Would you know what any of the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction are?
Do you know what can cause the most common thyroid problems?
What actions can you take to help improve your thyroid health naturally?
Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to any of these questions. We have looked at the 11 most common questions about thyroid health, exercise, nutrition symptoms and solutions so you can regain control of your health.
What causes thyroid problems?
The causes of thyroid problems are complex and it’s often not possible to pinpoint a single trigger. However, we do know that disruptions to the endocrine system can result in dysfunctions in thyroid hormone production and conversion. Chronic stress, whether physical or emotional, appears to slow down the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone to its active form, resulting in decreased thyroid function. Conditions such as Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease are common forms of thyroid dysfunction.
What vitamins are good for thyroid health?
Nutrient deficiencies can interrupt the process that controls the secretion and conversion of thyroid hormones. These include zinc, which tends to occur in high amounts in oysters, red meat, poultry, legumes and some nuts.
Vitamin E also appears to increase levels of T3 and T4 and is typically found in sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, beet greens, collard greens, spinach, pumpkin, red bell pepper.
Selenium acts as a crucial catalyst to convert inactive T4 to biologically active T3 and protect thyroid cells from oxidative damage. Selenium commonly occurs in Brazil nuts, tuna, oysters, pork, beef, chicken, tofu, whole wheat pasta, shrimp, and mushrooms.
If your diet is deficient in any of these vitamins and micronutrients, it may be beneficial to supplement.
Is exercise good for an underactive thyroid?
This depends on the type and volume of the exercise you perform. As thyroid issues are often triggered or exacerbated by stress, high amounts of high-intensity cardio may do more harm than good. However, low-impact activity is a highly effective means of increasing your output while providing minimal stress to the body. Resistance training has also been shown to improve our ability to adapt to stressors. Of course, activities you enjoy, like dancing or yoga, will be incredibly beneficial too!
What are the common symptoms of thyroid issues?
The symptoms for an under- or over-active thyroid differ as one refers to excess production of thyroid hormone while another indicates a lack of thyroid output. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include difficulty sleeping and disturbed sleep, anxiety, dramatic weight loss, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, the feeling of overheating and sweating (beyond normal levels).
Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include muscle pain, slow wound healing, fatigue, weight gain, depression, constipation, high cholesterol, low body temperature, thinning facial and body hair, dry skin, brittle nails, alopecia, cold extremities, and low morning temperature.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should refer to your doctor.
What causes an underactive thyroid?
Underactive thyroid can be triggered by numerous factors, so it’s not possible to determine the exact cause without medical testing. However, chronic stress and obesity (which is an inflammatory state that adds stress to the body) have been shown to have a negative impact on thyroid output.
What is the difference between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?
‘Hyper-’ refers to the overproduction of a particular hormone whereas ‘hypo-’ refers to the underproduction of a particular hormone. As a result, hyperthyroidism refers to overproduction of thyroid hormones, whereas hypothyroidism refers to underproduction or decreased conversion of thyroid hormones.
How can I keep my thyroid healthy?
If you have concerns about your thyroid, it’s important you refer to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Thyroid conditions usually require specialist medical care, so it’s important you don’t self-diagnose or treat.
However, we know that lifestyle modification can go a long way to maximising your metabolic health. Minimising stress on the body, through stress management and improved sleep are vital. Likewise, it’s also important to restrict periods of harsh, super low-carb dieting.
Gut health may also play an important role in thyroid output, so reducing your intake of inflammatory foods, eating a diet rich in fibre and healthy fats and ensuring proper hydration are all key steps.
Supplements can help to plug any nutritional gaps and to reduce stress. For example our Inflammation Support contains ashwagandha, resveratrol and longvida curcumin, all known to be powerful anti-inflammatories.
What is the best diet for hypothyroidism?
There is not necessarily a ‘best’ diet for improving thyroid issues but it is important to limit your intake of inflammatory food products such as highly processed foods and trans fats. Consuming a diet that is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as nuts, avocado and oily fish, alongside plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will go a long way to improving symptoms over the longer term.
What foods should I avoid if I have hyperthyroidism?
There is a higher incidence of coeliac disease in people who have Grave’s disease (a form of hyperthyroidism). Gluten can also cause disruptions to the tight junctions between the cells lining the digestive system, resulting in gut permeability and increased systemic inflammation. As a result, it may be best to cut out gluten-containing foods if you have hyperthyroidism.
There is also evidence that excessive intake of iodine may trigger hypothyroidism in older adults or those with pre-existing thyroid problems. Be mindful of iodine-fortified foods such as salt, breads, and some dairy products. Foods that are naturally high in iodine include white fish such as haddock and cod, seaweed and kelp.
Can thyroid problems be cured permanently?
All thyroid problems can be treated but whether than can be completely ‘cured’ depends on your specific diagnosis and the cause. In some cases, patients may require life-long treatment. However, lifestyle changes alongside medication can go a long way to improving symptoms. Your healthcare provider will be best placed to comment on your diagnosis and the most suitable treatments for you.
What are common thyroid diseases?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune dysfunction where the body produces abnormal antibodies that target the thyroid gland cells. These antibodies mimic the hormones sent by the pituitary and bind to the receptors of the thyroid gland, resulting in increased energy output.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body to produce antibodies that attack and damage the thyroid gland. This lowers overall thyroid function, leading to hypothyroidism. If left untreated, it can lead to severe problems, including the common symptoms of hypothyroid and complications during pregnancy for women. Hashimoto’s is more common among women than men. Those with type I diabetes, anaemia, B-12 deficiencies, arthritis and celiac disease are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s.