Natural Ways to Improve Thyroid Function
You wouldn’t think that such a delicate looking thing as the butterfly-shaped Thyroid gland would play such an important part in the regulation of the body’s healthy functioning, but it truly does.
The Thyroid’s role may seem like a simple one; to stimulate the metabolism and (along with the parathyroid glands) control the body’s circulating calcium levels, but when the Thyroid is not functioning properly, things can get very nasty very quickly, which is why the very earliest signs of a malfunctioning Thyroid should not be overlooked.
As I wrote about earlier I made a very big mistake in March when I started consuming soy. The end result was that my thyroid went wacko. I had no idea that something was amiss with my thyroid until my hair started falling out. A blood test confirmed the problem.
Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Thyroid
The symptoms of a malfunctioning Thyroid include things like cold hands and feet, sensitivity to cold, headaches, sleeplessness, coarse skin, swollen eyes, fragile nails, joint aches, constipation, fatigue, hair loss, a croaky voice and dizziness and none of these things are ever associated with a major disorder and are in fact overlooked by many medical professionals.
What Can Be Done?
Regardless of whether you have been medically diagnosed with a malfunctioning Thyroid or whether you simply suspect that this may be your problem, there are plenty of natural remedies that you can employ that can right the wrongs that have been done to this delicate system.
For starters, a good diet can do wonders to keeping not only correcting outstanding thyroid problems, but in maintaining a healthy Thyroid. To this end you should avoid foods and liquids that have been treated with chemicals or been exposed to chemical pollutants because many chemicals can interrupt the delicate balance of the Thyroid. But simply eliminating chemicals and chemical pollutants is not always enough.
You should also replace any expeller-processed or solvent-extracted oils in your diet since these kinds of oils (polyunsaturated oils) can block the production of thyroid hormones. Coconut oil is recommended to act as a replacement for polyunsaturated oils and many also believe that it actually helps stimulate healthy thyroid function.
The lack of iodine plays a major part in the malfunctioning of the Thyroid and no, simply using iodized salt is not enough. In fact, you should be replacing your table salt with unprocessed sea salt as natural sea salt contains larger amounts of iodine. You need to be able to significantly increase the amount of iodine in your diet, this includes adding foods such as seafoods, vegetable juices and kelp or seaweed based products.
Another helpful hint when considering your diet is that there are some foods that are considered to be natural gotrogens which means that they can affect and even inhibit effective Thyroid functioning. Some of these foods include brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, radishes, cabbage, kale, rapeseed, broccoli, sweet potatoes and soy. It also helps to cut back on processed flour-based products such as cookies, crackers, breads and other products as they can slow the Thyroid functioning down significantly. I happen to eat lots of the above mentioned greens and veggies (minus soy) and have never had an issue. Soy was the only one that caused a problem.
In addition to keeping an eye on your diet, there are some herbs and mineral supplements that can be taken that help improve the efficiency of the Thyroid gland. These include: Shilajeet-Asphaltum Puniabiunum, an Indian wonder drug that contains over 85 different minerals in different forms; Kanchanara-Bauhinia Veriegata (purple mountain ebony), an herb that has a reputation for keeping the Thyroid functioning effectively and, finally, licorice. This is not the candy, but the herb and is used to maintain a healthy balance between glands and energy building.
None of these things guarantee a ‘cure’ for your Thyroid problem but with the proper application these steps can help you to keep your Thyroid in prime condition. Personally I opted to do nothing different after my diagnosis except stop eating the soy of course (which I already had) and continue my normal healthy eating patterns. I had my blood tested 1.5 months after I stopped consuming the soy and my levels are now only “slightly” outside of normal. Woot! Now I plan to start eating kelp and seaweed flakes to see if I can totally reverse the problem. Might try some of the herbs I mentioned to.
In other news I also had another issue the soy caused that I didn’t mention in my original post because I wanted to see how it would play out. The first symptom that something was awry was not the thyroid issue. It was my detection of a painful mass just under my left breast. The first month it popped up a few days prior to my menstrual cycle and this was only a few weeks after I started the soy. It went away after 2-3 days and I ignored it. The next month it came back and was even more painful. I was out of town at the time so I didn’t go to see a doctor. That was most likely me just making excuses though… in my mind I was thinking lump = breast cancer and since I have already saddled that pony and ridden it before (colon cancer) I was not anxious to get a diagnosis.
Anyway it came back a third time and I went to see a doctor. It was gone by the time my appointment rolled around but they gave me prescriptions for an ultrasound and a mammogram.. which I ignored because it was at this appointment that I found out about my thyroid. I had discovered the soy in the protein bars I was eating 2 weeks before and was fairly certain they were what had caused this breast lump business and now with the thyroid information I was 100% convinced.
When my next cycle came around 1.5 months after I stopped eating the soy I was actually surprised by it. The painful lump had preceded my last 3 periods so it was kind of a shocker to have it sneak up on me with nary a symptom. The mass still appeared but it was smaller and not painful at all. I had a breast exam and thyroid levels check that same day and the doctor is in agreement that soy is probably what caused it and that it is most likely just a cyst that developed due to hormones (phytoestrogens in soy). My doc is a vegetarian so he was totally familiar with soy and the issues it can cause and doesn’t think I need to get a mammogram or U/S. He advised me to stay away from soy based faux meat products, LOL. NOT a problem! I am wondering if my lump issue will end up going away completely… only time will tell. For now I need to concentrate on fixing the thyroid issue and I am glad I am having success with that already.