Everything You Need to Know about Hypothyroidism

A couple months ago, I had bunch of blood drawn and one of the last things that I got tested was my thyroid. Now mind you, I had my thyroid checked last year and it was normal, so I was 99% sure that this test too would come back just fine. Low and behold… my thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was way off at 5.250 uIU/mL. The normal range is anywhere from 0.450 to 4.500 uIU/mL. 

In today’s post I want to tell you all about hypothyroidism {what it is, the signs and symptoms} Obviously, I’m not a doctor. I’m just sharing with you my own personal experience, the research that I found, and the changes I’m making in my own lifestyle. 

What is Hypothyroidism?

First, let’s talk about the thyroid. If you don’t already know, your thyroid is in the front lower part of your neck. It’s pretty damn important. The thyroid producing hormones that affect nearly every part of your body, including your skin, brain and heart. Hypothyroidism is a common disorder in which the thyroid is underactive – aka not making enough hormones. 

There’s a lot of causes for hypothyroidism including high levels of stress, genetics, gut inflammation, hormone imbalances, poor diet, and inflammatory disorders of the thyroid {like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis}. My doctors aren’t sure what caused my hypothyroidism, but they immediately put me on a medication called Synthroid and told me to make a few lifestyle changes, which I’ll talk about more below. 

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Fatigue is one of the biggest symptoms of hypothyroidism, but it’s also a symptom for a lot of different disorders including low B12. If you know me pretty well, you might already know that I’ve suffered with fatigue for years. Even when I get a good night sleep, I’m constantly complaining and almost always need a medium coffee to get me through my mornings. Not in the “I need caffeine to be productive” kind of way. More like “I need caffeine or I’ll fall asleep at my desk” kind of way. You feel me? 

This isn’t anything new to me though. My B12 levels have been dangerously low for a long time. During my recent lab work, I asked the technician to test for B12. To my surprise, my levels are now normal! Bad news… I was still really tired. 

In addition to fatigue, other symptoms that I experienced included dry hair, hair loss, dry skin, mood changes, and sensitivity to cold. A lot of people who have hypothyroidism might also have unexplained weight gain, slow heart rate and swelling of the thyroid gland. 

Medications & Supplements for Hypothyroidism

  1. Synthroid – This is the common medication that people take for hypothyoidism. I take a low dose {50mg} every morning. I take it as soon as I wake up, because you have to take it on an empty stomach and can’t eat anything for 45 minutes afterwards. 
  2. Vitamin D – This vitamin is critical because inflamed gut and high stress {causes of hypothyroidism} can actually reduce its absorption.
  3. Multi-vitamin with lots of B vitamins – Vitamin B12 and thiamine are critical for brain function and hormone balance. They help fight chronic fatigue by turning nutrients from food into energy that the body can use. 

Food & Lifestyle Changes for Hypothyroidism: 

  1. Salmon – Wild-caught salmon provides essential omega-3 fatty acids that help support a healthy mood and immune system. 
  2. Coconut oil – It provides fatty acids that support a healthy metabolism, increase energy and fight fatigue. Coconut oil is really easy to digest and provides the body with antioxidants that suppress inflammation. I’ve been using coconut oil in place of vegetable oil or olive oil while I’m cooking. 
  3. Probiotic-rich foods – Probiotics help create a healthy gut by balancing good bacteria and reducing nutrient deficiencies and inflammation. Some of my favorite probiotic-rich foods include kefir, greek yogurt and kombucha. 
  4. Magical seed combo {flax, hemp & chia} – These seeds provide ALA, a type of omega-3 fat that’s critical for proper hormone balance and thyroid function. 
  5. Peppermint oil – I love rubbing peppermint oil on my wrists a few times a week before going to work. Not only does it smell amazing, but it helps increase energy. {Read all about peppermint oil in this post!}

Things I’m Avoiding/Lessening in my Diet:

  1. Sugar – I LOVE sugar. I always say that I’d prefer to eat dessert than dinner any day. But, too much sugar is really bad for people with hypothyroidism. Sugar can actually disrupt the hormone balance necessary for good metabolism, energy, stabilized mood. 
  2. Broccoli & cauliflower – These types of veggies can impact thyroid function because they contain goitrogens, which interfere with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. 
  3. Gluten – I’m definitely not avoiding gluten in my diet, but I’m being more mindful of how much I’m having. Gluten can further raise inflammation, worsen hormonal problems and create nutrient deficiencies. 

// I hope this post was helpful for any of you that might have a thyroid imbalance. As always, consult your doctor before doing anything! xo, Nicole

 

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3 Comments

  1. June 9, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    Glad you were able to get some resolve on your health! Thanks for explaining! If you want to try an omega supplement Nordic Naturals are simply the best! Sourced from Norway and minimally processed with no fishy taste.

  2. Paula
    June 10, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Very good information. I’m sorry to hear that you have this disease, but I’m glad they had the knowledge to test you for it. I have been treated for it for about 23 years, and yet I suffered years before that. I was only given the complete panel of tests when I requested it. I hope you start to feel much better. There is such a lack of understanding of this issue. Thankfully I have found a specialist where I now live.

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