Reasons for low thyroid function continued….
Over worked liver
Thyroid hormones must be ‘activated’ before they can benefit the body. Over 60% of this activation happens in the liver, therefore if the liver is working overtime then thyroid function is compromised. A diet high in sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol, coffee and environmental toxins has a negative effect on the liver and, consequently, the thyroid. Obesity, leads to the problem of fat accumulation in the liver. Nightly alcoholic drinks or binge drinking at weekends taxes the liver pathways. Multiple coffees in a day, environmental toxins in air, water and food all lead to an overworked liver.
Solution : Yes, you guessed it! Decrease sugar, carbs, alcohol and coffee in the diet.
Balance of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ gut bacteria is important for thyroid production. 20% of the conversion of T4 to T3 occurs in the belly. Too much ‘bad’ bacteria leads to problems with this conversion. A diet high in processed carbohydrates and low in fibre created ideal conditions for ‘bad’ bacteria to develop. Gut bacteria communicates and interacts with the rest of the body (how clever it is!) and new research shows a potential for gut bacteria to trigger strong cravings for sugar (trouble!).
Solution : again, decrease carb intake (breads and pasta as well as more processed carbs), increase fibre rich foods (vegetables) and add naturally fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut to provide friendly bacteria. A probiotic supplement may be useful in some cases to restore very poor balance.
Too much exercise
If one always exercises at the same steady intensity for weeks and months on end, one’s body adapts to the training stimulus after 4-8 weeks, and then FEWER calories are burnt thereafter during that same type of exercise. Basically, the body gets more efficient at the activity. Increasing the same type of steady activity could stress the nervous system, increasing cortisol output, which impairs thyroid function.
Solution : This is very important – to trigger fat loss and get thyroid in balance, shorten exercise bouts and increase the intensity. For example, try 4-6 100m sprints in the park, with 90 seconds walk recovery. Lift heavier weights to add strength and muscle density. In short, decrease overall volume and increase intensity to assist the thyroid. Try higher intensity exercise on a few days of the week rather than every day.
Low selenium levels
Selenium is essential to the conversion process of T4 into T3. It’s easy to get more than your daily requirement for selenium by eating just 2 brazil nuts. They are the richest dietary source, with 2 nuts providing over 100 mcg selenium. (RDA is 50-55 to stave off disease. Higher is helpful if thyroid is diminished). Other sources include salmon, cod, tuna, halibut and shitake mushrooms.
Low vitamin D levels
Vitamin D is important for formation and utilisation of the thyroid hormone. People struggling with frequent colds or flu and irregular exposure to the sun may have low Vitamin D levels. It is important for keeping the immune system in balance.
Solution : Eat egg yolks, pork and mushrooms. Through the winter people with symptoms of low thyroid may benefit from a supplement of Vitamin D, because the sun is by far and away the best source.
Bring me sunshine!