FUNCTIONS OF THE THYROID GLAND
The thyroid is a gland located just at the base of the neck (below the Adams Apple) and the hormones it produces set the resting rate of energy production (metabolism) and also influences the nervous system. Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) is an underactivity of the thyroid gland due to insufficient production of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).
SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM
- hair loss and brittle hair
- cool and dry skin
- irregular menstrual periods in women
- intolerance to the cold
- weight gain
- pale face
- low basal temperature in the morning.
CAUSES OF HYPOTHYROIDISM:
- Genetics (hereditary)
- Pituitary tumours or Hashimotos Disease
- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland)
- Insufficient thyroid medication
- Surgical removal of thyroid (thyroidectomy)
- Dietary deficiency of Iodine, Selenium and Vitamin D
- Excessive consumption of Cobalt and Flouride
MEDICAL TREATMENT OF HYPOTHYROIDISM:
Medical treatment of hypothyroidism is by thyroid hormone (Thyroxine) and is needed on an ongoing basis to return thyroid function to normal. Yearly regular medical check ups are performed to investigate levels of thyroid hormones, to determine any changes in dosage. If the medication is too strong it may result in osteoporosis or irregular heartbeats.
COMPLICATIONS IF HYPOTHYROIDISM IS NOT ADDRESSED:
- Heart problems leading to heart failure due to enlargement of the heart or hypertension and high cholesterol.
- Mental health instability (depression, sadness, low self-esteem, concentration problems and confusion, apathy and low libido.
- Further complications of thyroid disorders such as thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid), Hashimotos (autoimmune condition causing excessive activity of the T cells), Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland).
- Pregnancy complications causing birth defects to the brain, heart and kidneys of the infant.
- Chronic constipation
- Impaired kidney function
- Premenstrual tension and low libido
- Muscle weakness, back aches and muscle cramps
- Fatigue and very low energy levels
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR THYROID FUNCTION
- The trace mineral Selenium is important as an anti-inflammatory and nutrient for the health of the immune system.
- Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism due to a dietary insufficiency in the Western diet. This important mineral is found in seafood, seaweed (including kelp, bladderwrack, or dulce) and Celtic Sea Salt. Iodine is required by humans for the synthesis of thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine/T3 and thyroxine/T4)
- Herbs that may help to support thyroid function: Astragalus, Coleus, Reishi Mushrooms, Codonopsis, Watercress, Horny Goat Weed, Cinnamon, Blue Flag, Horsetail
- Anti-oxidants may be of assistance to help reduce excessive free radicals which are produced by the inflammation and cellular disregulation and contribute to further malfunctioning of the thyroid gland
- Many individuals with hypothyroidism exhibit low levels of Zinc, it is therefore recommended to perform a Zinc Status test (a health food store may be able to help you do this test). Sufficient Zinc levels are necessary for healthy function of the thyroid gland.
- The amino acid Tyrosine may be beneficial for thyroid function by stimulating the production of thyroid hormones
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