Thyroid Dysfunctions & The Obesity Epidemic : Is Your Weight Loss Canary Suffering?
There’s no doubt that thyroid disease is on the rise. Now the question is why?
The reason your weight loss attempts might not be working is because your weight loss canary might be suffering…let me explain.
From the research I’ve reviewed and the patients I’ve seen in the last 20 years, it’s clear to me that the thyroid gland is your body’s own yellow canary. It’s sensitive to many different influences—your diet, your lifestyle, and the world around you. And all of these influences can affect how well your thyroid functions.
Remember how miners used to detect toxic methane gas and carbon monoxide? They sent bright yellow canaries into the mines. Canaries are highly sensitive to these gasses—so much so that they die when exposed to them. Their deaths served as a warning system for miners so they do not enter and become exposed to poisonous air.
So, it’s not surprising that as we eat more toxic foods and are increasingly exposed to pollution, petrochemical and industrial wastes, and heavy metals that thyroid problems have also skyrocketed. In fact, more than 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men in the United States have thyroid dysfunctions—and half of them don’t even know it!
But exactly how does your environment affect your thyroid?
We now have substantial research to demonstrate that environmental chemicals have a direct impact on the thyroid gland. It’s clear that PCBs and other industrial petrochemical toxins can lower thyroid function, as well as other pollutants such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromide.
Since the thyroid produces hormones that manage your metabolism, anything that affects your thyroid will ultimately affect your metabolism. In fact, there’s evidence that toxins boost the excretion of thyroid hormones, leaving you with less of this hormone to control your metabolism—and a decreased ability to burn fat.
The truth is, your thyroid plays a huge role in weight control, and in determining your metabolic rate.
The question is not if, but how much is today’s obesity epidemic linked to the harmful effects of environmental toxins on metabolism.
I’ve seen so many patients struggle with their weight, only to have the pounds melt off when we addressed their thyroid problems.
True, not everyone’s weight problems are caused by thyroid dysfunction—but if you’re overweight, you should consider the connection. That’s why the best medical doctors always check their patients’ thyroid functions and will consider all the possible causes of subtle thyroid imbalance, including toxins, food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and stress.
Now let’s talk about some of those other factors.
For example, food allergies, like sensitivities to gluten and other foods, also negatively affect thyroid function—and are frequently undiagnosed. Likewise, deficiencies in nutrients important to good thyroid function—like selenium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids. and iodine and tyrosine—can also trigger thyroid problems.
With all of these factors that can affect your thyroid, it’s clear that we need a new approach to the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease. Many doctors can miss the subtle signs of thyroid problems, and conventional medicine often treats low thyroid function with inadequate, one-size-fits-all drugs like Synthroid.
However, thyroid dysfunction requires a more personalized, integrative approach—one that you can help control by becoming an active partner in your care. First, keep an eye out for the symptoms of a low thyroid function, including:
• trouble getting up in the morning
• dry skin
• dry hair
• fluid retention
• menstrual problems and PMS
• hair loss
• cracked or chipping fingernails
• low sex drive
• weight gain
• muscle aches
Yes, a lot of those symptoms are pretty common and vague—which is one reason why thyroid dysfunction often goes undetected. But if you notice any of these signs, bring them to your doctor’s attention, and ask him or her to test your thyroid function.
If you are diagnosed with low thyroid function, the following steps recommended:
1. Eliminate the causes of thyroid problems, like toxins, food allergies, and nutritional deficiencies.
2. Exercise and take saunas.
3. Eat foods that provide nutritional support to your thyroid—and avoid those that don’t.
4. Use supplements that protect your thyroid, such as vitamins A and D, selenium, zinc and fish oil.
5. Work with your doctor to choose the right thyroid replacement for you. It should combine both the inactive and T4 hormone found in Synthroid and the active hormone T3, found in other medications.
Remember, thyroid hormone is the master metabolism hormone. If your thyroid is out of balance, your metabolism is out of balance, too.
Do you have a dysfunctional thyroid?
Know that the problem can be fixed. By following the program here you can get your thyroid working properly, keep your weight under control and start feeling better today.
About the Author: Mark Hyman, MD is author of UltraMetabolism -- The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss. In this ground-breaking book, Dr. Hyman, for the first time ever, identifies the 7 metabolic keys to weight loss and delivers a blueprint for how you can ignite the fat burning code hidden in your DNA. To download free sneak preview of UltraMetabolism, click here now: http://www.ultrametabolism.com/prlarticle1