How Healthy is Your Thyroid?This tiny gland may seem small but it actually plays a role in every single one of your bodily functions. According to The American Thyroid Association (ATA) more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their life. That is an estimated 20 million Americans that currently have some form of thyroid disease. To throw another stat your way and boggle your mind even further, up to 60 percent of people who have a thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for other serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and infertility. Therefore, we want to help you understand the signs and symptoms to help you identify if you have a thyroid issue, and what you can do to improve it.
Main Functions of Your Thyroid
- Controls your metabolism
- Helps break down and utilize the carbohydrates and fats you eat
- Aids in conversion of beta-carotene from your plant foods into the fat-soluble vitamin A, which is necessary for proper immune, inflammatory, genetic, and reproductive health
- Affects cholesterol levels, blood pressure, appetite, mental sharpness, and libido
This is when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces an excess amount of T3/T4 hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include heart palpitations, anxiety, excess sweating, diarrhea, weight loss, and muscle weakness. The causes are extremely diverse. However, they include autoimmunity, nodule formation, and excess dietary iodine intake.
This is when the thyroid gland is under-active and does not produce enough T3/T4 hormones. Symptoms include tiredness, excessive weight gain, cold intolerance, depression, baldness, dry skin, dry hair, dry nails, and irritability. Common causes are a thyroid deficiency from birth, autoimmune inflammation such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, iodine deficiency, and an imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria. Too much or too little iodine can affect thyroid function also. Selenium is used to counter the affects of too much iodine in your system. Learn more about iodine and thyroid health here.
This is a chronic inflammation that can damage the thyroid, inhibiting its ability to produce hormones. Hypothyroidism often begins with Hashimoto’s. The symptoms include poor endurance, depression, fatigue, constipation, weight gain, and dry skin. Hashimoto’s affects 1-2% of people in the U.S, and the majority of which are women. This is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system begins attacking the thyroid. When left untreated, this can become hypothyroidism, which will often lead to greater problems.
Vitamin Deficiency and Thyroid DisordersYes, we know that eating healthy and taking our vitamins is important to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. That’s not the only reason though! Lack of necessary vitamins and minerals can lead to thyroid deficiency as well as weight gain. So what vitamins do you need for proper thyroid health and how much? Here’s a snapshot of what you need. For more information on necessary vitamins and minerals for thyroid health check out this article!
- Beneficial for bones and teeth, powerful antioxidant, combat free radicals, healthy eyes.
- Plays a key role in keeping our immune system strong
- Sources: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, bell peppers, spinach, cantaloupe, mango, and broccoli
- This vitamin is vital for your thyroid to stay healthy; it boosts the immune system, protects against cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and skin wrinkling
- Long-term deficiency causes the thyroid gland to secrete too much hormone
- If you have an overactive thyroid you most likely need extra Vitamin C