Your thyroid functioning is central to your overall health because it controls the ability and speed you can burn energy in each and every cell of your body (your metabolism). It also controls your growth and development and nervous system functioning. It even drives the speed of your heart beat! It does this by making a hormone called thyroxine. In turn, thyroxine is made from iodine.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to use your energy to complete a project or a conversation, or even just to get out of bed. If your thyroid’s not working properly, you can forget about goals altogether. You just won’t have the energy to even create a goal – much less see it through to completion.
But it’s not just present-time goals that are affected. Suppose you were born female, to use one example, and that for some reason nobody noticed that your thyroid functioning was low since you drew your first breath. Just to focus on your functioning as a female – you likely would start your periods late (called delayed onset of menarche), then you’d probably have episodes of no periods after you finally started them (called post-pubertal amenorrhea). Then when you wanted to have children, you’d likely find out you were infertile. And you’d encounter major problems during peri-menopause and menopause.Not to mention extreme problems losing weight.
This is just one example so you can see why it pays you big time to find out if there’s anything that’s weakening your thyroid functioning – and then take effective steps to turn that around. To emphasize the point, your entire ability to function in every aspect of your life – throughout every phase of your life -depends on it.
In short, any substances or situations that make it difficult for your body to produce thyroxine will weaken your thyroid and lower its functioning. Each of these is possible to address effectively.
Here are 14 of them that especially affect people in the modern world:
1.Inflammation of your thyroid (from food intolerances such as gluten, heavy metals, chemicals, to name a few);
2.Infections that land in your thyroid as well as damage from the toxins they produce (for example, endotoxins produced by Candida);
3.Antibodies your body produces to fight these infections;
4.Prescription drugs: Interferon, Interlukon, cholesterol-lowering drugs Lithium, synthetic thyroid medications, Parlodel (bromocriptine) Doxtinex (cabergoline), Permax (pergolide), Mirapex and Sifrol (pramipexole),Requip (ropinirole), Apokyn (apomorphine), Neupro (rotigotine) and Norprolac (Quinagolide);
5.Too many soy isoflavones (see below on the soy controversy);
6.Agricultural spray residues;
7.Chemical additives in food;
8.Chlorine/ fluorine – exposure comes from water, toothpaste and dental sealants (these knock iodine out of the thyroid, making it impossible to produce thyroxine);
9. X- rays;
11.Radiation: from medical treatments, nuclear power plants, high power lines, microwaves, computer and TV monitors, water beds, electric blankets and appliances. When the regular non-radioactive iodine your thyroid needs to function is replaced by radioactive I-131, that can trigger genetic damage that gives rise to cancer decades after exposure, with the worst damage being in cells that reproduce most rapidly;
12.Toxic bowel and/or leaky gut;
14.Heavy metals such as mercury (leaking dental amalgam tooth fillings and vaccines containing Thimerosol are primary sources), also cadmium, too much copper, synthetic iron, lead etc.
Also Be Sure To:
- Include iodine-rich foods in your diet such as seaweeds and other sea vegetables – kelp especially.
- Reduce consumption of food that contain goitrogens such as raw brussels sprouts, turnips, soy, cauliflower, cassava, millet, cabbage, kale, flaxseeds and brocolli. Cooking is thought to destroy these compounds.
- Include of lots of protein, especially foods that contain tyrosine ( almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy) and glutamine (cooked kale, celery, carrots, papaya and Brussels sprouts)
- Eat foods rich in vitamin B complex, especially B12 (spirulina and nutritional yeast with no added synthetic B vitamins are good sources) macro and trace minerals
- Consume plenty of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids (about 1/3 of your fat consumption in a month).
A Note About the Soy Controversy: To Soy or Not to Soy:
If you are low in estrogen, you may decide to consume more soy products because they promote estrogen production. Using soy in this way is a dietary form of hormone replacement therapy. However, too much soy can have a damaging effect on your thyroid. It has been shown that exposure to high levels of the isoflavones found in soy can put you at risk for developing chronic thyroid damage due to goiterogenic effects (meaning they tend to induce growth of an enlarged thyroid gland, called a goiter).
Additionally, soy consumption is controversial because soy contains phytates which are protease inhibitors. In other words, they inhibit the enzymes that help you digest proteins. Many health care practitioners therefore advise avoiding the direct consumption of raw or partially processed soy flour, soy protein concentrate, or other soy products. Soy foods fermented in the traditional way are relatively free of these protease inhibitors.
If you want to stay in a safe zone with regard to soy products, stick with fermented soy products only (such as natto miso and tempeh). Studies have shown that intake of fermented soy products can alleviate the severity of hot flashes. However, remember that hot flashes are a symptom, not a cause. They can result from any number of conditions such as low estrogen, heavy metal toxicity or anything that drives your automatic (autonomic) nervous system, to produce sympathetic dominance.