Hypothyroidism is caused by an underproduction of hormones by the thyroid gland or the body’s inability to make use of them.
This lack of hormones slows down the metabolism and all associated bodily processes, resulting in a range of symptoms related to the sluggishness of the body.
The frequency of the disease is hard to determine, but it is estimated that 0.5% of the American population suffers from it in some degree, with the numbers being higher among those over 50.
Symptoms include fatigue, mental and physical weakness, weight gain, depression, constipation, coldness sensitivity, swelling, hoarseness, and more. In children, it may lead to developmental issues, such as delayed tooth growth and short stature. Hypothyroidism also increases the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes mellitus.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate and speed up metabolism. These hormones are composed of iodine and are named T1, T2, T3, and T4, with T3 being generated from T4.
The pituitary gland, located below the brain, produces a hormone called Thyrotropin or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). This hormone enhances the activity of the thyroid gland, and an excess of thyroid hormones in the blood decreases the production of TSH, thus slowing down the thyroid.
Hypothyroidism may be caused by various factors, such as an autoimmune reaction against the thyroid tissue (Hashimoto’s disease), impaired conversion of T4 to T3, iodine deficiency, surgery or radiation near the thyroid, injury or disease in the pituitary or part of the brain controlling it, and more. In addition, some types of food, such as Brussel sprouts, broccoli, corn oil, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, radishes, rutabaga, soy, and turnips, may contribute to the condition.
Other possible causes are the artificial sweetener aspartame, mercury pollution, dental fillings with mercury, and fluoride and heavy metal pollution.
Treatment for serious hypothyroidism, caused by tissue destruction, requires external supplementation of thyroid hormones. For less severe cases, dietary changes and supplements of iodine may be used, as well as hormone supplements, although it can be difficult to find the right dose. It is also possible to alleviate hypothyroidism by avoiding the food types mentioned above, as well as artificial ingredients, fluoride, and mercury and heavy metal exposure.
Additionally, one can consume food that stimulates the thyroid, such as chia seed, dulse, fish from the ocean, flax seed, pumpkin seed, seaweed, coconut, and brewer’s yeast. Nutritional supplements are also available to help with the condition, containing building materials for hormones, vitamins and minerals, and constituents that stimulate tissue regeneration.