4 Ways to Optimize Thyroid Health
August 7, 2019
The thyroid is one of many glands that form the endocrine system. It is found in front of the neck just above the base of the throat. The thyroid produces and regulates specific hormones involved in several functions in the body, including:
-The menstrual cycle
When the thyroid is not functioning properly, it influences all of the aforementioned processes and more. Both people who have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and people looking for ways to prevent or delay thyroid issues can take certain steps to optimize thyroid health.
1. Manage stress
Stress affects everyone at one point or another and can have a significant impact on one’s health and immune system. Although stress may not directly cause thyroid disease, it has been shown to make thyroid conditions worse. When the body is under stress, it produces hormones called glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids lower thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH) levels. Stress can also slow thyroid activity and interfere with the conversion of T4 hormone to T3.
A study published in 2015 in Archives of Medicine and Health Sciences observed the effects of daily exercise on male patients diagnosed with and undergoing treatment for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Participants were split into two groups: group one exercised for one hour, every day, for three months, while group two did no exercise. The levels of certain hormones (T3, T4, and TSH) were measured before the start of the trial and three months later. At the end of three months, researchers observed notable improvements in hormone levels in participants who exercised daily. Researchers concluded that all patients diagnosed with hypothyroidism should exercise regularly in addition to their hormone replacement treatment therapy.
3. Take steps toward maintaining a healthy gut
Certain thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) and Graves’ disease are associated with specific changes in the gut. Moreover, individuals diagnosed with diseases of the gut, like ulcerative colitis, may be at a higher risk of developing certain thyroid disorders, like thyroid cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal disorder, it’s important to follow all treatment instructions as directed by your doctor in order to reduce the risk of or prevent further health complications.
4. Find the root cause of the thyroid issue
There are a number of things that can affect the proper function of the thyroid gland. In order to understand what actions to take to maintain proper thyroid health, It’s important to know the root cause of any thyroid issue. For example, studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D may cause autoimmune thyroid disease. Moreover, a study published in 2015 in the Hellenic Journal of Nuclear Medicine showed that vitamin D supplementation could play a role in treating individuals diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease).
If you’ve been working with an endocrinologist to treat a thyroid issue, and are looking to find more answers, consider working with a functional medicine practitioner and a pharmacy that specializes in functional medicine. In addition to testing the levels of certain hormones produced by the thyroid, a functional medicine practitioner will also look at vitamin and mineral deficiencies and food allergies.