Most of you know someone with a thyroid imbalance. Perhaps you have one yourself?
A great majority of the people I'm working with are struggling with this potentially destructive imbalance. How do you know if you have a thyroid imbalance? The Naturopathic methodology is very different than most MD's. As Naturopaths, we look at the body, the symptoms, even the temperament and personality of the individual. Doctors often rely solely on lab results, numbers & scans to help them discern if disease exists. They rarely recommend nutritional support for the thyroid. It is simply not a tool in their toolbox.
Did you know that the test most doctors use to determine thyroid imbalance actually measures a hormone stimulated by the pituitary gland? The thyroid could be out of balance; but if the hormone secreted by the pituitary, (TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone) is within range (a pretty big range too), they will deem your thyroid "normal". Then they begin to look elsewhere. Perhaps your depressed, maybe you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome? So, back to the original question: How do you know if you have a thyroid imbalance?
Here's a list of symtoms, signs & very subtle indicators that you may have a thyroid imbalance:
- inability to express one's thoughts & feelings
- extreme nervousness
- tendency to cry easily & excessively
- cold hands & feet
- no sense of smell
- nerves often twitch & spasm
- breast lumps/ either benign or malignant
- low blood calcium
- problems with metabolism
- unexplained weight gain (hypothyroid imbalance)
- slow heart rate (hypothyroid imbalance)
- sluggish peristalsis resulting in constipation (hypothyroid imbalance)
- low body temperature (hypothyroid imbalance)
- low energy (hypothyroid imbalance)
- puffy skin (hypothyroid imbalance)
- hair loss (hypothyroid imbalance)
- hyperactivity (hyperthyroid imbalance)
- increased heart rate (hyperthyroid imbalance)
- increased peristalsis resulting in diarrhea (hyperthyroid imbalance)
- elevated body temperature (hyperthyroid imbalance)
- weight loss (hyperthyroid imbalance)
- wild emotional swings (hyperthyroid imbalance)
- a very subtle or extreme "bugging out" of the eyes (hyperthyroid imbalance)
- See this link for Dr. Brownsteins complete list of thyroid imbalance symtoms
Sheesh! This seems excessive and this is the short list! Now that you know what the symptom may look like, what can you do about them?
Below is a list of minerals, vitamins, dietary tips & more for supporting the function of your thyroid.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is burned up quickly with hyperthyroidism. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and if taken in a supplement get a Vitamin A from fish oil from a reputable source free of mercury. This formula also has Vitamin D in it which I also recommend for thyroid imbalance.
Essential Oil of Myrtle: Myrtle is an adaptogenic essential oil, used for balancing the thyroid and ovaries. Be sure to get a high quality therapeutic grade essential oil. Young Living makes a Myrtle oil that I used quite a bit last year when I first discovered the imbalance. I believe that it helped expedite the normalizing of my thyroid and ovaries as I saw a change in my menstrual cycle almost immediately. Please let me know if your interested in ordering some. I really like it's earthy aroma too. Apply just under the base of the big toe for the thyroid reflex point. See the photo below for the exact location of the Thyroid Reflex Point.
Sodium: Sodium is one of the basic minerals that helps our body function. I talk about sodium alot but I'm not referring to table salt. The only salt that is perfectly assimilated by the body is the organic mineral sodium found in abundance in fruits and veggies. Organic in this sense doesn't not mean pesticide free salt (haha); it means that the plants have already done the work for us breaking down minerals from the soil to create a form of nutrition that is perfectly designed for our benefit. Sodium (Na) found in carrots, beets, celery and more can do wonders for the body and can help bring the thyroid back to balance faster. Juice it up!
Potassium: Potassium is really important as well. It's a glandular element. It helps to keep sodium in balance by mitigating the damage of too much table salt. This is also important as the iodine in table salt is part of what is contributing to our iodine imbalance. This iodine is not a good source for us nutritionally.
Potassium should be consumed in foods like water cress, olives, and potato peelings. 60% of the potassium in a potato is in the peel- so leave those peels on! Potato soup with peels is an excellent way to get your potassium. You can't beat it in cold weather! Check out my Potato Soup with the Peels Recipe here.
One last thing about potassium. If your trying to get a good source of potassium, avoid eating bananas everyday. I know this seems counter intuitive but I consistently see people that eat alot of bananas potassium deficient. Bananas are not a good source of local minerals for us up in cold country. Check out my Bananas Blog Post.
Chlorine: Chlorine is a word that evokes memories of mopping the floor at Subway when I was in high school. But Chlorine is actually an element that we need as a nutrient found in many nutritious foods. Chlorine (and it's partner potassium) help to regulate the purging of impurities, germs, and other waste materials. It is found in carrots and celery and are in part why these are such cleansing and beneficial vegetables for digestion and health. Raw Goat's milk is another really important source of Chlorine. Chlorine is a component of HCL (hydrochloric acid), which is vital for break down of food and assimilation of all other nutrients. Everything is connected!
Magnesium: Let's just say, I'm a fan of Magnesium. It's a mineral that most of us don't get enough of, it is intricately linked to all other mineral, keeping them in balance. Magnesium makes the tissue soft, relaxed, and slows the aging processes. Magnesium citrate should be taken for those with chronic pain.
Selenium: Selenium is an important glandular mineral for supporting thyroid function. Just 5 or 6 raw brazilian nuts per day supply the amount of selenium that is needed. They are a delicious and healthy snack. Make sure that they are raw. They is available in most health food stores. The Selenium at the link is combined with Vitamin D3 which is important for the body to assimilate Vitamin A. Adequate Vitamin A is vital for thyroid imbalance.
Iodine: The most important mineral here for thyroid health is iodine. Iodine is what the thyroid needs to function, the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones secreted are comprised in part of the iodine molecule. It is vitally important that individuals with hyper or hypo thyroid to consume iodine in foods and in the most absorbable liquid nutrient possible. My top three choices are black walnut tincture, dulse, and liquid iodine from my source (the one that I take, I get it from school).
Let me talk about why these are good & how they are different.
Black Walnut tincture: Easy to buy, easier (and cheaper) to make at home, black walnut hulls are those crazy gigantic green globes that you see here in late summer on trees everywhere in Michigan. You'll know them when you them as below the tree come late September they litter the grass. To handle them, your hands will turn black. That is iodine! Check out my black walnut tincture photo album to learn how to make this at home. This is by far the cheapest option if you make it at home.
Black Walnut is rich in iodine, which feeds the thyroid. Many people experience dramatic changes quickly when they begin giving their thyroid what they need.
Dulse: Dulse is liquid sea vegetable. Sea vegetables are all rich in iodine but this is relatively inexpensive and easy to add to your morning juice or smoothie. Dulse is great, but if your pH is really acidic or alkaline (more rare), than you won't absorb this form easily.
Liquid Iodine: This is my own personal source of liquid iodine. I get it for myself and my clients. This is the ideal iodine for the person that doesn't assimilate minerals well. No matter what the health of the body is or how far the pH is off the map. It is the most absorbable iodine available. 2 drops daily lasts almost an entire year. Email me at email@example.com for info on how to order.
Check Pituitary Health: Making sure that the pituitary is functioning properly will ensure that it's communication to the thyroid is being heard loud and clear! If you have the ability to see a good Naturopath, they can use muscle response testing to discern the strength of that connection. This is ideal. If you find that the pituitary connection to the thyroid is not strong, I would recommend support for the pituitary. This product from Good Herbs is great. HPA-JA It supports the adrenals, the liver, the pituitary and the hypothalamus. Click this link to order this and other Good Herbs Products at a discount.
Homeopathic Cell Salts: Cell salts are minerals that are prepared homeopathically. These are GREAT for really sensitive individuals, people with poor mineral absorption and those that can't afford 10 supplements! They are inexpensive homeopathics that will help your body begin to use minerals properly again.
Calc fluor: Calc fluor is really important as it helps to remove the build up of excess fluorides in the body. We all have excess fluorides in our bodies. It's an industrial pollutant put in the water supply, it is in toothpaste and mouth wash and even floss! High heat cooking with teflon also exposes us to toxic fluorides. They give off a chemical known as PFIB, which is fatally toxic. Fluorides are not our friends. They are endocrine disruptor and should be avoided (by everyone) but especially those who are battling thyroid imbalance. Check out my term paper on Fluorides destructive past and present in the US (one of the few countries of the world that still fluoridate).
Nat mur: Nat mur is the cell salt know for promoting sodium balance in the body. We already covered the importance of sodium from our foods. This cell salt will help insure balance of water and salt in the body and therefore impact many nutrients in a positive way. Should be used for 2 weeks at a time only. 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off.
Silica: Silica acts as an insulator for nerves, tissue and glands. Silica has the ability to help drive out wastes from the body, helping to keep the glands free of toxic elements. Silica is excellent for hair, joints, skin and supports detoxification.
Calc Phos: Calc phos is a nutritional building block and supportive to healthy cellular activity. This alone makes it important for thyroid health. Calc phos is wonderful for the bones as well.
Got a Green Thumb? Add Kelp to your Soil! Those of you that love to grow things, this is a great tip for you with thyroid imbalance. Our soil (here in Michigan anyway) is not a rich source of iodine as we are far from the iodine rich waters of the Atlantic. A 10-20lb bag of kelp to the rescue! Dump this into your soil with composted material to create a soil rich in iodine, which will then produce vegetables rich in iodine.
Avoid Soy of any kind: Soy as you may know already disrupts the uptake of iodine. For the thyroid this is NO good! Check all packaged foods to see that they are soy free (it's in everything). Also lookout for tofu, tempeh, edamame (all of these are made from soy). Soy is terribly processed unless it's fermented. Fermented soy is the only truly nutritional way to ingest it. Check out this link at The Soy Deception.com for more info.
Pancreas Must be Supported: Many individuals that start out with hyperthyroidism had blood sugar imbalance prior to that. Whether you realized it or not! Sugar imbalance can be as simple as "feeling a little shakey" or "irritable" when your hungry.
One of the it's jobs is to produce insulin to effectively put sugar in it's place (your cells). Supporting the pancreas with foods like blue berries, kiwi, and veggies like bitter greens, yams and raw garlic is also wonderful. Herbs like fenugreek and stevia (as in the leaf herb) are also helpful.
Avoid Fluoride: I know that I touched on this prior in the post and for some of you this will go against everything you know about dental health. Bottom line, fluoride is a compound that disrupts endocrine function and if your trying to take back your thyroid, you don't need this influence. Tom's makes fluoride free toothpaste. I would recommend buying it online so you don't get sticker shock at the health food store. Check to see if your local water supply is fluoridated. If this is so, getting reverse osmosis water from a local co-op or health food store for cooking and drinking is recommended for best results. Also using the homeopathic cell salt Calc fluor as prior mentioned.
Lastly, Practice Expressing Yourself Verbally: This is one of the lesser known of thyroid imbalance symptoms. The inability to express one's self. This is something that I have struggled with for years, but now I'm finally finding my voice. I encourage you to find yours. Any sort of public speaking or even vocalizing yourself with Karaoke! Singing louder in church also counts! Make a joyful noise onto the world! The energy center of the throat is affected by your verbal self-expression so, express yourself! :)
WELL, that was alot of typing! If you're still reading well than bless your tenacity! This is everything I know about supporting, nourishing and healing the thyroid gland. My suggestions are just that, suggestions. If your on thyroid medication and you want to get off the meds, you CAN do it! Part of the challenge is believing that our bodies can heal. If you believe that your body can heal itself through nutrition and natural means, this is half the battle. Elimination of medicines for the thyroid will take willingness, time and patience to do so.
When you have a thyroid it's much easier to get it healthy again than trying to function without one. Please bear this in mind if the doctor is trying to use radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid. Please reach out to me for an appointment if your in the Lansing, Michigan area at firstname.lastname@example.org for a personal Natural Health consultation.
Thanks for reading!