Thyroid disorders are one of the most common disorders affecting the endocrine system.1 The endocrine system represents a collection of various glands that are in control of the hormones in the body. There are two general types of thyroid disease: 1) hypothyroidism- under-active thyroid and 2) hyperthyroidism- overactive thyroid. This article will mainly focus on hypothyroidism and the best foods and nutrition to help support thyroid function.
Causes of hypothyroidism / declining thyroid function2
- Autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Thyroid removal due to growing mass on the thyroid or thyroid cancer
- Pituitary gland problems
- Grave’s disease treatment
Most common symptoms of hypothyroidism2
- Fatigue/exhaustion, difficulty getting out of bed or doing much
- Depression, low mood
- Constipation, straining
- Dry skin
- Cold intolerance- always feeling cold
- Weight gain
- Joint or muscle/body pain
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Hair loss, coarse hair
- Infertility or difficulty conceiving
The best way to determine if you need to focus on your thyroid health is to have the proper lab testing done including: TSH, free T4, free T3 at minimum. Some doctors only test TSH, but including free T3 and free T4 in your labs gives a clearer picture of your overall thyroid health. TSH is the signal from the brain to your thyroid, and free T4 is the amount of thyroid hormone in the body. Free T3 is the amount of active thyroid hormone. In order for our bodies to use thyroid hormone, it needs to be activated to free T3. Sometimes, TSH and T4 can look normal but in cases of suboptimal thyroid function and hypothyroidism, T3 can still be low and cause low thyroid symptoms.
Did you know that only 20% of your T3 is made in the thyroid? The rest is produced in the liver and kidneys! If you’d like to have a big picture of your thyroid function, schedule an appointment for a naturopathic physician assessment.
What are the most common risks to developing hypothyroidism?3
- Excessive stress4
- Having a family history of thyroid issues
- Having type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune conditions
- History of grave’s disease
What are Naturopathic hypothyroidism treatments?
- Thyroid medication: NP thyroid, Armour thyroid, compounded thyroid medication, levothyroxine with or without T3.
- Nutrition for thyroid health
- Medicinal herbs
- Medical-grade vitamins, minerals, nutrients
How do Naturopathic doctors treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
- Treatment can include the naturopathic therapies above. In addition, natural hashimoto’s treatment will focus more on:
- Natural immune system support
- Gut health
What is the best diet to support low thyroid function?
The best diet to support your thyroid function is the anti-inflammatory diet. The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on whole foods and little to no processed foods or sugar, this lowers inflammation and allows for proper nutrient absorption:
- vegetables: 3-5 cups per day
- fruits: 1 serving per day
- healthy fats: raw olive oil, wild-caught salmon, avocado
- lean protein
The best foods to support thyroid function contain high levels of micronutrients critical to thyroid hormone production:5
- Selenium: brazil nuts (2 brazil nuts = 192mcg of selenium), yellow fin tuna, sardines, lean protein. Note- if you’re taking a multivitamin, check the amount of selenium before you start eating brazil nuts, goal is about 200mcg per day.
- Iodine: seaweed, cod, halibut, shellfish, table salt. Note- most people in the US have adequate intake of iodine as iodine is added to salt and often does not need to be supplemented. Getting too much iodine can cause low thyroid or other thyroid disorders.
- Zinc: lean protein, beans, shellfish, nuts
- Vitamin A: Leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, cooked broccoli), orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes, red bell pepper, beef liver, eggs
The worst foods for thyroid function are:
- Raw cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts. These foods are safe when cooked!
- Gluten and sugar: these foods are generally inflammatory and cause inflammation in your intestines preventing proper absorption of the thyroid supporting nutrients.
- Soy products: tofu, edamame, tempeh, soy milk, processed foods (common added ingredient). Soy contains isoflavones that blocks thyroid function.6, 7
Why choose Atlas Health Medical Group?
- 1-hour new patient appointment
- 30-minute follow-up appointments
- personalized medicine tailored to each patient’s needs
- Naturopathic lab assessment: lab ranges can range widely, we compare your thyroid labs to optimal ranges but also listen to how you’re feeling when determining the best treatment plan at each appointment.
- Addressing underlying issues: we treat our patients as a whole person. We understand that your health is determined by how each organ system functions and our assessments are comprehensive to provide you with the best care and results.
Our naturopathic clinic in Gilbert, AZ offers a free, 15-minute consultation with Dr. Barraza for thyroid issues. This consultation allows you to ask questions and get to know Dr. Barraza before committing to beginning naturopathic thyroid medical care. Schedule your free, 15-minute consultation today by calling (480) 648-1534 or filling out the form below.
Free, 15-Minute Consultation