The thyroid gland is located below the Adam`s apple, and it controls almost every function in our body. As explained by Douglas Husbands, DC, CCN, clinical nutritionist from San Carlos, California, this small gland regulates the metabolism, pulse, temperature, energy levels, the rate of burning calories. If the thyroid is underactive, all of the functions slow down, and if it`s overactive, the body goes into overdrive.
Mary Shomon, author of the book “Living well with hypothyroidism” states that 59 million Americans have some problem with the thyroid gland, and most of them are unaware of the issue and don`t get diagnosed.
Most people with thyroid issues have hypothyroidism, underactive thyroid gland, and it affects mostly women over the age of 60, with family history of thyroid problems.
One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism is lack of iodine. In developed countries, where people use iodized salt, the main causes are autoimmune disorders, medications like lithium and radiation for treating cancers. Some of the possible symptoms are mood changes, fatigue, depression, constipation, unexplained weight gain, dry skin and hair, intolerance to cold, periods heavier than usual.
In case you have few of these symptoms, consult with your doctor and test your thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels. If the results are positive, you may need to start with a daily synthetic thyroid hormone therapy. For better results, combine the therapy with some of these nutrients which are important for proper thyroid function. Even if your thyroid is healthy, these nutrients are important for prevention and maintaining the smooth functioning of the gland.
A small study from last year, conducted at the University of Massachusetts, discovered that the levels of thyroid hormone in women who suffer from zinc deficiency were improved after a whole month of taking increased dose of zinc, 26.4 mg a day. Even though additional research is needed, it is recommended that you consume 10 mg of zinc per day, as well as 1-2 mg of copper because it zinc can block the absorption of copper.
This mineral is very important for numerous bodily functions, especially when it comes to production of thyroid hormones. The problem is that lack of iodine in the body can cause hypothyroidism, but too much of it can worsen the existing thyroid problems. Our body needs 150 mcg of iodine a day, and we get most of this amount through the salt we use. The thing is that the average American consumes 4x the recommended daily amount. If you are using salt without added iodine, you should be getting the mineral from other sources like eggs, dairy and seafood, or iodine supplements.
After the thyroid hormones are produces, they need to be converted into active form before they start doing their job. This is where selenium takes charge. The recommended daily selenium supplement, for people with thyroid problems or healthy gland, is 200 mcg, which is equal to a big handful of Brazilian nuts, the best natural source of selenium.
L-tyrosine is a crucial amino acid. If your body lacks it, it will cause limited production of thyroid hormones. In this case, you need L-tyrosine supplements to improve and boost the function of the thyroid. In some people, these supplements can have certain side effects, they can be over-stimulating and result in insomnia. Start with about 200 mg of L-tyrosine per day, and slowly increase the dose to 500 mg, or us much as your body can tolerate.