In the United States about 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid disorder. Mostly it is an under active thyroid (hypothyroid) but there are those who have an over-active thyroid which comes with its own problems.
Unfortunately there are no stats for South Africa.
What’s really surprising is that 60% of those who have thyroid problems are completely unaware that this is the root of their problems.
The American Thyroid Association reports that 1 in 8 women in the USA is affected by a thyroid disorder at some point during her lifetime.
Think of it as your body's thermostat.
It regulates your body temperature, hunger levels, sex drive, mood, how much energy use up during the day.
It is interrelated to every system in your body.
So if your thyroid is not running at its best then you are not running at your best.
Where is your thyroid?
It is a butterfly shaped gland in the middle of your neck and below your voice box.
Your thyroid produces the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. It makes sense that if your thyroid is not working at best case then there is going to be a knock on effect on every other system in your body.
There are 3 thyroid hormones all with long names!!! Their short names are T4, T3 and T2.
T3 is converted to Free T3 and Reverse T3.
Free T3 is what really matters.
This is the hormone that attaches to a receptor in every cell in your body and causes something to happen.
That could be body temperature rising, metabolism increasing or bowel functioning.
A sluggish thyroid will usually be experienced in these ways;
What can contribute to thyroid problems?
Genetics to lifestyle habits can all have an impact on the health of your thyroid.
There are a number of nutrients that play a role that are often overlooked in proper thyroid function.
These are iodine, selenium, zinc and B vitamins.
The number one cause of an under active thyroid or hypothyroidism is an iodine deficiency!
Iodine is needed for the production of thyroid hormones and the normal functioning of the thyroid.
So where do we find iodine rich foods?
Seaweed is a great source. But it is a bit weird in a Western diet, right!?
Sushi has seaweed so I guess we could all indulge in more sushi!! Other sea vegetables are dulse and kelp.
But for Westerners you can find iodine in raw dairy i.e. non pasteurised. Wild caught tuna, cod, sea bass and eggs.
When there is iodine present in the soil where crops are grown (remember iodine is a mineral) then these vegetables are good sources –
onions, mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, pineapple, cantaloupe, whole-wheat and green peppers.
Selenium helps to balance T4 levels of thyroid hormone.
Foods that are high in selenium are Brazil nuts, spinach, tuna, grass fed beef, turkey and beef liver.
Zinc and vitamins B5 & B12 are also important for thyroid health.
Vitamin B12 helps to balance hormones naturally and treats chronic fatigue syndrome. Eat grass-fed beef and beef liver, tuna, raw milk and cheese, cottage cheese, lamb and eggs.
Vitamin B5 has many of the same benefits as B12 for supporting the thyroid as well as supporting metabolism. Eat these foods as part of your meals; peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, sesame and sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, spinach and ground flaxseed.
What else can you do?
Get enough rest and learn to manage stress.
Physical and emotional stress put your body in a fight or flight mode. When this happens then the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, are heightened.
This causes the blood vessels to narrow, muscle tension increases and blood pressure too. Antibodies and inflammatory proteins that suppress immune function are released. All this damages the adrenal glands and thyroid.
So take stress seriously and find the root causes of your mental strain. Try multiple methods to deal with your stress.
Aim for 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night.
Meditate, exercise, journal and look to be part of a community.
Either a faith based one or support group. And schedule enjoyable activities for yourself and the people that you enjoy spending time with.
Lab tests to determine if you have a thyroid problem.
Normally doctors only check for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4.
There are other tests though, that will show a better picture of whether you have a thyroid problem.
Ask your doctor to run these tests.
Dr Amy Myers is a leading a Functional Medicine doctor specialising in thyroid treatment. She herself has the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system turns against the body's own tissues. In this case the body turns against the thyroid.
According to her these are the optimal values for the lab results on the tests done…..
If you’re looking for increased energy then take a look at my program –
21 Days to Increased Energy.
It was 5:15 a.m. one morning that I got a message from my maid.
She was man down with a tummy bug and would not be coming to work.
We rely so much on our maids, don't we?
They really are an important part of our families.
So she wasn't coming to work. It's school holidays. I'm thinking, "Oh crap! Not just one child but now two to sort out."
Anyway, snacks got packed. Toys and entertainment packed. Blankie for naptime packed.
And we all went to work.
But in between receiving the message and getting to work I got so stressed out. My whole plan and morning-time routine was now out of whack .
And along came my 6 year old who said , “Mom. It's Ok to be stressed. It's ok but you need to calm down and breathe. Breathe, Mom.”
Don't you just love that what you say to them comes right back at you at the most appropriate time?
I breathed and reached for Relicalm.
It's like a large cup of tea - it has the same ingredient as tea l-theanine - which helps to calm you. Now you know why that cup of tea works so well! Relicalm also promises 5 hours of calm . Just what I needed!
And that is the kind of stress that we all dealing with - not the fight or flight - that is part of our evolution.
There was no fight for me and no physical escape route that I needed to take.
It was all mental but our bodies release chemicals for the physical fight or flight. Snce we're not in a situation that requires physicality those stress chemicals start to cause havoc on our body’s systems.
Let's take a look at the impact of stress on our body -
Memory - Long term exposure to cortisol is linked to shrinkage of the memory part of your brain. A Finnish study found that patients with persistently high cortisol levels were 3x as likely to develop Alzheimer's.
Head - Studies have shown that an increase in the stress hormone adrenaline can cause migraines. People who have tension headaches tend to translate their stress to muscle contractions.
Heart - reggular feelings of being highly stressed can lead to an increased risk of a fatal stroke. High cortisol levels are more likely to have high levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Long term stress is a factor leading to raised blood pressure.
Skin - skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis can worsen when you are stressed.
Digestion - emotions and the gut are closely linked. Think of butterflies in your tummy. But also runny tummy, a sore tummy, indigestion and heartburn .
Immune system - Ongoing stress can deplete the body's resources to fight infection . Studies have shown that those under long-term stress have lower white blood cells - the guys that fight the bacteria and viruses that cause illness.
I know that when I was diagnosed with pneumonia in August ‘17 it was a result of long-term stress. My immune system was at rock bottom .
Mood - stress can leave you unable to concentrate, inefficient and accident prone. The ongoing release of cortisol and adrenaline - the stress hormones - disrupt levels of the feel good chemical - serotonin . This may lead to depression.
So what's a girl to do? -
1) Breathe! Really.
When you're under stress your breathing is rapid and shallow. Breathe through your nose for a count of 5 and out for a count of 6.
Do this 5 times .
He who half breathes, half-lives.
2) Get Moving
Chase your children in the garden, what about a game of touch rugby? Turn up the radio and dance! Go for a walk around your complex or on the road .
3) Create a list of activities and people who bring you Joy
Make time to do something that makes your heart sing .
I love crocheting and I am making a blanket for our king size bed!
P.S. Stress suppresses your body's production of testosterone which helps control abdominal fat.
Book an initial call at no cost and let's identify your top 3 current challenges.
P.S.S - You can't be a great mum, wife, employee and friend if your stressed out and struggling with your health....
Do you ever get bloated?
I remember one time - it was a Sunday. We'd been invited to friends for lunch.
The night before had been a lot of fun (pre-children, obviously!) but I thought I should be kind to my liver that day.
I chose to drink apple juice or something like that.
Oh my word!
As the lunch progressed and the afternoon drew out, my tummy got bigger and bigger.
I got more and more uncomfortable. . And for awhile I kept on drinking the apple juice - what a mistake!
It was the worst feeling ever.
Has this ever happened to you?
How to get over bloating –
A good day can go from fantastic to miserable so quickly!
One moment you’re feeling amazing, the next moment you feel like a whale.
Your pants feel like they’ll pop!
It is so common that most people think it’s normal!
It’s not normal and I’m going to give you a few guidelines to help you get over the bloat.
Bloating is a symptom.
Your body is telling you that something is not right.
When you eat meat, if it is not digested properly –
- which remember starts in your mouth then goes on to your stomach and then into your intestines –
if it is not well digested by the time it reaches your large intestine, it is going to start fermenting.
That causes gas and as a result you bloat.
Sometimes carbohydrates don’t’ digest properly because certain enzymes are out of play.
That’s going to cause gas as a result of the food fermenting in the large intestine.
And gut bacteria is another reason for bloating.
Our body has millions upon billions of “good” and “bad” bacteria. When the “bad” bacteria are in the majority that leads to an imbalance. The result? Bloating and gas.
Your body may be sensitive to or intolerant to some foods.
These foods then could lead to bloating. It is the sugar in food that is likely to cause the bloating.
Think about it… if your body is not able to fully digest the food, then the bacteria that live in your digestive system are going to feed on that sugar. When they do that, it is usually the “bad” bacteria and then you bloat.
Here are some common foods – milk & dairy products, pasta, wheat and oat brans, artificial sweeteners, fruit juices, beans and lentils.
Constipation can also leave you with a tummy area that has a hard feeling and gas.
The biggest reasons for this situation are not eating enough fibre rich foods, not drinking enough water and not moving enough.
Being dehydrated can also cause you to bloat because your body starts to retain water.
As that happens you swell.
It’s a good idea to aim for 8 glasses of water per day.
It doesn’t seem to make sense to drink more water if your body is retaining it. But when your body is dehydrated it holds on to water to try and stop the situation happening again.
With dehydration comes the slowing down of digestion. When digestion slows down the food that you eat sits longer in your gut.
The result? Fermentation and gas.
The next time bloating happens to you, these questions will help you to find out what causes your bloating.
Here are 4 foods to beat bloating;
And avoid these 5 foods & drinks
The bottom line – avoid certain foods and drinks, drink 8 glasses water each day and move regularly throughout the day.
I'm offering FREE discovery calls.
A few years ago, well into my nutrition journey, I discovered a book by Liz Lipski called Digestive Wellness.
It was an eye-opener.
The crux of the matter is that there's more and more evidence showing that whatever happens in the digestive system is not staying in the digestive system.
The imbalances in the digestive system are having an impact on the rest of our body .
Symptoms and diseases that we would never think could be related to the state of our digestive system are linked. For example eczema, infertility, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, migraines.
The word Diet comes from the Greek word Diata. This means our manner of living.
So how did the meaning of diet gets so messed up in recent years? To now mean - restriction, guilt, deprivation and weight loss?
If diet means way of life then it's not just about food, is it ?
It's about everything.
The food we choose to eat. What we're thinking. How we are moving. The TV programs and radio shows we listen to and watch .
Maybe it is because we usually change our food when we go on diet that diet now means a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves either to lose weight or for medical reasons . It also means the kinds of food that a person or animal or community habitually eats.
I don't really want to use the terms good or bad diet so I'll go with healthy vs unhealthy .
I think we can agree that a healthy diet in terms of food would be made up of these parts .
Who foods that are home cooked. Food that doesn't contain artificial colours or flavours. Food that has healthy fats. Food with no refined sugars. Food that has fibre.
And what would a healthy diet in terms of how you're living look like?
Getting back to the food part , which is where my passion lies , I think the that what's important is to find a way of eating that supports your health .
That works for you and your family.
That supports the wellness of your digestive system.
Do you agree that if there is stuff going on in your tummy like bloating, wind, constipation, cramps, heartburn, runny tummy then you don't feel your best?
More and more studies are showing that the digestive system has an impact on the rest of our body . Symptoms and diseases that we would never think are related to our digestive system are in fact now showing up as related.
So what is a girl to do?
I think that a conscious awareness of what you're choosing to feed yourself is the first step.
Once you know what you're regularly eating with your family and during the day then you can make small changes. Changes that you can adopt for the long term.
So your first step is to complete a food diary.
This Isn't just what you pop in your mouth. Make a note of symptoms you may feel or have afterwards. Take notice if your energy drops or your mood changes and write it down.
See if you can match specific foods to the way you feel mentally and physically .
Complete this over 10 to 14 days.
I'd love to help you examine your food log at the end.
Click here to book a complimentary call.
If you know anyone who needs to improve their wellness please feel free to share this with them.