July 3, 2012
The Number One Reason So Many Women Have Trouble Losing Weight
The production and use of thyroid hormones is a complex and important process:
If I were to have a penny for every woman that comes into my office with a weight loss complaint, I would be taking many more vacations. Thousands of women have expressed their inability to lose weight no matter how hard they diet, exercise or eat ‘healthy.’ While there are many variables and circumstances that cause this difficulty, there is one factor that persists more than any other.
There have been so many myths and untruths propagated by mainstream medicine about the thyroid, that most women are left in the dark in terms of its true functioning.
What Is The Thyroid?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that drives the metabolic rate of every cell in your body. With a stubborn thyroid, it's almost impossible for you to lose weight. It converts oxygen and calories into energy. With a sluggish thyroid, you'll feel zapped and lethargic, even if you rest or sleep a lot. It governs everything from energy to appetite, from body temperature to weight, from mood to sex drive. An unbalanced thyroid wreaks havoc on your health. It also affects your heart, cholesterol, brain, elimination, bones and joints. Ignoring a balky thyroid could lead to serious health conditions.
- An understanding of the complex thyroid hormone process begins withiodide, a salt that is extracted from the blood and trapped by the thyroid gland.
- Iodide is converted to iodine in the thyroid gland. (Here, 80% of the body's iodine supply is then stored.) Iodine, in turn, is the raw material used in the manufacturing of thyroxine (T4), the key thyroid hormone.
- Thyroxine itself is converted into triiodothyronine (T3) , which is the more biologically active thyroid hormone. (Only about 20% of triiodothyronine is actually formed in the thyroid gland, however. The rest is manufactured from circulating thyroxine in tissues outside the thyroid, such as those in the liver and kidney.)
- Two other important hormones in the process are thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH or thyrotropin) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone( TRH).
- TSH directly influences the whole process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production.
- This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and monitored by TRH, which is produced in the hypothalamus gland. (Both the pituitary and hypothalamus glands are located in the brain.)
- When thyroxine levels drop even slightly, the pituitary gland goes into action to pump up secretion of TSH so that it can stimulate thyroxine production.
Any abnormality in this intricate system of glands and hormone synthesis and production can have far-reaching consequences.
Changing the Standard
First of all, TSH is not
a good indicator of thyroid functioning, at least not in the ranges defined as "acceptable standards." After testing, most results come out in the normal range, however that's only according to what a normal range has been defined as by medical standards. If your TSH is above 5.5, you're considered hypothyroid (meaning an underactive thyroid). If it's below 0.5, you're considered hyperthyroid (meaning an overactive thyroid).
Many natural health practitioners are now supporting a modification to this standard and that the TSH range should be above no more than 3.0 to be considered underactive.
This would also show that a much larger percentage of the population is suffering from underactive thyroids than what is claimed by many in mainstream medicine. The American Association of Clinical Endrocrinologists
support this assertion and have stated that more people suffer from thyroid concerns than those that suffer from diabetes and cancer combined.
Millions of people with underactive thyroids don't even know they have the condition. Symptoms are often subtle such as low energy, feeling cold, difficulty losing weight, poor sleep, moodiness. Sound familiar? That's because the majority of people in our working society have these symptoms and they're also attributable to other conditions.
What Causes an Unbalanced Thyroid?
A sluggish thyroid may be triggered by many unseen causes, including...
- MSG and bad fatty acids, so common in our diet, can weaken your thyroid.
- A deficiency of iodine is on the rise, and without enough iodine, your thyroid won't produce the hormones you need.
- As you age, your risk of an unbalanced thyroid dramatically increases.
- Popular prescription drugs for your heart, bones and blood sugar can lead to a sluggish thyroid.
- Exposure to too much fluoride or chlorine in drinking watercan interfere with normal thyroid function.
- Menopause or pregnancy and treatments such as Estrogen Replacement Therapy can throw the thyroid out of whack.
- A family history of thyroid concerns may cause thyroid dysfunction.
- Autoimmune health problems can cause your thyroid to go haywire.
Problems with the thyroid gland are more common among women than men, Dr. Whitney S. Goldner of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
There is growing evidence for a link between exposure to pesticides and thyroid problems he noted. They studied more than 16,500 women living in Iowa and North Carolina who were married to men seeking certification to use restricted pesticides in those states during the 1990s.
Difficulty losing weight and trouble with weight gain are two of the most common symptoms of a sluggish thyroid.
In one study of 900 thyroid patients, a whopping 84 percent of them were overweight!
One of the main reasons is, if your thyroid is sluggish, your metabolism slows down and even becomes dysfunctional. So the pounds add on, and stay on!
How To Correct Thyroid Dysfunction
With a smooth running thyroid, you'll...
- Boost healthy circulation so you're not cold anymore
- Clear up brain fog
- Combat thinning hair, dry skin, cracked nails
- Ease elimination problems
- Quell wild mood swings
- Enjoy healthier cholesterol
- Power up your heart
- Improve flexibility
- Feel like a million bucks
Nutrients To Maintain and Boost Thyroid Function:
- Iodine: the chief component of thyroid hormones
Iodine is a potent trace mineral that's vital for thyroid function. Amazingly, 75 percent of your body's iodine is stored in your thyroid gland. Iodine is vital for your body's metabolic processes.
- Irish moss: a wonderful source from the sea
This beneficial seaweed is an excellent source of naturally
occurring trace minerals and life-enhancing nutrients.
- Vitamin B-2: the "fat metabolizer"
This vitamin is essential because it keeps your thyroid humming
along. It ignites your fat-burning metabolism so you stay slim and
trim and releases energy from carbs, proteins and fats so you lose
- Magnesium: the "fat releaser"
Magnesium is vital because it supports many of the processes closely associated with a healthy thyroid. The problem is, 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium. A magnesium deficiency can affect the ability of your cells to properly use glucose for energy and metabolism, so it's harder to lose weight.
- Manganese: nature's slim down mineral
A number of manganese-activated enzymes play a key role in
the metabolism of carbs, amino acids and cholesterol...three things you must address if you want to be slimmer and trimmer.
- Selenium: a critical mineral for thyroid function
Selenium helps convert the thyroid hormone T4 into the active form of T3 your body needs for strong metabolism and more energy.
- Vitamin B3: the "energy stimulator"
This vitamin aids in the production of enzymes that convert carbs, glucose and fats into usable energy.
- Vitamin B12: the fatigue fighter
This energy-boosting, fatigue-fighting vitamin fires up your
metabolism. Also helps improve blood flow, which is vital for increased energy.
- Vitamin B1: the metabolism booster
Vitamin B1 is important for energy and for certain metabolic processes, especially the conversion of carbs.
- Zinc Picolinate: Crucial for healthy thyroid function.
- Copper: Combines with certain proteins to help a number of body functions, including energy
- L-Tyrosine: This amino acid is beneficial for the production of thyroid hormones and helps boost mental and physical stamina.
- Vitamin B6: This key vitamin helps convert iodine to the thyroid hormone and helps your body better absorb zinc, which you need for a healthy thyroid.
So kick start your thyroid by adopting a great diet, eating foods (primary) and taking supplements (secondary) with the above nutrients. Most of all, avoid medications that claim to stimulate your thyroid. Natural foods will take you far beyond any medication ever well.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.