Click Here to Order Your Own Labs

Women And Thyroid

How Do I Help My Thyroid Work Its Best?

When people get diagnosed with a thyroid condition, their practitioner will often put them on Synthroid or some other T4 medication. Theoretically, everything should be good to go at this point — the pills should fix everything, and you should start feeling amazing again, right?

In reality, that’s not always the case, as medication alone does not necessarily fix the symptoms of thyroid disease. In the article below, I offer five things you need to have in check to help your thyroid work its best, but first, let’s look at some of the symptoms you might be having if your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally.

What Are the Symptoms of Thyroid Dysfunction?

If you have a thyroid condition, there could be several symptoms that you might be feeling, even if you’re taking medication. These are the top complaints I hear from people I work with and that I have encountered myself, too:

  • Fatigue
  • Hair thinning or falling out
  • Often feeling cold
  • Irregular female hormone cycles
  • Low libido
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Anemia
  • Food sensitivities
  • Allergies
  • Tendency to get sick
  • Inability to handle stress

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to find a practitioner who is willing to conduct a full thyroid panel to check for thyroid dysfunction. This includes testing TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and certain antibodies. Oftentimes, people go undiagnosed because their practitioner told them their labs were “normal,” even though they feel anything but. If you’re struggling to find a practitioner who can help you dig deeper into your symptoms, reach out to me and I can help you find someone.

In addition to checking thyroid hormones, you’ll want to check other hormones, too — including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and adrenal hormones. Together, these hormones need to be working in harmony for you to feel your best.

Optimizing Thyroid Hormones

Getting your hormones to work optimally may be easier said than done, and I can personally attest to how difficult that process can be. Coming off of thyroid cancer treatment, when we were working to optimize my thyroid hormones, my practitioner recommended I go on birth control pills to balance my female hormones. Desperate for a solution, I decided to give it a shot, despite the associated risk of having my cancer come back. Within just a couple months, my tumor markers went up — the very thing I was trying to avoid.

I know so many women who, like me, are desperate for answers and might resort to medication. And I totally get it — no judgments from me. However, it’s important to understand that even if you’re taking medication, you can support your thyroid with certain dietary and lifestyle changes and help your body feel its best. Here are five strategies I recommend:

  1. Eliminate processed foods as much as possible. Eating junk food can have a huge impact on proper thyroid function.
  2. Consider getting a micronutrient panel. This will tell you whether you have any nutrient deficiencies, down to the cellular level.
  3. Other things to check include levels of iron, iodine, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper. Vitamin D is especially important for proper immune system function, and a vitamin D deficiency can show up as anxiety, depression, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions.
  4. Manage your stress. It sounds cliche but working on stress management can have a big impact on getting your thyroid functioning properly. Remember, you can’t control everything that happens in life, but you can control how you choose to respond to daily challenges. Even five minutes a day of mindfulness work or meditation is a great starting point. Also, you might want to add a B complex supplement and eat more citrus as well as good animal protein, as stress depletes the body of B and C vitamins.
  5. Manage your blood sugar. To keep your blood sugar stable, make sure you’re eating high-quality proteins, fats, and carbs every time you eat. (As for carbs, think complex carbohydrates that are unprocessed, low-glycemic fruits, and a variety of vegetables, not chips and crackers!)

If you can focus on these five areas, it’ll have a domino effect in your body — allowing not only your thyroid but also all your systems to work optimally both together and individually for greater health. If you need more help creating a plan for your specific needs, book a free 30-minute call with me so we can talk through your goals, one step at a time.

What are the Root Causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid. The condition causes chronic inflammation, and it is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid.

The first things you may notice are symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and even depression – long before the diagnosis. But what causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? In this blog, I want to take a closer look at six of the root causes of this disease.

  • Gut Health 1: Gluten Sensitivity
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Stress
  • Gut Health 2: H. pylori
  • Gut Health 3: SIBO
  • Nutrient Deficiencies

Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity is not the same as celiac disease where your body can’t break down gluten at all, but you may have similar symptoms. Those symptoms can be connected to your thyroid. Reducing your gluten intake allows you to see whether your symptoms clear up as well.

It’s simple: if gluten is causing inflammation in your body, it may also cause an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s to flare up.

 

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

Most of us remember EBV as the cause of the common childhood illness mononucleosis or mono. It’s a type of herpes virus, and experts estimate that 80% of adults carry the virus in its dormant form.

However, if it is reactivated by food, illness, or another stressor, it can lead to other problems. You may not notice it, but you may be carrying a low-level EBV infection, making you more likely to develop an autoimmune condition.

 

Stress

It’s impossible to talk about thyroid conditions without talking about stress. We have become so used to being stressed that we’re almost considering stress to be normal. But remember stress affects us physiologically, too. Consider rushing through traffic to pick up your kids when you’re already late. Or maybe getting up and speaking in front of people, even if it is remotely like on a Facebook Live. Or a stressful family situation. All of those cause an acute stress reaction. The more time you spend this stressed, the more likely you may be to develop an autoimmune condition.

 

Gut Health: H. pylori

Have you heard of helicobacter pylori? It’s a bacterial infection that can cause gastric ulcers. Not only are those painful, but they affect the functioning of your stomach. You start struggling to absorb foods and nutrients, so no matter how good your diet is, your body can’t take advantage.

As a bacterial infection, it often needs to be treated with antibiotics. Before they take hold, the infection may have triggered Hashimoto’s.

 

Gut Health 3: SIBO

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is hard to diagnose. Symptoms include general malaise, constipation, and bloating, among others.

While the condition itself is treatable, it may cause Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune diseases. As you can see, there is a theme here: gut health is closely related to autoimmune conditions and thyroid problems.

 

Nutrient Deficiencies

The thyroid can’t produce its hormone when you are lacking nutrients. Selenium, zinc, and magnesium are hugely important. I have also seen a connection between deficiencies in asparagine, ferritin, and iodine in people with thyroid conditions.

If you are suffering from Hashimoto’s or you think you may have a thyroid condition, it’s important to understand your nutrient status and perhaps improve it to address your symptoms.

To find out more about the connections between these reasons and autoimmune reactions, keep on reading. Nutrition can go a long way to help resolve your thyroid symptoms.

How to Work Out When You Have a Thyroid Problem

Is getting fit on your list of New Year’s resolutions? How is it going so far? When you have a thyroid problem, working out is not easy. If your condition is well controlled, you are likely feeling full of energy and just getting on with your days. However, chances are you’re reading this blog because all is not so well, and you’re experiencing a range of thyroid-related symptoms. Here is my advice on how to incorporate workouts and exercise into your routine.

Choose Your Favorite Type of Movement

First of all, if you’ve decided that this is the year to get in shape, I applaud you. Humans were designed to move. Our bodies work better when we are active.

However, if you are suffering from thyroid problems, you need to consider the type of exercise you choose and how it affects you. Your thyroid issues may have caused you to gain weight, or perhaps your body is resisting weight loss? Conventional wisdom would tell you to exercise more and eat less. However, for thyroid patients, that’s not always the right answer.

Intense exercise stresses your body. Don’t get me wrong – I love high-intensity workouts. Crossfit, anyone? Or how about exercise boot camps? I love the adrenaline rush you get when you’re reaching your workout goals.

The trouble is, by exercising intensely, you may be making your thyroid symptoms worse. Tough exercise causes your body physiological stress. If that stress is prolonged, for example, if you are in the gym doing two or three classes in a row, it can cause your thyroid to regulate down even more. As a result, your metabolism slows further.

Also, if you are on full replacement medication, this hardcore exercise may not work for you. Keeping your heart rate up for this long, stressing muscles and joints may leave you feeling worse.

Remember that slower classes like yoga, stretching, or pilates are just as beneficial.

How About Restorative Exercise?

If you are well optimized and your thyroid condition is under control – go ahead and exercise to your heart’s content. On the other hand, if you struggle with fatigue, sleep quality, or your diet is not that great, it’s worth rethinking your approach.

Restorative types of exercise like Pilates or yoga are great alternatives to get you moving and build up strength. How about going for a walk? Depending on where you live, now may not feel like the best time to head out, but bundle up and try a short walk. Exposing yourself to the cold may help lower your body temperature and contribute to healing. Once you are feeling stronger, take it up a notch with yoga workouts.

Love spin classes? Look at the intensity. If you are in a class, it’s really hard to resist the instructor’s cheers and sit out the intense bit, but perhaps an exercise bike at home is a solution?

Making it Work for You

Avoid getting stuck on prescriptive exercise programs and never be afraid to adjust a training routine. Plus, remember resistance training is at least as beneficial as cardiovascular exercise when it comes to burning calories. High-intensity interval training may work well for you, too.

Most importantly, check-in with yourself. How is your exercise making you feel? If it’s leaving you more fatigued, adjust it to work better for you. No two people are the same, so why should exercise regimes be?

Introduction to Nutrition For Thyroid Health

Do you find yourself waking up every morning, feeling more tired than the night before? Perhaps, you have already been tested for thyroid problems, and whilst the tests are normal you feel terrible?

This blog is for you. The blog accompanies my podcast which is called The Nutrition For Thyroid Health podcast. First things first: you are not alone. I’m a thyroid cancer thriver, and I understand what it’s like to be sick and feel alone.

 

Your Shortcut to Feeling Better

It took me years to figure out how my diet influenced my thyroid and – with it – the way I felt. Everything I have learned along the way is distilled into my book, The Rock Bottom Thyroid Treatment, and both blog and podcast will cover it.

It’s taken me years to figure out this eight-week thyroid diet for people with normal thyroid tests. The goal is to help you thrive, not only survive. And I promise it won’t take years, simply because you don’t need to figure out the steps for yourself.

Whether or not you have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, the three phases of this program are methodical and specific. They are designed to help you overcome countless symptoms and obstacles.

 

Feeling Overwhelmed? Read On.

Are you waking up with fatigue, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness? I used to be the same.

For years, I’d wake up every morning wondering how I would make it through the day? How could I take care of myself and my kids? I felt so hopeless that I almost stopped caring. But it was in those depths of despair that I was prompted to consider nutrition.

For the next four years, I worked towards becoming a board-certified and licensed nutritionist, as well as a thyroid expert. Today, I wake up with a goal in mind: to support people who have hit rock bottom and help them shortcut their journey back to health.

 

It’s A Journey

Let me be clear – returning to health doesn’t happen overnight. It’s often a long, hard road. But this road is much easier to travel with support. Along the way, you will learn more about your own health. You will start feeling empowered and positive rather than hopeless and defeated.

You will learn how to partner with your healthcare practitioner and take charge of your health. Most importantly, perhaps, you’ll wake up feeling energized and ready for the day.

 

Consider The Benefits

Reclaiming your thyroid health will feel like you’re reclaiming your life. You’ll find yourself able to spend and enjoy more quality time with your children. You’ll regain your focus and your stamina to live more fully.

What’s more, it’s time to get off the rollercoaster of diets and eating plans coupled with super intense exercise. Much of this only leaves you more fatigued and frustrated.

You deserve better, and if I was able to feel better, I know you can, too. Reclaim your thyroid health and crush your fatigue without crazy dieting and beating yourself up at the gym! More to come in my next blog. Until then, eat well and be well!