The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland that is located low on the front neck.
The thyroid has many functions, but primarily it secretes hormones that are responsible for metabolism, body temperature, cholesterol levels, breathing and heart rate to name a few.
It is estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and nearly 60% of those with thyroid disease are completely unaware of their condition. With these alarming rates of thyroid disorders, it’s clear that millions of people are being mismanaged in their thyroid care every year.
You might be wondering: How do I know if my thyroid is off balance? If you experience fatigue, weakness, or any of the following symptoms, you might have one of the two most common thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroid is the term used to describe an underactive thyroid, meaning it does not properly generate hormones (primarily T3 and T4) or release thyroid hormones into the body. It is estimated that about 4.6 percent of the United States population ages 12 and older struggle with hypothyroidism.
A few common symptoms of hypothyroid include:
- Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
- Coarse, dry hair
- Dry, rough pale skin
- Hair loss
- Cold intolerance (you can’t tolerate cold temperatures like those around you)
- Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
- Memory loss
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Decreased libido
For years, the thought in the medical field was that low thyroid was caused primarily by iodine deficiency, so they supplemented iodine in salt and other foods to prevent the major types of deficiencies. If it was that easy to correct hypothyroid disorders by giving iodine, we would have fixed the vast majority of the problems a long time ago. For almost 90% of people that are dealing with low thyroid the cause is the immune system attacking its own thyroid gland! For all of these people that have Hashimoto’s disease, it’s not a thyroid disease, it is an autoimmune disease that is attacking the thyroid gland. What does that mean for treatment and outcome of peoples’ symptoms? Unless the immune system that is going haywire is addressed, no amount of thyroid hormone replacement is going to fix the problem. The true underlying cause of the malfunction of the system has to be addressed.
In contrast to hypo-thyroid, Hyper-thyroid is the term used to describe an Overactive thyroid, meaning you are producing too many thyroid hormones. Approximately 1.2 percent of people in the United States have hyperthyroidism and women are 2 to 10 times more likely to experience hyperthyroid than men.
A few common symptoms of hyperthyroid are:
- fatigue or muscle weakness
- hand tremors
- mood swings
- nervousness or anxiety
- rapid heartbeat
- heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- skin dryness
- trouble sleeping
- weight loss
- increased frequency of bowel movements
- light periods or skipping periods
There are a number of causes of hyperthyroid. One being an autoimmune condition called Graves’ disease, where the body produces an antibody that causes the thyroid gland to produce an excess amount of thyroid hormone. It can also be caused by a goiter, or lumps/nodules in the gland that can cause an overproduction of hormones. Another cause is thyroiditis, an Inflammation of the thyroid gland, is a result of a dysfunction of the immune system. Lastly, diet can cause an imbalance in the thyroid, primarily due to an overconsumption of iodine in the form of foods, supplements or medications containing iodine.
Strategies for Treatment
If you relate to either of the above symptoms or descriptions, you might now be wondering: How do you treat thyroid imbalance? The conventional medical treatment is to mask the symptoms by giving prescription medications. Holistic approaches include changing the diet, adding supplements and implementing lifestyle changes in order to correct the underlying cause and therefore reverse the issue completely.
Another treatment that is often overlooked is the fact that thyroid issues may be a result of the brain not functioning properly.
How F8 Balances Thyroid Hormones Better
F8 offers brain mapping which is a non-invasive quantitative electroencephalogram (EEG) that senses the electrical activity in the brain and records the data to determine where the brain might not be properly functioning.
Those suffering from signs of thyroid disorders may be able to reverse the symptoms based on data provided by the brain map. For instance, alpha waves are one of the brain waves that bridge the gap between our conscious thinking and subconscious mind. A healthy alpha pattern helps us calm down and relax when necessary. When measuring alpha waves in someone experiencing thyroid disorder symptoms, you may find high waves which indicate anxiety or low waves indicating depression. Sometimes when people become stressed, an experience called “alpha blocking” may occur causing the beta waves to “block” the production of alpha waves.
For some the ”thyroid” symptoms they are experiencing are actually a neurological issue versus a biochemical problem. These profound results indicate that this issue can be fixed simply by teaching the brain to function optimally.
Like anything, diet has a major impact on the health of the thyroid. Unfortunately, the standard American diet which is high in processed foods, sugars and artificial ingredients has negatively impacted our nation’s health, leading to a myriad of health issues and in particular, thyroid disorders. Dietary changes can positively impact and oftentimes reverse thyroid disorders.
Some of the most common triggers in Hashimoto’s are nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, leaky gut, stress, and an inability to clear toxins from the body. By eliminating processed foods and foods you may have sensitivity to, you may be able to reverse symptoms.
Many people suffering from hypothyroid disease are deficient in iodine which is a key mineral in helping you convert and release thyroid hormones. Seaweed, like sea veggies dulse and kelp, are an excellent source of iodine as well as certain wild-caught fish and fermented grains.
In addition to iodine, selenium is another important trace mineral that is helpful for the thyroid as it helps balance T4 hormones. Brazil nuts, grass-fed beef, spinach and some wild-caught fish are excellent sources of selenium. Zinc and B vitamins are also helpful in helping to balance the thyroid which you can find in grass-fed beef, fish, spinach, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds to name a few.
In addition to processed foods, there are a few foods to avoid if you are struggling with hypothyroidism. For instance, goitrogenic foods like broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables can exacerbate thyroid function. It is also important to be aware of your tap water as most tap water contains fluoride which can disturb the endocrine gland by inhibiting iodine absorption. The best option is investing in a water filter that clears these toxins out.
With alarmingly increasing rates of thyroid disorders, it is even more important now to understand the various conditions as well as treatments available that can identify the root issue. It is only after you identify the root cause of your disorder that you can truly begin the healing process. Get started now!