A Natural Approach to Thyroid Health by Dr. Andrea Hillstad

Dr. Andrea Hillstad

Dr. Andrea Hillstad is a Naturopathic Doctor, practicing in West Fargo, ND and Pelican Rapids, MN. Dr. Andrea was born and raised in the Fargo/Moorhead area. She received her bachelor’s in biology from Minnesota State University Moorhead. From there she went on to complete her medical degree at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Andrea specializes in digestive disorders, auto-immunity, detoxification and family practice.

There are numerous people with thyroid disorders today. It seems that everywhere I turn I run into someone who says they’re on thyroid medication. Maybe you’re one of those people or know someone who is. On the flip side, maybe you’re one of the many people I come across who have all the symptoms of low thyroid (fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, constipation), but they were told their blood test came back normal. This is because your doctor is only looking at one hormone, your TSH, and not the whole picture. This is where a Naturopathic Doctor can really help.

For the thyroid and all its hormones to function properly, many things need to be in place in order for that to happen. Quick biology lesson. The TSH your doctor is testing stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and it is made in the Pituitary. The TSH tells the thyroid to make T4. In order to do this, the thyroid needs ample supply of Iodine and Tyrosine (an amino acid founds in proteins). T4 then goes out into circulation and converts to T3, the most active thyroid hormone. In order for this to happen properly, the body needs the mineral selenium. Other essential nutrients needed include zinc, vitamins A, B12, C and E.

Besides being deficient in the above nutrients, there are many things that can inhibit thyroid function. This includes high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. If this is the case, the adrenals need to be treated before the thyroid in order to normalize cortisol levels. Many illnesses can suppress thyroid function. Recently, there has been some evidence that Epstein-Barr virus, or EBV, may be responsible for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the autoimmune hypothyroid. For this, the immune system needs to be strengthened in order to fight off the illness.

Impaired liver function, drug interactions, excess free radicals and heavy metal toxicity are also possible contributing factors in thyroid problems. For this, you need to strengthen the liver and detox the body. Diet also plays a huge role in thyroid function. Poor nutrition, fasting, a low calorie or restricted carbohydrate diet all will decrease thyroid function. Eating healthy, whole foods, regularly will go a long way in maintaining the health of your thyroid.

The best foods for thyroid support are Atlantic dulse (a seaweed), wild blueberries, sprouts, cilantro, garlic, hemp seeds, coconut oil, Brazil nuts, and cranberries. These food will provide all the nutrients necessary for thyroid hormone production and metabolism.

If you, or a love one, have thyroid issues you’d like to treat naturally, then call your friendly Naturopathic Doctor.

Find Dr. Andrea Hillstad on Facebook! 

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