Hypothyroid: Causes, Symptoms, Lifestyle Tips, and Natural Ways to HealLuke Coutinho
Did you know that an estimated 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases? It plagues millions worldwide every single year.
Thyroid disorder is a condition that affects the function of your thyroid gland. This butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck performs various metabolic processes, produces essential thyroid hormones (T3, T4), manages homeostasis, helps burn calories, and aids growth and development.
Your thyroid gland aids several body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. How does it do that? With the help of iodine which is one of its building blocks of T3 and T4. Your body cannot produce iodine naturally, so you need to get the right quantity of it through your meals. Remember, a lack or even excess of iodine can negatively impact your thyroid function.
The hormone requirement of your body keeps changing. The thyroid gland needs the help of another gland: the pituitary gland to understand whether to release more or fewer hormones into the bloodstream.
There are different kinds of thyroid disorders:
- Hypothyroidism: A condition where your body cannot produce enough thyroid hormones – triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Hypothyroidism symptoms include obesity, low energy, bone pain (in some cases), weight gain, and lethargy.
- Hyperthyroidism: A condition where your thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism symptoms are characterized by sudden weight loss due to increased metabolic activity.
- Goiter: A condition where your thyroid gland grows abnormally. It could be due to swelling, nodules, or multiple growths on the glands.
- Thyroiditis: It is a condition where inflammation affects your thyroid gland. On the other hand, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease are autoimmune disorders.
The inability to lose weight, brittle fingernails, bone loss, hair fall, frequent infections, dizziness, constipation, mental and physical fatigue, headache, and migraine, among others, are all symptoms of an underactive or poorly performing thyroid.
If left untreated, it can increase your vulnerability to cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, liver conditions, cholesterol issues, and so on. Research shows that it can cause psychological symptoms and affect the quality of life.
You need to understand that a thyroid condition is a lifestyle disease caused by the imbalance of hormones, the chemical messengers in your body. We often get asked, can you manage, reverse or put it into remission (if it is an autoimmune condition)? Absolutely YES. What you need over and above your medications is a lifestyle change.
But first, it is important to get the right diagnosis and address the root cause of your thyroid condition. Get these thyroid tests done to figure out if you are dealing with just thyroid or an autoimmune disorder.
- T3 (triiodothyronine)
- T4 (thyroxine)
- TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
- Anti-TPO (anti-thyroid peroxidase) (antibody)
- Anti-Tg (antithyroglobulin) (antibody)
The connection between chronic stress and thyroid function
When you get stressed, your adrenal gland produces cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Cortisol is a good hormone that your body needs to survive and for reflexes, among other functions. But when you constantly move from one stressful situation to the next and your cortisol levels are consistently high, it can be detrimental to your thyroid function.
Simply put, high cortisol levels mean the thyroid gland produces lesser thyroxine. Lesser thyroxine in turn means lower DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a hormone that boosts immunity and helps produce other hormones like testosterone and estrogen. When this delicate balance is thrown out of whack, your thyroid is most likely to suffer.
Why you need to pay attention to your quality of dietary oils
Wrong dietary oils are one of the leading causes of thyroid conditions among most people today. Polyunsaturated and refined oils like soya bean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and vegetable oils have flooded the market shelves in the last few years. In the process, they have pushed out our traditional, unrefined, cold-pressed, natural, saturated fats which were best for Indian cooking and your health. It is difficult to visit a restaurant that doesn’t use soybean oil or some sort of vegetable oil that contains soybean.
Polyunsaturated fats oxidize quickly and turn rancid in your cells. They compromise liver function and do not allow the production of enzymes required to convert fat into energy. The problem with an underactive thyroid is weight gain. You need an effective conversion of T4 to T3 to generate enzymes that allow the conversion of fat into energy. So when you consume these wrong foods and fats, it impairs that conversion, and it puts oxidative stress on your liver. The slower your liver, the less the fat burn, and several other organs in your body and metabolic functions get impacted.
Did you also know that soybean oil is used to enrich animal feeds to promote weight gain? So yes, it also promotes poor weight gain in human beings and hampers the production of thyroxine from your thyroid gland. It affects the communication between your hormones and cells important for weight loss, hormonal balance, and other bodily functions.
Every single function happening in your body is chemical. There is communication between your cells and hormones on how it absorbs and assimilates nutrition, controls insulin, insensitivity, sugar levels in the body, and so on. This communication is controlled by thyroxine.
What happens when you produce less thyroxine?
- It can lead to faulty communication between your cells and hormones. It means your cells could now be containing and storing more and more fat which is not natural to the human body because there is a miscommunication due to a poor-functioning thyroid gland.
- If your thyroxine levels are low in the human body, your estrogen levels are impacted. When you have high estrogen levels, the body produces lesser protective hormones like progesterone. Excess estrogen also blocks the conversion of T4 into T3 thyroid hormone leading to low T3 levels.
- Thyroxine plays a role in eliminating bad cholesterol from the human body. When your cholesterol levels are out of range, your doctor may put you on a cholesterol-lowering pill or a statin which can be disastrous for your health in the long run.
Why doing the full thyroid panel test is important
Many people blindly look at their Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test, and if it is within the range, do not focus on making corrective actions. Just doing a TSH test is not enough because this can be a false expression. In some cases, your TSH levels may be within range, but you may still have an underactive thyroid gland. To rule this out you need to get the whole panel test including – TSH, T3, T4, Anti-Tg, and Anti-TPO. Your T3 and T4 levels will help you understand if your T4 is getting converted to your T3. So you need good levels of T4 and T3 with your TSH too for an efficiently functioning thyroid gland. But if you have good TSH levels but show an abnormality in your T3 and T4, you need to improve your thyroid function.
Every thyroid case needs to be treated differently, so knowing the exact cause may reduce the need for medication. Today many people are getting misdiagnosed. Some don’t even realize that their thyroid could also be an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Getting your Anti-Tg and Anti-TPO tests will help you rule this out.
Low Vitamin D3 and B12 levels
One of the commonalities that we observe in most thyroid cases is a deficiency of Vitamin D3 and B12.
– Insulin resistance and more.
A poor lifestyle
Yes, genetic and environmental factors may influence your thyroid dysfunction. But in most cases, it boils down to lifestyle. Studies show that binge-drinking alcohol, smoking, less/excess iodine intake, deficiency in vitamins and minerals, a sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, and certain medications (estrogens) affect your thyroid function.
Lifestyle changes to heal or manage hypothyroid naturally:
- Keep a food diary to track your eating habits. Chew your food slowly and mindfully. Take smaller bites.
- If you have hypothyroid, avoid eating raw crucifers like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, or lettuce that contains goitrogen that hinders the uptake of iodine. Cook or steam these veggies thoroughly before consuming them.
- Stop consuming low-quality refined and poly-unsaturated oils that block the production of thyroxine and affect the communication between hormones and cells. Switch to cold-pressed, word-pressed, unrefined and natural oils for cooking instead. Find some options here.
- Virgin coconut oil is a miracle oil that has been used for years to treat thyroid conditions. Unlike polyunsaturated fats which have long-chain fatty acids, pure virgin coconut oil is an MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride). It metabolizes quickly and allows the conversion of fat into energy without stressing your liver out. It also converts your thyroid hormone T4 into T3 and stimulates, nourishes, and repairs your thyroid gland. It boosts your metabolic rate and aids the loss of abdominal and belly fat. Two to three tablespoons of coconut oil can help stimulate and repair your thyroid gland.
- A trace mineral called selenium gets depleted especially when your thyroid gland is not functioning well. Apart from plant-based selenium supplements, you can also get selenium supplements from natural foods like nuts like almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, and seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and so on.
- Stay hydrated and flush out toxins. Drink two to three liters of water every day.
- Move more. Brisk walk, jog, skip, swim – whatever suits you. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
- Engage in pranayama and yoga asanas like Ustrasana, Bhujangasana, or Matsyasana. Studies suggest that those with a sedentary lifestyle have higher levels of TSH compared to those who exercised regularly.
- Sleep deep to allow your body to detoxify, repair, and balance hormones.
- Manage your deep-rooted emotional stress. While some cortisol is required for survival, reflexes, and other body functions, excess cortisol causes your thyroid gland to produce lesser thyroxine. This lowers your immunity-boosting hormone DHEA and affects your sex hormones leading to a hormonal imbalance in your body.
ALSO WATCH: Can Thyroid Be Reversed?
Invest in yourself. Get holistic guidance on nutrition, superfoods, trace minerals, and vitamins that help you. Learn to manage low energy, fluctuations in weight, constipation, poor skin and hair health, and hormonal imbalance. Have faith in the intelligence of the human body and use your lifestyle to heal your thyroid gland.
Need help to do this? Our integrative team of experts at You Care Wellness will help you find a way. Under our Thyroid Care Program, we help you manage hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s or Graves. Hundreds of thousands have benefited just by unleashing the power of lifestyle.
Join Our You Care Wellness Thyroid Care Program here
Want to set up a one-on-one session with our integrative experts? Speak to our wellness consultants on 1800 102 0253 or write to us at email@example.com.
What our clients say
“I started my journey with sometimes during April 21, and I have achieved the following –
1. Thyroid health has improved. Currently, TSH levels are within the normal range. ( refer to attached screenshots)
2. Lost weight (from 66 kgs to 62.5 kgs) with fat loss without starving or counting calories or feeling guilty. I had to buy new clothes since the sizes dropped from UK 14 to UK 12.
3. Energy levels have improved considerably. No fatigue, lethargy, body aches, dizziness, and so on.
4. Quality of sleep has improved considerably, and now I wake up fresh in the morning without a puffy face and eyes.
5. Did not experience headaches due to stress since I started the program.
6. Skin health improved. (pigmentation on hands and feet, face, neck have disappeared)
7. Oral health has improved.
8. No bloating or acidity.
9. Bowel movement is regularized, and currently, I am off all kinds of laxatives.
10. Regulated stress levels due to lifestyle changes and practicing thyroid-specific yoga asanas everyday morning. Learned how to manage to cope up with stress, fear, anxiety, depression, etc.…
11. Learnt the right way of eating and right combination of foods for proper digestion and to remain healthy.
12. Now, I am able to think clearly and carry out my work without procrastinating.
13. I have a Positive mindset and attitude towards life than before. I have learnedd to let goof things that comen my way of peace andoverall well-beingg.
14. Changed my outlook towards life and circumstances.
Certain benefits (2,6,7,11,13,14) stated above I never asked for, but I still got them.
The above was achieved through lifestyle changes such as oil pulling early in the morning, practicing gratitude, positive affirmations, breathing exercises, thyroid-specific yoga asanas, 8K– 10K steps every day, detox plans, guided food plans, etc.…
The 29 days mindful journey with Luke was insightful and amazing. It helped me to be grateful for and mindful of each and everything in my life. I have been a silent follower of Luke much before enrolling in the Thyroid Care program, and his advice and live sessions have helped me and my family’s overall well-being.
Luke, I am humbled and grateful for everything you have done and are doing selflessly to serve society. Thanks a ton to my coach Vijaya Nayak for guiding me and supporting me throughout this journey. I used to eagerly wait for the weekly follow-up calls. Her positivity energized me and kept me going thought out the program. She was highly knowledgeable, humble, and prompt. Thank you, Harshala for your patience and guidance throughout the yoga sessions. My doctors here said that there is no cure for hypothyroidism, but LUKE AND TEAM have made me realize that I can reverse it with lifestyle changes. I have grown stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. The goals which seemed unattainable seem close by now. I am confident that I will be able to achieve the goal of reversing thyroid based on the program and the roadmap given to me.”
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Excellent information luke sir. Tha U so much. Sir plz can u share glycemic index of Foods.Plz sir
Hi Manisha, Thank you. Listing the glycemic index of each food here may not be possible. But you can look up glycemic index charts in medical and scientific journals online for the same. Thanks.
– Team Luke
Love everything you write/speak…..but no one ever tells my what to do I have no thyroid due to CONTAINED cancer had a goiter also…breast cancer 1989 and 1995 removed the thyroid 2021…now taking 88mg of thyroid replacement…help
Hi Bonnie, thank you for writing in. My team and I will need to assess your case in detail before suggesting anything. Request you to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can guide you.
Thank you Luke for explaining it so precisely. you have mentioned only examining TSH levels is not enough and better to do full panel test.
My daughters TSH level is 4.47 which is slightly higher than the normal range . So shall I still do her panel test. As I want to be on safer side .
Do a full panel test.
This is the first time that I received and understood my condition of past 20 yrs. Very well explained in a methodical manner without the medical gibberish. Can relate to most of the symptoms which were easily brushed aside and many a time attributed to sheer laziness. Thank you. Will get the full panel of tests and take it from there onwards.
Thank you Vrinda. Glad this helped. Hope you are able to manage your condition with the right guidance. My team and I are here to help you find a way. You can know more about our Thyroid Care Program under You Care Wellness here: https://www.lukecoutinho.com/programs/thyroid-care-program.
You can set up a one-on-one chat with us by calling 18001020253 or writing at email@example.com.
Hi does surgical Hypothyroidism respond to the same strategies mentioned above? I had 1/2 my thyroid removed ( 2007 ) due to a nodule – I believe I am hypothyroid although my doctors have never mentioned anything since removal – I do use many of the strategies listed above but struggle with fatigue, hair loss, and very hard to lose weight – I am active most days – low carb – daily fasting with 2 meals – whole food supplement with Vitamin D, NonFortified Nutritional Yeast, fish oil – I am sure to incorporate fermented foods daily and so much more & consistent with exercise even if it is nothing more than a walk for an hour outside but usually more because it is a way of life for me – always tweaking things and trying new approaches out – yet the above-mentioned complaints still exist 15 year into this – will I ever feel normal energy again and will my hair ever stop falling out and grow back ( although shedding has slowed it has never really stoped or grown back & In 15 yrs I have lost 50% of my hair and wear a wig) even the products used on my hair is natural and so is my skincare – I buy from local conscientious suppliers who are into providing quality products without all the chemicals – I even switch all cooking utensils to stainless steel or glass – there is just so much but yet fatigue, hair loss & wieght remain stubborn issues that I just cant get rid of ?? Advise? Oh, I also incorporate stretching, relaxation, swimming, strength training, and keep stress low – my life is good how can I still feel so crumby ???
Hi Luke, this was a knowledgeable piece of information. I had joined your wellness program for thyroid few months back, and am happy that my lifestyle and even my thyroid medicine doses decreased. This article made me understand why certain Vitamins and food were included in my food plan by my coach Vanessa. A big thanks to You and your team for helping me in my journey.