The thyroid gland is one of the largest hormone producing glands in the body and manufactures two hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodohyronine (T4). Thyroid hormones are responsible for controlling the basic activity of each cell in the body, including metabolism, growth and development, temperature regulation, heart rate and production of proteins. Specifically, thyroid hormones convert calories from food into useable energy for the body. If thyroid hormones are low, metabolism inside cells slow down and energy levels drop, uh oh! If thyroid hormone levels become too high metabolism and all body processes speed up.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is cited as a major cause and also Hashimoto’s thyroiditis an autoimmune disorder where an overactive immune system response floods the thyroid gland with white blood cells, which attacks the gland.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid releases too much of its hormones, many diseases and conditions can cause this including Grave’s disease.
The interaction between sex hormones and thyroid hormones is significant. Elevated estrogen levels block the effect of thyroid hormones increasing the development of hypothyroidism. Oestrogen stimulates the production of a protein, which binds to thyroxine (T4) and inactivates it. Thus correcting underlying oestrogen dominance and/or low progesterone can be beneficial in underactive thyroid. Cortisol can also impact thyroid via disturbing the GIT leading to dysbiosis, parasitic infection and leaky gut – further disrupting thyroid function, ouch!
A large portion of the community are unfortunately walking around beating themselves up about their diet and exercise, when actually their ‘extreme diet and exercise regime’ may have landed them in the trap of low thyroid and sluggish metabolism…AND is the likely underlying cause of their weight loss resistance…
How to Treat a Sluggish Metabolism/Thyroid with Nutrients
A common cause of a sluggish thyroid and subsequent weight gain are nutrient deficiencies.
A diet lacking in iodine, tyrosine and zinc can reduce our metabolic rate which means an increase in fat storage and decrease in the conversion of energy to heat – exactly what we don’t want!
Additional factors which play a role in the rate at which we burn fat include; insulin resistance, stress levels, toxic load and muscle mass (or lack there of).
In fact, any malfunction at the cellular level may impair fat metabolism (sex hormones, inflammation and infections included).
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism by stimulating protein synthesis, triglyceride breakdown, increasing cholesterol excretion in bile and use of glucose for energy production – therefore an underactive thyroid can result in a sluggish metabolism.
A body temperature (upon waking) between 36.4 and 37.1 reflects normal thyroid function whereas a reading of 36.4 or lower may indicate underactive thyroid…try testing yourself at home!
- Thyroid gland required iodine (as well as tyrosine, selenium and zinc) to make thyroid hormones
- Sprinkle veges with kelp granules
- Tyrosine attaches to iodine atoms to form thyroid hormones and low-plasma levels of tyrosine are associated with hypothyroidism
- Tyrosine is also a precursor to mood elevating neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine and thus a deficiency in these neurotransmitters results in poor appetite control and increased body fat
- Good dietary sources of tyrosine include almonds, banana, dairy products, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds
- Supplementation with tyrosine is usually 1000mg daily taken as a divided dose on any empty stomach – taken with co-factors B2, B5, Vit C and Zinc.
- Plays a key role in the production of thyroid hormones it is also a potent anti-oxidant
- Good dietary sources include brazil nuts, brewers yeast, garlic and wheat germ
- If supplementing a dose of 150mcg is normal (Upper Limit)
- Zinc is needed to distribute thyroid hormones
- Zinc is also required for the uptake of chromium which regulates the absorption of insulin and stabilises blood-sugar levels
- Dietary sources include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brewers yeast, egg yolks, fish and red meat
- Chromium lowers the rate of circulating insulin in the blood stream
- A good glucose tolerance supplementation is made up of chromium, Vit B3, glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid
- Elevated cortisol destroys muscle tissue, increase body fat and interferes with magnesium
- Prolonged stress ultimately leads to a slower metabolic rate
- Appropriate supplementation for stress management includes:
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Essential Fatty Acid’s
Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Nutritionist, Healthy Body and Mind Advocate, Natural Hormone Balance & Healthy Weight Loss, Natural Skin Health, Anorexia, Eating Disorder Recovery, Orthorexia, Thyroid, Non-dieting Approach, Gut Health, Nutritionist specialises in PCOS