Tired all the time?
Do you feel constantly tired, have no energy and put on weight without knowing how or why it’s happening?

If so, you may have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

What is the Thyroid Gland?
thyroid glandThe thyroid is an endocrine gland located just below the ‘Adam’s Apple’ in the neck and it’s main responsibilities are to regulate metabolism (how quickly the body uses energy) and regulate body temperature.

Symptoms of an Underactive Thyroid Gland
An under-functioning thyroid can contribute towards several symptoms, including:

  • chronic fatigue
  • hair loss
  • weight gained very easily
  • cold hands and feet
  • chronic constipation
  • headaches/dizziness
  • depression
  • PMS
  • crying easily
  • always feeling worse in the morning
  • dry and flaky skin
  • brittle fingernails
  • being overly sensitive to cold weather

Testing for Hypothyroidism
There are two types of hypothyroidism:

Clinical hypothyroidism is where abnormal levels of T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones) in the blood show up in a diagnostic test.

Subclinical (Functional) hypothyroidism is where T3 and T4 levels show up as normal in a diagnostic test, but a temperature test, as well as other indicators, show up a mild deficiency. Unfortunately, even a mild deficiency can have very noticeable effects and symptoms.

You can do a temperature test at home using the following procedure for at least 5 consecutive days:

  1. Place an oral thermometer by your bed before going to bed that night
  2. As soon as you wake up – place the thermometer under the armpit until a reading is obtained (stay still and calm)
  3. Write down the exact temperature i.e. 36.6C
  4. If the majority of results are not within the 36.6C to 36.8C range, test for a further 5 days

Note – menstruating women should include tests on days 2 to 6 of their period.

Your results
Normal temperature range for this test is between 36.6C and 36.8C. If you are consistently below this range it is possible you have an underactive thyroid gland. Results consistently above this range indicate a possibly overactive thyroid gland.

Supporting The Thyroid Gland
I would recommend you:

  • Ensure plentiful intake of fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and (in moderation) whole grains and potatoes
  • Regularly carry out light exercise to stimulate the thyroid gland directly
  • Drink filtered water to avoid fluoride and chlorine – chemicals which interfere with iodine’s effectiveness
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet featuring plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Try not to eat too many refined or processed foods
  • Limit intake of goitrogens (substances that can interfere with the thyroid) that are found in cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, mustard, turnips, soybean, millet, peaches, peanuts, radishes and strawberries

In general, the following nutrients are helpful to efficient thyroid function:

  • Iodine – the most essential nutrient for synthesising thyroid hormones
  • B vitamins, Vitamin A and Copper – for normal thyroid hormone production
  • Calcium and Magnesium in balance (imbalances between the two can be problematic to the thyroid)
  • Tyrosine – an amino acid that helps synthesise thyroid hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Vitamin C and Zinc – support for the adrenal glands which are interconnected with optimal thyroid function
  • Selenium – for balanced thyroid hormone and enzyme production

Liquorice root can also help with adrenal gland support and Gum Guggul supports thyroid hormone conversion in the body.

Correcting An Underactive Thyroid Gland
The good news is hypothyroidism can be addressed through nutritional and lifestyle changes.

I offer a range of nutritional services that can directly address hypothyroidism by taking an holistic approach to ensure your unique health and lifestyle situation is taken into account in any advice or programme given.

If you are interested in any of my services and would like to know how I can help, please email me at tony@harrisonnutrition.com or call 01572 759589.