“The human body has been designed to resist an infinite number of changes and attacks brought about by its environment. The secret of good health lies in successful adjustment to changing stresses on the body.” – Harry J. Johnson
Thyroid is the most common chronic disease. Women are more likely than men to have thyroid diseases. Many parents are surprised to learn that thyroid problems are now very much common endocrine disorder among school-age kids,which is quite upsetting. The problem lies in our sedentary life style and eating habits. Changing your lifestyle , you can not only improve your thyroid but also can get rid of it.
Many of my clients are suffering from thyroid problem. By simple life style changes and functional approach, with time not only their thyroid functions improved ,they are also back to their normal life and enjoying bountiful health. No more fatigues, constipation, weight gain,joint and muscle pain,puffy face,tiredness….
Before we talk about lifestyle changes by functional and holistic approach ,we need to know a little more about thyroid and its function.
What is thyroid?
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. This gland makes thyroid hormone that travels in your blood to all parts of your body. The thyroid hormone controls your body’s metabolism in many ways, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats.
When your thyroid makes either too much or too little of these important hormones, it’s called a thyroid disease. There are several different types of thyroid disease, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis .
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones. It is also called under active thyroid. This slows down many of your body’s functions, like your metabolism.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. In people with Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid. This attack damages the thyroid so that it does not make enough hormones.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly, often over several years. At first, you may feel tired and sluggish. Later, you may develop other signs and symptoms of a slowed-down metabolism, including:
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain, even though you are not eating more food
- Joint or muscle pain
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Feeling very tired
- Pale, dry skin
- Dry, thinning hair
- Slow heart rate
- Less sweating than usual
- A puffy face
- A hoarse voice
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, causes your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone than your body needs. This speeds up many of your body’s functions, like your metabolism and heart rate.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is a problem with the immune system.At first, you might not notice the signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Symptoms usually begin slowly. But, over time, a faster metabolism can cause symptoms such as:
- Weight loss, even if you eat the same or more food (most but not all people lose weight)
- Eating more than usual
- Pounding of your heart
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Feeling irritable
- Trouble sleeping
- Trembling in your hands and fingers
- Increased sweating
- Feeling hot when other people do not
- Muscle weakness
- Diarrhea or more bowel movements than normal
- Fewer and lighter menstrual periods than normal
- Changes in your eyes that can include bulging of the eyes, redness, or irritation
Hyperthyroidism raises your risk for osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak bones that break easily. In fact, hyperthyroidism might affect your bones before you have any of the other symptoms of the condition.
Problems with the thyroid can be caused by: iodine deficiency.,autoimmune diseases, in which your immune system attacks your own body.
In women thyroid helps control your menstrual cycle. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can make your periods very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease also can cause your periods to stop for several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea. If your body’s immune system causes thyroid disease, other glands, including your ovaries, may be involved. This can lead to early menopause.
You will be happy to learn that you may be able to treat autoimmune thyroid disease naturally by following a functional medicine approach. This means addressing the root cause of your issues and following some dietary and lifestyle strategies,
We look for associated problems such as gluten intolerance, food allergies, and heavy metals, as well as deficiencies of vitamin D, selenium, vitamin A, zinc, and omega-3 fats. Correcting these problems requires an integrative approach. It involves more than simply taking a thyroid pill. As you’ll see, it involves nutritional support, exercise, stress reduction, supplements, reducing inflammation, and sometimes eliminating certain foods and detoxification from heavy metals.
Experiencing a lot of stress, sleeping very little, and eating junk food seems to be the norm in today’s fast-paced world. The problem is that such a lifestyle leads to inflammation and health issues, including autoimmune thyroid disease.
The functional medicine approach to autoimmune thyroid treatment requires dietary changes, adopting some lifestyle strategies, and appropriate supplementation to support your body.
Life style changes and functional approach
“You can’t control what goes on outside, but you CAN control what goes on inside.”
Eliminate the causes of thyroid problems:
Carefully consider things that may interfere with your thyroid function and eliminate them. Diet is a good place to begin.
There are some misleading facts that soy foods and the broccoli family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens) have all been said to cause thyroid dysfunction, but they also have many other health benefits. Research on these foods to date has been less than conclusive. In one study, rats fed high concentrations of soy had problems with their thyroid.
The take-home message: If you are a rat, stay away from tofu. Human studies have shown no significant effect when soy is consumed in normal quantities(Dr Mark Hyman)
Check Gluten sensitivity:
Besides doing the blood test for gluten sensitivity, you can simply eliminate gluten from your diet for three weeks. If your symptoms go away, you have a clue that your system might not like this food. If you want to take this self-test a step further, reintroduce gluten into your diet and see if your symptoms recur. If they do, that is another major clue
Eat Foods That Provide Nutritional Support for Your Thyroid, and Avoid Those That Don’t:
Every step on your road to healing and weight loss depends on proper nutrition and using food to communicate the right information to your genes. Treating your thyroid is no exception. Choose foods that offer nutritional support for your thyroid.
The production of thyroid hormones requires :iodine and omega-3 fatty acids; converting the inactive T4 to the active T3 requires selenium; and both the binding of T3 to the receptor on the nucleus and switching it on require vitamins A and D, as well as zinc.
Thyroid-boosting foods include: seaweed and sea vegetables, which contain iodine. Fish (especially sardines and salmon) contains iodine, omega-3 fats, and vitamin D. Dandelion, mustard, and other dark leafy greens contain vitamin A. Smelt, herring, scallops, Brazil nuts contain selenium and coconut oil contain MCTs namely lauric acid.
Repair Your Gut:
Support your gut with a high fiber-rich and nutrient-dense diet. Eat plenty of probiotic-rich foods, and take probiotic supplements to support your gut flora.
Clean Up Your Diet:
Remove inflammatory foods, such as refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, processed foods, unhealthy fats, gluten, conventional dairy, animal products and any foods to which you may be sensitive. Instead, eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, such as greens, vegetables, fruits, spices ,herbs ,healthy fats and clean protein.
Our modern world is full of toxins that create inflammation and disease in your body. Minimize toxic exposure by using organic and natural cleaning and beauty products, reducing the use of plastics, avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke and spending time in nature.
Regular exercise supports your immune system and overall well-being. Aim to exercise 20 to 30 minutes five times a week and to move your body regularly. Get up and stretch at work. Go for a walk during lunch. Play outdoors with your kids or pets. Exercise stimulates thyroid gland secretion and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormones throughout the body. Ideally, you will want to sweat, and the exercise should be vigorous
Managing your stress levels is absolutely essential for a healthy immune system. Avoid stress as much as possible. Learn skills that help you to react to stressful situations more effectively. Engage in relaxing activities, including yoga, meditation, journaling, breath work, and nature walks. A common form of chronic stress – adrenal gland exhaustion or burnout – particularly becomes dangerous for hypothyroidism. Adrenal gland exhaustion occurs when your adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the physiological needs created by stress. To remedy this chronic stress, incorporate what I call active relaxation
“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” -William Londen
Practice Restorative Sleep Habits Every Night:
Don’t get confused- Recovery with Rest. Recovery is an active process and rest is an passive process. For recovery you need to nourish your body and get mindful restorative sleep. Whereas for rest ,you just need to grab a coffee ,cookies and social media. It’s not necessary, that if you are resting means you are recovering. Getting regular quality sleep is essential for your overall well-being. Make sure to sleep 7 to 8 hours a night. Support your sleep cycle by having a regular bedtime. Develop a relaxing night-time routine that works for you to calm your mind and ease your body before bed. Meditation, journaling, light stretching, and a calming cup of chamomile tea are great ideas.
Use Supplements That Support Your Thyroid:
Key nutrients for healthy thyroid function includes basic supplement recommendations, including a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains selenium, iodine, zinc, vitamins A and D, and omega 3 fats (fish oil).
One warning is that if your adrenal glands are burned out from long-term stress, treating the thyroid without supporting the adrenal glands through relaxation and adaptogenic herbs (such as ginseng, Ashwagandtha (indian ginseng) , or Siberian ginseng) can actually make you feel worse.
“Be your own thyroid warrior”!