If you have been struggling with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis there are five key areas you need to evaluate: diet, rest (sleep), exercise, stress reduction and supplements.
A missing piece doctors commonly fail to address is diet. When healing hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s having a well-rounded diet that includes key nutrients the thyroid needs, and eliminates foods that cause inflammation, is key. The thyroid needs tyrosine, iodine, iron, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, omega 3 fats and vitamin D3 to function optimally.
Foods that cause inflammation, namely gluten and dairy can destroy the lining of the cells in your stomach causing a condition called intestinal permeability. Intestinal permeability reduces your stomach’s ability to break down and absorb nutrients (the nutrients your thyroid needs to functionally optimally). It also allows unbroken down food particles to pass through the cells to the other side where your blood stream and immune system reside. These unbroken down particles cause an immune system response resulting in food sensitivities and inflammation. If left untreated for long enough, this can result in an autoimmune condition. I cover autoimmunity and the link to your thyroid in much greater detail in The Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s Handbook. You can grab your free copy here.
Good sleep is important for everyone, hypothyroid or not. Your body rests and recovers while asleep. To find the amount of sleep your body needs let yourself sleep in on a weekend without an alarm clock. Then aim to get that much sleep every night of the week. Aim to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
Adrenal dysfunction is also common when dealing with hypothyroid issues. Every hour of sleep before midnight is equal to two hours worth of sleep for your adrenals. If you are having trouble falling asleep I’ve included five of my favorite tips for falling asleep in the Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s Handbook.
If you have been dealing with Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s you may feel like you have zero energy to work out. Your metabolism is running slower, due to not getting enough thyroid hormone in your cells, causing you to be fatigued.
If you are too fatigued to workout, start easy with light exercise such as walking and restorative yoga. As you incorporate the other lifestyle modifications into your daily routine and start to feel better, you can slowly increase your exercise. Aim to increase by only 10-15 minutes per day. Learn to listen to your body and what it needs. Some days a nap or extra sleep may be more important than a workout. Slowly up the intensity as you feel better, try swimming, lifting weights or Pilates. A sign your work out was too intense is if you feel like you need a nap immediately after, or it takes days to recover.
4. Stress Reduction
Stress suppresses your immune system and thyroid function. While you can’t always reduce the amount of stress in your life you can reduce the effects by taking time to relax and recharge. Find a daily way to relieve stress, whether this is meditating, going for a walk, journaling or doing something else you love. Pick something that feels easy and that you look forward to doing – not something that feels forced and will stress you out more.
Due to poor quality soil and processed and modified foods, we don’t always get the vitamins and minerals our bodies need from food, which is why supplementation can be necessary.
Which supplements your thyroid needs will depend on the results of your lab results. If your T3 levels are low and your body is having trouble converting T4 into T3 you will need different supplements than someone who’s thyroid is converting T4 into T3 but who’s cells are not receiving enough T3. In the Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s Handbook I cover the supplements that help improve thyroid function and why you need them (hint: they look a lot like the nutrients needed from food).
I believe supplementation is useless without lifestyle modifications. If you don’t reduce stress, improve your diet, get good sleep and find the right amount of exercise for you, supplements won’t fix the problem.
If you’d like to read a more in-depth explanation of this 5-step healing protocol and how it can help to improve your thyroid function grab a copy of The Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s Handbook. It’s completely free and has advice you can start implementing immediately to have you feeling better fast. Pick up your free copy here.