Your health queries answered with Jacquie Lane from the College of Naturopathic Medicine
My mum has hypothyroidism and takes medication. I’m worried that I may get it too, but to be honest I don’t even know what to look out for! It was so long ago for my mum, she’s forgotten. What tests are available to see if I’ll get it?
PC, Kemp Town
Hypothyroid, otherwise known as low thyroid gland function, is where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. Your GP would perform a blood test and measure in the first instance your Thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH). However, this is not always conclusive, as you may have sub-clinical hypothyroidism, where the serum levels are normal but you still suffer from symptoms.
The symptoms to look out for are: cold hands and feet, hair loss – sometimes from the outer section of the eyebrow, constipation, flaky nails and dry skin, weight gain, fatigue and depression. Basically the thyroid controls the body’s metabolism, it’s like an engine with thyroid hormones being the fuel. If the ‘fuel’ is in short supply the engine slows down, conversely hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid is the opposite, where everything speeds up. From a nutrition point of view, foods that are known to block the conversion of the hormones into their active parts, by interfering with iodine uptake, are foods which contain goitrogens: raw foods such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower etc. Once cooked they are fine. Soybeans can also interfere with iodine and should be used sparingly
The key nutrients for thyroid health are organic foods containing iodine, zinc, B vitamins, selenium, Tyrosine, copper, and vitamins A, C and E. There is a temperature test you can do yourself at home called a basal temperature test: to do this take an old fashioned thermometer and place by the bed with a pen and piece of paper the night before. In the morning, ensuring absolutely minimal movement, place the thermometer under your arm for 10 minutes and record your temperature for three days in a row. If you’re menstruating do it on days two, three and four of your period. If your average temperature is under 36.6 degrees it is likely you may need some extra support, so see a nutritional therapist.
If you have a general health query that you would like to raise here you can email Jacquie at healthqueriesforWave@naturopathy-uk.com. Please note that Jacquie cannot enter into individual correspondence unless your query is chosen for publication.
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Call 01342 410505 or visit www.naturopathy-uk.com