Most of us don’t give much thought to our thyroid glands as long as they are doing their job. However, you should be aware of the most common thyroid problems and the symptoms you might experience if you have such a problem, as well as the help you can get to resolve the problems.
The thyroid is part of the glandular (endocrine) system; in this system, hormones released from one gland stimulate the synthesis and release of hormones from a related gland. The thyroid is a small gland that measures about 2 inches across and lies just under the Adam’s apple in the neck. The 2 halves (lobes) are connected in the middle by the isthmus, so the thyroid gland resembles the letter H or a butterfly. Normally the thyroid cannot be seen, and can hardly be felt.
The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones that regulate the speed of the body’s chemical functions (metabolic rate). Thyroid hormones influence the metabolic rate in 2 ways: by stimulating almost every tissue in the body to produce proteins and by increasing the amount of oxygen that cells use. When the cells work harder, body organs work faster.
To produce thyroid hormones, the thyroid needs iodine, which is found in food and water. The thyroid gland traps iodine and processes it into thyroid hormones. As these hormones are used, some of the iodine contained in the hormones returns to the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones.
The body has a complex mechanism for adjusting the level of thyroid hormones. First, the hypothalamus, located just above the pituitary gland in the brain, secretes
, which causes the pituitary gland to produce
hyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
. The TSH stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones. When the amount of thyroid hormones circulating in the blood reaches a certain level, the pituitary produces less TSH; when the level of thyroid hormones is lower, the pituitary gland produces more TSH. This is a negative feedback control mechanism.
There are 2 main forms of thyroid hormones:
, the form produced by the thyroid gland, has only a slight effect, if any, on speeding up the body’s metabolic rate. Thyroxine is converted in the liver and other organs to the metabolically active form of the hormone,
. This conversion produces about 80% of the active form of the hormone, and the other 20% is produced by the thyroid itself. Many factors control this conversion including the body’s needs on an ongoing basis. Most of the T4 and T3 is bound to certain proteins in the blood and is active only when not bound to these proteins. This is how the body maintains the correct amount of thyroid hormone needed to keep a steady metabolic rate.
There are several things that can go wrong with your thyroid, but the 2 most common are:
– when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone; and
– when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
, early symptoms include
- tiring easily,
- mental fogginess
- poor tolerance to cold temperatures,
- constipation and
- carpal tunnel syndrome (pain at the wrists and numbness of hands).
Later symptoms include
- poor appetite
- weight gain
- dry skin
- hair loss
- intellectual ability and coordination worsens
- deeper, hoarse voice
- puffiness around eyes
- irregular menstrual periods or lack of menstrual periods
infants and children
, an additional symptom is poor growth; in infants, poor feeding; and in children, poor school performance.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
In adults, symptoms include
- hand tremors
- rapid heart rate
- feeling excessively hot in normal or cold temperatures
- frequent bowel movements
- losing weight despite normal or increased appetite
- excessive sweating
- menstrual period becomes scant or stops entirely
- joint pains
- difficulty concentrating
- eyes seem to be enlarging
In children, symptoms may be similar to adult symptoms, plus
- declining school performance
- behaviour problems.
Medical professionals can treat both hypoactive and hyperactive thyroids. Extreme cases of either hypo- or hyper-active thyroid can be very serious, and should not be ignored. For example, with low thyroid, cholesterol levels can reach dangerous levels.
There are a number of things you can do to promote better functioning of your thyroid:
- Avoid refined foods, saturated fats, sugars and white flour products.
- Follow a diet with at least 50% fresh, organically grown foods to rebalance and establish a better metabolism.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin A, such as yellow vegetables, eggs, carrots, and dark green vegetables.
- Iodine-rich foods that nourish the thyroid include fish and sea vegetables such as arame, kelp, dulse, hijike, nori, wakame, and kombu. Seaweeds are very nourishing to the glands.
- Zinc and copper are important in helping the body make thyroid hormone. Food rich in zinc include beef, oatmeal, chicken, seafood, dried beans, bran, tuna, spinach, seeds and nuts.
- Foods rich in copper include organ meats, eggs, yeast, legumes, nuts and raisins.
- The animo acid tyrosine is helpful. Tyrosine is found in edamame, beef, chicken and fish.
- Seeds and nuts, seed and nut milks, vegetable juices (celery, parsley, carrot, Swiss chard, wheat grass) and green drinks containing chlorophyll for healthy blood are helpful.
- Other helpful ingredients for vegetable juice combinations include alfalfa, all leafy greens, beet tops, green peppers, seaweeds, sprouts and watercress.
There are a number of Nature’s Sunshine supplements that can help with thyroid and general glandular functioning.
is a valuable sea vegetable which nourishes and supports the glandular system, particularly the thyroid. Kelp is perhaps best known as a popular natural remedy for treating hypothyroid conditions. Kelp is rich in iodine salts (up to 1%) and amino acids which enhance thyroid function and stimulate metabolism to help the body burn excess fat.
is a rich source of organic iodine which nourishes the thyroid gland, strengthens thyroid function, and helps improve sluggish metabolism. KC-X contains herbs which also soothe inflammation, enhance circulation to promote healing, encourage the growth of healthy colonic flora, and improve elimination and detoxification by absorbing toxins from the bowel. Additionally, KC-X helps moisten dry tissues, relieve skin problems, eliminate water retention, improve digestion, enhance respiratory function, and provides numerous trace elements to nourish the body. It contains black walnut hulls, Irish moss plant, kelp, parsley, sarsaparilla root, and watercress.
is designed to support healthy thyroid function, and is particularly helpful for those with an underactive thyroid gland. TS II contains herbs and minerals which strengthen both the thyroid and the hypothalamus gland which controls thyroid function through the secretion of thyrotropin-releasing hormone. TS II contains capsicum, hops, Irish moss, kelp, manganese, parsley and zinc.
is a rich source of iodine, and, as such, is popular as a thyroid stimulant to help underactive thyroid conditions. Black walnut contains linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid necessary for healthy cell function.
help improve cellular oxygenation and energy, build the adrenals and thyroid and calm the nerves. You may wish to try
Vitamin B Complex
Synerpro B-Complex Vitamins
promotes normal adrenal function and glandular activity.
Vitamin C Time Release 1000 mg
Vitamin C 500 mg
are available from our web site.
Essential fatty acids
are a must for glandular health and they improve overall health.
Evening Primrose Oil
provides omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are provided by
Flax Seed Oil.
Super Omega-3 Capsules.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of four basic fats that the body derives from foods. (The other three are cholesterol, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat). Some of the other fats, especially too much saturated fat, can be harmful to the body, but Omega-3s are good for the body and especially good for the heart and brain. Super Omega-3 softgels contain more than 1,000 mg fish oil per capsule, with a ratio of 33:16 EPA to DHA. It also contains lemon to significantly reduce the aftertaste from fish oil and to reduce gas. NSP conducts extensive quality assurance testing to verify the purity of its products. The oil in Super Omega-3 is highly purified using molecular distillation. This helps to ensure a purer product.
Each capsule of GreenZone consists of green foods like sea algae and long-grown cereal grasses. Full of nutrient-rich goodness, green foods are the most healthful foods nature has to offer. Green foods not only help us sustain energy but boost the immune system, strengthen connective tissues and provide the body with the benefits of cleansing and detoxification. GreenZone contains the finest blend of whole foods, algae, and herbs balanced for the best utilization by our bodies. The 40-30-30 principle (% of carbohydrates, protein, and essential fat) has been incorporated into the formulation of this product. Greenzone also comes in powder form.
is a high-mineral supplement that provides nutrients necessary for the glandular, digestive and eliminative functions of the body. The deep roots of the dandelion and alfalfa plants are able to absorb trace minerals that are often lacking in the common shallow-root vegetables preferred in Western diets. For example, dandelion root contains iron, which is not a trace mineral, but often hard for the body to absorb. The root also contains manganese. Kelp contains calcium and magnesium, needed for balance in building bones and calming nerves. It also supplies iodine, a nutrient necessary for proper thyroid function.
[Glandular] is a key product that provides nutritional supplementation for all the glands of the body. Hormones that are produced by these glands influence the health of the entire body, and the glands must be strengthened to ensure balance and harmony.
The adrenal glands are primarily responsible for offsetting the effects of emotional, mental and physical stress on the body. Modern dietary habits and stressful lifestyles have a deleterious effect on the capabilities of the adrenal glands. Your level of energy, muscular strength, blood sugar levels and ability to respond to environmental stressors are all affected by adrenal function. Adrenal Support is specially formulated to nourish the adrenal glands and to promote glandular secretion. The adrenal glands produce and regulate stress hormones, which prepare the body to deal with stressful situations. The adrenal hormones and their functions are linked to virtually all of the body systems. Thus, many physiological processes and bodily functions, including cardiovascular health, sex drive, pH balance, skin conditions, energy levels, mood and overall psychological outlook often correlate to adrenal gland function.
For additional information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue sharing our newsletters with friends and family. Visit our web site at http://ramilashealingartsclinic.com/index for back issues of this newsletter,
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The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.
1)The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home Edition. R. Berkow, M.H. Beers, A.J. Fletcher, eds. New York: Pocket Books, 1997.
2)Mathur R. Thyroid Disease. Medical editor: Shiel WC. http://www.medicinenet.com/thyroid_disease/article.htm Accessed on July 13, 2011.
3)Lee SL. Thyroid Problems Overview. Medical editor: Stöppler MC. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/thyroid_problems/article_em.htm Accessed on July 13, 2011.
4)Thyroid problems. http://naturalways.com/thyroid.htm Accessed on July 13, 2011.
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Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic