Many of the patients who come to our clinic want to know what they can do to improve their thyroid function without resorting to synthetic medicines or even glandular nutraceuticals. There is mounting evidence that certain foods can interfere with thyroid function, making a patient appear clinically as though he/she has a thyroid disorder when actually there are some dietary influences that are compromising their optimal thyroid function. The truth is that, most people who come to my office, feel they have a thyroid disorder as they have “every symptom in the book for thyroid hypo-function.” In fact, this is true for a large portion of these patients. For all the other patients, there is some other obstacle to a healthy functioning thyroid and having the energy and vitality that they want.
The adrenal glands are a critical part of how your thyroid is functioning. If your adrenals are tired, your thyroid must work harder to do its job. Thus, a patient often has the classic thyroid symptoms (fatigue, modest weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, depression, decreased concentration), but their blood work, even to me — and you know I have very specific numbers in mind when looking at your thyroid blood work — are really in the optimal range. That’s when it is time to assess the adrenal health, as well as diet and lifestyle factors, that can affect the way your thyroid is working.
Here are some dietary guidelines for hypothyroid disorders that will help you be more proactive in your diet and lifestyle. I recommend following this plan for 30 days and then re-testing your thyroid function.
Foods to completely avoid:
- Refined carbohydrates and processed foods (anything in a package)
- soy in all forms
- Red clover botanical
- Millet-it is considered to be the most goitrogenic food– that is, it blocks the production of thyroxine.
- Fatty beef (the fat is where the endocrine disrupting chemicals are begin stored for the animal)
- Poultry skin- has more fat which is where chemicals (also called ‘endocrine disruptors’ are stored)
- And LIMIT the following brassica vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, bok choy
Things to Add to your diet:
- Celtic sea salt – iodine will help thyroid conversion
- Foods high in zinc such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chick peas, crab, lamb, dark chocolate and cocoa, oysters, and garlic.
- Foods high in selenium: selenium-rich foods include seafood, shellfish, eggs, beef liver, and beef kidneys. Wheat germ, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, garlic, and onions are other good sources of selenium
- Hydrochloric Acid capsules mid-meal if you feel your digestion is compromised. This will help you digest and absorb all of the minerals, nutrients, and protein in the meal you have eaten, which serves a healthy thyroid.
- Replacing all of your cosmetic products that contain estrogen. Environmental Working Group has a list of all ingredients that have estrogen-receptor binding activity.
A DETOXIFICATION PROGRAM
Chances are that if you avoid the above for 30 days and are successful at doing so, you will automatically feel better. Regardless, I would re-test your TSH, Free T3, and free Free T4 to re-assess what changes have taken place and whether or not more time is needed to see improvements in your symptoms, your thyroid is truly under-functioning, and you need thyroid hormone. Adrenal testing may also be indicated.