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Thyroid

Up to 27 million Americans have some type of thyroid disorder and more than half of those are undiagnosed according to he American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.  Thyroid hormones regulates every cell in your body therefor all body functions are affected. 
Symptoms

Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the first indicators of hypothyroid that the individual notices.  This can be found in association with shortness of breath.

Metabolic

Low thyroid hormones reduce the rate the body uses fat, protein and carbohydrate.  This leads to weight gain along with sensitivity to cold.  Cold hands and feet are common.

Endocrine
Men often experience a loss of libido.  Women have prolonged and heavy periods with infertility.  Rarely does a pregnancy terminate with normal labor and delivery.

Skin, hair, and nails
The skin becomes rough and dryHair loss can be severe.  Hair becomes course, dry and brittle.  Nails are thin and brittle and often have grooves moving across the nails.

Psychological
Depression
can be one of the first symptoms of hypothyroid.  If undiagnosed and untreated the person with hypothyroid will have difficulty concentrating and will be very forgetful.


Muscular Skeletal

Many people with hypothyroidism experience muscle weakness and joint stiffness.

Cardiovascular
Hypothyroidism increases cholesterol and triglycerides which leads to atherosclerosis.  The heart may have reduced function, reduced heart rate and hypertension.

Gastrointestinal
Constipation is a very common..

Urinary
Impaired kidney function may be attributed to hypothyroid.



Diet and Exercise

Diet
Thyroid hormones are made of iodine and tyrosine.  Tyrosine is an amino acid and you get it from proteins.
  Iodine  can be found in sea fish, sea vegetables like kelp, dulse, nori or wakame, and iodized salt.   It is actually rare for a person to be deficient in iodine since it has been added to salt.  Sometimes a person does well by adding iodine but too much can actually inhibit the production of thyroid hormones so be careful.  You should not ingest more than 600 mcg a day for very long. 

Some foods can bind to iodine making it unavailable for use in the thyroid. The property that binds them to iodine is deactivated when the food is cooked.  These foods have great health benefits so should not be avoided but should not be eaten raw very often.  These foods include soybeans, peanuts, pine nuts, millet and the brassica family which includes turnips, cabbage, rutabagas, mustard greens, radishes, and horseradish.

Many trace minerals are needed for the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones and for the hormones to convert to the most potent form. The best sources for zinc are: oysters, beef, wheat germ toasted, oats, legumes, nuts and seeds.  Copper is found highest in beef liver, rye, beans, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and molasses. Selenium is in  Brazil nuts.  The best source of B vitamins is yeast, whole grains and liver.


Exercise
Exercise stimulates the thyroid to secrete more thyroid hormone.  It also makes the tissues more sensitive to the hormone.

Exercise is especially important for dieters trying to lose weight.  The body will try to conserve energy when a person is dieting so it slows the metabolic rate.  Exercise increases the metabolic rate and helps keep it up in spite of dieting.


A word about diagnosis
It is very important to get to the root cause of thyroid deficiency. Thyroid supplementation may make a person feel much better but it will be short lived if the root is not addressed.

Things to consider that we haven't talked about here.
Toxic Overload
Sleep deficiency
Stress
Adrenal deficiency

Supplementation

Vitamins and minerals needed to manufacture thyroid hormone

Zinc
Vitmin E
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
B2, riboflavin
B3, niacin
B6, pyridoxine
Iodine

Minerals needed to convert T4 which is the most abundant but least useful hormone to T3 which is the least abundant but most useful.

Trace minerals
Zinc
Copper
Selenium

Zinc is the second most common mineral deficiency.  When people are zinc deficient are able to reestablish thyroid function.

Selenium is deficient in about 50% of people's diets.  This could account for the large number of people with hypothyroid.  Selenium does not help with T4 to T3 conversion in the thyroid gland but it facilitates the conversion in the cells.  Sometimes the blood work shows hormone levels to be normal or even elevated yet there are many low thyroid symptoms.  Often selenium helps in these cases.


Thyroid Hormone Replacement

Thyroid hormone is necessary for each cell to function properly.  If your thyroid is not producing enough hormone for the body's needs it is imperative that thyroid hormone is supplemented.

Most of the mainstream physicians prefer to use synthetic hormones because they can strictly control the dose.  These scripts usually have just T4.

I prefer natural hormone replacement because it is complete with all the thyroid hormones not just T4.  The doses must be within a fairly close range.  My experience shows patients that have negative reactions to the synthetic thyroid hormones do very well with natural hormones.


A word about supplements
Not all supplements are alike.  There are many low cost supplement to be found that are actually very expensive.  Natural supplements are not regulated so often when a particular herb, vitamin, etc. is proven to be helpful with a health issue many companies make a product that has an impressive label but does not have the correct form to be utilized by the body or the correct dose to be helpful.  The only way you can be sure the money you spend is going to improve your health is to do the research to verify the product is in fact up to standard or go to a source you trust to have done the research for you.  This will not be the store clerk.  Some stores that specialize in natural health carry substandard products.  Your doctor's office is the safest bet.  I handle only brands proven to provide supplement that work as expected.

 
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