Your thyroid gland is responsible for regulating a number of bodily functions, including your metabolism (energy production), body temperature, growth and repair, muscle contraction and digestion processes. The thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. They combine iodine with the amino acid tyrosine to produce two main thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and its active counterpart, triiodothyronine (T3), which are then released into the bloodstream.
T3 is critical to making every system in your body work at the right speed. Although T3 is the more active thyroid hormone, the thyroid gland produces much more T4 than T3. T4 is converted to T3 when needed. Too much T3 will cause enzymes to convert it into reverse T3 (rT3), an inactive form. If you produce too much or too little thyroid hormone, your whole body will be affected. Balance is key.
Thyroid hormone balance is maintained via negative feedback. When thyroid hormone levels fall too low, (1) the hypothalamus (in the brain) produces thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) which stimulates the pituitary gland (also in the brain) to (2) release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH stimulates the thyroid too (3) produce more thyroid hormones (T4 and T3). As soon as levels increase again, the pituitary responds by (4) decreasing the production of TSH.
Genes play a vital role in regulating this mechanism. Studies into genetic inheritance suggest that up to 67% of circulating TSH and thyroid hormone levels are genetically determined.
It's important we identify what can have an impact on your thyroid function, and how you can make better choices to support thyroid health. Research has identified these as having the greatest impact of your thyroid.
- Lack of key nutrients
- Adrenal stress
- Inflammation & infection
- Blood sugar
- GUT Health
- Food intolerances, especially gluten
- Chronic infections
We believe that the best place to start is with knowing more about your unique genetic variations for the key thyroid genes and then determining which nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices are best for you.
Featured DNA test
Currently the only dedicated thyroid DNA test on the market. This test examines 8 genes known to directly impact thyroid function or impact factors affecting thyroid function.
If you have health issues in the following functional areas, then doing this DNA test will help you determine the possible underlying genetic causes: Energy release and metabolism, growth and development, bone growth, body temperature, muscle contraction, digestion and 'lazy GUT'
Featured biochemistry test
The Complete Thyroid Profile
The Complete Thyroid Profile combines the four most clinically useful thyroid function tests, giving a thorough assessment of your thyroid's function.
Anyone with one or more of the following symptoms and conditions:
- Memory problems
- Trouble thinking clearly
- Swelling of tongue
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Dry cracked heels
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of sex drive
- Heat intolerance
- Excessive hair loss
- Thinning eyebrows
- Hoarse voice
- Easily startled
- Irregular or heavy menstrual Periods
- Muscle cramps
- Weight gain
- Inability to tolerate cold
- Inability to tolerate heat
There are 4 types of thyroid disorders, namely:
- Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
- Grave's disease
- Secondary Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
This occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms include persistent fatigue, moodiness, depression, and anxiety, dry hair and skin, puffy face, brain fog, hoarse voice, weight gain, constipation, muscle weakness, aches and pains, sensitivity to cold, heavy periods, thinning hair and loss of outer eyebrow hair. Thyroid function blood test results usually show elevated TSH along with low T4 and T3.
The key nutrients for improving hypothyroidism are:
sea vegetables (kelp, nori, wakame), ocean fish, iodised salt, yoghurt
eggs, meat, beans, seeds, cheese
Brazil nuts, spinach, sardines, turkey, beef liver
liver, animal meat, seafood
wild-caught salmon, organic organ meat, pumpkin & chia seeds, almonds, oysters
spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds
Cod liver oil, carrots, sweet potatoes, dark green leafy veg
Seafood, liver, eggs, mushrooms and sunshine!
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (HT) is an autoimmune condition and is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism. Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system produces antibodies that attack your own tissues. In this case, the thyroid gland, and the antibodies cause it to function poorly. HT has a genetic link and tends to run in families. Test results usually show high levels of thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) in particular, and possibly thyroglobulin antibodies (TGAb).
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include nervousness, insomnia, racing heart, bulging eyes, unexplained weight loss, sweating, muscle weakness, frequent bowel movements, thin and brittle hair, intolerance to heat, fine tremor of hands or fingers, enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter), changes in menstrual cycle, erectile dysfunction or reduced libido. Lab results usually show extremely low TSH with elevated FT4 and FT3.
These are the key nutrients that provide support to hyperthyroidism:
|B-Complex||Particularly B1 & B6|
berries, citrus fruit, papaya, bell peppers, guava, kiwi
seafood, liver, eggs, mushrooms and sunshine!
almonds, spinach, avocado, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts
spinach, kale, white beans, bony fish
berries, turmeric, dark chocolate
oily fish, egg yolks, cod liver oil, seeds
beef, chicken, cheddar (if not dairy-intolerant), asparagus
|Probiotics||healthy gut bacteria may help with the elimination of excess circulating TH|
GD is the most common cause of overactive thyroid. Like Hashimoto’s, it is also an autoimmune disease, however, unlike Hashimoto’s, Graves’ causes the thyroid to over-secrete thyroid hormones. This type of hyperthyroidism also tends to run in families and occurs more often in young women. The most noticeable symptom of Graves’ Disease is a condition known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy, an inflammation of the eyes and swelling of the tissue behind the eye that causes them to bulge. Thyroid function blood results will usually reveal TPOAb and/or TGAb.
It's a good idea to avoid goitrogenic foods. Goitrogens are substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. This triggers the pituitary release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which then promotes the growth of thyroid tissue, eventually leading to goiter. Examples of these foods are soy, the Brassica family such as broccoli and cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. Unlike with hypothyroidism, iodine should be avoided in Grave's disease.
SECONDARY HYPO OR HYPER
Secondary hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism occurs when a dysfunction of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland causes the thyroid to under or overproduce thyroid hormones - by under or over secreting TSH. Thyroid function tests will generally show low TSH, T4 & T3 or high TSH, T4 & T3 respectively.
CONTRIBUTING FACTORS IN THYROID HEALTH
What's your inflammatory tone?
Research into lifestyle-related, chronic disease reveals a common denominator - inflammatory tone. This includes thyroid dysfunction.
All the steps of thyroid hormone synthesis, from iodide uptake to thyroid hormone secretion, may be affected by cytokines (inflammation), the effects being mainly inhibiting.
Often, you may be harbouring low-grade, chronic inflammation and not be aware of it. Qulleing the inflammation in your body will definitely improve your thyroid health.VISIT OUR INFLAMMATION SHOP
The impact of stress
Everyday stress, including stress in the form of toxins, pesticides, lack of sleep, raised blood sugar and medications send stress messages throughout your body.
Chronic stress or very stressful periods disrupts cortisol and adrenaline levels, which can, in turn, cause your thyroid to under-perform.VISIT OUR STRESS SHOP
The importance of GUT health
Your thyroid produces mostly T4, which is inactive. It needs other tissues, like your gut to convert it to its active hormone T3, which is responsible for your energy, metabolism, body heat and much more.
About 20% of thyroid hormone conversion takes place in the gut and it is the job of your healthy gut flora to make sure you get the amount of T3 you need.
If your gut is not functioning optimally you can experience symptoms of hypothyroidism, even if your thyroid is healthy.VISIT OUR GUT SHOP
What's your toxic load?
We now know that the exposure to environmental toxins is a key piece of the thyroid disease puzzle.
Choosing to limit or reduce your toxic exposure (in other words, what comes IN) together with providing optimal nutritional support to your detox liver pathways (what goes OUT), can help you to protect your thyroid health.VISIT OUR DETOX SHOP