What is the Thyroid gland? The thyroid’s primary function is to release hormones that control your metabolic rate. In other words, a healthy thyroid helps your body utilize energy quickly for cellular activities. And that’s what keeps your body—right down to the individual cells—in motion, using energy efficiently throughout the day and night to function properly and stay in good health.
Weight gain, fatigue, and depression are unfortunately common health complaints among the American public. While there are many reasons why patients may experience these symptoms, one of the most evident causes often goes under the radar. Hypothyroidism is now believed to affect a growing percentage of American adults. The severity of hypothyroidism can vary significantly, from nearly undetectable to extremely debilitating and life-threatening. Patients with severely impaired thyroid function may struggle with simple daily tasks such as doing housework, taking care of their families, and even getting up from bed. Hypothyroidism also appears to interfere with normal carbohydrate metabolism and correlates with increased insulin demand and insulin resistance. Blood lipids, both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, are normally elevated in almost all hypothyroid patients, including mild cases.
When analyzing thyroid function, three nutrients of concern are iodine, selenium, and the amino acid tyrosine. The most common example of nutrient deficiency causing thyroid disease is iodine deficiency. Prior to the introduction of iodized salt in the 1920’s iodine deficiency was common in the Great Lakes and Appalachian regions of the U.S. It is estimated that nearly 40% of the world’s population is at risk for iodine deficiency, and outside of the U.S., this remains the leading cause of impaired thyroid activity and mental retardation. Autoimmunity is another leading cause of hypothyroidism. In addition to gluten, other foods known as goitrogens have been shown to be damaging to thyroid function also. The thyroid’s control of metabolism is so important for weight loss and a healthy body. Protect yourself.