Best Ways to Improve Thyroid Function and Health


improve thyroid functionThe thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of one’s neck, at roughly collarbone height.  This gland controls the body’s endocrine system.  One of the thyroid’s main jobs is to produce thyroid hormones.  It produces the T3 hormone, the T4 hormone, and the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).  The T3 and T4 hormones are formed in the thyroid using iodine.  They are then released into the blood stream, where they travel the body and help regulate metabolic processes.  TSH is a hormone that stimulates the thyroid to produce T3 and T4 hormones.  If an individual’s thyroid is over-functioning and producing too many hormones, one is said to have hyperthyroidism.  If, on the other hand, one’s thyroid is under-functioning and is not making enough thyroid hormones, one is said to have hypothyroidism. We’re going to talk about the best ways to improve thyroid function and health.

Exercise

Exercise naturally boosts metabolism.  Everyone, but especially those with hypothyroidism or who may be at risk of hypothyroidism, should work out at least three times a week for at least 40 minutes per workout.  This is a minimum for individuals with a thyroid disorder.  To see lasting thyroid improvement, these individuals should really aim for engaging in some form of exercise seven days a week.  Several health studies have shown that T3 and T4 hormone levels increase with exercise.  Beyond helping to stimulate thyroid production, exercise also helps to counteract many of the side effects of hypothyroidism such as gaining weight, loss of muscle, depression, and low energy levels.  Exercise will force the body to burn more calories and use more energy.

Eat More of These

Iodine is needed for the body to be able to produce the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that activates the thyroid.  Iodine, however, is not produced in the body and is introduced to the body by the foods that individuals eat.  The American Thyroid Association reports that the most common cause of thyroid disorders is an iodine deficiency.  Iodine-rich foods include dairy products such as eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt.  Other foods that carry a lot of iodine include sea foods, including seaweed, shellfish, and saltwater fish.

Eat Less of These

Certain foods can, although healthy for most people, work against individuals who have hypothyroidism, because the foods suppress thyroid function.  If an individual is on a thyroid medication, these foods can stop the medication from being absorbed into the body, therefore rendering it ineffective.  One of the main categories of food to avoid is anything from the cabbage family, such as cabbage, kale, and watercress.  Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, peanuts, and soybeans should also be avoided if one is concerned that he or she might have an under-functioning thyroid.  All of these foods contain the chemical goitrogen.  This chemical interferes with thyroid health and functioning.  The chemical loses most of its potency and can be eaten when cooked, but it should not be eaten raw.

Refined sugars are another food that should be avoided as much as possible by individuals with hypothyroidism.  Sugar can destroy one’s adrenal and thyroid glands.  When sugars enter the body, these glands fire up and start to work.  If they are faced with an endless overload of sugar, they remain constantly activated until they burn out and stop working altogether.  The glands being to repair themselves; but if, when they become functional again, they are again met with a giant workload, they will simply burn out again and start the cycle over.  Eventually, if this cycle continues, one can cause permanent damage to these glands.  Also, during all the time the glands are down, symptoms of hypothyroidism become worse.

Get a Blood Panel Evaluation

The American Thyroid Association reports that nearly 20 million individuals in the United States have some sort of thyroid condition.  They go on to estimate that as many as 60% of these people are unaware that their thyroid is not functioning properly.  The symptoms associated with thyroid disorder can be serious.  Side effects include extreme fatigue, weight gain or inability to lose weight, depression, anxiety, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, decreased interest in sex, and muscle weakness.  If an individual is experiencing several of these symptoms or has a family history of thyroid disorders, he or she should get a blood test to assess thyroid health.  To get a comprehensive view of overall thyroid health, the thyroid blood panel that one completes should include a blood test for T3, T4, thyroid antibodies, and the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).  Based on the test results, a doctor can more accurately say where the system is failing and then prescribe medications and lifestyle changes that can improve thyroid function.

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