The Essential Thyroid Guide
Hi, I'm Sage. Welcome back to the Addicted Wellness Channel. Today we're gonna be talking about the thyroid. Now this is a gland that is so important, it's quite small but its impact on your entire biology is so huge and a lot of aspects of our modern diets and lifestyle and just the modern world make life very difficult for the human thyroid in a lot of ways. And so many people are suffering from thyroid disease these days and it often goes undiagnosed unfortunately. So people are dealing with all these symptoms and not really able to identify what's causing it because their thyroid levels may be within the relevant normal range, but those ranges that are given by laboratories and main stream medicine are often much wider than the optimal range which is much narrower.
Now, let's go into a little bit more basic background information about the thyroid first. So, it's located right here in the throat on either side of the trachea and there's a little narrow band called the isthmus that connects those two. Now random fun fact some people are born without an isthmus but that's quite rare. And if you have a healthy thyroid you won't be able to feel it. You'll just feel your natural neck muscles and things here. If you can feel your thyroid that's a sign that you got a problem that needs to be addressed.
So things start, before we even get to the thyroid, you have your hypothalamus which is making a compound called TRH that goes to the pituitary. The pituitary then makes TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone and that gets sent to the thyroid and as a result of that your thyroid makes what's called T4 and also a little bit of T3 which is actually the active form of thyroid hormone. And then that T4, which is the inactive form. The T3 and T4, the three and four refer to the number of iodine molecules that are attached so T3 has three molecules of iodine T4 has four molecules. So the T4 then goes elsewhere throughout the body and gets converted using a very specialized enzyme into T3, the active form. And this, interestingly, doesn't just go to one place in the body for that to happen it happens primarily in the liver but also in the gut in the heart, in the nervous system. So your whole body is kinda working together to convert this T4 and remove one of these iodine molecules to turn it into the active form of T3.
Now what does thyroid hormone do? It's gonna be increasing the metabolic rate stimulating appetite and digestion, nutrient breakdown nutrient absorption. It's gonna be raising your oxygen absorption and increasing breathing rate and heart rate. And as a result of those things your natural heat production is gonna increase. Now how much thyroid hormone do you produce? It's amazing. If you imagine a grain of sand in your hands how tiny that is. The physical amount of thyroid hormone you're producing in a day is about a tenth of a grain of sand and if it's a little bit less or a little bit more you're gonna be experiencing all kinds of problems. And there's so many things that put stress on our thyroid these days from just stress itself has a huge impact on the thyroid.
Our thyroid is kind of like the canary in the coal mine when it comes to the stressors we're experiencing. Toxicity, whether it's from things like fluoride, chloride and bromine that block the iodine receptors in the thyroid or too many goitrogenic foods. Things like soy and canola oil and excess consumption of cruciferous vegetables that will be slowing down thyroid function. These things are all serious obstacles to optimal thyroid health.
And so how can things go wrong? What happens when things go wrong? Well your thyroid can either become underactive and that's called hypothyroidism or it can become overactive and that's hyperthyroidism. Those are kind of pretty easy to remember. So what's going on when you have hypothyroidism? You're not producing enough thyroid hormone basically and it could be that you're producing it but you're not converting it, there could be a number of problems along this production line where things go wrong. But if you're not having a healthily functioning thyroid if it's underactive, you could be experiencing fatigue weight gain, people who are chronically cold all the time and can't adapt very easily to cold temperatures that's very often connected to hypothyroidism. You have a slower heart rate, it can be heavy menstrual bleeding can be experienced constipation, and so there can be a number of things that cause this as I mentioned and it can also be related to an autoimmune issue like Hashimoto's thyroiditis. And this is also very tied to leaky gut. Leaky gut leaves inflammation throughout the body because you're getting these food particles passing through the gut lining without being properly digested so it's causing inflammation and especially inflammation of the thyroid which can then inhibit thyroid function.
Now on the other hand some people, and this primarily happens because of what's called Graves' Disease, it's another kind of autoimmune condition, end up with Hyperthyroid and so this can manifest itself in the form of irritability, insomnia, excessive weight loss compared to excessive weight gain with Hypothyroid. You can't handle heat so that's basically just everything the opposite of an under active thyroid. Your heart can be racing, you have diarrhea, and as I mentioned most commonly it's gonna be a result of Graves' disease but there could be various other factors at play too. Now, I mentioned earlier that when most doctors are testing for a thyroid they'll often say your thyroid is just fine even though your experiencing all of these symptoms can't be from your thyroid right? Cause your thyroid test look just fine.
Well there's a few common problems there. Now to be clear I'm not a doctor, I'm not here to provide medical advice, I'm just here giving you information so that you can ask the right questions and you can find the best doctor to give you the help that you need if you have thyroid issues. So most doctors will just test TSH and T4 that's it. They won't look at anything else and not only that but when these tests come back from the labs they give you what your number is for TSH or T4 and then they provide the doctor with the relevant range and in concept that range is supposed to be the ideal range in which you want that hormone level to be but these ranges are often provided so wide because they're not looking at what's the right level of this hormone for true optimal health.
They're just looking at what is it for effectively eking out like a meager existence and staying alive if your outside of that range then your in real trouble but really to be optimally healthy, as I know all you guys want to be, the range you wanna be in is much narrower and many doctors aren't aware of this so you really wanna look for a doctor who specializes in hormone health, specializes in thyroid health and understands the narrower range in fact that's kinda a good litmus test for seeing if your doctor really is well educated and suited to help you with thyroid issues. If they are just talking about the relevant ranges that comes back on the test paper from the lab they probably don't have the right kind of information that you need. Whereas if they are able to explain to you the narrower range that your hormone levels should be in, that's a good sign your off to a good start.
So not only is it a problem with finding the right relevant range, but also there's a lot more that they really should be testing, so TSH and T4 that's great but then you also wanna test total T4, free T4, that's not been bound up, total T3, free T3, reverse T3, what's called anti TPO and anti Thyroglobulin. These are, those last two, those are antibodies that if they are detected would be then indicative of a good chance of having some form of an autoimmune disease as we mention before like Hashimoto thyroiditis or Graves' disease or some other forms and you know autoimmunity is so closely tied to gut health as we mentioned before, so it's very important as a part of a well rounded thyroid program to work very directly on gut health. You know cleaning up your diet taking more of an antiinflammatory diet, having things like Restore 4 Life, which is Terrahydrite supplement that helps to close up the tight junctions in your gut. Taking really high quality probiotics. You wanna look for probiotics that have been tested for survivability so that they're actually surviving the digestive environment and able to set up shop in your gut cause a lot of them they're very sensitive and they can just be destroyed by the digestive acid and bile and things like that. So you wanna look for probiotics with a high rate of survivability and good probiotics alone in fact, can significantly improve levels of T3, it's really amazing.
Now, what else are we gonna do here to support our thyroid health? Well of course we mentioned stress is a huge issue and I know when your stressed nothing is worse than hearing somebody tell you your too stressed you need to calm down, it doesn't, that's not helpful, right? Anybody who's ever been stressed has known that you need more than somebody telling you to calm down. So, looking at this from a nutrition and supplement and herb and lifestyle perspective in terms of supplements you can look at things like Magnesium I personally love two different forms of Magnesium Magnesium glycinate which is a very easily absorbed form and doesn't cause bowel disturbances as you can get with some other cheaper forms of magnesium and then also magnesium l-threonate this is one that has a special ability to cross the blood brain barrier and actually increase brain levels of magnesium. It's great for calming you, calming the nervous system and calming down the brain, really wonderful.
Then you can also look at for example, l-theanine which you can get in like Matcha or green tea or you can get it as an individual you know extracted compound it's very calming, very relaxing and then we're going over into the herb world you can look at things like Reishi mushroom, holy basil ashwagandha, He Shou Wu and in fact these herbs are often ones that not only just work on stress, but actually are more directly even helping the thyroid especially in the case of He Shou Wu, ashwaganda, and holy basil. They are fantastic adaptogens and thyroid supportive herbs and then stress wise also you know you can look outside diet and nutrition and herbs.
Look at taking on a medication practice, exercising more regularly, learning to do some basic breathing practices that may help you with your stress response. There are so many great meditation apps coming out these days, just cause the first way you tried to learn to meditate doesn't workout maybe or is too difficult for you don't give up Keep trying these other methods you'll find one there's enough different ya know entry points to meditation and stress relief practices that you'll find something that works for you.
Also, detoxifying is very important from the basics of like having coconut oil and taking iodine, you know you don't want to take to much iodine cause that can cause problems as well but you know something for most people in the range of a total daily consumption of like 300 micrograms of iodine is a good range. Fulvic acid, which you can get as a supplement on its own or you can supplement with shilajit, that's a Himalayan mineral pitch it's one of the great adaptogenic super powerful substances in Ayurveda, so I am a huge fan of shilajit as a supplement and then detoxification through heavy metal detox, maybe you work with a very qualified practitioner who puts together a chelation protocol that helps you detoxify heavy metals maybe your doing infrared saunas in a low EMF infrared sauna ideally so that your not being bombarded with EMF at the same time as your trying to heal right? You don't wanna do stuff that's counterproductive while your trying to heal yourself after all.
And then nutritionally you wanna have a well rounded nutrition of course vitamin A, vitamin B, especially vitamin B-12 methylcobalamin is very important. Vitamin C is very helpful so you could be getting this from a whole food form something like Acerola cherry Amla Berry or high quality Camu Camu or, and or I should say you could be getting from like a lypo-Spheric vitamin C a lyposomal vitamin C that's gonna be super bio-available like basically on the level of like being a vitamin C IV to really raise your circulating levels of vitamin C. Then vitamin D3 is huge I mean not just for the thyroid but its overall epigenetic impact and you always wanna make sure your taking vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 so that it's properly used by the body and doesn't have any negative side effects selenium is also important and zinc two very key minerals for overall health and for thyroid health.
And then you can also look at the category of sea vegetables these are forms of plants that grow in the ocean and two of them, you know there's Kelp, there's dulse and then two of the other lesser known, very helpful ones are gugulipid and bladderwrack. Those are two super powers when it comes to sea vegetables for supporting the thyroid. So there is a ton of tools there that you can use to support your thyroid health. Now, a lot of those herbs I mentioned, to be clear, are gonna be more specific for hypothyroidism there's a different approach you have to take for Hyper, it's a bit rarer, so we'll save going deep into that for another time, but a lot of times your gonna have to treat that as an autoimmune condition if you have those antibody tests and you've seen that these antibodies are present and perhaps your dealing with Graves' disease or something like that and so your gonna to address that from an autoimmune perspective and you can look at taking, you know working on gut health and taking systemic enzymes that are going to be really helpful there as well. So that's a brief taste of that but we can go over more into hyperthyroidism another time.
And you know it's interesting women are so much more affected by thyroid problems. Women are five to eight more times more likely to experience a thyroid disease, so this happens for a number of reasons. It's partially do to the hormonal fluctuations that women experience and the propensity to become estrogen dominant. If your your progesterone gets to low and estrogen gets to high that has an affect on the immune system an inflammatory affect on the immune system that is gonna be stressful then for the thyroid and then also going through pregnancy, during and after pregnancy the thyroid becomes very vulnerable to becoming over active or under active and developing thyroid disease. So women have a tougher time here so this is especially for women you really wanna be aware of the right testing to have done and be able to monitor your thyroid and know all these great nutrition and diet and lifestyle things to implement to make sure your thyroid is functioning optimally.
And last but not least just the things to avoid. We mentioned before things like chloride bromine, bromide actually is something that is used in the processing and rolling of conventional bread. So that is something you wanna stay away from it's what is called a halogen it's gonna be blocking up those iodine receptors in your thyroid so even if your getting enough dietary iodine it's gonna have nowhere to go because, it's like a game of musical chairs, and that seat is being blocked up by one of these other kinds of compounds like a fluoride or a bromide something like that. Excessive consumption of cruciferous vegetables is another one, especially in a raw state, for example if you take something like kale or broccoli and you steam it then your gonna decrease the goitrogens these thyroid inhibiting compounds by about two thirds so that helps a lot and so you just don't wanna be going overboard on any of these cruciferous vegetables. And peanuts are another problem, canola oil, soy, these are all gonna be heavy in thyroid inhibiting functions refined flours, trans fats, I think by now if you guys are watching this channel you probably not touching any of those things but I just mention them in case you have you know a family member who is not necessarily quite on the health kick as you are and they are dealing with some thyroid issues and you wanna share some good info with them to be able to help them out.
So thank you so much for joining us guys I hope you got some good thyroid insights here. If your going through some challenges or you know been on the thyroid healing path for awhile and experiencing some great results leave us a comment below, we'd love to hear what's been going on with you and thanks again for taking the time to join us here look forward to seeing you again soon and hope you have a wonderful day.