Your Wellness: Have You Considered Your Thyroid’s Health,
While addressing other health challenges?
By Rika Keck Post Rehabilitation Exercise Specialist
As a holistic practitioner specializing in stress management, I look at ‘all pieces of the puzzle’. Building energy, addressing mental wellbeing and bringing life towards better balance are fundamental wellness factors. Additionally, supporting foundational physiological health during all stages of ‘dis-ease’ is essential.
At any time in a woman’s life, it is important to make sure that thyroid function is in optimal, not normal, blood lab ranges. When addressing the whole person, it is imperative to correlate thyroid function in conjunction with adrenal function. This is not (yet) recognized in Western medicine, however addressed in the Functional Medicine approach.
A hypothyroid condition or a thyroid autoimmune condition e.g. Hashimoto Thyroiditis, will affect health, energy, weight management, sleep and resilience during any health challenge.
When being challenged by a breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, treatment and post treatment, there are certain priorities that need to be addressed. Stress levels are very high and it is important to monitor other areas of health that might become compromised during this time.
My post provides information regarding thyroid function, esp. as regards to hypo function or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. It is helpful to test for a thyroid health baseline prior to surgery or treatment. Thyroid function affects all areas of metabolic function. Energy capacity, immune function, detox ability, heart rate, mental and physical wellbeing all have a strong connection with the thyroid.
Especially with a chronic stress load and chemical overload, thyroid function will be compromised. There are often clinical symptoms, even if the labs are ‘normal’. The thyroid, in conjunction with adrenal function, must be supported at any time.
Radiation affects thyroid function adversely. This can be a trigger of Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid. The toxicity of chemotherapy affects the gland and thyroid function, which often is compromised already.
Besides being a hormonal gland, the thyroid is also a blood filter and it helps to ‘clean’ the blood. Chemicals, viruses and toxins greatly affect thyroid health and optimal function. Sadly, this is not acknowledged in allopathic medicine.
To check on the status of your thyroid, ask your physician to do the whole blood test profile. That includes TSH, T4, T3, rT3 and TPO antibodies.
From my professional experience, I seldom see the whole panel being done, yet it can provide a lot of functional information. As a ‘health investigator’, it gives me helpful information regarding my client’s overall stress handling and possible hidden immune challenges.
One can be asymptomatic for many years. A hypothyroid or hyperthyroid condition often precedes the autoimmune condition. An enlarged thyroid, a goiter, must be investigated.
Certain nutrients are essential for thyroid health and conversion of the hormones T4 to T3. Nutrients include vitamin E complex, essential fatty acids, selenium and zinc. During cancer treatment, it is important to work with a health practitioner.
I also use a certain iodine supplement in my health practice. It must be done with caution as it can bring on a strong detox. Before using iodine, I ask my clients to get checked for antibodies on the thyroid, an autoimmune condition that is becoming more prevalent.
Use of iodine is CONTRA-INDICATED in a Hashimoto’s conditions. The anti-body count needs to recede to an optimal range. Often a hypothyroid condition is underlying the autoimmune disease. Consult with a practitioner before using any iodine supplements.
When in doubt, use organic whole food sources as your nutrient sources. However, food does often not contain enough nutrients required, esp. for therapeutic purposes. (Westonaprice.org provides great nutritional resources regarding cancer.)
Autoimmune Conditions, Gluten And Your Gut Health:Should you be diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid condition e.g. Hashimoto’s, the following information will provide information on how you can regain health of your thyroid.
6 Ways To Regain Your Thyroids Health
1) Healthy Nutrition: Changes in nutrition are the first step: Elimination of all foods that contain gluten, and possibly dairy, is essential. Focusing on organic/free-range whole foods will support the thyroid. Do steam/sauté all cruciferous vegetables, which have thyroid inhibiting properties. (Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages).
2) Support The Gut Lining: Your stomach lining integrity is a big player regarding your thyroid health? This intestinal mucosal barrier (‘inner tube’) protects us and it is comprised of mucous membranes, the immune system, a good blood supply and the hormones.
Medications, radiation, stress, alcohol, meds, junk foods, lack of sleep, GMO foods all wreak havoc with the stomach lining. Over time, the gut lining becomes permeable and food particles can leak through. Dairy and gluten molecules are especially inflammatory.
By continuing to eat foods that contain these inflammatory proteins and having a ‘leaky gut’, the immune system is constantly in action to destroy these foreign particles. Over time the immune system becomes dysregulated and it loses the ability to distinguish ‘self’ from ‘non-self’ = auto-immunity.
3) Support Digestion And Gut Flora:Since chemotherapy and radiation adversely affect the gut flora health and gut lining integrity, it can increase the likelihood of a ‘leaky gut’ that can result in a challenged thyroid. During treatment, supporting the gut lining and gut flora will be extremely helpful. Different probiotic strains, slippery elm, aloe vera are just a few supplements to support gut lining. Digestive enzymes will optimize a compromised digestion and the added nutrient absorption will support healing, energy and wellbeing.
4) Can This Condition Create Hidden Inflammation?
YES. Foods, leaky gut, an over-reactive immune system are all part of an autoimmune condition that is associated with inflammation. Inflammation takes a tremendous toll on the endocrine system, esp. the adrenal glands.
Cancer is already linked to inflammation. By addressing any inflammatory thyroid challenges e.g. Hashimoto Thyroiditis, it is possible to lower the systemic inflammatory burden. Improving the health and function of the thyroid will support with energy, mood, toxin elimination, sleep, memory, pain and mental wellness.
5) Homeopathic detoxifiers/drainage remedies will reduce the toxic burden induced by radiation and chemotherapy. All must be done under the guidance of a health care professional.
6) Support thyroid function by assessing adrenal function in a four sample, one-day saliva test.
Conclusion: Especially with a chronic stress load and chemical toxicity overload, thyroid function will be compromised. There are often clinical symptoms, even if the labs are ‘normal’. The thyroid, in conjunction with adrenal function, must be supported at any time. Take care of your’s today!
Rika Keck, FDN, ACN, CMTA
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