What is the Thyroid?
Our thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ at the base of the neck, is responsible for releasing hormones that help regulate our metabolism. Other vital functions that the thyroid influences include:
- Body temperature
- Body weight
- Central and peripheral nervous system
- Cholesterol levels
- Heart rate
- Menstrual cycles
- Muscular strength
Located near the front of the throat and under the Adam’s nut, the thyroid comprises two sides called lobes. These lobes are connected by a strip of tissues called isthmus. The total size of this glandular power? About 5 centimeters.
How Does the Thyroid Gland Work?
Thyroid: a large gland without a duct in the neck that secretes hormones that regulate growth and development through the speed of metabolism. Oxford English Dictionary. The thyroid is a component of the endocrine system – a collection of glands responsible for producing, storing and releasing hormones in the bloodstream. The thyroid gland uses iodine from the food we eat to make two critical hormones, ‘T3’ and ‘T4’. The hormone ‘T3’ is the abbreviation for the hormone Triyodothyronine; the ‘T4’ is Thyroxine).The production of thyroid hormone is regulated through a feedback loop between the thyroid gland, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, two tiny and deeply rooted areas of the brain. The production of hormones T3 and T4 is a complex process. And as with anything complex, it is not uncommon for thyroid problems to appear.
Signs of Thyroid Problems:
It is estimated that millions of people have thyroid problems. Of which, approximately half do not realize. The hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, represents 90% of all thyroid conditions.
Here is Seven of the Most Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
The energy production of our body requires a certain amount of thyroid hormones. A significant decrease in this production leads to a decrease in energy levels, producing a strong feeling of fatigue and weakness.
2. Weight Increase:
The shortage of thyroid hormones decreases the metabolic rate of the body. When this happens, we don’t digest so many foods and fewer calories are converted into energy. For many thyroid patients, lack of treatment – or insufficient treatment – makes weight loss almost impossible, even with proper diet and exercise.
3. Recurring Disease:
“Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, is the most common type of hypothyroidism”.
As we all know, a suppressed immune system makes it much harder to protect against harmful viruses and bacteria; this results in more frequent diseases. The most worrying thing is that Hashimoto’s disease causes the immune system to attack healthy organs and tissues.
4. Loss of Coordination:
Untreated hypothyroidism can damage peripheral nerves. These nerves transmit information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body, including our arms and legs. Damage to these nerves can cause numbness, pain and tingling in the affected area or areas.
5. Brain Fog:
Our brain houses a particular type of immune cell called microglia. Between 10 and 15% of all brain cells are microglia, which are responsible for stimulating the body’s immune defenses within the central nervous system (CNS). Brain fog is directly attributable to brain inflammation, a byproduct of irritated microglia cells. Oblivion, inability to concentrate and decreased cognitive ability are all telltale signs of brain fog.
6. Anxiety or Depression:
The brain is susceptible to inflammation. In addition to experiencing a general loss of mental acuity (“brain fog”), our neurochemicals, that is, neurotransmitters, go crazy. As the human brain is already susceptible to anxiety thanks to the fight or flight response, other imbalances increase the risk of anxiety and depression.
7. Various Symptoms Under the Surface:
Sometimes we intuitively know when something is wrong in our body. Related to this, thyroid problems are notorious for creating a mess of subtle but distracting symptoms. Here is a “short list”: mood swings, excessive sleep, muscle and joint pain (including tendonitis and carpal tunnel), cold hands and feet, brittle nails, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, swelling of the neck.
Maintain the Health of the Thyroid:
You will have realized the importance of thyroid health. But the truth is that many people minimize the importance of a healthy thyroid gland. Some are totally unaware of what the thyroid is and what it does.
Here is an Example of Why Thyroid Health is Critical:
Myxedema, an advanced form of hypothyroidism is rare, but when it occurs, it can be life threatening. Signs and symptoms include low blood pressure, decreased breathing, decreased body temperature, lack of response and even coma. In extreme cases, myxedema can be fatal. Dr. Amy Myers, a certified physician and survivor of Grave’s disease, recommends the following ten things to improve thyroid health.
- Make sure you are taking a high quality multivitamin with iodine, zinc, selenium, and vitamin D and B vitamins.
- Take a tyrosine supplement to help with the conversion of FT4 to FT3.
- Without gluten! If you have Hashimoto, try not to consume grains or legumes.
- Dealing with stress and supporting the adrenal glands. The adrenal and thyroid glands work hand in hand. We recommend restorative yoga and adaptogenic herbs (which) support the adrenal glands in the fight against stress.
- Sleep 8 to 10 hours a night.
- Have a biological dentist safely remove any amalgam filling you may have.
- Watch your consumption of raw goitrogens. There is a little debate around this.
- Get fluoride, bromide and chlorine from your diet and environment.
- Heal the stomach. A properly functioning digestive system (intestine) is critical for good health.
- Find a specialist in functional medicine in your area and ask him to perform the previous laboratory test and work with you to find the root cause of the thyroid imbalance.
Incorporating the right amount of iodine into your diet also helps! Foods rich in iodine include marine vegetables, blueberries, yogurt, fish, eggs, whole grain products and unpasteurized dairy products.