The thyroid gland is sometimes called the “master regulator” of metabolic rate, owing to its powerful influence on energy production and use in the body. Like any gland, the thyroid needs supportive nutrients from food or supplements to act as raw ingredient precursors for hormone synthesis, and select nutrients are needed to help convert certain thyroid hormones into more active forms. Many people experience symptoms of hypothyroidism – but there are natural ways to support your body through diet and supplementation.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
Weight gain and Difficulty losing weight
Muscle and Joint tenderness
Easily fatigued, sleepy during day
Sensitive to cold
Cold hands and feet
Dry skin/Brittle nails
Excessive hair loss
Loss of lateral 1/3 eyebrow
Menstrual abnormalities (prolonger and heavy menses with shorter cycle)
Shortness of breath
How to Use Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Testing
Basal Body Temperature is not just an indicator of thyroid status, as it is affected by adrenal function, body composition, activity level, menstrual status, and immune function. However, it can be used as an initial at home indicator.
Leave your Basal Thermometer at your bedside table and chart your resting (try not to move too much before testing) temperature first thing in the morning for at least 4 consecutive days.
Menstruating women - start on Day 2 of your cycle
Men and Menopausal women - start anytime
97.6-98.2°F = Normal
Ideal Blood Chemistry for Hypothyroidism
If you suspect issues with your thyroid, you will want to ask your doctor for a full thyroid panel along with the basic CBC and CMP panels. If you cannot get this blood work done with your doctor, reach out and we will help you.
Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) Thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb)
In Functional Medicine, we look at your test results a little differently. Your test results may seem ‘normal’, but that does not necessarily mean healthy. We have different ranges for ‘optimal’ health because we focus on disease prevention. If you have recent blood work and would like us to review it with you, contact us.
Other Indicators of Hypothyroidism in Basic Blood Work Panels
HIGH: Triglycerides, Cholesterol, Calcium, Magnesium, BUN
Further Functional Testing Considerations
Diet and Food Allergy
There is a clear correlation among autoimmunity and food allergies/sensitivities. Therefore, Food Allergy/Sensitivity testing is recommended.
Gut Health and Infection
There is a clear correlation among autoimmunity and intestinal permeability ('leaky gut') and infection. The GI Map test may be recommended to assess gut infections and dysbiosis.
Hormones and HPA Axis
Excess estrogen, chronic stress and high cortisol can cause and worsen hypothyroidism. DUTCH testing can assess this and may be recommended.
It is important to rule out mercury and other heavy metal toxicity via provoked urine studies or hair analysis. We offer both.
Other test considerations include insulin levels, blood glucose, LFTs (liver function tests), GGT (glutathione) and genetic variances in detoxification pathways, such as CYPA12, COMT, and methylation pathways.
Review Functional Testing we offer HERE.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. Iodine and the amino acid Tyrosine produce thyroid hormones, so try to incorporate these foods on a daily basis.
Iodine rich foods: sea vegetables (kelp, dulse, arame, hijiki, nori, wakami, kombu), fish and shellfish like cod and shrimp, turkey, whole eggs, potatoes (with skin), whole fat dairy (from pasture raised animals, only if tolerated well).
Tyrosine rich foods: poultry, cucumbers, green peppers, almonds, strawberries, apricots, avocados, bananas, beef, dairy, whole eggs, fish, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds.
Avoid Goitrogens. They block iodine use. Cooking will inactivate goitrogens: turnips, cabbage, mustard greens, radishes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, cassava root, soybean, peanuts, pine nuts, millet.
Utilizing the Elimination Diet can be supportive in reducing inflammation and increasing gentle detoxification and is a great first step in your healing. Check out the full blog post here for more information.
Vitamins and Minerals
Zinc, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A function together to manufacture thyroid hormone. A deficiency in any of these reduces the amount of active hormone produced.
Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), and Vitamin C are necessary for hormone synthesis.
Zinc, Copper and Selenium are required cofactors for converting T3 to T4. Selenium deficiency decreases conversion of T4 to T3 in peripheral cells and is prominent in 50% of the population's diet. Tip: 2-3 Brazil Nuts a day can be a sufficient source of Selenium.
Antioxidants (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Turmeric/Curcumin) increase thyroid function.
Diet and Meal Planning
Choose lean, organic, free range, hormone free, grass-fed, clean quality proteins at each meal such as chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, fish (especially salmon and sardines), wild game, organ meats like liver or pate, eggs, beans, hummus and lentils, nuts, seeds and nut butters, whole fat grass-fed dairy.
Boost omega 3 fats (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed, hemp seeds, chia seeds) and omega 9 fats (olive oil, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados, guacamole, macadamia oil and coconut oil/yogurt/milk/flakes); avoid trans fatty acids (hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine and shortening).
Consume 5-9 servings of vegetables/fruits every day (always at least double the amount of veggies to fruit. Substitute complex carbohydrates (non-starchy vegetables and whole grains - quinoa, oats, rice) over refined and simple carbohydrates. Eliminate refined carbohydrates from the diet (bread, white flour, white rice, white potatoes, sugar, corn syrup and candy). Avoid caffeine, soda, alcohol and smoking.
Drink half your weight in ounces of pure, filtered non-chlorinated water every day. Drinking 2-3 cups of naturally decaffeinated green tea daily is also helpful.
Consider avoiding gluten and dairy, especially if other autoimmune diseases are present (and thyroid antibodies are present). Food testing will give you more personalized information on what other foods should be avoided.
Exercise and Daily Movement
Exercise stimulates thyroid secretion and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormone.
You can support your thyroid through diet, movement, and supplementation. As with everything in holistic health and healing - everyone is different and therefore every protocol is different. If you suspect issues with your thyroid, connect with us for testing considerations and personalized plans.