Supporting Thyroid Health Naturally
The thyroid gland, located in the base of your neck, is a tiny gland responsible for many important functions in your body. It primarily controls your metabolism, which isn’t just about maintaining a healthy weight. If your metabolism is off, you are unable to properly regulate your body temperature, have restful sleep, or manage stress and anxiety. It can also make you feel either overly exhausted or completely wired, depending on the type dysfunction. The bottom line is that when your thyroid isn’t working well, you feel pretty lousy.
A few signs that your thyroid might be off include those mentioned above such as inability to regulate body temperature, sleep problems, exhaustion, irritability, and unexplained weight changes. Additionally, your heart rate may be too high or too low. You may experience swelling of the neck around the thyroid area and excessive hair loss.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, first the step if is to have a blood test to determine what is wrong. Some thyroid conditions require medical treatment and that does need to be addressed as soon as possible. But, while you wait for your results there is a lot you can do to naturally support the health of the thyroid.
Thyroid Health and Nutrition
The first step to improving thyroid health with diet is to address any digestive issues you may have. Yes, the digestive system may seem far away from the thyroid, but they are intricately connected. Gut dysfunction can throw off the body’s entire hormonal system, including thyroid hormones. In addition, a poorly functioning digestive system can trigger an autoimmune attack of the thyroid.
The first step to gut repair is to determine if you have any food sensitivities or intolerances. Gluten and dairy are primary culprits when it comes to triggering gut issues. You may or may not be aware of your sensitivity to these foods, but eliminating them for 30 days can help you identify if they are impacting your digestion and in turn your thyroid health.
The second step is to support your thyroid by adding in foods high in nutrients the thyroid needs. These include fermented foods high in probiotics, such as miso, yogurt, and Kombucha. Certain animal foods, specifically fish and red meat, are high in selenium and certain B-vitamins that support thyroid health. You also want to add in foods high in vitamin A, which is needed to activate thyroid hormones. These include organ meats and orange-colored vegetables.
Eliminating foods that are impacting gut health, while adding foods to support your thyroid function can help keep your thyroid humming along.
Supplements for Your Thyroid
Several supplements can also be added to your regimen to support thyroid health. A few to start with include:
- Vitamin D. A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to thyroid dysfunction.
Dose: 1000 IU per day.
- Omega-3 Fats. Help lower inflammation in the thyroid, boosting function.
Dose: 1000 mg per day of fish oil with EPA/DHA.
- Vitamin B-complex. Vitamin B deficiency has been linked to thyroid disease.
Dose not specified, products vary.
- Magnesium. Plays a role in converting thyroid hormones.
Dose: 300-500 mg/day. Add it in slowly as it can cause diarrhea.
With any dietary supplements, always ask a doctor before taking them, particularly if you are on medications for your thyroid.
Lifestyle Changes for Thyroid Health
Supporting the health of your thyroid also involves lifestyle changes. Stress management is critical to keep thyroid hormones well-balanced. Exercise, yoga, meditation, and daily relaxation techniques can all help keep stress under control.
Reducing your toxic load from chemicals, plastics, and environmental toxins can also help your thyroid. Look for cleaning and personal products that are non-toxic. Try to reduce the use of plastic containers to decrease your exposure. Although it’s not possible to eliminate all toxic exposures, you can still try to reduce it.
With a few diet changes, supportive supplements, and lifestyle modifications you can naturally support and improve the health of your thyroid.