Last Updated on November 10, 2021
Dr. Heather Krebsbach is a naturopathic physician seeing patients at Inner Gate Acupuncture’s Halsey street location. She has been practicing naturopathic medicine in Portland Since 2006. She specializes in bio identical hormones and endocrine health. In this post she offers her insights on understanding and optimizing thyroid health.
The thyroid is a little butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck responsible for metabolism and other essential bodily functions.
The Thyroid Controls:
- Digestive function
- Heart rate
- Muscle control
- Body temperature
- And much more!
The body relies on the thyroid to be balanced and secrete appropriate amounts of its hormones. When the thyroid is not in balance, there can either be too much or too little thyroid hormone being secreted, therefore causing hyper or hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of too much thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, is less common then the latter and diagnosis is typically much easier to determine due to the severity of the symptoms. Compared to hypothyroidism, which can create low-grade symptoms or mimic other illnesses.
Common Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
- Heart racing or palpitations
- Weight loss
Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Cold body temperature
- Menstrual irregularity
- Foggy thinking
Treatment considerations for hyperthyroidism are very different from treatments for hypothyroid, it is important to be properly diagnosed for the right treatment focus. When we think about optimizing the thyroid function, we are usually talking about improving a sluggish or hypo-thyroid.
Certain nutrients, such as Selenium, Zinc, Iodine, Vitamins C, A, E and D are needed to help the thyroid function properly and to convert thyroid hormones to active forms that the body can use.
The Thyroid Loves these Foods:
- Brazil nuts: high in Selenium
- Pumpkin seeds: rich in Zinc
- Green leafy veggies (spinach, collard greens and kale): have a bounty of Vitamin C, A and E
- Fish and Seaweed: contains iodine
Consuming a diet with a bounty of veggies, nuts and seeds along with protein and a small amount of whole grains can be helpful to keep the thyroid functioning optimally.
Dr Krebsbach assesses thyroid function through blood tests as well as symptoms to determine the appropriate thyroid treatment. If lab results are out of normal ranges, medication in addition to diet and supplements may be needed to help support the thyroid and all the body’s essential functions.