If you’ve sought help from either a primary care physician or naturopathic doctor for mental health, physical conditions, digestive issues, energy, and more, you’ve probably heard the doctor mention your thyroid.
But why is the thyroid so important? How is it possible that a small gland can exist at the very centre of your physical and mental well-being? This guide will provide more information on the issue. Longevity Live Paid Content.
Why is the Thyroid So Important?
The thyroid is an essential gland located in the neck that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and development in the body. These hormones help control the rate at which the body uses energy and affect body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. The thyroid also plays a crucial role in the development and function of the brain, bones, and reproductive system. Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels can lead to a wide range of health problems, including weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, and fertility issues. It’s important to maintain optimal thyroid performance and function for health and well-being.
What Are Some Thyroid Health Issues?
The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating many bodily functions, and imbalances in thyroid hormone levels can lead to a variety of health issues. Here are some common health issues associated with the thyroid:
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, depression, and cold intolerance. It is typically treated with synthetic thyroid hormone medication.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and irritability. It can be caused by several factors, including Graves’ disease, thyroid nodules, or thyroiditis. Treatment options include medication to reduce hormone levels, radioactive iodine therapy, and surgery to remove the thyroid gland. It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect you may have hyperthyroidism, as untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to serious health complications.
A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland, which can be caused by an iodine deficiency or other factors. It can lead to difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Thyroid nodules are lumps that form in the thyroid gland. Most nodules are benign, but some can be cancerous.
Untreated thyroid conditions can lead to serious health complications, including heart problems, fertility issues, and neurological problems. It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of a thyroid condition, as early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent these complications.
Does Diet Affect Thyroid Performance?
Diet plays an important role in thyroid health, as the thyroid gland relies on specific nutrients to produce hormones, and your food intake is often the first thing a licensed Naturopathic Doctor will ask about in your consultations.
Iodine, for instance, is a crucial nutrient for thyroid function, as it is used to make thyroid hormones. Foods that are high in iodine include seaweed, seafood, and iodized salt.
Selenium is an important mineral that plays a key role in thyroid hormone metabolism and optimal thyroid performance. Foods that are high in selenium include Brazil nuts, tuna, and eggs.
Zinc is another essential nutrient for thyroid hormone production and helps regulate the immune system. Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds.
Don’t forget about iron! Iron is important for thyroid hormone synthesis and helps carry oxygen into the blood. Foods that are high in iron include red meat, spinach, and lentils.
Some people with thyroid conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, may be sensitive to gluten. It’s essential for these individuals to avoid gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley, and rye.
Eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet can help support thyroid health. However, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet, especially if you have a thyroid condition or are taking medication for it.
Supplements May Regulate Your Thyroid
A key tenet of functional medicine practice is to introduce key vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients into your diet if they are lacking. Add a good sleep pattern and exercise to the mix, and you likely have a healthy patient.
However, some people need to make up for the difference via supplementation (pills for zinc, iodine, etc.). It’s best to work with a doctor to find supplements for these reasons:
- They will instruct you on how often, and for how long, you should take supplements
- A doctor will help you know which supplements you can take at the same time to avoid bad reactions or dietary issues
- A doctor will help you purchase doctor-grade supplements without contaminants.
If you are suffering from any number of health complications, your thyroid performance might be the source of the issue. Don’t self-diagnose – seek a medical opinion as soon as possible.
Who is the author?
Linda Carter is a marketing specialist and passionate blogger based in New York. She is in love with everything that is related to art. Her travel, lifestyle, career, and entertainment-related content has been featured on high-authority websites and online magazines.
She received her BA in business from Hunter College, and since then, she has been trying to inspire as many people as possible with her writing.