized anger. Practice communicating clearly, expressing yourself, journaling and dealing with deeper emotions.
6. Those with thyroid disorders tend to have hidden food sensitivities, so it’s extremely important to identify those foods and avoid them. Common culprits include dairy, soy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, corn, gluten, and eggs.
7. Test for and rule out toxic metal body burdens, which is very common in those with thyroid dysfunction.
8. Consume iodine-rich foods: seaweed and sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse, hijiki, nori, arame, wakame and kombu are excellent for thyroid health and also for chelating metals from the body. Consume more clean fish and seafood (clams, shrimp, haddock, oysters, wild salmon, sardines) and unprocessed sea salt or Himalayan salt that contains iodine.
9. Consume selenium-rich foods: Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds, organ meats, mushrooms, halibut, grass-fed beef
10. Include more vitamin A-rich foods (free-range, pastured egg yolks, yellow vegetables, carrots, dark green vegetables and leafy greens and raw dairy).
11. Determine your personal zinc status, an extremely common mineral deficiency. Include more foods high in zinc: nuts and seeds, beef, turkey, lamb, fresh oysters, sardines, ginger root
12. Use more Coconut oil, which is very nourishing for the thyroid
13. Up your protein intake. Protein transports thyroid hormone to all of your tissues and can help normalize thyroid function.
14. Choose organic foods as much as possible since pesticides have been known to interfere with thyroid function.
15. Be cognizant of thyroid disruptors, which include:
- Anything with gluten. Aside from the fact that gluten is not digestible by any human, gluten is a common detriment for anyone with Hashimoto’s autoimmune diseases. A diet that is 100 percent gluten-free is a must especially for anyone diagnosed with hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s.
- Grains, specifically millet and wheat; commercial dairy products; processed soy; artificial sweeteners; peanuts; excess coffee/caffeine intake and sugar.
Millet has the highest level of anti-thyroid factors. The flavonoids in millet not only inhibit thyroid peroxidase, but act on iodothyronine enzymes inhibiting the peripheral metabolism of thyroid. –Harry Eidenier, Jr., Ph.D.
- Antidepressants disrupt thyroid function and cause an inhibition of TPO.
- Red dye #3 increases reverse T3 and decreases T3.
- PCBs are known to cause an increase in anti-TPO (thyroid antibodies).
- Fluorescent lights; plastics; environmental toxins and chemicals, which inhibit the thyroid.
- Antacids and iron (found in many iron and multi-vitamin supplements). According to the literature (Surks and associates, New England Journal of Medicine) and clinical investigation, aluminum hydroxide (in most antacids and some commercial salt as an anti-caking agent) and iron will significantly decrease the bio-availability of thyroxine.
16. Minimize intake of goitrogen foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale, which can interfere with thyroid function. You can still enjoy these foods, just be sure to steam or cook them, which will inactivate the goitrogenic compounds.
18. Be aware of halogens. Excess halogen exposure from chlorine, bromide and fluoride block iodine uptake and inhibit thyroid function. Chlorine and fluoride (water, hot tubs, swimming pools, toothpaste) and excess bromine/bromide (breads, Mountain Dew, processed and packaged foods, hot tubs, any products with flame retardants such as mattresses).
19. Reduce exposure to metabolic toxins (insecticides, hair sprays, artificial fragrances and lotions, harsh chemical cleaners),
20. Optimize liver function, rule out biliary dysfunction and hemochromatosis.
22. Consider color therapy: wear orange tinted glasses for 30 minutes, then switch to blue tinted glasses for 5 minutes
23. Acupressure. Press the hollow at the base of the throat 3 times for 10 seconds to stimulate the thyroid.
24. Certain yoga poses (plow, bridge, shoulder stand, fish) are beneficial and stimulating for the thyroid.
25. Daily exercise is important for thyroid health. Strength train to increase metabolism. Avoid excessive aerobic/cardio-style exercise that deplete the adrenals.
26. Avoid synthetic HRT drugs, anti-histamines and antacids.
27. Consider alternative therapies such as acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy and biofeedback.
28. Do not take carbonate supplements, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D or iron with your thyroid medication as these block the absorption of T4, thyroxine.
29. If you take thyroid medication, it is best absorbed when chewed and taken on an empty stomach.
30. Nutritional support for the thyroid (always unique to each individual and their biochemistry)
|* Iodine/Iodide and selenium||* Thyroid support (GTA, ThyroStim)|
|* L-Tyrosine||* Adrenal Support|
|* Vitamins – A, B, C, D & E||* Coconut oil|
|* HCL / Digestzymes and probiotics||* Essential fatty acids such as EFA Sirt Supreme|
Some practitioners suggest not using iodine for those with Hashimoto’s. Nutritional support should be specific to each individual and is not a “one fits all” approach.
The hormone system is a complex system. There is no best solution for all thyroid sufferers. Correcting thyroid function is specific to each individual and their unique biochemistry. Schedule a free 15-minute consult. I consult with men and women all over the world.
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Part 3 of 3
Read Part 1 All About Hypothyroid – Thyroid Testing
Read Part 2 Symptoms and Conditions of a Sluggish Thyroid
- Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 2006.
- Shames, Richard and Shames, Karilee.
- Thyroid Power. 2002. Goldberg, Burton.
- Alternative Medicine. 2002.
- Page, Linda. Healthy Healing. 2002.
- Alter Intern Med. 2008 Apr 28;168(8):855:60.
- “NEJM Study Proves Armour Thyroid Better Than Synthroid” January 2, 2008.
Copyright © Paula Owens