What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism?
Are you tired, depressed and gain weight easily? These common symptoms may indicate your thyroid is underactive and you may have hypothyroidism.
The thyroid is a gland located in the neck, and secretes hormones that can affect almost any part of the body. The thyroid controls the metabolic rate, energy use, body temperature and growth rate in children.
There are many factors that can affect the functioning of the thyroid gland. Environmental toxins such as radiation exposure, fluoride, heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium, and cigarette smoke can damage the gland, or inhibit the activation of the active thyroid hormone T3 from T4.
Hypothyroidism And Diet
Dietary factors can also interfere, with hormone production, especially synthetic and genetically engineered hormones in meat and dairy products. Some foods such as cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts block the utilization of iodine by the thyroid gland for hormonal synthesis and are termed goitrogens. Click here to learn about a diet for hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism And Medication
Some medications can interfere with the function of the thyroid gland, especially if the thyroid is already impaired. Cortisone, “the Pill” and HRT can all inhibit thyroid function.
Tests For Hypothyroidism
Blood tests to measure the levels of T3 and T4 may not be reliable enough to determine an underactive thyroid. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid releasing hormone (TRH) are more accurate markers for thyroid dysfunction. Another way to test for underactive thyroid is to measure the basal body temperature.
This is the temperature of the body when at rest, so it is best to measure it in the morning while still in bed before activity is undertaken. If the thyroid is underactive, the basal body temperature will be consistently lower than normal as the thyroid is responsible for maintaining body temperature. A normal reading is between 36.4 – 37. C. A reading of 36.40C or lower may indicate low thyroid levels.
Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:
- Mood swings
- Poor memory and concentration
- Weight fluctuations
- Fluid retention
- Slow pulse
- Sensitivity to cold
- Hair loss
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Brittle nails
Hypothyroidism can run in families, it can be common to have thyroid fluctuations, either high or low in past generations.
If there is no family history of thyroid problems, it is easier to re-establish correct functioning of this gland through dietary changes and nutritional supplements.
Diet For Hypothyroidism
Tyrosine, an amino acid, and iodine are two essential nutrients needed as building blocks for thyroid hormone production. Vitamin-E, A, C and B complex can help strengthen the thyroid and aid the utilization of iodine. Selenium and -zinc aid the conversion of T4 into the more active thyroid hormone T3.
Avoiding or reducing foods that are goitrogenic is important as they reduce the release of thyroid hormones and interfere with the con-version into the more active form. Goitrogens include vegetables from the cabbage family, soy flour, nuts such as walnuts, almonds and peanuts, millet and apples.
Foods that stimulate thyroid function should be included in the diet, including seaweeds, garlic, seafood, egg yolks, mushrooms and brewer’s yeast.
It is important to treat the underlying glandular condition of hypothyroidism, rather than just supplementing with thyroid hormones, so speak with your health care professional about your options for helping treat your symptoms of hypothyroidism.