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How to recognise an underactive thyroid.

Friday, 4 May 2018  |  Editor

Have you got an underactive thyroid?

Around 5% of women will be diagnosed with hypothyroidism at some stage in their lives, with another quarter on the borderline of slow and normal function. The borderline cases often get missed because they are less likely to warrant medication in the doctor's opinion. But these cases can be helped.


Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Feeling unduly chilly all of the time
  • Excessive lethargy
  • The inability to lose weight
  • Persistent low mood
  • A sluggish bowel
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Always feeling a "niggly" throat, as if you are about to get a sore throat
  • memory loss
  • Brittle and thinning hair, eyebrows and nails
  • Low libido

If you are presenting 5 or more of these symptoms then it could mean that you have a sluggish thyroid. Also, low iron or high cortisol could be restricting the amount of thyroid hormone T4 being converted to the far more active hormone T3.

Dietary Advice for underactive thyroid.

Iodine often helps least when people have a processed diet and eat lots of fish, ironically enough. Processed food contains some iodine so if you are eating processed foods you may be getting some iodine through your diet, whereas if you usually cook from scratch you may struggle! If you eat lots of fish you may have a moderate intake, but healthy cooks who don't eat much fish may respond more obviously to a kelp supplement.

This where you can get what you need:

  • Tyrosine: avacado, pumpkin seeds, dairy
  • Iodine: Fish, seaweed, kelp
  • Iron: red meat, dried fruit, pulses
  • Manganese: shellfish, watercress, hazelnuts
  • Vitamin A: liver, dairy products, eggs
  • Zinc: Fish, shellfish, meat, seeds, nuts, egg yolk
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, garlic, onions, egg yolk

Don't have these foods raw as they interfere with thyroid function:

  • Cabbage, kale, sweet potato, peanuts and soy.

These foods can over stimulate the thyroid creating further imbalance, so best avoided:

  • Alcohol, caffeine and sugar

If all that seems a bit of a commitment and you think it might be difficult to follow, why not try some supplements:

  • kelp: contain all the iodine you need
  • Multivitamins: contains the manganese, Vitamin A, Zinc and selenium required plus lots of other vitamins and minerals you ought to make sure you're getting
  • Tyrosine: that only item not included in the above
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