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Healthy Thyroid

clouds with inspirational quote Healthy Thyroid Healthy Metabolism by Dr. John E. Weisberg  

After diabetes, thyroid disease is the most common glandular disorder affecting about 20 million Americans, usually as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). However, because symptoms are often mistaken for excess stress, depression, signs of aging, or are simply ignored, many cases of thyroid imbalance – up to 8 million – are not identified. By age 60, 17 to 20% of women and 9 to 10% of men have signs of low thyroid function.  

Nestled just below the Adam’s apple in the base of the neck, the thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped structure that weighs less than an ounce and produces less than a teaspoonful of hormone each year. Yet these hormones have a huge impact as the body’s “accelerator,” controlling the tempo or pace of all internal processes. Blood flow to and through the thyroid gland is regulated by the autonomic nervous system. The thyroid gland interacts with other neuro-hormones in the blood stream such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which is produced in the brain and released into the blood stream by the pituitary gland. Because of the direct and indirect relationship to the nervous system the thyroid gland is responsive to the emotional, psychological, hormonal and neurological functions.  

Thyroid disorders are more common in women, but men “are not immune.” Often the tendency for thyroid imbalance runs in families. A malfunctioning thyroid can adversely affect or damage other organs. Though the thyroid can be the site of benign or malignant growths, thyroid cancer “is relatively rare.” Low thyroid activity may be likened to an engine that idles too slowly and, when required to move, cannot burn fuel properly so runs sluggishly.

A few typical symptoms include fatigue, low body temperature, dry skin and hair, inappropriate weight gain, brittle nails, insomnia and/or narcolepsy, headaches, migraines, and menstrual problems or irregularity. Some overweight people are convinced their “metabolism is slow” because of a thyroid problem. Yet the vast majority do not have underactive thyroid. Actually, conspicuous weight gain may not occur in many people with hypothyroidism. A sufferer is likely to get a little heavier because of the slower metabolism, but the average gain is only five to ten pounds.  

Hyperthyroidism (excessive levels of thyroid hormone) is less common than underactive thyroid and usually produces different symptoms. Generally, too much thyroid hormone tends to speed up the body’s functions. The most diagnosed form of hyperthyroidism is Grave’s disease, followed by toxic goiter. People with hyperthyroidism feel supercharged like an engine idling too fast. Metabolism speeds up. Nervousness, anxiety, jitteriness, irritability, feeling “wired,” muscle weakness, tremors of the hands, soft nails, rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations are but a few of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.  

The most common forms of thyroid dysfunction are Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroid) and Grave’s disease (hyperthyroid). The cause is attributed theoretically to “autoimmune disease,” wherein the body “mistakenly attacks healthy thyroid tissue.” This does not make physiological sense because the body is always striving for equilibrium, for survival, not self destruction. If the immune system’s white blood cells engulf and eliminate tissues, it is only due to cellular damage and death. Thus, some researchers recognize many thyroid conditions as inflammation. Tissue insult or injury initiates the processes for repair by the process or inflammation.

Many factors can potentially injure or poison the thyroid gland, resulting depletion of needed “fuel” – nutrition – for proper function, maintenance, and resistance. Whether harmful substances or malnutrition or improper nervous system regulation, the affect on the thyroid depends on the specific causes and the unique biochemistry of the individual.  
Causes of thyroid dysfunction include the adverse effects of prescription drugs. Steroid hormone drugs and estrogen containing medications are perhaps the most devastating in their side effects. Chlorine and sodium fluoride in the municipal drinking water disrupt normal thyroid function. The DPT immunization and mercury amalgam toxicity have been implicated in thyroid imbalances.

Evidence of  “environmental chemical triggers” for thyroid pathologies has been accumulating for years. Pesticides and herbicides such as DDT, PCB’s, and many more toxins which have made their way into our food chain have been implicated. The leading cause of thyroid dysfunctions is a most misunderstood mineral called iodine. The body needs two forms of this mineral in the diet and in abundance. Iodine and iodide both occur in our food and water but both forms are nearly depleted from the standard American diet. The thyroid gland absorbs a “great deal of punishment” in the course of typical modern conditions. The typical American diet adds to the trouble since many people do not obtain sufficient amounts of nutrients needed for healthy thyroid function let alone some degree of resistance to the onslaught of poisons to which they may be subjected.  

One excellent way of proving to yourself that you should enhance your diet using nutritional supplementation is to put yourself on our recommended HPA plus iodine program for three months. HPA stands for Hypothalamus, Pituitary and Adrenal axis and it is what needs the most nutritional support in dealing with endocrine stress. The thyroid gland is like a domino in this system and if one gland falls the others follow.

For more information, contact our office. We strive to help you live a life of wellness and vitality.

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