Thyroid Health

January is thyroid disease awareness month! In 2012, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists debuted the blue paisley ribbon to unify thyroid awareness. Fun fact — the paisley pattern was chosen to represent the thyroid because it represents the cross-section of a thyroid follicle… how cool!!! As some of you may know I take a special interest in the thyroid health as I personally suffer from a thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I want to write this post to share some basic information about the thyroid so YOU can be more knowledgeable about thyroid health and take care of your as thyroid conditions are some of the most common conditions in North America!!!!

Physiology

  • The thyroid is a small gland located in the neck
  • The 2 types of cells inside the thyroid are follicular cells and C cells 
    • Follicular cells are where thyroid hormone is made
  • There are 2 types of thyroid hormone including T4 (less active) and T3 (more active)
  • The thyroid gland produces mostly T4… can you see why this is a problem? (you want T3 because it’s more active!)
  • T4 gets converted to T3 (YAY.. now the body can use it!)
    • Conversion happens in the gut and liver 
  • The function of thyroid hormone is the regulation of metabolism

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Regulation of Thyroid Hormone

Thyroid hormone production begins in the hypothalamus in the brain which releases TRH that goes to the anterior pituitary which releases TSH which stimulates the thyroid gland to make a lot of T4 and a bit T3. T4 and T3 enter into the bloodstream and go to the liver and gut. When it is needed the T4 will be converted to T3 by the removal of an iodine molecule. This T3 is then active to increase metabolism in the body.

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Thyroid Conditions

The function of the thyroid can either be underactive causing hypothyroid or overactive causing hyperthyroid. Then there has the potential for it to be autoimmune or not. Autoimmune hypothyroid is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune hyperthyroid is called Grave’s diseaseWhether it is autoimmune or not the symptoms will remain very similar (if not the same):

Hypothyroid Symptoms (underactive thyroid)

  • Cold dry skin
  • Cold intolerant
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased exercise capacity
  • Depression
  • Brain fog + headaches
  • Puffy eyes

Hyperthyroid Symptoms (overactive thyroid)

  • Warm flushed skin
  • Heat intolerant
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased sweating
  • Increased heart rate + palpitations
  • Restless + anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Bulging eyes

Labs that Assess Thyroid Function 

  • TSH
  • Free T4
  • Free T3
  • Anti-TPO
  • Anti-TG

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Nutrition for Thyroid

Things to AVOID/LIMIT

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Nightshades (white potato, tomato, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, tobacco, cayenne, paprika)
  • Soybeans (tofu, edamame)
  • Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, cabbage, turnip)
    • These are OK if they are cooked 😊
  • Fluoride

Thing to ENJOY

  • Pretty much everything is fair game if it is not on the limitations list!!

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Nutrients for Thyroid

Iodine 

  • A mineral that is essential in the production of thyroid hormone
  • I rich foods include:
    • Sea vegetables
    • Oysters
    • Salmon
    • Eggs
    • Tuna

Selenium 

  • A mineral that helps with the conversion of T4 to T3
  • Se rich foods include:
    • Brazil nuts
    • Tuna
    • Sardines
    • Eggs
    • Legumes

Zinc 

  • A mineral that helps with the conversion of T4 to T3
  • Zn rich foods include:
    • Beans
    • Leafy greens
    • Oysters
    • Beef
    • Chicken

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I hope this post gave you a little more insight on how the thyroid works and the foods and nutrients that help the thyroid function properly! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Cheers to keeping your thyroid healthy 🦋

XO

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