Updated: Mar 31
Leading up to World Thyroid Day on May 25th, I thought I would start sharing a few quick facts about optimizing your thyroid function with diet and lifestyle measures. This is one of my favorite topics since I have an autoimmune thyroid condition that used to make me very ill [and no longer does!].
First let’s discuss what is needed for the proper production and conversion of thyroid hormones, namely T4. For production, your body requires iron, iodine, tyrosine, zinc, selenium, and vitamins E, B2, B3, B6, C, and D.
If you know much about biochemistry, you may notice that many of these same factors are needed for mitochondrial function, i.e. ENERGY production. Mmmmm hmmmm….everything is linked in these amazing bodies God gave us!
Once T4 thyroid hormone is produced, the body must convert it to the more active form, T3, and this requires selenium and zinc. Don’t be fooled into thinking your body doesn’t also need T4, because that simply isn’t true.
We need both, along with the other thyroid hormones we don’t clinically test for, but that’s another blog for later.
The next step is for the tissues to be able to USE the thyroid hormones. Things that increase your cells’ sensitivity to thyroid hormones, thus helping them function optimally, are vitamin A, zinc, and ...drumroll...EXERCISE!
The bottom line here is that you can improve your thyroid function, your energy, and your overall health with good healthy foods and exercise. The body LOVES balance.
Speaking of balance, let’s now look at the factors that negatively influence the thyroid. Your body doesn’t properly produce or convert thyroid hormones when under stress and sleep deprived, which I think we have all experienced.
Surgery, infection, trauma, and toxin exposure are also detrimental. In addition, a low calorie diet can cause your body to convert your thyroid hormone into a less active form, which is essentially a protective mechanism.
There are certainly other factors that negatively affect the thyroid, and these are things we dig deeper into in my functional medicine practice.
There is so much more to say on this topic, so I'll break it up into a series of blogs. Next time I’ll discuss how to support your thyroid with food, so stay tuned.
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