As anyone who follows Dr Sam will know, not all doctors are equal, not all treatments are equal, and a ‘one size fits all’ approach is rarely the answer to good health - especially when it comes to the thyroid. What makes the difference is; empowering yourself, understanding your illness and how your body is responding to it.
Your thyroid gland is like the accelerator in your car. The thyroid controls your metabolism; how your heart works, breathing, and other hormones including the reproductive function in both men and women. It is vital we don’t overlook it when assessing an individual's overall health and wellbeing.
My own case of thyroid disorder is rare. I simply do not have a beautiful butterfly thyroid gland! My thyroid is both partially formed and I have some ectopic (extra) tissue floating around in there too, which occasionally decides to make a contribution and produce some thyroid hormone!
In this blog I want to tell you about some of the key factors to consider, both environmental and physical, and a few things you can do to optimise your health and your treatment.
“When someone is first diagnosed with hypothyroidism, they often think that their doctor will give them a tablet to take each day and that they will recover quickly. If it turns out to be that simple, you are one of the fortunate ones. For most people it can be a long and difficult road to wellness. Be prepared for this to be a tough journey at times” - Paul Robinson, The Thyroid Patients Manual
When I first read that quote, everything started to make a little more sense to me...
So firstly … Trust your gut. Literally! If you have been taking that ‘little white pill’ for what seems like an eternity and still feel unwell, you are not alone since there are far more pieces to the puzzle.
Food First – Of course as a Nutritional Consultant I was bound to talk about this first!
With the thyroid having a lead role in our energy system and metabolism, often the biggest concerns are uncontrolled weight gain/loss; an insatiable appetite; poor digestion (both dysbiosis and SIBO are common in thyroid disorders); zero energy; brain fog; thinning hair and dry skin.
So it is vital to be consuming foods which help you to heal. If, for instance, you have SIBO (most people on a western diet tend to), then it becomes difficult to break down and even absorb your medication - let alone essential vitamins and minerals.
Most of us are now aware that a processed, high sugar, high carbohydrate diet causes your health to plummet and directly increases the chances of developing metabolic syndrome.
Eat whole foods focusing on healthy fats and protein. Carbohydrate is the only non – essential macronutrient and although many would argue some carbohydrates are required, I would suggest the opposite - especially if you are trying to heal the gut and in turn improve your immune system.
I was told time and again that carbohydrates were required for the production of thyroid hormones. This is simply not true. It is true that there has proven to be reduction in T4 thyroid hormone when carbohydrates are reduced or restricted, however there is an improvement in the conversion of T4 to T3 (the active thyroid hormone) and Zero impact on (THS) Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.
The troubling carbohydrate cravings (aka ‘hangry’) can be fixed.
I am living proof that being in a healthy state of ketosis (depleting your body of carbohydrates to stimulate the use of Ketones for energy, rather than Glucose) directly improves thyroid function. I have in fact reduced my medication dosage by 50% and yet feel more alert and full of life.
For almost all conditions, gut health is the key to healing, but especially when it comes to thyroid disease which is, for the vast majority of people, an autoimmune condition. This means that your immune system has been triggered to ‘attack’ itself. Your microbiome influences the absorption of micronutrients like iodine, iron, and copper - all of which are necessary for thyroid health. Your microbiome has the ability to increase the bioavailability of iron in the gut by producing short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). Your gut microbes also regulate how much iodine you use and how it is broken down and circulated in the body. Iodine is vital for the production of thyroid hormones AND the western diet is vastly depleted of this vital mineral.
Of course, it is always advisable to work alongside somebody when overhauling your nutritional intake and this is where I'd love to guide and support you. Whatever the starting point is for you personally, be assured that both myself and Dr Sam are here to do this step by step at a comfortable pace in alignment with you.
Nutritional Consultant to Dr Sam White
Diploma in Understanding Human Nutrition
Founder/CEO of The Kitchen Detox