Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness

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Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness

Many of us today are experiencing certain symptoms to which we may ( or may not) ascribe the name of a particular health issue. So, we work on these individual symptoms with herbs, homeopathic remedies, meditations, affirmations, etc without realizing that there is a cohesiveness to these symptoms and an actual underlying cause.

In my case, the wake up call was a client diagnosed (by a Chinese acupuncturist) as hypothyroid. She had heard me on the radio and sought an herbal program for this issue. As I reviewed the literature in this area, I began to realize that some of my problems, most notably a total inability to release weight on a thermogenic weight management program, might be related to hypothyroidism.

I picked up the book Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness by Broda Barnes, MD to learn more.

The thyroid gland is situated in front of the throat, below the Adams's apple and above the breastbone. Its purpose is to regulate the rate at which oxygen is utilized by the body, control the rate at which various organs function and the rate at which the body utilizes food. In other words, it controls the rate of metabolism in the body. Metabolism is the rate at which the body burns food for energy. Hence, a certain minimum body temperature (97.8-98.2 degrees) is required for these activities to take place.

Approximately forty percent of American men, women and children suffer from low thyroid function in a mild or moderate form and don't know it. Manifestations of hypothyroid can include fatigue, headaches, menstrual disturbances, frequent illness, slow speech, dry skin, depression, difficulty in concentration, etc. Taken individually, these symptoms can be indicative of any number of health issues and many of the current tests used to measure thyroid function can be inaccurate.

An accurate, inexpensive self-test to be carried out at home is the basal temperature test. Keep a thermometer right next to the bed. Upon awakening in the morning, immediately place your thermometer in the armpit and keep it there for ten minutes. The normal range of temperature is 97.8-98.2 degrees. A reading below the normal range strongly suggest low thyroid function. Men can take their temperature at any time during the month. However, for menstruating women, the best time is the second and third day of the menstrual cycle. The reason for this is that as we approach ovulation our basal temperature rises. The highest temperature (exclusive of an infection in the body) would be recorded just before menstruation begins. For small children who may be unable to remain quiet for ten minutes, it is best to take the temperature rectally for two minutes. In my own experience, I have found that a digital thermometer kept under the arm until the bell sounds works as well as any other kind of thermometer.

Nutritionally speaking, a person with hypothyroid needs more iodine to stimulate the secretion of the thyroid hormone. Although the best source of iodine is kelp, there are products which contain combinations of herbs which further assist hypothyroid sufferers by stimulating the release of the thyroid hormone. The amino acid L-Tyrosene is also important. Foods to avoid are cruciferous vegetables such as turnips, cabbage, broccoli, mustard greens, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, and peaches and pears. They tend to suppress thyroid function. Eat molasses, egg yolks, parsley, apricots, dates, prunes, fish, chicken, raw milk and cheeses. Avoid fluoride (including fluoride found in toothpaste) and chlorine (found in drinking water). They are chemically related to iodine and may block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland which would lead to reduced iodine-containing hormone production.

Also helpful in alleviating hypothyroidism are healing meditations, visualizations and affirmations. The mind is a very powerful entity. We have the power to heal ourselves by utilizing the mind-body connection.

The Holistic Health Network.

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By Shoshana Roller

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