Thyroid Tune-Up

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I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 7 years ago. Having an underactive thyroid can cause fatigue, weight gain, and sleep problems. However, some people have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, which can cause weight loss and sleep problems. The thyroid is a little gland that plays a big role in your body, and keeping it running properly with some key nutrients will make a big difference.

Some research has shown that as many as 59% of Americans have a thyroid condition of some kind. Hypothyroidism is the most common, and it usually crops up in women, people older than 60, and those with a family history of thyroid problems. The most common cause is iodine deficiency, however, autoimmune diseases, radiation treatments, and certain medications play a larger role in the US.

Symptoms are varied and the list is long, but they can include fatigue, forgetfulness, depression, dry hair and skin, weight gain, intolerance to cold, and constipation. If you have a number of these symptoms, you should have your doctor test your thyroid hormone (T4 or thyroxine) and your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Depending on the results, you may need to take synthetic thyroid hormones.

In some cases, taking some key nutrients – all of which are necessary for healthy thyroid function – may be all you need. Even if you have normal levels, these nutrients can help your thyroid run smoothly.

Selenium: Selenium helps convert thyroid hormones into their active form. A daily dosage of 200mcg will promote thyroid health. A handful of Brazil nuts can also give you about that amount.

L-tyrosine: If you are deficient in this important amino acid, your body will be limited to how much thyroid hormone it can make. Start off at a low dose of 200mg or even less and work up to 500mg, if tolerated well. For some, L-tyrosine can be too energizing, so you wouldn’t want to take it before bed.

Iodine: This is a tricky one. All you need is 150mcg and if you are a salt consumer, you may be getting all you need. Too much iodine can be as problematic as too little. If you use non-iodized salt, you may want to consider sources such as eggs and seaweed (kelp) to get iodine. Problems with iodine occur when you are taking it in the milligrams daily.

There are some products that contain all these nutrients and can be cost-effective and convenient. If you would like more information on thyroid hormone testing, contact Village Green Apothecary at 800-869-9159.

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September 2010
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