In this episode, you will learn about why that pesky thyroid isn't doing its job and how you can fix it.
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- 7 Day Spark
- Eating with Intention
- Wellness Circle
- Meditation Guide
- Essential Oils 101
- Submit a Question for the Show
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Natural Help for Hypothyroidism
What is hypothyroid or hypothyroidism (aka low thyroid)?
Hypothyroidism is frequently called low thyroid. About 20 million people in the US have diagnosed thyroid troubles, and about 60-70 million people have thyroid troubles and they don’t even know it! There are 2 main categories of thyroid troubles, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). There are other types of thyroid issues of course, but those 2 are most common. Hypothyroidism occurs more frequently than the overactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the crucial hormones like T3 and T4. These two little hormones can have a big impact on all functions of your metabolism, your vital function control, mental health, fertility, and many other issues.
One of the main functions of T3 and T4 is to travel through your bloodstream and convert oxygen + calories into energy. This energy is critical for mood regulation, cognitive functions, digestive processes, and a healthy sex drive. Underactive thyroid often goes undetected in the early stages, for lots of reasons, but we will dig into that in a minute.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism literally causes the body to slow down. The result is generally weight gain, brain fog, and some serious sluggishness come into play. There are lots of symptoms of hypothyroidism, but here are few of the common ones:
- Lethargy (call it lethargy, call it fatigue, it's very low motivation - especially for movement)
- Moodiness (anxiety)
- Always feeling cold
- Dry skin (sometimes hair too)
- Brain fog (difficulty concentrating/forgetfulness)
- Unexplained weight gain
- Digestive troubles
- Generalized weakness
With all these symptoms...why does underactive thyroid go undetected?
When you go to your allopathic doc and tell him you think you have a Thyroid problem, they generally run a TSH blood test. That’s all fine and good, but it's NOT enough to diagnose you accurately OR prescribe medication for thyroid OR determine the thyroid is or isn’t causing you grief. False negatives and positives can be caused by illness, anti-lipid drugs, antidepressants, caffeine (hello morning cup of joe), and NSAIDs. The tests you need to run to diagnose a thyroid disorder: TSH, Total T4, Free T4, Free and Reverse T3, AND Thyroid Antibodies. The Thyroid Antibody test is crucial, you can actually see changes about 10 years BEFORE physical symptoms.
What causes thyroid troubles?
In the simplest of terms, the thyroid just isn’t producing enough T3, T4, or both. Here in the states, the most common cause of hypothyroid conditions is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the thyroid gland because it thinks its an invader. This is called an autoimmune response. This autoimmune response interferes with the normal production of T3 and T4 as well as the body’s ability to put it to use.
Worldwide, the number 1 cause of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. This is usually a result of not being able to absorb iodine in the body related to a damaged gut.
What that means for you, if you or one of your peeps is suffering from low thyroid function, is that it highly likely it is all related to your gut. Crazy right?
That being said, there are some cases where it's not lack of iodine but actually heavy metal toxicity from things like mercury. You get this from your amalgam fillings and from vaccines, these things have an affinity for the thyroid and can disrupt your hormone balance and thyroid function.
There are a few things increase your risk of thyroid troubles:
- Nutrient deficiencies: specifically iodine, b-vitamins, selenium, and zinc deficiency
- Diet consisting of processed foods, sugar, unhealthy fats, too much caffeine, too much alcohol
- Skipping sleep
- Emotional stress
- Poor gut health
- Reactions to medications
- Genetic predisposition
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Toxicity due to chemical exposure in your daily life
Now that you know the cause, the question becomes how long are we going to let what is hurting us, continue to haunt us.
Conventional Hypothyroid Treatments
The conventional treatment for low thyroid continues to be medication. Specifically, a medication called levothyroxine. Levothyroxine is a synthetic thyroid hormone that goes by many different brand names, there are even some new formulations on the market.
The dosage for levothyroxine is often difficult to nail down the dosage and takes lots of checking and tweaking as you bounce between symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Many of the effects (side effect is what manufacturers call them - but they are just effects) of the drug are the same as the symptoms themselves, plus you can add excessive sweating, heat sensitivity, tremors, temporary hair loss, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Sounds fun right?
Holistic Treatment Options for Hypothyroidism
I always like to share the conventional options to try and meet everyone where they are. If you are suffering from the symptoms of hypothyroidism or have been diagnosed, then you need help. My job isn’t to tell you which path to take but only provide you the map for both so that you know what options are available for you and what they mean for you. Maybe what you need right now is to get rid of the symptoms with as little effort as possible and that is a-okay, but if what you need is to heal your thyroid then I am here to help you navigate that path.
A word about diagnosis: The symptoms of thyroid disorders can be the same or similar to lots of other disease processes. If you think you have a thyroid disorder, or if the symptoms you have become debilitating, then go to your doc and ask them to run the proper lab work. You may need to tell them, you want the full panel TSH, Total T4, Free T4, Free and Reverse T3, AND Thyroid Antibodies along with any other standard blood work they recommend. Then once you have your diagnosis, we can work together to find your root cause and begin to heal.
The healing path starts with diet and lifestyle, no matter the root cause of your thyroid issue. Did you know that diet and lifestyle changes are 80% more effective than prescription medication to relieve your thyroid issues?
For most, the answer is simple, plant-based, way fewer carbohydrates, moderate protein (4-8 oz per day) and plenty of healthy healthy fats. For others, it may not be quite so simple a little extra testing may be required in the form of a Food Sensitivity Test (either blood or hair depending on a few factors.)
It’s also important to get enough of those vitamins minerals you may be deficient in, but if you have gut troubles (most of us do) then you may have trouble absorbing what you are putting in your body. Increase your iodine-rich foods with plenty of sea veggies and wild-caught fish. Add more selenium to your diet with Brazil nuts, spinach, and grass-fed beef liver. Same with zinc and B vitamins, be sure you are eating grass-fed animal proteins and pastured eggs. And sprinkle this with a healthy heaping dose of anti-inflammatory plants like brussels sprouts, pistachios, mushrooms, and asparagus.
We’ve talked about this many times, stress has a physical effect on your body. So if you are under a lot of emotional or physical stress your body is living in a constant “fight-or-flight” situation causing elevated adrenaline and cortisol. This has a lot of negative effects but some of them are increased blood pressure, increased inflammatory proteins, and increased immune suppressing antibodies that damage the thyroid glands.
The best thing to do is to tackle the cause of your stress. Use multiple methods to reduce stress, consider your stress level an emergency.
Meditation: This isn’t a new concept and science has widely determined that meditation helps literally every aspect of being human. It can be intimidating though, so I do recommend my free meditation guide.
Sleep: Get 7-9 hours of sleep every single night. This happens when you are free of caffeine for 6 hours before bed, free of screens for 1 hour before bed, your room is cool (68 degrees) and dark, and you are all oiled up with relaxing essential oils like Lavender or Peace and Calming diffusing or on your toe tips and reflex points.
Crystals: Thyroid is a throat chakra issue. Any blue crystal is perfect for throat chakra balancing and support. The thyroid itself is such a big part of the physical energy and energetic system that this is not one to ignore. Some of my favorite to work with for the thyroid include Blue Apatite and Chrysocolla.
Movement: My biggest recommendation here is yoga but any movement will do. I would start with a gentle or restorative practice and then as your symptoms improve your fog will lift and you can move on to more rigorous practices and exercise if you like. If you want to dip your toe in to yoga from the comfort of your home my online yoga studio is coming soon!
Energy Medicine: Interestingly, there is a minor gateway for all 7 chakras of the body right over your thyroid gland. The simplest way to start to shift the energy here is to open then gently by touching your neck vertically and pulling in opposite directions. I have included the video here, if you want to skip to that part, it starts about 16:00 if you want to skip right to it.
Reduce Toxin Exposure
Toxins and chemicals in our environment and ingested contribute to leaky gut and overall inflammation in the body. Make sure you are checking labels, it's not just your medications but other products like commercial beauty products, cleaning products, toiletry products (toothpaste, deodorant), everything you come in contact with is either adding to or taking away from your health. Use natural, plant-based products as much as possible in addition to cleaning up your nutrition. If you would like to learn more about getting toxins out of your home, check out my freebie eCourse, Essential Oils 101.
I am hesitant to recommend supplements too heavily here because it can be a very delicate issue. So instead I want you to focus on supplements that reduce inflammation. The basics, omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamin d3+k2. Additionally, adaptogenic herbs can help such as ashwagandha, rhodiola. Adaptogenic mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps, and chaga are also beneficial.
Support your endocrine system by using Endoflex, a blend of Spearmint, Geranium, and a few other oils topically to your toe tips daily.
So let’s do a quick recap.
To wrap this up, I ask you again, now that you know the cause, how long will you let it haunt you? If you are suffering from low thyroid troubles here are the deets:
- Get the facts. Get the testing done necessary to know what's going on.
- Nutrition - get rid of processed foods increase your plants and good plants
- Stress Relief: meditation, crystals, sleep, movement - in whatever combo you can do.
- Reduce Toxin exposure: ick chemical toxins to the curb, now that you know better you can do better for you and your family
- Add beneficial supplements like omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamin d3+k2, and adaptogens
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