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

  1. The thyroid produces too little hormone.
  2. Hashimoto’s disease – the body creates an allergy to thyroid hormones, destroying them, and causing low hormone levels
  3. 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.
  4. Viral infection may onset inflammation of the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • fatigue and slowed heart rate
  • weight gain
  • constipation
  • irritability, mental depression
  • cold sensitivity
  • slow or slurred speech
  • drooping and swollen eyes, swollen face
  • recurrent and frequent infections and decreased immunity
  • increased allergic reaction
  • headaches
  • 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.

  1. Before falling asleep each night, keep the thermometer next to your bed.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  • Iron
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Liver disease
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Parasites

Alternative Treatments for Hypothyroidism

Diet

1. Eat foods high in Iodine

  • kelp
  • vegetables
  • 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, Brussels sprouts
  • mustard greens, kale, spinach
  • broccoli
  • turnips
  • peaches, pears

4. Eat foods high in Vitamin A, except for the ones that are listed in #3

  • dark green & yellow vege