What do you really know about your thyroid hormones?
An estimated 10 million Americans have a thyroid problem, but the majority are not yet aware of it. The thyroid produces hormones that control how your body converts calories into energy.
Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland that is located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's Apple. Though it might not seem so, your thyroid is one of the most important glands in your body. It has a part to play in nearly every system and function, and any imbalances can easily cause a chain reaction affecting your health and well-being, both mentally and physically. Essentially, it controls your metabolism and your ability to metabolize.
What does your thyroid do?
Your body produces two main hormones. The hormone Thyroxine, commonly known as T4) and Tri-iodothyronine (commonly known as T3). These hormones are sent out into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body, affecting the processes of every tissue and cell. For example, it is thyroid hormones that cause your heart to beat more quickly and to burn more calories during exercise. When functioning correctly, your thyroid drives many of your body's essential processes, which then enables you to live a happy, fulfilling life, free of the problems that seem to be weighing down those around you. Iodine is an element the body needs for the production of thyroid hormone.
When it's working correctly, the thyroid gland is like the master of your metabolism. Healthy metabolic control means that whatever goes into your body is being processed with efficient speed.
When your thyroid doesn't function at its best, it can affect every aspect of your health, and in particular, weight, depression, and energy levels.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid is under-active and isn't producing enough hormones to meet your body's needs. This can lead to Addison's auto-immune disease. Also, hypothyroidism is the most common form of thyroid disease in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCO).
Some of the signs of hypothyroidism include:
- Lack of energy/inability to sustain normal activity levels
- "Easy" or unusual weight gain
- Dry, rough skin and brittle, dry hair
- Unexplained hair loss
- Unusual sensitivity to cold
- Some of the signs of hyperthyroidism include:
Hyperthyroidism can develop when your thyroid is overactive, meaning it is producing an excess of thyroid hormones. The most common hyperthyroidism is Graves' Disease, an auto-immune disease that causes the body's own immune system to attack the thyroid gland, causing it to overproduce the Thyroxine hormone. Hyperthyroidism can also be brought on by the incorrect use of hormone medications (natural or synthetic) and supplements.
- Unexplained weight loss, particularly in the elderly
- Rapid heart rate/heart palpitations
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Fatigue combined with trouble sleeping "Tired but Wired"
- Feeling hot all of the time
- Shortness of breath, chest pains, and muscle weakness
- Increased bowel movements
- Unexplained hair loss
- Light or absent menstrual periods
- Having a "staring" gazes we make the transition from young adult to adults, hormonal, nutritional, and lifestyle changes can easily lead to thyroid imbalances. With so many changes going on in the body at this time, identifying their cause can be difficult, and without knowing what's behind any undesirable symptoms it can be very difficult to treat them in a healthy way.
Children, teen, and adult thyroid health
With stress in our lives and unhealthy habits that have become a part of the fabric of our society, it's all too easy to throw the delicate balance of our thyroid out of sync. Adults between the ages of 20 and 30, and then adults 50 and over are often at risk of developing thyroid conditions more so than people of other ages. This increased risk is caused by a variety of personal and lifestyle factors that can often be corrected with proper identification and treatment.
It's time to empower yourself with essential information
If you suspect that your thyroid might be the cause behind some of your symptoms, it's time to get tested. Thyroid testing can provide you with the information you need to make the changes in your life that will bring you the best possible returns.
Here at Canary Club, our goal is to empower you with the information you need to take charge of your life – to become an advocate for your own health care.
We offer in-home collection kits for tests that can help you to understand and track the levels of thyroid hormones in your body. Our Basic Thyroid Profile Kit combines four of the most clinically useful thyroid function tests and allows you to complete the sample collection process in the comfort and privacy of your home.
Our Comprehensive Iodine Thyroid Profile can help by helping you understand the impact of iodine on thyroid health, and lead you towards solutions for any issues that the test might identify.
Take Control of Your Thyroid Today
Once you've confirmed that your thyroid is the culprit, you can start making positive changes in your life that will bring your body back into balance and decrease or completely eliminate the symptoms that have been holding you back.
Supplements for Thyroid Health
With the help of a health care practitioner who is open to working with natural therapies, it is quite possible for thyroid imbalance sufferers to use supplements to ease their symptoms and eventually restore balance to their bodies. Not all supplements are for everyone, and some may interact with medications you are currently taking. This is why we advocate working with a health care practitioner rather than on your own. Supplements can be enormously beneficial, and their power should not be ignored. Rather, that power should be treated with respect. You should always consult a health care provider before embarking on a new program of supplementation.
Thyroid medications have been a go-to for thyroid patients for many years. Synthetic thyroid medications have been most popular among medical professionals and include brand names like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, and Unithroid to name a few.
If you and your healthcare provider determine that medication will be the best route for you to take, ask them about these medications, as well as other options including combinations of individual thyroid hormones, and the combination of thyroid medications with natural supplement therapies.
Thyroid-Friendly Lifestyle Changes
There are plenty of things that you can do on your own to help your body regain its balance and nurture your thyroid in the process. Diet is very important to thyroid function, and you can see positive results simply by changing a few of the foods you eat and adding in a couple of thyroid-friendly choices along the way.
Exercise is also an option for those suffering from a thyroid imbalance. Certain styles of yoga, particularly those with inverted postures such as hatha yoga which features the simple inverted, shoulder stand, and plow poses, are known to be especially helpful. Yoga and other low-impact, flexibility-based exercises have been known to help stimulate and cleanse the thyroid gland while also encouraging a whole-body hormone balance.