Functions of the Thyroid
The thyroid is a small ductless gland weighing less than one ounce, located in the neck along the trachea or windpipe. The thyroid is the only place where iodine can be absorbed into the body.
Iodine comes from the different foods we eat and is necessary in small quantities to make thyroid hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones are then circulated throughout the body where they control metabolism in every cell. Metabolism is the body’s conversion of oxygen from the air we breathe and calories from the food we eat to energy.
What is Hypothyroidism?
“Hypo” means too little or under normal, and “thyroidism” is the disease of the thyroid. Therefore, “hypothyroidism” is the disease of too little thyroid activity or decreased thyroid activity.
Hypothyroidism is the result of too little thyroid hormone. This can happen when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, an under-active thyroid, OR the thyroid produces enough hormones, but the hormones break down too quickly and cannot be used by the body.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
- Thyroid produces too little hormone.
- Hashimoto’s disease – the body creates an allergy to thyroid hormones, destroying them, and causing low hormone levels
- Undiagnosed thyroid problems – normal laboratory levels of thyroid hormones T3 & T4, but have reoccurring or non responsive health problems; often, patients do better when supplemented with thyroid nutrients or hormone.
- Viral infection may onset inflammation of the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- fatigue, slowed heart rate
- weight gain
- irritability, mental depression
- cold sensitivity
- slow or slurred speech
- drooping and swollen eyes, swollen face
- recurrent and frequent infections, decreased immunity
- increased allergic reaction
- hair loss, brittle hair
- problems with calcium metabolism
- Women: heavy menstruation, painful menstruation, premenstrual tension
- Children: decreased growth and development
Home Thyroid Test
Take your temperature each morning for 3 days before you wake up and get out of bed.
- Before falling asleep each night, keep the thermometer next to your bed.
- In the morning before rising out of bed, lie still, and take your temperature under the armpit for 15 minutes. Do this except on the first few days of your period and the middle of the menstrual cycle.
- Calculate the average temperature. If your body temperature is below 97.5 F, and consistently low, this may indicate a thyroid problem. The lower the temperature, potentially, the greater the thyroid problem.
Complications for Hypothyroidism
- Allergies, Food allergies
- Vitamin B deficiencies
- Digestive enzymes
- Liver disease
- Hormone imbalances
Alternative Treatments for Hypothyroidism
1. Eat foods high in Iodine
- root vegetables (ie. potatoes, carrots, etc)
2. Eat foods high in Vitamin B complex
- nutritional yeast
- raw nuts & seeds
- sprouted whole grains
3. Avoid these foods which naturally slow down the thyroid function
- cabbage, brussel sprouts
- mustard greens, kale, spinach
- peaches, pears
4. Eat foods high in Vitamin A, except for the ones that are listed in #3
- dark green & yellow vegetables
1. Avoid sulfa drugs & antihistamines
- any drugs with sulfur, sulfate, sulfite, etc.
- any known antihistamine such as allergy medication
2. While taking thyroid medication, be sure to take Calcium supplements. Thyroid medication is known to cause rapid bone loss.
Chiropractic Care for Hypothyroidism
Along with changes in Diet, Nutritional Therapy, and other therapies, chiropractic care is very effective for hypothyroidism
- Balances hormone levels
- Increased immunity
- Improves Allergies
- Improves gastrointestinal problems
- Beneficial for headaches, irritability, mental health
- Improves menstrual symptoms
Taking a multivitamin that shows good absorption into the body will be helpful for symptoms. Take vitamins with meals. In addition, the following may be helpful.
- Tyrosine (amino acid)
- Vitamin B
- Calcium, Magnesium
- Essential fatty acids
- Vitamin A
Additional Therapies forHypothyroidism
These following therapies may be helpful for self-care and home care under professional supervision.
- Biofeedback Training
- Qi Gong
- Juice Therapy – warning: do not juice any fruits or vegetables in the prohibited list above.
- Aerobic exercise – highly important
- Hydrotherapy – Contrast Application daily to increase thyroid
- Homeopathy – 1M Calcium carbonate is beneficial; Iodum
- Gentian or Mugwort – mild hypothyroid cases may be helped
- Kelp – only if there is a deficiency in iodine
- Yellowdock, butternut, or Cascara sagrada – to ease constipation
- St. John’s Wort – antidepressant
These therapies should be conducted by a qualified health professional.
- Cell Therapy
- Magnetic Field Therapy
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
Article written by Lisa Chau, M.Sc., writer for Chiropractor.com