What Is Hypothyroidism and Do You Actually Have It?
Hypothyroidism is one of the most common reasons people give for not being able to lose fat. While it can be scoffed at as merely an “excuse” for not following a proper diet or exercise program, it is nevertheless a very real condition that is relatively common.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. It is usually characterized by having insufficient T4 (thyroxine) and raised TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which has increased in order to raise T4 levels. While this is a simple explanation, it is extremely insufficient to cover the wide range of thyroid problems as there are many variations of hormone imbalances that could be responsible for an under active thyroid.
Difficulty losing weight is the most notable symptom of an under performing thyroid, but some other common symptoms include constipation, sensitivity to cold and cold skin, fatigue, dry skin, brittle nails, and decreased immune function.
Home Test For Thyroid Insufficiency
A simple home test that can be done is something called the “Barnes” test. It is done by taking your temperature under the tongue first thing in the morning. 97.2-98.2 is considered normal. If you find your temperature falls below this, that may be a sign of under-active thyroid. Menstruating women should only take this test the 2nd or 3rd day after menstruation begins.
The Best Supplements To Increase Thyroid Function Naturally
Perhaps you’ve done the Barnes test or ideally gone to a Dr. and determined your thyroid function isn’t what it could be. While drugs are a potential fix, they doesn’t always address the underlying root cause of a thyroid condition.
Luckily, there are many great natural things that can be done to boost thyroid function safely, and improve health at the same time. The great thing about these supplements is that they are safe and effective for anyone to take regardless of their thyroid health.
Natural Thyroid Booster 1 – Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is quite possibly my favorite herb to take for overall health and healthy weight loss. It is an adaptogenic herb which means it helps the body cope with stress, reduce cortisol levels (another cause of abdominal weight gain), and improve the thyroid function. It is safe, affordable, and the extract has been shown to be highly effective both in reducing cortisol levels and in subjective experiences of increased energy. Given that it helps not only the thyroid but the adrenals as well, it makes an excellent all around “must-have” tonic herb that everyone can take.
Natural Thyroid Booster 2 – Iodine (Nascent Iodine, Kelp, Or Dulse)
Iodine is the most important mineral for thyroid function. Without enough iodine the body cannot produce enough T3 (thyroxine) a thyroid hormone. While it’s been said in mainstream medicine that iodine deficiency is usually not a problem, the work of researchers such as Dr. David Brownstein and Dr. Guy Abraham have shown that supplementing with higher doses of iodine is not only safe, but very effective in treating many thyroid conditions.
Considering that in many Asian countries the intake of iodine rich sea vegetables is much higher than in other countries and they don’t suffer ill effect, it leads me to believe that increasing iodine can be beneficial and prudent when done through quality sea vegetables like kelp or dulse. Taking Lugol’s or Nascent iodine is another option, but one I recommend a bit more caution with as it can be too powerful for some.
Dose: 2-4 tablespoons of kelp or dulse, or 1mg iodine and work up to more a day.
NOTE: Iodine works with other minerals like zinc, magnesium and selenium. Adding in a few brazil nuts for selenium can help assist the functioning of iodine in the thyroid. Magnesium is an extremely common deficiency and I suggest taking 200-400mg a day.
Natural Thyroid Booster 3 – Bovine Thyroid Glandular
What better way to improve the thyroid than to take an actual thyroid? It may sound strange, but taking glandulars (the glands of an animal) has actual been shown to improve the same gland in the body. The reasons for this could be many, but the take home point is that freeze-dried bovine thyroid could be beneficial for those needing a boost to their own thyroid function. It’s also worth noting that our ancestors would have eaten the organs and tissues of the animals they ate. This obviously goes without saying, but this supplement choice is not vegan friendly so if that’s an issue, stick with the other options as this isn’t necessary.
Natural Thyroid Booster 4 – Coleus Forskohlii Extract
Coleus Forskohlii contains an active compound called forskolin which has been shown to improve thyroid function and increase fat breakdown with little to no side effects. It increases thyroid hormone production as well as stimulates the release of the thyroid hormones. It is also useful for other conditions such as cramps, high blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and for improving blood flow to the brain.
10-30 mg a day.
Getting Tested For Your Unique Supplement Needs:
While I can offer general advice for addressing various deficiencies, getting objective analysis of your own needs is often the best course of action. Getting a test done to determine any potential nutritional deficiencies can help you find what you’re low in, and avoid wasting your money supplementing on things you don’t need or worse yet, getting too much of something and throwing things off-balance.
Check out http://spectracell.com and schedule a mineral analysis to find what you may need to supplement with.
Top Foods and Diet Tips For Thyroid Health
A healthy diet is one of the most critical aspects of a health body and healthy glands. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to improve the diet to boost thyroid function. These things include what we can add in, as well as things to look out for and minimize.
Natural Thyroid Booster 5 – Coconut Oil
Using coconut oil in place of vegetable oils and other fats can not only offset the negative effects of those oils, but provide its own benefits. In fact, this fat can actually help you lose fat! Well if you’ve been following the natural health movement in recent years, you’ve probably already heard about the benefits of coconut oil. If not, check this out.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides which have been shown to reduce fat and improve insulin sensitivity.
Dose: 1-3 tablespoons a day.
Bonus Natural Thyroid Booster – Goji Berries
While goji berries aren’t directly a “thyroid boosting food,” their indirect benefits make them incredibly worthwhile. They’re rich in antioxidants, are associated with longevity, and are powerful adaptogenics which help bring everything back into balance. You’ll see that I’m a big believer in adaptogens as they work with the body rather than forcing it to do something like a drug does. This means over time they help correct disorders and are safe for anyone to take regardless of their specific health concerns.
Whether or not a person suffers from thyroid problems, taking more foods like goji berries can have a huge impact on overall health and well-being.
Foods To Watch Out For
Goitrogens – Goitrogens are found in foods like the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts) and are best limited for those suffering from hypothyroidism. That being said, so long as these foods are cooked that will significantly reduce the level of goitrogens.
Soy – Soy also has a negative effect on thyroid function. It’s best to be reduced or eliminated.
Vegetable Oils – The oxidation caused by vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, and soybean oil can reduce tissue response to thyroid hormones.
Overcoming Weight Issues
A sound diet and exercise program are the best bets to overcoming weight issues for anyone regardless of their thyroid health. The problem however with typical recommendations to “eat less, exercise more” is that, when a person has a underactive thyroid, simply eating less won’t do. They must take the necessary steps to boost thyroid function, and engage in a diet that doesn’t cause metabolic shutdown.
There are a few ways to accomplish this. One way is through a specialized diet and training program designed to prevent metabolic shutdown found here.
You can also just follow the healthy eating and lifestyle tips found in my free survival guide which will give you a good start.
Getting Professional Help
By: Derek Doepker