Located just below the voice box, the thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and has a significant influence on many of the body’s most essential processes. Regulation of growth, body temperature, metabolism, and physical development are all driven by the thyroid gland. Normal thyroid function is dependent on a number of factors, including nutrition and abstaining from exposure to certain environmental toxins.
The thyroid actively controls metabolism by producing and releasing thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones are necessary for normal brain development, gastrointestinal activity, skeletal development, and they even help support a balanced mood.
Thyroid disorders are a common problem for many people. Hyperthyroidism is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormones. It may cause mood swings, a rapid heartbeat, and weight loss. Conversely, hypothyroidism is when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones; it may cause fatigue, weight gain, or a slow metabolism.
What Does the Thyroid Gland Do?
The thyroid produces and releases the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4), which is also called thyroxine. Many processes in the body rely on these hormones, especially metabolic function. The thyroid produces a third hormone calcitonin but it’s not considered a true thyroid hormone because it’s also synthesized in the lungs and intestinal tract. That, however, doesn’t make it any less important; calcitonin prevents bone loss and supports normal calcium levels in the blood.
Serious Threats to Thyroid Function
Endocrine disruptors interfere with endocrine function and thyroid hormone production. Unfortunately, their presence is ubiquitous in our modern world. Examples of endocrine disruptors include pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and bisphenol-A (BPA), which is commonly used in ”food-safe” plastics such as take-out food containers and soda bottles.
Even the water supply contains fluoride, chlorine, and bromide — chemicals that pose a real and serious threat to normal thyroid function. Unfortunately, many thyroid problems are difficult to detect. Doctors often misdiagnose poor thyroid function because the most common symptoms are shared by many other diseases and disorders.
What You Can Do to Support Healthy Thyroid Function
Even though the thyroid is susceptible to many thyroid disorders, steps can be taken to support thyroid health. First and foremost, it’s important to supply your body with the nutrients critical for hormone production.
Certain foods support the thyroid by providing those key nutrients. One such nutrient, iodine, is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Equally important is selenium, which, among other tasks, is required for the production of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that protects the thyroid from free radicals.
Both iodine and selenium can be obtained through diet. Iodine is naturally present in sea vegetables (seaweed) and plants grown in iodine-rich soil; it’s also added to iodized table salt. Sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, grains, eggs, chicken, liver, garlic, Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, and produce grown in selenium-rich soil.
If you don’t consume enough iodine or selenium in your diet, your thyroid can suffer. Additionally, bowel or digestive disorders can negatively affect nutrient absorption and overall wellness.
Iodine deficiency is a significant health problem that affects as many as 1.6 billion people worldwide.[17, 18] The sheer prevalence of iodine deficiency is proof that many people are not getting the complete spectrum of nutrition their body requires. Most people would be well served to take inventory of their nutrient intake and fill the gaps with supplements. When it comes to nutritional support for the thyroid, we recommend our Thyroid Health Kit™.
This kit features the top three supplements you need to nutritionally support your thyroid: nascent iodine, selenium, and vitamin B-12. Nascent iodine is easily absorbed and actually becomes an integral component of thyroid hormones. Sourced from organic mustard seeds, our selenium supplement offers the most bioavailable forms of selenium. Vegansafe™ B-12 provides a bioactive combination of vitamin B-12 to encourage normal energy levels. Together, these three supplements provide the nutrients necessary to encourage normal thyroid health and metabolism.
What tips or insight can you offer about thyroid health? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
- How does the thyroid work. PubMed Health. January 7, 2015.
- Bernal J. Thyroid hormones and brain development. Vitam Horm. 2005;71:95-122.
- Hays MT. Thyroid hormone and the gut. Endocr Res. 1988;14(2-3):203-24.
- Williams GR. Actions of thyroid hormones in bone. Endokrynol Pol. 2009 Sep-Oct;60(5):380-8.
- Bauer M, Heinz A, Whybrow PC. Thyroid hormones, serotonin and mood: of synergy and significance in the adult brain. Mol Psychiatry. 2002;7(2):140-56.
- Kusakabe, Takashi, Nobuo Hoshi, and Shioko Kimura. “Origin of the Ultimobranchial Body Cyst.” 235.5 (n.d.): n.pag. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.
- Bowen, R. “Calcitonin.” Colorado State University. 11 Oct. 2003. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.
- Endocrine Disruptors. National Institute of Environmental Health Services.
- Zhao W, Zhu H, Yu Z, Aoki K, Misumi J, Zhang X. Long-term Effects of Various Iodine and Fluorine Doses on the Thyroid and Fluorosis in Mice. Endocr Regul 1998 Jun;32(2):63-70.
- Ohno S, Itoh T, Morishima H, Honda Y. Relationship among iodine, bromine and chlorine concentrations in cow's milk in Japan. Radioisotopes. 1989 Jun;38(6):279-81.
- Pavelka S. Metabolism of bromide and its interference with the metabolism of iodine. Physiol Res. 2004;53 Suppl 1:S81-90.
- Iodine Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health.
- Selenium Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health.
- Iodine in diet. Medline Plus.
- Selenium in diet. Medline Plus.
- Vagianos, Kathy, et al. “Nutrition Assessment of Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 31.4 (2007): 311–319. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.
- Umesh Kapil. Health Consequences of Iodine Deficiency. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2007 Dec; 7(3): 267–272.
- Arthur JR, Nicol F, Beckett GJ. Selenium deficiency, thyroid hormone metabolism, and thyroid hormone deiodinases. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Feb;57(2 Suppl):236S-239S.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.