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Blog posts of '2016' 'May'

Understanding the Importance of the Thyroid

Tips to Understand the Thyroid

Experts Say a Startling Number of Americans Deal with Thyroid Concerns

As a hormone regulator of the body, the thyroid gland is connected to all sorts of important body functions for daily living. Muscle strength, body temperature, cholesterol levels, heart rate, and others hinge on the health of the thyroid gland to continue working properly. Yet, according to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), more than 20 million people in the United States experience thyroid concerns, with nearly 60% unaware of these issues. However, with small changes to your lifestyle, you can maintain your thyroid gland and keep it in top shape.

Understanding Thyroid Importance

As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid affects nearly every organ within the human body. Its glands store, produce, and release hormones into the bloodstream, assisting in a multitude of functions, including the rate you burn your calories, helping build proteins and storing energy as necessary fat, and assisting in the regulation of metabolism. If the thyroid gland is not at top performance, this can have adverse effects on your metabolic rate.

The thyroid gland needs to be in good balance for optimal overall health. When the thyroid is underactive or going through hypothyroidism, it no longer produces enough thyroid hormones for the body. This can result in slower metabolism, which can affect weight management, induce fatigue, and hinder healthy digestion. On the opposite spectrum, hyperthyroidism means an overactive thyroid that over-produces more hormones than is needed by the body. The fast metabolic rate can also affect weight management, as well as certain nervous system issues, daily moods, and sleep.  

However, there are certain vital nutrients that are important for the thyroid gland. Knowing which key nutrients you need can help you maintain your normal body functions and overall balance of your health for proper metabolism and weight management.

Keep an Eye Out for Iodine

One of the most important nutrients for thyroid health is iodine, a trace element that makes up the building blocks for thyroid functioning. Iodine helps produce the hormones for your body, supporting all tissue. A report back in 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, indicated how middle-aged women in the United States have the lowest levels of iodine in their system.

Iodine is usually highly present in iodized salt, as well as certain dairy products, seafood, and meat. However, a Harris Poll survey reported that Americans get around 70% of their sale from processed foods which don’t contain iodine. Supplementation can help correct this thyroid imbalance, particularly in certain multivitamins that contain iodine, or a thyroid health-specific supplement. As the body cannot make iodine on its own, getting iodine from outside sources, diet or supplementation, is important.

Seeking Out Selenium

There are still other nutrients vital to thyroid care. Selenium is a mineral that contains enzymes to protect the thyroid gland when it undergoes stress. Selenium also helps regulate hormone synthesis, playing a hand in the conversion process of the Thyroxine (T4) compound into its more active compound, Triiodothyronine (T3). The proteins and enzymes that selenium produces are then utilized to regulate metabolism, as well as help keep the balance between thyroid hormones in important organs such as the heart, the kidneys, and the brain.

Selenium deficiency may cause fatigue and certain cognitive concerns.  Without enough selenium, T3 will not be as readily available for the body to utilize. Implementing a diet with selenium-rich foods however, which include tuna, mushrooms, soybeans, and beef, can help with low levels of the nutrient, including an appropriate supplement.

The Additional Nutrient Defenders

Antioxidants and B vitamins help regulate oxidative stress, an especially useful defense for the thyroid gland to keep working at maximum efficiency. Vitamin B12 is a B vitamin with strong links to thyroid functionality, helping with the production of T4. Previous studies have stated that as many as 40% of individuals with hypothyroidism are deficient in Vitamin B12, along with an additional 58% reporting improvements in energy when taking B12 supplements. Additional vitamins, including Vitamin A, C, and E, are just as vital, as they relieve any oxidative stress within the thyroid gland, thus inhibiting the damage of important tissue cells.

A Healthy and Balanced Thyroid

Keeping tabs on your nutritional profile can have benefits for all aspects of your health. As the thyroid gland is dependent on the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you obtain, changing your diet is a great way to become proactive. The key to optimal health is balance; a balance of nutrients, exercise, and overall healthy life choices to keep your organs working at maximum efficiency. Acquiring dietary supplements, such as multivitamins with a long portfolio of important nutrients including B vitamins and minerals, or a supplement aimed specifically at thyroid health, can also be a great addition to any health regimen.

Understanding the Healthy Habits of Happy Feet

Top tips for healthy feet

Don’t Tiptoe Around the Issues: Understanding Foot Health

With most Americans traveling over 75,000 miles on their feet before they reach age 50, it’s crucial to note just how dependent you are on them. Helping us get from place to place (literally), the health of your feet is often put aside for other concerns. If you’re experiencing constant foot pain, don’t treat it as a minor problem. Certain changes, like discomfort, can be signals to another underlying health problem. Just as with frequent migraines or other aches in your body, the health state of your feet deserves just as much attention and management. Keep a close eye on some of these common signs for feet concerns and what they could indicate, as well as some suggestions on how to support overall foot health.

Understanding the Signs

Circulatory concerns with your feet are one of the most common and yet overlooked issues. When you get actual cold feet, along with white or blue skin discoloration, and swelling that lasts for more than two days, these are signs of poor circulation throughout the body. Causes can be traced to multiple factors, usually associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices. Lack of exercise, a poor diet, and nutritional deficiencies are just some possible causes, which in turn can affect other vital organs in the body, including the heart and lungs. The reduced blood flow greatly diminishes the amount of oxygen traveling throughout the body, causing the narrowing of the arteries, and leading to constricted blood vessels in the hands and feet.

When it comes to foot health, proactive solutions are in order. Wearing supportive shoes for your feet are essential and can greatly diminish any discomfort. Practicing proper foot hygiene can also provide relief, such as keeping a lookout for any calluses or bunions before it hampers your health. A change in lifestyle choices might also be needed; increasing daily exercise, eating a more balanced diet, or taking additional nutrients.

A Change in Diet Plans

Inflammation is a common issue linked with nutritional deficiencies. The current American diet may encourage inflammation however, due to high amounts of sugar, trans fat, and refined grains. This can lead to joint discomfort in the feet, and other parts of the body if diet is not considered carefully. Understanding the important nutrients for your lifestyle can greatly improve your overall health.

Omega-3s are common in fish products such as salmon, as well as fish oil supplements. Omega3s can help combat inflammation, and may be beneficial for other health concerns such as cardiovascular and immune support. There is also support that omega-3’s can help support balanced blood sugar levels.

It’s also useful to cut back on the sodium. When you consume too much salt, such as from processed foods, this can cause swelling, especially around the legs and feet area. This excessive intake of salt can make your body hold onto fluid and increase your thirst sensation, resulting in fluid building up in certain cavities of the body.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be connected to circulation issues, as this vitamin assists in the production of red blood cells, as well as maintains the functioning of the nervous system. Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include tingling in the feet, which taking certain supplements containing the nutrient can help resolve.

Take Care of Your Supportive Feet

Taking action for your feet is as important as caring for the rest of your body. Keeping careful note of signs; including numbness, swelling, and discoloration, can signal you on possible underlying concerns, including some that may be more serious. Along with daily exercise and proper dieting goals, your feet will thank you as you take that next step towards better, healthier habits.