Super Foods To Treat Thyroid Imbalance
Goiter / Hyperthyroidism / Hypothyroidism / Iodine Deficiency
The thyroid is associated with many different diseases, but they all fall into two basic categories: under active thyroid (too little hormone production) and overactive thyroid (too much hormone production). Under active thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is by far the more common of the two. In fact, hypothyroidism is fast becoming an epidemic in the United States, affecting well over 50% of the population to some degree. Telltale symptoms include chronic tiredness, low energy, lack of ambition, and being overweight. Further symptoms include decreased sex drive, obesity, cold hands and feet, low body temperature in general, a weak immune system, constipation and slow digestion, allergies, hair loss, and a higher incidence of colds and flu. An under active thyroid can also raise cholesterol and increase risk of heart problems.
When the thyroid is overactive, secreting too much T3 and T4 hormone, the condition is known as hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid is the more serious of the two problems. When this happens, the person’s metabolism is raised and energy increases. However, this energy is usually “speedy” and nervous energy. People with this condition may also have sleep disorders, weakness in the muscles, sensitivity to heat, and weight loss. If left untreated, the person may develop goiters, which are enlarged thyroid glands protruding from the base of the neck. Other symptoms may include excessive sweating, increased appetite, weight loss, shaky hands, heart palpitation, nausea, and protruding eyes.
What Causes Thyroid Problems?
The thyroid requires iodine for production of its important hormones T3 and T4. But too much or too little iodine can tip the thyroid into over activity or under activity, depending upon other factors. A mild iodine deficiency may produce an under active thyroid. But too much iodine can also cause mild protrusions in the glands (mild goiter activity), usually associated with overactive thyroid. It’s a delicate balance.
Recent studies have also shown that foods known as gointrogens actually block the iodine we get from salt and other foods, making our iodine supplements ineffective. Two of these iodine blocking foods are peanuts (especially peanut butter) and soybeans (especially soybean oil). Foods in the cabbage family are also gointrogens, but it’s unlikely likely that you will eat enough of these to make much of a difference. Here’s more information about the causes of thyroid imbalances:
- Selenium deficiency may also play a part in thyroid problems, as selenium is necessary for proper conversion of the T3 and T4 hormones produced by the thyroid.
- The thyroid works closely with both the pituitary and adrenal glands, so deficiencies or imbalances in either of those areas can also affect the thyroid. That means that adrenal depletion caused by too much caffeine can cause thyroid problems as well as adrenal problems.
- Recent evidence suggests that the thyroid is negatively affected by fluoride from toothpaste and water treatment.
Treatments for Thyroid Imbalance
There is no single effective treatment for thyroid imbalance. The best treatment is one that is carefully administered and observed for each person. You must find your own best balance of nutrients, particularly iodine and selenium, for proper thyroid balance. Also, stimulating or inhibiting the thyroid’s productivity may actually cover up an underlying problem—treating the symptoms, but not curing the cause. Here are some important keys:
- Remove caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial substances that may be affecting your thyroid, adrenal, and even estrogen levels.
- Dramatically reduce your intake of peanut butter, soybean oils, and unsaturated vegetable oils in general. Don’t replace these with loads of saturated fats. Instead, replace them with coconut oil or refrigerated flaxseed oil.
- Experiment with natural thyroid treatments until you find the proper balance of iodine, selenium, and estrogen for your body. Key foods include kelp and walnuts for organic iodine and garlic, brewer’s yeast, and wheat germ for selenium.
- Refer to the section on Adrenal Imbalance to incorporate applicable information into your diagnosis. Your thyroid imbalance may be stemming from an adrenal imbalance.
- Other helpful supplements: Vitamins A, D, E, B2, B3, as well as rosemary leaf extract.
- Maca root from South America can help balance the thyroid.
The essential oil myrtle, from an African plant, is said to have regulating effects on thyroid hormones. Also, motherwort, valerian root, and ashwagandha are helpful for hyperthyroidism, as they help to counter the energy problems resulting from thyroid and adrenal imbalances.
Be sure to take selenium supplements with iodine to assist in the overall process of T3 and T4 metabolism. Remember, if you use thyroid and/or adrenal supplements in an attempt to balance your thyroid, you should start with low doses and keep a close watch on your symptoms. They thyroid is a sensitive gland and it’s easy to go too far with these supplements.