The Butterfly (Gland) Effect – Thyroid Health Uncovered
Written By Toni Baker
Do you have fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, muscle and joint pain, sugar cravings, hair loss, anxiety or any hormonal changes?
If yes to even three of these, there’s a good chance that your thyroid may not be working optimally.
Who would have thought that a tiny butterfly-shaped gland could cause so many problems within our body!
Chances are that women are 5-8 times more likely to have a thyroid condition and up to 60% of these women are either unaware or can’t get a diagnosis for the condition.
The truth is that our thyroid gland controls just about every cell in your body and how efficiently it works. So, if your thyroid isn’t working optimally, all of your body systems will be affected.
The Spiritual Side
Your thyroid is a delicate gland and therefore easily unbalanced and therefore we need to look at the function on a deeper level.
Having spent years practicing in one of Sydney’s top Thyroid Clinics, I certainly noticed that each woman, as you would expect had a different case, symptom picture and varied test results but in each of them, I noticed how they were somehow suppressed and couldn’t speak their truth.
The fifth chakra, the throat or the Vishuddha Chakra sits in the area of the thyroid.
When the throat chakra is in balance, we speak, listen, and express ourselves openly and authentically. When out of balance, we ignore our inner voice, feel afraid of expressing ourselves, or have trouble listening to others. A blocked throat chakra can also store tension physically and cause a sore throat or neck and shoulder pain.
I saw many cases of women who talked themselves down at every opportunity especially if they were empathic to other people. I realised they exhibited the spiritual side of thyroid disease and always considered this as part of their treatment.
By starting with unconditional love and addressing that self-depreciating voice in many peoples heads, we could start to break that patten.
Is it Hypo or Hyper (Thyroidism)?
Just to clarify, it is possible to produce either too much or too little thyroid hormone. Producing too much is known as hyperthyroidism, and too little is hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is more common with the main symptoms presenting as a slow metabolism, fatigue and weight gain but there are actually a myriad of symptoms you may experience including hair loss, anxiety and constipation.
With hyperthyroidism, you may find yourself with more energy, as opposed to less. You may experience weight loss as opposed to weight gain but again there are many additional symptoms connected.
Hashimotos and Graves disease are both auto-immune conditions of the thyroid. With any auto-immune condition, we always want to find out root cause whether it’s genetic, heavy metals, gut health or environmental factors.
It’s important to always run the bloods to test for these auto-immune conditions as there is a lot we can do with the help of functional medicine.
Key Nutrients (our product recommendations are at the end of this article)
There are five key nutrients for the thyroid including Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin D, Magnesium and one of the most important Iodine.
Iodine is not only one of the most important minerals for the thyroid but also one of the most talked about minerals as it can often divide people as to whether it should be given or not.
Having worked at a clinic who had close ties to Dr. David Brownstein, MD and owner of the centre for Holistic Medicine in the US, I realised the repercussions of deficiency as iodine is needed for every hormone in the body - the pituitary, ovaries and testicles.
It’s also the main cause of goitres and nodules. If the thyroid doesn’t have enough iodine, it gets larger to try and capture all of the iodine.
As a word of warning, do be careful when taking iodine if not under a practitioner as it can be toxic in high doses.
Herbal Medicine can provide a great support when it comes to thyroid disease. Although we would never just treat the thyroid by itself, but instead treat the body as a whole..there are some herbs that can truly be supportive for something with an imbalanced thyroid.
Withania – calms the body’s response to stress.
Rhodiola – a great endurance herb.
Licorice – protects the thyroid from oxidative damage and provides energy and gut support.
Siberian Ginseng – helps to balance hormones and effects of cortisol on the body.
Hemidesmus – good with Hashimotos as an immune modulator.
In Hyperthyroidism we like to use more calming herbs:
Lavendula – a calming support for the thyroid and sleep.
Passionflower – good for any anxiety related thyroid conditions.
Lemonbalm – helps to calm overactive thyroid.
Motherwort – may help regulate heartbeat.
A great start for the Thyroid is to remove any inflammatory foods, gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and soy.
It’s great to include brazil nuts, tuna, sardines and eggs as a good source of selenium and oysters, chicken and shellfish that contain good amounts of zinc.
It may help to lower your vegetables from the brassiace family such as brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and kale or at least to steam them to break down the goitrogenic properties.
If iodine is needed then add seaweed, shellfish and iodized salt to your diet.
When checking the thyroid, a TSH blood test is not enough to determine what is going on. Everybody needs a full thyroid blood panel which includes TSH, T4, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies. I would also ask your doctor to run a full blood count checking Active B12/folate, iron studies and Vitamin D.
We also run a Dutch Test which checks adrenal and sex hormone function as there is often always a connection here too.
If the gut is suspected, I would run a GI Map test which is a one day stool collection that checks for parasites, bacteria, dysbiosis and any inflammation in the gut.
Good to note as well - the most accurate way to check iodine levels in the body is through a 24 hour iodine load test.
You can absolutely heal and support yourself with any of these thyroid conditions, my advice would be to never give up seeking help. Get a good functional practitioner, run the right tests and determine the right support needed for you.
Balanced Living Thyroid Support
Mother Earth Minerals:
Premier Research Labs:
Quantum Nutrition Labs:
Kelp Blend (for sources of iodine)
We have the following tests in clinic:
Dutch Test – dried urine testing for hormones and adrenals
GI MAP – stool test for GIT testing
Iodine Load Test – to check your iodine
Quantum Adrenal Support – adrenal herbs
Delve deeper into your health journey by booking a consult with one of our natural health practitioners!
We offer complimentary 15 min virtual consultations to begin..you can make a booking here — Book A Consultation
- Balanced Living Asia