Ohh thyroids… how many of you struggle keeping yours under control?
I have struggled for YEARS with thyroid issues. I mean it… I first started getting testing done at 12 years old because of an enlarged thyroid accompanying symptoms of fatigue and inexplicable weight gain.
So, 28 years of regular testing and almost as long being symptomatic.
How long have I been on medication for Hashimoto's? Only about 10 of those- so, 18 years of doctors knowing my thyroid wasn't working optimally, yet they didn't know how to help me.
Man, if I knew then what I know now.. SOOOO many things might be different in my life. Countless.
I've learned so much from both my own thyroid journey and my studies and experience in healthcare, including HOW MUCH INFORMATION (backed by science, no less) is available. Yet, some of the best doctors out there are clueless.
The #1 thing I want to share with you ladies who may be suffering from thyroid disease is this:
Inflammation, inflammation, inflammation
Inflammation is a primary driver behind a lot of disease, thyroid disease included.
There's so many sources of inflammation in our lives, and we can control a lot of it. Examples of inflammation generators include: diet, stress, sleep patterns, too much/intense exercise, stealth infections, environmental exposures from seasonal allergens to BPA in our plastics, negative self-talk, too much on our to-do lists, relationships, parenting concerns, and on and on.
On the flip side, we can't always control the inflammatory stressors we're exposed to. BUT, we CAN expose our systems to things that counteract the inflammation in your body as well as building the resilience in our bodies to better handle these stressors.
One specific way this impacts our thyroid is to IMPROVE conversion of thyroid hormones from the inactive to the active form. So, if you're body produces enough inactive thyroid hormone, but doesn't convert well to the active form (or maybe it's upregulated and produces too much) you're going to feel pretty lousy.
Vitamin D, selenium, and zinc can boost your thyroid function while promoting a decrease in inflammation.
Foods rich in ginger, turmeric, and omega 3's are great inflammation busters. (Check out some of the recipes on the blog or in my IG and FB feeds for ideas!)
Reduce cortisol (our stress hormone) levels by adding in restorative exercise, meditation, deep breathing, laughing, or other enjoyable and deeply relaxing activities into your day.
Improve your sleep habits to restore sleep quality by turning off your phone or TV sooner and reading a calming book, journaling, or taking a calming bath.
For many women, simply popping a vitamin and adding in whatever yoga class fits in the schedule isn't going to do it because there may be deeper forces at play. Impaired gut health may be a barrier for nutrient absorption, and thus, including enzymes or betaine HCL may be the game changer along with having vitamin D levels checked, for instance.
Also, all yoga is not created equal. If you're always choosing to do an intense ashtanga or vinyasa practice along with your HIIT workouts or running routine, you may not see the full benefit. Consider a yin or restorative class that focuses on slowing down the breath to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which will then suppress those cortisol levels.
Finally, it's not always practical to do ALL of these ALL at ONCE. So, what makes sense for you to start with? What 1 or 2 things can you change to support your thyroid and overall health?
Feel like you've tried it all, but nothing works? Overwhelmed by all of the information out there and don't know where to start? Sometimes a fresh set of eyes on your journey will help you prioritize the things that will make the biggest impact and uncover barriers you didn't realize were there. I'm always here to help. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on IG and FB @mywellnesslove.