Feb 20, 2008

Taking Control Of Your Thyroid

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck. In simplified terms the thyroid pumps out hormones that impact how smoothly and quickly your body operates when converting calories to energy. It is estimated that approximately 13 million cases can undetected each year with symptoms ranging from mood swings, forgetfulness, lowered energy levels, weight gain to muscle or joint pain. A major problem however is for the category of individuals that are labelled sub clinical, which means that their thyroid levels are not low enough to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism but at the same time they do not have normal levels. With sub clinical levels it may be hard to find a doctor who is willing to provide treatment because many believe that medications may lead to hyperthyroidism which also has its own set of issues. If your doctor is unwilling to treat your sub clinical levels then get a second or third opinion and in the meantime you need to take some action of your own. There are a few easy tips that you can incorporate into your life that can help manage your lowered thyroid levels and in many cases return them to normal. Ensure that you are getting appropriate amounts of iodine which is found in iodized salt (table salt) and this is approximately 1/2 a teaspoon. Ironically the general health focus has been on the reduction of salt intake due to the concerns associated with raised blood pressure however it needs to be understood that the salt found in processed foods is not iodized. Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, but don't go crazy with the salt shaker. This is not one of those situations where if some is good than lots would be even better, just be aware of the amount you are consuming. Another important mineral necessary for the production of thyroid hormone is selenium, Approximately 55 micrograms are necessary and can be found in foods such as brazil nuts, tuna, and rice. Watch your consumption of isoflavones, found in soy especially if you have a family history of thyroid disorders. Isoflavones can interfere with both the body's production and use of thyroid hormones. It is also recommended that if you are diagnosed with sub clinical hypothyroidism that you consider drinking bottled or filtered water that does not contain fluoride. There is a new concern that fluoride which is a standard in drinking water may impede the function of the thyroid gland resulting in lower levels of thyroid hormones for use in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, mackerel or fish oil supplements is necessary for the maintenance of the cell membrane. Although omega-3 fatty acids do not directly affect the production of thyroid hormones they help ensure the cell membranes are able to transport them into the body's cells. Last but not least is, learn to relax. This can be as little as ten minutes of quiet time locked in your bathroom but it will have huge impact on your overall health. Stress increases the body's production of steroids which in turn suppress the secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone thus causing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone being produced. The tips listed above can be easily incorporated into your daily lifestyle with just a little awareness and can have a huge impact on your thyroid levels.

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