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HYPOTHYROID (Part 3 of 3)

Part 3 of 3  Part 1Part 2

30 Healing Solutions for Thyroid Dysfunction

Managing thyroid function and healing thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s and any autoimmune condition starts with identifying the root cause and correcting imbalances in the body.

1. Start by obtaining thorough lab testing and a complete thyroid panel. Ninety percent of those diagnosed with hypothyroidism actually have Hashimoto’s autoimmunity. Take the “at home” thyroid test. Insist that your doc does a careful head and neck exam routinely and an ultrasound of your thyroid regularly. Order your own lab tests here!

2. Many individuals with thyroid disorders tend to also have digestive problems, underlying infection and leaky gut, and they’re completely unaware of it. Poor gut health and infections will suppress thyroid function and can trigger Hashimoto’s disease. Reduced gut immunity is a very common problem in those presenting with any thyroid imbalance. Low or high thyroid function can trigger leaky gut and inflammation in the gut and vice versa. A healthy functioning gut is always a factor for optimal thyroid function, Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease, and should be of utmost importance not only for thyroid function, but overall health.

3. Adrenal function must always be factored in with thyroid disorders. A sluggish thyroid often begins with imbalanced stress hormones and tapped and zapped adrenals, which happens when we’re chronically stressed, eat too much sugar and a diet high in processed carbs, toxic chemicals and factory-farmed meats and dairy, drink too much alcohol, exercise excessively, don’t get enough sleep, skimp on rest, recovery and relaxation, and when we’re congested and overloaded with toxins from the environment, the food we eat and the water we drink.

4. Stress comes in many forms (physical, emotional, mental, environmental, electromagnetic), all of which impact thyroid function causing the thyroid to either make too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroid, Grave’s disease) or too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s). Identify underlying stressors, your perception and how you react to stressful incidents that inevitably occur in all of our lives. Consistently practice a form a relaxation you enjoy to trigger the relaxation response and parasympathetic (calming) branch of the nervous system. Remember, 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, feeling hopeless, resentment and internalized anger. Practice communicating clearly, expressing yourself, voicing your emotions, journaling and dealing with deeper, underlying emotions.

6. Those with thyroid disorders tend to have hidden food sensitivities, so it’s extremely important to identify those offending inflammatory foods and avoid them. Common culprits include dairy, soy, wheat, grains, artificial sweeteners, corn, gluten, and egg whites, However, it’s important to note that each individual is different and even so-called healthy foods can be problematic for some.

7. Test for and rule out toxic metal body burdens, which is very common in those with thyroid dysfunction.

8. Iodine plays a crucial roles in the production and maintenance of thyroid hormones. Iodine-rich foods, seaweed and sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse, hijiki, nori, arame, wakame and kombu are nourishing for those with primary hypothyroidism (not Hashimoto’s) and also beneficial for naturally chelating toxic heavy metals from the body. Consume clean fish and seafood (clams, shrimp, haddock, oysters, wild salmon, sardines with the bones). Note: Some practitioners suggest avoiding iodine for those with Hashimoto’s.

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 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 Coconut oil, which is very nourishing for the thyroid plus oodles of other amazing health benefits.

13. Up your protein intake and include clean protein at each meal. Protein transports thyroid hormone to all of your tissues and can help normalize thyroid function.

14. Choose organic and non-GMO foods as much as possible. Pesticides and glyphosate interfere with thyroid function. Clinical Pearls from the 2013 IAACN Conference

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, Grave’s or any autoimmune disease. A diet that is 100 percent gluten-free is best for those diagnosed with hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s.
  • Avoid grains, specifically millet and wheat; commercial factory-farmed animal protein and dairy products; processed soy; artificial sweeteners; peanuts; sugar.
  • Excessive coffee consumption can have a negative impact on thyroid function. Drinking coffee within 60 minutes of taking thyroid medication reduces absorption.
  • 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. Clinical pearl from my friend and mentor, 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; BPA and plastics; environmental toxins and chemicals all inhibit the thyroid.
  • Antacids. According to the literature (Surks and associates, New England Journal of Medicine) and clinical studies, aluminum hydroxide (in most antacids and some commercial salt as an anti-caking agent) significantly decreases the bio-availability of thyroxine.
  • High iron (>100)affects the thyroid and reduces the bio-availability of thyroxine. 
  • Fluorine-containing drugs (antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, cholesterol lowering statin drugs and steroids are just a few of the offenders)

16. Minimize intake of goitrogenic 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.

17. It’s important to stabilize blood sugar for optimal thyroid function (many individuals underestimate the immense value of this). A carb-heavy diet increases estrogens and negatively affects the thyroid. Avoid low calorie diets, fat-free diets, extreme fasting and skipping breakfast

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) disrupt thyroid function.

19. Reduce exposure to metabolic, endocrine-disrupting toxins (insecticides, hair sprays, artificial fragrances and lotions, BPA, PCBs, pesticides, phthalates, harsh chemical cleaners),

20. Optimize liver function. Rule out biliary dysfunction, high iron and hemochromatosis. 

21. Address hidden sources of inflammation. Always rule out Candida, yeast, underlying viruses, parasites and bacterial infections, which are extremely common and often go undetected. 

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. Practice yoga. Certain yoga poses (plow, bridge, shoulder stand, fish) are beneficial and stimulating for the thyroid.

25. Daily exercise is important for thyroid health. Strength training turns on genes that metabolize fat and increase metabolism. On the other hand, excessive amounts of any type of exercise, specifically aerobic/cardio-style exercise 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. If you take thyroid medication, avoid taking carbonate supplements, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D or iron with 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)

            * Probiotics * Ashwagandha
            * L-Tyrosine * Adrenal Support
            * Vitamins A, B, C, D and E * Coconut oil
            * HCL / Digestzymes  * Essential fatty acids (EFA Sirt Supreme)
            * Iodine/Iodide, selenium, zinc * Thyroid support (GTA, Meda-Stim or ThyroStim)

Some practitioners suggest not using iodine for those with Hashimoto’s. Nutritional support should be specific to each individual and is not a “one supplement fits all” approach.

The hormone system is a complex system. There is no one-protocol-fits-all solution for all thyroid sufferers. Balancing and healing thyroid function is specific to each individual and their unique biochemistry.
As a holistic nutritionist and functional health practitioner, my philosophy is to identify the root cause of your thyroid imbalance, autoimmune disorder and any underlying health issues, slowly "peel away the layers of the onion," and design a healing protocol and comprehensive LIFESTYLE plan specific to your unique biochemistry so you can heal, experience vibrant health, balanced hormones, healthy thyroid function, and look, think and feel better than ever for a lifetime. I consult with men and women around the world, all over the U.S. and with clients locally in the Phoenix area. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation!

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This article is part 3 of 3

  • Part 1  Know Your Hypothyroid – Thyroid Testing
  • Part 2  Symptoms and Conditions of a Sluggish Thyroid

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Copyright © Paula Owens. All Rights Reserved.