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Hypothyroidism

An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.

Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.

Understanding your thyroid

Our endocrine system (see the image) is a group of glands in our body that secrete hormones internally -using the bloodstream- that regulate bodily functions such as metabolism, growth and reproduction. Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism.

The thyroid gland is the largest gland in the endocrine system, normally weighing less than one ounce (28 grams). It is a butterfly-shaped organ that is located at the base of the neck, wrapped around the lateral sides of the trachea (windpipe) just below the Adam’s apple in men. It is made up of two halves, called lobes that are joined together by a narrow band of thyroid tissue known as the isthmus.

What does the thyroid gland do?

Every cell in our body has thyroid hormone receptors. The duty of the thyroid gland is to take iodine (a trace mineral) found in many foods and tyrosine (an amino acid) as building blocks, and convert these into thyroid hormones. The three thyroid hormones are:

  • Thyroxine (T4),
  • Triiodothyronine (T3), and
  • Calcitonin

About T4 and T3 hormones:

  • play a significant role in the energy regulation of our body,
  • increase our cellular activity in almost every kind of cell in our body,
  • regulate our metabolic organ processes.
  • T4 and T3 are made in the thyroid gland using iodine.
  • Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine.
  • Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).
  • If there is too much or too little thyroid hormone in our body, our entire metabolism is impacted.
  • Thyroid cells combine iodine and the amino-acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4.
  • T3 and T4 are released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body.
  • T3 has three molecules of iodine while T4 has four.
  • The thyroid gland produces about 80% T4 and about 20% T3.
  • T3 possesses about four times the “hormone strength” as T4.
  • Most of the T4 and T3 circulates in the blood bound to protein, while a small percentage is free (not bound).
  • Blood tests can measure total (unbound plus bound) T4, free T4, total T3 (bound plus unbound), and free T3.

 

The thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland, another one of the endocrine system glands. When the level of thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) drops too low, the pituitary gland produces “Thyroid Stimulating Hormone” (TSH) which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. Under the influence of TSH, the thyroid manufactures and secretes T3 and T4, thereby raising their levels in the blood stream.

The pituitary gland itself is regulated by another gland, known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is part of the brain and produces “TSH Releasing Hormone” (TRH) which tells the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland (release TSH).

One can imagine the thyroid gland as a furnace, the pituitary gland as the thermostat, hypothalamus as the person who sets the thermostat.

 Exocrine System Glands

The exocrine system in contrast to the endocrine system is a group of specialized cells that release hormones externally to the body’s cavities, organs, or surface through ducts. The exocrine secretions are involved in many important functions, such as sweating, digestion and lubricating the eyes.

 The major exocrine glands include

  • the salivary glands,
  • liver,
  • stomach,
  • prostate,
  • lacrimal glands,
  • pancreas,
  • sweat glands,
  • sebaceous glands, and
  • mammary glands.

Pituitary Gland and Hypothalamus

Pituitary gland is the main endocrine gland. It is a small structure the size of a peanut located at the base of the brain. It is called the “master gland” because it produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions including growth.

The pituitary gland consists of the anterior and posterior pituitary.

 

The pituitary gland itself is regulated by another gland, known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is part of the brain and produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) which tells the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland (release TSH). 

Diseases of the thyroid

  • Thyroid disease is extremely common.
  • According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 27 million Americans have an over or underactive thyroid gland.
  • Thyroid disease is much more common in women – 8 in 10 thyroid patients are female.
  • Thyroid disease is also strongly linked to diabetes.

Things that can go wrong with the thyroid gland mostly fall into three categories:

  • Underactivity or Hypothyroidism – when the body makes too little of the thyroid hormones
  • Overactivity or Hyperthyroidism – when the body makes too many of the thyroid hormones
  • Growths – this can include benign cysts, nodules or cancers of the thyroid gland

Oh honey... Don't go there

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

What IS to eat?

While there’s no such thing as a “hypothyroidism diet” that will make anyone instantly well, eating a well designed and controlled ketogenic diet will help boost the effectiveness of the thyroid.

MyKetoPal’s ketogenic 180 Food Plan aims to reduce the excess body fat, stabilize the hormone balance in the body, and boost the recovery process through ketosis and a balanced whole food based nutrition.

MyKetoPal’s Official Recipe Library is Here!

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Eating Ketogenic to Support Thyroid Function

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, trout, tuna, or sardines make this food an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.

Unmanaged hypothyroidism can increase the risk for heart disease as a result of higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Omega-3s are known to decrease inflammation, help with immunity, and lower the risk for heart disease.

Fish is also a good source of the nutrient selenium, which is most concentrated in the thyroid. Selenium also helps decrease inflammation.

All particularly high in nutrients, nuts are a great source of the essential mineral selenium –it helps the thyroid function properly. Nuts make handy snacks and go well in salads or stir-fries. are We need be sure to keep an eye on portion size as nuts are very high in carbs –something we want to avoid over consuming.

Some of the ketogenic nuts we commonly use in MyKetoPal’s ketogenic 180 Food Plan recipes are:

  • Brazil nuts,
  • walnuts,
  • almonds,
  • macadamia nuts
  • pecans, and
  • hazelnuts

An early symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain. Low-carb, high-density foods such as fresh green leaf produce are the cornerstone of every successful weight loss program based on ketogenic diet.

MyKetoPal’s ketogenic Recipes for Self Healing includes daily –and often at each meal- consumption of adequate amounts of

  • avocados,
  • tomatoes,
  • cucumbers,
  • onions,
  • garlic,
  • parsley,
  • cilantro,
  • asparagus,
  • raw and/or cooked green leaf veggies,
  • micro greens, and
  • fresh green herbs.

In general, we stay away from most fruits, as these contain high amounts of fruit sugar which will for sure kick us out of ketosis. We do not want to introduce any sugar into our diet, as getting back into fat burning ketosis mode will take at least 3 days.

We consume only low sugar fruits such as …

  • raspberries,
  • blackberries,
  • blueberries,
  • cranberries, and
  • boysen berries,

which are also rich in antioxidants, nutrients that are known to lower risk for heart disease.

In order to not effect the thyroid’s ability to absorb iodine for normal thyroid function, we chose to limit our intake of “cooked” cruciferous vegetables (strictly non-sprouting) to 10 ounces a day max. –such as …

  • zucchini,
  • broccoli,
  • Brussels sprouts,
  • cabbage,
  • cauliflower,
  • kale,
  • turnips, and
  • bok choy.

Seaweed provides our thyroid with a high concentration of iodine and offers nutritional benefits of fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. Iodine is the precursor for the production of thyroid hormone, consequently, it is the most essential nutrient for normal thyroid function.

Packaged as nori, wakame, and dulse, seaweed can be used in sushi, soups, and salads.

A single gram (0.035 ounce) of seaweed can contain anywhere between 16 and 3,000 micrograms of iodine!

A low-fat or nonfat diet or a diet high in nasty trans fats weaken our immune system and can wreak hormonal havoc.

Healthful saturated fats from dairy products are essential for energy and hormone production. Antibiotic- and hormone-free full-fat dairy products are great source of fat for us. They provide cholesterol; the precursor to our hormonal pathways.  They also provide protein which is required for transporting thyroid hormone through the bloodstream to all our tissues.

Although plenty of non-dairy sources such as kale, collard greens, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, and almonds are high in calcium, dairy is the primary source of calcium for many people.

MyKetoPal’s ketogenic Recipes for Self-Healing includes dairy products such as butter, heavy cream, sour cream, and cheese and does NOT include any form of milk.

Problem with Cow’s Milk: A1 Beta Casein Protein

Cow’s milk consists of both casein and whey protein. Casein makes up about 30 percent of the total protein in milk solids. There are different types of casein in the milk of dairy cows; essentially A1 and A2.

About 10 millenniums ago, A2 protein was the only “casein” found in cow’s milk. In the following millenniums, as the cows got domesticated, a natural mutation set off the production of A1 beta casein protein.  As heavy-producing large breeds like Holsteins (black and white) were adopted by dairies of Europe and the U.S., just about all milk sold in the western consumer markets contains the A1 protein.

Some cows produce the A1 protein only. Others produce both the A1 and A2 proteins due to cross-breeding. For the most part, breeds such as Guernseys, Jerseys, Brown Swiss, Normandes and those in Africa and India still produce A2 milk.

Some common allergies and food intolerances today are from cow’s milk because of the hybridized proteins of A1 casein.  While some people react adversely to beta-casein A1, everyone does perfectly fine when consuming beta-casein A2.

Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. Iodine is the precursor for the production of thyroid hormone, consequently, it is the most essential nutrient for normal thyroid function. The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

Some forms of hypothyroidism are caused by lack of iodine. A teaspoon of iodine is all a person requires in a lifetime, but iodine cannot be stored for long periods in the body; consequently, tiny amounts are needed regularly.  We need an average of about 150 micrograms of iodine per day.  Upto 1,100 micrograms iodine intake (1.1 mg) per day is considered safe amount (four teaspoons of iodized salt). The foods most commonly associated with excess iodine are seaweed and sea salt.

Below is the iodine content of some popular ketogenic foods [in micrograms]:

  • Cod Fish (3 ounces) = 99
  • Shrimp (3 ounces) = 35
  • Turkey (3 ounces) = 34
  • Egg (1 large) = 24
  • Seaweed (1 gr) = 12

Iodide Metabolism

The recommended daily adult iodine intake is 150 micrograms (200 micrograms during pregnancy). Iodine, ingested from food, or water, is absorbed and enters the extracellular fluid pool. The thyroid gland removes about 75 micrograms a day from this pool for hormone synthesis; the balance is excreted in the urine. If iodine intake is increased, the fractional iodine uptake by the thyroid is diminished.

What happens when a person eats too much iodine? 

Hypothyroidism can be caused both by too much iodine and by too little iodine. Using iodized salt or iodine-enriched foods is beneficial. Excess iodine is generally well tolerated, but eating too much iodine may suppress thyroid gland activity, interfere with the release of thyroid hormone into the bloodstream and can cause goiter and hypothyroidism.

Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid the body makes from another amino acid from our food called phenylalanine.

Tyrosine is a precursor to thyroid hormone. Thyroid cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).

Tyrosine is used by our body to produce thyroid hormones T3 and T4.

Tyrosine is found in …

  • cheese,
  • cottage cheese,
  • beef,
  • lamb,
  • pork,
  • pork ham,
  • game meat,
  • buffalo,
  • fish,
  • tuna,
  • shrimp,
  • lobster,
  • chicken,
  • turkey,
  • almonds,
  • sesame seeds
  • eggs,
  • avocados.

Important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters – including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine- are produced from tyrosine. Neurotransmitters …

  • help nerve cells to communicate, and
  • influence mood

Tyrosine helps produce melanin, the pigment responsible for our hair and skin color.

Tyrosine is involved in the production of the stress neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine. Researchers believe that, under stress, the body isn’t able to make enough tyrosine from phenylalanine.

Tyrosine also helps the normal function of organs responsible for making and regulating hormones, including the adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary glands.

People who have migraine headaches should consume tyrosine in careful moderation as it can trigger migraine headaches and stomach upset.

Selenium is a trace mineral –we only need a small amount of it. However our body is able to flush selenium out of our system rather quickly. Therefore it is important to consume selenium regularly, especially as we age.

Eating selenium-rich foods is truly beneficial. Selenium helps the enzymes that make thyroid hormones to work properly. Whole foods are the best sources of selenium.

Selenium benefits work best when levels are met through eating selenium rich foods. Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for selenium is 55 micrograms/day for adults (micrograms per day). The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for selenium is 400 micrograms/day for adults.

Best Sources of Selenium

Here are the top 11 foods naturally high in trace mineral selenium (based on RDA of 55 micrograms/day for adults):

Brazil Nuts 1 cup 607 micrograms (1,103% DV)
Eggs 1 medium egg 146 micrograms (265% DV)
Liver (lamb for beef) 3 oz 99 micrograms (180% DV)
Rockfish 3 oz 64 micrograms (116% DV)
Tuna 3 oz 64 micrograms (116% DV)
Herring Fish 3 oz 39 micrograms (71% DV)
Chicken 3 oz 32 micrograms (58% DV)
Salmon 3 oz 31 micrograms (56% DV)
Turkey 3 oz 25 micrograms (45% DV)
Chia Seeds 1 oz 6 micrograms (28% DV)
Mushrooms 1 cup mixed 15 micrograms (27% DV)

Selenium-rich whole foods must be prepared in a delicate way. Otherwise, selenium may be destroyed during processing and cooking under very high heat methods. Like other minerals, selenium content of foods remains stable during storage. Animal foods tend to lose little selenium in cooking or processing. For example, broiling beef does not lead to significant loss of the rich selenium content. Similarly, the amount of selenium lost in the canning process of common seafood is marginal -less than 10% of the total pre-cooking amount.

Selenium plays a protective role in our body.

Selenium …

  • acts as a catalyst for the production of active thyroid hormones.
  • has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants like Vitamin E.
  • acts as an antioxidant & defends against oxidative stress.
  • acts as a powerful protector of the thyroid, regulates the production of reactive oxygen within the gland, and protects it from antibodies that can create thyroid disease.
  • helps to defend against liver, prostate, colorectal (colon) and lung cancer.
  • helps the immune system by reducing free radical damage and inflammation.
  • fights oxidative degradation of cells and protects against mutation and DNA damage.
  • protects lipids (fats) in our cell membranes.
  • is a vital trace mineral for vibrant longevity; it fights the aging process.
  • increases the quality of blood flow, and sperm motility, two key components involved in conception and beating infertility.
  • reduces the risk of miscarriage,
  • enhances the body’s resistance against diseases and stress.
  • helps to fight off viruses.
  • defends against heart disease.
  • slows down symptoms correlated with other serious conditions like asthma.

As alternative medicine, some plant extracts are known to benefit some symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),
  • Coleus (Coleus forskohlii),
  • Gotu kola (Centella asiatica), and
  • Guggul (Commiphora mukul).

Oh honey... Don't go there.

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