Underactive Thyroid and Nutritional Deficiencies

An underactive thyroid gland is becoming a common problem for many people these days simply because they aren't able to get all the nutrients from their diet that their thyroid gland requires.

The thyroid gland is a master regulatory gland. It controls the functioning and growth of many tissues in the human body. Furthermore, its function is intimately related to other organs and systems of the body as well including, the nervous system, immune system, and adrenal glands. Since it plays such an important role it requires a wide range of nutrients.

Why you may have thyroid problems

There are several reason why you may not be getting all the nutrients your body, resulting in an underactive thyroid. These include: poor diet, unstable blood sugar levels, hormone imbalances, inflammation, environmental toxins, heavy metals, stress, gut problems, lifestyle factors, etc.

Underactive Thyroid

Of course, all of these areas need to be addressed if proper thyroid function is desired. However, these are beyond the scope of this article. If you would like more information on how to address these issues, please read the additional thyroid articles at the bottom of this page.

There are several steps you can take to ensure that you optimise your thyroid gland's functioning and therefore, avoid thyroid disease. The most important step is to simply provide your thyroid gland with all the nutrients it needs.

There are many pathways involved in thyroid hormone production and each pathway requires a range of nutrients. Even if one of these nutrients is lacking in your body your thyroid gland won't function as well as it should and low thyroid symptoms may result.

Thyroid hormone production

In order to produce thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland your body primarily requires tyrosine and iodine. Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid, which means it may be manufactured from other amino acids in the body if it's levels are low. Iodine, on the other hand, is a mineral that is said to be deficient in up to three quarters of the population!

There are a number of reasons why this may be the case. Firstly, iodine is a relatively rare element on the land but is abundant in the oceans. Therefore, people who rarely consume seafood or sea vegetables are highly likely to be deficient in iodine.

Furthermore, people are generally consuming less salt these days in order to help lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart disease. Unfortunately though, by doing so they are also reducing their iodine intake since iodised salt was the major source of iodine in many parts of the world. To make matters worse, salt manufacturers are using as much less iodine when making the salt compared to what they used to!

Environmental toxins and chemicals have also played a role in limiting iodine absorption and utilisation by the body, particularly the halides such as chlorine and bromine, which have become ubiquitous in society today. This may lead to a range of thyroid problems and ultimately an underactive thyroid.

Conversion of T4 into T3

T3 (tri-iodothyronine) is the 'active' thyroid hormone whilst T4 (thyroxine) is the 'inactive' form. Most of the thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland is T4 (approximately 80%) with approximately 20% being T3.

Then, as the T4 circulates around the body it may be converted into T3 as need be. This occurs primarily in the liver and kidneys. In order for this process to occur efficiently the body requires selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate and vitamin C. Deficiencies in any of these nutrients will negatively affect this process resulting in an underactive thyroid as well as resulting in more T4 being converted into rT3 (reverse T3), which has the effect of blocking T3 receptors on cell membranes!

How to provide your body with the 'thyroid nutrients'

One of the best ways to ensure you obtain all of the essential nutrients your require in order to optimise your thyroid function is to do the following:
  • Eat organic food where possible.

  • Eat more alkalising foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs, unrefined oils, etc.)

  • Consume slightly more protein (BCN's ProBlend Dairy Free is an easy way to increase your protein intake).

  • Reduce your intake of gluten-containing foods, i.e. wheat and wheat flour, rye, spelt, semolina, couscous and durum flour (because they block the absorption of certain nutrients like B12).

  • Avoid eating goitrogenic foods in their raw state, i.e. peanuts, cabbage, kale, sweet potatoes, soy beans, kelp, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and turnips (because they inhibit the uptake of iodine).

  • Supplement your diet with the essential nutrients (BCN's Thyron contains all of the required nutrients for optimising your thyroid's functioning).
  • For more detailed information on what to eat and what to avoid in order to optimise your thyroid's functioning and avoid getting an underactive thyroid, please read my article titled, The Ideal Thyroid Diet For You! Also, if you would like a sample Thyroid Diet, Click Here!

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    Here is the complete list of thyroid articles:

    Can You Get Off Thyroid Medication?

    T3 and T4 Thyroid Hormones

    Thyroid Disease Caused By Inflammation

    5 Common Thyroid Problems

    The Ideal Thyroid Diet For You

    Thyroid Diet Foods and Nutrients

    The Importance of a Healthy Thyroid Gland

    What Causes Thyroid Disease Symptoms?

    Do You Have Low Thyroid Symptoms?

    Alternative Thyroid Treatments

    How Stress Affects Your Thyroid

    What is Hashimoto Thyroiditis?

    Reverse T3- The Hidden Cause of Thyroid Problems

    Should You Use a Thyroid Supplement?

    The Causes of Thyroid Problems

    Underactive Thyroid and Nutritional Deficiencies

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