Thyroid disorders are quite common today and hormone replacement is the therapy that is recommended most often. For some time now, we have known that iodine is responsible for optimal thyroid function. However, being the complex gland that it is, the thyroid gland requires a complex set of nutrients and processes to fall in place to work effectively.
Find out some of these nutrients and their sources, as well as some herbs that help ease thyroid dysfunction.
1. Brazil Nuts
Thyroxine (T4) is the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Triiodothyronine (T3) is what acts on metabolism. Conversion of T4 to T3 is a carefully regulated process that needs selenium to work.1
Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, often pitched as being better than a selenium supplement. Not having enough selenium can interrupt the T4 to T3 conversion and cause hypothyroid-like symptoms.2
For so long now, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower and other members of the cruciferous family have gotten a bad rep with thyroid. However, there is little to no indication that they are harmful and studies simply indicate a potential to reduce iodine levels in the body.
So, eat cruciferous by all means. They can prevent oxidative damage in the body, thyroid gland included. Just ensure that you get a bit more iodine than usual.3
Lovers of sushi, you are in luck! Seaweed is considered one of the few natural sources of iodine. So wrap your sushi in it, boil it in miso soup or add the powder to your smoothies. Iodine has a role to play in the synthesis of thyroid hormone in the body.4
4. Maca Root
If you’re asking what maca is, we don’t blame you. It is a root native to Peru and only available widely as a supplement. Several studies have pointed to the use of this supplement to reduce dependence on hormone replacement. Thyroid function is specially regulated very well by using a maca root supplement.5 Consult your doctor for dosage advice.
After seaweed, dairy products are abundant in iodine. As we know now, iodine in adequate amounts is responsible for thyroid function and producing thyroxine. By getting your daily dose of milk, yogurt, and other milk products, you can easily keep iodine-deficiency related hypothyroidism at bay.6
6. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are probiotic in nature and help balance our gut bacteria. An imbalance in the gut can cause a leaky gut and set the stage for autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.7 By balancing our gut health, we can keep several metabolic disorders including thyroid dysfunction at bay.
7. Clean Water
Do you know your source of water well? Studies have shown that consuming water with excess fluoride in it reduces the plasma T4 levels by over 75%!8 Most cities provide access to reports on water being supplied for drinking. Evaluate if the fluoride levels are deemed too high and ensure access to fresh, clean water.
Which foods will you eat today to begin healing your thyroid gland?
|↑1||Negro, Roberto. “Selenium and thyroid autoimmunity.” Biologics: targets & therapy 2, no. 2 (2008): 265.|
|↑2||Thomson, Christine D., Alexandra Chisholm, Sarah K. McLachlan, and Jennifer M. Campbell. “Brazil nuts: an effective way to improve selenium status.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87, no. 2 (2008): 379-384.|
|↑3||Baumann, Emil J., Anna Cipra, and David Marine. “Nature of the Goiter Producing Substance in Cabbage.∗.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 28, no. 9 (1931): 1017-1018.|
|↑4||Reinhardt, W., S. Kohl, D. Hollmann, G. Klapp, G. Benker, D. Reinwein, and K. Mann. “Efficacy and safety of iodine in the postpartum period in an area of mild iodine deficiency.” European journal of medical research 3, no. 4 (1998): 203-210.|
|↑5||Meissner, H. O., A. Mscisz, H. Reich-Bilinska, P. Mrozikiewicz, T. Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska, B. Kedzia, A. Lowicka, and I. Barchia. “Hormone-balancing effect of pre-gelatinized organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon):(III) clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study.” International journal of biomedical science: IJBS 2, no. 4 (2006): 375.|
|↑6||Dahl, Lisbeth, Jill A. Opsahl, Helle M. Meltzer, and Kåre Julshamn. “Iodine concentration in Norwegian milk and dairy products.” British Journal of Nutrition 90, no. 3 (2003): 679-685.|
|↑7||Tlaskalová-Hogenová, Helena, Renata Štěpánková, Tomáš Hudcovic, Ludmila Tučková, Božena Cukrowska, Rája Lodinová-Žádnıková, Hana Kozáková et al. “Commensal bacteria (normal microflora), mucosal immunity and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” Immunology letters 93, no. 2 (2004): 97-108.|
|↑8||Trabelsi, Mahmoud, Fadhel Guermazi, and N. Zeghal. “Effect of fluoride on thyroid function and cerebellar development in mice.” Fluoride 34, no. 3 (2001): 165-173.|