What organ in your body controls all of these important things for you: heart and breathing rate, whether you gain or lose weight, your body temperature? The thyroid gland, just below your Adam’s apple, has a hand in all these essential functions. If you just never feel right the problem may be with your thyroid. Read on to learn how your thyroid gland affects your health.
How your thyroid works
Your thyroid performs it’s role of regulation by manufacturing thyroid hormones called T-3 and T-4 for short. The thyroid releases them into your bloodstream, which takes them throughout your body. Another gland, called the pituitary gland, tells your thyroid how much of these hormones your body needs. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-does-thyroid-do
Symptoms of low thyroid function: Hypothyroidism
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory.
Symptoms of overactive thyroid function: Hyperthyroidism
If your thyroid gland makes too much hormones T3 and T4 you can suffer symptoms of Hyper-thyroid disease:
- Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and the amount and type of food you eat remain the same or even increase
- Increased appetite
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute
- irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
- Nervousness, anxiety and irritability,
- Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
- Changes in menstrual patterns
- Increased sensitivity to heat,
- Changes in bowel patterns, (especially more frequent bowel movements)
- An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
- muscle weakness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Skin thinning
- Fine, brittle hair.
People with hyperthyroidism look hyper, shaky, have thin hair and bulging eyes.
What to do to help your thyroid work correctly
Blood tests are the best way to check if you think you have either hypo or hyper thyroid function. Doctors often only look at the hormone from the pituitary gland that tells the thyroid what to do, called TSH for thyroid stimulating hormone. But if you suffer from a number of the above symptoms, a more complete thyroid panel blood test gives more information.
If you measure both TSH and T4 levels you can find out information such as: If your T4 is low and the TSH is high or normal, then the problem is located in the thyroid itself.
And if T4 is normal but TSH is decreased, then the problem is in the pituitary gland that makes the TSH.
And if the T4 and T3 hormone levels are not in the correct balance, there may be a problem of a nutritional deficiency .
The reason why medical doctors only test for TSH is because they are only going to try to treat you with a one hormone replacement drug like levoxyl. The problem is that levoxyl will not help everyone, particularly those people whose problem is not a shortage of T4 but a problem based on nutrition.
Nutrients your thyroid needs
Your thyroid gland needs a good supply of iodine from the diet to make its hormones.
And your body requires essential fatty acids from your diet to absorb the iodine that your thyroid needs.
Your body also needs adequate proteins to make the various thyroid hormones.
If you have a hyperthyroid problem, drinking too much caffeine or eating too much white sugar/flour foods will cause increase of the free T3 hormone causing an increase in your already increased metabolism.
You also need the important mineral selenium to convert the T4 thyroid hormone to the active T3 form for your body to use. http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/selenium-thyroid-health/
People low in selenium will suffer low thyroid symptoms. Selenium also helps with fighting autoimmune thyroid diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (low thyroid function) or Grave’s disease (high thyroid function).
We help our patients by educating them about nutritional approaches to thyroid problems and how they can help themselves to regain proper function through thyroid nutrition and supplementation. Because sometimes that is the only way to get back to feeling good and being healthy once again.