Did you know over 15 million Americans are suffering from thyroid problems that go completely undiagnosed? Not only are individuals unaware that their “health problems” are thyroid related, even doctors are in the dark about this collective issue. I am usually not one for statistics; however, these numbers are astonishing. This goes to show how pervasive our unconsciousness and lack of self-awareness has become. We have stopped paying attention to our signals from our loving body. We have cut communication with the most important marriage of all; the marriage of our body and soul.
When our lifestyle starts intervening with this sacred relationship, our thyroid cries out loud with it symptoms. One of the first ways our thyroid communicates this lack of attentiveness is by stripping away our beauty. I’ve always known the body was more intelligent than us; nature is like a intuitive goddess, she knows better. Perhaps if we start seeing our problems in the mirror we’ll begin to take responsibility again for nourishing our sanctified temples.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland that manages our digestion, metabolism and energy. Though a small gland in comparison, it’s power and purpose is not to be reckoned. Many people underestimate the power of their thyroid and are merely concerned with more surface level organs like the skin and eyes. Even those who have been turning their attention their digestive systems with endless colon cleanses, detoxes and probiotics have been overlooking the little gland that governs most of this process. The thyroid releases hormones that “heat” up the body, which stimulate metabolism – the first phase of digestion once food hit the stomach. If the thyroid is under-active, metabolism will be weak or shut-off completely, leading to poor energy, weak digestion and the host of issues that go along with these.
Though we can change our lifestyle to support the health of our thyroid, its critical to remember everything in the body is connected; what is good for the thyroid must be good for the entire body. This is why a holistic approach is so important to adopt when striving for health and beauty. What most people oversea is that what causes the thyroid to function or malfunction are the adrenals. Therefore we must nourish the entire system – especially the adrenals – if we want to heal our thyroid and stay beautiful. This is why most thyroid problems are so similar to adrenal and other stress-related problems; digestive issues, skin problems, hair loss and mood disorders. The thyroid and adrenals (two walnut shaped glands that produce stress-hormones) are partners in many ways. Because a healthy metabolism is dependent on proper cortisol an adrenaline levels, maintaining adrenal health is just as important as nourishing the thyroid. Cortisol and adrenaline are two hormones secreted by the adrenals during times of stress. When we over exercise, over think, under eat, and under sleep we experience what we call “stress”. Because the thyroid is such a faithful partner to it’s beloved adrenals, it responds to its communication with down-regulating metabolism. You see, in this marriage there is no room to believe in lies, their faith can be at times vulnerably. Though we are not really in danger, we trick our adrenals and thyroid into believing so with our poor behaviors and they together, respond to us faithfully. In time, this type of miscommunication robs us of our beauty.
How a sluggish Thyroid robs our beauty
You can see in the list of symptoms that are hair, skin and nails are affected by our thyroid health. If you follow this blog you may have heard me mention multiple times that beauty and health are one. Also, that health is simply nothing than energy. Simply put, if we lack energy, we will not have the ability to repair and grow. Just as it takes energy to work, it takes energy to recover. After a long day of work, if you fail to get adequate rest, you will perform less than par the next day. In the same way, if we fail to cultivate new energy we will not only drag throughout the day, we will not have any left-over energy to grow healthy hair, skin and nails. These things are luxeries according to our body, we must first be healthy, have functioning organs and systems before the body cares to grow skin, hair and nails.
Below I will share a few examples of how our beauty is lost when we do not care for our thyroid. Here are the most common:
- Skin/Hair- Beautiful skin is dependent on a few things; balanced hormones, good digestion, and the correct nutrients and to name the most important. All of these work together to build beautiful skin. When our hormones are not in balance from excessive stress our adrenals overwork causing our thyroid to shut down; as we discussed previously. This is the beginning of skin-problems. Once the hormones are compromised we experience A glycation GE’s or- a process where sugars and proteins cross-link – causing wrinkles and aged skin. The adrenals and thyroid need minerals to thrive and function; however, so does our skin. When we use up those mineral reserves on the adrenals and thyroid, we starve the skin of it’s needed minerals. Then there is weakened digestion. When the thyroid slows down so does the metabolism and digestion. This keeps us from absorbing skin nutrients and also inhibits HCL (stomach acid) which is needed to break down silica and protein; both essential for health skin and hair. If our digestive system continues to be compromised it can lead to long-term nutrient deficiencies and even yeast infection. These issues will definitely rob our beauty!
- Weight/Body Shape- Ideal weight is usually synonymous with what we call “beauty”. I want to first say this…forget what you believe you should weigh in order to consider yourself beautiful. Rather than being obsessed with a number, I say focus on body-shape. It’s easy to get caught in a vanity trap and actually cause more thyroid damage by trying to stay sickeninly lean. Starving yourself for the sake of weight-loss can result in not only damaging your health but ironically enough cause other vanity problems; dry skin, hair loss, and mood disorders. Beauty is a state of mind, don’t lose your inner beauty getting caught up in your weight. This being said, do not confuse self-love with condoning unhealthy weight-gain; this has consequences just as bad as being underweight. There is a big difference between obesity and having a heavier build; that is one of health. One way thyroid related weight gain occurs is by the decreased activity of the metabolism. This is usually a result of adrenal fatigue. When we are stressed and depleted our bodies literally become catabolic- meaning they break themselves down. The thyroid then down-regulates metabolism to slow down this catabolism. The least scientific description of metabolism is that its function is to gain energy from food. It’s one thing when our adrenals become weak but we slow our metabolism, now we slow our oxygen and energy up-take from food. We become weak, tired and lethargic. It’s hard to be beautiful and beaming with life when we feel this way. In result, we gain weight mostly as toxic residue from a malfunctioning digestive system. Our muscles literally breakdown, which makes it that much easier for our bodies to store fat. In conclusion, we become chronically fatigued, weak and disproportionate.
Becoming Beautiful Again: How to Nourish the Thyroid
1. Care for your Adrenals- As you’ve learend, you have to care ffor the adrenals to heal the thyroid. The best things you could do for your adrenals would be:
- Remove: caffeine, gluten, sugar, processed foods, and and difficult to digest foods
- Diet: minimize animal protein to 20% and 80% non-starchy vegetables
- Consume a lot of Food Grade Vitamin C; Lemons are a great source, also unsweetened cranberry and black current juice.
- Drink probiotic liquids to heal the gut
- Eat cultured vegetables; rich in Vitamin C.
- Take a fulvic/humic mineral supplement 3x daily
- Take adaptogenic herbs like: Eleuthero, Licorice Root, Reishi, Bupleurum & Dragon Bone
- Meditate: read, write, walk, play in nature, sit by water, listen to peaceful music, yoga, deep breathing, laugh, anything that quiets the mind and brings back presence.
2. Get Your Omega’s (Healthy Fats)- Dietary wise, adding healthy fats is one of the most important elements (other than removing the previously mentioned culprits of course). Fat is key to building and balancing hormones – given the thyroid is part of the hormonal system – it only makes sense that a diet rich in the raw material for healthy hormones is necessary. The best fats for the thyroid would be:
- Coconut oil/butter/raw cream
- Grass-fed Ghee
- Stone-pressed Olive Oil
- MCT Oil
- Organic Full-fat Grass-fed Dairy (raw); butter, cream and kefir are all great options!
- Pastured-raised egg yolks
- Soaked Chia seeds
- Raw Hemp Seeds
3. Change Your Workouts- There is such thing as overtraining. For the individuals that are overly stressed from finances, relationships or any other emotional stress it would be an unhealthy idea to do CrossFit or spend your time competing in marathons. Working out is a stress, if you have enough stress in your life, you would only be abusing your thyroid more leading to increased aging (think of how aged marathon runners look compared to sprinters). If your thyroid is not healthy your body is already catabolic, working out is catabolic and will create further imbalance. Instead, focus on shorter workouts that build and restore like HIIT training or energy building exercises like yoga, walking, Thai Chi or Qi Gong. Remember, the goal is not weight-loss, it is ideal weight through healthy body-shape. Choose exercises that strengthen and balance you.
The take home message is just a friendly reminder that health and beauty are one. This information is here to show you how connected and intelligent our body truly is. Learn to pay attention to its signals so you can strengthen your relationship with her and she will reward you with beauty.
I would appreciate your insights! Do any of you experience thyroid related health issues? How has it brought new awareness to your lifestyle?