Hypothyroidism is a disease resulting from low thyroid hormone production by the thyroid gland. These hormones regulate metabolism, so a deficiency significantly affects bodily functions.
It may be due to a lack of stimulation by the pituitary gland (compromised TSH synthesis), defective synthesis of hormones in the thyroid, or an alteration in the conversion of T4 to T3 (thyroxine and triiodothyronine, respectively).
Regardless of the cause, the most common symptoms are fatigue, lack of energy, cold hands and feet, dry skin, joint-muscle pain and stiffness, hoarseness, irregular menstrual periods, slow heart rate, poor memory, anemia, hand tremor, depression, and cognitive deficits. Cells oxidize more easily, food is metabolized worse, and liver problems are suffered. We can name them non-specific symptoms because they are frequent and common to other diseases, so analysis is necessary for diagnosis.
The treatment of hypothyroidism consists of administering to the body the thyroid hormone (thyroxine) that is not being manufactured by the thyroid to achieve normal levels of T4 and TSH in the blood and reverse the problems in the body. The medication (levothyroxine) is taken on an empty stomach, half an hour before breakfast (if you eat breakfast).
Factors we should pay attention to:
- Nutrients like iodine, selenium, zinc, manganese, vitamin A, and iron
- goitrogens in food
- Eliminate offending foods
- Detoxification of the organism
- Correct constipation and repopulate the microbiota
Nutrients necessary for the production of T4 to T3 (active hormone)
The thyroid gland needs iodine to manufacture thyroid hormones, which are supplied to the body through food so that this function (although diminished in the pathology) remains stable. It will aggravate the pathology if you stop consuming it or consume too much.
But, you must be careful with the frequent consumption of algae (in the general population, too) since it contains high amounts of iodine, so include fish consumption in your diet.
Selenium is another nutrient necessary for the normal functioning of the gland, as well as zinc, manganese, vitamin A
For an optimal supply of selenium, you should include Brazil nuts and legumes… in your diet. It includes nuts, wheat germ, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and red and orange vegetables to help the thyroid gland, thanks to the contribution of the different micronutrients for better functionality.
Goitrogens in food
The consumption of cruciferous vegetables is usually warned about in patients with hypothyroidism. Foods such as cabbage, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, radishes, or mustard have the presence of goitrogens. Due to enzymatic degradation, substances such as goitrin are released, which interfere with the absorption of iodine by the thyroid gland.
So, do I stop consuming these foods? It is unnecessary, and this goitrogenic action is inactivated by cooking food. Pay attention to the cooking of these foods, avoid broth consumption, and if we want, we can consume them raw.
In adult patients with hypothyroidism, it is not necessary to avoid the consumption of fermented or sprouted soybeans, even less so when iodine levels are good. But if it should be emphasized to separate the consumption of this food from the thyroid medication. Bearing that levothyroxine is taken on an empty stomach approximately one hour before breakfast, we will not include soy at breakfast or in the 3-4 hours after.
Proper cooking, fermentation, roasting, or sprouting will remove the antinutrients that prevent iodine absorption.
Eliminate offending foods
For the thyroid gland to work correctly, you must eliminate offending foods such as dairy, wheat, and those that are offending you. To do this, you must find out what food is interfering with you to eliminate it.
Constipation and gut microbiota
The intestine has a close relationship with the thyroid gland since they were formed in the same embryonic layer, so it is necessary to correct it, as well as intestinal permeability and the microbiota, to reduce endotoxemia, improve metabolism, thyroid function, and the absorption of the different micronutrients.
Detoxification of the organism
Suffering from constipation, intestinal permeability will cause toxins and waste to pass into the bloodstream, generating endotoxemia. If the different organs and glands are “dirty,” they will not be able to perform their functions correctly, so it is necessary to help them.
Hypothyroidism generally decreases your basal metabolism and increases fluid retention, and the percentage of fat usually causes constipation and fatigue, so patients’ physical activity is reduced.
It must be taken into account that being overweight and obese are not the only consequence of the pathology. In general, this can make you gain between 4 and 5 kg of weight, although the foreseeable thing is that, if it is controlled and you pay attention to your diet and physical exercise, there should be no significant problem.
It is worth asking how you eat and prioritize food groups such as vegetables, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Proper hydration and a high fiber intake will make you feel less heavy, regulating your intestinal transit. Avoid eating ultra-processed foods rich in sugars, “bad” fats, and plenty of salt.