Whether it feels like you possess super natural powers and have energy that won’t quit or your moving as slow as molasses, the thyroid may need some fine tuning. A vitally important little butterfly-shaped organ that sits near your throat, the thyroid controls everything from weight, fertility, fatigue, body temperature and much more. Let’s take a little time to make sure that yours is up to par. Once you are familiar with the symptoms of a thyroid that is out of balance, you will know if yours needs a tune up.
The thyroid is the body’s thermostat and is the main regulator of metabolism for your body’s cells. It releases thyroid hormone which tells your cells' energy factories to rev up and produce. If the cells are slow to get a message, the output is low. If they are getting the message to work overtime, they are working their butts off and producing a lot. This is a simplified description of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, respectively.
Someone with a slow, or hypo-functioning, thyroid will be slow in fat metabolism and they may show signs of high triglycerides and/or LDL cholesterol. This person may also have low energy and gain weight easily. Eating just a bit and working out like a mad woman with no weight loss fits this profile. Other symptoms may include dry brittle hair, brow thinning, water retention, headaches, sensitivity to cold, muscle cramps, slow wound healing, unrestful sleep, and slow digestion.
Hyperthyroidism causes quick cellular metabolism possibly resulting in fast weight loss, jittery anxiousness, sweating, irregular heart beat, hair loss, increased bowel movements, restlessness, difficulty concentrating and menstrual irregularities. This person moves quickly, may get hot easily, is a bit jumpy and may be thin.
There are several important factors that influence thyroid’s functioning.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by:
- overactive immune system
- heavy metal toxicity
- mineral deficiency
- poor sugar balance
- poor digestion
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by:
- too much iodine
- viral infection of the thyroid
- too much thyroid hormone
- tumors on the thyroid, ovaries or testes.
If you're concerned about your thyroid, try adding these nutrients to your diet:
- Iodine: Sea vegetables (i.e., kelp or nori seaweed), seafood (i.e., clams, shrimp, oysters, salmon, sardines), and iodized sea salt
- Selenium: Mushrooms, sunflower seeds, tuna, organ meats, halibut, beef, soybeans, sunflower seeds
- Zinc: Ginger root, fresh oysters, sardines, beef, maple syrup, split peas, whole grains, sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds, walnuts, soybeans
- Iron: Blackstrap molasses, organ meats, pumpkin seeds, lentils, spinach, clams, oysters, white beans
- Copper: Dark chocolate, beef, shiitake mushrooms, oysters, lobster, tomato paste, pearled barley, white beans, chickpeas, sunflower seeds
Mommyhood challenges the body in a whole new way. To stay healthy and well, consider the factors that impact the thyroid and start to balance out your life as best as you can. Consult with a health professional if you feel that something is off in your body. Understanding the role of your thyroid in your every day life will help you better know what is normal and what needs more attention.