By Rosie Main
The thryoid… Such a tiny gland, yet what a dramatic impact it has on nearly every function within your body. Your thyroid regulates your metabolism, but it also impacts how fast your heart beats, your breathing, body temperature, menstrual cycles, and whether you lose or gain weight. Simply put, your thyroid controls almost everything your body does. Which goes to say, when your thyroid malfunctions, other organs like your adrenals and gut oftentimes follow.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland becomes overactive and makes too many hormones. Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid becomes underactive and doesn’t produce enough hormones. Both imbalances can create numerous symptoms.
About 90 percent of adult hypothyroidism stems from an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s, where your body mistakenly considers the thyroid gland a foreign invader and wages an immune attack with two antibodies that attack your thyroid.
Thyroid imbalances can be complex. Managing Hashimoto’s and other thyroid problems oftentimes requires working with a health care professional. At the same time, the seven strategies offered in this column create a foundation for optimal thyroid health, as follows:
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet.Making thyroid-supporting foods the foundation of yourdiet can help optimize thyroid function and minimize symptoms associated with thyroid imbalances. A proper diet eliminates many thyroid-damaging foods while incorporating plenty of healthy, nutrient-rich foods.
- Get the right nutrients.Even with the healthiest thyroid-supporting foods, you might not be getting optimal amounts of specific nutrients. That’s why a multivitamin can fill the nutrientgaps you might be missing from food. Talk with your health care provider about additional thyroid-supporting nutrients based on your specific condition.
- Manage stress levels.Among its damage, chronic stress can suppress pituitary function, inhibiting the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and contributing to thyroid imbalances. Find ways to de-stress and do them regularly.
- Get great sleep.Thyroid imbalances can make you feel tired during the day and wired at night, contributing to sleep disorders. Good sleep hygiene (including keeping the room dark and turning off electronics a few hours before bed) can help. If getting good sleep still feels like a struggle, work with a health care professional for additional support.
- Exercise consistently.Consistent exercise can benefit thyroid imbalances in many ways. Even a brisk walk can benefit thyroid and overall health.
- Minimize toxicity.Environmental toxins can reduce thyroid hormone levels, impair thyroid hormone action, and increase your risk for Hashimoto’s. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides excellent guides for:
- The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
- Safety ratings for over 2,500 cleaning products
- ASkin DeepCosmetic Database that lets you search almost 70,000 beauty products
Another important tip: Never modify your medications or any specific medical instructions without your health care professional’s consent.
Rosie Main, DC, owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest Lane, Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living Radio on 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, visit MaximizedLivingDrMain.com.