Are you still feeling tired after a full night’s rest?
Does your brain feel fuzzy and you can’t seem to concentrate?
Have you gained weight even with consistent exercise and healthy eating?
Or you feel like your body is having trouble regulating temperature?
If so, you’re going to want to test your thyroid function – or you might have already been tested and aren’t sure what to do next.
An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Women are 5-8 times more prevalent than men to have these disease. Thyroid diseases include:
- Autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s and Graves)
- Thyroid cancer
So the question is how can you balance your thyroid hormones naturally?
Thyroid and Its Function
First, let’s start with the basic functions of your thyroid.
Your thyroid is a little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces thyroid hormones (TH) which are essential to every cell in your body. These hormones include T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine)
It also produces calcitonin which helps to regulate calcium and phosphate in the blood – a very significant process – but not one we will focus on here.
T3 and T4 are referred to as your thyroid hormones which increase your body’s basal metabolic rate by regulating:
- Temperature regulation
- Heart rate
T3 and T4 hormones are dependent on your dietary intake of iodine, having too little iodine or too much iodine can result in an imbalance of these hormones.
Your thyroid secretes 93% of T4 which is inactive in its raw form and MUST be converted to T3 to be used by the cells in your body. Any disruption in this conversion can lead to thyroid disease.
Your adrenal glands play a significant role in the T4 to T3 conversion due to stress and cortisol levels. Which brings me to the topic of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. This trifecta axis can directly affect thyroid hormone secretions during repeated exposure to stress and cortisol levels.
Repeated exposure to stress can also affect one’s estrogen levels to skyrocket causing estrogen dominance. This is one of the reasons why thyroid disease is found in more women than men. When estrogen levels are high your liver produces a thyroid-binding globulin that binds to the thyroid hormones and prevents them from being taken up by cells.
5 Natural Remedies for Balancing Your Thyroid Hormones
Your body is a cycle of harmonious systems relying on each other for support. Any break in this cycle creates a domino effect in the other systems creating a major disruption of homeostasis in your body.
So what can you do to keep the cycle flowing normally?
Cook Your Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy are abundant in nutritional value for your body – that’s why vegetarians can live off of these simple foods for life. These vegetables can be some of the best foods for thyroid patients but also some of the worst if not cooked properly.
These vegetables contain glucosinolates which are metabolized by the body into isothiocyanates and protect your thyroid against cancer – YAY!
But, a substance called goitrogens found in RAW cruciferous vegetables suppress thyroid function by inhibiting iodine uptake from the thyroid. This substance is specifically named goitrogens because it tends to cause a goiter, enlarged thyroid gland. This can wreak havoc on your thyroid function if your iodine intake is already low or if you eat these raw veggies in excess.
GOOD NEWS – if you cook these vegetables by simply steaming or sautéing them it can reduce the goitrogen potency in these foods – so eat your heart out if they aren’t raw – one of the many natural remedies to treat hyperthyroidism!
Try Thyroid Stimulating Exercises and Stress Reduction
Stress is a broad term to describe something that disturbs the balance of your body. This can be your jam-packed schedule, financial issues, or an annoying boss – all the way to blood sugar spikes, dysbiosis of gut bacteria, and environmental toxins such as heavy metals. All of these things affect the function of your thyroid hormones.
Stress weakens your adrenal glands which are part of the HPA axis and directly affect your thyroid production. Adrenal fatigue also means a reduction in your thyroid hormones specifically the conversion of T4 to T3. As I mentioned before, adrenal fatigue also affects another hormone in your body – estrogen.
If you know your body is going through a stressful period due to emotional or environmental stress try to stabilize the imbalance whatever the cause – it’s important to your thyroid hormones.
Stimulating exercises particularly hydrotherapy which includes applying hot and cold compresses to the thyroid can beneficial to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axes. Really any form of moderate exercise at all has been shown to boost thyroid function.
Cut Out Gluten: The Gluten-Thyroid Connection
The research behind the gluten-thyroid connection is so impacting that I strongly suggest anyone with specifically an autoimmune thyroid disease or gluten intolerance be tested for the other.
What’s the connection? The protein structure in gluten called gliadin closely resembles that of your thyroid. When you eat gluten this protein penetrates your gut barrier, and it enters your bloodstream. When you have a healthy immune system it will recognize it as toxic and create antibodies to remove it. So every time you eat gluten these antibodies appear – since gliadin resembles your thyroid these antibodies attack your thyroid as well.
It’s definitely difficult to cut out gluten, but it’s crucial for your thyroid. Fortunately, gluten intolerance is recognized as deteremiteal in so many people’s health that there are a variety of gluten-free options these days.
Take Care of Your Gut to Boost Thyroid Function
You can see all of these natural remedies start in the gut. Since 70 – 80% of your immune system is in your gut and 90% of all thyroid diseases are autoimmune – then we can surely conclude the imbalance of gut bacteria can affect your thyroid hormones.
Poor gut health can affect your thyroid function by:
- Stressing your adrenal glands
- Inhibiting the conversion of T4 to T3
- Impairing absorption of iodine due to inflammation
Probiotics are a perfect option to balance the dysbiosis happening in your gut – feeding your good gut bacteria and promoting a healthy immune system.
Add Thyroid Health Supplements
Glutathione is referred to as “The Mother of All Antioxidants” for its incredible ability to detox your body of harmful toxins. It’s important to follow a detox program since these toxins found in heavy metals can affect thyroid function.
Ashwagandha is a root extract known to boost thyroid function by supporting adrenal function and detoxing free radicals found in the body interfering with thyroid production.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Fort Worth/Dallas Area
In conjunction with trying natural remedies for balancing your thyroid function, bioidentical hormone replacement can be the icing on the cake for resolving your thyroid issues. Bioidentical hormone replacement (BIHR) are hormones which are chemically identical to our body’s natural hormone production. With a comprehensive evaluation of your hormones, we can provide a treatment plan catered to your specific needs.
Talk to your doctor before starting on any supplements or to see if bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is right for you. An imbalance of hormones in your body can break the perfect cycle of harmony between your body’s natural regulation. As we age it becomes more difficult to balance our hormones alone. If you feel you are suffering from hormone imbalance call (817) 912-1600 or book an appointment today with Dr. Lyn Berutti.