The thyroid is hailed as “the master gland” of our complex and interdependent endocrine (hormonal) system. It’s the spoon that stirs our hormonal soup. Every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormones and this gland controls a toggle that flips on the genes that keep cells doing their jobs.
[I’m the co-author of the #1 best selling cookbook, The Essential Thyroid Cookbook: Over 100 Nourishing Recipes for Thriving with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.]
It’s the boss of our metabolism and many people are unaware of how vital a role the thyroid plays not only in weight management, but also in immune vitality, blood sugar regulation, appetite, body temperature, reproductive capacity, emotional wellbeing, mood, and hair and skin health.
Thyroid hormone replacement is a mere piece of a complex puzzle and won’t be effective on its own unless diet and lifestyle are addressed. Many people simply don’t respond well to conventional thyroid drugs and are left bewildered about how to become well.
An underactive thyroid – hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (the most common autoimmune condition in the U.S.) – can bring your metabolism to a crawl, making dieting an exercise in futility and triggering the body to pack on pounds.
[Click here for my Hashimoto’s NoNos (aka Hashi NoNos) guide (blog post and free download).]
Calorie counting, dieting, and excessive exercise can make a hypothyroid condition worse – and can further wear down the adrenals.
Too often, people (and their healthcare practitioners) believe that restricting caloric intake and exercising rigorously (the one-size-fits-all “calories in/calories out” theory) will help them lose weight. After all, excess weight is simply a result of eating too much and not working hard enough at the gym, right? Not so fast.
While weight issues are often the tip-off to an underactive thyroid, there are other life-altering symptoms that leave people feeling like they’re not living life to its fullest or reaching their potential. Some of the most common are: fatigue, constipation, depression, low body temperature, low stamina, lack of motivation, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, hair loss (including thinning of outer eyebrows), infertility, irregular and difficult menstrual cycles, joint pain, poor ankle reflexes, and light sensitivity.
Because proper thyroid function greatly depends on healthy adrenal glands (Jill dubbed the thyroid and adrenals Frick and Frack), it’s critical to nourish and support the adrenals in conjunction with restoring the thyroid. If your adrenals are working overtime, your thyroid will suffer. If your thyroid isn’t working up to par, your adrenals can take a further hit. This negative feedback loop is a true vicious cycle.
Hypothyroidism is often present for a number of years before it’s recognized and treated. The American Thyroid Association now estimates that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Some in the functional medicine community claim that the estimates are as high as 60 million. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition, women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, and one woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
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The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. It is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional.
You should not use the information on this website for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you have a health condition.