Start these seven practices today for better thyroid health
Thyroid disease is an epidemic affecting an estimated 20 million Americans. One in eight American women will likely develop a thyroid condition in her lifetime.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid is a small gland at the base of the neck. As part of the endocrine system, the role of the thyroid gland is to produce and release thyroid hormones which help regulate many processes and organs in the body. When the thyroid gland isn't functioning correctly, it affects virtually every other system in the body. Not only does the thyroid control energy levels and metabolism, but it also impacts mood, fertility, concentration, and a host of other symptoms.
Hypothyroidism—when your thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone—is the most common thyroid condition. The most usual cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's thyroiditis. With Hashimoto's, the body produces antibodies that attack against your own thyroid. This attack can eventually result in an inflamed thyroid that is not able to do its job correctly. Other causes of hypothyroidism may be genetics, intestinal permeability, nutrient deficiencies, or chronic stress.
How Do You Treat Hypothyroidism?
Optimizing your thyroid levels with thyroid hormone replacement medication is usually the first step in minimizing symptoms of hypothyroidism. There are many different types of thyroid hormone replacement medications. When choosing thyroid medication with your thyroid doctor, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment.
Beyond taking thyroid hormones, you can support your thyroid with lifestyle and diet modifications. Ahead, seven thyroid healing practices to optimize your thyroid function.
7 Practices To Optimize Your Thyroid Function
1. Test Your Thyroid Regularly
If you live with hypothyroidism, it is vital to test and monitor your thyroid hormone levels. Understanding these levels helps you ensure your medication type and dosage stay effective and continue to minimize symptoms. Many labs only look at thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). However, it's critical to measure free triiodothyronine (fT3), free thyroxine (fT4), and TPO antibodies, as well. These four markers help you understand the complete picture of what's happening with your thyroid and where specifically to make improvements.
You can take $20 off your first purchase of an at-home thyroid test kit with coupon code RELIEFSEEKER20 (case sensitive) on Paloma Health's website.
2. Identify Your Dietary Sensitivities
Dietary triggers can lead to increased gastrointestinal permeability, chronic inflammation, and even elevation in thyroid antibodies. The best way to identify your food sensitivities is to try an elimination diet like the autoimmune protocol (AIP diet). The AIP diet is a two-part temporary elimination diet specifically designed to reduce inflammation or other symptoms caused by autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The Paloma Health mobile app gives you step-by-step guidance and education for the autoimmune AIP diet.
3. Support Your Gut Microbiome
The microbiome is the population of bacteria that lives primarily in the digestive tract. These bacteria are essential for maintaining the intestinal barrier and modulating the immune system. When it's out of balance, it can cause intestinal permeability (or "leaky gut"), which can activate a negative immune response and inflammation that can suppress the thyroid. You can improve your gut health in various ways, including taking probiotics and replacing inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, sugar with nutrient-dense, gut-healing foods.
4. Address Any Nutrient Deficiencies
Essential nutrients drive thyroid hormone production. Nutrient deficiencies can worsen symptoms and prevent thyroid medication from doing its job. For instance, the thyroid gland houses more selenium than any other tissue in the body. Selenium is a crucial component of enzymes involved in thyroid hormone metabolism and the antioxidant defense of the thyroid gland. Research suggests that selenium deficiency may be an environmental trigger for Hashimoto's disease. Consistently meeting your selenium needs is significant for Hashimoto's patients. Other critical nutrients include zinc, iron, and vitamin D.
Check out this Daily Thyroid Care Vitamin Supplement from Paloma Health to supplement your diet daily for optimal thyroid health.
5. Always Manage Your Stress
Stress affects thyroid function. When the body is stressed, the adrenal glands produce cortisol. Too much cortisol is associated with elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which can impact thyroid hormone production. Try stress-reducing practices like meditation or deep breathing exercises.
6. Start Strength Training
The internet tells you that if you have an underactive thyroid, you should do low-impact exercises. Still, low-impact exercises are not exclusively stretching and walking. Strength training helps to build higher muscle mass which can increase your resting metabolic rate. Similarly, strength training can help reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight.
7. Focus on Getting Quality Sleep
Getting a good (or bad) night of sleep affects everything from how your body processes food to how it regulates blood sugar, remembers information, controls inflammation, and more. The thyroid functions best when your body is well-rested. In fact, one study finds that night shift workers, who typically have poorer sleep quality, have a higher risk for thyroid diseases than people who work a daytime schedule. There are many ways you can get better sleep, from balancing your blood sugar to developing a nighttime routine to monitoring your light exposure.
Paloma Health makes it easy to get care whenever, wherever you need it. They are a telemedicine platform, and their endocrinologists are both experts in thyroid health and virtual care.
Save on all of Paloma Health’s products and services when you join the Complete Thyroid Care Membership—an excellent option for comprehensive thyroid care without ever leaving the house.