May 05, 2015
While thyroid was known to be a disorder affecting middle-aged women, it has of late been affecting young women too. Battling it with the right approach is crucial.
Because of the fast lives we lead, thyroid becomes one of the most common disorders affecting an individual. The figures are alarming: Close to 12 million people are affected by it annually. And yet the unfortunate news is that many don't even know that they have a thyroid disorder.
It's no longer affecting just the over-30 group. Thyroid is also affecting younger women today in the age bracket of 15-20. It's important that youngsters keep a check on symptoms of puffiness, weight gain and fatigue and if they do show these, they must get a TSH screening done. There is no need to panic because thyroid is treatable.
The thyroid gland is situated just below your "Adams apple" or larynx. The function of this gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4, which are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).
Thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland, a small gland the size of a peanut at the base of the brain. When the level of thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) drops too low, the pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. Under the influence of TSH, the thyroid will manufacture and secrete T3 and T4 thereby raising their levels in the blood.
Have you wondered why you are gaining too much weight even when you are eating less food? Are you worried as to why your child scores poor marks in exams despite putting in a lot of effort? Do you know why one of your close friends finds it difficult to conceive a child or is experiencing miscarriages? It could well be due to the thyroid gland.
Abnormal weight gain, neck enlargement, depression, frequent and heavy menstrual flow, thinning hair, dry hair and hair loss, slow heart rate, dry coarse skin, difficulty conceiving and feeling exhausted easily are all its symptoms.
Virgin coconut oil offers hope for those suffering from hypothyroidism (a condition that occurs due to excessive production of thyroid hormone). It contains medium-chain fatty acids, which increase metabolic rate and promote weight loss.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners made of aspartame.
- Avoid peanuts, millet and rapeseed (canola oil)
- Avoid smoking and a high dose of nutrition supplements.
Consumption of sufficient iodine and vitamin A helps in reversing hypothyroidism. The recommended dietary allowances(RDA) for iodine is 150 mcg (micrograms) per day for adults.
Avoid salads made of raw vegetables especially those from the cabbage family like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. They contain a substance known as goitrogens, which affects thyroid hormones and may lead to goitre. By cooking these vegetables, goitrogens can be destroyed and its adverse effects can be reduced.
Consume more seafood, especially ocean fish, which is a good source of iodine. Even people on a low-salt diet can get plenty of iodine from green leafy vegetables, milk and milk products.
Have eggs as well as deep yellow or orange fruits and dark green vegetables which help in meeting additional vitamin A requirements.
Pregnant women need 220 mcg iodine per day and nursing mothers need about 290 mcg of the nutrient. Iodised salt provides 2 to 6 gm of iodine each day.
Although anti-thyroid medications cut down the thyroid gland's overproduction, this alone may not be the best approach because hyperthyroidism may reoccur once medication is stopped. You can take extra supplements like edible coconut oil, primrose oil, flaxseed oil or fish oil to help with skin dryness and hair loss.
Image source: Getty Images
Read more on Hypothyroidism.