Low Thyroid: Fatigue, Mood Problems and Weight Gain?
In my practice, the majority of new adult women clients I see have 3 or more symptoms of low thyroid or hypothyroidism. Some are aware of these symptoms and have been to their doctor, only to be told that their blood tests are normal. If they were not normal, they were put on a synthetic thyroid hormone such as Synthroid. There is some alternative research validated natural ways to help hypothyroid symptoms. In this blog, I outline the symptoms, causes and scientifically proven ways of helping a low thyroid.
Below are some of the common symptoms I see in my practice:
- Severe fatigue, loss of energy.
- Weight gain, difficulty losing weight.
- Depression and depressed mood.
- Joint and muscle pain, headaches.
- Dry skin, brittle nails.
- Brittle hair, itchy scalp, hair loss.
- Irregular periods, PMS symptoms.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of low thyroid in the western world. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, which is when your bodies immune system attacks other tissues in the body. Evidence shows that gluten is associated with Hashimoto’s Disease
Goiters are another common cause of hypothyroidism. A goiter is a benign growth of the thyroid gland.
Stress causes your body to make less active and more inactive thyroid hormones.
Bisphenol-A (BPA), a known hormone disrupter, reduces thyroid function by blocking thyroid receptors.
Scientifically proven ways to help low thyroid symptoms
If you have 3 or more of the above symptoms, you may try implementing the following lifestyle changes and supplementation.
Lifestyle changes and supplementation
Avoid gluten if you have Hashimoto’s Disease. Your doctor can test for Hashimoto’s by measuring your blood for thyroid antibodies, specifically Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin antibodies.
Stress management has been shown to improve symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Avoid plastic. Avoid food and drink in plastic bottles and plastic lined cans.
Copper. Your thyroid is sensitive to copper and zinc levels, which must remain in proportion. Any imbalance in these two minerals can result in a low thyroid. Foods that are high in copper include meats, poultry and eggs. Even if you eat sufficient amounts of foods high in copper, you may have trouble absorbing copper. I such cases I recommend you take a multi-mineral supplement containing 2mg of copper.
Zinc is necessary for the proper activation of thyroid hormones. Taking too much zinc can interfere with copper absorption. Taking more than 50mg/day is too much. Taking 20mg/day of zinc to 2mg/day is a good starting point.
Selenium supplementation has been shown to reduce immune overactivation in people with autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s Disease. Selenium is also essential for the proper functioning of enzymes that protect the thyroid against free-radicals The recommended dosage is 200mcg/day.
Vitamin A. Evidence is good that vitamin A supplementation is beneficial for thyroid function. The recommended daily allowance is 5000iu/day in the form of a high-quality cod liver oil.
Iron. Evidence shows that low iron levels are associated with hypothyroidism. In fact, many of the symptoms of low thyroid are similar to those of low thyroid. Many women that find that iron supplements cause constipation. In my practice, I have found that using an iron glycinate supplement does not cause constipation. If you have little iron, I recommend taking 80mg/day and monitoring your levels through blood testing with your doctor.
Brassica Vegetables including broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale, if eaten raw, may reduce thyroid function.
Vitamin D has been shown by scientists to improve thyroid function. While you can get some vitamin D through food and supplementation, the sunshine is still the best source.
There are a couple of herbs that have been reported to be helpful for low thyroid symptoms. One is Kanchanur Guggulu; another is Bladderack, but there is no reliable scientific evidence to recommend any of these herbs.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.