Hypothyroidism and Malabsorption
The thyroid gland plays a key role in digestion, as it controls the body’s metabolic rate. When this gland isn’t working properly, due to toxic overload, poor diet, medication use, yeast infections, or stress, it can lead to a sluggish digestive system. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include a number of gastrointestinal problems, including constipation,weight loss, gas and bloating, abdominal pain, and malabsorption of nutrients. Decreased digestive efficiency may lead to leaky gut syndrome.
Signs & Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition of a low or underactive thyroid gland function that can produce numerous symptoms.
Untreated Hypothyroidism may manifest in some of these most common symptoms of the 47 clinically recognized symptoms:
- weight gain
- low body temperature
- cold extremities
- general inappropriate sensation of cold
- rheumatic pain
- menstrual disorders (excessive flow, cramps)
- repeated Infections
- colds,upper respiratory infections
- skin problems (itching, eczema, psoriasis, acne, dry, coarse, or scaly skin, skin pallor)
- memory disturbances
- concentration difficulties , mental sluggishness,
- oversleep, “laziness
- muscle aches, weakness,
- hearing disturbances
- burning/prickling sensations
- slow reaction time
- swelling of the eyelids
- labored or difficult breathing
- brittle nails
- poor vision.
A resting body temperature (measured in the armpit) below 97.8° F may indicate hypothyroidism.
Menstruating women should take the underarm temperature only on the second and third days of menstruation.
Alternative Therapies for a Healthy Thyroid
Alternative medicine practitioners generally treat hypothyroidism by strengthening intestinal health, digestion and lifestyle
Diet inclusions for Hypothyroidism
—Goitrogens are foods that reduce the release of thyroid hormone. Examples include walnuts, sorghum, cassava. almonds, peanuts, soy flour, millet, and apples. These foods should be avoided by anyone suffering from hypothyroidism. Mustard greens, kale, cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips also have a mild antithyroid effect and should be avoided until the condition is normalized or stabilized.
Thyrotrophs are foods that stimulate thyroid hormone production. Examples include seaweeds (bladderwrack, laminaria, kelp, and dulse), garlic, radishes, watercress, seafood, egg yolks, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, and mushrooms. Fruits and fruit juices (especially tropical varieties), watermelon, and coconut oil are also thyroid-stimulating.
A two- to four-week diet of only raw foods, with heavy emphasis on raw greens, seaweed, nuts, sprouted beans and seeds, and freshly extracted juices, is an excellent way to improve thyroid function.
—A deficiency of vitamin E will reduce iodine absorption by the thyroid by 95%. Iodine is required for optimal thyroid function. Vitamin E deficiency commonly occurs in women during pregnancy and menopause, which may help explain why thyroid disorders are so often triggered by these conditions. A typical recommended dosage is 800-1,200 IU of vitamin E per day.
Hypothyroid patients do not effectively convert beta carotene, the natural form of vitamin A found in yellow and green fruits and vegetables to a biologically usable form. Vitamin A is necessary for the thyroid to absorb iodine.” Most vitamin A supplements are sold in the beta carotene form. As a typical recommendation, patients with impaired thyroid function should take 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin A daily. Unless closely supervised by a physician, your intake of pure vitamin A should never exceed 20,000 IU per day.
Daily supplementation with vitamins C (3-5 g) and B complex (100-150 mg) can help strengthen the thyroid. Vitamin C deficiency will make capillaries in the thyroid bleed and normal cells in the gland will begin to multiply abnormally, a condition called hyperplasia;” B complex is important for keeping all cells, including those of the thyroid, in good health.
—Iodine is essential in the production of thyroid hormones that keep the gland balanced and functioning properly. The best food supplements for iodine are kelp and cod liver oil.
Kelp, a type of seaweed, is best taken in tablet form. Lobster, shrimp, crab, and saltwater fish such as haddock, cod, halibut, and herring, are also good sources of iodine. The recommended daily allowance for iodine is 100 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men. Don’t take more than this amount, as too much iodine can suppress the formation of a necessary thyroid hormone (T3).
Also, don’t use too much table salt, a source of iodine that is also frequently high in sodium. Too much salt can alter the relative concentrations of sodium and potassium in the body, which, in turn, can result in serious disorders, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.
—Zinc helps in the conversion of thyroid hormones and increases the sensitivity of cell membranes to these hormones; a typical dose is 25 mg per day along with 3 mg of copper (because zinc tends to deplete copper reserves). With medical supervision, the dosage of zinc can be increased, if necessary; however, dosages should be increased with caution, as too much zinc can interfere with the functioning of the immune system.
Selenium also plays an important role in the conversion of thyroid hormones; the generally recommended dose is 200 mcg per day. In addition, a diet low in iron will cause anemia, which has been found to lead to low thyroid function; typical dose is 100 mcg per day.
Tyrosine—The amino acid tyrosine is an important building block of thyroid hormones. Tyrosine is found in soybeans, beef, chicken, fish, carob, bean sprouts, oats, spinach, sesame seeds, and butternut squash. L-tyrosine can also be taken as a nutritional supplement; typical recommended dose is 250-750 mg per day, taken between meals.
Herbal Therapy for Malabsorption and Hypothyroidism
Gugulipid or Guggulipid, an Ayurvedic herb that has been used in India for more than 2,500 years, is helpful for supporting the thyroid. It is derived from the resin of a small myrrh tree native to Asia and is traditionally used for a number of health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and high cholesterol. Studies have shown that gugulipid stimulates thyroid function.
Coleus forskohlii, a member of the mint family, is another Ayurvedic herb for stimulating the thyroid. Research has shown that the primary active ingredient, forskolin, increases the production of thyroid hormones and stimulates their release.”‘
Hypothyroidism Glandular Therapy
—While good nutrition is important, some patients with malabsorption difficulties require additional help to restore their thyroid function, particularly second generation hypothyroidism patients whose parents also had the disease. In such cases, doctors prescribe desiccated thyroid glandular extract rather than synthetic hormones. Thyroid glandular is usually derived from calves or pigs and contains both types of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3). Thyroid therapy is best undertaken with the guidance of a qualified health-care practitioner.
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Wishing you every wellness,