Thyroid Health

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Three Tips To A Healthy Thyroid

Is your thyroid sending you a cry for help? An underactive thyroid gland can manifest as fatigue, weight gain, thinning of hair and nails, sleep disruption, sluggish digestion, anxiety and depression to name a few.

If you struggle with any of these symptoms, simple blood work can help you determine if your thyroid is functioning optimally. Medications and specific supplements may be necessary, though I often empower patients with additional tools they can use to give their thyroid a boost.

In getting back to the basics, these are my top three tips to help empower YOU to enhance your healthy thyroid protocol:

1. Make those calories count.

Consuming nutrient dense foods will help your thyroid produce and activate thyroid hormones more efficiently.

 A. Adequate amounts of mineral-rich foods, such as legumes or root vegetables, allow the liver to be healthy and make enzymes that activate thyroid hormones.
*FUN FACT: The entire activation process of thyroid hormone is selenium dependent. Consuming seven Brazil nuts a day will “keep the doctor away.” Other great sources of selenium include shellfish, butter, fish, wheat germ, whole grains, brewer’s yeast and sunflower seeds.

B. Vitamin B12 helps in the conversion of different forms of thyroid hormones and is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products. 

C. Amp up your antioxidants. Our antioxidant defense system is important to protect us against free radical damage (oxidative stress). Often patients with hypothyroidism have metabolic insufficiency and a higher production of free radicals. Consuming antioxidant rich foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts will help prevent generalized inflammation that often accompanies thyroid disease.

2. Take the reins on stress.
A. High cortisol, one of our main stress hormones, can block enzymes that help to activate thyroid hormones. Therefore, excess stress can lead to or aggravate a low-functioning thyroid state.
*Herbs to the Rescue: The use of certain herbs can help you stimulate the production of the active thyroid hormone, T3, as well as support a healthy stress response.  

B. Herbs such as Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, Bacopa and Eleutherococcus all provide benefit to help you adapt to your environment and respond to stressors more appropriately.

3. Get up and MOVE.

A. Incorporate light to moderate activity that brings joy into your daily routine. No need to overexert yourself - just get out and move to increase circulation.
B. Increased activity has been found to stimulate thyroid production.

*FUN FACT: Sweating benefits thyroid function. Exercise, saunas or steam rooms will eliminate toxins that can be interfering with thyroid function. Try to break a sweat at least three times weekly to release stored up toxins.

Next time you’re feeling down, ask not what your thyroid can do for you — ask what you can do for your thyroid. Use the above tools to give your thyroid a helping hand. It will surely thank you.

Dr. Lauren Beardsley is a licensed Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping individuals replenish, restore and renew balance. She received her Medical degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM).  She received post graduate training in athletic performance optimization, pain management using physical manipulation and injection therapy, women’s health and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.  In 2012, she was named one of Phoenix Magazines's "Top Docs.
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