Spotlight on the Thyroid
The thyroid is one of the most important glands in our body. It controls the way we metabolize food, use energy, lose and gain weight, how well we sleep, and much more. Women are more prone to thyroid conditions than men, and many times, thyroid imbalances first manifest during times of hormonal flux, such as perimenopause and childbearing.
What most people aren’t aware of is that the overwhelming majority of hypothyroid cases are due to an auto-immune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In this condition, the immune system creates antibodies against thyroid tissue and it’s hormone producing enzymes. This condition is under-diagnosed because the medical community does not routinely test for the antibodies involved — most likely because treatment for low thyroid is the same whether or not one has Hashimoto’s.
While optimizing thyroid hormone levels is crucial for overall metabolic function, if one is suffering from auto-immune thyroid illness, managing the immune response is of critical importance. Over 50% of those with Hashimoto’s also have auto-antibodies against other tissues and organs: cartilage, intestines, myelin, etc. A comprehensive naturopathic approach is needed to prevent the smoldering immune destruction of these various organ systems. Customized nutrition with an emphasis on avoidance of food sensitivities helps to quell the imbalanced immune response. The current medical literature highlights the link between gluten intolerance and auto-immune illnesses – going gluten-free could be an important dietary decision that helps to heal your thyroid for the longer term.
For more information about thyroid function and a comprehensive look at creating optimal thyroid health, listen to this recording.