By Dr. Bryan Warner
When’s the last time you thought about your thyroid? If you’re like most people, probably not recently.
This butterfly-shaped, two-sided gland in your neck isn’t large. It doesn’t signal its presence by beating. You can’t see or feel it (unless it’s considerably enlarged), but (if you’re lucky) it goes about its business, tending to your metabolism (the chemical transformation of the food you eat into energy), protein synthesis (cellular creation of new proteins), detoxification, growth, immunity and more.
And if your thyroid becomes dysfunctional? You may find yourself suffering from multiple, seemingly unrelated symptoms, including:
The problem is, these symptoms don’t point to one specific cause, which makes diagnosis of a thyroid disorder difficult. Nonetheless, it’s important to identify and address thyroid problems because they can significantly raise your risk of heart disease, cancer, depression, infertility and other serious conditions.
If you have a thyroid disorder, it usually will be one of three types:
We’re living in a world that moves at an ever-faster rate. We wear ourselves out juggling jobs and home life, doing the family shopping, getting food on the table and putting clothes in the washer, often all while caring for three generations of family members. Add to that a few trips each week to the gym (when you can find the time), along with social and community obligations (if you can muster the energy).
It doesn’t just wear us out. It wears out our thyroids, which have to work harder and harder to regulate metabolism ― not to mention overcoming the burdens of unhealthy diets and environmental toxins.
Sad to say, our world has become increasingly permeated with pesticides, heavy metals and pollutants. We’re all exposed to toxins such as chlorine, fluorine and bromine, and the thyroid easily absorbs these substances because they’re chemically constituted much like iodine, which the thyroid naturally absorbs.
To be healthy, your thyroid must have sufficient iodine. It’s essential to the thyroid’s ability to convert food into thyroid hormones. It’s also a detoxifier that purges the thyroid of accumulated toxins such as those acquired from pesticides.
The notion that people will get enough iodine from salt used in preparing their food is a stubborn ― and dangerous ― myth. Nonetheless, few doctors test for iodine levels. If they did, they would discover that iodine deficiency is rampant and many people need to supplement.
You need to be careful, however. Too much iodine can also be problematic. Your doctor needs to determine your iodine need and the appropriate dosage based on testing.
There are steps you can take to support a healthy thyroid. For example:
A protein known as galectin-3 is particularly problematic for the thyroid. At higher levels, galectin-3 sets off chronic inflammation throughout the body, and it’s a major player in thyroid health. In fact, it’s a marker used to diagnose thyroid cancer. It also wreaks havoc on other parts of the body and is associated with cancer, heart and kidney disease, and other conditions.
Multiple studies have shown that supplementing with modified citrus pectin (MCP), which is readily absorbed into the bloodstream, blocks excessive galectin-3 and also purges heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
Testing for thyroid hormones is important, but it’s essential to work with a doctor who is knows which tests to order and is knowledgeable in assessing test results, which are not always accurate. For example, some people make sufficient thyroid hormone, but activation may be blocked. Sorting it all out can be more of an art than simply following a formula.
At BodyLogicMD of St. Louis, we use a top-of-the-line compounding pharmacy to prepare thyroid medications personalized to meet our patients’ individual requirements. For those whose testing indicates need for iodine supplementation, I recommend Designs for Health’s Iodine Synergy, which we carry in our office.
Eliaz, I. Why the rise in thyroid problems? Easy Health Options. https://easyhealthoptions.com/rise-thyroid-problems/.
Rodale, M. What’s Behind the Secret Epidemic of Hypothyroidism. Huffington Post THE BLOG. http:// www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/whats-behind-the-secret-e_b_2915186.html. May 20, 2013.
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