Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Under Active Thyroid

I have heard the word "thyroid" being tossed around lately. I work at a health and wellness company so naturally everyone seems to have two things on their mind: health and wellness. That and money...

When I was first married I went to the doctor with complaints of weight gain, exhaustion, and all around hormonal discomfort. I cannot tell you how many times I have told my husband: "I didn't used to have mood swings like this." or "I just feel off, I don’t know what is wrong with me." 

The first thing my doctor checked for was pregnancy. Naturally. I was a 20 year old in Utah County who pretty much OD'ed on birth control not wanting to get pregnant. But what the heck? Draw more blood than necessary AND make me pee in cup. That’s cool. 

Luckily I wasn’t pregnant! But after several tubes of blood and a long week later, the nurse called and said I had hypothyroidism. Cool? I asked what I should do about it and she said the doctor would call me in a few days. Great.

I ended up having to follow through with the doctor but she seemed less than concerned about this new long word that was clearly messing up my body. After all, she felt fine...why would she care if I was exhausted and a moody brooding mess? She said she wouldn't be too worried about it and that it is a common thing in women. Yeah...cancer is common too but I don't want that, either. 

So it was whatever. I went along with life getting fat and feeling tired. Crying a lot. Testing high for cholesterol despite my mainly plant based diet, all of the sudden being effected by gluten, being stressed, and just feeling gross. 

now, fast forward two years, eating 1200 calories a day, eating real foods, eating healthier than ever and still staying the exact same weight I was two years ago. It all started while I was sitting behind a desk talking to a lady who was talking about how she gained a lot of weight when her thyroid slowed down. I had a "that's so raven" moment but I wasn't seeing the future, I was remembering the past... "Your blood results showed positive for hypothyroidism..."


No wonder I haven't been losing weight despite eating like a rabbit. No wonder I’ve been at a plateau since April. My stupid hormones are making it impossible for me to do so. 

Dumb doctor...why didn’t you drug me up while you had the chance...now you couldn't pay me enough to swallow a synthesized pill.

So, what do I do? I heal with food. :) 

Common reasons for a sluggish thyroid
There are so many reasons we could have issues with our thyroids. Some are common knowledge and some were really surprising. 
  1. Auto immune diseases. Our thyroids don't know how to respond to chronic inflammation in our systems. Because our bodies are so complex and ready to solve its problems as quickly as possible, it takes everything in us to calm the inflammation, not leaving much power for the thyroid to function.
  2. Gluten. Gluten intolerance has become more and more prominent among Americans. My personal belief is it is from the lack of quality control in non-organic fields, but whatever the reason, it causes the body to inflame...making #1 a big a problem.
  3. Heavy metals and other toxins. Things like mercury and pesticides tend to get into the body and make it impossible for the thyroid to do its job. With the body fighting off foreign objects in the body it can't properly function in the thyroid. That is why detoxes are so important...it eliminates harmful things in the body and allows all other parts of the body to function the way they are supposed to. 
  4. Stress. It is no mystery that stress really can mess with our bodies. And it has also been rumored that stress can make you gain weight. For some it’s because they are stressful eaters, which is entirely another scenario. But when it comes to people who aren't stressful eaters, it affects their thyroid. When you become stressed, your body’s immunity breaks down and is more vulnerable to illness. When if you're susceptible to illness and your body is consumed with fighting off illness, your thyroid isn't going to get the power it needs to do its job.
  5. Franken foods. You should probably see a similar pattern in thyroid problems by now. Basically if there are things in your body that are unusual and require extra energy to fight off, it’s going to disrupt your thyroid. Genetically modified foods are no exception to this. Your body has NO idea what to do with them and it ends up trying to fight it off. 
  6. Lacking in vitamins and minerals. lack of: 
    1. iodine
    2. vitamin D
    3. omega 3's
    4. selenium
    5. zinc
    6. vitamin A
    7. B vitamins may cause your thyroid to not function properly. If you feel like you are experiencing any hypothyroid symptoms, try to boost your thyroid with foods high in these vitamins and minerals.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
Pain in the patootie weight gain and impossible weight loss aren't the only problems someone with an under active thyroid may experience. That is only the beginning. Other symptoms may include:
  1. exhaustion
  2. mild depression or anxiety
  3. forgetfulness or bad memory
  4. weight gain
  5. difficult weight loss despite healthy eating and exercise
  6. cold hands and feet
  7. low body temperature
  8. dry skin
  9. thinning hair
  10. constipation
  11. fluid retention
  12. long term issues like diabetes and heart problems
 If you are experiencing any or all of those symptoms, try healing with food. 

Foods to help Hypothyroidism
  1. iodine: foods high in iodine include things like: baked potatoes, hard boiled eggs, lobster, iodized salt, navy beans, seaweed (sushi, anyone?), cod, shrimp, turkey breast etc. 
  2. Vitamin D: fish oil, cod, catfish, mollusks, salmon, trout, halibut, etc.
  3. Omega 3's: fish oil, omega 3 supplements, flax seed, olive oil, etc. 
  4. Selenium (mineral that helps eliminate free radicals): meat, poultry, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, eggs, fish etc. 
  5. Zinc: roast beef, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, dark chocolate, peanuts, crab, mutton, oysters, veal liver, etc. 
  6. Liver, cat elopes, apricots, cayenne pepper, lettuce, butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. 
  7. B vitamins: crabs, mutton, oysters, shrimp, beef, liver, octopus, caviar, etc. 

If you're lacking in any of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals, your thyroid could be at stake. There are other reasons you may be suffering from hypothyroidism and that may be up to a doctor to decide. However, if it is a simple fix such as changing your diet, it will be cheaper and better for your body. If you can find a doctor that practices functional medicine in your area, go to them. They will more than likely help you in the most holistic way possible. 

Best of luck!

Happy, healthy, healing! 

<3 KBS

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