Thyroid Health: Hypothyroidism/Low thyroid
By Dr. Phil Pappas
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck or throat.It produces thyroid hormones that play a regulating role in the body.Low thyroid (hypothyroid) affects over 12 million Americans.When thyroid hormones are low, regulation in the body begins to fail.
Symptoms of low thyroid include:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain
- Slow movements and thoughts
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Dry and scaly skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Muscle cramps
- Low sex drive
- Pain, numbness and tingling in hands and fingers
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Brain fog
- Caffeine craving
- Carbohydrate cravings
There are many things you can do to help support thyroid health and function.
- If you are or have been under significant stress you may have adrenal fatigue.Support the adrenals and stop the stress.There are many good adrenal formulations that can help including Adrenal Support by GAIA Herbs, and Adrenotone by Designs for Health.Stress can often by be managed by interventions like Yoga, exercise and meditation.Products like L-theanine and GABA can be very help for stress.
- There are many fine thyroid support formulas available at your health food store or www.earthfoods.us and include: Thyroid support by Gaia Herbs, Thyroid Care by Terry Naturally and Thyroid Health Formula by Natural Factors.
- If you have hypothyroidism, avoid goitrogenic foods. These foods suppress thyroid function by interfering with iodine uptake.Foods include: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach, strawberries, radishes, peaches, watercress, soybeans, are just a few.
- Increase your intake of fats like olive oil, avocados, flax oil, and nuts.Fats are needed to make hormones.
- Adopt a gluten-free diet.Gluten interferes with hormone regulation.
- Increase your protein intake because protein helps deliver thyroid hormone to the tissue and can normalize thyroid function.
- Check your vitamin D levels.Adequate D levels are necessary for healthy thyroid function.
- Make probiotics a daily supplement.Healthy gut flora is necessary for thyroid health.
There are many quality thyroid supplements that can improve thyroid function.Check out those products at www.earthfoods.us
Test your thyroid at home.
The blood test for thyroid function–TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)–actually measures levels of a hormone produced by the pituitary, the “master” gland in your body. High TSH levels mean low thyroid function. For years, a TSH of up to 5.0 meant the thyroid was functioning normally. Recently, this number was dropped to 2.5. This means that thousands of people who originally were told their thyroid functions were normal most likely have a mildly underactive thyroid.
How to take your basal body temperature What is a basal body temperature? “Basal” means “base,” and your basal temperature is your body temperature taken the very first thing in the morning before you’ve moved out of your sleeping position.
Caution: Once you get out of bed, the movement of your muscles heats up your body, so it’s essential that you follow these instructions closely to get an accurate reading.
1.) If using a mercury thermometer, shake it down to 96 degrees or less before going to bed. In the morning, as soon as you wake up, put the thermometer deep in your armpit for 10 minutes and record the temperature. Lie back and relax, keeping your armpit closed over the thermometer.
2.) If using a basal digital thermometer, in the morning, as soon as you wake up, place it under your tongue until it beeps. Do this before you get out of bed, have anything to eat or drink, or engage in any activity. This will measure your lowest temperature of the day, which correlates with thyroid gland function.
3.) The normal basal temperature averages 97.8-98.2 degrees F. The temperature should be taken for five days. If the temperature is 97.0 degrees or less for three consecutive days, you do not need to take the last two temperatures.Low temperature indicates thyroid dysfunction.
4.) For pre-menopausal women, the temperature should be taken starting the second day of menstruation. That is because considerable temperature rise may occur around the time of ovulation and give incorrect results.
5.) Do not perform the test when you have an infection or any other condition which would raise your temperature.