Thyroid imbalances have become an epidemic in our society today and we need to start asking ourselves WHY. Environmental toxins, chronic stress, overuse of pharmaceuticals, and emotional trauma are just a few root causes. After seeing some patterns I’ve noticed with clients, I thought this topic would be helpful to the many out there struggling to get answers. Keeping your thyroid in balance is essential to feeling like yourself as it controls just about EVERYTHING that keeps your body functioning. Brain fog, weight gain, depression, cold intolerance, hair loss, heart palpitations, and a puffy face are just a few of the many symptoms those with a thyroid imbalance encounter on a daily basis (this is more for people who lean towards hypothyroid as opposed to hyperthyroid).
Here are my top 5 tips to help you stabilize your thyroid:
1. Get proper testing
The reality is that our current conventional medical system is doing many patients a disservice when it comes to not only stabilizing thyroid levels, but accurately testing them. Many conventional doctors are only testing TSH levels or are not running a full thyroid panel that includes TPO antibodies (this personally happened to me.)Essentially their treatment methods don’t change upon receiving those results, so many doctors don’t see it as a necessary test to run. 95% of people with hypothyroid actually have Hashimotos disease. A FULL thyroid panel includes: TSH, T3, T4, free t3, free T4, and TPO antibodies. I also want to note that conventional testing lab ranges are VERY different than functional medicine lab ranges. This is why your doctor may be telling you “your labs are normal” when in fact, they are not.
2. Get proper medication
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who were either A-not on any medication because their doctor didn’t think it was important or B-were thrown on Levothyroxine or Synthroid and sent on their merry way while they continued to feel like crap. I’ve personally experienced both of these scenarios. Getting not only the right type of medication for your thyroid is essential, but also getting the correct dosage. If you are someone who has imbalanced T3 levels, there is a large likilhood that you still feel bad on Levothyroxine or Synthroid because this medication only has the active form of T4. It’s like going to work with only one leg in your pants. It’s missing the other half! I also want to note that many of the medications offered by conventional doctors have fillers in them that you may be sensitive to and that may be causing more inflammation. I highly encourage you to work with a functional medicine doctor to find the right medication and dosage for your body. Exploring options like desiccated thyroid or a compounded thyroid medication may be a better option. Trying different medications may take a lot of trial and error, but when you find the one that works for you, I promise it will be life changing!
3. Get to the ROOT of it
Toxic mold exposure, candida, parasites, gut bacteria, chronic stress, and unprocessed emotions are just a few root causes of thyroid imbalances. Working with a functional medicine doctor to run stool tests, mycotoxin tests (See previous blog posts for specifics on these tests) will help to reveal what’s really going on. Also, see my blog post titled, Detoxification: My Secret Weapon for Better Health for tips and resources for detoxing. Lastly, working with a mental health professional, somatic therapist, or body worker to help you process stored emotions in the body can be helpful to getting things stabilized and balanced.
4. Make self-care a priority
Many of us live incredibly stressful lives. Our relationships with ourselves, with others, our finances, careers, and other obligations life throws at us is a recipe for dis-ease. Yin yoga, having a daily meditation practice, journaling, eliminating toxic people, and speaking up for your needs is incredibly healing for your thyroid, body, and life.
5. Have an anti-inflammatory diet with nutrient supplementation
The Standard American Diet is making us very sick. We can no longer deny it. Gluten is a staple in America and very toxic for your thyroid mostly because it is sprayed with glyphosate (also known as round-up). Yep, that’s right, your putting weed killer in your body! Developing an anti-inflammatory diet looks different for everyone, however, the staple inflammatory foods to eliminate in the healing phase are gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, grains, and for some people nightshades and nuts. Soy is toxic for your thyroid so it’s best to be avoided. Eating foods high in zinc, selenium and b vitamins are also beneficial for your thyroid. You can also supplement with Zinc, eat 1-2 Brazil Nuts per day (for optimal selenium), and Ashwagandha.
All of these tips have personally allowed me to get my thyroid stabilized and to where I’m feeling like myself. While getting off medication is my ultimate goal, I have no problem staying on it as long as my body needs it to fully heal. It’s essential to stay on it consistently and re-test labs every 3-6 months.
I’d like to leave you with the message that thyroid stabilization IS possible. You can heal and feel like yourself again.
For more information on reversing your Hashimotos symptoms, click here to enroll in Hashimotos 101.
**Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your health plan.