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Functional Nutrition Approach to Thyroid Conditions Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism

Joel Radley Functional Nutrition

Joel Radley

joel radley functional nutrition and therapy thyroid

When approaching the thyroid, many clients have told me that their consultants have said they are fine. When they persist they have eventually been tested but the results have fallen in the ‘healthy’ brackets. The situation is that general diagnostics are restrained by only looking at certain markers and not all of them which we will cover in this article. In this article we will outline the general consensus in terms of diagnosis and aetiology, as well as the functional nutrition perspective.

What Is the thyroid?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. These hormones helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and all organs working. The thyroid is likely the most ignored gland by consultants. Yet it is one of the most important areas to look at to improve energy, hormone balance and overall health (1).

How the thyroid affects your energy and metabolism?

Thyroid conditions are characterised by when the thyroid gland is working at a sub-optimal level which results in a cascade of hormonal imbalances affecting glands and hormones of the endocrine system, which impacts the physiological processes that are tightly regulated by this axis. This can be underactive (hypothyroidism) or over-active (hyperthyroidism).

As its main role is to regulates the metabolism, if sluggish you will be tired, tend to gain weight, be anaemic and loose hair. This is seen in my practice often. The soy food craze has not helped this situation as it messes with the thyroid. Or the flouride based oral care regimes either. The Thyroid hormone is in fact required by the entire-body for the production of energy too. Yes the mitochondria health is key on a cellular level but with poor thyroid function it is no good. As previously mentioned thyroid hormones contribute to other hormone health. If out of balance it can lead to blood sugar dysregulation, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, sex hormone dysfunction, fatigue, mental health issues and ultimately unhappiness (2).

Thyroid Conditions

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Sub-clinical Hypothyroidism
  • Sub-clinical Hyperthyroidism
  • Graves Disease
  • Hashimotos Thyroiditis

Symptoms

Whilst over and under active thyroid symptoms can vary here is a general picture:

  • Thinning hair or hair loss 
  • Puffy and sensitive face 
  • Depression 
  • Constipation 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Oedema 
  • Fatigue 
  • Mental fogginess and poor memory
  • Poor vision 
  • Weight gain
  • Poor circulation and numbness in the hands and feet
  • Feeling cold
  • Chronic digestive problems 
  • Dry/brittle hair and skin 
  • Morning headaches
  • Muscle stiffness, aches and tenderness 
  • Fertility difficulties and menstrual changes
  • Hoarseness 
  • Decreased sweating

Contributing Factors

When the thyroid is not functioning normally there is a chain reaction of hormones involving several glands of the endocrine system, as well as the systems they regulate. This leads to either side of the spectrum of thyroid disorders, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Hormones produced by the thyroid

The thyroid produces triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

  • Thyroxine or T4 is produced by the thyroid gland under the supervision & regulation of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is signaled to by the feedback loop to release thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), this stimulates the pituitary gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). T4 as it has 4 iodine molecules. It is converted to T3 to activate it via enzymes.
  • T3 is produced by the thyroid gland, as well as in other tissues through deiodination (enzymatic conversion) of T4. This hormones helps brain function, maintain muscle control, heart, digestive functions and importantly for pain and fatigue, the bodies metabolic rate as well as bone health.
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  • Reverse T3
  • Anti-Thyroglobulin and Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies (3)

I use a functional comprehensive blood analysis that is a more complete panel than used publicly or privately. Fine out about my functional lab testing here.

Contributing factors of THYROID PROBLEMS

Below is a list of what triggers the cascade of dysfunction.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Contributing factors of THYROID PROBLEMS

  • Selenium is required to convert T4 into the active T3
  • Iodine Deficiency of iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, thyroid hormone is rich in iodine
  • Zinc is required for the synthesis of thyroid hormone
  • Tyrosine required by thyroid alongside iodine to make thyroid hormones
  • Magnesium T4 to T3 conversion
  • Iron Thyroid hormone synthesis
  • Vitamin C – highest amounts stored in adrenals, if low will affect thyroid due to the synergistic relationship.

Our body relies on a certain amount of specific nutrients for your immune system to function optimally. Deficiencies in the above nutrients and vitamin D have been linked to poor immune function in people with thyroid disorders. Many cases are autoimmune thyroid related and our immune system required the above nutrients.

The untold secret of thyroid and even anaemia/fatigue issues is that you you cant make thyroid hormones without vitamin A but this is not commonly addressed. This unlocks coppers healing power.

I investigate further if nutrient deficiencies could be part of your underlying health problems.

Iodine Levels

While iodine is necessary to make thyroid hormones, excess amounts can actually exacerbate a thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s. It is also not as simple as iodine as too much iodine for some people an have an adverse affect. Some cant even go near the ocean it makes them hyper, over working the metabolism.

Stress

It may sound cliche as stress affects every body system, but it seriously impacts your thyroid hormone function. Stress leads to surges of cortisol which blocks the conversion of T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3. It can also increase reverse T3 (rT3) which is unusable, this yet again muddies the water of the fine tuned thyroid hormone balance which is optimal for health.

Poor Liver Function

The liver has an important role in thyroid hormone metabolism and the level of thyroid hormones is also important to normal hepatic function and bilirubin metabolism. Besides the associations between thyroid and liver diseases of an autoimmune nature, such as that between primary biliary cirrhosis and hypothyroidism, thyroid diseases are frequently associated with liver injuries or biochemical test abnormalities(4).

Food Intolerances

If you are predisposed to an autoimmune condition, your immune system may overreact to certain foods causing inflammation which perpetuates and flares up symptoms.

I utilize comprehensive food intolerance panels in these cases.

Gut

As the majority of your immune system is in your gut, gut dysbiosis will weaken ones immune system. 20% of your T4 is converted to T3 in the gut as well which can be severely hindered with imbalanced microbiome. When virus or infection is flagged up it is likely due to an onslaught on the body which the immune system is trying to fix.

Toxin Exposure

This links in with autoimmune responses due to heavy metal toxicity. Mould can also be at play here slowing down thyroid function by causing internal toxicity, inflammation and weakening the immune system.

Other possible factors include:

-Oestrogen imbalances

-Low Vitamin A

-Low Copper

-Goitrogens in excess

-Smoking

-Diabetes

-Insulin Resistance

-Artificial Sweeteners

Deeper functional nutrition approach

It has such a powerful eeffct on every cell in our body therefore it shows in mind digestion and temperature regulation, cold hand nd feet or hot cold hands and feet is clinically a diagnostic marker of thyroid issues.

The functional testing is more comprehensive than conventional tests. A comprehensive thyroid panel will show:

not just TSH is assessed but T3 as its the most active form of thyroxine, it enters the cells and communicates with the RNA/DNA to know what to do. T4, Reverse T3 , thyroid antibodies are also checked in case it is an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Graves Disease or Hashimotoso Thyroiditis.

Let us not forget the adrenal testings as it is related and we must identify what is the real cause by looking at cortisol (ASI test), the interplay of blood sugar and insulin are connected and the steroid hormones, therefore liver function is also key.

You may have heard of tyrosine which is an amino acid conjugated in the liver where its made along with other hormones. It is made with iron and phenoalinine, it created thyroxine, progesterone and adrenaline. The progesterone will make all the other steroid hormones which is critical in this condition.

Gut function is crucial as there is an autoimmune link to hypothyroidism. Therefore, h pyloir, infections, parasitic overgrowth will inhibit immunity. 90% of hypothyroid is likely autoimmune rooted (5). Therefore we need to deal with the infections mentioned above to improve our immune system. As you can see it goes much deeper than just prescribing thyroid replacement medication or thyroid suppression medication, whilst slightly more arduous in practice, this can harbour wonderful natural results as we were not born with thyroid issues they develop over time.

 

One must remember that it is tightly linked to the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis. It is known as an axis as it works together along with all hormones (6). Before we can think of the thyroid we must ensure these three glands are nutritionally supported. HINT – with vitamins like vitamin A, fats and minerals. We need hormones to regulate our reproductive health, our temperature and then you get to our pineal gland that connect us with the outside world and some say spiritual world it really is all connected (7). If the axis is imbalanced the thyroid will likely follow suit. One must consider the environmental and societal triggers that can impede the thyroid, toxicity, infections, gut health, nutritional imbalances and emotional conflicts. Some say that it is the main gear of our bodies engine and if that breaks or faults, the entire engine goes caput.

The other connection to the thyroid is that of the throat chakra, our voice, either holding back and not expressing, or too open and saying too much. Sometimes these present as opportunities to grow and become who we want to, if you dont hear the bodies whispers you may have to hear its screams. This calls for more deeper inner work alongside the functional nutrition protocol.

1 to 1 professional support? 

Whilst knowledge is power, sometimes we cant do it alone, either there is too much information, we need someone to coach us, we dont even know exactly what our issue is, or we are dissatisfied with the service of the consultants we have seen thus far. If this sounds like you, worry no more and get in touch.

It is assumed a nutritionist will force someone on a diet, this could not be further from the truth. Rather we work to utilise nutrition to balance your body systems and deficiencies for long term sustainable positive change in your health and well-being. 

At my 1 Harley Street Nutritionist Clinic, I will assess your overall health including your medical history, looking into lifestyle & emotional factors that most practitioners wont. Individualize the protocol to implement suitable changes for you. You will be sent a bespoke eating plan. You will be sent a bespoke therapeutics plan if needed. Lab testing will be recommended if necessary. Finally follow up or pay-as-you-go appointments enable you to get the hands on one to one coaching with me throughout the healing journey 

Book a free call now on my calender booker 

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About Joel Radley

About Joel Radley

Joel Radley dipNT, BSc (Hons), mBANT, mCNHC, functional nutritionist specialising in root-cause natural healthcare, ancestral eating & lifestyle. Developer of the four-pillar protocol to help clients holistically, covering nutrition, energetics, emotions and mindfulness. I help concerns of the thyroid, adrenal, fatigue, hormones, gut health, eating disorders & chronic pain.

For over a decade supporting individuals like you and me, high performers, creatives, public figures and entrepreneurs, unlock their dormant healing power and optimize their health potential. I hope you will enjoy the videos, articles & recipes I share on my website, blog & social media. If you have a deeper concern that requires the help of an expert practitioner, do not hesitate and join the waiting list by booking a free call on the calendar. Warmly, Joel

About Joel Radley

About Joel Radley

Joel Radley dipNT, BBC (Hons), mBANT, mCNHC, nutritional therapist and naturopath specialising in root-cause natural healthcare, ancestral eating & lifestyle.

Developer of the four-pillar protocol to help clients holistically, covering nutrition, energetics, emotions and mindfulness. I help concerns of the thyroid, adrenal, fatigue, hormones, gut health, eating disorders & chronic pain.

For over a decade supporting individuals like you and me, high performers, creatives, public figures and entrepreneurs, unlock their dormant healing power and optimize their health potential.

I hope you will enjoy the free videos, articles & recipes I share on my website, blog and social media. If you have a deeper concern that requires the help of an expert practitioner, do not hesitate and join the waiting list by booking a free call on the calendar. Warmly, Joel


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