According to Thyroid Canada, as many as one in ten Canadians suffer from a thyroid condition, and as many as 50% of cases are undiagnosed. And in the United States, 20 million have a thyroid disorder, and it’s estimated up to 60% of those cases are undiagnosed. A hidden thyroid condition can be associated with heart diseases, infertility, diabetes, arthritis and other serious health conditions.
What Does Thyroid Symptoms Look Like
Thyroid symptoms can come in many shapes and forms.It’s important to seek proper diagnosis so you can start providing your thyroid with the right support.
Some hypothyroid symptoms:
● Irregular heart rate
● High cholesterol despite a healthy diet
● Difficulty managing a healthy weight despite clean eating and exercise
● Fatigue, depressive feelings, anxiety, low motivation
● Aches and pains, muscle cramps and spasm
● Thin, dry skin and brittle nails
● PMS and/or menstrual irregularities
● Memory issues
● Always feeling cold and poor circulation
● Poor sleep quality
Some hyperthyroid symptoms:
● Irregular heart rate
● Irritability, mood swings, anxiety
● Unwanted weight loss and difficulty maintaining health weight
● Persistent fatigue
● Muscle cramps, weakness, twitching, tremors
● Heat sensitivity
● Large bags under the eyes, difficulty closing eyes, bulging eyes
● Enlarged thyroid gland
● Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
What Exactly Does The Thyroid Do?
In a nutshell, the thyroid is the master controller for the body—it produces hormones that affect every single cell and organ. This means the thyroid affects every aspect of your health, including but not limited to:
● Body weight
● Blood sugar, cholesterol
● Nutrient absorption and digestion
● Kidney, heart, lung functions
● Muscle function
● Mood and memory
● Reproductive function
● Skin, hair and nail
● Temperature regulation
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that’s nestled below the Adam’s apple, making thyroid hormones using the amino acid tyrosine, and iodine with the help of iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, V2, B3, B6, vitamin C and D.
How To Nourish Your Thyroid
Supporting your thyroid can look very different depending on the exact type of thyroid condition on hand. I will highlight a few nutrients that are generally supportive, but specific. Supplementation needs to be evaluated on an individual basis.
As the building block of thyroid hormone, a lack of iodine can result in sluggish thyroid. Be aware when relying on iodized table salt it may contain aluminosilicate-an anti-caking agent can be concerning as heavy metals can bind to the thyroid gland and affect its function. Sea vegetables such as kelp and seaweed provide natural iodine, which has been associated with Japan’s low cancer rate and longevity by researchers. Scallops, cod, and salmon are all good sources of iodine. Eggs produced by free-range chickens and ducks on iodine- rich soil also can contain iodine.
Selenium acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protector for the thyroid gland. It also provides defense against heavy metals. Selenium can be found in brazil nuts, seafood, turkey, and pasture raised organ meats.
Zinc is an enzyme required to activate thyroid hormone from the T4 to T3. Zinc can be found in oysters, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, sesame, chickpeas and lentils.
This amino acid is also a building block for thyroid hormone. Tyrosine can be found in grass-fed beef, organic pork, salmon, chicken, white beans, lentils and split peas.
1 cup dried seaweed (eg. wakame can be found at T&T or Japanese grocers)
1 tablespoon organic soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 tablespoon monk fruit sugar or organic cane sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons roasted or raw sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Optional: juice from ½ lemon and chopped cilantro
1.Rehydrate the seaweed in a bowl of filtered water for 20-30min
2.Mix all dressing ingredients together
3.Drain the seaweed well. Add dressing to your liking and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cilantro and lemon juice
Make it a delicious meal with a serving of tyrosine rich salmon!
Selenium can protect the thyroid from inflammatory damage and oxidative stress.
Carnitine can protect cells from overexposure to thyroid hormones. Carnitine can be found in grass-fed beef, cod, and asparagus.
Roasted Cod with Oven-baked Brussels Sprouts
● 2 portions of 4oz pieces of sustainably-caught cod
● 1 lb organic Brussels sprouts, rinsed and chopped into halves
● Pink Himalayan salt
● 2 tablespoons organic olive oil
1. Spread the Brussels sprouts evenly onto a baking sheet.
2. On another baking sheet, do the same with cod pieces.
3. Drizzle olive oil evenly over the sprouts and cod. Sprinkle on some salt
4. Bake at 350F for 20min
5. Optional: for garnish, add a few pieces of fresh lemon balm on top of the cod.
Relaxation and Self-love
Thyroid function can be altered by emotional stress such as trauma and grief. The thyroid also serves as the energetic centre for self-expression.If you have a thyroid diagnosis, it’s important to acknowledge your emotions and allow yourself the right to feel and express your feelings. Make sure you have a reliable emotional support network.If needed, you can seek mental health professionals to explore possible emotional triggers of the thyroid condition.
Self-love Blend: equal parts of rose petals, lavender, oat seeds, calendula. 1 tsp per cup of water enjoy any time of the day.
Sipping on this tea is one of my favourite ways to unwind after a busy day. The tea provides relaxing benefits. Lavender provides digestive support and has calming properties. Rose helps to uplift the mood and soothe the heart.
Please consult a qualified practitioner. This article is for information purposes only.
Tahlia Sage (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Bsc Food, Nutrition & Health) is the founder of Tahlia Sage Wellness (tahliasagewellness.com) and a partner at Healing House Natural Wellness (healinghouseherbal.com), she is also an instructor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
Her coaching practice helps clients achieve their wellness goals by embracing functional foods and healthy lifestyle changes. Tahlia’s own health challenges and weight issues prompted her to pursue an education in nutritional science and holistic nutrition. Tahlia empowers her clients to regain balance with easy, concrete steps. Connect here with Tahlia for a free 15 min discovery session.