You may have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition 20 years ago or 2 years ago. The thyroid might have gone off just after you had a child, experienced a stress; or it may have just randomly appeared on a blood test your doctor ran for you. It is important to take into consideration the series of events that may have led up to your thyroid diagnosis. Most likely your thyroid was not functioning in the optimum range and some sort of trigger sent it into a diagnosable state. The thyroid does not stand alone; there are many organs that help to regulate and support thyroid function. These organs should also be assessed if you want natural thyroid support.
First things first. What is the name of your thyroid condition? If you answered hypothyroid, then you should know that 90% of those with hypothyroid actually have Hashimoto’s disease. This thyroid condition looks like hypothyroid but is actually an autoimmune thyroid disease.
Thyroid antibodies should always be done to rule out and autoimmune thyroid disease before you get a diagnosis of hypothyroid. These tests are:
- Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies
- Anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies
- TSH receptor antibodies (TRAbs)
A thyroid ultrasound is a good idea because some times the thyroid can be like Vegas. What happens in Vegas…stays in Vegas. Meaning that there is a problem with thyroid function that can’t be tested on a blood test. Thyroid nodules or a goiter would be an example of thyroid tissue changing but potentially not being represented in a blood test.
So once you know what you actually have…hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s, or Graves Disease. The following organ systems need to be assessed to make sure they are working in tip top order.
The liver is required to detoxify thyroid hormones and thyroid conditions are always associated with high cholesterol because the liver is eventually likely to get overloaded and generate high cholesterol. An abdominal ultrasound maybe required to check on the liver to make sure there is no fatty liver disease developing, a condition that is associated with poor liver function NOT fat.
The adrenal glands and the thyroid have a close relationship. The adrenal glands have to be working well for the thyroid to be working well and if they aren’t, they thyroid will fall more and more out of balance.
The digestive system must be stable for a healthy thyroid. Hashimotos and celiac are very much related (for some) and most people with an autoimmune thyroid disease have food allergies, either IgG delayed allergies or IgE acute allergies.
Hormone Imbalances can include estrogen and progesterone imbalance that can be quickly identified if there is a history of not optimal menstrual cycle. or an imbalance in the hypothalamus:Pituitary:Adrenal axis.
Genetics can potentially explain everything (a lot of things); but more and more health issues are becoming epidemic and the cause is actually that our genes are being impacted by toxic load. We inherited certain strengths and weaknesses, but these weaknesses can be made even worse with toxicity. For example, methylation pathways are being impacted and autoimmune diseases are flourishing, so the rise of autoimmune diseases and autism are very much linked through the genetics of the methylation pathway.
Toxicity very much includes mercury and lead toxicity as thyroid conditions, especially Hashimoto’s has been linked for many to high mercury intake in fish and tooth amalgams.. Immune system problems can effect the thyroid. Autoimmune reactions and chronic low level viral, bacterial or fungal (yeast) infections can damage the thyroid.
Environmental pollution is so big and overwhelming and is the main cause of the rise of thyroid conditions. So toxicants have to be removed from a person’s lifestyle and treatment has to be done for the specific family of toxin.
Some concerns concerning food and the thyroid:
Please do not take iodine unless you know for sure you do NOT have an autoimmune thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s or Grave’s. Iodine can cause irreversible damage and is not helpful with autoimmune thyroid diseases.
Please cook your brassica family foods. Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussles sprouts and many more in the family.
Soy has been researched to be helpful and harmful in thyroid conditions. If soy is to be ingested in an healthy way, it should be not genetically modified and be eaten in a fermented form such as miso, tempeh and tofu.
Grains and dairy have been known to adversely effect many with thyroid conditions, either through testable means or just anecdotally.
Key vitamins and minerals include:
- NAC or n-acetyl-cysteine
- And sometimes molybdenum
Best of luck with the thyroid support. It is a process that is worth pursuing. When the thyroid works better, we have less inflammation, less cardiovascular disease, less bone density issues and increased quality and length of life.
Dr. Carissa Doherty, Natural Care Clinic