A few weeks ago, I indulged in one of my addictions, which is shopping online for beauty and health products on my favorite site, Lucky Vitamin. I put one of my “can’t do without” products in my cart only to find out a week later it was on back order. As of this writing, it’s still not arrived, but I think I figured out why. But before I figured this out, I searched online and found other online stores were also completely out! What I discovered was people have been buying excess amounts of iodine due to the recent earthquake in Fukushima, Japan. If you’ve been keeping up in the news, you know the earthquake affected a nuclear power plant which released massive amounts of radiation into the area. Iodine prevents the thyroid from absorbing radiation and can even prevent future thyroid cancer. People in Japan and on the West Coast of the US decided to turn to potassium iodide (a.ka. iodine) for protection. I’ve been taking this miracle substance for a while and was lucky enough to find two bottles at my local nutrition store. I’m glad I called and begged the guy to put them on hold for me! So why do I take iodine?
For years I had a problem with my weight and never thought my thyroid was the culprit. More recently, I began experiencing dry skin, hair loss and bouts with depression. Have you ever been unhappy and just couldn’t figure out why? That was me and I found out exactly why. I went to a local naturopath and had a Bio-meridian assessment. BMA measures the body’s energy meridians and is able to provide feedback on organs and nutritional deficiencies. My practitioner told me my thyroid was out of whack. As you can see, this was not only affecting weight loss, but also my external appearance. If you’re feeling some of the same symptoms I did, chances are it could be thyroid related…so do you know if you’re thyroid is slow or fast and how can you tell?
Hypothyroidism Cause and Treatment
What I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I didn’t understand what it was. Hypothyroidism means your thyroid is not making enough hormone…in other words, low thyroid function. Why is this important? The thyroid runs the body’s metabolism…if your metabolism is running slow (and you have difficulty losing weight) then you may have hypothyroidism. Over 10 million Americans and as many as 10% of women may be suffering with this issue and not even know it. Hypothyroidism is caused by an inflammation of the thyroid gland. This inflammation damages cells which prevents them from making sufficient hormones. If you have thyroid problems in your family, it may be hereditary, but I tend to believe environmental factors play a larger role.
Some of the symptoms you may experience if you suffer from hypothyroidism are:
- Coarse, dry hair
- Dry, pale skin
- Irritability (I definitely had that one!)
I felt all of these and believe me, I felt hopeless nothing would help me overcome them. Besides the depression, one of the worst effects was the hair and skin problems. No matter what shampoo or facial cream I used, my hair was dry and unmanageable (and was falling out) and my skin looked dull. I did find something to help however, which I will discuss later in the article.
The treatment for hypothyroidism is thyroid replacement, which may be natural or synthetic. I prefer to use natural options so my practitioner suggested a glandular hormone (from bovine sources) and bio-identical hormones. This can help greatly….I strongly recommend seeing your doctor for diagnosis and treatment options.
Hyperthyroidism is the opposite of Hyper- in this case, the thyroid makes too much hormone. The immune system can attack the thyroid gland (this is called Grave’s Disease) and to fight back, the thyroid increases its hormone production. Some of the effects include:
- Weight loss
- Rapid Heartbeat
Some treatments include beta blockers, radioactive iodine, and anti-thyroid medicine.
Speaking of Iodine….
I’ve been hinting a bit at my miracle cure for hypothyroidism. It’s iodine! People are extremely iodine deficient nowadays. In the past, breads and salt contained iodine and people were able to get their iodine through the foods they ate. Today, most salts are iodine free and most breads are made with bromine, which leaches iodine from the body! The lack of iodine in the diet plays a key role in the development of serious diseases. Areas with low iodine consumption have higher breast cancer rates and mental deficiencies. It can also cause Goiters, or enlargement of the thyroid gland. To make matters worse, fluoride is added to the water supply and it’s absorbed in the thyroid. In years past, fluoride was used as a treatment for hyperthyroidism…..until it was later discovered to alter thyroid function. In reality fluoride is a toxic poison which has no business being in our water or our toothpaste. It serves no function other than being a detriment. So where does iodine come in? Iodine plays a key role in thyroid function. If you take an iodine supplement, it can counteract the fluoride and help “push” it out of the thyroid so it can function properly. A note of warning though…talk to your doctor or naturopath before beginning an iodine supplement as too much iodine can be unhealthy.
Get Iodine Naturally Through Foods
There’s a reason why the women is Japan have much lower incidences of breast cancer than the US. Their iodine consumption is off the charts! People who eat sea vegetables, kelp, or chlorella obtain healthy amounts of natural iodine through the foods they eat. People in the US don’t typically eat these foods…but with thyroid problems on the rise, maybe it’s time to start! Along with eating sea vegetables, you can use salts such as Real Salt, a salt which is not bleached like most commercial salt products. You may also want to eat kelp noodles…which may sound gross, but they are actually white noodles similar to pasta. You can substitute them in your favorite recipes and get all the healthful benefits. I made a dish with kelp and chicken and it was delicious! Here are some iodine rich foods:
- Kelp noodles
- Real Salt
- Brown algae
- Red Algae
When I began integrating more iodine rich foods in my diet as well as supplementing with iodine, I felt better. Know what else happened? My hair and skin improved as well. It’s true what you put into your body affects the outside. You could be the healthiest person ever yet thyroid issues may still affect you. Sometimes we can’t control environmental factors influencing our health. If this is the case, you have to take charge of your health and use supplements and good nutrition practices to combat them. Through my research for this article, I also was reminded of another thyroid helper: coconut oil. I am speaking of the organic unrefined variety. Many testimonials as to its thyroid strengthening power exists online. You can cook or bake with it or just take it as a supplement each day (3 tablespoons a day.) Have you been affected with thyroid disease and how have you handled it? Let’s share our experiences. I’d love to hear your story and know what you think of mine.