If you suffer from mood swings, low energy, or a weakened immune system, you may be tempted to believe that these problems are due to thyroid health – especially if you have been researching on the internet for a diagnosis! (1)
The thyroid can be credited with many of the inner workings of the human body. However, it is also an easy (and frequently incorrect) place to point the finger when something doesn’t feel quite right within our bodies. (2)
The problem is that many symptoms can be related to thyroid troubles including:
- Mood swings
- Hair thinning
- Body chills
- Brain fog
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Increased heart rate, heart palpitations, high blood pressure
- Excessive perspiration
- Muscle weakness
- Trembling hands
- Lighter, or shorter menstrual periods
- Frequent bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhea
- Development of a goiter (enlargement in the neck)
- Miscarriage (1,2)
Dr. Monica Moreno is an endocrinologist at Intermountain St. George Endocrine and Diabetes Clinic. She advises patients to consider that there may be other underlying causes contributing to their symptoms, such as fatigue and weight fluctuations.
She has recently stated in the media “There is much disinformation about thyroid disease, it’s hard to know where to begin.” (3)
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of certain hormones.
In the early stages, there may be no noticeable symptoms, but hypothyroidism can lead to a variety of issues, including obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease. (4)
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) happens when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than the body needs.
Depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency, the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism vary. These can include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, a puffy face, and weight gain. (5)
A thyroid nodule is a growth of thyroid cells in the thyroid gland. Overgrowth of the thyroid gland can result in the formation of one or more nodules. When nodules form, the most serious concern is cancer.
Fortunately, this is rare, occurring in less than 5% of all nodules.
Most nodules do not produce any symptoms. If you have several or large nodules, you may be able to see them. They can press against structures in the neck and cause:
- Trouble when swallowing or breathing
- Hoarseness or voice change
- Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland). (11)
The three thyroid-related issues — hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid nodules — are very real and may require medical attention.
Yet, if you are suffering from some of the long list of symptoms at the top, it does not mean that your problem is thyroid-related.
Thyroid May Not Be The Problem
“Our lives are stressful,” Dr. Moreno states. “A person’s diet may not be good. They’re busy, working long hours, all of which can lead to feelings of fatigue, weight gain, mood changes, hair loss, brittle nails, and dry skin.
Because those can be symptoms of hypothyroidism, people often want to blame that, rather than addressing the stress and lifestyle that could also be contributing factors.”
Moreno claims more tests are needed in order to determine if health issues are thyroid-related, and symptoms should be correlated with a lab test available through a patient’s physician.
If the tests are normal, that’s not always what the patient wants to hear,” Dr. Moreno said. “People want an explanation for their fatigue that goes beyond stress or lifestyle. They often want something that can be treated with a pill.” (3)
Experts agree that a variety of tests should be given (often including a consultation with an endocrinologist) before an exact diagnosis of thyroid problems should be given.
This should include blood work, radioactive iodine tests, a thyroid scan where a camera makes an image of your thyroid on a computer screen, a thyroid ultrasound, and a thyroid needle biopsy. (5)
“Hyperthyroidism is not a chronic condition like hypo,” Dr. Moreno concluded.
She summarized “Sometimes things like thyroid nodules just happen and we don’t know why, but it doesn’t seem to be lifestyle-related. Still, a healthy diet and lifestyle will help with everything, whether the root cause is thyroid or not.” (3)
If you are struggling with undiagnosed symptoms or struggle with clarity around your health, Dr. Nandi’s Toxic Ingredients Guide is a good place to start if you wish to clean up your diet.
Causes Of Poor Thyroid Health
- Previous thyroid problems or imbalanced hormones.
- Surgery or radiotherapy affecting the thyroid gland.
- Having a condition such as anemia, or type 1 diabetes.
- Nutritional deficiencies.
- Long-term infections or toxicities.
- Poor digestion.
- Autoimmune thyroid issues. (5,6)
- Graves’ disease – an immune disorder that causes excessive thyroid hormone production. (10)
Women are more impacted by thyroid issues than men. There are two peaks for women when they may see a problem, during the reproductive age (20s and 30s), and during menopausal age (40s or 50s). (3)
After A Thyroid Diagnosis
Hormone supplements can support by:
- Helping in uninterrupted sleep.
- Assisting adrenal & thyroid (T3 & T4) hormone production.
- Reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Acting as a mood stabilizer in treating symptoms of depression.
- Treating the GI system. A normally functioning GI tract usually equates to reduced stress and increased immune response, which is of utmost importance in treating thyroid patients. (7,8)
Which Foods Support The Thyroid Gland?
Iodine, selenium, and zinc are important to include in a diet for thyroid health. People with a family history of thyroid nodules and those who do not get enough iodine are more likely to develop nodules. (5,9)
Eggs are beneficial as iodine and selenium are found in the yolk, while the whites are full of protein. All meats, including lamb, beef, chicken, and all seafood, including salmon, tuna, halibut, and shrimp, are perfect. (9)
Vegetables and cruciferous vegetables are fine to eat. Fruits including oranges, berries, bananas, and tomatoes are beneficial, as well as gluten-free grains and seeds: rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia, and flax seeds.
Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt are recommended along with drinking lots of water. (9)
Thyroid And Overall Health
Many of us wish to “bounce back” from difficult health times, and a part of bouncing back is feeding your brain and your body with the best nutrition.
Dr. Nandi’s Toxic Ingredients Guide is great for anyone who’d love to not only learn about better nutrition but also to turn this knowledge into healthy eating.
With this knowledge, you can start to energize your body, fight fatigue, increase mental focus, and boost your metabolism.