Well, Ciao Bella! How’s Your Metabolism Doing?
I DO know that’s not the most gentle way to say hello. But holy spark of conversation openers, for the ladies over 45, that question will start a ruckus!
So what is the deal with metabolism and your lack of ability to lose WEIGHT OR to feel ENERGIZED?
And why do so many women have thyroid problems at a certain age?
Well, not only is your estrogen, progesterone and testosterone beginning to wind down, but your thyroid may decide to take a little breather as well.
It’s like the little engine that could just decided: “Not tonight Honey. I’m too damn tired.”
THIS is precisely why some functional medicine docs call these types of issues associated with life over 40, “Thyropause”.
So how do you know if you might be one of the 30 million women or 15 million men suffering from undiagnosed hypothyroid (sluggish thyroid)?
Does any of this sound familiar?
Tired in the morning
Difficulty with concentration and memory
Dry dull hair
Going grey early 🙁
Outer third of eyebrows gone
Being very sensitive to cold
Cold hands and feet
Low body temperature (less than 97.6)
Muscle pain and weakness
Broken or peeling fingernails
Low sex drive
Low blood pressure
High or rising cholesterol
Excess earwax! (W.T.He11?!)
If your thyroid slows down, every other organ and system in your body slows down, including your brain, heart, digestive system, and muscles.
The thyroid hormone acts as the conductor of the symphony of all of your other hormones. It is the maestro metabolism hormone that controls the function and activity of almost every organ and cell in your body — so when it is sluggish or slow, everything else slows down. Damn, Giirrrll.
Look at it this way:
If Mama Thyroid Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nooobody Happy.
So how do you know for sure if you have a problem and what can you do to fix it?
Here’s where the things get a little muddy. Conventional doctors generally believe that there is only one blood test to check your thyroid: the TSH, and that you only qualify for thyroid treatment if your blood level is over 5.0. This is a questionable number,because in the integrative medicine world, those numbers are not optimum to both feeling and functioning well, for a lot of us. This older medical viewpoint also puts many people in a “subclinical” range for hypothyroidism.
Subclinical hypothyroidism may trigger many low-grade symptoms; always feeling tired, difficulty losing weight, low mood, constipation, lackluster hair & skin, and simply “not feeling like yourself”.
Yet subclinical hypothyroidism causes just slight changes in your blood tests. AND, it often only shows up in the tests that most doctors never perform.
So what can you do?
1. Get clear on your symptoms and make a list of any that you have which I mention above.
2. Get specific thyroid tests including TSH, free T3, free T4, TPO, and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies.
3. Check for celiac disease with a celiac panel. It’s a simple test.
4. Consider heavy metal toxicity testing (mercury, lead, and all that junk). Most functional medicine practitioners will check this.
5. Check your vitamin D level. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the Northern hemisphere and it’s easy to fix!
The good news is:
Once you have confirmed that a slow poke thyroid is contributing to you not feeling so bueno, there are many health boosting things you can do to help support your lovely thyroid.
First of all, know; most conventional docs treat hypothyroid with a medication that addresses T4 only. However, something crucial to know is that about 7 percent of your thyroid hormone is T3, the “active” version, which acts on special receptors found on the heart of your cells that sends messages to your DNA to turn up your metabolism to increase the fat burning in your mitochondria (life giving cells). So, T3 is critical to making every system in your body work at the right speed.
T3 also lowers your cholesterol, improves your memory, keeps you lean, promotes regrowth in cases of hair loss, relieves muscle soreness and constipation.
T4 (about 93 percent) is the inactive form of your thyroid hormone that, if everything works as designed, means your body will convert into T3. But that can’t always be relied on!
There are alternative treatments from the typical medications that most doctors prescribe- Levothyroxine & Synthroid are common ones.
I’m an advocate for products like Nature-Throid or WP Thyroid which supply both T3 and T4.
But check it all out and see what resonates with YOU.
Nutritional deficiencies play a big role in thyroid dysfunction. You didn’t think I’d leave THIS part out did you?.
These include deficiencies of iodine, vitamin D, omega-3 fats, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, and the B vitamins.
I didn’t even realize it, but I was off the iodine helper train because I have been cooking with all of my fancy foodie salts that DO NOT have iodine added. Oy Vey!
Here are the best 10 ways to naturally support your lovely lady thyroid:
I got much of this list from Dr. Alan Christianson, who is like the king of thyroid gurus.
- Get Clean & Clear with your nutrition and lifestyle: Learn about what foods and practices nourish YOU best. You are unique and your body will tell you what it needs if you listen. A great place to start is here.
- Get the Right Amount of Iodine:
You want iodized salt for use at home. Sea salt can also be found in iodized forms. All the extra salt we get in processed foods and at restaurants give us too much sodium but no iodine.
- Eat seafood: Any kind helps. Have some seaweed every now and then like Nori wraps found on sushi, or try delicious kelp crackers.
- Take a multi-vitamin that contains at least 100 mcg of iodine. Avoid very high doses of iodine found in kelp and iodine supplements. Too much is as bad or worse than too little.
- Get Selenium: This mineral helps your body better utilize thyroid hormones. Getting your needed 200 mcg can be as easy as 1 Brazil nut per day or a good multivitamin.
- Minimize Mercury – Seafood is fabulous but be aware of high-mercury seafood. Go for smaller fish (the big guys are loaded with mercury), avoid canned tuna & overdoing sushi. For the most current and accurate info check this . Avoid mercury amalgams. Getting new fillings? Get porcelain or ceramic. Got old ones that the dentist says should go? Get them out. I did this last year and my new ones are much prettier 😉
- Avoid Perchlorate: This is a toxic by product from rocket and jet fuels. It also forms spontaneously in the arid Southwest soil and ends up in our water. We absorb it from our skin and intestines. Once in our bodies it prevents our thyroid glands from absorbing iodine. Solutions: drink purified water only, not tap water. Ideally use a filter for your shower also. We also get this from dry cleaning. Take your clothes out the bag ASAP and ideally let them off-gas in the sunshine for a few hours before wearing.
- Exercise: Move your lovely bod-pod!!! The more aerobic activity you do the lower your odds are of developing thyroid disease. Keep your blood moving! In the case of suspected thyroid disease or any other symptom, never assume that you need to feel like crap from here on out.
- Ditch the Stress Junkie Mode & support your adrenals: Learn new ways to chill out. Try meditation, gentle flow or kundalini yoga. Limit wine to a once a week affair. More about adrenal support next time. It’s a very important subject on it’s own.
- Take RADICAL care of your lovely lady body. You are NOT broken. You are not being selfish when you put your health, body, mind and spirit on the front burner. You can feel fabulous, if you commit to yourself and your best health!
And remember: I’m here for you. Never hesitate to knock on my door.
Very soon, we will talk about your adrenals. OooLala!
It’s important to support your adrenals AT THE SAME TIME as your thyroid.
I will be chatting with my dear friend, brilliant M.D. and best selling author, Dr. Tami Meraglia all about that. Stay tuned!
Note: It’s ALWAYS best to consult your health care provider when considering trying new things.