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Eat Yourself Healthy – Sally Joseph

Is Your Thyroid Healthy?

Is Your Thyroid Healthy?

Thyroid health is something I deal with everyday, not just professionally as a Nutritionist but because I work hard to keep my own thyroid happy, since being diagnosed 11 years ago with Hashimoto’s, along with a pituitary adenoma – code for a benign tumor on the master hormone gland.

Every cell in the body has receptor sites for thyroid hormone, which is why thyroid hormones influence the function of every cell in your body!  Their primary responsibility is to regulate your metabolic rate, which affects every system of the body.  So in a nutshell –  an unhappy thyroid can wreak havoc on your overall health and wellbeing – both physically and mentally.

The frustrating thing about thyroid disorders is you can be eating a healthy diet, getting daily exercise AND plenty of sleep, yet your thyroid can still go bonkers! “What the” I hear you ask? Well let me explain, you see there are MANY factors that can cause your thyroid to become ‘wobbly’, ranging from nutrient deficiencies – primarily iodine and vitamin D, heavy metal toxicity, leaky gut syndrome, viral infections, long term use of certain pharmaceutical medications and or  recreational drugs, pregnancy  and of course chronic STRESS – probably more so than any other factor!  The reason why stress can have such a profound impact on your thyroid, is because the thyroid and adrenal glands are directly interconnected, so what goes on in the house of one gland, affects the other – to put it simply.  Your adrenal glands are responsible for the production of stress hormones – cortisol and adrenalin.   The long term, excess production of stress hormones, can lead to the underproduction of  thyroid hormones in an attempt by your body to protect it from the effects of excess stress.

To add insult to injury, many people with an underactive thyroid, also suffer from an auto-immune condition known as Hashimoto’s – where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.  You can read more about AI diseases here.  Hashimoto’s disease is the most common form of hypothyroidism and is rapidly on the rise.  The resulting inflammation leads to an underactive thyroid gland, so in many respects the function of the thyroid is dictated by the function of the immune system and degree of inflammation.

So what to do if you suffer, or think you may suffer from an underactive thyroid or Hashimoto’s?  I wish I could give you the answer in one blog post!  But starting with changing to an anti inflammatory diet will eliminate many of the antagonists that impact on the function of your thyroid.  Taking a step back and addressing the stress in your life and what YOU are doing to contribute to it, is the second most important step in working towards a healthy, happy thyroid.  Without these two steps, you will struggle to get back on track, even if you take thyroid medication and nutritional supplements.

For many sufferers of an underactive thyroid, supplementing with thyroid hormone is often required for a successful outcome.  Although supplementing with thyroid hormones is not my first line of action, as I always start by implementing a comprehensive nutritional and herbal supplement program to heal the gut and replenish any nutrient deficiencies, along with an anti inflammatory diet, but although diet and nutritional supplements lay the critical foundations for optimal thyroid health, it may not always be enough, in which case I refer the patient for prescription of a compounded thyroid hormone formula..

Now days my thyroid is pretty well behaved and my auto immune activity is virtually non existent, thanks to many years of research and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t – and believe me its a minefield out there when it comes to accessing the right information AND treatment protocols – especially when the standard testing and treatment for thyroid conditions is totally lacking in my view.  But more on the reasons why in another post.  If you have hypothyroid symptoms but your lab tests are normal, your Dr probably told you – “you’re fine”.  But when it comes to pathology testing, I have a saying  – ‘you only find what you look for‘ and in the case of thyroid physiology, its both complex and intricate, and requires casting a broad net to obtain an accurate diagnosis, followed by implementing a multi faceted approach to treatment – not just popping one pill and – ‘she’ll be right mate’! as I’ve heard some Dr’s tell their patients.

Here’s a checklist for some of the most common symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid:

  • Low energy
  • Sluggish metabolism / weight gain
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Anemia
  • Poor digestion – bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Hypoglycemia – blood sugar imbalances
  • Poor fat digestion
  • Cognitive problems – depression
  • Hair loss
  • Weak brittle nails
  • Dry skin
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Infertility
  • Disrupted menstrual cycle
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Poor immunity  – susceptible to regular colds and flu infections.

Do you suffer from Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism?  I’d love you to share your experiences and frustrations in your journey  to getting adequate diagnosis and treatment in the comments section below.

© All Rights Reserved Sally Joseph 2014

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  1. Hi Madonna, Thyroid function is complex with many influencing factors but in a nutshell I can say that it may be well possible for your daughter to avoid having to take any form of thyroid hormone replacement therapy particularly if the underlying cause is addressed effectively. These include correcting specific nutrient deficiencies, reducing inflammation within the gut and avoiding foods that impact on thyroid function. She can start with implementing the eating program in my e-book if you have not already and then I can also conduct a pathology screening for any tests that may not have been requested by her DR and provide her with an individualised consultation and nutritional / herbal medicine treatment program to assist her thyroid function naturally. You can contact my PA on enquiries@sallyjoseph.com.au CHeers Sally

  2. Dear Sally,I enjoyed reading your article on the thyroid, my 16year old daughter has been diagonised with having thyroid problems. At this stage we are having blood tests every 6 weeks. She hasn,t had to take any medication at this stage but I feel the doctors want to start her on something soon. I have to go back to the doctors on Monday to find out. I don,t like the idea of a 16year old on medication for this problem. Can the herbal and food help with this condition? Cheers Madonna

  3. That’s wonderful news JCB, Im so glad to hear you were able to get onto the right path with getting the underlying causes of what was driving your thyroid issues and you couldn’t be more right about having the determination to finding answers to your own health, because no one else will but you 🙂

  4. Hi Bec

    The journey to finding and maintaining balance with your thyroid health is an ongoing one that will be influenced by the choices you make each and every day, whether its with your food, sleep, your environment and your relationships. There is no one thing that will optimise your thyroid function, but rather the sum of all parts, so I cant stress enough how important adopting a healthy diet – low in sugar and preferably gluten and cows dairy free.

    Your gut health also plays a major role in determining the function of your thyroid and over all endocrine and nervous system so if you have not already, check out my ebook ‘Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 Days’, for nutritional advice on the essential foods to avoid and those to eat more of along with how to heal your gut. Diet and repairing your gut are typically the missing links in optimising thyroid function. Pending how you go with that, you can always book in for a consultation with me for further investigation via my website http://www.sallyjoseph.com.au xx

  5. Thanks Elizabeth 🙂

  6. Dear Sally, I too have been struggling to recover from low thyroid function and adrenal fatigue for the last 2 years. I was tested after about 20 yrs of going to the Dr, by a nutritionist, because I kept pushing and saying no something is not right when I need to go to sleep all the time and have no energy! My periods have always been scant and erratic, terrible skin and hormonal moodiness. I lost friends because they didn’t understand why I had no time to spend with them because I had to give everything to just keeping going in the day, and holding down a job. I was also very down a lot. The tests revealed I had low T3 and low cortisol, amongst other nutritional deficiencies, hormone issues and parasites, etc. I didn’t want to go on Thyroxine but Dr prescribed it. Instead I was given a mix of animal thryoid and adrenal materials which I am still taking, together with a great supplement by Bionusan called Thyronyl, and Biocare’s AD206. I can’t thank the nutritionist enough for all her help, and also the other cross-therapy practitioners too. But the thing that clearly came across is that you have to be determined to get to the bottom of what is wrong, and more determined not to continue to be ill.

  7. Hi Sally,

    Thanks for the article “Is Your Thyroid Healthy”.

    After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease in 2010, I’m so happy to see more and more awareness to Thyroid health.

    I have been on medication ever since being diagnosed – as with everything I’ve had many trial and error moments, trying to find what works best for me. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere – not feeling better, always tired, depressed, never putting on weight (the list goes on!). After telling my GP symptoms I was having and getting nowhere, I decided to see an endocrinologist. I still don’t feel 100% but taking the medication 1/2hr before food first thing in the morning has made a difference.

    It’s hard to explain to someone (who has no knowledge/ has never even heard of “thyroid”) how much Hashimoto’s actually affects the body. From the outside, no one can tell how bad you feel inside.

    I would like to know your thoughts on diet changes etc. and if you believe that a few changes to diet may be what it takes to feel that % better again. Would you suggest going to a dietician etc.?

    Thanks again Sally, really looking forward to the near future of the “Hashimoto’s Club”.

    Kind regards,

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