One thing I love about functional medicine is how it empowers my patients to take a role in their healing process.
There are so many natural tools that we can utilize in the healing process that will allow the body to repair itself as it was designed to do.
Take nutrition, for instance. While conventional providers tend to place very little (if any) importance on nutrition, the truth is that when it comes to healing your body– especially your thyroid– nutrients are one of your primary defenses. Some of the most important nutrients are minerals that will help you maintain your thyroid health. I have three in mind that are pretty crucial for individuals with thyroid issues, as thyroid-related mineral deficiencies become a roadblock to healing.
I think the natural reaction of most of my patients who find out they have a mineral deficiency is to go overboard on the supplements. However, I always have to remind them that while a deficiency is a serious problem, overdoing it and building up excessive levels of certain minerals is just as dangerous. The key here is balance. In this blog post, I’ll outline a few of the trickiest minerals that can make or break your thyroid healing process.
If you’re deficient in iodine, you’re going to experience impaired thyroid hormone production. This deficiency, however, was way more of an issue before the iodization of salt in 1924. While the iodization helped solve the deficiency problem, it may have created a new one. Excessive levels of iodine can prompt autoimmune thyroiditis, which is the leading form of thyroid dysfunction. In fact, 90% of underactive thyroid cases are a result of the immune system’s mistaken response to your thyroid cells. Because iodine can trigger this autoimmune response that leaves your immune system targeting your thyroid, you should always have your health care practitioner check your iodine levels when addressing an underactive thyroid.
Iron is a crucial nutrient for those with an underactive thyroid, as a deficiency can mean an inhibited thyroid metabolism.
In one study, around 66% of women with hypothyroidism alleviated their hypothyroid symptoms by simply increasing their iron intake.
It’s very important to note, though, that iron can be dangerous when you go overboard. Excessive levels of iron is a leading cause of heart failure, so it’s imperative that you partner with a health care practitioner when trying to balance your iron levels as part of your treatment.
Like the other two minerals I’ve already mentioned, selenium plays a vital role in thyroid function. It reduces the effects of autoimmunity and your system’s attack on the thyroid gland, it improves hypothyroid symptoms, and stops postpartum thyroiditis. Again, you need to be careful when trying to rebalance your selenium levels, as toxicity can lead to organ damage and even attack your DNA. When it comes to selenium, I usually recommend eating two Brazil nuts each day, as these nuts are rich in selenium. However, I’ll offer the same advice I have offered for the previous minerals, and that is, you should aim to partner with a functional medicine practitioner when addressing this mineral in your thyroid treatment.
Although the side effects of mineral toxicity can be frightening, it’s important to understand that these nutrients are still essential to your body’s healing process as well as its equilibrium.
The first step is finding out if you have a deficiency, which you can do by working with a functional medicine practitioner who is equipped with the right testing equipment.
At my clinic, for example, we use cutting-edge diagnostic testing to pinpoint deficiencies and imbalances. Once you’re aware of any imbalances that are harming your thyroid function, your functional medicine practitioner can build a treatment plan with your unique needs in mind. This is one of the best ways to promote optimal healing.