Thyroxine, the metabolism controller

The thyroid gland secretes hormones that regulate activities of almost every cell in our bodies. It maintains our metabolism, regulating how quickly we burn calories, which explains why weight is an issue when your thyroid isn’t functioning as it should.

How are you feeling?

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to delve into whether your thyroid is working as it should: Are you tired and run down? Do you have a bowel movement less than once a day? Are you gaining unexplained weight, mostly fluid? Are you cold, achy or depressed? Excessive menstrual bleeding? Puffy face?? Low thyroid (Hypothyroid) can cause these (but so can other things, so don’t immediately jump to conclusions!).

What cause low thyroid?

Thyroid tissues store a protein called thyroglobulin. Before it is released into the bloodstream it is converted in thyroxine (T4) and other hormones. When these hormones are out of balance, it is most commonly down to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, when your immune system attacks your thyroid. Essentially it is a malfunctioning of your immune system. Symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain and mood changes begin to appear.

Stress can also be a cause – chronic elevated levels of cortisol can affect the proper functioning of your pituitary glands, which direct the production of thyroid hormone.

How can low thyroid be treated naturally?

Of course if you get diagnosed with an underactive (or overactive) thyroid then treatment can be prescribed. But there are also ways you can help yourself naturally. The thyroid gland is quite sensitive to copper and zinc, which must be carefully balanced. Meats, poultry and eggs are a good source of copper, as well as nuts, seeds and grains. Zinc can be supplemented. Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Iron have also been said to aid in controlling autoimmune disease.

Take a chill pill (note: not an actual pill)

And don’t forget about important environmental factors. If you are constantly stressed then maybe you need to consider finding ways to help yourself relax, calm down, and naturally lower your levels of cortisol. Avoid stressful situations when you can, and also be clear that you are always in control, and you can handle stress. Studies have shown that if someone in a highly stressful situation perceives the level of stress to be manageable then their cortisol levels do not rise as much as someone in the same situation who believes this to be very stressful.

A link to gluten and celiac

In people with celiac disease, eating gluten results in inflammation. But many people are sensitive to gluten without realising, and this can lead to leaky gut. This is when the cell lining of the small intestine becomes broken. This may allow inflammatory foods to sneak through into the blood stream, and have a negative impact on the thyroid. If you are feeling any of the above mentioned symptoms, try eliminating gluten and see if it makes a difference.

The thyroid is such an important gland, and the hormones that it produces need to be in balance to have you feeling at your best. A healthy, balanced diet, and a lifestyle that encompasses relaxing, fulfilling activities will be the best prevention to causing your hormones to get out of whack. As they say, prevention is better than cure.

Missed the previous Hormone Series articles? Catch up now on why insulin might be making you fat.

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