Optimize your metabolism by Anni DahmsNils Lind
By Anni Dahms, Owner of the retail chain ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health specialist, Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.
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The thyroid gland is an important gland in our body that plays a central role in regulating metabolism. It produces the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which affect the function of many organs in the body. An underactive thyroid gland can result in a low metabolism, leading to various symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold, and sluggishness. It is important to take care of the thyroid gland to maintain a healthy metabolism.
The collaboration of the
endocrine system with the brain
Approximately 100 hormones are known. They are produced in our organs, adipose tissue, and bloodstream. Mostly, they are produced in various glands. Hormones are chemical messengers that establish connections between all cells in the body through the bloodstream. Hormones are involved in virtually all bodily functions. They circulate freely in the bloodstream, and in order to become activated, they need to find specific recipients called receptors. These receptors function as locks that require a specific key, namely the desired hormone, to open up to the right hormone. Otherwise, it would create chaos if all keys could unlock all receptors. So, besides the presence of the right hormones, it is also crucial that the keyholes, namely the receptors, function properly. When the body’s hormones seem to malfunction, it is often the receptors that are not functioning as they should. The brain and the unconscious nervous system collaborate with the endocrine system, primarily controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. These two centers coordinate the entire metabolic activity of our body. The endocrine system is not a physical unit but a series of interconnected organs, each with different functions. To be considered part of the endocrine system, an organ must be a gland that produces and releases a chemical substance into the bloodstream. These glands are called endocrine glands. The most important hormone glands are the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries, testes, and pineal gland. The endocrine system helps regulate the function of cells throughout the body. The central control centers monitor the hormone levels in the blood. When a hormone is lacking, they send signals to the organ responsible for producing the desired hormone to produce more. If there is an excess, they request to reduce the activity. Hormones are stored in tissues and released when needed. An example of the far-reaching functions of hormones is when you get startled, need to fight, or similar situations. Adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands, triggering a series of reactions. Your heart beats faster, blood is immediately redirected to vital organs, attention is stimulated, digestion is slowed down, and so on.
The role of the thyroid gland in metabolism
This month, I choose to start with the thyroid gland, glandula thyreoidea, which is often the most overlooked gland in our body. The thyroid gland’s job is to monitor metabolism. It sits atop the trachea, just below the Adam’s apple. Resembling a butterfly, it weighs approximately 50 grams.
Despite its modest size, it produces hormones that affect most of our body’s organs. The main metabolic hormones are thyroxine, known as T4, which is converted outside the thyroid gland into T3 (triiodothyronine), the active form of the hormone.
The thyroid gland can be described as the “fire in the kettle of life,” as Kjeld Bruun-Jensen writes. Kjeld Bruun Jensen has written several wonderfully understandable anatomy and physiology books. The thyroid gland can best be described as a power plant that controls growth and energy metabolism in the body.
If you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, everything slows down. The intestines become sluggish, weight increases, you become lazy, your thinking becomes sluggish, and you have cold hands and feet, even in the summer. Low thyroid function is often an age-related phenomenon. So it is good to take care of your thyroid function in time, and fortunately, there is much you can do yourself to keep it healthy. Low thyroid function is considered to be up to 7 times more common in women than in men. In women, there is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s disease, a condition where the body produces antibodies against the hormone-producing cells in the thyroid gland. It can be measured in the blood.
On the other hand, if thyroid function is too high, everything runs at full speed with palpitations, trembling, diarrhea, sweating, excessive activity, and more. Despite increased appetite, weight loss occurs. In severe cases, protruding eyes can be observed. However, this is relatively rare. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to seek medical help before embarking on any form of self-help!
It is a somewhat complex workshop because the amount of hormone the thyroid gland needs to produce is determined by how much the pituitary gland releases, and this organ is subject to the oversight of the responsible hypothalamus.
Consequences of too low or too high thyroid function
The thyroid gland’s hormone production is dependent on iodine, as the thyroid hormones contain iodine. Therefore, in iodine-deficient countries, iodine is added to table salt. If one has iodine deficiency, the thyroid gland can enlarge, resulting in a condition called goiter, which can also have other causes. Some foods, such as soy, soybean oil, and processed foods, including peanuts, can block iodine. Excessive intake of polyunsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils and margarine, can be burdensome as they interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. However, coconut oil is considered beneficial as it contains medium-chain fatty acids that can increase metabolism and promote weight loss, but it is important to use high-quality coconut oil.
Foods that burden an underactive thyroid include refined foods with sugar and refined grain products such as wheat, pasta, potatoes, and rice, with a high glycemic index that stimulates insulin production, which can also burden the thyroid gland. Foods that stimulate thyroid function include iodine-rich foods such as seaweed, kelp, nori, etc. Season your food with sea salt or Himalayan salt. Eat plenty of sesame, such as tahini, egg yolks, pumpkin seeds, artichokes, onions, garlic, mushrooms, bananas, avocados, radishes, tropical fruits, and more.
Prepare a delicious juice with watermelon, a little lecithin powder, banana, and a tropical fruit, and add a dash of aloe vera. Make sure to consume enough protein. And once again, use a lot of high-quality coconut oil as it helps stimulate the thyroid gland.
People with low thyroid function may benefit from certain dietary supplements. It is important to remember that the best foundation is a high-quality multivitamin/mineral product such as Omnimin, Mivitotal, or Spektro. In addition, there are specific dietary supplements that can be beneficial. Here are some recommendations:
Kelp in tablet form can be an option, but it is important to closely follow the dosage. Overdosing on iodine can have negative effects on thyroid function. Kelp contains the amino acid L-tyrosine, which, along with iodine, is essential for the production of thyroid hormones T4 and T3. If you choose to take L-tyrosine, it should be taken separately from other dietary supplements. Tyrosine is naturally found in meat protein.
Note: You should never take tyrosine supplements along with blood-thinning medications or if you have malignant melanoma or other forms of cancer in the skin or nervous system. If you are taking medication or have any medical conditions, you should consult your doctor before starting any dietary supplements.
Selenium plays an important role in low thyroid function, just like zinc, B2, B3, and B6 are necessary for the normal formation of thyroid hormones.
Siberian Ginseng, also known as Eleuthero, can be a beneficial aid. Take it for one month at a time and then take a one-month break. It can be found as a standalone supplement or in the product Omni Vital, which also contains adaptogens like Astragalus, Schisandra, and Rhodiola.
Taking 500 mg of Vitamin C twice daily can help boost energy levels.
Taking 100 mg of Coenzyme Q10 once daily can contribute to improving energy and overall well-being.
Vitamin D has a significant impact on the normal function of the immune system. It is believed that this vitamin may counteract the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s.
Small tips for low thyroid function
In addition to dietary supplements, there are also some small tips that can be beneficial for individuals with low thyroid function. These tips can help support a healthy thyroid function. Here are some recommendations:
Make sure to engage in regular exercise. Exercise can increase the production of thyroid hormones and is particularly important if you are overweight and following a low-calorie diet. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week.
Consider quitting or reducing smoking. Cigarettes have been shown to worsen an underactive thyroid, so it is best to avoid them to support your metabolism.
Avoid stress and make sure to have time for yourself. Stress can negatively affect the thyroid gland, so it is important to find ways to reduce and manage stress in your life.
Toothpaste and water quality
Avoid toothpaste that contains fluoride and pay attention to the chlorine content in your water. These substances can block the receptors in the thyroid gland and affect its function. Instead, choose fluoride-free toothpaste and consider filtering your drinking water if it contains chlorine.
Chew your food slowly to ensure it mixes well with your enzymes. Enjoy your meals and eat slowly. You may also consider taking a digestive enzyme supplement to support digestion.
Food intolerances and customization
It can be challenging to find the right diet in the modern food world, especially if you suspect you have food intolerances or are unsure of which foods suit you best. In such cases, it may be a good idea to seek help from a nutritionist who can assist in customizing your diet based on your individual thyroid profile.
Always remember to consult a doctor or specialist before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are taking medication. They will be able to provide you with the necessary guidance and ensure that any dietary adjustments are safe and appropriate for your specific situation.