You could be suffering from thyroid problems and not even know it.
For instance, if you exercise and follow a healthy diet but just can’t seem to lose that extra weight, your thyroid could be to blame.
Some studies show that up to 67 percent of American adults with no symptoms at all have suboptimal thyroid function.
So, what are the symptoms associated with low thyroid levels and how do you know if you have a problem?
In addition to unexplained weight gain, other signs your thyroid is faltering include cold hands and feet, dry skin, thinning hair, intolerance of cold, anxiety, depression and even brain fog
However, all too often the routine blood tests fail to detect a significant percentage of low thyroid cases.
You may have already seen your doctor and been told your labs are normal and all the while, you are suffering.
Lack of standardization leaves you out in the cold
That’s because most doctors today diagnose thyroid disorders by doing a simple blood test to check levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
The problem is that there is no standardization for treatment.
Many doctors are still using the old standard and only consider a TSH level over 5 mlU/L worthy of treatment. But, this isn’t accurate, according to research.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology currently recommends treatment for anyone over 4.1. And, interestingly, back in 2002 they made a statement recommending a limit of 3mlU/L.
While the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry has recommended beginning treatment at 2.5.
It’s easy to see how thyroid patients are left out in the cold, wondering if they will ever find help.
Natural thyroid protection
Iodine, found in sea vegetables and other food sources, could be your best weapon against thyroid dysfunction.
That’s because it is essential for healthy thyroid function and efficient metabolism.
In fact, your thyroid gland uses iodine from your diet to make the thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency can even lead to enlargement of your thyroid, called a goiter. And, your thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that can absorb iodine.
So, considering how important iodine is to your thyroid function, what’s the best way to incorporate it into your daily diet?
The best food sources of iodine include:
- Sea Vegetables — The highest levels of iodine are found in sea vegetables, like Kelp, Arame, Hiziki, Kombu, and Wakame. Kelp offers the most iodine of any food on the planet and just one serving provides four times your daily minimum requirement.
- Cranberries — This antioxidant-rich fruit is another great source of iodine. About 4 ounces of cranberries contain approximately 400 mcg of iodine.
- Raw Milk — Four ounces of milk provides over 28 mcg of iodine.
- Eggs — With 27 mcg of iodine in just one egg, these are a wonderful source of the vital nutrient.
- Organic Yogurt — A natural probiotic, yogurt is an excellent iodine food you should add to your diet. One serving holds more than half of your daily needs at 90 mcg.
- Beans — Many beans are a great food source of iodine and navy beans are at the top of the list. Just 1/2 cup of these beans contains about 32 mcg of iodine.
But as we age, it’s harder for the body to metabolize iodine. Some foods can further interfere with how your body absorbs it, so it’s possible you may need to supplement it. Other nutrients that you should consider supplementing that boost thyroid health include:
- L-Tyrosine — This powerful amino acid partners with iodine to create T3 and T4 hormones needed to help efficiently metabolize calories for weight maintenance.
- Selenium — This naturally-occurring trace mineral helps convert relatively inactive T4s to the active thyroid hormone T3. Plus, its antioxidant properties help regulate free radicals.
- Zinc — This essential mineral helps convert the T4 hormone to the more active T3, which helps support a healthy metabolism. It also releases vitamin A stored in the liver to help support a healthy thyroid.
- Copper — This trace mineral is important for healthy thyroid function. It helps stimulate the thyroid and protect the body from too much thyroxine building up in the blood.
Thyroid gland: US screening in a random adult population. — Radiological Society of North America
Thyroid Incidentalomas: Management Approaches to Nonpalpable Nodules Discovered Incidentally on Thyroid Imaging — Annals of Internal Medicine
How Your Thyroid Works — EndocrineWeb
Iodine — The George Mateljan Foundation