How do we heal the thyroid? Of course, you are not going to get away from the foundations that I ALWAYS work on with my clients and have people implement in my programs. However, let’s address those again and make sure we address the specifics as well.

First of all, what happens when the thyroid has a problem? Generally either the thyroid is producing “not enough” thyroid hormone or “too much” thyroid hormone. Both of these can be associated with an autoimmune process or not. Ultimately, regardless of how exactly your thyroid issue is manifesting, we need to recognize that there are the same root causes!

How do you know if you have thyroid issues? It is definitely helpful to get a full thyroid lab panel. Most doctors will only run TSH, but a true thyroid panel includes TSH, free T4, free T3, Reverse T3, and TPO antibodies. These are all the manifestations of thyroid hormone to show you exactly where the problem might be in your hormone metabolism. All that being said, even if your thyroid labs come back normal, I would trust your symptoms. Hypothyroidism is indicated by a chronically low body temperature (consistently below 97.6 F upon waking) and other symptoms of a slow metabolism (easily gain weight, constipation, depression/anxiety, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, always feeling cold) are give aways that thyroid may be an issue. Hyper thyroid symptoms would of course be the opposite, including chronically high heart rate, severe anxiety, diarrhea, and sweating. Some people fluctuate back and forth between high and low thyroid and it can be difficult to pin down the exact problem.

We want to support the root issues that may predispose you developing these thyroid issues in the first place, instead of band aiding your symptoms with thyroid medications. First of all, thyroid hormone has a precusor of the amino acid tyrosine that is broken down from dietary protein. Tyrosine can be converted from phenylalanine, which is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be gotten from diet. The foods highest in tyrosie include cod, halibut, shrimp, beef, and chicken, so making sure you are getting at least 60g but for some people as high as 120g of protein a day from these sources is key, and make sure you are getting some with each meal so you are getting a steady source through the day.

Minerals are very important for the thyroid to function properly, and many people are chronically deficient in minerals. For the thyroid, the most important minerals are salt (sodium chloride), magnesium, selenium, zinc, and iodine. You can get these minerals naturally from foods, and I recommend focusing on animal foods because a lot of our plant foods are going to be lower in these levels due to depleted soil content. Unrefined sea salt and seafood is particularly high in minerals, as well as organ meats (especially liver). Try to focus on lower toxin sources of seafood such as small fish (anchovies, herring, sardines, mackerel) with some salmon, cod and halibut and shellfish sprinkled in once a week or so.

For many people, the deficiencies are so great, we do need to supplement these nutrients for at least a few months, potentially as long as a year. I do recommend supplementing these nutrients from a high quality source such as Thorne, Pure Encapsulations, or Seeking Health. You can supplement iodine from kelp from Mountain Rose Herbs or Wild Harvest. Lugol’s 2% iodine is a good way to increase intake of iodine, and for most people supplementing up to about 12.5mg of potassium iodide is perfectly safe- but generally this should be done under supervision of a clinician like those at Whole Body Healing.

In order to make sure you are properly absorbing these nutrients, we need to focus on gut health as well. I use specific carbohydrate diet parameters in my protocols, which generally has people on a lower carbohydrate diet for a period of time. Some people get nervous about this because of myths that the thyroid needs carbohydrates to function. In my experience, people who develop thyroid issues on a low carb diet generally were not eating enough fat or calories, which will repress anyone’s metabolism. A properly structured lower carbohydrate diet like we promote in our mini courses and programs should not cause these issues.

Many people with thyroid issues, especially thyroid nodules, have an oxalate toxicity issue. Most thyroid nodules are actually calcium oxalate deposits. Our gut rebuilding diets are low oxalate by nature, but if you have a major oxalate issue you may have what is called a “dumping” syndrome, where you have very uncomfortable symptoms of diarrhea, rashes, headaches, urinary discomfort, and more when you start lowering your dietary intake of oxalates. It is important to go about this slowly. The highest oxalate foods to reduce slowly include spinach, chard, star fruit, kiwi, buckwheat, teff, quinoa, almonds, cashews, peanuts, chia seeds, sweet potatoes, chocolate, and black tea, although there are others as well.

Circling back around to iodine for a moment: in addition to getting plenty from our diet and potentially supplementing, we want to avoid things that block our uptake of iodine as well. This will include halogen chemicals, such as fluoride, chlorine, and bromide. Most people get massive exposure to these chemicals due to our swimming pools, drinking water, shower water, and industrially produced home goods (bromide is off gassed from most new furniture, rugs, clothing, toys, etc.).

If you implement all of these foundational practices, it is very likely that your thyroid will be supported enough to start balancing itself naturally. We have had many clients reverse autoimmune thyroid condition and even successfully come off their medications. But most importantly, people experience a higher quality of life, and that is what we really care about!

About the Author
Jen Donovan completely rebuilt her life and career as a result of her experience with severe chronic illness. After finding no answers from conventional medical approaches, she took matters into her own hands and with the help of key mentors, found a path to healing.
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