If you feel tired all the time, have gained weight even while keeping to a diet, and just can’t seem to concentrate, your thyroid needs help.
Sadly, thyroid function is too often ignored by conventional medical practice. It’s a common misconception that if you have “normal” thyroid hormone levels then you don’t need to do anything; just get a little extra sleep and forget about it.
But that’s not the case. Your body knows it and you know it. You need two critical nutrients to fuel your thyroid and get your energy levels, weight, focus, and life back on track again. You need iodine and L-tyrosine. Those crucial components for a healthy thyroid are the subject of this Terry Talks Nutrition®.
Why Are There So Many Problems With The Thyroid?
There are a few reasons for thyroid problems becoming so prominent. Certainly food choices and lifestyle play a part, but the major reason is the disappearance of iodine in our diets and its lack of use in common medical practice. In fact, we have increased our exposure to toxic iodine competitors!
Before the universal use of synthetic drugs that are so common today, iodine was essentially the medicine used by physicians around the world. And it was effective for everything; healing wounds, destroying bacteria, stopping viruses, and possibly even preventing cancer. Iodine – along with L-tyrosine – is an absolute must for a healthy thyroid.
What the Thyroid Does
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of the throat. One of its chief functions is producing thyroxine (T4), and converting this hormone into triiodothyronine (T3), the active hormone needed for metabolism.
When your body produces too little thyroxine, the normal metabolic and chemical processes your body requires slow down, resulting in hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid.
While low-functioning thyroid is common in both men and women, from my experience, women are far more apt to have hypothyroidism than men. But diagnosing hypothyroidism isn’t always what it should be. The most serious problem is that many doctors rely completely on a blood test that is grossly inaccurate and overlooks a majority of low thyroid diagnoses. That’s because most of the current tests are inadequate, and don’t show the full picture of how well the thyroid is functioning.
When doctors test for blood levels of T4, they generally find adequate levels of the hormone, so they naturally rule out hypothyroidism. But, looking at T4 levels is only half of the picture, and the tests aren’t truly far-reaching. Many of these “good” readings of T4 don’t take into consideration the levels of T4 that need to be converted to T3, the active hormone.
In fact, readings of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), thyroxine levels (T4) and other blood parameters may lead one to believe you are in the “normal” range when the normal range may be far too broad. A test initiated by Dr. Broda Barnes, considered to be one of the premier experts on thyroid, is far better. Plus, it has the added convenience of being able to be performed at home.
The procedure is simple:
- Take a non-digital thermometer and place it on your bedside table
- In the morning upon wakening – without getting out of bed – place the thermometer in your armpit and hold arm close to body for 10 minutes
- Read temperature and record (women in menstruation should wait for ovulation to cease)
- Repeat procedure each day for three days
Normal is 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Anything under 97.8 probably means varying degrees of suboptimal thyroid function or actual hypothyroidism. In general, the lower the temperature is, the worse the condition. But in these cases, it’s not unusual to find readings as low as 96 degrees.
Unfortunately, in many cases of hypothyroidism, doctors fall back on the catchall diagnoses: stress, anxiety or depression, because these are symptoms of the real disease. They overlook the root cause of these symptoms.
Let me emphasize the fact that underactive thyroid is very serious. Beyond weight gain, disruptions to the health of the thyroid can alter your personality significantly, completely taking away the enjoyment of life and eventually leading to depression, anxiety and anti-social behavior.
Why You Need Iodine
Because most of us figure that we get enough iodine from salt, it’s easy to forget that iodine was added to salt because of widespread goiter development (iodine deficiency) back in the 1920s. While this did reduce the incidence of goiter and other thyroid problems, many people have since cut back on the use of table salt at home. And processed foods, which are typically very high in sodium, don’t necessarily have added iodine.
Historically, iodine was always used for infections and for pneumonia and bronchitis. Lack of it was considered to be the cause of mental slowness. Even today, iodine deficiency is considered to be the most common cause of preventable brain damage in the world.
But in the 1940s, a single paper written by two researchers completely changed the way we use iodine. This poorly documented paper gave the impression that iodine use was not only archaic and unnecessary, but could even be dangerous, citing overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) as a side effect. Almost overnight, the use of iodine in medicine was stopped and in its place we have a fear of one of the most important and critical nutrients in our diet. With the advent of modern drugs since the 1940s, could the profits realized by the drug companies have a bearing on discrediting the use of iodine for hypothyroidism?
Iodine was soon forgotten in favor of new, patented pharmaceutical drugs. Combined with that, other elements - chlorine, fluoride, and bromide (iodine blockers) - are commonly found in our environment or consumed in foods. Cities use chlorine to purify water instead of iodine. Fluoride is in virtually all toothpaste and drinking water. Bromines began to replace iodine in commercial baked goods in the 1970s, and are found in much of the refined flour in the supermarket.
These minerals are dangerous and toxic for your thyroid and block iodine receptors throughout the body, mimicking its shape but providing none of its benefits. In fact, fluoride blocks the ability of the thyroid gland to concentrate iodine – which the thyroid requires to build hormones. And bromide, a shockingly common ingredient, can cause depression, headaches, and even hallucinations. No wonder the state of health is in such sorry shape.
L-Tyrosine is Essential for Thyroid Health
Along with iodine, your thyroid needs the amino acid, L-tyrosine. You may not hear about L-tyrosine (also commonly called “tyrosine”) that much, but without it there would be no thyroid hormone function. It is impossible to have a well-functioning thyroid without sufficient quantities in the diet or through supplementation. To make thyroxine – a key hormone – both iodine and tyrosine must be present either through the diet or dietary supplements. If your thyroid gland has slowed down, it’s very likely due to an inadequate intake of both iodine and L-tyrosine.
Does Your Thyroid Need a Boost?
If you’ve never considered yourself as having low thyroid but just don’t feel 100%, consider these simple questions:
- Are you gaining weight easily without eating more?
- Are you always fatigued or exhausted?
- Are you irritable or impatient?
- Are your hands and feet usually cold?
- Do you often feel depressed or anxious?
- Do you often have aching muscles?
- Is your hair coarse, dry, and lifeless?
- Is your skin dry?
- Do you have loss of libido?
- Do you have insomnia?
- Do you have a slow heartbeat?
- Are you losing your enthusiasm for life?
- Are you listless, forgetful and anti-social?
If any of these questions seem all-too-familiar, you may need to give your thyroid health more consideration.
Thyroid Health Really Is That Important!
It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that just one small system in the body can be allowed to “slow down a little,” but thyroid health is extremely important.
The thyroid regulates the complete metabolic function of the body. Any dysfunction here will make a tremendous impact on how much weight you carry, and how easy (or not) it is to regulate that weight. Plus, an imbalance of its hormone can produce skin disorders, irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, muscle dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbances, mental confusion, severe depression, decreased libido, extreme fatigue and apathy.
The thyroid very definitely affects how you feel and how you relate to life in general. Starting on a combination of iodine and tyrosine right away can make a huge improvement in your health.
With these ingredients, you’ll notice changes within several weeks. But be patient; to fully restore the thyroid and its metabolic function may take 3-6 months for many people. Remember, you may have had low thyroid all your life. If your mom had low thyroid, more than likely you have had low thyroid since birth, but remain hopeful and stick with it. The energy, metabolism, and vitality you’ve been seeking will return.