Did you know that thyroid issues are a lot more common than people realize?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are the two main thyroid hormones released from the thyroid gland. T3 is the active form, which comes from T4. These hormones play a role in regulating your body temperature, heartbeat, breathing, and much more. It’s impressive that a small gland has so much responsibility.
What we are seeing today is that thyroid hormone imbalance is often the root cause of other problems.
According to the American Thyroid Association:
- An estimated 20 million people in the United States have some type of thyroid disorder
- Up to 60% of people with thyroid disease are unaware that they have a condition
- Women are five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than a man
- 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime
- Undiagnosed thyroid conditions can lead to other serious health complications such as cardiovascular disease and even infertility
When we can catch thyroid problems before they become a full-blown disease, it’s easier to address. The earlier you catch it, the better off you are. With blood work, a lot of doctors will just have just run a TSH test – that’s the thyroid stimulating hormone.
Unfortunately, that’s not enough information for us to catch thyroid issues early on. If we’re looking at the thyroid, we want to test TSH, but also run free T3 and free T4 tests. These are thyroid-produced hormones. TSH is the hormone that stimulates your thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4 hormones.
As a naturopathic physician, I’ve seen so many women not realize they have a thyroid issue. It’s important to know how to recognize potential thyroid issues and how to get help. Before running blood tests, your skin might be showing clues of imbalance.
Skin Clues of Thyroid Hormone Imbalance
When thyroid hormones are out of balance, you may start to see certain signs on your skin.
Some signs of thyroid issues on your skin include:
- Dry, pale, and cool skin
- Moist, warm and velvety skin
- Dry, scaly and cracked skin
- Skin flushing on the face and palms
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Red spots
- Coarse skin
If you’re noticing any of these skin issues, that alone is not enough to diagnose you with a thyroid problem. Other signs of thyroid imbalances include changes in your hair, weight, metabolism, digestion, and temperature regulation. These are clues you can take to your practitioner to find the root cause and talk with them about thyroid testing (including free T3, free T4, TSH, and thyroid antibodies)
5 Essential Nutrients for Thyroid Support
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant. It is found in some food sources such as liver and spinach. Another common way for people to get Vitamin A is when the human body converts beta-carotene from green leafy vegetables, carrots, and other foods into Vitamin A.
You probably know Vitamin A best for supporting eye health, but it also supports thyroid function. Vitamin A is needed to activate thyroid hormone receptors.
Selenium is a micronutrient needed for thyroid hormone synthesis. Most selenium in the body is stored in muscle tissues; however, the thyroid gland has the highest concentration of selenium in the body.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is needed for supporting thyroid hormone metabolism and immune health. Foods rich in zinc include red meat and poultry, especially oysters.
Iodine is essential for the thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Since the body does not make iodine on its own, it is important to get this nutrient through the diet. If you do not have enough iodine, you cannot make thyroid hormones. Iodine is found mostly in sea vegetables and animal proteins. It is also found in fortified foods.
This amino acid is known for synthesizing proteins, but it is also used for the thyroid. The thyroid makes thyroid hormones out of l-tyrosine and iodine.
You can find all of these nutrients in The Spa Dr. Thyroid Adapt supplement, an all-in-one formula for optimal thyroid nutritional support.* If you take any medications, talk with your doctor before taking this or any other supplements.
How to Feel Your Thyroid Gland
You can feel your thyroid. If your neck is swollen or has a lump or bump, you may have a goiter. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiters and can be a clue to thyroid issues.
You’ll only need a mirror and a glass of water to do this.
Find the area where your thyroid is located. In women, look from the collar bone up to find your thyroid.
Tip your head back as you look in the mirror.
With your head still tipped back, take a drink of water and examine your thyroid.
Swallow the water and look for lumps or bumps on the thyroid area.
Repeat the test. If you see any bumps, make note of it and contact your practitioner. You can also have someone take a picture for you and document what you find.
When it comes to your thyroid, being proactive can help protect you from issues down the road. If you’re having symptoms, skin clues, or think your thyroid hormones are out of balance, document these and talk with your doctor about thyroid testing. Testing is the best way to get to the root cause and achieve whole-body balance.
The Spa Dr.® Approach
At The Spa Dr.®, our approach is to help shine the light on the skin and health care information and offer our guidance to support you on your journey.
The Spa Dr.® offers natural skin care products that are safe and free from chemicals and toxins that can harm your skin and health. Our products are formulated to contain key nutrients in their pure and active form to provide optimal results. In addition, our products are pH balanced towards mild acidity to promote and protect a healthy skin microbiome.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.