CARDIOLOGY, PRIMARY CARE AND NUTRITION

It is my thyroid’s fault

I want to address the role of thyroid disease and obesity. This discussion will center on low circulating thyroid levels or hypothyroidism. In the United States rarely is inadequate intake of iodine a cause of low thyroid. The RDA for iodine is 150 micrograms daily and most people ingest iodized table salt and baked goods well in excess of this dosage. Other vegan sources are sea vegetables such as dulce flakes and Nori. The most common cause of low or hypothyroidism is the autoimmune destruction called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This results in a gradual decrease in functioning thyroid cells leading to low thyroid hormone levels; free T4 and T3 associated with elevated TSH levels. There is a genetic component not unlike type 2 diabetes and often both diseases are seen in the same patient. As with other lifestyle diseases they are associated with a high fat diet with a significant portion of calories coming from dairy and other animal products. Unlike diabetes once the thyroid cells have been destroyed they do not regenerate and life long thyroid replacement is needed to restore function. Restoring levels to normal through medication restores thyroid function with relation to the heart, metabolism, bones and gut. It does not cure obesity when the obesity probably caused the immune dysfunction in the first place. Excessive thyroid hormone like any hormone replacement is dangerous and is not the cure for obesity or other endocrine dysfunction. The goal is to eat a healthy whole foods plant based diet to maintain health and immune function. It is not the thyroid’s fault. It is the food’s fault. Avoiding dairy and animal protein and fat will protect you against autoimmune diseases. If you have already experienced these diseases you can stabilize and reverse many by adopting a whole foods plant based diet.
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