Where is it and what does it do?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland that weighs less than 1oz. When functioning normally, it perches unobtrusively with its wings wrapped around the front of the windpipe (trachea), below the voice box (larynx) . It’s slight size could fool you into underestimating the thyroid’s importance to your health.
This tiny gland controls the rate at which every cell, tissue and organ in your body functions, from your muscles, bones, and skin, to your digestive tract, brain, heart and more.
It is the body’s internal thermostat and regulates temperature by secreting two hormones that control how quickly the body burns and uses energy. If the thyroid secretes too much hormone, hyperthyroidism results and if it secretes too little, hypothyroidism results.
The thyroid has to have iodine to function. It exerts a great deal of control of the metabolism of the body and is responsible for many biochemical functions. It is essential for protecting growing children against toxins in their systems. The thyroid is called the “emotional gland” and is under the control of the pituitary gland. It protects the brain by guarding it from toxins.
Thyroid problems can cause many recurring illnesses and fatigue. The thyroid can be affected by poor diet, fluoride and chlorine in the water, excessive consumption of unsaturated fats, pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables, radiation from x-rays, alcohol and drugs and infections.
Underactive Thyroid Hypothyroidism
Some symptoms of underactive thyroid are, but not limited to:
Weakness, dry skin, lethargy, slow speech, eyelids swelling, sensation of cold, decreased sweating, cold skin, thick tongue, edema of face, coarseness of hair, enlarged heart, pale skin, impaired memory, constipation, gain in weight, loss of hair, labored breathing, swelling of feet, hoarseness, loss of appetite, nervousness, excessive menstruation, deafness, palpitations, pain over heart, poor vision, painful menstruation, emotional instability, choking sensation, fineness of hair, difficulty swallowing, brittle nails, depression, muscle weakness, muscle pain, burning/tingling sensation, slow movements, loss of taste or smell, weakened bone metabolism, nervous system issues, elevated cholesterol, milky discharge from breasts, infertility.
Overactive Thyroid Hyperthyroidism
This disorder occurs when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone resulting in an overactive metabolic state.
Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
Nervousness, irritability, constant feeling of being hot, increased perspiration, insomnia and fatigue, increased frequency of bowel movements, less frequent menstruation and decreased menstrual flow, weakness, hair and weight loss, change in skin thickness, separation of nails from the nail bed, hand tremors, intolerance of heat, rapid heart beat, protruding eyeballs. This type of disorder is sometimes called Graves’ disease.
Herbs that can help support the thyroid
– Gum Guggal
– Passion Flower
– Gotu Kola
– Fresh Skull Cap
– Wild Yam
Supporting the Thyroid
Foods to consider adding to your diet for supporting thyroid function are:
– Egg yolks
– Raw seeds
– Whole grains
– Raw milk and cheeses.
Eat these foods in moderation:
– Brussels sprouts
– Mustard greens
**If you have severe symptoms, omit these foods entirely as they may contribute to further suppressing the thyroid function.
You may also wish to consider eliminating soy and flax from your diet if thyroid issues are a concern.
Often there is more than one issue going on in the body at any one time. Everything is connected and sometimes the body needs to work in a prioritizing sequence. Don’t be alarmed if multiple supplements are suggested. It can be very beneficial to support several different systems and organs of the body as we assist it to heal.
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