The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in our throat which plays a really regulatory role in our body. It is the master of temperature and speed, so when our thyroid slows down (hypothyroid) we will notice other areas of our body slow down too such as our ability to lose weight, our brain function, and our natural secretions which often leaves our body feeling dry and cold with debilitating fatigue. When our thyroid speeds up (hyperthyroid) we will notice our body also speeding up and may experience a faster heart rate, increased weight loss, increased sweating, fast movements and anxiety.
Of all the many things that can affect our thyroid function, autoimmunity is one of the most common. When our body's immune system is overactive or "confused" it targets certain tissues in our body which causes inflammation and damage. In the case of Hashimotos or Graves disease, the immune system has begun targeting our thyroid gland. This results in an either over or underactive thyroid, however, when the immune system is involved there is a higher chance you may swing between the two or have symptoms characteristic of both. When treating autoimmune thyroid conditions we must not only try to balance the thyroid hormones but also nurture and support the immune system.
Another major contributor to thyroid conditions is nutrition deficiencies. Our body operates by millions of chemical processes occuring every second and for most of those processes to occur the body needs certain co-factors. Let's look at this as if the body has a specific recipe to follow when making hormones. It has various steps and requires certain ingredients for the finished product to be produced. Some important "ingredients" for thyroid hormone production are iron, vitamin D, selenium, zinc and iodine which are also coincidentally some of the most commonly reported deficiencies. Without adequate amounts of these "ingredients" we simply cannot make enough of the finished product - thyroid hormones.
Other important considerations for thyroid function are inflammation, stress, other hormonal imbalances (eg: menopause), heavy metal or frequent chemical exposure, cancer, and physical damage such as in the case of thyroid removal or local injury to the throat. The good news is, natural therapies can really improve quality of life for thyroid condition sufferers! Ensuring you are receiving adequate nutrition to produce and convert thyroid hormones, supporting your immune system, reducing stress and decreasing inflammation are some areas which are very well supported with the help of herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle modifications, and supplementation if necessary.
If you experience any of the above mentioned set of symptoms or have had some blood testing done which shows you have either high or low thyroid hormone levels, please get in touch, I'd love to help you get back to your optimal health.