Improving Thyroid Function Naturally….

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The topic of Thyroid is hugely interesting and it seems to be cropping up everywhere now. The thyroid is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body and lies in the front of your neck, around the “adam’s apple” that being said it is a tiny gland, but holds huge importance to the bodies function.

The thyroid produces its own thyroid hormones T3, T4 and Calcitonin which help regulate the Metabolism which is so important not only in terms of weight regulation, but also things like Digestion, Skin health and Energy Regulation as well as Calcium absorption.

I wrote this post not for people looking to cure a severe thyroid problems (for this see a doctor or naturopath) but rather as a guide on how to keep your thyroid healthy and functioning well, in other words on regulating your thyroid function. At the end of the day we could all do with a more optimised endocrine system.

1- Keep your adrenals healthy. This is because the adrenals have a direct link to the function of your thyroid glands. When adrenals are burnt out they cannot produce enough of their own hormones and this in turn impairs the thyroids function. The fascinating thing is that all of the endocrine system is linked, leading to a knock on effect. To keep adrenals in good shape, consider –

  • Avoiding excess exercise – Especially too much High Intensity work which can be extremely stressful on the body, use it smartly once or twice a week. Also avoid doing too much morning fasted exercise – this seems to have a even harsher effect on the endocrine system than exercise with a bit of fuel in the tank.
  • Don’t cut Calories – When we cut calories too low, the body reacts with a stress response. This sends the adrenals firing hormones around the body to deal with what it deems as a threatening situation. Anyone who has been on a low calorie diet will know about the ups and downs you can feel due to the excess adrenaline being pumped around the body. Even having the occasional binge and ramping up the calories can have a thyroid boosting effect.
  • Reduce Stress – In this modern day and age many of us spend the majority of our time with a sympathetic nervous system firing, basically in a stress response. This again taxes the bodies endocrine system and promotes the need for some down time everyday. Things like Napping, deep breathing, and just relaxing get the parasympathetic nervous system going and reduce stress levels.
  • Supplements – Firstly use sea salt liberally in your cooking, the adrenals thrive on salt and need it to function well. Also consider starting the day with 1tsp of sea salt in warm water. The adrenals also have a very high content of Absorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and therefore taking a good dose can help support the adrenals. I like to take a few grams when feeling run down or after a stressful situation. It is a cheap supplement and something to be kept on hand at all times.
  • Limit Caffeine - Caffeine can be a good thing even boosting thyroid function, so if it treats you well don’t ditch your daily brew just yet. Saying that, many of us overdo it in the caffeine department — relying on cup after cup to get through the day. Too much caffeine is certainly not a good thing and again puts excess stress on the body. Try and cut down to 1-2 cups per day.

2 – Cook with the right Oils. One of the main things that can regulate your thyroid function is what fats you use. This is because some fats have been shown to impair the Thyroid’s function whereas others have been shown to give it a significant boost. Firstly you want to avoid excess Omega 6 fatty acids which easily turn rancid and toxic to the human body, this includes all vegetable oils (corn, canola, sunflower, rapeseed, flaxseed etc) that you may be cooking with or using in your food.

The treatment? Dump the vegetable oil, wheat, soy, sugar and processed food in favor of the things the human body is equipped to handle: animal fats, root vegetables, vegetables, fruit, meats, organs, seafood, eggs, nuts and soaked or fermented non-gluten grains and legumes. Throw in some bugs if you’re feeling adventurous. -Stephan Guyenet

In place start using Coconut Oil which is a proven thyroid stimulator. Coconut oil is stable at very high heat as it is a tropical oil, therefore it is great for cooking and frying at high heat.

In the l940s, farmers attempted to use cheap coconut oil for fattening their animals, but they found that it made them lean, active and hungry. – Ray Peat

The benefits of coconut can be attributed to its rich content of  Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid which are very unique and work as anti-bacterials, Antifungals and Antimicrobals. As well as this it contains Medium Chain Fatty Acids which are processed by the liver and used directly as energy, these fatty acids serve to nourish and regulate the thyroid.

Plus food cooked with coconut just tastes better. If you don’t want the coconut flavour to come through in your food then purchase a refined coconut oil which retains the benefits but is taste and scentless.

These Simple Things can help you keep your thyroid and endocrine system in good working order. If you are lucky enough to have good thyroid and adrenal health then make sure you stick to these points to keep your body running well. If you suspect a thyroid problem these tips can certainly help out a great deal as most thyroid issues can be delt with using natural methods.

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Comments

  1. Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life says

    Awesome post. I think the link between adrenal health and thyroid function is very important, and it comes down to holistic health and realizing how the body’s systems are interconnected. For those with thyroid problems, taking thyroid medication and failing to address the underlying causes is completely counterproductive (though that’s what most people do).

    Thanks Elizabeth. Thyroid function is so important, especially for those getting into exercise nutrition etc….. It is far easier to keep the endocrine system healthy than it is to reverse the damage done through abusing it. It is a shame that conventional medicine acknowledge these problems but treat them in the wrong way by dishing out medication without trying to find the root cause. Hopefully this will change in coming years, but it seems a long shot for now.

  2. Richard Dahlstrom says

    the coconut oil thing is incredible. My wife and I started cooking with it about 18 months ago and, along with the other changes (cutting down on grains and cutting out sugar), we’ve never felt better

    @ Richard: Root vegetables and coconut oil are two of the best foods to base your diet around for thyroid function. The roots are filled with nutrients and vitamins plus the coconut does the stimulating. Another thing I didn’t mention in the post but is worth taking into account is the thyroid impairing function of excess tryptophan, which is found in white muscle meats (chicken, turkey etc) and protein powders, I am not saying these are bad for you but eat them in moderation for best results.

  3. Meghan says

    the sad thing is, I’m 31 and was diagnosed with thyroid at 19, (after putting my body through hard exercise and very low-cal diet for 2 years) and not even one doctor in all these years has spoken to me about the dos and don’ts with thyroid dysfunction. Only after finding Matt Stone’s 180 blog have I received an adequate amount of literature.

    @ Meghan: Thanks for commenting. It is for people like you who I am writing this post. It is all too easy to mess up the thyroid and adrenals via excess dieting and exercising as well as a stressful modern lifestyle. That is why I really appreciate blogs like Matt’s as he realises how important health is and it should be favoured anytime over aesthetics… Best of luck with your healing.

  4. David Franklin says

    Thanks for all the great information. If I purchase your book, will I have to print it off from my PC?

    @ David: Glad you are enjoying it! the book comes in PDF format so it is easy to print off and distribute or read….

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