Sydney Wholistic - Focus on Thyroid
“Forty million dollars worth of thyroid function tests are ordered every year in Australia. Despite all this, recognition and treatment of thyroid disease could still be much improved throughout Australia.” These are the words of Dr Duncan Topliss, Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Sydney Wholistic, located in Dee Why on the Northern Beaches close to Manly, Warringah, Pittwater and North Shore areas, specialise in female hormone balancing, hormonal and allergy testing, adrenal fatigue and much more. The function of the thyroid has a profound impact on overall health through its modulation of:
- Energy production
- Carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism
- Vitamin utilisation
- Digestive processes
- Muscle and nerve activity
- Blood flow and oxygen utilisation – cardiovascular health
- Sexual and reproductive health
- The core thyroid hormones are known as TSH, T4, T3 and rT3.
TSH – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, which is under the control of the hypothalamus and stimulates the thyroid to release the metabolically active hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
How do you know if you have a thyroid problem?
Common symptoms of under active or hypo thyroid function, are fatigue, hair loss, fluid retention, sensitivity to heat or cold, poor mental function, depression, irregular periods, very dry skin, yellowed skin, constipation and is the second leading cause of high cholesterol after poor diet. With an overactive or hyper thyroid you may experience increased appetite, weight loss, insomnia and restlessness. Immune mediated thyroid disorders, Graves’ disease and Hashimotos’s thyroiditis are also common thyroid diseases.
Why are thyroid disorders so prevalent?
Stress! Thyroid function is connected with the functions of the nervous system, immune system and other endocrine organs. Thyroid disorders are closely associated with stress disorders. Adrenaline and cortisol playing a role in exacerbating the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. As a wholistic practitioner, is it imperative to treat a patients nervous system.
The malnourished thyroid.
To have a well functioning thyroid, specific nutrients are essential. Selenium, in combination with zinc is vital for the activation of T4 into its more potent form T3. In addition selenium is also required to prevent oxidative stress in the thyroid. Unfortunately much of Australia’s and New Zealand’s soils are now deficient in selenium. Iodine. Around the world, iodine deficiency is a leading cause of hypothyroidism, due to it’s central role in the production of thyroid hormone. It is proposed that our changing food practices are to blame. Iodine is also essential for breast, uterus, ovary and prostate health and function. There are several foods which when eaten in excess can inhibit our intake of iodine into the thyroid. These include walnuts, almonds and apples. The following foods are known as goitrogens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, brussel sprouts, turnips, radishes, horseradish, soybeans, peanuts, pine nuts and millet. Cooking may inactivate these goitrogens. Other important nutrients are iron, vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, C, E and Tyrosine.
Oestrogen excess, can also play a role in adversely affecting thyroid function. Healthy thyroid for a healthly pregnancy. The roles of thyroid hormone in reproductive function are also only beginning to be discovered, affecting both male and female fertility and maintenance of pregnancy. Hypothyroidism and low iodine levels are major causes of miscarriage and also play a part in increased risk of neurological and cognitive disorders in infants born to mothers with suboptimal thyroid function. Elevated insulin levels can also result in elevated levels of bound T4 and T3, causing a deficiency of free thyroid hormones available to have metabolic activity.
Other factors affecting thyroid hormones are environmental, such as heavy metals, PCBs, xenoestrogens in cosmetics and personal care products, household cleaning products, chlorine, fluoride and bromide (often added to while flour products) exposure. No wonder the prevalence of this disorder is becoming so common. With so many aspects of nutrition, lifestyle and the effects from other systems of the body, a wholistic approach is imperative to support this amazing gland.
What can you do.
If you suspect you may have an imbalanced thyroid, make an appointment with your naturopath or medical practitioner to discuss your concerns, and request testing. There are two types of clinical assessments.
- Barnes Basal Temperature Test, which is done at home.
- Medical blood test panel, which should consist of TSH. If TSH reading is greater than 2, the following tests should be included:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid antibodies
- Spot urinary iodine
For more information regarding naturopathy and women's health including femal hormone balancing and hormonal and allergy testing contact Sydney Wholistic, Warringah on the Northern Beaches. Sydney Wholistic 1/1 Redman Road Dee Why, Warringah on the Northern Beaches.