Chances are if you have ever struggled with being overweight, you will have at one time or another wondered if you have an underactive thyroid. Unexplained weight gain is one of the most publicised effects of a thyroid that is not functioning at its optimum level. This is also commonly referred to as Hashimoto’s disease. At one time in my life I was gaining weight rather than losing it, despite eating a low fat, low sugar diet, and walking a total of 26 miles a week.
I am not sure what was wrong with me, as the homeopath I consulted about this was extremely secretive about what remedies she used, and would not give me an opinion as to what was my actual problem. I think this stemmed from concern that I may decide to self treat and generally interfere with her planned approach. (Moi? Surely not!) I have to say, my hormones were heavily affected, to the extent that whilst I was taking the remedies 2 or 3 days out of a month, I felt murderous. As I had young children at home all day, I only stayed with this for 2 sessions (2 months) as I felt it was massively unfair on them to have mummy wrapped in a thunderous black cloud of anger and fury!
This period was prior to my healthy life, and at the time little did I know, but it is specifically abdominal weight gain or fat, that is related to low thyroid. For me aside from when pregnant, I have never carried extra weight there.
Of course, unusual weight gain is only one of the possible clues to an underactive thyroid. Other symptoms include: cold hands and feet, excessive hair loss, painful joints, reoccurring infections, muscle weakness, disturbed sleep, and brain fog.
Thyroid Level Testing
If have your thyroid function tested by the doctor, and find yourself in the clear, it is still possible you have a weakness that is subclinical, not showing up strongly in the tests, but still enough of a problem to cause you less than wonderful health. Normally, the tests are to find the levels of T3, T4 and TSH –thyroid stimulating hormone.
Alternative practitioner Anthony William believes that, ”despite their prevalence, disorders of the thyroid remain relatively misunderstood. The thyroid gland acts as an energy thermostat for the body, so when your thyroid is operating smoothly, so do you. When your thyroid stops functioning optimally, multiple areas of your health can come crashing down.”
Anthony William believes that there is a connection in over 95% of thyroid disorders with the Epstein-Barr virus aka glandular fever. Interesting! Hopping back to my own issues, some 2 years later I was tested by a kinesiologist who suspected I had suffered this at some point, even though I had no memory of it. It was only whilst researching to write this that I made the link. The relevance to this and underactive thyroid is that the Epstein -Barr virus confuses the body and reduces the production of necessary hormones. Our hormones have a lot to answer for it seems.
In the case of Hashimoto’s disease, general medical thought is that the immune system sees the thyroid as an enemy, to be attacked. In other words, your body’s defence mechanism tries to remove thyroid cells. This confusion causes the response symptoms listed above. When doctors offer relief by supplying the body with the extra thyroid hormones it is missing, this does not get to the root the problem.
Consume an Iodine Rich Diet
The crucial natural ingredient missing in most peoples diets is iodine. An expert on this subject having studied and written many papers about it, Dr David Brownstein has this to say: “As iodine levels have fallen over 50% during the last 40 years, thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease and thyroid cancer, have been increasing at near-epidemic rates.
Changing your diet to one that is high in raw foods, and including ones that support thyroid health will allow your body to heal from within and rebalance over time. Typically these natural remedies for an under active thyroid would include hemp seeds, coconut oil, cilantro/coriander, garlic, brazil nuts, celtic sea salt, and any sea vegetables.
Any sea related food will provide iodine, in varying amounts. This includes foods like dulse and kelp. These are available in flakes and can be added as salad toppings. Selenuim is also important and can be obtained from brazil nuts.
“The thyroid gland needs both selenium and iodine to produce adequate levels of thyroid hormones. And these nutrients also have other protective roles in the body; for example, severe selenium deficiency increases the incidence of thyroiditis because it stops activity of a very powerful antioxidant known as glutathione which normally controls inflammation and fights oxidative stress.”
Dr Josh Axe
Eating a healthy high raw diet will also eliminate the causes of inflammation in your body, a situation that processed foods – in particular grains exacerbate. When your body is in an inflamed state it cannot function at optimum capacity. So a natural clean diet addresses the basic need. At one time the necessary minerals we all need would have been present in vegetables, but this is not the case any more as soils have become depleted the world over.
You can of course take iodine by way of drops, nascent iodine being the gentlest. You can also purchase sea greens a mix of bladderwrack, caragheen, dulse and dabberlocks; murlin, thongweed and sea tangle.