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What You Need To Know About Thyroid Health

The thyroid a small two-inch long brownish-red gland in the neck, weighing merely 20-60 grams, yet it exerts tremendous influence on every cell of the body. Not only does the thyroid play an essential role in normal growth and development during childhood, it continues to impact nearly every physiological process in adults.

Why is the thyroid so powerful?

The thyroid exerts its enormous influence by means of two major hormones, T3 and T4, which are secreted into the blood. An imbalance in thyroid hormone levels can greatly impact overall wellbeing and lead to distressing symptoms and serious health conditions. Thyroid hormones interact with other hormones in the blood such as insulin which controls blood sugar, cortisol which regulates stress, and sex hormones which oversee reproductive function. A constant interplay between all these hormones is the reason the thyroid gland has such a widespread impact on overall health.

What can go wrong?

An under-active thyroid does not produce sufficient quantities of hormones and results in a condition called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can result in various symptoms such as lethargy, fatigue, weight gain, rough and scaly skin, thinning hair, constipation, cold sensitivity, muscle pain, high cholesterol, and depression.

When excessive amounts of thyroid hormones are released into the blood by an overactive gland, the condition is called hyperthyroidism. This causes restlessness, emotional and irritable mood, poor sleep, weight loss, bowel dysfunction, menstrual irregularities in women, and protruding eyes, as well as more serious symptoms like chest pain, heartbeat irregularity, and heart failure.

Cancer of the thyroid gland accounts for thousands of deaths each year, and early detection and intervention are essential for a favourable outcome. It is, therefore, important to seek timely medical attention for any unusual lumps in the neck, a persistent cough, prolonged hoarseness of the voice, or pain in the area of the thyroid gland.

Five Ways To Naturally Maintain Thyroid Health

1. Iodine is a vital nutrient that is essential for the secretion of thyroid hormones. Iodine also plays important roles in metabolism, brain development, fertility, and immunity. It is important to ensure adequate levels in the body because deficiency of iodine leads to impaired thyroid function. You can increase your iodine levels naturally by eating organic fruits and vegetables that are washed properly to minimise pesticide exposure. Seaweeds and vegetables like spirulina, wakame, nori, kombu, dulse, and arame are rich in iodine. Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, almonds, beef, chicken, oyster, pumpkin seeds, eggs, milk, and yogurt are other good sources of iodine, and they also contain selenium and zinc, all of which are essential nutrients needed by the thyroid gland.

2. Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, can cause digestive problems in people who are sensitive to it. However, gluten has also been linked to thyroid health. Undigested gluten is absorbed from the intestine into the blood and triggers an immune reaction in the body. Gluten protein is similar to thyroid molecules, and the body sometimes confuses the two and accidentally attacks the thyroid, leading to what is called an autoimmune reaction. Studies have shown that such autoimmune causes account for about 90% of hypothyroidism in adults. Removing grains from your diet for 30 days and observing your symptoms is a good way to judge if gluten is playing a role in your thyroid health.

3. Certain substances found naturally in foods can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge. The enlarged thyroid gland is called a goiter and appears as a swelling in the neck area. Goiter causes the thyroid to underperform. Some cruciferous and root vegetables like turnips, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower, as well as soy products, when consumed in large quantities, can cause goiter, and consequently hypothyroidism. It is important to eat these vegetables in moderation and adequately cook them because heat can partially destroy the goiter-causing substances in them.

4. Modern-day necessities like pesticides, plastics, baked goods, soft drinks, fire retardants, and some medications have high bromine content. Bromine is a known disruptor of thyroid function because it interferes with iodine absorption and slows down thyroid hormone production. Limiting exposure to this potentially toxic element can allow your thyroid to function better. Including unrefined sea salt in your diet, increasing vitamin C intake, and sweating in an infrared sauna can be beneficial in expelling bromine from the body. Other ways to limit bromine exposure include drinking pure water, avoiding sodas, eating bromine-free wholegrain bread and flour, and storing foods and drinks in glass containers instead of plastic.

5. Prolonged stress can have an immense impact on thyroid health. A constant state of anxiety, tension, or uneasiness leads to increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol hormones in the body. This, in turn, causes thyroid hormone levels to drop. High stress is associated with many health issues including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Modifying your lifestyle and practicing stress-reducing psychotherapy techniques can greatly influence not only your mental and emotional well-being, but also your thyroid health.

The human body is a sophisticated piece of machinery, and the thyroid gland is essential to keep it running. Identifying and treating the underlying cause of thyroid problems is the most natural way to get your body back on track. By addressing iodine deficiency, controlling stress, reducing toxic elements in your environment, and eating thyroid-friendly foods, you can manage your thyroid health in the most natural way.

Have further questions don't hesitate to get in touch and if you'd like support from now book in here.

In good health,

Suzzi Hartery

BHSc Naturopath (Distinction) The Feel Good Society Founder & Head Practitioner


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