Thyroid Dysfunctions &
The Obesity Epidemic:
|Editor's note: Many people blame their obesity on "thyroid" problems and then use that as an excuse to keep overeating. In this article, Dr. Hyman addresses how to ascertain if thyroid problems exist, and how to correct them if they do. Remember, a thyroid dysfunction doesn't sentence you to a life of obesity, if you do something about that dysfunction and make the other necessary changes in your eating patterns.|
There’s no doubt that thyroid disease is on the rise. Now the question is why?
But exactly how does your environment affect your thyroid?
We now have substantial research to demonstrate that environmental chemicals have a direct impact on the thyroid gland. It’s clear that PCBs and other industrial petrochemical toxins can lower thyroid function, as well as other pollutants such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromide.
Since the thyroid produces hormones that manage your metabolism, anything that affects your thyroid will ultimately affect your metabolism. In fact, there’s evidence that toxins boost the excretion of thyroid hormones, leaving you with less of this hormone to control your metabolism—and a decreased ability to burn fat.
The truth is, your thyroid plays a huge role in weight control, and in determining your metabolic rate.
The question is not if, but how much is today’s obesity epidemic linked to the harmful effects of environmental toxins on metabolism.
I’ve seen so many patients struggle with their weight, only to have the pounds melt off when we addressed their thyroid problems.
True, not everyone’s weight problems are caused by thyroid dysfunction—but if you’re overweight, you should consider the connection. That’s why the best medical doctors always check their patients’ thyroid functions and will consider all the possible causes of subtle thyroid imbalance, including toxins, food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and stress.
Now let’s talk about some of those other factors.
For example, food allergies, like sensitivities to gluten and other foods, also negatively affect thyroid function—and are frequently undiagnosed. Likewise, deficiencies in nutrients important to good thyroid function—like selenium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids. and iodine and tyrosine—can also trigger thyroid problems.
With all of these factors that can affect your thyroid, it’s clear that we need a new approach to the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease. Many doctors can miss the subtle signs of thyroid problems, and conventional medicine often treats low thyroid function with inadequate, one-size-fits-all drugs like Synthroid.
However, thyroid dysfunction requires a more personalized, integrative approach—one that you can help control by becoming an active partner in your care. First, keep an eye out for the symptoms of a low thyroid function, including:
• trouble getting up in the morning
• dry skin
• dry hair
• fluid retention
• menstrual problems and PMS
• hair loss
• cracked or chipping fingernails
• low sex drive
• weight gain
• muscle aches
Yes, a lot of those symptoms are pretty common and vague—which is one reason why thyroid dysfunction often goes undetected. But if you notice any of these signs, bring them to your doctor’s attention, and ask him or her to test your thyroid function.
If you are diagnosed with low thyroid function, the following steps recommended:
1. Eliminate the causes of thyroid problems, like toxins, food allergies, and nutritional deficiencies.
2. Exercise and take saunas.
3. Eat foods that provide nutritional support to your thyroid—and avoid those that don’t.
4. Use supplements that protect your thyroid, such as vitamins A and D, selenium, zinc and fish oil.
5. Work with your doctor to choose the right thyroid replacement for you. It should combine both the inactive and T4 hormone found in Synthroid and the active hormone T3, found in other medications.
Remember, thyroid hormone is the master metabolism hormone. If your thyroid is out of balance, your metabolism is out of balance, too.
Do you have a dysfunctional thyroid?
Know that the problem can be fixed. By following the program here you can get your thyroid working properly, keep your weight under control and start feeling better today.
Mark Hyman, MD, author of UltraMetabolism -- The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss, shows you how to reprogram your body to burn fat by turning on the message of weight loss and health and turning off the messages of weight gain and disease.
The articles on this site are authoritative, because:
Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.
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