Hypothyroidism, The Silent Life Energy Drain
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an increasingly common form of Hypothyroidism. It involves the immune system attacking the thyroid gland, which is located just below the Adam’s apple at the base of the neck. This gland coordinates many of our bodily functions, including metabolism, growth, and development. Inflammation of the thyroid gland causes it to become under-active. This condition is most common in women, as the female sex genes are more prone to thyroid disease. The emotional, physical, and mental stressors placed on women also adds to our tendency to develop this condition. The reality is that, although an estimated 20 million Americans have a thyroid disorder, a shocking 13 million are not properly diagnosed!
Do You Have Hashimoto’s?
Do you wake up feeling fatigued and sluggish, even after 8 hours of sleep? Are you putting on weight or struggling to lose it, no matter how many hours you spend at the gym? Are you constantly bloated, no matter what you eat? Have mood swings and depression begun to affect your life and relationships? Are you fed up with trying every beauty product out there is to improve your dry skin and hair, and brittle nails? If you’re nodding your head in response to these questions, you could be showing signs of hypothyroidism, or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
What Causes This Lifestyle Disorder?
I believe that one of the key underlying causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is poor diet. Gluten, which is the protein in wheat, barley, rye and spelt, and is also found in numerous other foods, is perceived as a foreign invader to the body. In an effort to protect itself from this foreign body, our systems produce antibodies to destroy it. The problem lies in the fact that the molecular structure of gluten closely resembles that of the thyroid. As a result, the antibodies which attack gluten end up attacking the thyroid. Therefore, the first food to eliminate from the diet in the event of a thyroid disorder is gluten!
Sweeter than Sugar?!
Elevated blood sugar levels can trigger Hashimoto’s. The pancreas secretes insulin to enhance the absorption of glucose into our muscles, liver and fat cells. If we habitually eat a diet high in carbohydrates, the body requires more insulin to process them. Continued insulin surges can destroy the thyroid gland. This damage to the thyroid gland results in a reduction of the production of our thyroid hormone, setting us further along the path to hypothyroidism. For this reason, along with many others, our intake of sugar or high carbohydrate-rich foods needs to be closely monitored.
Other Triggers to be Considered…
Iodine and selenium deficiency, or our body’s inability to absorb them, are potential causes. Adrenal fatigue, caused by a multitude of factors, is a significant trigger to this energy-draining disease. Additionally, we should not underestimate the role emotional stress, trauma, negative relationships, and perfectionism have on our thyroid. Poor gut health, or leaky gut, which I focus a lot on in my blogs, is of no less importance when it comes to thyroid health.
Vitamin D3 deficiency is also all too often dismissed, to the detriment of our immune health. A deficiency in this pre-hormone is associated with many autoimmune diseases like thyroid disease. As it regulates our secretion of insulin and blood sugar sensitivity, its deficiency can lead to insulin resistance. This, in turn, is detrimental to the thyroid, as blood sugar greatly affects thyroid function.
Connecting the Dots Between Hashimoto’s and Gut Health
Do you notice a commonality between the potential roots of this thyroid disorder and the factors which negatively affect our gut health? The foods and lifestyle habits I’ve outlined here are not only detrimental to the functioning of our thyroid but are also guilty of wiping out our intestinal health. The bottom line is that if we don’t have healthy gut bacteria, we are unable to convert thyroid hormones T4 to T3, resulting in thyroid problems like Hashimoto’s. The great news is that we can make nutrition and lifestyle alterations which are supportive to the functioning of our thyroid, thereby working towards the reversal of this disease. Speaking from a very personal perspective, please don’t accept a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis as an irreversible sentence. With guided help, you can turn this disease around!