I was recently diagnosed with Hypothyroid. This means that my thyroid is under producing hormones for my body.
Let me tell you, when I heard I was going to need a prescription for this, I had visions of a not to distant future where I have a shelf full of pill bottles and a S-M-T-W-Th-F-S pill box ready to rock and roll. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I did have this dread of yet another example of old age setting in. Not to mention anxiety about how we would cover my newly acquired lifetime medication when we move to our homestead (still haven’t figured that one out yet).
But I hit this obstacle like I do just about everything and began to research. Here are some things I found out.
Thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating numerous functions throughout the body. When the thyroid produces to little (or to much – Hyperthyroid) hormones it has many repercussions in the body and manifests in many seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Symptoms of Hypothyroid (and do I have this?)
- Fatigue (yes)
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin (yes)
- Unexplained weight gain
- Puffy face (maybe?)
- Muscle weakness (yes)
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches and pain
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints (yes)
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair (yes)
- Slower heart rate
- Depressed mood (yes)
- Impaired memory (yes)
- Impaired concentration (yes)
- Low libido (yes)
- Fluid retention (yes)
- Frequent headaches (yes)
Some Ways to Support a Healthy Thyroid
- Cut out gluten: “The molecular composition of thyroid tissue is almost identical to that of gluten…Eating gluten can increase the autoimmune attack on your thyroid.”
- Avoid other food sensitivities as these cause your thyroid to work harder.
- Watch intake of micro-nutrients: You may not have enough vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, copper, vitamin A, the B vitamins, and iodine (sometimes).
- Eat plenty of protein and fat: “Protein transports thyroid hormone to all your tissues and enjoying it at each meal can help normalize thyroid function… Fat is your friend and cholesterol is the precursor to hormonal pathways; if you’re getting insufficient fat and cholesterol, you could be exacerbating hormonal imbalance, which includes thyroid hormones.”
I learned that I had no idea all the things that could go wrong in your body if your thyroid isn’t functioning properly. Not the least of which is weight gain, like I needed help there. Plus, this is something that cannot be fixed. You can’t “heal” your thyroid and make it work properly again. You can adjust your diet so it hopefully doesn’t get worse and you can take prescription hormone pills for the rest of your life. That’s it.
Even the “treat your hypothyroidism naturally” websites say nothing about a cure, because there is none. I am all for natural treatments when it will work. But so far, I have found nothing that will actually substitute for the hormones I am missing. Without these hormones my pituitary is working overtime creating thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) designed to try and force my thyroid to work harder. Vicious cycle. TSH works on many receptors in the body including adipose cells (fat) and an elevated level of TSH causes weight gain and/or an inability to lose weight.
So, my plan is pretty straight forward. I need to really focus on gluten free eating. I know I posted several paleo foods here before, but I lost my paleo discipline a few weeks ago on our last trip out to the property when I didn’t have enough planning time. I need to get back on track, and I am focusing on gluten for now, and getting plenty of healthy fats and proteins.
I am also, once again, working on losing weight. I am hoping by taking my hormones and watching my diet, that I will finally be able to lose the weight a bit easier than I have in the past.
For future use, I am collecting information for more in depth natural treatments in the event I can no longer get commercially made hormones. If that happens, I want to at least try and reduce the rate of degradation of my thyroid gland as much as possible.
In the mean time, taking my new meds has proven to be an adventure in timing. I can’t eat anything within 1 hour of my pill and I can’t consume anything with calcium, iron, or fiber within 4 hours of taking my pill. So I am getting up at 3:30 am to take my pill, and going back to bed so I can wake up at 6:00 am to start my day. That way I can eat breakfast at 7:30-ish. So far that has been working pretty good.
If you have any thoughts, tips, or better research, please post in comments below. This is another new step in my life, so I appreciate your support.