The thyroid gland is the body’s internal thermostat, regulating the temperature and controlling how quickly the body burns calories and uses energy. If the thyroid is overactive and secretes too much hormone, the condition is known as hyperthyroid. If the thyroid is underactive and secretes too little hormone, the condition is called hypothyroid.
Hypothyroidism affects about 13 million people in the United States. About 90% of these are women. Thyroid imbalances are not always easy to recognize. Stress, depression, anxiety, tiredness and other emotional or mental states can mask a thyroid imbalance. Minimal imbalances in the thyroid gland can significantly affect mental and physical health.
Symptoms of thyroid imbalance include: fatigue or exhaustion; irritability and impatience; feeling too hot or too cold; constipation; depression, anxiety, or panic attacks; dry skin or hair; hair loss; mood swings; frequent memory lapses; inability to concentrate; unexplained weight gain or loss; loss of enthusiasm for life; a sinking spell around 3 or 4 in the afternoon; and insomnia.
Women from 30 to 50 years of age are the most likely to develop hypothyroidism. The most common reason for hypothyroidism is estrogen/progesterone imbalance. Estrogen interferes with thyroid hormones, while progesterone facilitates normal action of the thyroid hormones. As progesterone levels naturally fall, so does thyroid function.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) compounds the problem since it is commonly synthetic estrogen without the balancing component of progesterone that is prescribed. Synthetic progestins that are used for HRT do not have the same thyroid facilitating action that natural progesterone does.
Radiation and / or heavy metals can accumulate in the thyroid gland and cause thyroid dysfunction. Many of us have metal fillings in our teeth that slowly deteriorate and leak mercury which easily accumulates in the thyroid. Heavy metals such as mercury can cause the thyroid to be either ‘hyper’ or ‘hypo’ depending on the individual. A heavy metal cleanse will chelate the mercury out of the body, cleaning the thyroid gland, and restoring thyroid function. Medicinal grade green tea helps clean radiation.
Iodine deficiency is another reason for hypothyroidism. Iodine is a rare trace mineral and is very hard to assimilate if the pH of the body is not correct. Sometimes supplementing iodine in a natural form such as kelp will help, but a stronger form is usually necessary to get iodine to an optimum level. Iodine helps detox the thyroid gland of bromines which have become abundant in our food and our environment.
Many take prescription Synthroid or Armour Thyroid and still have symptoms of hypothyroidism. I find that supplementing with at least 800 I.U. per day of natural vitamin E along with iodine helps to facilitate uptake of the medication so that thyroid function normalizes.
There are some good natural supplements I find helpful for hypothyroidism. They include natural progesterone cream as mentioned above; thyroid glandular extracts: l-tyrosine, a precursor to thyroid hormones in the body; natural vitamin E; and iodine. There are many good combination products specifically for thyroid health. Check with your local health food store.