This endocrine gland sits in the throat and is responsible for our metabolism, growth and mental development.
Parathyroid glands situated on the thyroid gland are responsible for regulating calcium in the blood and this impacts on muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve impulses.
If the thyroid is out of balance, you can experience hyper or hypothyroid symptoms.
The thyroid needs many nutrients in order to function efficiently and a deficiency in any one of these, may affect thyroid hormone production.
Insulin resistance and excess levels of oestrogen can lower thyroid function.
Other causes of thyroid disorders may be anti-bodies that cause the body to attack the thyroid gland and two examples of these are Grave’s Disease causing hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease, causing hypothyroidism. These are auto-immune disorders.
There are many triggers that can cause an auto-immune reaction and these can be foods, toxins, chemicals, infections or stress which all cause increased inflammation.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) can be weight gain/inability to lose weight; low energy/fatigue; hair loss/loss of ends of eyebrows; dry skin; sensitivity to cold; cold hands and feet; prolonged menstruation; infertility; lymphodema.
Even slightly low thyroid hormone levels can cause an increase in cholesterol and triglycerides.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overstimulation of thyroid gland) are; hyperactivity; weight loss/inability to gain weight; irritability; nervousness; fast pulse/arrhythmias; excessive heat; perspiration; insomnia; less frequent menstruation; separation of nails from nail bed; bulging eyes; goitre in throat.
Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by tumours.
NUTRIENTS NEEDED BY THE THYROID:
Iodine – low levels of iodine can result in Cretinism in infants or Myxoedema in elderly people.
Certain foods can prevent the update of iodine and these are called goitrons. Cabbage, turnips, soy beans, peanuts, pine nuts and millet can affect the thyroid if eaten on a regular basis and especially if raw.
Tyrosine is an amino acid found abundantly in meat and dairy products.
Tyrosine is also used rapidly by the adrenals when you are under stress and this leaves a deficiency for the thyroid.
Zinc can also be hi-jacked by the adrenals. Managing stress is the first line of action to prevent low thyroid function.
Selenium is needed to convert T4 to T3. It helps lower thyroid anti-bodies. It is an anti-oxidant also needed for the immune system.
Low iron levels also affect the production of thyroid hormones and whenever there is inflammation in the body from injury or infection, iron levels can drop by as much as 40%. This will have a temporary inhibiting effect on the thyroid. People who suffer from anaemia will need to bear in mind that this will ultimately affect their thyroid as well and the root cause is low iron, not thyroid support.
B vitamins are needed for efficient thyroid function and these are depleted rapidly by stress.
Vitamin D – low levels of vitamin D increase the chance of auto-immune disorders and it is a good idea to check your levels and supplement if necessary.
Low levels of iodine, tyrosine, zinc, selenium, iron and B vitamins.
Stress will high-jack all of these nutrients as they are also used by the adrenals and used in bucket loads when stress levels are high or chronic. Cortisol affects T3 levels and they become inactive.
Insulin Resistance – caused by chronic cortisol levels, affects the thyroid.
Excessive levels of Estrogen will affect the thyroid so it is important to balance hormones to prevent thyroid disorders which impact on fertility.
Inflammation will lower iron levels as well attack the thyroid gland which may lead to auto-immune disorders such as Grave’s or Hashimoto’s.
FLOURIDE – found in water, toothpaste and certain medications will affect the thyroid. Check your medication. Flouridated water is a dangerous option for those with low thyroid production.
BROMINE is a chemical that is used as an additive in commercially made bread and many other products and as a flame retardant in clothing, carpets and furniture. Those individuals who are sensitive to chemicals will find this added load of bromine might affect their thyroid.
Mercury – which can be found in amalgam fillings or even larger fish with high levels of mercury such as salmon or tuna and many other sources.
WHO MIGHT BE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THYROID DISORDERS?
O Blood group generally have a greater tendency to low thyroid production and need to make sure they get adequate levels of iodine from their diet and look to supplementing with kelp which is highly beneficial for their blood type.
O blood group are very sensitive to gluten, especially the protein gliadin and with the intake of gluten in refined flour products with our current lifestyle, this is extremely inflammatory and can trigger auto- immune reactions to the thyroid.
O blood group use up B vitamins rapidly by the adrenals and for carbohydrate metabolism, therefore, making it important to supplement with a B complex to ensure all the needs are met and there are no deficiencies.
Blood group A, often have low stomach acid which is needed for adequate absorption of minerals. Stomach acid is needed for absorption of B12 and iron and this leaves A blood group more prone to anaemias and low levels of selenium and zinc, etc.
Hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) is needed for digestion of protein and once again, A blood group will generally not digest protein well and the amino acid Tyrosine will not be abundant.
If an A blood type has thyroid symptoms, it will be a good idea to first ensure that their multi vitamin or supplements include these essential nutrients.
Inherited thyroid weakness – which can be seen in your eyes and diagnosed with Iridology.
Some individuals may have a sign in the thyroid gland topography of the iris and this is an inherited weakness which will need to be supported and monitored.
There are particular Dispositions/pattern that may also be evident in the iris and these will have an inherent nervous system weakness with weaker adrenals and thyroid glands.
The first picture shows a small petal at 9.00. this is where you will see signs related to the thyroid in the left eye.
The second picture shows a pattern with spokes and rings which is a Vegetative Spastic Disposition which has a nervous system weakness and the thyroid and adrenal glands need support.
The third picture shows very fine fibre structure which is a Neurogenic Disposition and also involves the nervous system and thyroid and adrenals.
All of these will need to nurture their nervous system and manage stress as their first line of prevention and then follow the suggestions above.
EASY TEST FOR THYROID FUNCTION :
If you suspect you have a thyroid disorder, it is a good idea to ask your Doctor to not only check the T4 and TSH but also for anti-bodies.
Doing a basal temperature test can be more accurate than the pathology lab tests as this will show up even if the thyroid is slightly underactive, whereas thyroid hormones need to be way out before being flagged by the lab.
To measure your basal temperature, you need to do this first thing in the morning without getting out of bed.
Menstruating women need to do this on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th day of menstruating; men and post menopausal women can do this any three consecutive days.
If these readings are below 36.7 deg C, you may well have hypothyroidsim.
Those people who are already on Eltroxin must never stop taking this. You can still support the thyroid with the nutrients mentioned above in the form of a multi-vitamin but do not stop the medication.
REFLEXOLOGY POINTS TO FOCUS ON:
• Pituitary gland which will signal the thryoid to produce more hormes or less.
• Thyroid gland wich needs to function efficiently as well as the thyroid helper area/bronchial aea.
• Adrenal glands to manage stress and cortisol production which causes insulin resistance which affects the thyroid.
• Pancreas which manages insulin and sugar.
Reflexology will not only lower stress and cortisol levels but will restore homeostasis to all of the endocrine glands.
Know your body and if your energy levels, weight, hair, skin, eyes or throat show any change, check these out with a Doctor.
If you feel you may be at risk because of family history or any of the above symptoms, work with a Nutritional Therapist to help you find which nutrients you may be deficient in which could impact on your thyroid function and supplement accordingly.
If you already have a thyroid disorder, remember to check your cholsterol and triglyceride levels.
It is better to prevent than to treat a condition that has already manifested.
Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness : Ross and Wilson, Kathleen J W Wilson, anne Waugh.
Good Medicine : Patrick Holford
Encyclopedia of Nutritional Support : Michael T Murray ND
Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing : Phyllis A. Balch