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How Does Alcohol Affect Thyroid Function?

It’s safe to say that over the past couple of years, people may have been reaching for alcohol more often than usual. Whether due to boredom, anxiety due to the pandemic, or the celebration of a return to in-person gatherings, the drinks have been flowing.

Unfortunately, along with that, there’s the potential for anxiety, depression, decreased thyroid functioning, and other health issues.

While drinking in moderation can work for some people, it can also be problematic under certain circumstances. If you’re struggling with autoimmune thyroid issues, for example, alcohol isn’t going to be your friend. It’s also not helpful if you have undue stress in your life, in which case alcohol may make matters worse.

Why Alcohol and Thyroid Don’t Mix

Alcohol directly affects what’s called the hypothalamus pituitary axis, aka HPA. People who consume alcohol on a regular basis are directly affecting this pathway, messing with important brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. In time, because our bodily systems are interconnected, chronic alcohol consumption can negatively impact your thyroid.

So if you’re having a glass of wine as you cook dinner or enjoying a glass among friends, how much is too much?

It depends. If you suspect you’re experiencing the negative effects of alcohol, including anxiety, depression, or an underperforming thyroid, it might be beneficial to cut out alcohol, at least for now. Let’s take a closer look at why.

Alcohol Is a Known Toxin

Alcohol, whose key intoxicating ingredient is ethanol, is known to have a direct, toxic effect on the thyroid gland. Consider for a moment that one of the treatment options for thyroid cancer is ethanol ablation, which can kill off the part of the thyroid gland that is not functioning well.

That should tell you something, right?

So if you are someone who is struggling with getting your thyroid optimized, medications leveled, and symptoms in check, you would do well to avoid alcohol, even in moderation. Although ironically, moderate alcohol consumption can actually reduce thyroid cancer risk, you might want to avoid drinking until you can get your thyroid optimized.

So what can you do instead of popping the cork? I’ve got five tips:

1. Remove alcohol completely to get to the root of your thyroid problems.

When we drink, the alcohol has to be processed by the liver, and in part, so do your thyroid hormones. Your liver will prioritize processing alcohol and eliminating the toxin from your system over hormone conversion. This means your hormone conversion will be put on the back burner for several hours after drinking alcohol.

2. Work to improve your liver health.

Fill your plate with healthy, whole foods, with a focus on colorful, antioxidant-rich plant foods that help with detoxification. Add turmeric to your foods, combined with black pepper to aid absorption. Oh, and drink filtered water.

3. Do a specific liver detoxification/gut health protocol.

I’m not talking about a colon cleanse here; a safe, carefully designed detoxification will help you clean out your body and improve gut health so you can start from scratch. I guarantee if you clean up your liver and the foods you’re eating, a lot of your symptoms will start to fall away.

4. Carefully experiment with alcohol.

I’m never going to be one to say that no one should ever drink alcohol again, because that’s not realistic for a lot of people. Barring any addiction issues, you may wish to experiment with alcohol to add it back.

However, you need to pay close attention to how alcohol impacts your sleep, your day-to-day functioning, and other factors. How did you recover the next day? What kind of alcohol were you drinking?

5. Use better quality alcohol.

Organic wines and clear liquors are slightly better options than, say, non-organic wines that have additives or drinks that contain added sugars. Vodka and soda with lime is a better choice than vodka with a sugary mixer, for example. With sugary drinks, you’re not only processing the alcohol, but also the fructose, putting extra load on your liver.

Really, it’s a matter of trial and error, and then sticking with what makes you feel the best. For some people, drinking a couple of times a week isn’t a big deal, but for others, it’s too much.

In part, it’s a matter of building new habits that support your thyroid and overall health. If you regularly consume alcohol and you’re experiencing signs of thyroid dysfunction, such as brain fog, anxiety, depression, or poor gut health, consider abstaining for a while. You might just find that you feel so amazing, you no longer crave that nightly drink.

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What Is the Best Protein for Thyroid Health?

If I could impart one tidbit of wisdom about thyroid health to my audience, it would be this: If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, the deficiency can wreak havoc on your thyroid function. Made from amino acids, proteins are your body’s building blocks—fueling essential bodily functions and the production of antibodies and hormones, including thyroid hormones.

And the thyroid affects every cell in the body.

Considering how vitally important protein is for proper thyroid functioning, I wanted to spend some time discussing the best proteins for thyroid health. Through my research and personal experimentation with different kinds of proteins, I’ve found that there are two basic types of proteins to consume in order to enhance, improve, and optimize thyroid functioning.

First and foremost, don’t buy the cheapest thing at the local big-box store. Unless you’re confident that the product doesn’t contain questionable ingredients like additives and fillers that could negatively impact your health in other ways, you don’t want to buy your proteins based on price alone.

Grass-Fed Protein

This leads me to the first type of protein to include in your diet: I recommend grass-fed/grass-finished beef protein containing no antibiotics, no hormones, and no other additives as one of the best types of protein for thyroid health. This type of beef protein is available in a protein powder and should be free of common food allergens that are used as fillers, such as corn, soy, and wheat.

Vegan-Source Protein

Vegan protein powders, made from pea protein, are another source of protein I like to use. Because pea protein has a low reactivity for most people, there are generally no issues with sensitivity to it like you would see with, say, soy or whey protein. Indeed, because they’re not dairy-free, certain whey proteins can be highly inflammatory—despite their widespread promotion by fitness professionals. It can trigger blood sugar surges and spike insulin, which are also factors for people dealing with thyroid issues.

Product Recommendations

The following products are those that I personally use and recommend—I’ve done the legwork to identify what works and what doesn’t in terms of thyroid health. Of course, feel free to conduct your own research to find which of these products, or any others, work best for you. Check your nutrition labels to make sure you’re getting high-quality protein with minimal ingredients; if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, that’s a sign of a poor-quality protein.

PurePaleo

A beef bone broth protein, PurePaleo comes in unflavored, chocolate, and vanilla. These simple flavor options differ from some of the crazy flavors you might find on store shelves—which likely contain unhealthy additives that can negatively affect your thyroid.

PurePaleo contains no artificial sweeteners, nor anything that’s inflammatory or that can impact you negatively. If you’re looking for a bone-broth protein, start with the ones that are the cleanest possible like PurePaleo. Depending on the flavor you chose, PurePaleo contains between 21 grams and 27 grams of protein per serving.

OptiCleanse GHI

The second option I recommend is OptiCleanse GHI, which, for me, is kind of the full deal. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and support gut health and detoxification.

OptiCleanse GHI comes in convenient single-serve packets of 10, making it easy to grab on the go or portion out your protein. It contains 26 grams of protein per serving—plus, it tastes amazing!

Protein Powders Help You Meet Your Protein Needs

If you’re looking for an easy way to fulfill your daily protein needs, both of the above protein powders are solid options. You can mix and match the two in different flavors, or even mix the two together.

As you’re working toward your daily protein intake, strive to include 4 to 6 ounces of protein at each of your three meals a day, plus a snack with 2 to 3 ounces of protein as needed. Let your body guide the way for you with regard to how much protein to consume at each meal.

And while it’s always best to eat real, whole foods, clean protein powders can be a great way to up your protein, improve blood sugar and stress on the body, and help your thyroid function overall. If you’re purchasing any of these protein powders, be sure to use code ROCK10 at checkout to receive a discount.

PUREPALEO

Unflavored – https://rockbottomwellness.ehealthpro.com/products/purepaleo-protein-unflavored

Vanilla – https://rockbottomwellness.ehealthpro.com/products/purepaleo-protein-natural-vanilla-810-grams

Chocolate – https://rockbottomwellness.ehealthpro.com/products/purepaleo-protein-chocolate-810-grams-per-container

Opticleanse GHI:

To order, go here: http://www.wholescripts.com/register/rockbottomwellness/

Search for Opticleanse GHI and look for the Chocolate, Vanilla or Chai Flavor.