The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. It is situated in the neck below the skin and muscle layers. The sole function of the thyroid is to make thyroid hormone. This hormone has an effect on nearly all tissues of the body and thus regulates your metabolism,which is your body’s ability to break down food and convert it to energy.
The two main hormones the thyroid produces and releases are T3 (tri-iodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). A thyroid that is functioning normally produces approximately 80% T4 and about 20% T3, though T3 is the stronger of the pair. To a lesser extent, the thyroid also produces calcitonin, which helps control blood calcium levels.
According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists an estimated 27 million Americans have thyroid disease, and about 13 million of them are undiagnosed. The risk of thyroid disease increases with age, and women are seven times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems. It has been noted that ovary issues effect the thyroid and visa versa.
An underactive thyroid makes it impossible to break down food properly and assimilate nutrients from the foods you eat. The efficiency of the other glands in the body is also impaired by thyroid imbalance, often severely. Ultimately, every organ, tissue and cell is affected by the output of the thyroid.
Beware of Bromines
Bromines are common endocrine disruptors, what makes it so dangerous is that it competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body will not hold on to the iodine that it needs. And iodine affects every tissue in your body -- not just your thyroid. Bromine can be found in a number of places in your everyday world, including:
- Pesticides (specifically methyl bromide, used mainly on strawberries, predominantly in California)
- Plastics, like those used to make computers
- Bakery goods and some flours often contain a “dough conditioner” called potassium bromate
- Soft drinks (including Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sun Drop, Squirt, Fresca, and other citrus-flavored sodas), in the form of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs)
- Medications, such as Atrovent Inhaler, Atrovent Nasal Spray, Pro-Banthine (for ulcers), and anesthesia agents
- Fire retardants used in fabrics, carpets, upholstery, and mattresses
- Bromine-based hot tub and swimming pool treatments
One clinical consequence of overexposure to bromine is suppression of your thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism
Trying to avoid bromine is like trying to avoid air pollution -- all you can do is minimize your exposure.
- Avoid eating or drinking from (or storing food and water in) plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels.Eat organic as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly. This will minimize your pesticide exposure.
- Look for organic whole-grain breads and flour. Grind you own grain, if possible. Look for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” label on commercial baked goods.
- Avoid soda (Mountain Dew is the worse for Bromine)Drink natural, filtered water instead.
- If you own a hot tub, look into an ozone purification system. Such systems make it possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemical treatments.
- When in a car or a building, open windows as often as possible, preferably on opposing sides of the space for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the air. Chemical pollutants are much higher inside buildings (and cars) than outside.
- Avoid Unfermented Soy
Learn About Iodine
The Japanese consume 89 times more iodine than Americans due to their daily consumption of sea vegetables, and they have reduced rates of many chronic diseases, including the lowest rates of cancer in the world. The RDA for iodine in the U.S. is a meager 150 mcg/day, which pales in comparison with the average daily intake of 13800 mcg/day for the Japanese.
Without iodine, your thyroid gland would be completely unable to produce thyroid hormone.
Seaweed, kelp, shrimp, lobster, and other shellfish are all good sources of iodine. Cod, sole, haddock, and ocean perch are also decent choices, and they are relatively low in mercury. Yogurt, cow’s milk, eggs, and many cheeses may also contain reasonable amounts of iodine — depending on whether or not the feed the cows lived on was grown in soil that contained iodine. And it is debatable how much iodine is actually in our farm soil these days. Many of us are using a supplement that contains a daily requirement for iodine (about 150 mcg a day).
How To Test Your Thyroid Health At Home?
Dr. Broda Barnes found that a healthy before-rising morning basal temp should be between 97.8 – 98.2 (he used a mercury thermometer under the arm for ten minutes). If it’s higher, you may be hyperthyroid (over active) and if it’s lower, you are most likely hypothyroid (under active).
When you awaken in the morning, before moving around (yes, even before you make a trip to the bathroom), tuck the thermometer snugly in your armpit and keep it in place for 10 minutes. Keep as still as possible. Then, remove the thermometer, take a reading, and write down the results.
Follow this procedure for three days, then determine an average reading by adding all three readings together and dividing by three. If you're average temperature is below 97.5 degrees F., in all probability you are suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism and should discuss your findings with your doctor.
If you are of childbearing age, time your three day temperature test to avoid the first week of your menstrual cycle and the few days when you are ovulating, which occur in the middle of the cycle.
Of course, this test is not to be used to replace any needed medical tests or attention to problems you may have.
Reflexology for Healthy Thyroid Function
It is quite common to feel congestion in the thyroid reflexes, and many people will comment on how sensitive that area is. As a reflexologist I like to work all reflexes at a session and then focus on some problem areas. When clients come to see me for other modalities or even a blend of services I will often do a short amount of work on their feet focusing on specific reflexes relating to their issue.
You too could work these same reflexes on yourself or a loved one to help stimulate the thyroid and help it stay healthy. These are the reflexes I will focus on.
To work the reflexes, just use a firm but not overly hard pressure on the reflex area. Using the thumb, gently massage in little circles for about 3-5 minutes.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you. Please remember that you need to go see your Health provider in order to be diagnosed. This information is for your education.