Nutrition for Your Thyroid

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Nutrition for Your Thyroid

The thyroid gland is an important part of the body, thus its function is crucial to your health! This is why you should spend a little time getting to know more about your thyroid gland.

There are many problems that could stem from having imbalanced thyroid hormone levels. One of those problems is known as hypothyroidism which occurs when the body does not have enough of the hormone it needs. This leads to feeling fatigued, nervous or other problems.

Can nutritional therapy help?

Nutrients cannot simply replace the missing thyroid hormone nor destroy them if they are in excess, but various studies and practices have shown that it can definitely improve or preserve thyroid function. Additional thyroid hormone replacement therapy is another good option if available.

How nutrition maximizes metabolic function:
·       Ensures all the steps of the metabolic pathway to be intact
·       Ensures thyroid hormone is active
·       Advises on nutrients that act as hormone disruptors [1]

The Metabolic pathway

Inside the cells, energy production is happening through the influence of numerous enzymes and co-factors. To manufacture these enzymes, it is essential to have raw materials as well as adequate nutrition. Nutrition comes first, even if there is a sufficient amount of thyroid hormone present. Energy production can still be impaired if something is wrong with nutrition.

Ensuring thyroid hormone activeness

Despite being produced by iodine, nutrition also plays some role in the process of thyroid hormone production. For a sufficient level of hormones, thyroxine (T4) should be converted to T3 (active form). This process mainly happens within the liver and muscles. This process also involves an enzyme called deiodinase. T3 production should meet the energy demand for a normal and active lifestyle. If there is a lack of energy, a person not only can feel exhausted without a reason, but even ill. Taking additional thyroid hormones isn’t always the answer because medical replacement therapy still doesn’t offer other compounds that are missing. In theory, if a person takes extra levothyroxine but doesn’t have enough deiodinase enzymes for its conversion, the medication will not be effective! There still will not be enough means to convert or activate it. Selenium and zinc have proven to be highly important for the whole process, as they are able to activate the thyroid hormone.

Avoiding hormone disruptors

Thyroid function can be influenced by its environment through chemicals and pollutants. Some of them can be fluoride, chlorides, mercury (still can be found in dentistry amalgam fillings) or even soy beans. Soy beans contain compounds that inhibit the thyroid peroxidase enzyme which catalyzes reactions that are needed for thyroid hormone synthesis as well as other functions.

Nutrition plays a crucial role in thyroid gland function. Proper function requires much more than just doing a blood test, taking some pills or hormone replacements. Even certain drugs can interfere with thyroid function. Successful treatment includes diet and lifestyle changes which can be made with a nutritional therapist.

A personalized nutrition program can help!

[1] Institute for Optimum Nutrition. Acccessed from: http://www.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/underactivethyroid

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