Friday, May 2, 2014

Thyroid Disorders

Hyperthyroidism & Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland regulates hormones and plays a major role in our basal metabolic rate. When the thyroid is producing an excessive amount of hormones, we call this hyperthyroid. Conversely, low hormone production is known as hypothyroid. Thyroid disorders range from acute inflammation to cancerous growths or complete disintegration of the gland. In any case, most thyroid issues can be properly addressed with nutrition and lifestyle changes to encourage optimum health when discovered and treated early.

Common hyperthyroid disorders include Graves’ disease, toxic adenomas, subacute thyroiditis, pituitary gland malfunction, and cancerous growths. Each of these disorders is marked by abnormal leaks or secretions of thyroid hormones, and can be caused by overexposure to iodine, inflammation due to viral infections (especially after pregnancy), non-cancerous growths on the thyroid/ pituitary/ testes/ ovaries, or excessive thyroid hormone supplementation. Symptoms include, weight loss, increased appetite, problems sleeping, fatigue, frequent bowel movements, goiter (enlarged thyroid), hand tremors, heat intolerance, increased sweating, irregular menses in women, nervousness, and restlessness.

Common hypothyroid disorders include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and chemical thyroid disintegration. Both of these disorders are a direct loss of thyroid function, and result in diminished hormone secretion and total body metabolism function. Hypothyroid can be caused by damage to the thyroid gland by inflammation from a virus or abnormal immune system response. Often hypothyroidsm is due to toxic radiation exposure, or certain medication like Lithium or Amiodarone.  Symptoms include weight gain, constipation, fatigue, heavy menses in women, joint or muscle pain, depression, thin or brittle hair and nails, decreased sense of taste and smell, cold intolerance, hoarseness, puffy hands and feet, slow speech, thickening of skin, and thinning of eyebrows.

Exercise is vital to proper thyroid function, and without it the thyroid gland can become sluggish. Emotions also play a role in the health of the thyroid. Anger, resentment and apathy often effect the body at various levels, with the thyroid often storing these emotions, and resulting in growths or diminished functionality of this gland. Since the thyroid governs metabolism, think of metabolism as not only a physical action. We can metabolize emotions as well, or store them in the body because of resentment, or withheld anger, which can cause stagnation. The thyroid is the closest gland to our throat chakra, the center for expression and communication. Speaking your truth is directly related to the health of this energy center, and all the physical functions in this area. When considering the energetic metaphors for bodily functions, it's no wonder we are mimicking our physical health with our emotional wellbeing.  Keeping this in mind is a great way to prevent and treat physical problems with emotional and spiritual practices. 

Holistic Thyroid Support
Exercise daily for optimum health and thyroid function
Learn to express and detox emotions in a healthy way
Use the mantra: 'Everything works out right for me.' 
Fallow supportive nutritional guidelines for your constitution
Use healing herbs that correspond to your specific needs
Practice connecting daily with your inner guidance in a way that is meaningful to you

Nutritional Support:
s    Cleansing the body from 1-2 weeks on raw and steamed veggies to increase natural thyroid health. This can reduce toxicity and combat virus and inflammation quickly.
s    Clean water to insure adequate hydration, as well as minimal exposure to toxins.
s    A balanced diet with plenty of whole grains and legumes, a variety of vegetables and fruits, minimal meat and dairy, and avoiding all processed foods and sugars.
s    Increasing oxygenation of cells with alkaline and chlorophyll rich foods (or supplementation with liquid chlorophyll) can stimulate cell rejuvenation.
s    Eliminating free-radicals with foods high in antioxidants to prevent cell damage.
s    Eating a diet rich in flavones, especially Apigenin and Luteolin for anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-tumor properties.
s    Proper vitamin and mineral support, especially copper and selenium for stimulating inactive thyroid hormone. Also, vitamin C, iodine, and manganese are needed for proper thyroid hormone production.

Vitamin & Mineral Support
·      Copper-3,000mcg (3mg) daily. Adequate amounts of copper should be found in whole foods, unless one is determined by a blood test to be deficient. Zinc can interfere with copper absorption and should be taken separately. 
·      Selenium-100mcg daily from whole foods to regulate thyroid hormones and increase antioxidant activity.
·      Vitamin C- 50-100mg taken every 4 hours, up to 600-1,000mg daily. May also be taken in the morning with B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.
·      Iodine- Depending on age or pregnancy/lactation, 90-290mcg daily. The average adult can take 150mcg for prevention and general health. Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones.
·      Manganese- 4mg daily from whole food sources for thyroid hormone production.
·      Vitamin B2- 10mg daily from whole foods, or if supplements are needed they can be taken in the morning with a B-complex for metabolism, energy production, anti-inflammatory action.
·      B12- 50mg daily from whole foods, or if supplementation is needed (vegetarians/vegans) it can be taken with calcium and other B-vitamins for best results. Not to be taken at the same time as vitamin-C rich foods or supplements. Needed for thyroid hormone balance.

Other Supportive Nutrition for Thyroid Health
\    Bee Propolis- 500mg daily for anti-inflammatory benefits.
\    Herbs high in apigenin & luteolin: basil, camomile, coriander, Echinacea lea, ginkgo biloba, green tea, licorice root, horehound, horsetail, lemongrass, milk thistle, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, white willow bark, yarrow, spearmint.
\    Bladderwrack- tincture: 40 drops; 3x daily (goiter/overactive thyroid). Dosage can vary according to need to increases fat metabolism when exercising, stimulates thyroid gland, obtain a good source of iodine, and assist goiter/over-sized thyroid.
\    Ashwagandha- As a tincture: 30-40 drops 3x daily/As a capsule: 400-500mg 2x daily used for immunity and antioxidant benefits, hormone function, and stress relief.

Top Food Sources
v Apigenin: parsley, artichokes, rutabega, celery, hot green peppers, peppermint.
v Luteolin: Olive leaves, peppers, artichokes, basil, beets, black beans, Brussels sprouts, celery, green beans, kidney beans, kiwi, lettuce, oranges parsley
v Copper- dried shiitake mushrooms, oysters, crab, crayfish, sesame seeds
v Selenium- Brazil nuts, oysters, tuna, mussels, crab, shrimp, crayfish, tilapia, egg whites, Pollack/walleye, flounder/sole, mushrooms, cod, salmon
v Vitamin C- raw bell peppers, guava, pummelo, kiwi, strawberries
v Iodine- Seaweed, cod, iodized salt, whole baked potato, shrimp, milk, eggs, navy beans, light meat turkey, whole grains
v Manganese- mussels, wheat germ, raw/frozen blackberries, fresh pineapple, cooked spinach, raw okra, dried pine nuts, Whole uncooked oat berries, raspberries, ginger
v B12- clams, salmon, beef, tuna, plain nonfat yogurt

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