Hormones and hormone glands do so much to regulate your body and its natural functions that often go unnoticed. In fact, face it – how much do you really know about your hormone glands and what they do for you? Many individuals know a lot less than they should, which can lead to many different issues that are difficult to recognize without the proper education regarding the endocrine system. It is highly important to keep track of what goes on, and what is in charge of what so you can manage your life style with a little more know-how.
One of the most important parts of the endocrine system – the thyroid gland – manages many different functions with the hormones it produces. When something throws your thyroid production off, you might experience a world of different, vague symptoms that have a high impact on your lifestyle and the manner in which you handle every day activities – like sleeping, eating, or the ability to interact with others. With that tidbit out in the open, we would say that it is high time to put some more thought into your thyroid.
Things to Know About Your Thyroid
First of all, what exactly is the thyroid gland? The thyroid is a part of your endocrine system, a gland located just below your Adam’s apple right at your throat. It produces a number of important hormones that regulate your body’s processes so that the rest of your body’s systems can function in tandem, and you can maintain proper health.
The thyroid produces the following hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyromine (T3). It also produces calcitonin, and parathyroid hormones from the four smaller glands included in the thyroid’s architecture called parathyroids. Once released from the thyroid gland, these hormones circulate through the bloodstream to regulate metabolic functions.
T3 and T4 make their way through the blood stream, establishing communication with other cells to ensure the availability of nutrients and oxygen for the cells. This allows these hormones to heighten metabolism if the availability is high. They can also lower the metabolic rate if there is a low amount of available nutrients. This allows the cells to conserve energy if needed. These hormones also ensure healthy protein synthesis and enzymatic activities.
Calcitonin and parathyroid hormones regulate the body’s content of calcium, amongst other minerals. Calcitonin can reduce the amount of calcium in the body, while parathyroid hormones increase it. This is especially important for growing skeletal systems in children and teenagers experiencing further physical development.
The thyroid gland also ensures the healthy performance of a number of other important functions within the body, including regulation and usage of cholesterol and nutrients. It also aids the growth process and empowers healthy development of the brain. Another important function is that the thyroid encourages healthy nerve function and heart muscle contraction.
Sometimes, your thyroid gland can get thrown off or out of whack. It is not always easy to recognize when this happens, as the symptoms are so vague and do not occur within a sudden onslaught. Unlike other parts of your body that send immediate messages of pain or sickness whenever they go out of balance, the biochemical-releasing nature of the thyroid makes it more difficult to pinpoint if an issue exists.
One problem that many individuals face is hyperthyroidism – or an over-production of thyroid hormones. Grave’s disease and thyroid nodules can cause hyperthyroidism. Some symptoms include sudden increase in metabolism, often characterized by abrupt weight loss or an increased appetite. Heart palpitations are another symptom. Sometimes, this condition can lead to a thyroid storm, which is extreme overproduction that can wreak all sorts of havoc on your bodily functions.
The opposite of hyperthyroidism is hypothyroidism, which slows the metabolic rate. people who experience this condition often have symptoms including weight gain, decrease in appetite, depression, fatigue, damaged hair and nails, constipation, dry skin, high cholesterol, and stiffness in muscles and joints. Hypothyroidism is the underproduction of thyroid hormones, and can often be a result of an autoimmune disease.
Other symptoms that may have traces to a malfunctioning thyroid include an overproduction of sweat, feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and irritability, shaky hands, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, and insomnia. So, if you overlooked the functions of your thyroid, then you may be missing out on better quality in your life. Once you see how deeply this gland can affect even your overall mood, you see the importance of maintaining it.
Complications from Cranky Thyroids
The aforementioned symptoms, alongside the general stress a malfunctioning thyroid can cause the body, can lead to devastating and costly health effects later on in life. When we say a thyroid left unchecked can wreak havoc on your health and lifestyle, we mean business. Here are some common long-term effects that a dysfunctional thyroid can lead to.
Hypothyroidism can lead to a goiter, or an enlarged thyroid swollen from overstimulation as it tries to produce more hormone. This can make the neck look and feel abnormal, causing irritation with tight fabrics and necklaces. Heart problems, another long-term effect, include a greater risk to suffer heart disease and increased amounts of low-density lipoprotein – or bad cholesterol that can cause clogged arteries and heart attacks. Depression, another result, can have grave effects on mental health and stability. It can get more severe over time if left unchecked. Hypothyroidism also instigates problems with ovulation, like painful cramps and infertility.
Meantime, hyperthyroidism also has a list of undesirable long-term effects that take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. Atrial fibrillation, a heart-rhythm disorder, can cause the heart to beat too quickly. Because of overproduction of thyroid hormones, osteoporosis may occur as a result of calcium and other minerals not incorporating into the bone structure properly. Blurred vision and sensitivity to light, or other eye problems, may result from hyperthyroidism as well as skin problems including redness, swelling, and irritation.
Cranky Thyroid Contributors
Now that you know the full impact that results from a thankless thyroid imbalance, you can get to know some of the things that contribute to this gland’s crankiness. Once you fully understand how some of the most innocent and common items can take a toll on the functions of your thyroid, you can be more careful and better preserve your health.
One common contributor to thyroid disruption is on grocery store shelves, used by millions of Americans every day for cooking. Vegetable oils, canola oils, and peanut oils contain polyunsaturated fats. The human body not only has difficulty processing these fats, but polyunsaturated fats block hormone secretions in the thyroid. This could lead to hypothyroidism. The fats in these oils create stress on the thyroid gland, which allows oxidative damages.
Another example – triclosan – oscillates the thyroid’s hormone production and liver function. It also tampers with the gene settings of the thyroid, which can alter the course of development in children and infants. This chemical is often found in a wide variety of soap products, including face washes, bar soaps, hand soaps, and body washes. It functions as an antibacterial agent.
Perchlorate works against iodine – a nutrient critical to the function of the thyroid. The iodine works to help the creation of thyroid hormones. Ingesting this compound can really mess up the hormone balance in the body. What is worse? Perchlorate is often used in rocket fuel, and exists in many grocery products including milk.
The chemicals used in fire retardants impersonate thyroid hormones, which can send the wrong signals to your thyroid when it needs to know how much of a hormone to produce. The amount of contamination world-wide has increased steadily since 1972. Often metabolized into the breast milk of humans, these chemicals can impede brain and metabolic function and development. Plus, these disruptors are impossible to avoid.
Much of the non-stick cookware we use consists of per-fluorinated chemicals – or PFCs. According to studies performed on animals, this group of chemicals alter thyroid hormone levels. Also, it never breaks down or metabolizes out of the environment, which means it stays around forever. They lead to thyroid disease, along with a whole slew of negative health effects including kidney disease, high cholesterol, bad sperm quality, and low birth weight.
Pesticides contain organophosphate on a disturbingly typical basis. It is a neurotoxin linked to varying the levels of thyroid hormone in the body. It can alter the course of human brain development, fertility, and behavior. A not-so-fun fact: the Nazis made a lot of it during World War II, intending to use it as a weapon of war.
Natural Healing For Your Thyroid
Even with all of the damaging products and chemicals your body ends up exposed to, there are some steps you can take in sealing a deal of health and making peace with your thyroid. Participating in these practices is a simple way to thank your thyroid. They can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.
Recommended by some doctors, organic coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that adjust the body’s metabolism. Unlike vegetable oils, coconut oil remains stable for long periods of time, and encourages a heightened thyroid function. Incorporating three to four tablespoons of organic, extra virgin coconut oil into your daily meal time can improve thyroid health. You can also replace your disruptive cooking oils with coconut oil.
Stay away from anything ‘refined.’ This includes sugars, coffees, and grains. These items contain goitrogen, which can cause your thyroid to enlarge into a goiter. Instead, sweeten your drinks with stevia – a plant-based sweetener.
Since your thyroid thrives on iodine, taking iodine supplements can empower your thyroid to function correctly, without over or underproducing its hormones. Iodine supplements are available at most grocery stores or online vitamin vendors, ranging in price from four dollars to thirty, depending on the quality and ease of metabolization into the body. We recommend you discuss this with your doctor, as the human body only needs a specific amount of iodine.
Consuming foods rich in vitamin A can help hypothyroidism. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and kale all contain high quantities of this vitamin. Make a salad with carrots, kale, and spinach to boost your body with vitamin A.
You can thank your thyroid by drinking tea, too! Bugleweed and lemon balm may be used alone or together to can help manage hyperthyroidism, and is recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Teas using herbs containing selenium can tackle issues related to hypothyroidism. Such herbs include raspberry leaf and ginseng.
Of course, we also suggest you stay away from non-organic foods, as they get exposure to pesticides, which contain the aforementioned organophosphate. Besides that, who knows what GMOs can do to the body. When you consume only organically grown and raised foods that never have contact with man-made chemicals, you stand less of a chance of gene-mutating chemicals and endocrine disruptors coming into contact with your body altogether.
That’s why we sell all organic, entirely natural products filled with the best botanicals we could find. We want to ensure the availability of healthful, healing skin care solutions that will not disrupt your body’s natural functions with chemicals creeped into the formula. To avoid potential carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, take a look at our web catalogue for body-friendly options. If you want to know more about the endocrine system and hormones, check out another of our awesome blog posts. For more information about our operation, feel free to contact us.