Hypothyroidism: What Are The Symptoms And How To Improve Levels
The human body produces more than 100 different hormones originating in various endocrine glands. This vast array of hormones is responsible for countless functions in the body and it can be a little overwhelming to understand them all so we are going to highlight just a few “major players” that have a significant impact on women’s health.
The thyroid gland, located in the neck, uses iodine from food and the amino acid called tyrosine to produce two thyroid hormones called T3 and T4. The main function of these thyroid hormones is to control metabolism. Every cell in the body relies on T3 and T4 to convert oxygen and calories into energy.
When thyroid levels in the body are too low the pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH, which then stimulates the thyroid to produce more hormones. As levels of T3 and T4 in the blood rise, the pituitary gland decreases production of TSH, thereby signaling the thyroid to stop producing more hormones, creating a feedback loop.
Unfortunately, the thyroid gland can over- or under-function.
Hypothyroidism, or under-active thyroid, occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones which leads to the body’s processes slowing down. This may be caused by an auto-immune disorder, inflammation of the thyroid, certain medications, or lack of important nutrients. Symptoms may include feeling cold, intense fatigue, constipation, dry skin, weigh gain, muscle aches, thinning hair, forgetfulness or brain fog, depression and slower heart rate.
Dietary changes are a great natural way to support hypothyroidism. Be sure to include foods and supplements with plenty of vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, copper, vitamin A, the B vitamins, and iodine. Some studies have shown a link between hypothyroidism and small intestine problems, so supplementing with a daily probiotic is also a good idea.
It’s vital to get plenty of healthy protein so your body has enough of the amino acid, tyrosine, to produce thyroid hormones. And as always, it is important to eat plenty of healthy fats which are necessary for all healthy hormone production. It is also worth investigating any possible food intolerances, as these can lead to system-wide inflammation or exacerbate an autoimmune response.
Every cell in your body has thyroid hormone receptors, so it is essential to keep the levels of these hormones in good supply for optimal metabolism, energy, and health.