The thyroid is responsible for secreting hormones and keeping your energy levels right where they should be; basically, it acts as a “leader” of the endocrine system, along with the pituitary gland. So, it goes without saying, if you keep your thyroid healthy, your body will thank you. But, remember the thyroid is vulnerable to environmental toxins like BPA and pesticides, among other nasties.
4 Tips for Supporting Your Thyroid
While there are some endocrine disruptors in our environment that you absolutely can’t avoid 100 percent of the time, there are a few measures that you can take to stack the deck in your favor. Here are just a few of the simple steps you can take to protect your thyroid health.
1. Drink Fluoride-Free Water
Fluoride was once prescribed as a remedy for an overactive thyroid. It only takes a low dose (2 to 5 mg per day over a few months) to lower function, and that’s about as much fluoride already in the water supply we drink. Drinking fluoride-free water could lower your chances of developing an underactive thyroid by as much as 30 percent.
2. Avoid Endocrine Disruptors
Phthalates are used to make plastic flexible and they’re also used in some personal care products. As endocrine disruptors, phthalates can disrupt thyroid function. Environmental pollution from phthalates can also affect your health. Researchers found two common phthalates in drinking water. Reducing your exposure to endocrine disruptors is important, but you can also add turmeric to your diet. This bright yellow spice, also found in supplement form, can help the thyroid by soothing the irritation caused by endocrine disruptors. A liquid extract could provide an especially strong punch.
3. Go Gluten Free
Gluten contains a protein called gliadin. Since this protein isn’t found in our bodies, the immune system often considers it an invader. When someone has a gluten intolerance, thyroid issues can develop because, to the body, gliadin looks a lot like a necessary enzyme called transglutaminase. This enzyme is already found in high concentrations in the thyroid, so when the body sees gliadin, the immune system’s antibodies can actually attack the thyroid gland. Eating a gluten-free diet could be a huge step in helping thyroid health.
4. Get Enough of the Right Nutrients
A starving thyroid is not a healthy thyroid. Consuming the proper amount of the right nutrients is an indisputable necessity for thyroid health. The two most important nutrients for your thyroid are iodine and selenium.
To regulate your body’s metabolic functions, your thyroid secretes two hormones: T4 and T3. Iodine is a crucial building block that your thyroid needs to produce these hormones. Be sure to consume plenty of iodine-rich foods or take a supplement.
Selenium is involved in a few body processes, including DNA synthesis, cellular repair, and reproduction, but the greatest concentration of this trace element is in your thyroid. Selenium plays a crucial role in metabolism and hormone synthesis. Many people get the selenium they need from food sources. Plant sources include breads, grains, and spinach. Brazil nuts are an excellent source — they actually contain the highest selenium concentration of any plant-based food.
Iodine and selenium are essential to your health. If you can’t get proper amounts of these nutrients from food, consider supplementation. If you do need a thyroid-supporting supplement, consider our complete Thyroid Health Kit™. It combines essential nutrients iodine and selenium, with some health-boosting B-12 added for good measure.
Lifestyle is Key
Good thyroid health isn't the result of just one thing; it's a combination of good lifestyle choices and nutrition, and the 4 tips above should help you on the way to a healthy thyroid. Exercise and sleep are two excellent free methods that will help regulate thyroid health. Be sure to consume a healthy diet, mostly raw, to ensure intake of all vitamins and minerals essential for thyroid function.
What do you do to keep your thyroid healthy? Tell us about it in the comments.
- Galletti P, et. al. Effect of fluorine on thyroidal iodine metabolism in hyperthyroidism. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. 18 (10).
- Peckham, S. et al. Are fluoride levels in drinking water associated with hypothyroidism prevalence in England? A large observational study of GP practice data and fluoride levels in drinking water. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
- Li, N. et al. Dibutyl Phthalate Contributes to the Thyroid Receptor Antagonistic Activity in Drinking Water Processes. Environmental Science & Technology. 44 (17).
- Jurenka, J. S. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Alternative Medicine Review. 14 (2).
- Griffin M. et al. Transglutaminases: nature’s biological glues. The Biochemical Journal. 368 (Pt 2).
- Naiyer, A.J. et al. Tissue transglutaminase antibodies in individuals with celiac disease bind to thyroid follicles and extracellular matrix and may contribute to thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid. 18 (11).
- “Iodine.” National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements, USA.gov, 24 June 2011. Accessed 7 Sept. 2016.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.