The Thyroid Connection
From the desk of Dr. Jacqueline S. Rho, ND… Thyroid Health: The Connections Between the Thyroid and the Body I’ve recently been approached by many practitioners, patients, and friends about thyroid health, so I felt like I should write my thoughts on thyroid.
First, what is a thyroid? The thyroid is a gland that is located in the front part of the neck and helps with metabolism, energy, and body temperature. Low thyroid function (aka hypothyroidism) is becoming more prevalent, as more individuals are prescribed thyroid medication, but it is also being overlooked. What I see often in my practice is subclinical hypothyroidism and can be caused by several factors, such as:
- nutrient deficiencies from poor diet
- high stress levels
- impaired or inadequate liver function
- inflammation and oxidative stress
- drug interactions
Symptoms that can occur with low thyroid function are:
- becoming sensitive to the cold
-sensation of the throat being swollen
- dry and brittle nails
- increase in hair loss
Conditions that can be associated with low thyroid function are:
- digestive disorders
- menstrual irregularities
- chronic illnesses (e.g. chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune conditions, frequent infections, etc.)
- obesity and/or the inability to lose weight
- even blood sugar dysregulation
“Subclinical” means before abnormalities are seen in blood work. Thyroid disease caused by an autoimmune component, such as Hashimoto’s, can also present as subclinical hypothyroidism and can be treated early. Unfortunately, treatment often is provided after the fact. Early treatment can prevent onset of thyroid disease and can improve quality of life.
Diet is important because the thyroid requires key nutrients, such as selenium, iodine, vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E. All of these should be provided in our foods, but if the thyroid is working harder than it needs to, more of these nutrients will be needed to maintain normal function. If digestion is poor or inadequate, absorption of nutrients from food can be compromised and this can lead to deficiencies in these key nutrients.
Keep in mind, treating the thyroid can be more complex than just providing these key nutrients because the thyroid is connected with other hormones in the body, including sex hormones and stress hormones. This is why it is so important to look at the whole body and mind, not just the thyroid.
Dr. Jacqueline S. Rho, ND Dr. Jacqueline S. Rho is a naturopathic doctor, specializing in preventative and family care medicine. She treats her patients as a whole, addressing the root cause of illness, rather than just the symptoms. Dr. Rho has a focus in women’s health, cardiovascular conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, and autoimmune conditions. She treats many other health conditions as she utilizes clinical nutrition, Classical Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and functional medicine in an integrative approach to provide individualized health care. She has helped many with weight loss and detoxification, teaching her patients the lifestyle changes that are needed to improve their health and prevent disease. Book online for any naturopathic service at our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information. Dr. Rho is providing complementary 20 minute consults. Come in and discuss how she can help you today!