The thyroid is a gland located at the base of the neck. It is sometimes called the “conductor of the body” because the hormones it releases are involved in regulating metabolism, but also in heart, digestive and muscular functions, bone health, the health of the integuments (skin, hair, nails) or even brain development. Clearly, an imbalance in its functions can cause many problems.
Here are some tips on how to take care of this precious gland.
1- Avoid overexposure to thyroid disruptors
The thyroid needs iodine to produce its hormones. But it also has an affinity for other compounds in the halogen family such as chlorine, fluorine and bromine which can take the place of iodine on its receptors and therefore disrupt hormone production.
Other compounds such as phthalates, heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic…), parabens or triclosan will have a harmful effect, to varying degrees, on hormone synthesis. We are currently bombarded with chemicals through the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we ingest, the plastic or other wrappings that package this food, the hygiene products we put on our skin and even the clothes we wear! We all agree that it is difficult to “turn off all the taps” of chemical pollution but, as I often say to my clients, less is always more. To start taking some of this molecular weight off your shoulders, I would suggest that you start by :
- Filtering the water you drink and possibly the water you shower with.
- Eating organic food.
- Avoiding storing or heating your food and drink in plastic containers.
- Use natural cosmetics and hygiene products as much as possible, with a shortened list of ingredients that you understand!
- Use natural household cleaning products. You’ll see that with just a little vinegar and a little cow, a world will open up for you!
2- Fill up on nutrients and vitamins
The thyroid (and it’s not the only one) is very sensitive to lack of nutrient intake. I invite you to consider several factors:
- Soils are depleted by years of intensive farming so food is less nutritious today than it was 50 years ago
- Food is not always optimal with ultra-processed foods that are empty of good nutrients
- Stress increases needs… Who can honestly say today that they don’t experience stress?
- Harsh winters also increase needs
- A poorly functioning digestive system means that we don’t always absorb what we eat properly
In short, you can easily lack, without even noticing it, these very small molecules that are essential to your well-being.
So include enough seafood in your diet to ensure a supply of iodine and to fill up on minerals. Give preference to small oily fish (mackerel, anchovies,
sardines) and seafood (prawns, oysters, clams, etc.)
And above all, eat the real thing! Spoil yourself by taking the time to cook meals made from simple and tasty ingredients, from animals fed and raised according to ancestral techniques, from plants germinated in the wild, and from a variety of other ingredients.
germinated and fermented plants….
Getting back to the thyroid, iron, zinc and selenium are essential for hormone production. They are involved in the conversion of T4 to T3 and in the enzymatic activity.
enzymatic activity. Both T4 and T3 are produced by your thyroid gland, but T3 is produced in very small quantities because it is mainly produced by the loss of an iodine atom by T4.
Zinc deficiency is very common today. This can be explained by the fact that zinc is a universal chelator of heavy metals. Our daily exposure to these substances
Our daily exposure to these substances increases our need for zinc. Zinc is mainly found in animal products. On the plant side, a certain amount is also found in pumpkin seeds.
Eating 2 to 3 Brazil nuts a day would prevent selenium deficiency. This is not always guaranteed and depends on how well you absorb the food you eat.
In menstruating women, iron is an important issue and a low ferritin level does not guarantee optimal thyroid function. It is preferable to have it around 90 ng/ml.
Beware also of vegetarian and vegan diets, the phytates contained in plants interfere with the proper absorption of iron and zinc and you are therefore more likely to
If you eat little or no animal products, you are more likely to be deficient in iron and zinc. Balancing minerals, vitamins and trace elements depends on many factors and it is wise to seek advice from
a registered naturopath to make sure you don’t miss anything!
3- Pamper your liver and intestines.
The transformation of T4 into T3 takes place mainly in the liver and intestines. A reduced vitality of these organs could lead to a T3 deficit. Avoid what could harm them (alcohol, coffee, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, overcooked foods…) and increase what they like (vegetables, bitter foods, good fats and good sources of protein).
4- Watch your stress!
Without going into detail, I couldn’t ignore this very important factor that has an impact on your overall health. At the level of the thyroid, chronic stress impacts the conversion to
active hormone and would favour the conversion to the reverse T3, which is inactive.
As a person who is very stressed in life, I like to recommend breathing exercises such as cardiac coherence to my clients. To help your nervous system, think magnesium too! It is found in leafy green vegetables and in nettle, which has long been my favourite herbal tea.
Please note that naturopathy in no way replaces conventional medicine and that this advice does not replace the advice of your doctor.
Naturopath ND.A, former AMCC’s student