An underactive thyroid gland is called hypothyroidism. The term is used to describe a condition in which there is a reduced level of thyroid hormone in the body. Thyroxine is the hormone made by the thyroid gland in the neck. When the thyroid gland is unable to make enough thyroxine, many of the body’s functions start to slow down. There are several common symptoms that signal the onset of hypothyroidism.
- Severe fatigue or loss of energy: Even after a full night’s sleep you may still feel fatigued and never feel rested. When your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally, you may feel that you are always tired.
- Weight gain: It’s difficult or nearly impossible to lose weight or weight keeps packing on without overeating. When your thyroid function slows down so does your metabolism. Gaining weight may be one of the first symptoms you may notice as well as the inability to effectively lose weight.
- Hair loss: The thyroid plays a role in the hair’s growth and resting cycles. Without the proper level of hormones, the hair stays in the resting state and doesn’t return to the growth phase. Not only will your hair grow less, it may feel brittle and break more easily.
- Dry, brittle nails: Similar to the issue with hair loss, your nails may become dry and brittle and break more easily.
- Sensitivity to cold: Without your inner furnace (thyroid) pumping adequate hormones, you may be more sensitive to cold temperatures. The lower the “furnace” is running in your body, the lower your internal temperature. Even a slight change will alter your sensitivity to the cold.
- Constipation: A change in your normal bowel pattern of hardened stools that are not resolved by dietary changes.
- Diminished sex drive: You’re not just getting older and becoming uninterested in sex. Your hormones are not optimal and the changes that take place affect your overall hormonal system. We need our reproductive hormones to be in balance in order to feel sexual desire.
How to Make Changes Naturally
Begin adjusting your diet to include more sea vegetables, including kelp, nori, dulse, kombu and wakame. Increase the levels of iodine in your food sources including fish, seaweed salad and sea salt. Add essential fatty acids in flaxseeds and walnuts. Taking a high quality fish oil will help.
Reduce the amount of goitrogens (substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland) in your diet including raw kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and soy. Cooking will inactive the goitrogens.
Drink filtered water. Avoid ordinary tap water that may have fluorine and chlorine added to it.
Supplement with minerals. There may be a deficiency in zinc, selenium and copper. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium. Pumpkin seeds and almonds are also a good source of these minerals.
Seek Medical Advice if your symptoms don’t improve.
Do you recognize these symptoms in yourself and natural treatments are not working? If so, see your medical practitioner for an evaluation of your thyroid function. Most physicians will do a blood TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test. This is only a baseline to measure if the pituitary gland is triggering the release of the thyroid hormone. Ask for a complete work up to include T3, T4, free T3, free T4 and in some cases, reverse T3 and reverse T4. You may want to see the advice of a functional medicine practitioner in order to get to the root cause of your issue. Additionally, you may want to have your thyroid antibody levels tested for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, one of the most common causes of low thyroid.