Thyroid dysfunction is super common amongst women right now, leading to exhaustion, weight struggles, brain fog, digestive issues and so much more.
But thyroid issues don't just develop overnight - the develop over a few years.
Tune in today as I share the main symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, the most common causes of an underactive thyroid, and my specific recommendations in terms of lifestyle and supplements.
Mentioned in this episode:
Get my FREE blood testing guide here
Hello and welcome back!
You are likely here because you wanna learn more about your body, your hormones and your period and I’m so happy that you choose to learn from me!
I’m so very passionate about this topic and so I wanna make sure that you get information here that will not only help you to learn about your body, but that will be easy for you to implement so you can start experiencing healing, whatever that looks like for you!
So in the last episode I talked about the importance of liver health, why I don’t believe in detox diets and what you should be doing instead, but today I wanna touch on thyroid health and I believe that many many many healthcare practitioners are missing the ball on this one.
It is estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, of which 60% are totally unaware of their condition.
Women are 5-8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems and one in 8 women will develop a thyroid issue in her lifetime.
We also know that upwards of 90% of all thyroid conditions are as a result of an auto-immune condition, and this is called Hashimotos thyroiditis.
Thyroid issues are massively misdiagnosed and this could lead to serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and infertility. Women with thyroid issues that are pregnant also have an increased risk for miscarriage, preterm delivery and severe developmental poblems in their children.
And I’ve seen time and time again how healthcare practitioners don’t acknowledge the fact that thyroid conditions are misdiagnosed and the role that the thyroid plays in overall health. But more than this, I’ve been confronted by the total resistance of gp’s and other healthcare providers to do proper thyroid testing. This makes it so hard for many of my clients!
Thyroid issues are leading to so many frustrating and debilitating symptoms, so let’s talk about what it can look like.
These symptoms can be hard to describe to your doctor, as it’s often hard to measure or validate it and you can be left feeling hopeless, dismissed, ignored or you can even be prescribed anti-depressants. And I think sometimes even our families and friends find it hard to understand this condition.
Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Every single cell in your body has receptors for thyroid hormone, which means that every single system in your body needs optimal levels of thyroid hormone to perform their jobs well.
This leads to over 300 different symptoms that can present as a result of low thyroid hormone.
And the most important function of thyroid hormone, is cellular metabolism. How your body uses food to create fuel.
So the most common symptoms will include weight gain and feeling fatigued all of the time, since your mitochondria are not able to burn the food to create energy.
But here is a long list of the most common symptoms:
Cold hands and feet
Indigestion, bloating, sluggish digestion, constipation, gas due to slower gut movement
Fatigue - esp in the afternoon but can happen any time of day
Foggy thinking / brain fog
Dark circles under eye
Brittle nails and hair falling out
Headaches and migraines
Joint and muscle pain
Loss of sex drive
Weight gain - most common due to slower than normal metabolism. This is not necessarily sudden weight gain and it seems impossible to lose. No matter what you do, nothing works.
But the most common symptoms that I see would be
Weight gain, despite a consistent exercise routine and healthy meals and trying your best efforts to lose weight.
Brain fog - hard to keep up with the kids
The top 5 Root causes of hashimotos and other autoimmune disorders are
Nutrient deficiencies, more specifically iron, selenium, iodine, B vits and ferritin;
HIdden infections, like virus, parasites, mould, and bacteria;
Environmental factors like heavy metals and environmental toxins, including pollutants, endocrine disruptors and heavy metals;
Chronic stress and trauma; and
A leaky gut or poor gut health.
Let me just take a second to say that there is a difference between hypothyroidism and hashimotos thyroiditis.
Hypothyroidism is a problem with the thyroid not making enough thyroid hormones, but Hashimotos is an autoimmune condition that attacks the thyroid gland, which leads to lowered production of thyroid hormone. Thyroid conditions are not always because of auto-immunity, but a very very very high % of hypothyroidism is driven by hashimotos.
So just taking thyroid hormones will not address the underlying autoimmune disorder.
And this is where testing comes in.
Most healthcare providers, like i said, is very reluctant to do extensive thyroid testing. But the literature is very clear that a large percentage of society suffers from thyroid issues and goes undiagnosed, especially women. So for me, testing is really crucial.
I wanna provide you with a checklist, so that you can actually go to your healthcare provider and push for proper testing to be done.
And I’ve created just that, so if you head to vandghie.com/testing, you will find a free checklist that I’ve put together for you so you can go to your healthcare provider and request testing to be done that will provide you with the right results in order to make an accurate diagnosis. This checklist does not only include testing for thyroid function, but for overall health and investigating the health of all the major body systems. So head over there or find the link in the show notes of this episode.
But when it comes to testing thyroid function, you wanna get TSH tested, which is the hormone released by the brain to communicate with the thyroid for producing thyroid hormone. But most doctors perform only this test, and it’s simply not enough to make an accurate diagnosis. You want to also get free T4 tested, and free T3 tested, because this is the form that your body actually uses. And then you also need to check the Thyroid antibodies, so that we can determine whether your underactive thyroid is as a result of an autoimmune disorder.
If all thyroid parameters are normal but only the antibodies are high, this is an indication of early stage hashimotos thyroiditis.
Before I really kick off all of the information here, I want you to know that, although Hashimotos is a chronic condition, in other words it can’t be cured, you can totally get it into remission and get rid of all of those nasty symptoms.
So take courage, and let’s do this thing together.
There are a few different causes of auto-immune disorders and they include
Poor gut health and leaky gut
Viral infections, and
Heavy metal toxicity
Poor liver function
Blood glucose imbalance
So with all of that in mind, here is how you take this journey on.
First of all, know your numbers.
Again, go download my blood testing checklist and get those bloods done as soon as you can! Find it at vandghie.com/testing or find the link in the show notes.
And then once you know your numbers, these are the 7 steps to follow from there:
Number one: Get yourself off of gluten. The evidence is so clear that gluten plays a role in the development of auto-immune disorders, particularly if you have poor gut health. And I know for many people this can be an intimidating thought, but coming off gluten can be a simple step-by-step approach if you have the right people in your corner.
Number 2 - Heal your Gut!
If you’ve never paid attention to your gut health, you’ll be able to make a pretty quick assessment by answering these questions:
Do you have a bowel movement less than once a day?
Do you suffer from bloating?
Do you suffer from diarhoea or constipation (or both)?
Do you suffer from gas, sometimes embarrassingly so?
If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, I can almost tell you with 100% certainty that you have poor gut health
The best place to start for addressing gut health, is to start a good quality, broad spectrum probiotic, include plenty of plant-based food in your diet, and eliminate alcohol, sugar and caffeine.
Number 3 - Control your blood glucose!
This is such an important topic that I’ve done an entire podcast episode on it. So refer to episode 24. But the short of it, again avoid that sugar, eat regularly and dress all your meals with healthy proteins and fats.
Number 4 - Reduce stress
Stress is the leading cause of all chronic disease and learning how to regulate your stress response is vital
First of all, identify the factors that cause you stress and think how you can reduce that. Do your meal planning and only visit the supermarket once a week, that will free up some time during the week.
Identify trauma that you haven’t dealt with and find somebody to help you process
I’m pretty sure you know instantly what the things are that is causing your stress on an ongoing basis.
So maybe it’s time to prioritse this. Quite possibly the thing that you know you’ve been avoiding to face for a few years.
Now’s the time my friend.
Remember, there is no supplement that can replace the fact that you need to manage your stress, both external factors and also those internal factors.
Number 5 - Eliminate toxins in your environment that will lead to increased physiological stress
These include all of the fragrances that are in beauty products, cleaning products and those fragrance sprays and wax burners.
Number 6 - Support your liver as best you can
You can do this by eliminating the things that overload your liver, like alcohol, sugar and caffeine and eat loads of veggies every day
Now let’s just take a minute or 2 to talk about cruciferous vegetables.
You may have heard that cruciferous veggies may affect thyroid function, and this is true.
But it’s also unique to each individual
And I think it’s important to bear in mind the incredible benefits of these veggies.
So I generally recommend that keep using these vegetables, but cook them before consuming and don’t have them raw.
But most importantly, monitor your own body.
Pay attention to what happens when you use those veggies and learn to understand the language of your body.
Number 7 - Use supplements
It is important to use high quality supplements.
And I know how hard it can be to determine which supplements are good quality. I’ve gone to the pharmacy myself a few times only to feel very intimidated by the vast range of products that are available. So I’ll try to give you a few pointers.
First you need a good, full B vitamin complex. Thyroid dysfunction and B vitamin deficiency always go hand in hand. B vitamins are important to help your thyroid create the thyroid hormones and get those hormones to your cells. It’s also important for several hormonal pathways, including fertility, menstrual cycle regularity, liver function and converting T4 to T3. So what you need to look out for with B vitamins, they need to be methylated.
Iodine, which is the most important for thyroid health, as your thyroid relies on iodine to create the hormones. Being exposed to heavy metals can lock the thyroid receptors that require iodine, and this will lead to thyroid dysfunction, so make sure you don’t have any dental fillings that contain mercury. This is a heavily debated topic around the world, as one side of debate believes that these metals are stable, and the other believes that the small amounts of mercury leaking from fillings is absorbed by the blood to lead to long term heavy metal exposure and a vast range of health concerns. I always err on the side of caution, so I avoid these fillings for me and my family. But getting back to iodine supplementation, you would need 100ug if your thyroid function is significantly impaired, but you may not need iodine supplementation at all.
Another very important nutrient for thyroid function, is selenium. It is crucial for the production of T4 hormone in the thyroid gland and also for the conversion of T4 to T3, which is the active form that your body uses. If supplementing Selenium, you would need 40-70ug per day
Zinc is also an important nutrient for thyroid and reproductive health, and it’s involved in multiple levels of thyroid production, regulation and metabolism. Foods rich in zinc is meat, legumes, shellfish, dark chocolate, so include plenty of those foods in your diet. And if you want to supplement zinc, 10mg per day is what you need
Another important nutrient for thyroid health is iron. YOu need about 30-100mg per day to convert T4 to T3, and you can get this from leafy greens and meat products. Iron supplements usually take ages to have an affect on your blood iron levels, so I highly recommend you get the bulk of your iron from your diet. But if supplementing, you’ll need about 18mg per day.
Then vitamin D, which is soooo important if you live in a country where you hardly ever see the sun. If you are deficient in vitamin D, which your doctor can test, you’ll need about 800 - 2000 units per day. Research actually shows that the degree of hypothyroidism is directly related to your level of Vit D deficiency. And when you supplement Vit D, make sure it is vitamin D3
Ok, let’s move on to Number 8 - Eliminate underlying infections
This is something that your doctor will have to test for and treat.
But there is something else that you can do.
It is critically important that you kill parasites twice a year.
So this is what me and my family do.
Twice a year, generally in January and July, just so it’s easy to keep track, we use mebendazole chocolate chewable tablets.
It’s important to use those, as they are broad spectrum.
It is generally recommended that you take 1 tablet every 6 months, but I’ve found that that is usually not sufficient, especially if you haven’t done deworming for a while.
So you need to use 1 tablet, 3 days in a row, and 1 again after 5 days to make sure you also catch the different life stages of those parasites.
Finally, I just wanna talk about the auto-immune component involved in thyroid disease. We know that more than 90% of the cases of hypothyroidism, is caused by auto-immunity. So let’s just focus on that for a few minutes.
When addressing auto-immune disorders, it’s critical to focus firstly on the gut, as this is the leading cause of autoimmune disorders.
You wanna eat foods that are high in selenium, like brazil nuts, fish, ham, beef, turkey, chicken, eggs, brown rice, sunflower seeds, baked beans, mushrooms, oatmeal, spinach, lentils, cashews and bananas, you need to eat foods that are low inflammatory (an easy rule of thumb is that animal foods are inflammatory and plant foods and fish are anti-inflammatory). Just a side note here, although I’m saying animal foods are inflammatory, it is still very important to have those, as they are a crucial source of proteins.
You wanna eat 2 fruit a day, not more, limit preserved and fast foods and make sure you eat organic or free range where possible.
Also have loads of healthy fats, which you’ll find in nuts, seeds, olives, avocado and fatty fish like salmon.
Eat plenty of fermented foods and of course, consume loads of bone broth, which is a magic gut healing liquid.
You can also use organ meats, which are very rich in many of these thyroid loving nutrients.
And here’s the part where I give you hope my friend.
It can take as little as 4 weeks to start seeing some significant changes in your symptoms
If you don’t, you need to keep investigating, cause there might be other factors at play too.
And then one last comment on essential oils for thyroid health.
There are many citations to support the function of essential oils in supporting thyroid function.
And the amazing thing about essential oils, that I love so much, is that it is not dependant on your gut health to be absorbed. They can be absorbed straight through your skin, or if you ingest it, it gets absorbed straight through the mucous membranes or intestinal lining, so absolutely no digestion is required.
Which also contributes to these oils being fast acting.
It is however very very important to use a brand that advocates for purity. You need to know that the oils are safe for use, internally and externally. Just because it is labelled as essential oils, does not mean that it contains 100% essential oils. The only brand that I recommend to be taken or used, is Young Living for various reasons.
I trust the products of this company and can confidently recommend that you use it on your kids and even take it orally.
Essential oils are incredible for modulating and balancing your cellular activity, so my top 2 oils that are wonderful for supporting thyroid health include Frankincense and Myrrh.
They are cellular protective and both help to support a healthy inflammatory response - specifically for auto-immune disorders - which means you already have an unhealthy inflammatory response - specifically around your thyroid.
Both of these oils have been shown to help modulate the immune response in autoimmune conditions
If you don’t have an autoimmune disorder that is causing an underactive thyroid, you still want your thyroid cells to be healthy and both those have been shown to support healthy cell function
I hope the information that I shared here today has been helpful.
If you feel at a loss of where to start, the first thing you can do is get those blood tests done.
So head to my website, www.vandghie.com/testing and download my testing guide. Once you get that testing done, I wanna invite you to share it with me and I’d be happy to give you an independent opinion of what your results are saying about your entire health picture.
Thanx for being here my friend.
I would be so grateful if you could take 2 minutes to share this episode with a friend and subscribe and review my podcast while you are here.
Until next week
Bye for now