The thyroid does a lot.
Not only does it store and regulate hormones, but it also regulates heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate that food is converted into energy.
It’s such a vital part of the way our bodies function that when it’s off it can really affect our lives.
However, while a relatively small number of people have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, millions have diagnosable symptoms because their thyroid just hasn’t gotten bad enough yet to show in their bloodwork.
There are more than a dozen symptoms to look for that can drastically affect your everyday life if you don’t get it under control.
So, for those of you who are just starting to see symptoms or have already been diagnosed, let’s go over nine ways you can manage your thyroid naturally.
I’d like to start this topic by pointing out that there is a clear distinction between someone with gluten intolerance and someone who has celiac disease.
Celiac disease only affects about 1% of the population. Those who have it experience damage to their small intestine anytime they eat foods containing gluten, which can cause constant pain and is potentially life-threatening.
A larger percentage of people experience gluten sensitivity or intolerance. This sensitivity makes them have difficulty digesting, assimilating, and breaking down gluten, which is the protein found in grains.
People with gluten intolerance can also see damage to their gut lining, which can interfere with hormones, causing problems with their thyroid. This can result in difficulty with digestion, sleep, libido, and cause them to constantly feel like they have low energy.
One of the problems with gluten is that foods with gluten are processed with bromide. When we consume these foods, the bromide displaces iodine, which is an essential mineral that our thyroid uses to make hormones. The bromide essentially gets in the way and inhibits those growth hormones from being produced, which can lead to several health problems.
Choosing a gluten-free diet can prevent or resolve these issues, and there are a few great diets to choose from.
The Keto diet is on hardcore gluten-free diet that many people enjoy, which Dr. Berg has a lot of great information about on YouTube.
Paleo, or the Paleolithic diet, is another amazing diet that I’ve put many patients on for the last 20 years and actually use myself. We used to call this the hunter and gatherer diet before we had the term paleo. The long and short of it is that you cut out bread, pasta, pastries, and cereal and focus on eating proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, and staying away from all those refined carbohydrates.
I’ve detailed it all out in my book, Quantum Paleo, which you can find on Amazon Kindle, which will lead you through a 21-day plan and can give you weight loss results.
But whatever diet you choose, you will feel a big difference by cutting out gluten as staying away from those refined carbohydrates will reduce inflammation, and make your body work better.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Pretty much everyone loves sweets or did at some point in their life. Sugar is almost like a drug, that you can get hooked on and crave. But as much as we all love sugar, it can have a lot of negative effects on the body.
One problem with sugar is that it causes inflammation and can break down your immune system.
When you’re not producing enough thyroid hormones, your body can’t break down sugars or carbohydrates, and your body will struggle to balance your blood sugar. This can cause you to feel fatigued, experience weight gain, and cause any number of metabolic issues. So, if you want your body to operate at optimal levels and help your thyroid function properly, make sure to reduce your sugar intake.
Eat Iodine Rich Foods
While I mentioned earlier how gluten can inhibit your thyroid’s ability to produce, there are ways to help it do better. One of those ways is by consuming iodine-rich foods.
Iodine is one of the essential minerals that promote thyroid hormone production, and a lot of us don’t get enough of it.
Some great sources of iodine-rich foods are seafood including seaweed, nori, shrimp, and oysters, as well as dairy products like yogurt and cheese. Alternatively, if you have a thyroid deficiency, some foods you should avoid eating too much of include kale, soy, and foods with gluten like bread, pasta, pastries, and cereal.
Take a Good Probiotic
The ecosystem in your gut plays a vital part in your overall health, and definitely affects your thyroid.
The bacteria, which is produced naturally in your gut, plays a central role in regulating your thyroid hormones. It’s so important to the process because your gut is one of the main places that your body converts the T4 (thyroxine) produced by your thyroid into T3 (triiodothyronine).
Both of these hormones are essential to our bodies’ health and wellbeing, helping with our metabolism, bowel function, mental health, skin and hair health, and much more. However, the thyroid itself doesn’t produce enough T4, so our body needs places to convert it into T3, and the gut is one of those places.
Without good gut bacteria, those thyroid hormones won’t absorb into your gastrointestinal system as well, and your health will decline.
Probiotics are able to supplement the good bacteria that our gut needs to function properly and can be found in fermented foods or supplements.
I do have a probiotic available in my store, which I’m very proud of. I’ve spent time formulating it to be the type of product I would want to take and to be what I was always looking for when making a probiotic recommendation to my patients. So please try it our if you’re looking for one.
Stress can be linked to making any illness worse. This is definitely true for low thyroid. All stress, but especially chronic stress, is a trigger for thyroid dysfunction, as it can cause flare-ups of your symptoms and slow your metabolism.
A few methods to destress are by practicing meditation, taking an Epsom salt bath with essential oils, going for a walk in nature, or reading a good book. Whatever gets your mind off things, brings you joy, and makes you feel a little more grounded are well worth it for your thyroid and your overall health.
Many of the methods listed above are great ways to practice self-care, but if you’re having issues with your thyroid, it’s important to take things a step further. So treat yourself.
Go spend a little money taking care of yourself with physical treatment from professionals like acupuncturists, chiropractors, or massage therapists. Join exercise classes like Qigong, Tai Chi, or yoga. Go lie in a float tank if that’s what floats your boat.
Try to get on a healthy exercise regimen. Whether that means you’re seeking help from a physical trainer or find a routine online, make sure you’re working out regularly, and get that blood pumping. Any movement that gets your blood pumping is great for self-care.
Yes, that includes sex.
Steady movements like dancing and sex are great ways to feel better and increase our biorhythms and reduce stress. This will have an impact on your health and wellbeing, whether you’re dealing with thyroid-related issues or any other health situations.
Eat Foods High in Selenium, Zinc, and B-Vitamins
Three things you should add to your diet if you have thyroid issues are foods that are high in Selenium, Zinc, and B-Vitamins. These vitamins and minerals are essential for proper thyroid function.
The thyroid gland specifically needs Selenium to make the thyroid hormone, while Zinc helps convert T4 into T3, and B-vitamins help regulate the thyroid.
Some examples of food that has Selenium include Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, Pinto beans, halibut, grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and organic oats. Good sources of Zinc and B vitamins are lamb, grass-fed beef, cashews, spinach, chicken, eggs, mushrooms, chickpeas, and asparagus.
If you’ve never heard of ashwagandha before, let me go over the basics. Ashwagandha is an ancient herb that’s been used for over 3,000 years that can help your body manage and relieve stress. It can lower both blood sugar and cortisol levels, help your mental health, and fight anxiety and depression.
It has such amazing benefits that I actually put ashwagandha in the thyroid medication that I make. I believe it is something that should be in every natural thyroid supplement. In one case study, patients who took 600 milligrams of ashwagandha extract for eight weeks saw significant improvements in their T4 levels, which again is essential to our thyroid health.
Reduce Toxic Exposure
You may look at this title and think, “I never spend time near toxic chemicals, so I’m fine, right?” But exposure can be more common than you might think.
Certain medications, hormonal birth control pills, and commercial beauty and cleaning products are all ways you can get toxic exposure.
Exposure to these types of products can cause inflammatory reactions that hinder proper thyroid function. So, if you suspect, or know that you have hypothyroidism, try to limit your exposure to these types of materials.
If you are able, use green, natural cleaning products in your house, or green soaps and shampoos on your body. Making this change can improve your health in many ways, including thyroid health for sure.
An interesting change that some of my patients noticed had a positive effect on their health was removing their amalgam. After they went to their dentist and had their amalgam, metal fillings removed from their teeth, they saw gradual improvements in their health. Not just thyroid patients, also patients with autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory pain diseases like lupus, MS, and Sjogren’s. So this might be something that could interest you if you still have amalgam fillings.
So, there are more than a few ways to help deal with your symptoms if you have hypothyroidism or have just started noticing the symptoms of low thyroid. If you’ve made it this far, and don’t suspect it, then these are still great tips to improve your health and well being that you should still try out.
As mentioned earlier, I do make a thyroid product that is available in my shop, and I hope you will give it a try. If you have any questions for me or would like some more tips, please feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear from you.