The Nutritional Health of your Thyroid

The thyroid gland controls both physical and mental growth. It consists of two lobes at the base of the front of your neck that secrete hormones which control your metabolism — that is, all the processes that result in your growth, energy production and waste elimination. The thyroid gland also prevents the buildup of calcium in your blood. Thus, it’s a very important gland and must neither be underactive or overactive — either condition can result in major problems.

A thyroid gland that is overactive results in hyperthyroidism, a common form of which is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are weight loss, diarrhea, erratic heartbeat, high pulse pressure and tremors.

A thyroid gland that is underactive results in hypothyroidism, a condition associated with increased risk for hypoglycemia, allergies, cancer and heart disease. A few of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are cold hands and feet; weight gain, especially of the upper body; sluggishness; and unusual difficulty when trying to work under pressure.

Although thyroid disorders can occur at any age, the thyroid gland typically weakens as we grow older, and many experts feel its degeneration is at least partly due to nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin, mineral, enzyme imbalances and other nutritional deficiencies accumulate in our bodies over a long period of time — often the result of many years of nutritional abuse such as eating too many refined foods, fats, sugars, etc. and consuming too few fresh foods and too little fiber.

Figuring out how to restore and/or maintain nutritional balance is a very individual problem — we are each biochemically unique and therefore our needs for specific nutrients vary greatly. Also, as we age, body chemistry changes require that we change our approach to nutrition. A diet that might have kept you nutritionally healthy five years ago may not be as effective today. That is why nutritional analysis, such as my symptomatology questionnaire provides, is an important first step in determining the current status of your body’s nutritional health and beginning a customized program to correct your unique nutritional deficiencies.

Diet should be the prime focus of any changes you make. As well, there are vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements and concentrated superfoods that can help you regain your nutritional strength and enhance the health of your thyroid, if that is required. But they must be the right foods and supplements for you — the ones that your body needs. Please note that I do not sell foods, vitamins or any other nutritional products — I provide nutritional analysis and counseling. My recommendations usually include specific foods, vitamins and nutritional supplements that are available from your local suppliers.