Thyroid issues seem to be on the rise. Most approach the thyroid like it is “the” problem and therefore giving it some key nutrients will solve the problem.
The truth of the matter is that for most people with thyroid issues, the lack of thyroid nutrients is not the problem.
The problem is that many other systems in the body affect how we produce and use thyroid hormones:
· Excess cortisol from the adrenals can lower thyroid function
· The liver helps convert T4 to T3 (our active thyroid hormone) and plays a key role in affecting metabolism
· The gut bacteria also help convert T4 to T3. Gut bacteria also exert influence on the HPT axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid) which is the main signalling pathway for the production of thyroid hormones
· Excess insulin adversely affects thyroid function again by influencing the HPT axis
The thyroid’s relationship with the liver, the adrenals, the gut and the pancreas is important and these areas must be supported to help the thyroid. This is not usually part of most thyroid protocol and may explain why so many people fail to see an improvement even when they are prescribed thyroid medications.
So what can you do for your thyroid?
First, you have to reduce stress and support the adrenals. Adaptogens such as maca root powder and schisandra powder can be worked into recipes. Ashwaghanda, holy basil or licorice tea can all be consumed throughout the day. Also, developing a routine that can reduce stress and allow for proper relaxation is important.
Lowering stress will also help prevent blood sugar swinging up and down and prevent high insulin. Eating small meals throughout the day as well as consuming many foods good for the gut, adrenals and liver will all play a role in keeping blood sugar stable. Limit your consumption of coffee to a minimum.
Eat thyroid foods such as foods containing iodine like sea vegetables (nori, kelp, or dulse), fish and seafood, nuts, coconut oil, selenium rich foods like Bresil nuts, Shitake mushrooms and meat.
Eat liver-friendly foods such as kale, broccoli, garlic, onions, turmeric, apples, beets, lemon, limes and artichokes.
Consume plenty of fiber, probiotic and prebiotic foods to feed the gut and help it function as its best.
A good thyroid protocol is not hard to accomplish. With the help of a qualified naturopath, you can eat your way to better thyroid function and hopefully, have some relaxing fun along the way.