Thyroid Thursday

Ok, it’s not Thursday. Sounded good though, didn’t it!

So. Your thyroid is a little gland in your throat. Bit of a weird spot to plonk something that controls everything we care about- energy, weight, libido and a ton of other stuff.

Most people know a little about it. If it doesn’t work, you feel sleepy and put on weight. If it’s supercharged, you eat like a racehorse and don’t put on an ounce (sounds great till you factor in permanent hot flushes, tremors, crankiness, anxiety, even vomiting and paralysis.). If you are exhibiting symptoms of a thyroid malfunction, your doc will order 3 blood tests: TSH, T3 and T4.

TSH is the hormone that kicks your thyroid into gear, the T3 and T4 are the hormones it then produces. High TSH and low T3/4 signifies hypothyroidism (hypo=low and slow), the reverse is hyperthyroidism (hyper=fast and crazy, like your 2 year old on a sugar high).

Treatments your doctor may recommend include surgery or drugs, in mild cases your naturopath may be able to prescribe herbs and supplements to balance out your thyroid. Make sure you keep an eye on it, as a funky thyroid might be giving you a secret message that something else in your body is dinky as well.

Then, there are Thyroid Antibodies, a test that’ll tell you if anything is trying to eat your thyroid. Many Naturopaths will tell you that you NEED to have this tested, even if the other 3 are fine. Many doctors will REFUSE to test it (unless other tests indicate it needs to be done). What’s the go? Is it an expensive and inaccurate test that rarely throws up the results the Naturopaths need? Are doctors just too reliant on the standard tests and failing to see mild variations can still cause big problems? I wish I knew- if I get an answer I’ll tell you!

I can tell you that iodine is essential for T4 production as T4 has four iodine molecules attached (hence the name). Selenium is needed to cleave one off, giving you T3. Vitamin D has also been shown to be vital for healthy thyroid function.

I get my iodine from seaweed- I throw a big pinch into the family meal, it goes well in most pasta dishes and disintegrates in a slow cooked casserole. Brazil’s nuts are super high in selenium and it also comes from fish, fowl, beef or sunflower seeds, cottage cheese and rice (concentration in the order listed, with rice the lowest). Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, 10-15 minutes, once or twice a day.

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