Understanding Your Thyroid: How Acupuncture and Other Natural Treatment Can Help
After months of steady weight gain, forgetting why you walked in to a room, and soul-crushing fatigue, you may be relieved to finally figure out it’s your thyroid. At least you know WHY all this is going on.
With hypothyroid, your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is high, meaning your pituitary gland is trying really hard to get your thyroid to work, and the thyroid hormones are low.
With hyperthyroid, it’s the reverse; your TSH is very low and the thyroid hormone levels are high.
Hashimoto’s disease is similar symptom-wise to hypothyroidism, with the addition of autoimmune markers.
Grave’s disease has similar symptoms to hyperthyroidism, also with the involvement of the immune system.
HYPOTHYROID OR HASHIMOTO’S
HYPERTHYROID OR GRAVE’S
|low energy||low energy but also restless|
|depression||anxiety and trouble sleeping|
|weight gain||weight loss|
|constipation||diarrhea and frequent bowel movements|
|feeling cold (basal body temp less than 97.4)||feeling warm|
|dry skin, puffy face, hair loss||irregular heartbeat, tremors|
|fertility problems, muscular weakness||fertility problems, muscular weakness|
In my natural healthcare clinic, I see the root causes of thyroid problems often are related to stress, nutritional imbalances, and immune factors. These were apparent in my own bout with hypothyroidism, from which I've successfully recovered without the use of medication.
The Effects of Stress on Your Thyroid
Stress can do a number on your hormones. Emotional stress is just part of it. Initially, stress activates the release of hormones from your adrenal glands, which tie closely in with your thyroid and pituitary glands. If the stress isn't soon regulated, any part of the thyroid-adrenal-pituitary axis can be thrown out of whack.
Often, adrenal fatigue is misdiagnosed for low thyroid function since the symptoms are virtually identical. I see patients come in with all the symptoms of low thyroid, telling me that their doctor says their thyroid is "fine."
The Role of Nutrition
Trace minerals like selenium, zinc, and iodine are essential for hormone health. Your thyroid NEEDS iodine to function; eat seaweed or take herbs like Ashwaganda to optimize this mineral.
Vitamin E and F – essential fatty acids found in whole grains, fish, seeds, nuts, avocado, eggs, wheat germ oil, and olive oil are essential for thyroid function. Vitamin F is part of the Vitamin E complex that helps with hormone regulation. Deficiencies will lead to thyroid malfunction, skin problems, and infertility.
Reduce or eliminate if possible, especially wheat and white flour products. Many people have undiagnosed gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Even if you don't, the glyphosphate in nonorganic wheat products (including and especially "white flour" products), interferes with iodine absorption.
Gluten, especially in the refined "white" state; sugar; and refined, ultraprocessed dairy will cause excess mucous to build up in your small intestine. Too much mucous here interferes with mineral (like iodine) absorption.
How Pathogens Affect Your Thyroid
Covert pathogens like Borrelia, Epstein-Barr, Candida Albicans and others, often play into auto-immune conditions like Grave's and Hashimoto's.
Pathogens can be addressed through herbal therapy.
Normal thyroid conditions may take up to 3 months to correct with the help of a natural healthcare practitioner.
Autoimmune thyroid condition will take longer. These pathogens are adept at hiding from your immune system. But don't give up hope, it will get better gradually over time with the right nutritional and herbal therapies.
Acupuncture is an amazing way to support your endocrine system, especially your stress response, and should be included in the treatment protocol.
Toxicity and Your Thyroid
Toxins – heavy metal toxins like Aluminum, Lead, and Cadmium - are found in almost everyone. If your body has either a hard time eliminating toxins or an excessive toxic load to efficiently remove on its own, they may attach to your thyroid cells and cause interference. Herbs and natural supplements can effectively support your body’s ability to detox.
As your thyroid heals, your need for medications will reduce, so work with your doctor when this happens.
Thyroid Back to Normal
“Since I first came to the NHC of Austin 3 years ago, Nicole has become my ‘primary care’ practitioner. More recently, though, through food education and treatments targeting hypothyroidism, I’ve gotten completely off all prescription medication for over a year. Thank you Nicole for giving me my health back.” ~Beth
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