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Why Women Suffer More Often
As mentioned already, women are 7-8 times more likely to develop Hashimotos than men, especially during the 3 Ps .; We already discussed the role of estrogen dominance.
I also want to highlight that womens bodies have a much lower threshold for switching on a lower metabolic, energy-conservation mode.; This is an evolutionary adaptation that allows women to conserve body fat in an effort to preserve fertility during times of physical and/or emotional stress.
A woman who remains habitually worried or anxious throughout the day because of work, family, finances, etc. sends a signal to her body and hormonal system that she is under low level attack.
The attack only gets worse when women frustrated with their weight gain and fatigue decide to;diet harder and exercise harder.; A starvation style bootcamp or detox diet might work for a few weeks, but the body then shifts into a slower metabolism by influencing hormonal systems like the thyroid, causing a rapid regain of weight.; This is the classic phenomenon of the yo-yo diet and may also explain why the ketogenic diet doesnt work for many women.; Read about my top concerns about the keto diet;here.
Thyroid And Diet: The Soy Debate
There has been some question about whether eating soy is harmful when it comes to;thyroid function, and if it can actually cause hypothyroidism. “Soy products are considered to be slightly anti-thyroid, but there are so many benefits of soy I would never tell people to limit the soy they eat,” says Mario Skugor, MD, an endocrinologist with the Cleveland Clinic.
Soy in the form of tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, and other foods is a great substitute for high-fat protein, can help lower cholesterol levels, and possibly has other health benefits as well. Do you need to give all that up? The answer is no, according to a review of 14 studies evaluating the effects of soy on thyroid function researchers found no evidence to show that soy can cause thyroid disease or that it affects thyroid function in any other way.
The only time to worry about soy is when you already have hypothyroidism and are taking synthetic thyroid hormone medication because soy, as well as some other foods, can interfere with its absorption. See the section Thyroid and Diet: A Note About Taking Thyroid Hormone below for more information on this.
Thyroid and Diet: The Bottom Line on Iodine
Too much iodine in the diet or taking too many iodine supplements may lead to hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. In that case, decreasing your iodine intake might improve your symptoms.
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Does Eating A Lot Of Plants Affect The Thyroid
There are a few plant foods that may lower thyroid hormone, as they contain natural plant chemicals called goitrogens. Some research suggests these chemicals may reduce thyroid hormone when consumed in excess. Goitrogens are found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Another plant food that may contribute to thyroid toxicity is soy.¹
Although there is some evidence that these foods may lower thyroid hormone, there is not enough conclusive evidence to suggest that you should avoid these healthy vegetables.2,3 The research is simply lacking.
In addition, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale provide so many positive health benefits that it may be more of a negative to avoid them! For example, a cup of cooked broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, which may play a role in cancer prevention.
Another group of plants that people with hypothyroidism are often concerned about is the nightshade category. Nightshade vegetables have the plant chemical solanine and include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and bell peppers. There is no evidence that you should remove nightshades from your diet if you have hypothyroidism. However, there is some limited evidence of a link between nightshades and possible joint inflammation or aches and pains in susceptible individuals. This research is not conclusive.
Should You Be Treated For Hashimotos
This is a decision you need to make with your doctor or health care practitioner.; In general, if youve had abnormal labs the first step is to repeat the test for confirmation.; Ive often found that repeating an abnormal TSH result can return a normal result.
If your test are confirmed to be abnormal, then talk to your doctor about a dedicated lifestyle trial for 2-3 months to address many of the common issues discussed above and then have the test repeated.; Ive been surprised by how many individuals in my practice have been able to normalize their thyroid function just through lifestyle changes.
However some may have little to no success in which case thyroid hormone replacement becomes necessary.; A standard medical approach would be to prescribe T4 therapy, but other alternative and integrative/functional medicine practitioners may recommend some combination of both T3 and T4 therapy.
Talk to your doctor about the best option and if your results are borderline or abnormal, be sure you get your hormone levels checked regularly while you monitor yourself for improvements in your symptoms and overall wellbeing .
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Can Vegan Diets Help Hashimotos
Medically reviewed and written by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP on March 22, 2019
I like to call myself diet agnostic, as I dont think that there is one diet thats perfect for everyone, and I dont have a dietary plan that I feel dogmatic about. I often joke that my ideal diet would largely consist of croissants, mojitos, margaritas, rosé wine, and Tiramisu cake. Unfortunately, my body has other opinions on diet!
When I began my own healing journey and started experimenting with different diet protocols, I quickly realized that nutrition had a significant effect on my ability to heal from Hashimotos. I learned a great deal through trial and error, but also spent a lot of time researching to find the best ways to reduce my symptoms through the food I was eating.
These days, I am frequently asked, What is the best diet to heal Hashimotos? Though I dont subscribe to the one-diet-fits-all mindset, I have learned that most people with Hashimotos feel better and see a reduction of symptoms when eating in a way that is similar to the one I have developed personally, for myself. I think Ive figured out why
In this article, Id like to address:
- Do vegan diets work with Hashimotos?
- What nutrient deficiencies need to be addressed with vegan diets?
- How should vegans use supplements?
- Are there precautions for transitioning to a diet that includes meat?
- How do you know if your diet is working for you?
How To Optimize Your Diet For Thyroid Health
While this evidence is promising, a plant-based diet may lack certain nutrients essential for thyroid health. Iodine is of particular concern, since the most common sources in a typical American diet are fish, dairy products, and iodized salt. Fortunately, you only need a small amount of iodine each day, which can be obtained from sea vegetables like nori, arame, dulse and wakame.
Zinc and selenium are also key players in thyroid health. Eating one Brazil nut per day is enough to give you all the selenium you need, and trace amounts of the mineral are also found in whole grains and mushrooms. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds are good dietary sources of zinc.
People with hypothyroidism tend to be low in vitamin D, although its unclear whether the deficiency causes the condition or vice versa. Since vitamin D is also important for many other areas of health, including bone strength, its a good idea to either get a daily dose of sunlight or add a vegan-friendly D3 supplement to your regimen.
Although the exact nature of cause and effect isnt known, there also appears to be a correlation between hypothyroidism and low iron levels. Those who may be at risk for iron deficiency include pregnant women, women with heavy menstrual periods, as well as people with certain health conditions, including Crohns disease, celiac disease and ulcerative colitis. Boost your levels with:
- Dark leafy greens
- Blackstrap molasses
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What Is Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system in which the immune system attacks myelin. Myelin is the protective layer over the nerve fibers. This results in problems in communication as your brain is not able to communicate with the body properly.;
The disease can also permanently damage nerves over time. Its marked by inflammation, lesions, and scar tissues. Different people face different levels of severity of the disease. In highly severe cases, the person can have difficulty walking and functioning normally.;
Can Hypothyroidism Kill You
If your thyroid function depletes completely and you have extreme hypothyroidism, then you can develop myxedema. This condition can be life-threatening and result in coma or very low body temperature that ultimately leads to death.;
This is why its important to treat hypothyroidism to ensure that the condition does not get worse. Most cases are not life-threatening and simple medication, and diet changes may suffice. However, your doctor will advise you about how severe hypothyroidism is in your particular case.;
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How To Ensure A Healthy Thyroid On A Plant
Weve already extensively talked about iodine. Contrary to common belief, iodine is not the only important mineral for the thyroid gland. Other nutrients, including zinc, selenium, B vitamins, and Vitamin D are also important in ensuring a healthy thyroid.;
A plant-based diet, which focuses on nuts, seeds, and whole grains, should easily cover your daily recommended intake of selenium and zinc. Similarly, you can find so many plant-based foods that contain B Vitamins, such as potatoes, avocados, nuts, broccoli, and bananas.;
The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, but if you live in a place that gets very little sun, you can go for fortified products. For instance, Vitamin D fortified soy milk is highly popular amongst vegans. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with Hashimotos disease, so make sure that youre getting enough of it.;
The gist is to eat a healthy and well-balanced plant-based diet, which will take care of basically every organ in your body, including the thyroid.;
Pregnant women need to be extra careful to ensure that they are getting enough iodine and other important nutrients for their thyroid. Low levels of iron have also been associated with lower thyroid function in pregnant women. So you may want to focus on foods rich in iron as well, such as your leafy greens, lentils, and seeds.;
Whats The Difference Between A Food Sensitivity And Food Allergy
Food sensitivities and food allergies are caused by different branches of the immune system.; The symptoms and onset differ, too.
Food allergies can be life-threatening. Allergy symptoms are usually immediate, within 15-20 minutes, affecting breathing, digestion or the skin. Usually food allergies involve the production of IgE antibodies.
Food sensitivities may be IgG, IgM, IgA and T-cell driven. A blood test may be used to identify food sensitivities.
IgG is thought to create thyroid antibodies in many cases of Hashimotos. One of the ways we may be able to reduce antibodies is to get rid of the foods causing those antibodies.
Symptoms of food sensitivities are not as severe as allergies. Adverse food reactions from food sensitivities generally happen within 24 hours. However, it may take up to 3 days.
So that Friday dinner could totally be causing your Monday morning brain fog or headache!
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How Were You Able To Stick With Such A Dramatic Diet Change
I was able to stick to the diet as I was a junk food vegan. I was not eating oil and everything was vegan and oil-free but I ate processed foods, i.e. pumpkin choc chip muffins, etc. Several years later, inspired by my friend, Chef AJ, I moved into a whole foods plant based way of eating.
It was easy for me as I love potatoes and did not have to count calories even though I rarely stopped eating.
Thyroid Friendly Supplements To Consider On A Vegan & Vegetarian Diet
People who are transitioning off the vegan diet and are starting to incorporate more meats into their meals should consider starting with broths before gradually introducing meat. Begin with easier to digest meat sources such as chicken and fish before transitioning to beef. Increasing your consumption of meat too quickly when the body isnt used to digesting it could lead to stomach upset, bloating, constipation, and fatigue.
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Do You Want To Start Down The Right Path
Your thyroid is the key to your overall health, so it makes sense that you take the right steps to keep its well being in check.
If youre concerned about the state of your thyroid, I would love for you to take the Thyroid Quiz today. It can show you where you are currently at, and what you can do to start feeling better right away.
Food #3 Raw Cruciferous Veggies
Sources differ on this topic. Many claim the benefits of raw cruciferous vegetables far outweigh the risks they pose to the thyroid. Still others claim the exact opposite raw crucifers are goitrogenic and should always be cooked prior to consuming.
The cruciferous family of veggies is rich in sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates detoxifying and anti-cancerous substances which are very beneficial to the whole body . Cruciferous vegetables are sometimes called brassicas and include:
- broccoli and cauliflower
- kale and other leafy greens like arugula, watercress, mustard greens, and collard greens
And they should be a part of everyone’s diet, in my opinion.
Yet they are also goitrogenic in nature. A goitrogen is a substance that interferes with the thyroid’s uptake of iodine. When the thyroid isn’t uptaking enough iodine, it swells to try to uptake more iodine. This forms a lump in the throat called a goiter. Health practitioners should always palpate your throat area to check for a goiter, which is a sure sign of a thyroid problem.
Some argue, however, that though goiters are;caused by interference in the uptake of iodine, that uptake isn’t blocked by food. Rather, they say, goiters are caused by inflammation from chronic autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto’s. The solution, then, is to treat the autoimmune thyroid condition, not to remove goitrogenic foods like cruciferous veggies from the diet.
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Alternatives To An Elimination Diet
Giving up favorite foods is oh-so hard! Some people find that seeing test results can push them over the edge to make a tough decision. Psychologically, data on paper may be more convincing.
There are a few options when looking at labs for IgG food sensitivity testing.
- The Great Plains Lab Test: It tests over 90 foods and may shed light on how the body is handling any candida yeast overgrowth. The test does not require a blood draw and can be administered at home. Get the results in 3 about weeks. Contact us for a requisition form.
- Cyrex labs: This test requires a blood draw. It is unique in that it tests foods in cooked and raw forms since the heating process changes the composition of the foods proteins. Contact us for a requisition form.
- MyMedLab: They offer a 184 or 96 food panel and be ordered online without a doctors requisition form.
Addressing Food Sensitivities Is Extremely Effective
Get this: Addressing food sensitivities can be more powerful than taking supplements!
Lets say you take all the supplements in the world and eat an in-season, organically grown diet. Guess what? If you still arent dealing with your food sensitivities, youre not going to be able to achieve optimal health. Even seemingly healthy foods may be a problem for you.
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Thyroid Disease Risk Factors
Are thyroid problems genetic? Yes, some of the issues are auto-immune conditions that may be hereditary. However, there are some other risk factors at play, as well:
Sex: Women have a higher risk of developing thyroid problems, possibly because of the hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause.;
Smoking: Smokers are also at a higher risk of getting thyroid diseases. According to a JAMA study, smokers are at a higher risk of hyperthyroidism through Graves disease.;
Other Auto-immune Conditions: If you have existing auto-immune conditions, such as type I diabetes or celiac disease, your risk of developing an auto-immune disease related to the thyroid is higher.;
Iodine-deficiency: Lack of iodine in your diet puts you at risk of developing thyroid diseases. Iodine is a vital mineral for improving thyroid function.;
Here Are Five Main Steps I Took To Reverse Hashimotos Disease:
1. I improved my digestion. Most people who are struggling with Hashimotos have some sort of digestion issues. Most digestion issues are rooted in low stomach acid due to stress.Low stomach acid prevents the body from properly breaking down and utilizing the nutrients in food.
This can lead to bloating, heartburn, indigestion, leaky gut, IBS, colitis, autoimmune disease, food intolerances, etc. I followed these steps to increase my stomach acid to improve my digestion.
2. All thyroid disease is rooted in some sort of adrenal imbalance, so I took steps to balance my adrenals.;The adrenal glands are the bodys emergency system. When the body is under chronic stress, the adrenals will send out cortisol into the bloodstream. Over time, chronic cortisol output will weaken the endocrine system, liver, digestive system, and brain, and will also slow down your thyroid.
So, if you are wanting to reduce your thyroid symptoms, start with healthy adrenal glands.Here are 20 steps you can take to balance your adrenals and support your thyroid.
3. Because one of my root causes was an overabundance of heavy metals in my system, I spent a lot of time gently detoxing my liver.;The liver is very important to thyroid health because its where most of the bodys T4 is converted into the active form FT3.
Even if you dont have an issue with heavy metals, its still imperative to take steps to detox the liver to support thyroid hormone conversion.;Here are 8 steps I took to detox my liver.
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