Thyroid Health

Whether your thyroid is over or under-active the following are nutrients that help to balance and support us for a healthy thyroid.  This is part of the principals of ph360.

Thyroid, Iodine, Selenium and Zinc

We hear so much about the thyroid these days, and it seems to be attributed to people feeling tired, depressed, anxious and any number of other symptoms and supposed causes.  Lets look at some of the suggested causes of thyroid issues.

Iodine:  Iodine is a trace mineral most of which is converted into iodide in the body.  It aids in the development and functioning of the thyroid gland and is an integral part of thyroxine (a principal hormone produced by the thyroid gland). Iodine plays an important role in regulating the body’s production of energy, promotes growth and development and stimulates the rate of metabolism, helping the body burn excess fat.  The conversion of carotene to vitamin A, the synthesis of protein by ribosomes, the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine all work more efficiently when thyroxine production is normal.

We don’t need a lot of iodine in a lifetime, but we do need to have it in place to protect the thyroid from picking up radioactive iodine, which will be attracted to the thyroid if it is low in natural iodine.  The reasons we could be low in iodine: people live in a part of the world with low levels of iodine in the soil or their water source is low in trace minerals; people eating high amounts of refined foods that lose their iodine content during refinement; refined sugar has no iodine.  Also people eating a lot of raw foods such as cabbage and nuts in excess can interfere with the utilization of iodine.

Being low in iodine can contribute to slow thinking or a foggy brain, speech problems, high cholesterol, lethargy, fatigue, depression, weight gain, and goiter, a swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck.  Be aware that too much and too little iodine can cause hypothyroidism.

In your entire lifetime you will need less than a teaspoon of iodine to ensure good health, however, since it is dangerous to consume that much iodine at once, it is best to eat a little each day. You only need 150 micrograms (mcg, µg), or 20,000th of a teaspoon, to meet your daily requirement.    Linus Pauling Institute

Iodine is a part of almost every living plant and animal. Iodine concentrations vary across the world and there is no standard measurement of it in food.  In general, foods from the sea contain the most iodine, followed by animal foods, then plant foods. Fish seafood is not the most available source of iodine.

Of all foods, seaweed (like kelp), is the most well known and reliable source of natural iodine and contains a fairly high percentage of it.  Cod is a good source, as is a baked potato with the peel.  Shrimp and turkey breast have a similar amount in them and navy beans are close behind.  Tuna canned in oil does contain iodine, generally, in smaller amounts and a boiled egg will contain an even smaller content.

Some countries, like the U.S., show risk from excess iodine intake that suggests over consumption of foods fortified in iodine, like salt.  Risks of high iodine intake include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and goiter. Really acute iodine poisoning can lead to burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weak pulse, and even coma.

Other causes of hypothyroidism include: Hashimoto’s disease, thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid), congenital hypothyroidism, surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid, radiation treatment of the thyroid, and some medications.   Only consume iodine in moderate amounts to maintain a proper level and use a natural source such as seaweed versus using iodine drops.

Selenium:  If your level of selenium is low, your thyroid will have to do its best by working harder to make its hormones, and your body will also have a more difficult job changing those hormones into a form your cells can use.  Selenium is a chief component of the molecules that are necessary for your body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones.

These molecules:

  • directly regulate thyroid hormone production
  • support the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3).
  • protect the thyroid tissues whenever it is affected by stress – this happens almost constantly these days, and selenium may help protect against free radical damage and cancer as well.

One can experience pain in the muscles and joints, unhealthy hair, and white spots on the fingernails if there is a deficiency in selenium. If it has been long term it may lead to the above-mentioned Hashimoto’s disease, a condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid.

Selenium excess can lead to bad breath, diarrhea, and even hair loss.  The amount of selenium in the soil varies depending on how it was produced/grown/raised.

Foods containing selenium:  Brazil nuts are quite high in selenium.  To a much lesser degree you can find it in cashews and macadamia nuts.  Seafood is very high in selenium: oysters, mussels, octopus, clams, squid, shrimp, tuna, rockfish, swordfish, halibut, tilapia, mackerel and snapper to name a few at the top.

Sunflower seeds have a good portion of selenium in them and to a lesser degree chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds and some in pumpkin and squash seeds.

Beef, lamb, chicken and turkey contain selenium as do mushrooms (crimini, shitake, portabella and white), rye, brown rice, pearl barley, oatmeal and quinoa.

Zinc:  Zinc deficiency is also associated to the condition of hypothyroidism.  Zinc is an essential mineral.  The body requires zinc for maintaining a sense of smell, keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. Zinc also helps the cells in your body communicate by functioning as a neurotransmitter. A deficiency in zinc can lead to stunted growth, diarrhea, impotence, hair loss, eye and skin lesions, impaired appetite, and depressed immunity. Conversely, consuming too much zinc can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches in the short term, and can disrupt absorption of copper and iron in the long term.

Foods that contain zinc are:  cooked oysters, beef and lamb, toasted wheat germ, and much lower but present in spinach, amaranth leaves cooked, endive and radicchio raw.

Pumpkin and squash seeds are a good source and sunflower, chia, flaxseed have some, as do cashews.  To a lesser degree pine nuts, pecans, almond, walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts have zinc in this order.

Cacao and dark baking chocolate contain a good portion of zinc.  Chicken is also high in zinc.  Baked beans, adzuki, cooked mung beans, chickpea and kidney beans are good.  Also cooked white mushrooms, cooked napa cabbage, palm hearts, fireweed sprouts, lemon grass (citronella), sundried tomatoes, wasabi root, lentil sprouts cooked, shitake mushrooms, green peas are sources for zinc.

The fruit containing zinc: dried apricots, dried peaches, prunes, avocado and dried bananas are a source.

Does this read like your food list?  Did you realize all the benefits present in the foods you are eating?  Eating these foods helps the thyroid and helps support hormone health, your immune system and all the functions these key ingredients perform help you to return to and maintain balance.  So know that ph360 has taken all this into account when assigning specific foods to you, to help you achieve harmony and balance outside and in.  It is all present and accounted for – you don’t have to guess or ponder on what to do.  This helps us see the advantages to many of the foods on our lists and also why things will rotate and change.  Rotation is important for balance.  Remember, too much of a good thing can spoil the pot (belly?)  LOL

Diannah Benson, Bracebridge, Ontario

Certified BodyTalk Practitioner, 

Certified Access Trainer, Holistic Nutritional Consultant, 

Certified Reflexologist and Aromatherapist

BodyTalk ‘Access’ Course

705 646 1436

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