Are you suffering from chronic fatigue, mood swings, gut issues, or you can’t seem to lose weight regardless of how much you exercise or eat right? It could be your thyroid to blame.
January is thyroid awareness month and because nearly 8% of the population suffers from low thyroid symptoms, I think this is a good time to talk about it! And while we may not think 8% is a lot, that’s 576 million people diagnosed with low thyroid and I dare to imagine how many people are suffering but haven’t been diagnosed! Scary to say the least!
Did you know your thyroid is responsible for your metabolism and energy? So if your thyroid is a bit helter-skelter, then it stands to reason that your metabolism and energy levels will also be helter-skelter as well.
In other words, it’s our thyroid that makes the world go round!
What is a Thyroid?
Who knew this little butterfly gland that sits so comfortably in your neck could be in charge of such a big responsibilities!
Your thyroid secretes two hormones, T3 and T4 that circulate to every tissue in our body for a sundry of uses including metabolism and energy, temperature regulation (are you cold all. the. time?), and can even regulate how well your gut is performing.
In today’s post, I specifically want to talk about having a “low thyroid” or underactive thyroid or medically termed, hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is not producing enough of those two hormones to keep your body functioning like it should. Research shows that the leading cause of low functioning thyroid is auto-immune or Hashimoto’s Disease.
So what exactly is an auto-immune disorder? Auto-immune in layman’s terms is simply when the body attacks itself thinking it’s being invaded or it has something wrong with it. Now bear in mind, your body is doing its job–>the immune system is in high gear trying to protect you. But the trouble is, it doesn’t know the difference in harmful tissue and healthy tissue. And all the while you may be screaming, “Hey, it’s me! I’m the good guy!” But your immune system keeps fighting, calling out more and more troops to battle and the war continues to rage inside your body. And in the case of Hashimoto’s Disease, the attack is against your thyroid gland…and this attack stops the production of those much-needed thyroid hormones.
Signs and Symptoms of having a low functioning thyroid include:
- chronic fatigue
- excessive sleep
- brain fog
- hair loss
- dry skin
- inability to lose weight or weight gain (regardless of your efforts)
- cold-natured (excessively)
- depression and/or mood swings
When your thyroid levels are slow, just think about everything in your body is slowed down. I liken your thyroid function to a gas pedal. Pedal to the metal? Then everything is racing (your heart rate, your energy, you may be skinny as a rail regardless of what you eat, and you may have diarrhea). But if there’s no pressure on the gas pedal, then everything is just the opposite and slowed down. Get it?
So if your low thyroid is caused from an auto-immune response (remember how the body is attacking itself?), you must first understand WHY is that happening in the first place. You must get to the bottom of what’s causing the attack or why your body is calling on all of the defense department to attack your healthy thyroid.
These are the top triggers that stimulate your immune system to attack:
- Food (including insulin resistance and high blood sugar)
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Gut health
- Estrogen Imbalances
- Environmental exposures
So think about it: Whatever your trigger is sets off the immune response — (cytokine is called upon-he’s the head guy who signals the troops) — inflammatory reaction occurs and targets the thyroid > thyroid hormone production ceases > you now have symptoms of low thyroid.
In Part 2 of my thyroid health series, I’ll go into more detail on those triggers and how you can avoid them, along with options for creating an optimally functioning thyroid! Woop!
Do you have symptoms of hypothyroid?