At the base of your neck lies a small gland that is easy to overlook. And yet when you visit your doctor because you’re ‘not feeling right’, this gland is likely to come up in conversation. The thyroid, shaped like a butterfly, can be found at the bottom of the throat, lying across the windpipe. Problems with this small but powerful organ may first manifest as low energy levels and exhaustion, before a cascade of thyroid dysfunction begins to appear throughout the body.
A DISEASE THAT’S ON THE RISE
The thyroid gland may be easy to identify, but when it malfunctions, its detrimental effects on the body remain a mystery to many doctors. Along with other chronic health conditions that cause a constellation of confusing symptoms, like IBS and coeliac disease, a thyroid disorder can be nearly impossible to diagnose. Considering that thyroid disease is on the rise – affecting an estimated 200 million people around the world — this widespread misdiagnosis is alarming.1
While thyroid disorders remain among one of the most common medical maladies, the gradual progression of symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction is difficult to pinpoint if you don’t know what you’re looking for. This has led to thousands of patients being treated for the wrong illness, or worse, being prescribed the wrong medication.
Since this small organ is responsible for keeping the rest of the body in balance, thyroid dysfunction can wreak havoc far and wide. A thyroid disorder may present as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, goiter, or even thyroid cancer – with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) being the most common forms of thyroid dysfunction.
Addressing a thyroid problem early on is critical. For women, thyroid disease is considered a significant reproductive health issue, with the potential to cause infertility and pregnancy loss, according to researchers from the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine. 2 A study conducted by the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute and Erasmus Medical Centre further explored the effects of thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy. When researchers analysed more than 40,00 Dutch mothers and their children, they discovered that the pregnant women who didn’t produce enough thyroid hormone were four times more likely to have a child with autism. 3
Hyperthyroidism has been linked to an irregular heartbeat (also called atrial fibrillation), while even a mild case of hypothyroidism can double the risk of congestive heart failure. 4,5
Hyperthyroidism develops when the body produces too many thyroid hormones (T-3 and T-4) to cause symptoms like:
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle weakness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weight loss
Thyroid over-activity, known to increase metabolism, can be caused by an autoimmune disorder like Graves’ disease or unexplained inflammation of the thyroid gland, also called thyroiditis.
When hyperthyroidism is left untreated, it can lead to brittle bones, heart problems, weak vision, red and swollen skin, or a thyrotoxic crisis, where symptoms intensify and become emergent. Gravest disease, considered the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, is hereditary and occurs most often in women.
On the other side of the spectrum, hypothyroidism develops when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones (T-3 and T-4) to cause symptoms like:
- Decreased libido
- Dry hair and skin
- Hair loss
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Muscle cramps and muscle aches
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
Hypothyroidism, with a collection of symptoms stemming from a slow metabolism, is thought to have two main causes. Inflammation in the thyroid gland can slow down hormone production, or the thyroid may fail to produce enough hormones because of a condition known as autoimmune thyroiditis, called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Hypothyroidism can also be caused by a medical issue, related to a surgery or medical treatment that has removed part or all of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism can easily progress to cause severe and often life-threatening complications, like depression, heart failure or coma.
HOPE FOR A HEALTHY THYROID
If you have experienced one or more thyroid-related symptoms and have yet to receive help from your doctor, it’s still possible to improve your health and experience a partial or full recovery. Taking the time to nurture the thyroid is critical since this small gland affects the health of your body. With the right support, you may be able to alleviate chronic health problems simply by regulating your thyroid.
Two important steps can bring your thyroid back into balance:
- Change your diet. When you consider the true cause of thyroid dysfunction, it’s easy to see where the problem lies. A thyroid disorder, related to under or over-activity, may stem from inflammation, stress, tumours, autoimmunity, some medication or genetics. Even in the case of a hereditary condition, genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. Removing starchy carbohydrates and sugar from the diet, found in processed foods and sugary fruits, can curb the inflammation associated with thyroid dysfunction. Enriching your diet with thyroid-supporting minerals like iodine, found in seafood and seaweed, and selenium, found in Brazil nuts, can help your body produce and maintain thyroid hormone levels.
- Supplement missing nutrients. Iodine and selenium are the two vital nutrients the thyroid gland needs, found in small amounts in the diet and especially in daily supplements. Iodine is the raw material used by the thyroid to manufacture thyroid hormones, which explains why the majority of thyroid medications are ineffective. Thyroid medications often do more harm than good as they aim to increase or suppress hormone levels without the support of iodine. Iodine deficiency can also cause symptoms of hypothyroidism, even without noticeable changes in thyroid hormone levels.6 Taking liquid iodine in its atomic form can help the thyroid gland do its job. As iodine’s partner and critical co-factor, liquid ionic selenium works with iodine to balance the thyroid dysfunction without these powerful minerals – since selenium activates iodine and guards the thyroid, a healthy thyroid depends on both minerals working in harmony together.
Like a pebble thrown in a pond, your thyroid is a small gland that creates ripples throughout the body, for better or for worse. Nourishing your thyroid is one of the most effective ways to improve the health of your entire body.
Nascent Iodine is recognised by the body as the same iodine that is recognised by the thyroid and is absorbed effortlessly by the body. One drop = 400mcg of iodine. Usage depends upon the desired effect. Frequent small doses are more effective than larger amounts at less frequent intervals. Nascent Iodine is the best form of iodine supplementation.
Delivers 300mcg Ionic Selenium per serving. The best way to supplement with Selenium and most recognised by the body. x48 servings per bottle. Gluten free, suitable for Vegans.
- Thyroid Disease: Know the Facts Thyroid Foundation of Canada.
- Jeffreys, A., Vanderpump, M. and Yasmin, E 2015. Thyroid dysfunction and reproductive health The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 17 (1) pp. 39-45.
- Houston Methodist. Autism four times likelier when mother’s thyroid is weakened Science Daily.
- Selmer, C, Olesen, J B. Hansen, M L.. Lindhardsen, J.. Olsen A-M.S, Madsen IQ Faber, J, Hansen. P.R, Pedersen, O D., Torp-Pedersen, C. and Gislason, G H. (2012) The spectrum of thyroid disease and risk of new onset atrial fibrillation: a large population cohort study BMJ 345 (nov27 1): e7895
- Even Mild Thyroid Problems Double Risk of Heart Condition, American Thyroid Association
- Verheesen, R H. and Schweitzer C M. (2008) Iodine deficiency more than cretinism and goiter, Med Hypotheses. 71 (5) PP. 645-8.
- Triggiani, V, Tafaro, E. GiaguUi, V, A, etal (2009) Role of iodine, selenium and other micronutrients in thyroid function and disorders Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets 9 (3) pp 277-94.