Inflammation

Balancing Thyroid Function: Stress, Inflammation, and Nutrition.

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Thyroid function is crucial to maintain health. The balance and secretion of hormones like T3 and T4 orchestrate the metabolic process. However, a dysfunctional thyroid gland may contribute to the development of conditions like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. In addition, autoimmune disease can affect this gland resulting in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is the most common type of hyperthyroidism. On the contrary, Graves disease, an autoimmune condition, is a leading cause of secreting excessive thyroid hormones, resulting in hyperthyroidism. If an upregulated immune reaction can trigger hormonal disbalance, does this mean that we can improve thyroid function by treating inflammation, reducing stress signals, and promoting healthy nutrition? 

Hormone transportation and endocrine disruptors:

To have a proper hormonal function, we need to ensure the production, transport, sensitivity, and detoxification pathways are functioning correctly. However, endocrine disruptors can intervene in these processes. For example, BPA and phthalates are known to interfere with thyroid receptors, having a negative impact on gene expression at the thyroid and pituitary levels. In addition to inhibiting thyroid transport proteins and promoting oxidative stress. 

Reactive oxygen species and thyroid dysfunction

Furthermore, studies suggest that the combination of altered hormonal levels and the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can lead to myocardial remodeling and heart failure. Also, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism have detrimental effects on cardiovascular function. For instance, hyperthyroidism results in a hyperdynamic cardiovascular state, which increases heart rate. On the contrary, hypothyroidism reduces systolic and diastolic function. Nevertheless, both of these conditions result in tissue damage with increased susceptibility to oxidants, creating a vicious cycle of oxidative damage leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and DNA impairment.

Treating the gut to heal thyroid dysfunction

The interplay between the barrier integrity and a modulated immune reaction is evident. However, a balanced microbial environment is needed to decrease the risk of thyroid dysfunction.

The use of probiotics and prebiotics has been tested in conjunction with levothyroxine treatment for thyroid disease. This study reported that, when compared to placebo, the group intervened with levothyroxine treatment and symbiotics had a better TSH concentration and more energy. This coincides with the theory that there is a clear connection between bacterial diversity, gut health, and increased metabolic rate due to improved mitochondrial health.

Dietary approaches to treat thyroid disfunction

Is there a recommended dietary approach to alleviate thyroid disbalance? According to Dr. Warner, there is not a dietary approach that will ensure proper thyroid function. However, her expert opinion relies on multi-purpose dietetic care that includes nutrients that promote mitochondrial function, an anti-inflammatory diet, treating dysbiosis, and improving liver health. 

These actions focus on improving hormone production by the supplementation of micronutrients like iron and iodine. Furthermore, including zinc and selenium to treatment to promote the conversion of T4 to T3. In addition, the use of medicinal herbs like Ashwagandha, Black Cohosh, Rhubarb, and Sage reduces stress and cortisol levels, ensuring the proper transportation and detoxification of these hormones.

I like to think about the thyroid gland as if it is my puppy. When a puppy is relaxed, it will not cause any disturbance. But in a stressed environment, a little puppy with fuss and create chaos. I won’t seem too little after all. The thyroid function is a mirror of what we are going through in our lives. If we are dealing with stress, our hormones will shift to make us go through that process. Nevertheless, even if our life is full of stress and hormonal disbalances. However, we can create a controlled environment that will allow our thyroid gland to follow.

-Meditate.

-Include herbal teas or supplements.

-Include mindfulness in your daily lifestyle.

-If you need probiotics and nutritional supplementation, look for professional guidance.

-Eat more fiber.

-Excercise. – Ana Paola Rodríguez Arciniega, MS.

References:

Mishra, Pallavi, and Luna Samanta. “Oxidative stress and heart failure in altered thyroid States.” TheScientificWorldJournal vol. 2012 (2012): 741861. doi:10.1100/2012/741861

Villanueva, I et al. “The role of thyroid hormones as inductors of oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2013 (2013): 218145. doi:10.1155/2013/218145

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The information herein on "Balancing Thyroid Function: Stress, Inflammation, and Nutrition." is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

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