Good-Health Management - Your Thyroid Gland
D.W. Sutton 2005

The vital role played by the endocrine glands in the life process, health and behaviour is not well known. Popular science currently advocates a genetic theory of everything, but research into the endocrine glands paints a very different picture.

The endocrine glands are your body's chemical control system. They secrete powerful chemicals called hormones directly into your bloodstream and as they circulate they target cells and control and regulate all your body's functions. Forget about your genes -- your endocrine glands compose the tune they play. Hormones control your growth, size and shape, feminine or masculine traits, hair colour, eye colour etc etc. They control your body temperature, energy levels, rate of metabolism, blood sugar levels etc etc. They influence your intelligence or its lack, give courage or cowardice, endow with confidence or saturate with laziness and in general determine your outlook on life. The evidence reveals that they play the primary role in your health and wellbeing.

At a time when life appears to be a genetic conspiracy the evidence confirms that the endocrine glands influence the genes. Research studies prove that a genetic predisposition only develops if dietary and other environmental factors support its development. For instance, a genetic predisposition to experience kidney problems is blocked by a pre-natal diet that provides adequate vitamin A.

It is important to understand that your health and wellbeing is not a genetic lottery. Research into the endocrine glands reveals that you're in control. Your food-diet plays a key role in your health and wellbeing. This is powerful self-knowledge that carries with it certain responsibilities. You decide what you eat and this means your health is very much in your hands -- or decision-making. Rather than being the victim of defective genes you're empowered by the knowledge that you can play a pro-active role in your health and wellbeing by eating a diet that supports the healthful function of your endocrine glands.

The thyroid gland
Your body's capacity to produce energy is controlled by your thyroid gland. Its chemical secretion -- thyroid hormone -- is the hormone of energy production. It contains large quantities of iodine -- which you must provide in your daily diet. What happens is very much dependent on what you eat. Here is the story.

Your thyroid gland consists of two lobes, each about two inches long that lie either side of your larynx. It is one of your largest endocrine glands and is neatly packed away between other structures in your neck. It is the first gland to develop. It has an abundant blood supply and every hour, on the hour, about 15 litres (or 5 quarts) of blood pass through the gland. The thyroid removes circulating iodine from the blood and synthesises it into thyroid hormone. Its principle function is to produce three hormones -- triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and calcitonin. Triiodothyronine and thyroxine comprise the thyroid hormone.

The key message: Your thyroid gland is your biological pacesetter. It produces and secretes the hormone of energy production. Its activity determines if you will stroll along, or speed through life.

Thyroid hormone -- Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4)

Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) comprise the thyroid hormone. It's made from tyrosine (a non-essential amino acid) and iodine. It is 64% iodine. The daily production of T4 is twice that of T3 although T3 is four times more powerful than T4.

The life process burns up energy and the speed at which your body produces energy -- your metabolism, is controlled by your thyroid gland. It synthesises, stores and secretes thyroid hormone. It's essential for neuromuscular development, bone growth, the development of the cerebral hemispheres where conscious thinking takes place and the growth and development of the organs, nerves, skin, hair, nails and teeth. It's a regulator of body weight. The thyroid is involved in protein manufacture, cholesterol synthesis, carbohydrate absorption, the production of sex hormones and insulin and the conversion of carotene to vitamin A.

Thyroid hormone keeps your mind keen, alert and active. It supports productive intellectual activity, quick responses to a changing environment, mental alertness and fast thinking. It has a marked influence on the skin and hair health. It antidotes toxins, resists infection of all kinds and fights invading organisms.

The key message: Thyroid hormone regulates your body's metabolism -- it's a very important hormone. It's manufactured from iodine.

Iodine


The average adult human body contains between 20 and 50mg of iodine and the amount in your body at any point in time represents the difference between the input -- the amount you have eaten and the output -- the amount used up in the production of thyroid hormone. More than 60% of this is concentrated in the thyroid gland -- and the amount of iodine circulating in the blood is minute. The iodine stored in the thyroid is the more important. It goes into the manufacture of thyroid hormone and represents a reserve supply that is available whenever there is an increased demand for more energy. Iodine is required for red blood cells and cell respiration. If you don't eat enough iodine your thyroid gland is unable to manufacture sufficient thyroid hormone. This can result in various health problems.

The key message: Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. A prolonged absence can result in a serious thyroid disturbance. Your job is to provide your body with this essential energy-producing nutrient -- it cannot be made out of thin air.

Metabolism -- the process that transforms foodstuffs into energy


Your body is a chemical machine in which billions of chemical reactions take place every second. The foods you eat provide energy and the process that transforms foodstuffs into energy is known as metabolism. One of the main tasks of triiodothyronine and thyroxine -- the thyroid hormone is to maintain this energy burning process at an optimal level.

Your diet includes foods containing sugars, starches and fats -- energy. The sugars and starches -- the carbohydrates, are broken down into glucose during the digestion process. Glucose is then transported (or delivered) via the bloodstream to every cell in your body. Inside the cell the glucose is used to make energy. The fats are stored, becoming part of the body tissue, but are chiefly used as fuel reserves for the production of energy. Your thyroid gland controls the burning process. The cells produce energy and the speed at which your body produces and uses energy over a given period of time is your metabolic rate. It's influenced by various factors -- your age, body size and level of activity etc, but the primary influence is your thyroid gland. It secretes the hormone of energy production. When T3 and T4 target a cell their chemical message instructs the cell to produce energy.

The slow, regulated 'burning' of the sugars, starches and fats provide your body with energy: And this burning process requires oxygen. All the energy produced by your body is obtained from chemical processes that use up oxygen. An adequate supply of oxygen is essential for maintaining an optimal supply of energy. This emphasises the need for adequate oxygen. Yawning is a warning -- there's a lack of oxygen in your blood. It signals a need for more oxygen -- deep breathing.

Life is dependent on energy and your body is a non-stop producer and consumer of energy. Energy is needed to power your heart, your blood flow, your kidneys and breathing. Every physiological process burns energy. Physical movement burns up huge amounts of energy but don't limit your concept of energy utilisation to physical activity. Heavy-duty thinking and intense emotional states also consume large amounts of energy

The key message: Biological life and all its processes require energy. Your thyroid gland controls the speed at which your cells burn energy. This represents your metabolic rate.

The energy spectrum


Your thyroid gland controls the speed at which you live. When the thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism) the excessive secretion of thyroid hormone causes the body's metabolism to speed up. A person with an over-active thyroid represents a high-end extreme on the energy spectrum. S/he's a restless live wire who overworks, over achieves and tends to suffer from anxiety and sleep disorders. S/he burns huge amounts of fuel-energy (sugars, starches and fats) and is usually thin -- s/he never puts on weight. Very often found in the political arena or business world the fast metabolic rate enhances the need for dietary iodine.

At the other end of the energy spectrum is the low-energy person. When the thyroid is under active (hypothyroidism) the insufficient secretion of T3 and T4 causes the body's metabolism to slow down. A person with an under active thyroid represents a low-end extreme on the energy spectrum. S/he's sluggish, listless and energy deficient. Low-level fuel consumption tends towards mental and physical sluggishness, subnormal temperature and cold hands and feet. A slow metabolic rate indicates that when the calorie (energy) intake exceeds the energy that is burned a weight problem can easily develop.

Most people have a moderately active -- normal -- thyroid gland that produces sufficient T3 and T4 to meet their energy needs, but while extremes exist at either end of the energy spectrum extremes also exist within the normal range. Those in the extreme levels can have severe thyroid problems, but even those with normal thyroid function can experience subnormal activity at certain times. This problem can correct itself (due to dietary and other changes), but very often the associated health problems require medical attention.

The key message: There are fast moving high-energy people and slow-moving listless people and your rate of energy production is unique to you. Making the most of what you've got is your responsibility. Rate your body's capacity to burn energy

Your thyroid gland controls your metabolic rate -- the speed at which you live. It produces energy and your work commitments, domestic chores, social and other interests use up energy. Your objective is to have sufficient energy to do what you want. You can rate your normal metabolic rate as fast, average or slow and your normal thyroid gland activity as over-active, normal or under-active.

If you're fast moving, ambitious, lively, brisk and energetic you should rate your thyroid as very active. Your speedy metabolism indicates a fast rate of energy production. If you move through life at a more ordinary pace, have adequate energy to do what you want and are less excitable you should rate your thyroid as normal. Your metabolic rate indicates an average rate of energy production. If you lack energy, drive and ambition, are physically and mentally sluggish, and inclined to put on weight you should rate your thyroid as under- active. Your sluggish metabolism indicates a slow rate of energy production.

A lack of energy reduces your capacity to achieve. Tiredness is a big frustration. If you start the day with adequate energy but tire as the day goes on your thyroid gland is probably under performing. It is not be producing enough T3 and T4 to meet your daily energy needs.

Only you know the energy level at which you operate. You can only work with what you've got, but it is more important to know that at certain times your thyroid gland can become more active or less active than normal. If it becomes more active your rate of energy production speeds up, but if it becomes less active your metabolic rate slows down.

The key message: The speed at which you live -- your metabolic rate -- allows you to rate the activity of your thyroid gland as over-active, normal or under-active.

Your normal metabolic rate is subject to change


Energy is needed to live, survive and succeed and your thyroid gland controls your metabolic rate. You operate at your normal rate of energy production but, at certain times, your normal rate will change. If your normal metabolic rate is fast and brisk you can experience a cut back; and if it's slow and sluggish you can experience a boost. If you're normal metabolic rate is average you can experience up and down variations to your normal rate of energy production.

If you have rated the speed at which you burn energy as fast you have an active thyroid gland. If and when your thyroid gland goes under-active you will notice a drop in your energy level -- there's been a temporary cutback to your normal rate of energy production that may or may not affect your health and wellbeing. Because you're energy production rate is naturally high you may not notice any boost to the norm.

If you have rated the speed at which you burn energy and live as average you have a moderately active thyroid gland. You have enough energy to do what most people do. If and when your thyroid goes over-active you will experience an energy boost -- there's a temporary increase to your normal rate of energy production. With more energy you can achieve more. If and when your thyroid goes under-active you will experience an energy cutback -- there's a temporary decrease to your normal rate of energy production. With less energy your capacity to achieve is reduced. Lethargy, tiredness and disinterest are sure signs of a reduced output of energy and subnormal thyroid function. If you have rated the speed at which you burn energy as slow you have an under-active thyroid gland. You operate at a slower pace, easily tire and may not have the energy to do a lot of the things you would like to do. If and when your thyroid goes over-active you will experience a surge of energy -- there's a temporary increase to your normal low-rate of energy production. With more energy you can achieve more. Because you're energy production rate is naturally low you may not notice any cutback to the norm.

The key message: Your normal rate of energy production is subject to change. If your thyroid becomes more active than normal your metabolism speeds up and you burn more energy. If your thyroid becomes less active than normal your metabolism slows down and you burn less energy. Once you have established a normal rate of energy production it is an easy matter to monitor changes as they occur.

Heavy-duty emotions burn up energy


The energy needed to handle your normal, humdrum daily-life affairs, including routine affectional matters and less strenuous physical activities, is produced by your thyroid gland. (The energy needed to sustain effort or to fight or flee in an emergency situation is provided by other hormonal mechanisms.)

Any change to your normal life situation, particularly an intense emotional event, represents a change to your normal energy requirements -- and in response to your need for more energy your thyroid gland produces and secretes more thyroid hormone. Emotional excitement and feelings of lust and passion indicate an increased need for energy, but prolonged heavy-duty emotional distress places great strain on your thyroid. The constant, over secretion of T3 and T4 demands more dietary iodine and unless the intake of iodine is increased to match the activity of the thyroid some health problem is likely to develop.

Research has revealed that many people have connected high-discord emotional events and traumatic life experiences with thyroid dysfunction. Distressful emotional experiences, due to the increased demand for more energy, immediately impact on the thyroid gland putting it under great stress. At these times the need for dietary iodine is greatly enhanced.

The key message: You may have noticed that intense, heavy-duty emotions can tire you out. Emotional excitement and prolonged emotional distress place a strain on your thyroid gland. At these times the need to quickly re-establish healthful thyroid function is emphasised. A calm, placid emotional state places no strain on your thyroid gland.

Diseases of the thyroid


The thyroid is subject to various diseases. It can become enlarged, infected or cancerous.

Hyperthyroidism causes the thyroid to increase in size and enlarge. The over secretion of thyroid hormone overstimulates the body tissues. The respiratory rate, blood pressure and rate of energy production all increase. Graves disease is due to an overactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism also causes the thyroid to increase in size. Insufficient secretion of thyroid hormone causes the body's metabolism to slow down. Small deficiencies cause lethargy, low blood pressure, decreased sexual interest and a general slow down in activity. The body can take on a bloated appearance due to fluid retention. When there is insufficient iodine in the diet the thyroid compensates by enlarging. This diseased condition of the thyroid, known as goiter, occurs when the thyroid attempts to use small amounts of iodine more efficiently. The swelling in the neck may be caused by hyperthyroidism (over activity) or by hypothyroidism (under activity) of the thyroid gland.

Some vegetables contain trace amounts of organic cyanide -- a goiter producing substance. They include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, rutabaga and soybeans. It is only when these foods are eaten frequently and in high quantities that some danger can arise. Under normal circumstances they pose no danger at all. Some people are sensitive to iodide solutions used to treat goiter. Undesired side-affects include skin rash, swelling of the larynx and increased salivation. Women appear to be more susceptible to goiter. This could be due to their more emotional nature, but all thyroid disturbances do not manifest as goiter.

Ever tissue of your body is susceptible to inflammatory infection and the thyroid gland is no exception. Yet triiodothyronine and thyroxine its hormonal secretions fight infection. Another good reason for including iodine-rich foods in your daily diet.

The key message: Thyroid gland dysfunction is due to a disruption in the mechanisms that control thyroid hormone function. The cause is unknown. Goiter, a common disease of the thyroid gland, is due to iodine deficiency.

Dietary iodine


Thyroid hormone is manufactured from iodine and the only way your body can get this essential mineral is for you to eat iodine-rich foods. The iodine eaten at a meal is rapidly absorbed from the small intestine. An adequate daily supply is essential for your health, energy and wellbeing, but your daily requirement is unique to you. An adequate amount for one person will be inadequate for another. Learning about your nutritional idiosyncrasies is very much a process of trial and error.

A slight iodine deficiency, due to an inadequate intake of dietary iodine, can have adverse health consequences -- hypothyroidism -- a situation where there's not enough thyroid hormone to maintain and support your optimal rate of energy production. As thyroid gland dysfunction and the associated health problems are all linked to an inadequate intake of dietary iodine your job is to ensure that you get sufficient iodine in your daily diet. You are in control of your health and wellbeing.

The key message: The thyroid gland secretes the hormone of energy production -- it's manufactured from iodine that you must provide in your daily diet. A prolonged deficiency of dietary iodine can result in subnormal thyroid gland activity and the associated health problems.

The most likely causes of thyroid gland dysfunction


Insufficient iodine in your daily diet: Without iodine the thyroid is unable to manufacture triiodothyronine and thyroxine. Problems arise because of

1.Insufficient iodine in the daily diet resulting in iodine deficiency. An intake of less than 50mcg of iodine per day can induce an iodine deficiency.

2.An increased demand for more thyroid hormone that not only exceeds the amount of iodine provided in the daily diet, but also the gland's capacity to produce more.

Prolonged emotional stress: Intense emotional feelings use up energy and distress- ful emotional-social situations disturb the functional integrity of the thyroid. Prolonged emotional distress paves the way for health problems.

Tiredness and emotional exhaustion: Tiredness, lethargy and in extreme cases exhaustion all indicate the body's capacity to produce energy is impaired. A general lack of energy, often accompanied by uncontrollable yawning, indicates that either the thyroid is tired out through overwork or the supply of T3 and T4 has been severely diminished due to an inadequate intake of dietary iodine.

Too much dietary protein: Protein stimulates the secretion of T3 and T4. When certain people eat high protein foods they burn more energy (sugar and fat) and this can place an unwanted and unnecessary strain on the thyroid gland.

The key message: An absence of iodine in the diet, prolonged emotional distress, tiredness or too much protein can trigger health problems associated with thyroid gland dysfunction. You can take positive steps to manage these situations.

Symptoms of subnormal thyroid function (hypothyroidism)


Thyroid hormone exercises control of various physical functions. When the supply of T3 and T4 is reduced there is diminished control over these functions and less energy -- the thyroid has become under-active. These deficiency symptoms are due to a reduced output of energy and a reduced level of control by T3 and T4 over the various functions. They are most often symptoms of iodine deficiency. Health problems associated with hypothyroidism -- subnormal thyroid function -- include

Tiredness, fatigue, lethargy or a lack of energy -- your metabolism has slowed down
Weight gain -- your body's capacity to burn fuel (energy) is reduced
Subnormal temperature -- your body's capacity to produce heat is reduced
Increased sensitivity to cold -- cold hands and feet -- chilblains
Low blood pressure -- slowed pulse -- due to low energy production
Clumsiness or physical awkwardness -- muscle weakness
Irregular teeth
Mental dullness, drowsiness, apathy, general disinterest and a lack of ambition
Nerve disorders, sexual indifference and emotional problems

Thyroid hormone facilitates the breakdown of waste products so that they can be eliminated from the body. If the thyroid is under-active partially decomposed proteins are retained in the tissues, oxidation is lessoned, blood pressure falls and the metabolic process is generally slowed down.A deficiency of T3 and T4 directly affects the skin and hair health. It can cause the skin to become dry, rough, scaly, sallow or puffy. The hair can become dry, shaggy, coarse or brittle. It can easily fall out or be difficult to comb. The fingernails can become brittle.

A T3 and T4 deficiency can result in a chemical imbalance that supports the development of skin disorders such as itching, eczema, hives, psoriasis and acne. These diseases are signs of toxic irritants being eliminated through the skin. Targeting the real cause -- the toxic bloodstream, often due to a diet where the amount of red meat, white bread, sugars, fats and processed foods far exceeds the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables will help correct the problem. All skin problems indicate that the skin has become unduly sensitive due to a food- diet deficient in calcium, vitamin D, copper, vitamin A and vitamin E. With the toxic condition corrected the thyroid is able to maintain proper skin health.

An under-active thyroid does not produce enough T3 and T4 and this reduces its capacity to fight off foreign invaders. It paves the way for colds, flu and other infectious diseases. During winter your thyroid will grow in preparation for the increased energy that is needed during the colder months. Cold weather is an emergency situation and to meet the emergency your thyroid produces more energy. It heats your body, but the whole process is dependent upon dietary iodine. Some iodine is lost in perspiration during the summer months.

Thyroid hormone tends to drive water from the body. This means the over secretion of T3 and T4 drives water from the body and enhances the need for water and salt, while the under secretion of T3 and T4 can result in fluid retention which reduces the need for water and salt. Fluid retention and a lack of thirst can indicate an under-active thyroid gland. The severity of any thyroid problem of course matches the severity of the T3 and T4 deficiency.

Various tests can assess how your thyroid gland is functioning. The primary test involves measuring the amounts of triiodothyronine and thyroxine circulating in the blood. The test is subject to certain errors and ignores the personal equation. You're chemically unique and the amount of triiodothyronine and thyroxine needed by your body to maintain good health is an individual requirement. If you're displaying definite symptoms of thyroid hormone deficiency and a blood test puts your level within the normal range the message is clear -- you're not normal! Symptoms of T3 and T4 deficiency are a sign that the current amount circulating in your bloodstream is not supporting good health.

The key message: Insufficient iodine in the diet, over many months or years, will jeopardise your energy production process. If the functional integrity of the thyroid is not impaired any sign of T3 and T4 deficiency -- tiredness, lethargy, weight gain, hair loss, skin problem or subnormal temperature, is easily corrected with adequate dietary iodine. If exhausted the thyroid needs iodine and respite from the emotional stress and strain.

Adjust your iodine intake to suit your energy needs


The speed at which you live (whether high-speed, moderate speed or low-speed) determines the amount of dietary iodine you need (whether high, moderate or low). If you have rated yourself as having a very active or over-active thyroid gland you have a fast, speedy metabolism. This situation demands a high iodine diet. Failure to get adequate iodine will result in energy and other problems associated with iodine deficiency.

If you have rated yourself as having a moderately active metabolism your thyroid gland is average. This situation demands an adequate amount of iodine in your daily diet. If your intake of dietary iodine falls below your normal requirements you may experience tiredness and other health problems associated with iodine deficiency.

If you have rated yourself as having a sluggish metabolism your thyroid gland is under- active. This situation demands a high-iodine diet. The tendency to eat a diet deficient in iodine results in physical and mental sluggishness and other health problems associated with an under-active thyroid. There's low-level energy production, but your thyroid can be stimulated and any health problem, due to low-level T3 and T4, can be corrected with more dietary iodine.

The key message: A daily intake of 50mcg of dietary iodine will result in an iodine deficiency. Your job is to ensure that the amount of iodine in your daily diet is meeting your energy needs.

The care and management of your thyroid gland


Step 1: Ensure your daily diet contains adequate iodine

To function properly your thyroid gland needs iodine and your need is unique. Dietary iodine is needed to maintain a proper amount of triiodothyronine and thyroxine in the tissues.

The food list provided indicates the foods -- primarily fish -- that contain iodine. Your daily- weekly diet needs to contain a variety of these foods. Iodized salt should be used. Under normal circumstance iodized salt provides sufficient iodine to prevent deficiency symptoms. Processed foods do not normally contain iodized salt and the recent trend towards a low salt diet has increased the tendency to experience iodine deficiency. Vegetables will only contain iodine if they have been grown in iodine rich soil and milk will only contain iodine if the cows have been fed food and water containing it. Kelp tablets can be used to supplement the dietary intake. The extra energy needed to keep warm during the winter months indicates an increased need for dietary iodine at that time.

You can easily assess your normal eating habits to determine if your current diet is providing your body with an adequate amount of iodine. If not you can take steps to remedy the situation. Make sure you get an adequate daily supply by eating a variety of foods that contain this energy-producing nutrient. It's a good-health safety measure. See food list of iodine rich foods.

Step 2: Assess the amount of protein foods and fat in your diet

As protein stimulates the secretion of T3 and T4 less protein can ease the strain on an already over-burdened thyroid and reduce the excitable tendencies. Common high protein foods are red meat, chicken, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, peanuts, lentils and dried beans. Some protein is needed in your daily diet but excess is damaging. Small servings are preferred. When your T3 and T4 reserves have been replenished, and your thyroid is functioning well, the eating of high protein foods may stimulate the secretion of T3 and T4 providing you with a surge of energy.

Step 3: Monitor your emotional situation

Under optimum conditions the amount of dietary iodine needed to support good health is minute, but conditions are rarely optimal. They're usually in a state of flux. You're living life at a fast, emotional pace. You're juggling home and work responsibilities and social problems and stressful emotional conflicts need to be managed and resolved. This hectic, emotional modern day lifestyle places constant strain on your thyroid gland.

Distressful social experiences, prolonged emotional upsets, self-esteem problems and feelings of inadequacy impair the functional integrity of your thyroid gland. To encourage better thyroid gland function you should monitor your emotional-life -- strive to make you social thinking and power thinking more harmonious.

Emotional distress, undisciplined lust and recurring social upsets put stress and strain on the thyroid. The gland responds to feelings of love and affection and emotional upsets of any kind disturb its function. The thyroid is associated with a happy emotional life -- feel-good emotional relationships promote joy. Feelings of love and affection for friends, siblings, parents, partners and children support healthful thyroid gland function.

Emotional excitement and heavy-duty emotional distress make heavy demands on the synthesis of triiodothyronine and thyroxine so monitor the emotional distress. Work to develop a steady calm attitude of affection. Try to develop a practical attitude towards disagreeable social situations and distressful emotional experiences. Resolve to avoid stressful social situations. Plan and enjoy a pleasant social life with friends and loved ones. Give unconditional love and affection. Be happy with who you are. Accept yourself. Be proud of what you do -- your job performance and social usefulness. Feel that you are a worthwhile, useful person. Try to develop a consistent mood of calm, steady courage and vital power. With confidence, courage and self-assurance you can handle any situation that crops up in your life. Set your own success standards and stop trying to live up to the expectations of your family and friends. Effort to calm your emotional responses, manage trauma events and harmonize your social life will ease the strain on your thyroid gland. It will allow you to divert the available T3 and T4 into producing energy, keeping warm, fighting foreign invaders and maintaining good skin and hair health.

A good-health message: Taking care of your thyroid health is easy. You can eat iodine-rich foods and work to maintain a confident and calm emotional attitude.

Make dietary and other changes to suit your current situation


Your current energy level is a good guide for determining your need for energy foods and dietary iodine. But your current situation may represent a deviation from the norm. Your thyroid gland may have become over or under active.

At certain times in your life your thyroid gland is inclined to become more active or less active than normal. A speedy, brisk metabolic rate can slow down and a sluggish, listless metabolic rate can speed up. At one stage you're burning energy efficiently and at another time the burning process is slow and ineffective. Whenever you detect a change to your normal rate of energy production your thyroid gland has become over-active or under-active. The change signals a need to increase your intake of dietary iodine.

If your thyroid becomes more active your metabolism will speed up. When this occurs every- thing is stimulated and you'll burn more fuel and produce more heat. Your sweat glands secrete faster, your heart beats faster, your muscles move faster, and your brain thinks faster -- you've energised, active and alert. While your body has hormonal mechanisms to deal with emergency situations it is not designed to live in a high-speed state of excitement. An over- active thyroid can place strains on your mental and physical health. If your thyroid becomes over-active it's producing T3 and T4 at a very fast rate and your dietary iodine is being used up rapidly. Adequate energy and good health is dependent upon your thyroid producing sufficient T3 and T4 so increase the amount of iodine in your daily diet.

If you're a natural-born high-energy person a situation may occur where your dietary iodine is unable to keep up with your energy needs. The constant over secretion of T3 and T4 enhances the need for iodine and if the strain gets too much your thyroid can become exhausted. Dysfunction results in health problems. A diet high in iodine is needed to keep pace with the speed at which you live.

If your thyroid becomes less active your metabolism will slow down. When this occurs you'll burn less fuel (and can put on weight) and produce less heat (and can feel the cold even during summer) -- everything slows down. Your heart beats slower, your muscles move slower and the speed at which you think is slower -- you've lethargic, listless and dis- interested. Subnormal thyroid function indicates the gland is not producing enough T3 and T4 due to insufficient iodine in your food-diet. Health problems can easily develop. If your thyroid becomes under-active be sure to increase the amount of iodine in your daily diet.

If your metabolic rate slows down and you don't adjust your diet to suit the reduced energy output chances are you will put on weight. Your calorie intake should match your metabolic rate -- your capacity to burn fuel. Self-information regarding your rate of energy production and emotional nature and some food-knowledge about sugar, starch and fat will allow you to make an informed decision regarding your current nutritional needs.

Pregnancy enhances the need for more iodine. A new job, the birth of a child, a new emotional relationship, the ending of a relationship, an increase in physical activity, (physical exercise), an intense emotional situation and concentrated intellectual effort can increase the need for dietary iodine. These situations signal a need for more energy and an increased demand on your energy signals a need to up the amount of iodine in your daily diet.

A distressful emotional situation such as a recurring social-life problem indicates a need for more energy and your thyroid goes into action. It signals a need for more iodine and less protein -- the eating of high-protein foods can accentuate the emotional excitement. A diet low in protein foods will help subdue the emotional agitation. A practical, common-sense attitude to social-life problems will help ease the strain on your thyroid.

At certain times in your life -- for example when there's prolonged emotional distress, physical stress and strain or trauma -- the amount of dietary iodine needed to keep up with the increased demand for energy can skyrocket. Respite from the emotional and physical distress and increased dietary iodine will help you manage the stress situation.

The idea is to monitor your current circumstances and determine if the demands being placed on your thyroid gland are above or below your norm. A higher than normal need for energy, physical activity, emotional excitability, tiredness and indifference all indicate an enhanced need for dietary iodine. It is wrong to presume that more iodine in your diet will naturally enhance your metabolic rate. You operate within the constraints imposed by your body -- your thyroid's capacity to produce energy is unique to you. Once you have established a normal rate of energy production any deviation above the norm indicates a bonus. When this occurs you should capitalise on the extra energy that is currently available. Any deviation below the norm indicates a liability. The lack of energy represents a problem -- it reduces your capacity to reach your highest potential. Your job is to ensure that your body is functioning at its optimum energy level -- whatever you perceive it to be -- all the time.

The key message: It is not difficult to monitor your need for dietary iodine. As the CEO your job is to make sure that your thyroid gland is getting enough iodine to produce sufficient T3 and T4 to meet your energy needs. An increased demand on your energy or an intense emotional situation indicates you're using up more energy than normal and this change in circumstance signals a need to increase your intake of dietary iodine.

Manage thyroid health problems with more dietary iodine


Normal thyroid function indicates the thyroid is operating in a manner that supports good health. Subnormal thyroid function implies the thyroid is under performing -- it's not supporting good health. If you're displaying signs of subnormal thyroid function you can provide your body with more iodine by eating iodine-rich foods. This will allow you to manage and overcome any health problem connected to the deficiency.

If you're eating a high iodine fish-diet and still displaying symptoms of thyroid hormone deficiency chances are you're not getting enough dietary iodine. To function properly your thyroid gland needs iodine and your need is unique. No two people have the same need and you may have an abnormally high need.

Many people have borderline subnormal thyroid activity. Skin problems, hair problems, lethargy, tiredness, cold hands and feet and a tendency to catch cold and flu indicate a diminished output of thyroid hormone. People often live with these problems unaware that they are easily corrected with adequate dietary iodine.

A prolonged deficiency of dietary iodine, due to unwise eating habits, will result in your thyroid producing insufficient T3 and T4 to meet your normal energy needs. Tiredness, emotional indifference and a lack of interest in life are sure signs that your energy production plant is not working to full capacity. Lethargy and/or exhaustion indicate your thyroid is running on empty -- there's insufficient triiodothyronine and thyroxine being produced due to a severe deficiency of dietary iodine. Under this circumstance an abundance of iodine in your daily diet and rest will help remedy the situation -- although it will take time to build up the depleted reserves of thyroid hormone.

An iodine deficiency does not occur over night. It may take years to develop and then, when a distressful emotional situation coincides with an inadequate intake of dietary iodine, energy problems and other signs of T3 and T4 deficiency can easily develop. It will take some time to reverse the iodine deficiency and restore it to a normal healthful working level. An exhausted thyroid will take many months to recover. Dietary iodine and respite from all kinds of emotional excitement will help the recovery process. You're getting the amount of dietary-iodine you need when you have enough energy to get you through the day and when any emotional or physical deficiency symptom has been corrected. Once built up you should ensure that your daily diet provides enough iodine to support and maintain your body's needs.

Kelp tablets and iodized salt are natural iodine supplements that can be used to treat symptoms of subnormal thyroid gland function. Toxic affects are rare. Excessive amounts of iodine (kelp) may exceed the thyroid's capacity to produce thyroid hormone. Circulating in the blood any excess iodine is subject to the body's normal elimination process -- it's excreted in the urine.

Adequate dietary iodine can reverse any symptom of subnormal thyroid function, but the process may take several weeks or months. The body's depleted iodine reserves need to be replenished. When provided with adequate iodine your thyroid gland will produce an adequate -- health promoting -- amount of thyroid hormone. Your thyroid is functioning effectively when any deficiency symptom is corrected. Much depends on the functional integrity of the gland but adequate amounts of dietary iodine are essential. Without iodine the thyroid is unable to produce thyroid hormone. Certain drugs can adversely affect the function of the thyroid gland.

The treatment of hyperthyroidism is aimed at decreasing the amount of thyroid hormone being produced. This is done through drugs or surgery. The treatment of hypothyroidism is aimed are increasing the amount of thyroid hormone being produced. This is done through the administration of synthetically produced thyroid hormone or kelp.

The key message: Dietary iodine is converted into thyroid hormone but the effectiveness of the conversion is dependent upon the functional integrity of your thyroid gland. All things considered any tendency to experience subnormal thyroid function represents a problem that is easily solved. The associated health problems can be easily managed. The establishment of an eating regimen that considers a constant and regular intake of iodine-rich foods is an essential first step.

A healthy thyroid is a happiness indicator


A top-notch thyroid gland is a good-health and happiness indicator. It displays itself as symmetrical features, bright eyes, clear moist skin, beautiful hair and mental alertness. It gives buoyancy to the thinking, a sensible response to environmental demands and efficient energy production. It speeds up the body's metabolic activity giving grace and coordination to the movements. It also promotes good health by enhancing your capacity to resist or throw off infections and other contagious diseases.

Your social thinking and power thinking influence the functional integrity of your thyroid gland. When harmonious and constructive these thoughts have a beneficial influence on your health and wellbeing. Healthful thyroid function supports emotional happiness -- there's joy and delight -- a feeling that life is worth living. Emotional upsets take all the joy out of life.

The key message: Thyroid gland function is a key wellbeing indicator.

Best food sources of iodine


The daily recommended dietary allowance of iodine in micrograms is

Men -- 150mcg Women 120mcg Children -- teenagers -- 70-150mcg Infants -- 50-60mcg

Seafood -- a serving of 150 grams Iodine content (mcg)


Mackerel 255
Mussels 180
Cod 150
Whiting 100
Fish fingers 75
Pilchards 64
Herring 48
Plaice 42
Prawns 42
Sardines 35
Trout 24
Tuna 21


Fish and other seafood is the best source of dietary iodine Milk, cheese and yogurt will contain iodine if the cows have been fed iodine Eggs and liver contain a trace of iodine Vegetables, fruits, bread, nuts, seeds and grains contain little or no iodine Iodized salt provides a regular source of daily iodine Kelp tablets can be used to supplement the food-diet Iodine is rapidly absorbed and excesses are excreted in the urine.

A therapeutic daily intake of 1,000mcg of iodine presents no problem. As health problems associated with the iodine deficiency clear up the amount taken can be reduced to a maintenance intake of 600mcg per day.

End notes

Your body is an energy production plant and it's the amount of thyroid hormone in your bloodstream that determines the speed at which the cells produce and burn energy. Dietary iodine is needed to manufacture triiodothyronine and thyroxine.

The energy production process starts with your thyroid gland. It synthesises, stores and secretes the hormone of energy production. Thyroid hormone is made from iodine and digested iodine is transported to the thyroid where it is synthesised into triiodothyronine and thyroxine. The thyroid gland then controls the secretion of T3 and T4 into the blood stream. Glucose (energy) is stored in the cells and the thyroid's chemical messengers T3 and T4 control the speed at which the tissues and liver release their stored energy. You have your own metabolic rate -- the speed at which the cells of your body produce energy. The speed at which you live and your normal emotional nature match your metabolic rate. It can be fast, average or slow. Fast moving, energetic people produce more energy than those who are slow moving and sluggish. Excitable, emotional people have a different metabolic rate to those who are calm and placid. Whatever your normal situation you are chemically designed to be the way you are, but deviations to the norm indicate when more dietary iodine is needed to maintain a healthful chemical balance.

Your endocrine system constitutes an interlocking network of hormones where your thyroid gland is sensitive to the activity of all the other glands. Powerful emotions drive your life and they use up energy. Emotions like fear, worry and anxiety slow the energy production process and your body down. Others like anger, haste and lust speed it up. Pleasant emotional states benefit your health, but stressful emotional situations have adverse health consequences. Self-examination will allow you to rate your general emotional nature as excitable or calm. Situation monitoring will allow you to assess your current emotional state and to determine when a stressful emotional situation is making heavy demands on your thyroid gland. The demand for more energy enhances your need for more dietary iodine.

Symptoms of thyroid hormone deficiency indicate a tendency to experience thyroid problems, but you can monitor and manage the situation. This is important self-information. Maybe you've neglected to eat sufficient dietary iodine. The message is clear -- ensure that your daily diet provides your body with adequate iodine. You can also adjust your daily intake to suit new 'high-energy' situations as they arise. The good health rewards will be well worth the effort.

For those who view their life and personal development as a spiritual process that moves towards a higher, more enlightened, state of consciousness you need to know that the thyroid gland and its hormonal secretions hold the key. Subnormal thyroid function inhibits your capacity to attain higher states of consciousness. A diet high in iodine is essential.

The key message: You're in charge of your health and wellbeing -- you decide the foods you eat. You can't afford to neglect your diet. The performance of your thyroid gland is very much dependent on what you eat. Ensure an adequate intake of dietary iodine.